Archive for Reviews

Moves Review- A Pedometer for your iPhone


We all know that most of us, myself included, need to walk more than we do. Yes, we could just take a walk but, most people do a some amount of walking in their daily life, whether it be around the house, at work or moving from place to place, but don’t know how much walking they actually do. There are ways of recording those every day movements, most simply, a pedometer that can be purchased fairly cheap. There are also the wrist bands that track movements like the FitBit or the Nike Fuel band but those cost around $100 and they need to connect to a computer or smartphone running an application to record data.

Moves is a free iPhone application that enables iPhone users to track the number steps, the distance walked and the total time spent walking each day using the the GPS built-into the iPhone. Once installed, simply launch the app once to make sure its ready and its ready to go. Moves can determine when someone is walking and when they are driving or riding, preventing users from being credited extra steps. The app shows results in a beautiful, graphic


timeline the day showing how much walking has been done in each location and includes a map of the day’s travels.
Places are normally named by the town or city by default for example, “Place in Philadelphia”. Places can be labeled as home, work, school or even better, Moves ties into Foursquare and has a list of nearby locations to choose from if the user chooses to do so.

The timeline allows users to go through their day and see how much walking they have done at each location. On the top of each day, is a summary bubble that shows: total number of steps, total time spent walking for the day and total distance walked for the whole day and the more you walk, the larger the summary bubble will be. Days where the user has reached a personal best, will also have a record banner on the summary bubble as well.There is a week view as well to see the entire week at-a-glance as well as previous weeks. Moves also ties into social media allowing for summary bubbles or for the more daring, the entire timeline to be shared via Facebook, Twitter, email or saved as a picture to the iPhone Camera roll.

There is only one con of using Moves, which is battery usage. Moves uses the GPS constantly in order to track your movement which is a major drain on the battery. Personally, my iPhone 4 is still able to make it through the day, although, the battery is draining more than it has previously. The Move app does however have some power saving options such as setting a timer to turn off tracking for a set amount of time,  which is useful for those who are staying relativly still for a long period of time. Tracking can also be paused until the phone is charged again or users can simply turn tracking off manually and it will stay off until it is turned back on.

Moves is however a great free application that allows iPhone users to use a device they tend to always have on them to easily keep track if how much walking they do each day. It is great for the fitness enthusiast and couch potato alike by making it easy to see how much they walk in their daily lives. I highly recommend this app despite the fact it does cause significant battery drain because it makes tracking walking amazingly easy on a device that is almost always with you.

Nexus 7 Review

When Google announced the Nexus 7 at Google I/O earlier this summer, I thought it might be a nice way to give Android, the newest version at that, a try. It also allowed me to try out a 7-inch tablet, which I have been skeptical about.  The Nexus 7 starts at $200 for an 8 GB tablet and also has a 16 GB version at $249. I decided to get one to give Android a try and see why so many people prefer it to iOS.

The Nexus 7 is a very fast tablet, with a quad-core Tegra 3 processor, and the newest version of the Android operating system, Jellybean, has been optimized for speed through “Project Butter” making the Nexus extremely fast. Another benefit to buying the Nexus 7 is that you get a $25 credit to the Google Play store which has apps, music, movies, TV shows, Magazines and books. I actually have yet to spend most of the credit because so many apps on Android are free,  so, I have been using it to buy music.

Android has a lot of nice features like Widgets on the home screens, and the face unlock which I wish would work more reliably to be used regularly. As Android advocates frequently say, Android has a lot more choices as far as apps and customization of the user experience. However, there are still apps that I use regularly that work on iOS but have yet to make a version for Android. Another issue is that because of the way the keyboard is laid out and the smaller size of the screen typing is a bit more difficult than on my iPad and I accidentally close out of apps frequently because the button is directly in the center of the keyboard. This may not be as important to other users who use it for media consumption but for those who need a keyboard regularly, the 7-inch form-factor may not be the best choice.

For anyone interested in a tablet, who isn’t ready to drop $500 on an iPad, or for those like me who are primarily Apple users and want to experiment with the Android environment, the Nexus 7 is a great tablet. It is very affordable and delivers more power for less than other Android tablets on the market.   Especially for people have yet to own a tablet, it is a good starter tablet since you get the $25 play store credit to get started with apps. It is also a better choice for those considering the Kindle Fire, since the Fire has older hardware and a specialized version of an older version of Android that has been locked-down and has a limited app selection. Not to mention the $25 play store credit that comes with the Nexus 7.

So, for all those who want to take the leap into the tablet world but, maybe not all the way, the Nexus 7 gives you power and a lot of functionality for a great starter price.

Lock Desktop for Mac Review


Lock desktop is a simple to use program on the Mac App Store to quickly lock your password to prevent unauthorized access to your computer. This is good if you are about to walk away from your computer, even for a few seconds and be sure your computer is safe and your data is safe.  Once you buy the 99 cent app, you just click the app icon in the dock or in  the Applications folder and your computer will go to the login screen. It is just that simple. There is no options or preferences just click and lock.  This is good for the sake of simplicity since it is a single-use application, but it also limits the users’ control. The application does exactly what it says it does and it is worth the 99 cents to make sure your computer is safe from unwanted users. The only thing I wish the application had was a keyboard shortcut so that, instead of having to click a icon for the app,  you could just use a hotkey and lock your screen, like the Windows-L shortcut on Windows. This is one thing I wish Mac OS had built-in.

This is of course,  all  dependent on you using a strong password, it will take you to the login screen whether you have a password or not, but,  anyone could just click on your username and get in if you-don’t have a password. Also remember that you need to use a strong password meaning no easily guessed names, birthdays, etc. Strong passwords use capital letters, lower case letters and numbers.

Lock Desktop is a great application as long as you don’t mind clicking an icon. It does what needs to be done in order to protect your computer as long as you use a strong password. This is especially important if you are in a public place, live in a dorm or just don’t trust someone around you and will keep all your information safe.

Magic Mouse Review

When the Magic Mouse first came out, I wasn’t very impressed. However, now that I have used one for over a month it is a great mouse. The mouse itself is a bit flat and can take some time to get used to the ergonomics but, once you do, you will love it. The entire mouse can be used to click unless the secondary click is enabled in the settings which can be set to use either the left or right side.  This is a feature I wish was enabled by default because secondary (right click) is essential for many tasks. Scrolling is much smoother than the Mighty mouse because it is a multitouch device instead of a little scroll ball. It also has the option to swipe through for things such as pictures using 2 fingers. You can also zoom into the screen using the pinch to zoom multitouch gesture. The magic mouse is also a wireless mouse which I was originally was against but it is extremely reliable and the battery life is great. I never turn it off and the mouse lasts for a very long time. I do recommend using a  rechargeable  batteries to prevent wasting  many single use batteries but, all in all this is a great mouse. I don’t think it justifies a $70 price tag but, you can find it online for half the price as I did and it is a great mouse!

Apple Magic Trackpad Hands-on Review

The other day I was at the Apple Store and got to use the new Bluetooth Magic Trackpad. The idea is for users to move around their desktop computer screen using multitouch gestures. It works great, but I personally prefer to use a regular mouse with my laptop. But, for those who use multi touch gestures frequently, and can’t operate with out them, then this could be a decent device for you. However, for $70 I wouldn’t want to spend that for an extra accessory, and would definitely not want to substitute it for a mouse when I bought a new computer. But if you really like multitouch and don’t mind spending the money it might be worth while. But if you don’t like the trackpad that much it’s not worth the money.

iWork 09 Review

For those who are sick of Microsoft Office for Mac, which is extremely bulky and slow, iWork is a great alternatives for Mac users. The current version of iWork, iWork 09 only costs $79 for one license and $99 for a family pack that you can install on five computers, which in my opinion is totally worth while if you only have more than one Mac. While Microsoft Office has Word, Excel and Powerpoint, iWork has: Pages, Numbers and Keynote which are the respective alternatives to their MS Office counterparts. Pages is a very well designed and well made Word Processor and does everything that I would need a word processor to do, including opening Microsoft Word documents. Numbers, the newest addition to iWork is a great spreadsheet tool and although it may not have many of the advanced features of Excel, for most people it is more than you need! Finally, is Keynote which I and many others believe is the killer app for iWork it is an amazing presentation tool that surpasses the standard Powerpoint. All three applications have a stunning  template gallery with many templates which helps make documents much easier.

For the price, which is a lot less than what you would pay for MS Office, I highly recommend iWork over Office for the Mac. That said there are a few disadvantages to iWork. First, and probably the most important disadvantage is that you can not automatically save to Office formats making it a little annoying to use Office formats because they are standards many people would like to continue using them. There is however, a modification that you can do to make pages save to .Doc automatically and makes at least one application easier to use. The other disadvantage is that unlike Office, iWork does not have a full email client, like Entourage. However, OSX’s built-in mail client is extremly good and could fill in.

All-in-all, iWork is a great, easy to use office suite for the Mac and is definitely a great replacement for the slow Office for the Mac. I have made the switch out of frustration with Office and I recommend making the switch to this great suite.

Logitech USB Microphone Review

As you might of heard on The Weekly Spin or on my Twitter feed, my old Logitech headset that I used to record The Weekly Spin and used for general Skype use broken and I had to return it to Newegg! Luckily it was under warranty and because of that after I returned it I was able to get another microphone with the same value which was $20! There were not many USB microphones or headsets for $20 except this one so, I knew it was really my only option. The Logitech USB Microphone was my choice and I am so grateful that I made that choice. After I plugged it in for the first time and tested out recording I found out that this microphone is extraordinary! The voice quality is great and even when I put it  directly in front of my old Dell Laptop that makes a lot of noise all it picks up is my voice. This is because of the noise cancellation built into the microphone which makes this great for podcasters as well as anyone who needs to do voice-over work!  The only complaint that I have is because I have gotten used to having a headset with the microphone directly in front of my face, having a standing mic takes some getting used to and requires some pre-recording testing to assure good audio levels.

Overall, I recommend anyone just starting doing professional recording it is completely worth the money and will not disappoint! I am excited to begin using this for The Weekly Spin and other projects because of it’s superior quality, it makes me almost glad my old microphone broke because this microphone has much higher quality!

Dropbox Review

For those who have multiple computer and want to access files between them, usually requires the user to use either an external hard drive or thumb drive and manually move the file from one computer to another! However, that is now a thing of the past with Dropbox. With Dropbox, all you need to do is sign up for an account and install the program on all the computers you want to use, the program works on both Mac as well as Windows. With the free account you get 2 GB of storage but, if you need more you could pay for up to 5o GB of storage. With Dropbox, you have a cloud drive that you can use like a thumb drive, but once you save files to the Dropbox, they are automatically uploaded to the web and then are synced to the other computers. This makes thumb drives a thing of the past and let you just save files to Dropbox and you can access it anywhere, even online in your browser!

Personally, I use my Dropbox to sync files between my Macbook Pro which is on my desk most of the time with my netbook that I take to class so, my school work is availible and up-to-date one whatever computer I choose to use! If you think 2 GB is not enough for you, which if you are just doing documents it should, since I have all my school files on there and some other stuff and I am only use 2%! However, if you need more you can get another .25 GB for going through the Dropbox tutorials and even more if you invite your friends! Dropbox is a great solution if there a a few crucial files you want to have backed up, Dropbox is a awesome way to do it! If you want to not worry about copying files and remembering a thumb drive give Dropbox a try, you will not be disappointed!

Canon Vixia HF100 Review

I figured that since I was going to be majoring in video production in college, that it would be a good idea to get a video camera. I had already looked around with Michael Plasmeier for a new camera for Tecker 911 and decided on the Canon Vixia HF100, so it was a no brainer after using it for one shoot, that it was the camera for me. It is extremly well designed and has a lot of semi-pro features for the inspiring videographer.

It has a microphone in jack for people producing more professional video, headphones out to monitor audio levels, as well as audio monitors on the LCD screen. It uses SD cards and AVCHD formatting which works amazingly well with Final Cut! SD cards are very inexpensive and you can get a 32 GB card for like $30 which can record hours of video! Speaking of video it is very high-quality and only has problems when you are shooting in low-lighting! It has many pre-set white balances to get the best video quality and even a manual White Balances for the pros! One of the other really cool features is that you can take still pictures while you are recording video which can be very useful. Battery life is pretty good and it is always best torun the camera off wall power when availible. The camera also comes with a remote control so the camera operator doesn’t have to stand directly behind the camera for the whole shoot and, as we found out at Tecker 911, if you have multiples of this camera, one remote can control them all!

I only have two complaints, one is low light quality and the other is lack of zoom, I would love some more zoom control.

However, all-in-all this camera is awesome and I cannot wait to make more awesome videos with this. Canon really makes great equipmement and I hope they keep it up!

HP Mini 1000 Review

Mike Gdovin gives a review of his new HP Mini 1000 netbook!

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