Tech News & Commentary
Drake in Ontario asked: “I am going to be purchasing a VPS and I was wondering what Vps provider will be the best. I’m currently looking at Rack Space and Digital Ocean and I was wondering which one would I will be more successful in and which one is cheapest with the RAM.”
Drake, Virtual Private Servers vary widely from one hosting company to the next. They’re always tweaking how much they offer and how much they charge in an effort to lure new customers. Honestly, we haven’t seen a gigantic difference in pricing between “brand name” hosting providers. They all seem pretty close on their deals.
You’re far better off focusing on reliability, up time, and customer service. For that, the official support forums are a good place to start, but you’ll also want to search the Internet for forums, such as reddit, where users can complain without the company deleting their posts.
Regardless of who you choose, be sure you understand the product you’re purchasing. The best way to understand hosting plans is by what we call the “pool method.” Shared hosting is like a pool that everyone can enter at once. If the pool gets full, you’re a little uncomfortable with that and things don’t work well, so either the pool has to be made bigger or some of the occupants have to move to another pool.
VPS, or virtual private server, is like a pool where ropes are used to divide the pool into segments. You get your own chunk of pool real estate, and even though there are people in the pool with you, you don’t really notice them so much. But you are still sharing a pool. And if one of them does something unmentionable to foul the waters, it’s going to drift your way also. Dedicated hosting means you get your own pool. Very expensive, but very exclusive and you never have to worry about someone else spoiling your swim.
VPS makes sense if you are going to be installing custom scripts or software that require you to have root access to the host computer (it’s not true root access with a VPS, but it’s effectively the same thing). But it’s not always true to assume that it means better performance for a standard website. Hosting companies do a lot to make certain they don’t have too many people in the community pool at once, and the cost of shared hosting is dramatically less than a VPS plan.
Sorry we can’t give you a cut-and-dried answer, but even if we did, the information it was based on might change before you heard that answer. Compare the specs, check the customer satisfaction levels, and consider carefully what sort of plan you need.
“Into Gaming Update” Weekly Feature with Mark Lautenschlager
Annette in Sanford, North Carolina listening on WPTF 680 AM asked: “I wanted to know how can I preserve energy on my iPad, it seems sometimes the power goes out quickly.”
Annette, Preserving energy on the iPad or on any other device is just a matter of knowing what consumes the most battery. If you’re not using your Wifi, turn it off. Wifi consumes battery energy even when its not connected to a network because its constantly searching for nearby Wifi.
Turning off Push notifications and Location Services will also increase the battery life. Once you’re finished using apps, double press the home button and close the apps so they won’t be running in the background. Enabling auto-lock will help prevent lost of battery life by turning the screen off when the iPad isn’t being used. Enabling Airplane Mode will disable all wireless features and will increase battery life tremendously.
What seems to drain the majority of people’s tablets and phones is simply brightness. Either turn the brightness all the way low or enable Auto-Brightness. Just by doing so, it will gain you from minutes to an hour longer of battery. Temperature has a great impact on the battery life of an iPad or any high-tech device. Try keeping your iPad approximately between 32 degrees and 95 degrees Fahrenheit.
You can stop all or some of your apps from running in the background from your iPad’s settings, look for Background App Refresh under your General. Most apps won’t use huge amounts of battery when they’re in the background, but some will and even the ones that won’t when grouped together may very noticeably cut your battery life short.
Other common power leeches are AirDrop and Bluetooth, so if you’re not using those be sure and turn them off as well.
Jody Rohlena, Deputy Editor – ShopSmart
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“IFA History Feature” brought to you by Messe-Berlin
Transmitting pictures is a very old dream of engineers. Already in 1883, Paul Nipkow, a German engineer, developed the basic idea of a disc with tiny holes which could break a picture into several pieces. The Nipkow disc, patented in 1884, became the basis of all future television technologies. In 1897 the German engineer Ferdinand Braun invented the cathode ray tube. He had no idea that he had created the basis of a future mass medium. Hundreds of millions of these tubes, CRT in short, became the core display of television sets for about a hundred years and was the star of IFA for decades.
Jerry in Detroit, Michigan listening on CKLW 800 asked: “How can I play some of the app that are available for phones on my regular computer. I’ve used sendbackies, and other apps. I know I have to change my operation from Windows 8.1 to an android base system. But has someone finally come out with an android base operation that will work with Windows 8.1?”
Jerry, There are a couple of ways to run Android apps on Windows right now, but they’re all pretty terrible, the only one we can really recommend is BlueStacks.
BlueStacks will open Android apps in a window for you to use, but remember that these apps are not built for computers, and even if you have a touch screen the buttons may not be in the most comfortable places, even if you have an accelerometer a computer may not be that easy or safe to tilt. BlueStacks has been out for about 3 years, it hasn’t caught on more because computers can usually run much better software than mobile apps, you may be better off looking for programs that use the power your computer offers.
Although it only supports Android, YouWave is another Android emulator for Windows. The one advantage that YouWave has over BlueStacks is that it tries to faithfully recreate the Android home screen so things might look more normal.
But as we said, BlueStacks is the #1 choice because of its popularity. Whichever way you go, you will need to create a Google Account, just as you would with an Android phone, in order to use Android apps from the Google Play store.
Good luck with your attempts! We wish we could tell you this will be easy and work well, but we’re bound by the “Laws of Tech Pals” to not lie.
For more information, tune in to Hour 3 of our podcast.
Greg in Manchester, Tennessee listens on WTN 99.7 FM asked: “Is it okay to leave a flash drive plugged in all the time? Does is cause any more wear and tear on the drive?”
Greg, Leaving a flash drive plugged in all the time won’t do any damage to the particular drive but it may shorten the lifespan of the USB drive because the PC is constantly communicating with it. Really the only thing that can go wrong is if you accidently bump or kick the USB, physically damaging the connection.
It also depends on the flash drive. Some drives use MLC (multi-level cell) based memory that’s good for 3,000 to 5,000 program-erase cycles, but others have SLC (single-level cell) memory that’s good for almost 100,000 writes.
Also, keep in mind that reading from a flash drive causes no wear and tear at all. It’s only when new information is written that you get into a cycle of erasing and programming the memory chips.
And finally, the USB connector itself is specified to only withstand about 1,500 insertions and removals. So the case of the drive usually gives up before the memory chips do.
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
OWC: Dual USB Flash Drives – The amazingly small flash drive with both a Micro USB and a regular USB interface all-in-one.
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!
PhoneSoap: Several Antibacterial – All Natural Touch Screen Polish (Ad lib: sorta like Cap Stick for your Phones & Tablets)
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!
iLuv: A pair of ReFashionOlogy Canvas Exterior, Collapsible Headphones with a Titanium Diaphragm
Westinghouse: Unplug Wireless Bluetooth Sound System