Tech News & Commentary
Consumer Reports Feature
Are you or someone you know considering buying a used cell phone? Not so fast, says Consumer Reports. Their electronics spokesman James McQueen is here to explain what you need to know.
The “Into Tomorrow” team discussed the latest apps that they have been playing with recently.
• Mark recommends: Ratings by Consumer Reports, FREE
- “The app I’ve been using a fair bit this week, as I do some high tech shopping for myself, is Ratings by Consumer Reports. Anyone who knows me will tell you two things. One, I’ve always had a subscription to Consumer Reports magazine. And two, I don’t buy anything until they’ve reviewed it and said it’s okay. I went shopping for a big screen TV recently and after spending hours comparing models and making a decision, I came out to my car and pulled up the Ratings app on my iPhone. The joy was palpable when I discovered the model I’d chosen was their choice for best 55″ under $1000. I felt smart. Consumer Reports has had a mobile friendly website for a long while but this is a native iOS app. It works easier and faster than the website did, and makes it simple to check out any product you’re intending to buy, right there in the store, to see whether they’ve reviewed it. The Ratings app itself is free but you must be a Consumer Reports subscriber to sign in and use it.” — Mark
• Fidel recommends: Trello, FREE
- “Our intern, Fidel would like to share his favorite app of the week– Trello! Trello is basically used just to make lists, but with a cool twist as it allows users to make their lists a bit more visual. By adding “cards” to your list, you can add pictures that will not only make your list seem pretty– but possibly even make you want to complete a task! You can also go ahead and invite others to partake in your lists so that if you are delegating tasks at work, need your forgetful children or significant other to get housework done, or planning a party with a group of friends and don’t want them to forget the booze– now you can! Trello is entirely free and compatible with Android, Apple, Windows and Amazon phones.” — Fidel
• Mandee recommends: Heyday Photo Journal, FREE
- “Heyday Photo Journal is an app that creates an electronic sort-of journal that keeps track of places you go and photos you take each day. This app lets you add captions to your day so you can go back and remember what kind of day you were having or what you were doing. Also, you can go back and search for a specific entry by the time, place, or caption. With the New Year coming up, this would be a perfect time to download this app to keep track of what 2015 has in store for you. Heyday allows you to share your day with your Facebook friends and see what they have to say. There is also a setting you can turn on that allows you to see what you were doing exactly one year ago. Heyday is only available for Apple and devices right now, but is coming soon to Android.” — Mandee
What are your favorite Apps? Let us know at 800-899-INTO and we’ll feature them in this segment!
- Tune in to Hour 1 of our podcast for more details
Jose Gordo – Magic Jack
CES Preview Feature with Holland Cooke:
This week in Las Vegas, 150,000 techies swarm through TWO MILLION square feet of exhibits at 2015 International CES, the massive, mind-boggling Consumer Electronics Show. But news junkie Holland Cooke says don’t just think new-tech = “gadgets.”
Ron in Nashville, Tennessee listens and is calling via the App asked us: “My car has an aux in jack, but no bluetooth. I’d rather not replace the car stereo just to add Bluetooth. I’m looking for an adapter that would go Bluetooth into the aux in jack. Is there a model you recommend? Do they work well? Or would you recommend that I change out the car stereo?”
Ron, You should definitely not change that car stereo– that would be a VERY extreme measure to take in order to add Bluetooth to your vehicle and way more costly than the solution we would suggest. The solution to your question is simple, all you need is a Bluetooth car adapter!
Online you can find several, and the prices of these devices are pretty low. We’re not sure what your price range is, and it’s completely up to you, but we could suggest a few in different price ranges and we’re sure you’ll be able to make your mind up on your own.
If you already have an aux-in jack, then you’re already one step ahead. See, some of these adapters work as FM transmitters, but our intern Fidel once used one and has advised against these, as the sound can sometimes be gritty and may have some irritating white noise– which isn’t very pleasant while you’re driving and trying to enjoy some music or listen to a call. You should certainly stick with an adapter that uses an aux jack.
On the cheaper side, there’s the “Mpow Portable Bluetooth 3.0 Audio Music Streaming Receiver Adapter”. This Mpow device is one of the most affordable options we could find, and it can also connect to up to 2 different Bluetooth capable devices at a time. It does need to be charged, which can be done in the car while it is connected or by whatever preferred method you choose. That’s pretty neat because some other adapters require you to charge them in the car only while simultaneously being used. The Mpow costs just under $17 on Amazon.
If your price range is a bit higher than that, then you might want to look into the “Kinivo BTC450 Bluetooth Hands-Free Car Kit”. In terms of design, its pretty nice. The Kinivo does need to be plugged into both the aux and charging port in your vehicle, but does not hog the entire charging port because it comes with a built-in USB port, that will also provide juice to your phone or music-player. One other cool design aspect of this adapter is that it will mount to whatever surface you choose, so it is most easily accessible for you. The Kinivo Bluetooth Hands-free Car Kit costs just under $40 on Amazon.
If you’re going to be feeding this from your smartphone, however, let us ask the obvious question: Why not use a direct cable from the smartphone’s headphone jack? In many cases, Bluetooth audio (depending on the specific Bluetooth revision and the devices involved) is compressed and causes a drop in audio quality. A cable from the headphone jack would not have this problem.
And it’s less expensive, too!
For more information tune in to Hour 1 of our podcast.
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