Category Archives: Picks

Call for Free Using Gmail Through 2011

Google has caught some of the holiday spirit floating around the world right now, or so it seems. When Google launched Gmail Calling back in August, they offered it up for free for the remainder of 2010. Today, the team announced that “In the spirit of holiday giving and to help people keep in touch in the new year, we’re extending free calling for all of 2011.” This is fantastic news for many loyal fans, and will likely attract brand-new ones, as well.

Dialing a phone number in Gmail works just like a regular phone does. Look for the “Call Phone” icon at the top of your Gmail chat list and dial the number – or enter a contact’s name. It’s that simple – and it’s going to be free for another entire year.

Are you a fan of Gmail Calling?

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New Technology in 2011

It seems as though each year, we see some new breakthrough in the world of technology. Products are better than we thought they could be. Upgrades are churned out at an almost alarming rate. Companies are competing in the “race” of their life – to attempt to capture the attention of the buying public. What do you think is next on the horizon? What new – and amazing – things might we see in 2011?

Keep in mind that “new technology” doesn’t only refer to the hottest and shiniest new gadget on the market, folks. Something as simple as a better lightbulb is new tech – and sometimes even more important than that phone you cannot leave home without. What things do you think we may just see in the coming year that could change our lives?

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Delegate Your Email with Gmail

Many of us have more than one email account. If you’re like me, you use one for business, and another address entirely for personal stuff. Often, our Inbox becomes so overloaded that we simply cannot keep up. If this is the business side of things, not getting through it all could be disastrous. For this reason, Gmail has introduced a simple way to delegate your email to others.

To grant access to another account, click the Settings link in the top right corner of Gmail. On the “Accounts” tab, you’ll see a new section where you can “Grant access to your account.” The account you add will get a verification email with links to accept or deny access. Once the account accepts, a small down arrow will appear beside the email address at the top right corner of Gmail which can be used to toggle between accounts. Each account will open in a separate tab or window to help keep things simple and smooth.

What a great way to share the work load. Will you be taking advantage of Gmail delegation?

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Rovio to Add Carrier Billing to Angry Birds

If you have been hoping for an easier way to get the newest Angry Birds releases – or even some sweet Bird swag – you’ll soon be able to do so right within the app. According to Rovio, you will now be able to run up charges directly on the monthly bill sent to you by your telephone carrier. Called the Bad Piggy Bank, the in-app payment system will also be offered to other developers as a service.

With just a touch of a button, you can make in-app game purchases without a credit card — the price of anything you buy will just be added to your monthly cell phone bill. This may seem like a dream come true, but it could end up costing you a lot. What happens when your youngster is busy leveling up your Birds and decides to buy everything available? They’ll be able to do so with a couple of button taps, and you’ll get a nice little surprise on your next phone bill.

Let’s hope Rovio has some safeguards in mind to help keep that from becoming an issue.

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How Often Do You Upgrade Your Computer?

Your computer is slowing down. Things don’t run the way they should anymore. You baby it along by defragging, uninstalling programs, deleting files and cleaning things up as much as possible. Perhaps you go as far as cursing at your poor machine or even threatening it with a hammer. At what point, though, do you throw in the towel and upgrade that sucker? When do you know it’s just TIME to spend a few bucks to add a new stick of RAM or upgrade your processor?

The general consensus over on Lockergnome seems to be that geeks upgrade on an as-needed basis. Only one person was brave enough to admit that they upgrade any time something new comes along. One other person stated that they NEVER upgrade – they simply start fresh with a new machine.

Where do you fall in the computer-upgrade spectrum?

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Your Computer IS Infected

I don’t care if you’re using Windows, OS X or Linus – your computer is most definitely infected. The dangerous thing is that you can become infected, as well. You wouldn’t go around rubbing your fingers all over a public toilet, would you? Charles Gerba, a Microbiologist, has concluded that every toilet seat has about 49 germs per square inch. Your keyboard, however, has nearly three thousand of the little buggers within every square inch. Why the heck are you still touching that thing?

You cannot avoid these germs, but you can definitely prevent them. There are a ton of inexpensive anti-bacterial products on the market which will not harm your computer equipment… use them. It will only cost you a few bucks, which is much better than several hundred dollars spent at the doctor.

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Why is MySpace Meeting up with Facebook?

Earlier today, an invitation went out to the press to attend a (gasp!) GoToMeeting tomorrow with both MySpace and Facebook in attendance. Unfortunately, I doubt this means that we’ll see some major alliance between the two sites. I doubt that MySpace is going to close up shop or anything of that nature. Rumors are flying, of course. I have a feeling that it’s a simple matter of announcing the fact that you can log in to MySpace using Facebook Connect.

If that’s the case, it’s really not much of a big deal. Who still even uses MySpace? This is likely the reason they chose to hold a simple online meeting software instead of an actual physical event. It also explains why Zuck himself won’t be in attendance. Presenting at the webinar will be MySpace CEO Mike Jones–who has been pitching MySpace as “a social entertainment destination” rather than a social network–and Dan Rose, VP of Partnerships and Platform Marketing for Facebook.

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Digg Hires Editors to Bring You the News Faster

Digg has always had trouble getting the hottest news to you as quickly as they would like. With the way things used to be done, it could take hours for users to submit a story and vote it up. From now on, there will be editors on staff to make sure headlines make it onto the site as quickly as possible.

“Starting today, Digg will add a breaking news/interesting stories module that will be managed and curated by Digg’s community team. This team will aggregate stories that they think should be on the Digg front page but haven’t garnered enough votes by the community yet. These curated modules will appear on the top right side of the Top News, My News and Upcoming pages.”

Do you think this move will make Digg more viable as a news source?

Is Social Media Making You Lazy?

Twitter is making us lazy. I counted at least ten different Tweets this evening where people asked their followers to answer a question that they could easily have looked up themselves. In the time it takes to Tweet something out and wait for replies, we could have found the answer on Google. One example would be someone asking what specific side effects a particular medication may have. The trouble with this is not only that it makes us lazier, it can also be dangerous. What if you ask something important – such as “do these two drugs interact badly with each other?” – and your faithful followers assure you that it’s okay. You could end up dead if they don’t know for sure what they’re talking about.

In my opinion, social media sites such as Twitter and Facebook are great places to ask for opinions and recommendations. We need to remember, though, that they may not always be the best method of finding out important information that could affect our health and our lives. Not everyone who follows you is a trained medical professional – but they may just be trying to play one online.

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LimeWire is Back in the Game

That took even less time than I expected. I had a feeling we’d see popular P2P client LimeWire again, but I didn’t think it would be this fast. Reports are surfacing that the software has already been resurrected by a group of self-named hackers. “Not only has a secret dev team reanimated the hugely popular client, but they have also made a few significant changes which make it better and more streamlined than before.”

“Shortly after the software was forced to shut down, a horde of piratical monkeys climbed aboard the abandoned ship, mended its sails, polished its cannons, and released it free to the community.” All dependencies on LimeWire LLC’s servers have been removed, all remote settings have been disabled, the Ask toolbar has been unbundled, and all features of LimeWire PRO have been activated for free. Thus, the creators claim that LimeWire Pirate Edition (LPE) will work better than the last stable version of the old client.

The RIAA better head back to the drawing board.

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