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Weekend of April 10th, 2015 – Hour 3

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Tech News & Commentary

Richard in Fairbanks, Alaska listens on 970 KFBX asked: “Bluetooth headsets for stereo listening – The ones I find up here are out of my price range. I am hard of hearing, so I can’t really hear the speaker on my iPhone, so I’d like to get a Bluetooth headset for my listening.”

Richard, It’s hard to tell what may fit your needs without knowing what price point you’re aiming for. There are a lot of inexpensive bluetooth headsets, unfortunately, they also tend to be terrible.

intotomorrow_logoYou should easily be able to find lots of bluetooth stereo headsets online for between $10-15, but you can expect them to be uncomfortable and sound less than great.

If you can stretch to around $40, you’ll start running into well known brands like Plantronics and LG, they won’t be the highest end models, but at least they should sound and feel much better than they cheap $15 generic chinese versions.

If you prefer over the ear sets, they’re usually a little more, but you can still find them starting around $20 or $30, and the great ones will likely be closer to $400.

The question is, what are you looking for? will you be satisfied with mediocre sound? is the volume more important to you than the quality of the audio? If you don’t mind less than stellar sound and don’t plan to wear them for hours at a time, some of the cheaper options may work well for you.

For more information, tune in to Hour 3 of our podcast.

 “Into Gaming Update” Weekly Feature with Mark Lautenschlager

Josh in Tupelo, Mississippi listening on Supertalk 94.3 FM asked: “I dabble in graphic design. I’m in need of a program comparable to Adobe Photoshop but need something that is anywhere from free to much cheaper than Photoshop. Any ideas?”

 

Josh, You have several options. GIMP is great, a little rough around the edges, and with more of a Linux feel to it, but it’s totally free and it does a lot of what Photoshop does, and does it very well, there’s a version of it called “GIMPShop” that tries to mimic the Photoshop user interface as well, so you could look at that one if you’re really looking for more of a Photoshop clone.

Pixlr is another free option, it’s not as full featured as Photoshop or even GIMP and it’s web based, but it is pretty powerful, especially for a cloud-based tool. If you’re good at image editing already, just make sure you’re not on Basic mode.

Photoshop Express is Adobe’s own free online editor, again, fewer features than real Photoshop, but it will look similar and perform some basic functions. Paintshop Pro will also cost around $80, it’s has plenty of useful features and it may be enough to satisfy you, if you don’t need the most advanced Photoshop functions.

Another great free alternative is PhotoScape. PhotoScape has all of the basic image editing tools you might want, as well as some advanced features that let you add text and other objects to your images. It is far simpler than Photoshop, although admittedly doesn’t do nearly as much, but it’s free, and for someone looking to touch up their digital photos, PhotoScape is a great tool and they have both Windows and Mac versions. You can get the details at photoscape.org. And you didn’t mention whether you had Windows or Mac, but if you happen to have a Mac, look at Pixelmator in the Mac App store.

Very comparable in power to Photoshop unless you need color separations for professional printing, but much cheaper at $14.99 and, I think, much easier to use as well.

For more information, tune in to Hour 3 of our podcast.

Guest Segment:

Robin Wilton, Technical Outreach Director for Identity and Privacy – Internet Society
provide leadership in Internet related standards, education, and policy.

IFA History Feature

“IFA History Feature” brought to you by Messe-Berlin

Many breakthrough technologies have been shown for the first time at IFA, the Internationale Funkausstellung in Berlin, and one of the most important is mp3. Developed by the Fraunhofer Institute for Integrated Circuits in a group lead by Karlheinz Brandenburg since 1982, the finalized and standardized technology was shown first at the science and technology forum of IFA in 1995. Music via the internet would not be possible without this compression method, and billions of tiny music players have been sold since 1998.

Vince in Albuquerque, New Mexico listens to the podcast asked: “I have the Samsung Galaxy Note 4 on Verizon. They have an app that comes in the phone called VZ Protect and Verizon recommends getting the app going, and it’s supposed to offer a better protection I guess for the phone if you’re downloading apps. It’s like a virus protection thing. My question is– are they just promoting their own app, are there any apps that are better than that one, that are free? If there are, let me know, or is that one the best one to go with on the phone?”

Vince, Frankly the app is mostly useless. The whole virus scanner aspect of it is basically worthless unless your phone is rooted, the risk of malware tagging along with your apps is almost non-existent.

They do have some other features and some of them might be more useful, for example, their Site Advisor integration should warn you if you’re visiting potential malware sites (which could be achieved through a DNS server, no need for an app). Their premium features do include a privacy tool that could be useful to know what information each of your apps is trying to access.

The app is pretty much providing a service you don’t need though, most of it is just handled by Android to begin with and having an app running in the background checking everything at all times can’t be fantastic for your battery life.

Speaking of battery life, their app will estimate how long you can talk on the phone, browse the web, or use other functions on however much battery you have left, which sounds nice to know… not very useful, and totally dependent on what you’re doing that very second, but you know… nice… but you can get that for free from plenty of apps like BatteryTime without having to let them run in the background constantly.

There is one useful feature that comes with that app and it’s the ability to track your phone if you lost it, but again, Android can handle that natively too… you just need to log in to Android Device Manager, device tracking should be turned on by default, but you may need to turn on the ability to remotely lock and erase the phone.

If that’s not good enough for you, Samsung phones like yours also come with Find My Mobile to do the same thing… you probably don’t need to install Verizon’s version of the same thing too.

For more information, tune in to Hour 3 of our podcast.

MaryAnn in Mississippi listening on Smart Talk 100.9 FM asked: “I have a Sony Xperia L which I have enjoyed for more than a year. I have never been able to get my phone to recognize a micro-sd card. Is a defective slot likely? Is this repairable or should I face it and realize that after multiple attempts this techno…challenged person is most likely installing it incorrectly? (I’ve had a couple of shops take a look without success though I admit one just told me to get an iphone) Thanks and I enjoy your Sunday afternoon show.”

MaryAnn, First and foremost, thank you for listening! It’s much appreciated, and you can keep those questions coming– it is what we’re here for. However, unfortunately there’s no easy solution to your problem… aside from getting a new or refurbished phone. Surely if several repair shops were unable to locate an exact problem, they weren’t turning away your business but simply stumped at why this defect has found it’s way onto your phone.

If you purchased the phone from your service provider, you should begin by letting them know about the issue and receiving their suggestions. If you have purchased insurance on the phone, it should be no problem for them to take the phone back and send you a new or refurbished one. We were unable to find an Xperia L user who is experiencing the same issue so, as far as we can tell, it must be an individual phone issue and you should look beyond a repair shop to remedy this problem.

If you and several stores have all failed at putting an SD card into the phone and making it work, the phone has a problem. There’s really nothing to it, you slide it in, then it works. Here’s the bad news though: if you’ve been enjoying the phone for a year you may have waited too long to have it repaired or exchanged under warranty. Either way, give it a shot, you may get lucky!

And whatever shop it was that told you to get an iPhone needs to be flagged 15 yards for excessive sarcasm, since iPhones don’t accept microSD cards at all. Of course, neither does the latest Galaxy smartphone from Samsung, the S6.

For more information, tune in to Hour 3 of our podcast.

Alex in Boynton Beach, FL listening online asked: “I have an iMac with Lion. I would like to know how I can print a gfpartial page.”

Alex, Mac OS X allows something called “Services” to be added to automate tasks users may need to perform often. The preferred method to print a selection seems to be one of these services. It’s called Print Selection Service 2.0, and you can download it from here.

After you’ve installed it, select whatever you want to print, right click, go to Services and Print Selection. We’ve never had to use it ourselves, but it seems to satisfy the people who use it, hopefully it will work for you too.

For more information, tune in to Hour 3 of our podcast.

If you have any questions about any of this week’s show info, please email us here.

This Week’s Prizes for Our Listeners

Education.Com: Several “Brainzy” 12-month codes for online early-learning programs for math and reading. If you’ve got Kids … you WANT one of these!

HD Radio: “Into Tomorrow” branded Portable AM/FM/HD Radios – these are in high demand and give you more FREE radio — the way it should be!

LG: An LG ‘G’ Vista Smartphone with an extra large display and good battery life.

NanoTech: Several UltraFlix Gift Cards for 4K Content, like movies and a ton of other cool stuff. Let us know if you have a 4K Ultra HD TV!

NovaPhotos: A couple of their cool Bluetooth off-camera FLASH units for iPhone (that we featured in a recent ITTV piece). Perfect for Selfies. They have 40 LEDs!

Written by Dave Graveline

Dave Graveline

Dave Graveline is the founder, Host & Executive Producer of "Into Tomorrow" in addition to being President of the Advanced Media Network".

Dave is also a trusted and familiar voice on many national commercials & narrations in addition to being an authority in consumer tech since 1994. He is also a former Police Officer and an FBI Certified Instructor.

Dave thrives on audience participation!

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