Big Announcement Is Out! "AT&T Next" Program Unveiled Today

AT&T NEWS - UPGRADE DEVICES YEARLY & FOREGO CONTRACTS WITH "NEXT"

This is what we have been waiting for! Significant, exciting news from AT&T! I believe I predicted this to a certain degree of accuracy, but it appears that AT&T has gone beyond my prediction with its new "AT&T Next" offering.

Instead of being stuck with your contracted device for 2 years and dealing with outdated technology, you are now able to upgrade after only one year with this new program. The company basically finances the full cost of the device, speading out payments over a 20 month period.

But here's the kicker - there's no down payment, no activation fee, no upgrade fees, and no financing fees. Plus you can upgrade again within one year, even if you don't have the device paid off.

I consider this very significant news, and it was well worth the wait. Why? Because I have said for a long time that technological advancement has now outpaced the length of carrier contracts. 2-year contracts for devices can leave you in a pickle.

Here's how...

Let's say you buy a Samsung Galaxy S2 a few months after it has been released. You do fine with the device during the first year, because it's still close to being cutting edge for its harware specs. But after your first year, the Android updates start outpacing your device's ability to perform.

Then the dreaded event happens: a monstrous update comes out that practically drags your device's performance down to a grinding halt. That's what happened to me when Android 4.0.3 was installed on to my Samsung Galaxy S2.

I called Samsung Support, and they kindly told me that my device was so old that I couldn't expect it to keep up with the current operating system. They kindly told me that I should think about upgrading to a Galaxy S3, or get first in line for the S4 (it was not out at the time).

It was at that very point that I knew things would have to change in the mobile market. No longer did standard contract time periods coincide with the pace of technology. So today, AT&T addresses this issue and comes out with the perfect plan to solve the conundrum of advancing technology and 2-year contracts.

I couldn't be more excited. I'll most definitely be one to take advantage of the program and update on a yearly basis. For someone who leans on their smartphone or tablet as much as I do, this is the best way to go. It allows you to take full advantage of advancement in operating system environments, and stay efficient with device performance.

So I say "HATS OFF" to AT&T! Thank you for the exciting news, and living up to the hype!

Carlton Flowers
Gadget Addict

 

More Details On Nokia Lumia 1020 Mega Camera Smartphone

NEW NOKIA LUMIA 1020 SPORTING IMPRESSIVE SPECS

New details on the Nokia Lumia 1020 are coming out, and it looks like there's more to this smartphone than the itty bitty 41Mp camera. It goes without saying that the Lumia 1020 smokes everything on the Android market with that monstrosity of a camera, though.

There are some fancy things that this camera is capable of. For the "regular person" who doesn't engage in all that high-flying tech talk, they might think that a 41Mp camera would eat up all the memory on the device. But that's not exactly the case.

The way this thing works is simple. It basically takes a 5Mp picture with 7 pixels crammed into each regular pixel, thus making it into a full-res image. They call it "oversampling", and that just means the camera jams a pile of additional pixels into each normal pixel. The reult? You end up with high res pictures that don't take up a whopping chunk of your smartphone's memory.

But it doesn't stop there. They've raised the bar in video recording too. Here's what they did...

The Nokia geniuses had somewhat of a major breakthrough with the smartphone's camera lens, giving it the best image stabilization of any phone device on the planet. They included a gyroscope inside the lens, and it floats around on ball bearings. That's pretty incredible. What that means is that you are getting real physical image stabilization.

Regular cameras zoom in to the picture and lop off the four edges, moving around the video window to produce a "fake" image stabilization effect. Not the Lumia 1020. Its lens is actually inside the device moving around, counteracting all of your nervous twitches and shaking hand movements. That's pretty doggone neat.

You end up getting a smartphone with a lens that is capable of performing at the level of quality you get with a consumer grade digital camera. That vaults the Lumia 1020 far and beyond anything you'll get with competing smartphones like the HTC One or the Samsung Galaxy S4.

Nokia and Windows Phone 8 are smacking down the leaders with this incredible device, and it could quite possibly put them into the big leagues with sales. I've already said time and time again that Windows Phone 8 has the capability of taking a big fat chunk out of the market because of its ease of use and fresh, different approach.

Now they are raising the bar on the hardware. These guys are serious, and I'm giving Microsoft and Nokia props for staying in the game with the Lumia 1020. There's nothing like fresh competition to make all of the other manufactures keep innovating. And AT&T will really stand to gain being the first network provider to supply this device.

Stay tuned for more updates! I'll be keeping a close watch for more details.

Carlton Flowers
Smartphone Finatic

 

 

The Monstrous Nokia Lumia 1020 Is Coming To AT&T

NEW LUMIA COMING PACKING A 41MP CAMERA

Camera buffs and smartphone afficionados might want to take note. There's a monstrous new Nokia Lumia coming this summer via AT&T!

The new Nokia Lumia 1020 packs a hefty 41Mp camera, taking a huge leap ahead of the pack for those that want to combine the quality of a professional digital camera with a smartphone with its ability to also record video in full 1080p HD at 30 frames/second.

It features the new Gorilla Glass 3 display for maximum durability, and is super sensitive to to touch. You can even operate the device with gloves.

I would expect this to be an excellent device, based on my experience testing the previous Nokia Lumia 920. It's a solid phone with a composite body, and the Windows Phone operating system is a competely intuitive system that you can pick up and immediately use without looking at the instructions.

I'll hopefully get my hands on one later this summer to test out and give a full report. I'd love to try this device out for shooting video, and with the super fast frame rate, it might even be useful for shooting production footage.

Stay tuned, we'll have more details soon!

Carlton Flowers
Smartphone Watchman

 

AT&T Hatching Big Announcement On July 16th, 2013

BIG NEWS COMING FROM AT&T ABOUT WIRELESS NETWORK

As you can see from the teaser graphic, AT&T has a secret to reveal to us all on July 16th, 2013. They are telling us to "prepare for what's next in wireless". Sounds like it is possibly signifant, if you ask me.

Whatever this "next-in-wireless" thing may be, the company has guarded the secret quite well. Company employees don't even know what it is. And I've scoured the net for hints, and have come up with nothing.

Some people think it will be an announcement that has to do with package deals or wireless plans. I don't. Family plans and package deals don't really sound like things that can be "the next thing in wireless" to me. I think it will be something entirely different.

I also don't think it will have to do with any singular device. One smartphone or tablet can't possibly represent the "what's next in wireless" phrase. It's got to be more sweeping than that.

Maybe it's an announcement that has to do with the unveiling of a new hardware infrastructure that will surpass the LTE 4G network and run at fiber optic speeds, thus solving the bandwidth crunch crisis. Okay that's probably a stupid guess, but I'm allowed to dream.

Reeling it back in to reality, I think it might have something to do with enhancing the network. That could be accomplished by some "value-added" type of thing. Say, for instance, a brand-new streaming music radio service... or some super smart way to do video calling.

Maybe they will announce their plans to add teleportation to the 4G LTE network service areas. If you've got a fast enough connection, you'll be able to teleport to work and ditch that pesky commuter train or carpool.

The only other somewhat realistic idea could be something to do with hardware upgrades. Maybe they will roll out a new way to keep people's hands on the most current devices, without being required to wait for 24 months. I'd pay extra just do do that.

The one thing I can say with 100% assuredness is that they will announce something on Tuesday of next week... and I'll be sitting with my ear on the radio, impatiently waiting to see what it is!

Do you have a prediction of what the announcement will or will not entail? Share it in the Disqus comments section below!

Carlton Flowers
Announcement Watchman

Central Missouri Network Carriers - What's The Best Call?

HOW THE TOP FIVE CARRIERS RATE IN CENTRAL MISSOURI

People ask me almost every day which carrier they should go through for the Central Missouri area. I live right in the middle of the state, in Jefferson City, the state capital. I'll give you story on what I know about the big 5 carriers, Verizon, T-Mobile, Sprint, US Cellular, and AT&T.

I'll start from who I believe provides the best service in this coverage area, and I'll work my way down the list from that point. I'll share my thoughts on each ranking and try to give as many pros and cons as I can. Let the rankings begin!

#1 - AT&T

I've been a customer of AT&T now for 6 years. I switched from Sprint to AT&T when my employer moved across town to a nice little Sprint dead spot. I had no choice. I was nervous about the switch, but I have no regrets.

In Jefferson City, AT&T has slowly made really good improvements to their network. about two yeras ago, they implemented the HSPA+ upgrade, bringing "4G" speeds that ramped up my download time from roughly 1Mbps on average to about 7Mbps. Now we have true 4th generation LTE coverage, and I've had the best of luck.

Service-wise, I can't say enough about AT&T. I can't name a single instance where I've called and had a sour experience with the service reps. I'm always greeted with the friendliest people, and they always follow up on any problems I might have. Plus they have been very accomodating whenever I have had instances of getting behind on my enormous bill (I have 4 smartphones on my contract!).

I feel comfortable sticking with AT&T, because I don't think the company will be going away any time soon. They're a solid company, and they have a tremendous upside. I will more than likely be sticking with them long-term, and this is the company that I give my first recommendation to when people ask. They combine great service, great coverage, and a huge selection of devices to choose from.

#2 - Verizon Wireless

Verizon beat everyone to the punch with 4G LTE service in Central Missouri, and they also have a solid network and stable company. You cannot really go wrong with Verizon in Jefferson City, as they have a huge footprint throughout the state. The majority of my friends who are with Verizon haven't had many complaints, and they too have a huge variety of devices to choose from.

The only reason I place them 2nd is due to the fact that they are on an older system, the CDMA network. You can't talk on the phone and surf at the same time, a feature that I find tremendously useful when I'm talking and giving information from a website.

Verizon decided to ditch their older 3G infrastructure, and bet the farm on 4G LTE. Conversely, AT&T decided to enhance their 3G service, so you have a better high speed data connection when you go off the LTE footprint. However, due to the size of the Verizon 4G LTE footprint, this shouldn't be a serious issue for their customers.

When AT&T is not someone's #1 pick, I'm very comfortable recommending using Verizon because they provide good customer service, and great coverage.

#3 - US Cellular

This is a close call. I could easily place US Cellular in the #2 position, but the only reason that I don't is because they are a smaller company that does not have nationwide coverage. But that doesn't take away from their excellent customer service, and their top notch connectivity.

US Cellular does have 4G LTE service in the middle of the state, and I haven't heard many comlaints about dead spots. If you prefer a smaller company that is more "local", this is a great choice for you. You won't be disappointed with their customer service and their competitive rates.

US Cellular has a different game plan, because they aren't in the business of conquering the nation with coverage. Conversely, they develop certain market areas, and at times will sell certain regions to one of the big three service providers.

#4 - Sprint

I was a long-time Sprint customer before AT&T, using their service for about ten years. Since my switch to AT&T, the company has taken a downhill slide because of their plan to try to compete with the now obsolete 4G WiMax network. Sprint is in the process of converting to 4G LTE, buying network infrastructure in areas, and renting from Verizon in others.

I'm not as comfortable with the future of the Sprint network in our area, and Sprint has several dead spots in Central Missouri where they don't have wireless towers to serve their customerrs. This can be frustrating. But there are a few advantages to Sprint.

First, they provide the cheapest wireless service that includes unlimited data, voice, and texting. Second, they do have fairly decent customer service. I have had mixed reports on their customer service, however, as some people have had frustrations in dealing with them when problems arise.

Even though the unlimited data is a nice thing to have, it doesn't do you much good when you don't have a 4G (or even 3G) connection. Surfing on the Edge Network (extremely slow 2nd generation technology) is at least 100 times slower than surfing on enhanced 3G HSPA+ or 4G LTE, so the unlimited data doesn't do a bit of good when you're crawling at a snail pace.

Sprint's future as a whole is not solid. They are still supposedly working on the merger with the Japanese-based company Softbank, and that might save the company. It looks like the merger will happen, but I'd rather stick with a known, solid company than wait on Sprint to play "catch up" with Verizon and AT&T.

I can't recommend Sprint in good conscious to anyone here, unless price is the determining factor. If you're not worried about connecting at high speeds in Central Missouri, then you may not be frustrated by the lack of good coverage and high speed access.

#5 - T-Mobile

I had a contract with T-Mobile about 5 years ago for my wife's smartphone. It was the biggest cellular service mistake I've ever made. At the time, they were boasting about having the fastest 4G (HSPA+) network available. But they sort of didn't bother telling us that they didn't even have 3G coverage in Jefferson City.

We had major problems even getting phone service for calling while in our house. They tried to remedy this by adding a WiFi call routing app, where the phone calls would work through your in-home wireless router. But it failed miserably.

I had the worst of luck getting T-Mobile to admit that they didn't have coverage in our area. When I pressed them about this issue, they couldn't even tell me when they would have 3G service in the forseeable future. I was forced to cancel the contract and add a new line from AT&T and ditch my wife's smartphone.

T-Mobile does have excellent service coverage in the big city market areas of St. Louis and Kansas City. Right now, I believe they are still only serving HSPA+ 4G in these areas, but they are actively trying to build a 4G LTE network. There's no telling when this will come to Central Missouri. Therefore, I cannot recommend T-Mobile for our area to anyone.

Conclusion

If you are looking to get your first smartphone, or switching service providers, my strongest recommendation is to check out AT&T. Verizon and US Cellular definitely get a nod if AT&T just isn't your cup of tea, or if you get a better package deal for your particular needs.

But under no circumstances can I give a nod to Sprint or T-Mobile at this time. I don't see them gaining any ground in Central Missouri and competing with AT&T, Verizon, and US Cellular any time in the near future.

What are your thoughts on the rankings here in middle country? What service provider would you recommend, and why? Also, have you had any luck with T-Mobile or Sprint? I'd love to hear about it! Sound off and be heard. Comment below in the Disqus comment section!

Carlton Flowers
Smartphone Geek

 

HCG Diet Drops - Is This A Legitimate Weight Loss Solution?

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT HCG DIET DROPS & RAPID WEIGHT LOSS

The HCG Diet has generated a significant amount of buzz in the news over the past few years. It is touted to be an agressive way help individuals who are overweight to lose body fat in a safe way. Several questions arise in the minds of people seeking to lose significant weight with the help of HCG, or Human Chorionic Gonadatropin.

Does it really work? Is it safe? If it does, can you maintain your new weight after completing the diet along with the HCG supplement?

I'll be the frst to tell you that I was highly skeptical of this product when I first caught wind of it on several talk shows. But after seeing several friends and colleagues who reported losing upwards of 50 pounds or more, I decided to investigate HCG a bit further.

There's one fact I could not deny, the use of HCG for significant weight loss is controversial, and there are several strong opinions on both sides of the fence. Some strongly believe that all of its claims are false, but several others, even some healthcare professionals, tout its ability to work effectively.

I've spoken to people who have had the HCG therapy via injection, and also those who have taken it as a liquid via a dropper sublingually (under the tongue). Both groups of HCG consumers have had the same level of success with the product.

I've also spoken to people who have tried HCG therapy who did not have much luck losing weight. Digging a little further, the most common reasons would be failure to curtail social eating, eating out of plain boredom when not hungry, and failing to make an effort at changing the diet and eating right.

All of this motivated me to become my own "human guinea pig", and try the product myself. Even though I had already lost the bulk of my weight (about 55 pounds), I was still 15 pounds over my ideal weight so I had something to work with.

Another motivation that I had was the constant barrage of people asking me what I recommend for losing significant weight, since I had somehow "figured out" the connundrum of getting rid of fat. Being that I am a cardio workout trainer, people often look to me for answers.

I searched near and far for the right product to buy. I almost bought a cheap version of HCG drops from a couple of widely known discount retail superstores. But that idea quickly faded when two colleagues that successfully lost over 50 pounds using HCG told me to be wary of cheap versions, because you "get what you pay for".

I hit the internet and started a deep search. I narrowed down the search to three seemingly reputable sources, and I chose the one that was backed up by a team of homeopathic and naturalpathic doctors. I spoke to them live, asked tons of questions, and made my choice after discovering how extensive their manufacturing facility was.

I tried the homeopathic version of HCG and lost 9 pounds in 10 days. I had been stuck at 181 pounds for over a year, and that was with intense daily physical exercise. I was overjoyed with the success I had using the HCG drops.

The most notable thing about using the HCG drops was the fact that my appetite took a nose dive. This left me with the ability to choose wisely what I would eat each day. I didn't do the silly 500 calorie-per-day diet, but chose to eat around 1500 per day instead... and it worked for me.

This answered my question of whether or not the weightloss was just due to a lower calorie diet, or if it was really the HCG tearing into my fat supply. I could see a visible difference in my body fat, and everyone I know noticed immediately. I did lose fat, but did not lose any muscle mass.

My success with the Homeopathic HCG led me to not only recommend it to friends and family, but to start a business distributing the product for the supplier I had chosen. I got my state business license, applied for a dealer license with the company, and have embarked upon a new business venture.

My advice to people trying to lose weight with HCG drops is a little different. I believe in a daily regimen of at least moderate exercise, plus a sensible diet of 1000 calories or more. For those that cannot exercise at all, my recommendation is to lower daily caloric intake before starting on the product.

Because of strict FDA rules and regulations, I can't make any definitive statements on whether or not Homeopathic HCG diet drops will work for you. But if you are at your wits' end, and are seriously seeking a change in your life, it is something you have to decide to try.

Ask around, do some research, and make your own opinion. Then come back to speak to me about the best homeopathic HCG solution on the market... and I'll back up that statement, leaving you with no doubts.

Stay heathy, and plan for success!

Carlton Flowers
Fitness Trainer, homeopathic health nut

Visit my Homeopathic HCG Diet Drops page for more info!

Blackberry Q10 Review - Buttons Are Back!

BLACKBERRY Q10 AT&T SMARTPHONE HITS THE STREETS

Attention Crackberry fans! I have in my hot hands a Blackberry Q10 smartphone complete with old school buttons right on the face, serving up data on the AT&T mobile network. Is this the comeback device for Blackberry?

I'm sure the execs at RIM (Research In Motion) hope that the Q10 pans out to be a contributor in their company's rebound. If the current loyal Blackberry user base gives it a chance, i believe this could be the device to save the ship.

Instead of pull-out or slide-out keyboards, Blackberry has taken this phone back to basics with the trusted traditional click-style keys that so many people came to love. I still know of Blackberry fans who refuse to switch to a touch keyboard smartphone.

But the Q10 has a surprise. Not only do you get the traditional physical keyboard on the face of the smartphone, you also get a complete touch screen with this device. That's delivering the best of both worlds. But will this bring back all of the former fans who grew to love their Blackberries?

I think it can. My first impression of this smartphone right out of the box was very positive. Once you figure out the gestures to manuver around the operating system, this phone is a whip. And there's no frustrating fumbling to deal with like you get with all-touch soft keyboards on current smartphones.

They have preserved the unique operating system environment of the older Blackberry devices, and it's simplicity is something to be appreciated. When my wife (a former Crackberry addict) saw this device, she considered dropping her Samsng Skyrocket to go back to her first love, a physical keyboard.

Hopefully I'll keep this phone out of her sight, so I can avoid switching her out in the middle of her contract period. Believe me, I don't want to pony up the cash to make that happen.

I used to be an avid Palm Treo user, owning a Treo 300, 600, and 650. I was about to buy a 750, but rumors started to swirl about the company's demise. But when the Palm Pre was released, I knew it was time to get off of the dying Palm bandwagon.

The jury is still out on whether or not RIM will make a full recovery. We don't really know the reason why investors dumped massive amounts of shares in the company during the latter part of June, 2013. But I hope the company makes a connection with their once loyal customer base with this new device.

Up until now, I've been avidly texting and writing emails with this device. This is a strongpoint with Blackberry's brand, and always has been. I'll be digging deeper into the operating system this week, and I'll have a full report for you soon.

Stay tuned, Blackberry fans!

Carlton Flowers
Keyboard Krusher

 

Why Samsung Laid An Egg With Galaxy S4 Stock Android Browser

LEAVING OUT THE OBVIOUS - NO TEXT REFLOW ON STOCK GS4 BROWSER

They went for broke on the Galaxy S4 with every useless "feature" you could imagine, but Samsung dropped a big fat egg when they left out the most usable feature that should have been included in the stock Android browser - Text Reflow.

You can wave your hands to scroll, wave side-to-side to page through windows, and even tilt the phone to scroll up and down pages. It makes the browser very convenient, and I love having the ability to use the gesture-based constrols. The engineers at Samsung must have stayed up extra late with a big pot of coffee to make all of this happen.

But what makes me want to grind the teeth out of my head is the fact that the stock Android browser does not come with text reflow. I can download a 3rd-party browser like Opera, or Maxthon, or even Chrome, all of which have text reflow. But when you are using a 3rd party browser, none of the advanced gestures work. They only work on the stock browser.

My question is this... how could Samsung spend so much time coming up with such great browser add ons, but leave out something as simple and functional as text reflow? Why would they ignore this, while HTC has it built in with the stock browser on their flagship product, the HTC One?

I don't have a clue. Doesn't make sense.

This brings my frustration back to the forefront in the same way that it did back in my Apple days. I had an iPhone 3GS and was very jealous of the Android devices on the market that had dynamic text reflow. I had high hopes that Apple would bring text reflow to the iPhone 4, and I was sorely disappointed when they passed up on the opportunity and chose to remain with their heads up their rear ends on the issue.

Samsung has surpassed the stupidity of Apple on snubbing text reflow by releasing the most advanced mobile browser on the market that has everything thrown in it but the kitchen sink... and text reflow. They have officially laid an ostrich egg on this. I hate to say that I am disappointed, but I am.

I love my Samsung Galaxy S4 smartphone, and I would not think of trading it for anything. There is a zero percent chance of me going back to iOS, and I'm not really that excited about HTC products. So there's not chance that this issue is a deal breaker for me.

But I sure would appreciate it if Samsung developers took a short coffee break from creating all these useless magical features just long enough to add one simple feature that could make all the difference in the world for people who use their smartphones for heavy reading.

Rant over.

Carlton Flowers
Text Reflow Posterboy

Windows 8.1 Overhaul Coming Soon - "Start" Return?

MICROSOFT LISTENS - THE START BUTTON IS DUE TO RETURN, & MORE WITH 8.1

The masses spoke out, and Microsoft listened! The new version of Windows 8.1 coming this year will give back what everyone misses the most, the Start button. Not only that, we'll be getting even more significant updates.

Right when everyone thought that that Windows 8 would spell the demise of the legendary dominant operating system, the proposed changes may put them back solidly in control. Microsoft’s Jensen Harris and Antoine Leblond presented an update in San Francisco on May 29th that has everyone excited at the BUILD developer’s conference.

We'll have to wait until the end of the year for this monumental rollout, but it will be worth the wait. I've held off on updating my desktop and laptop, but I'll be ready to get on board once Windows 8.1 is officially released.

So to all my fellow geek friends who have told me how much they despise Windows 8 for being such a tremendous left turn off the beaten path of their familiar operating system, there's hope! Let's take a brief look at some of the changes that are significant.

PROPOSED CHANGES AND ADDITIONS COMING WITH WINDOWS 8.1

  • The "Start" button will return, allowing Windows to come back to its most familiar basic functionality.
  • The customizable lock screen will have a single full-screen image,  becoming what they call “the world’s best cloud-powered photo frame.”
  • The start screen will have 2 new sizes allowed, bringing the total to 4 sizes.
  • The Start layout will allow installed apps to roam between Windows 8 devices connected to the same Microsoft account (very nice).
  • The Metro-style PC Settings section will be expanded to include all the Windows settings that were formerly part of the desktop Control Panel.
  • You will get a completely new "Windows Store" design.
  • You won't get the huge list of search scopes when you click the Search charm which will rid you of the need to go through all of them one at a time. It will have one search box and a unified results list that has all of your apps, files, settings, and content from the web and Wikipedia apps.
  • You'll get a new touch keyboard with improved autosuggest, new gestures, and much easier functionality for putting in your own numbers & symbols without changing the keyboard layout.
  • The touch keyboard has an improved autosuggest capability and supports new gestures, making it easier to insert numbers and symbols without having to change the keyboard layout.
  • There will be no more manual updating for Windows Store apps. It will be done in the background as normal maintenance.
  • Updates for Windows Store apps will be applied automatically as part of Windows 8.1’s background maintenance process. That’s a significant shift from Windows 8, which requires manual updates to the new apps.
  • You get new snap "behaviors" for Metro-style apps. You can arrange up to 4 Windows 8 apps side by side, with variable widths. No more being stuck with 320-pixel snap widths. This will be a big help for the new Win8 tablets coming out this summer.
  • There will be a pile of new apps coming, and the existing ones will get updated. The XBOX Music app that everyone hates will get an overhaul, and more tools for the Photo app.
  • Synchronization between Skydrive and Windows 8.1 is coming, so you'll be able to sync between all of your cloud aps and folders.
  • You'll be able to bypass the start screen and go straight to your good ole desktop. Plus, you'll be able to sync the backgrounds between the Start screen and desktop so they look the same.
  • File Explorer will get a significant overhaul.

So there you have it! I think this should have happened from the jump, but it's better late than never. In the meantime, I'm sticking with Windows 7 and putting off turning my life upside down. In the words of Sweet Brown, "ain't nobody got time foh dat!"

Hats off to you, Microsoft. You're using your heads now. Change is good, and it's inevitable. But we're gonna need you to just slow it down a bit and work with us change-resistant people. Mkay??? Greeeaaat.

Carlton Flowers
Worry-Free Windows Watchman

 

 

Samsung Galalxy S4 Review - The First Day

24 HOURS WITH THE SAMSUNG GALAXY S4 OUT OF THE BOX

Okay folks, it hasn't really even been 24 hours yet, but this is my day-1 report of the Samsung Galalxy S IV smartphone from AT&T Wireless. This is not a test. I repeat... this is not a test!

Actually, this is my personal permanent property that I'll persistently play with. My upgrade happened last week, and I put all the chips in on the Galaxy S4 by ordering it through Amazon Wireless online for $168. The phone showed up on my doorstep yesterday.

Unpacking the phone was a blast. The packaging was very stylish, to the level of something Apple would provide. I took the opportunity of video recording the ocasion for my enjoyment and your entertainment. Stay tuned, I'll have the video edited and uploaded to Youtube in a few days.

I had to make a quick run to the local AT&T store to get a new micro SIM card for the device, which was no problem because there was no charge. Apparently the phone was supposed to have a SIM card shipped with it, but it arrived without.

Signing in to my Google account, I was able to set up all of my favorite apps and connect my contacts that are backed up through Gmail. No pain at all, quite convenient and easy. I took out the SD memory card from my Galaxy S2 and replaced it into the S4 and I was off to the races.

One thing I can say after playing with the phone late into the night and during part of the day today is that there are so many features packed into this device there won't be any way I'll be able to discover all of the capabilities in a short period of time. All I can do is figure out how to handle some of the most puplar features.

The look and feel of the phone is what took me most by surprise. With all of the tech bloggers out there dogging this phone to no end saying that it is super lightweight, cheap, and "plasticy", I didn't expect what I actually got.

This phone is lightweight compared to an iPhone or an HTC device. But it does not feel like a flimsy peice of plastic. There is a metal band surrounding the phone now, and it adds a higher quality "build feel". It woudn't have made me a difference, but it was a nice surprise.

The other surprise was the size of the smartphone. The Galaxy S4 really isn't that much bigger than my old Galaxy S2. I thought it was going to be closer to the size of the Galaxy Note 2, but not at all. They've maximized the size of the screen by pushing it to the extreme limits of the bezel. I would not have thought a 5" display smartphone would fit as snugly in my hand as the S4.

Going back to my Galaxy S2, it now feels more like "toy" in my hand with its slightly smaller size, boxier shape, and lighter weight. They've definitely refined this device over two generations, and have come up with quite an elegant design with the S4.

I have a lot to report, so I'll cut this one short and just summarize it this way: I love this phone, and it had me at "hello"!

Carlton Flowers
The Quan of Smartphone Review

GET YOUR GALAXY S4 NOW AT AMAZON WIRELESS!

Grab your Samsung Galaxy S IV right now at Amazon Wireless for the best pricing possible on all major carriers when you sign a valid 2-year agreement! Click the link to jump to Amazon and join the Samsung revolution!

Best Apps - "Maxthon" Browser for Android

MAXTHON BROWSER FOR ANDROID DOES MUCH MORE THAN MOST

The app that gets the most use from my smartphone on a day-to-day basis would have to be the Maxthon "cloud browser" for Android. It's chock-full of surprises.

It's a tabbed browser that I found in my search for alternatives that would support text reflow, which is something I consider fundamental for mobile browsers. Maxthon has text reflow capability, which makes intensive reading on your smartphone a breeze.

But there are several other surprises that came with this browser that I didn't even know about until using it for several days. One of them is the ability to pull up a shortcut page of all your favorite apps and functions from your home Android screen. You can perform most of the regular tasks that you use right from the app.

Add to that some nice things like "Super Gesture" which allows gesture movements to close tabs, move from one to the other, and restore. You can even create your own custom gestures that will save to your device.

And check out some of these cloud services that they have listed on the Maxthon website:

  • Cloud Push: supports sending text, images, websites/links and tabs to Mac, Android and Windows operating systems.
  • Cloud Share: Supports sharing text, images, websites/links and files with friends.
  • Cloud Download: supports downloading files in various formats and uploading them to 'My Cloud' for backup on any device.
  • Cloud Tabs: Lets you pick up where you left off by automatically syncing your tabs to Windows, iOS, or Mac devices.
  • Sync Bookmarks/Favorites: Sync Favorites across Windows, Mac and iOS devices.

That's a lot for this awesome little browser! It gets a "two-thumbs-up" for being the best alternative browser I have downloaded to date. Get it in the Google Play store and run it on your mobile device or tablet. You won't be disappointed!

Carlton Flowers
App-tastic Gadgeteer

MORE MAXTHON SCREEN SHOTS

(Click the thumbnails to jump to the Google Play Store to download Maxthon Browswer!)

 

Best Apps - "Google Keep" Is King Of "To Do" Types

BEST APP SERIES - GOOGLE KEEP IS A HIDDEN GEM

Howdy folks! This is the first of my "Best Apps" series where I will showcase some of my favorite apps that help me stay productive, solve problems, or just plain have fun.

Today, we'll talk about something I just discovered a week ago called "Google Keep".

I'm always game for an app that serves as a To Do list type of organizing tool. But none of them can come close to Google Keep.

You can do so many things with this app, and I love the way the interface works. This happens to be my favorite of all organizer apps just because of the way it looks and works.

Instead of a plain to-do checkbox list, you can add elements to this app just like placing sticky notes on the fridge. The elements can be whatever you want: to-do lists, pictures, audio memos, quick notes, and more.

A bonus advantage to this app that I totally love is the ability to pull up your Google Keep account on any computer or device that has an internet connection when you use your Gmail account. That means you are never far away from your notes!

Check out Google Keep on Android and iOS, and the desktop version using any operating system and an internet connection. It rocks! For Android, click the pic to jump to Google Play Store and download the app.

Do you have a favorite app that you'd like me to check out? Tell me all about it in the Disqus comments section. If it is interesting enough, I might even try it out myself!

Stay tuned for more "Best Apps". I have a lot of good ones to share!

Carlton Flowers
App Extremist

 

 

HTC One vs HTC One X - The Surprising Winner IMO

ONE OR ONE X? MY PICK FOR HTC'S BEST WILL SURPRISE YOU!

It's about time that someone wrote about the glaring differences between the recently released flagship HTC One and the previously released HTC One X.

I don't quite understand why HTC would develop two devices so similar yet so different. One is CLEARLY the superior overall device, in my opinion.

One of these smartphones I fell in love with immediately. The other one rubbed me the wrong way the minute I took it out of the box.

So which of these two HTC juggernauts is the one that captured my heart? I don't think you would guess right if I didn't tell you...

It was the One X!

As far as technical specificcations, the phones are not very far apart. Of course the HTC One has a bit more under the hood than the One X, because it is the newer phone. But not by much. The only spec that the One soars over the One X with would be screen resolution. But everything else is a close match.

That said, the reason that I love the One X is the form factor. This is a smooth, sleek, thin phone that feels incredible in the palm of your hands. It was most wonderfully crafted, with no hard edges and a screen that flows into the rounded sides like a work of art. It is also fairly light in weight compared to older HTC smartphones.

But the HTC One is a monstrously heavy device with some rather annoying design elements. First of all, it has sharp edges that do not feel comfortable in the hand. Plus it has a rounded back. Try to touch type on this thing while it's sitting on a flat surface, and you will be playing a game of see-saw with the device. Very annoying.

The most frustrating thing about the HTC One for me was the way they designed the power button and the volume buttons to be flush with the edge of the device. You have to visually search for the buttons to activate them. There's no raised dot, or any portrusion that allowsyou to "feel" your way to properly depressing the buttons. Humongous annoyance.

I have no earthly idea what HTC was thinking when they finalized the form factor of the One. I also don't understand what it is with the people who are giving this device rave reviews for its design aesthetics. I guess it's all preference.

But one thing is solidly clear to me... the One X is a fantastic phone that I would gladly purchase with slightly lower specifications over the HTC One, all due to the form factor and design materials.

What is your opinion of these two devices? Do you agree with me on my opinion about the HTC One X? Or do you believe the HTC One is the clear winner with its new design? Sound off in the Disqus comments section!

Carlton Flowers
King of Gadget Demagoguery

GET YOUR HANDS ON THE HTC ONE & HTC ONE X AT THE LOWEST PRICES!

Check out the Amazon Wireless store where you can get the HTC One and HTC One X as low as $79.99 with a 2-year contract! Click the link or pictures below to jump to Amazon.com and get your hands on your favorite HTC smartphone today!

HTC One VX 4G Android smartphone AT&T from $0.01 with 2-year contract or $499.99 without contract!

 

 

 

HTC One Glacial Silver Android smartphone AT&T from $129.99 with 2-year contract or $649.99 without contract!

 

 

 

HTC One X White Android smartphone AT&T - click the image to check on current pricing from Amazon Wireless!

HTC One Gets One Thing Right... Native Text Reflow

STOCK ANDROID BROWSER WITH HTC ONE GREAT FOR AVID READERS

You read my bipolar initial review of the HTC One (AT&T) where I covered a variety of items. But today's continuing review will only focus on one thing: text reflow

The new flagship HTC device gives us something that I consider significant that you don't get on the iPhone 5 or the Samsung Galaxy S3, and that is the ability to reflow text when zooming in on articles.

The lack of text reflow on the iPhone 4 was the final straw that broke the camel's back, motivating me to make the switch to Android. But after buying my Samgung Galaxy S2, I discovered that not all Android devices come with text reflow in the stock browser.

Personally, I can't figure out why any smartphone manufacturer would not have this feature programmed into their phones. It makes for a maddening, frustrating experience when using your mobile device to read a lot of content on blogs and news sites (which I constantly do) but you have to pan sideways to read sentences that fly off the right side of the screen.

To my surprise, the HTC One does have text reflow built in to the native Android browser. This is a HUGE plus for geeky blog readers like myself who like to zoom in making the text bigger, but reflowing and cascading the text vertically downward thus allowing you to only scroll vertically to read an entire article.

If you are a big fan of HTC hardware AND you are an avid reader who prefers using a smartphone to consume content on the web, the HTC One will get the job done for you with its crisp, brilliant display and text reflow capability.

Special thanks to AT&T St. Louis for the test device!

Carlton Flowers
Text Reflow Revolutionary

GET THE HTC ONE RIGHT NOW AT AMAZON WIRELESS! AS LOW AS $129!

For the best prices on smartphones with contract agreements, head on over the Amazon Wireless and pick up an HTC One from your carrier of choice as low as $129 with a 2-year agreement and help to support the CarltonZone Blog!

 

HTC One - My Shocking "Right-Out-The-Box" Reaction

HTC ONE REVIEW - THE STRAIGHT STORY, MY IMMEDIATE REACTION

This will be a two-part review. It won't be like anything you've ever read before in a review. First off, I'm going to tell you exactly what my reaction was to opening and handling an HTC One (AT&T) Android smartphone right of the box. I won't hold back.

Next, I'll tell you what I expect others to think of the things I mentioned in my initial review, and who I believe would be best matched for this HTC flagship smartphone. So buckle your seatbelts, and get ready for my raw, unedited review and most honest straight-forward comments!

UNBOXING THE HTC ONE - FIRST THOUGHTS

The minute I pulled the HTC One out of the box, the first thought that popped into my mind was "this is heavy, thick, and bulky". I already knew it was going to take a lot of positives to get over the first bad impression.

The feeling of the device in my hands was not comfortable. I didn't like the sharp edges formed by the metal (or metal-like) back. It's definitely not the form factor of the One X that I thoroughly enjoyed. It almost reminded me of "retro electronics" devices. Just a bit too industrial for my taste.

After failing my initial hand grip test, I went to search for the power button. This was a solid "strike two". The button is flush with the top of the device, and not exactly easy to depress. I am so used to the portruding iPhone power button and the portruding side-mounted power button on my Samsung Galaxy S II that I wasn't really ready for this big of a switch.

The next awkward moment was figuring out how to unlock the screen. Again, after years of the "swipe to unlock" that is plain and simple enough for even someone with a lobotomy to understand, this was not easy. I don't quite like the unlock action on the Galaxy S2, but that has been improved with eh S3 and S4. But the HTC unlock, being a vertical pull, was odd.

Once in to the operating system, I was lost. Strike 3. Maybe this isn't the fault of HTC. It's probably due to my iPhone and Samsung experience. The HTC Sense operating system is different enough that I can't get manuevering around in it right off. It isn't intuitive. I had a hard enough time finding the "settings" pane. But I was totally confused with the HTC symbol sitting in the middle of the bottom of the screen where a home button should be. That's a total fail.

With only two navigational buttons, I still haven't found a way to get around with ease. I also haven't gotten used to the vertically-listed apps. I guess that's just something HTC does. And the five buttons in the home row is enough to give me a headache too. This again is due to my Apple and Samsung brainwashing.

I'm out of strikes, but strike 4 would definitely be the volume button. This is the most least desirable feature of the phone thus far. The volume rocker is flush with the side of the device. It's pretty, with its brushed metal look, but it doesn't work well. I found myself constantly smooshing the bottom edge of the case, and not hitting on the volume buttons. It is so smooth and flush with the case that you almost have to look at the phone to properly depress the up and down buttons. That's a solid fail.

The display on the HTC One is brilliant, crisp, and very high-def looking. But it doesn't go to the edges of the device like the Galaxy S4. Plus it's a couple tenths of an inch smaller. Maybe it's just in my head, but it is noticeable.

The one shining feature that I noticed within the first 10 minutes of using the device were the speakers that bear the "Beats by Dr. Dre" branding. They have incredible range, and carry such thick bass that I am in awe of how they physically made this possible.

But overall, my out-of-the-box thoughts after setting up the phone and giving it a whirl were really negative. This phone is definitely not for me. It's clunky, heavy, boxy, has hard edges, doesn't feel good in my hands, and is tough to navigate. I wouldn't even consider this smartphone versus the Galaxy S4. I'm a bit disappointed after enjoying the HTC One X as much as I did.

That said, let's move to part 2... the stuff that would make people want to purchase this phone above all the competitors!

HTC ONE - THE POSITIVES THAT VIRTUALLY GUARANTEE ITS SUCCESS

Here's another point of view that you won't believe could be coming from me, after reading the previous portion of this crazy review. But at the risk of sounding crazy, I'm gonna flip the record over and give you the "other side of the story".

The type of person who is going to totally appreciate this phone would be those who require a high build quality in their smartphones. The HTC One is the most solidly-built phone the company has broken out of the mold to date. I would say that it is on the level of an iPhone with a metal backplate.

Not only is the phone built like a solid jeweler's piece, it is just as beautiful. The combination of brushed metal, polished metal, shiny white polycarbonate, thick solid-feeling front glass, and crisp edges in its form factor make it a work of art. There's no doubts about quality when you first lay your eyes on the HTC One.

With the incorporation of Dr. Dre's "Beats Audio" in the front-facing speakers with this device, nothing will come close to the audio quality when playing music without the aid of headphones. They have worked a miracle in reporducing rich, robust sound for maximizing music enjoyment.

As for the form factor and the buttons, aesthetics were definitely kept as a high priority with the HTC One as nearly nothing portrudes from the edge lines of the device. If you run your hands around the edges of the phone, you hardly feel the volume buttons, power button, headphone jack, or micro USB jack. It is very elegantly laid out.

It goes without saying that the screen is aboslutely breathtaking with the vibrance and color reporduction that HTC has built in to their latest HD technology. There will be absolutely no complaints for this device's ability to show off multimedia content.

But the biggest advantage to the HTC One as it relates to the display is the soft keyboard. The only device that even comes close to what HTC has done when it comes to ease of typing is the Nokia Lumia 920. But HTC has perfected the ease and accuracy of the soft keyboard on its device.

And unlike any other manufacturer or device, the HTC One gives a "click" sound when your finger releases from the screen (after selecting something) that almost makes you feel as if there was a super thin button membrane popping back out. Totally amazing!

The spacing of the letters on the keyboard layout are just about perfect, and the haptics gives the most comfortable balanced feeling for feedback that isn't "too much" or "too little". It's hard to describe it, but the designers definitely kept the tradition of HTC's superior soft keyboard feel.

So... overall, for people who are current HTC fans, and for those that are iPhone users switching to Android, this will be a solidly satisfying device that should make record sales for HTC. If this device has caught your eye and has done well with a test drive in your hands, you really can't go wrong.

And that my friend is the long and short of it. If I have sparked your brain into the urge of sharing an opinion, please sound off in the Disqus comments section and let me know what YOU think of the HTC One! Or anything else you'd like to yap about!

Big thanks to AT&T (the only real carrier) St. Louis for the opportunity to test and review this great device! More details to come, and a full report at the end of my test period. Meanwhile, check out the Youtube video review below, and get more specifics on Amazon.com!

Carlton Flowers
Sublime Geek Tester

GET THE HTC ONE RIGHT NOW AT AMAZON WIRELESS! AS LOW AS $129!

For the best prices on smartphones with contract agreements, head on over the Amazon Wireless and pick up an HTC One from your carrier of choice as low as $129 with a 2-year agreement and help to support the CarltonZone Blog!

Samsung Galaxy S IV - Where I'm Buying, Plus Network Choice!

SAMSUNG GALAXY S IV - WHERE TO BUY, BEST NETWORK

I'm up for an upgrade! I couldn't be more excited to replace my current Samsung Gaalxy S II that just can't keep up with Android 4.0.4 and all of the pressure I put on it to multitask and make my life more simple. My choice for an upgrade? I'm sticking with the team and getting a Samsung Galaxy S IV.

There are several reasons why I have chosen the Galaxy S IV to serve as my secondary external brain and memory unit. I would assimilate if I could, but this is the next best thing. But the biggest reasons? Big brilliant display, touchless gesture control, removable battery, light weight, and durable construction.

Sure, the Galaxy S IV has a laundry list of other things that motivate me to get my hands on one, like the 1.9GHz quadcore processor, 2Gb of RAM, 13 Mp camera, super thin and lightweight form factor, and more.

I could bore you all with those details, but I won't. The main point is, it's the most technologically advanced smartphone on the market and comes from a trusted manufacturer that has experienced a ton of success.

Where will I pick up my Samsung Galaxy S IV, you ask? I'll be getting mine on Amazon.com for the lowest offering of any retailer. Right now, they are selling the AT&T version for only $168 with a 2-year contract for all eligible upgrades and new accounts. You can't beat that with a stick.

That actually leads me to my next revelation (that was already revealed), which is my carrier of choice: AT&T. We've got 4G LTE coverage in Central Missouri now, so I will have super fast download and upload speeds on a network that I have had no problems with whatsoever.

You can get your Samsung Galaxy S IV right here on Amazon.com and help to support the Carlton Zone blog site while at the same time, getting it for the best price available. Amazon is one of the most trusted suppliers in the nation, and they will ship the smartphone right to your doorstep. Nothing could be more simple than that!

Carlton Flowers
Galaxy Gadgetologist

GET IT NOW! GALAXY S IV ON AMAZON AT LOWEST PRICING

Grab your Samsung Galaxy S IV right now at Amazon Wireless for the best pricing possible on all major carriers when you sign a valid 2-year agreement! Click the link to jump to Amazon and join the Samsung revolution!

Shocking Trend For Texting While Driving - Were You Aware Of This?

WHY COMMUTING FEEDS THE SURGE IN TEXTING-WHILE-DRIVING

A recent survey from AT&T exposes a shocking new trend. Texting-while-driving among adult commuters has now surprassed the teenage class.

This is something I would never have predicted to happen, but it makes perfectly good sense when you think about the circumstances that motivate the behavior.

Before we talk about the reasons why I believe this trend exists in the first place, let's look at some of the facts that AT&T uncovered in their research:

  • Nearly half of commuters (49%) admitted to texting while driving, a higher rate than reported by teens (43%)
  • They are doing so more than they used to. Six in 10 commuters said they never texted while driving three years ago.
  • Texting while driving despite knowing the risks. 98% said sending a text or email while driving isn’t safe.
  • For many, it has become a habit. More than 40% of those who admitted to texting while driving called it a habit.

The reasoning smacks right in the face of logic. We as adults know better, but our actions are exactly opposite of our common sense. Is there a reason for this trend? Can we get to the root of the issue? And if so, what is the key to reversing this dangerous behavio?

First and foremost, we've all got to start with an admission of guilt. I for one am guilty of texting while driving, and I'm personally working on putting it to a stop altogether. I have backslidden several times, and have become frustrated and disappointed with myself after experiencing near-miss accidents here and therel.

I used to justify the action by thining it was okay for experienced drivers, because the law in Missouri says it is illegal for "novice drivers" (under the age fo 21) to text and drive. It's too bad the law doesn't cover the dense-headed adults like me, so my behavior continued and caused me to have a few potential mishaps.

After chastizing myself with a "what is wrong with you, stupid??? Why do you keep taking chances like this?", I would swear off texting and driving only to start up the behavior again, causing me instances of running over a rumble strip or brushing up against a curb.

The reason that I have not been able to make a once-and-for-all behavioral change is because I have not uncovered the root of the problem. Once I address the root of the problem, a permanent behavioral change can take place.

I firmly believe that I have identified root of the problem why so many commuters admit to texting-while-driving: we are far too busy, stressed out, behind on our schedules, and trying to do two things at once to catch up.

This is what motivates us to fill in the dead time while commuting by answering emails, sending text messages, and trying to "catch up" on these minor things before we arrive at our destination to deal with the stress of work.

The behavioral change that need to take place to prevent a possible fatal or injury accident from fooling with our smartphones is to look at the commuting time as a time to relax, decompress, and take relief from the stress of the day. Too many of us consider commuting as valuable captive time to "catch up" on things since we have no other distractions. But that can change.

Instead of looking at commuting time as "catch up" time for communicating, we need to implement new activities to pass the time while we are stuck in the car. It doesn't even matter how long or short of a commute you have. I only commute for 15 minutes one way each day, and I still use it as a "catch up" time to fool with my phone.

Here are a few ideas that you can use to change the bad habit of being on your smartphone while driving in the car, once and for all. Do this for two weeks straight, and a new habit will be formed. This will lesson the chance for backsliding. Fill that time with something definite, and it will stick. Here are the ideas for spending that "dead tim" in your car:

  • Use commuting time to decompress, de-stress, and relax by listening to soft music, meditiation tracks, a sermon, or self-help CD. View it as your daily scheduled therapeutic session.
  • Turn commuting time into your personal learning time. Get a book-on-CD series and learn about a topic that is important to you, or learn a new language. View your car time as your personal classroom time. Turn off your phone just as you would in a normal classroom.
  • Listen to National Public Radio each and every morning. Get caught up on events around the world, and enjoy all of the interesting cultural stories. Instead of turning on the news at home, save your commute for listening to the news.
  • Turn off EVERYTHING, radio included, and have a 15-minute "time of peace" each day so you can reflect on what you want to accomplish for the day. Use it as a time to clear your mind of clutter and worries, and just enjoy the peace and quiet. You will look forward to this time every day if you try it out.

The bottom line is, you have to create a new habit. Do something for two weeks straight, and you will have a much better chance of eliminating your need to text and drive. Instead of making a pledge to change your behavior every time you scare yourself into a bowel movement, try creating a new habit that has meaning.

Are you truly serious about making a new habit? Do you really want to avoid a potentially hazardous situation from happening when you backslide? Then put the icing on the cake by joining me in making one more change during your two-week habit forming time:

VOW TO PUT YOUR CELL PHONE IN THE TRUNK ON THE WAY TO WORK!

I am going to comit to doing this for a two week period. It's what I need to make sure that my change of habit is permanent. For all of you who know you need to make a change, I challenge you to join me in putting your smartphone junk in your trunk for two weeks in order to insure that your new habit is set in stone.

Place a comment in the Disqus comments section with your personal attestation that you will preserve and protect your two-week habit-forming initiation by putting your phone in the trunk during your commute. Let's see how many people will join.

Spread the word and save a life! Send this article to friends and family that you care about, and ask them to join in.

Big thanks to AT&T St. Louis Senior Public Relations Manager Katie Nagus for bringing this to my attention and encouraging me to spread the word!

Carlton Flowers
Technology-In-Trunk Advocate

For more information and to take the pledge for no texting-while-driving, head on over to the AT&T "It Can Wait" page by clicking the link or the picture below!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

"MOP" Up Your Work Life! My Favorite Free Online Productivity Sites

MAXIMUM ONLINE PRODUCTIVITY - MY MOST USED FREE ONLINE RESOURCES

Trying to clear up the clutter of your life and become more efficient in your daily tasks? You can "MOP" up your daily routine with some of these valuable resources... all online, all free!

Taken from my presentation to the Missouri State Capital chapter of the Society of Government Meeting Professionals, this is a collection of my most used online resources to make my work life run more efficiently. And hey, this might be a super silly/corny acronym, but I came up with this on the spur of the moment and it made me chuckle. So it stuck!

Download the PDF by clicking on the link below or the picture, or right click and "save as" to a location on your hard drive. Then get to mopping.

Do you have a favorite website that you use often? We would love to hear about it! Share it in the Disqus comments section below!

Carlton Flowers
Exhalted WebGeek Pontiff

"Maximum Online Productivity" PDF download

Samsung Galaxy S IV Vs HTC One - Close Call!

GALAXY S IV OR HTC ONE? MY RECOMMENDATION

Today we're going to take a look at the top two Android smartphones on the market. The Samsung Galaxy S IV and the HTC One. This is a close call, but I have a clear recommendation!

Many people have asked my opinion on which one of these smartphones to pick up in May of 2013. You can't go wrong with either one of these super handsets, but I'll point out a few differences and tell you why my choice edges out its chief competitor.

CPU

First, let's look at the processor. The Samsung takes a slight edge in this category with a faster core speed for the quad core processor. The average user won't notice much of a difference, so this isn't a deciding factor. If speed is critical, Samsung takes the checkered flag. For CPU speeds, they are as follows:

  • Galaxy S IV CPU - 1.9GHz quad core
  • HTC One - 1.7GHz  quad core

DISPLAY

Next, let's take a look at the displays. The Galaxy S IV has a slightly larger display than the HTC One, but they are both very vivid and boast brilliant color reproduction. As the current trend with Android smartphones, bigger is better, and both are excellent choices for watching multimedia content. Here are the specs on each display:

  • Galaxy S IV - 5" 1920 x 1080 HD display
  • HTC One - 4.7" 1920 x 1080 HD display

CAMERAS

The cameras on both of these units are outstanding. One has a much higher megapixel camera, but don't let that fool you. The HTC One may only have 1/4th of the megapixel rating as the Galaxy S IV, but it takes pictures that are just as vivid and brilliant. I have heard reports that the Galaxy S IV camera is incredibly fast, however. I'm not sure what the thinking behind such a small rear camera on the HTC One, but I don't think it will dissapoint. The only advantage here is that the Galaxy S IV can capture images with both cameras at the same time for an interesting effect. Both have great front-facing cameras. The specs are as follows:

  • Galaxy S IV - 13Mp rear camera, 2.0Mp front facing camera
  • HTC One - 4Mp rear camera, 2.1Mp front facing camera

FORM FACTOR

The Galaxy S IV is a smaller, thinner, lighter handset than the HTC One. But some people prefer the heavier, more solid build of the HTC One. Others prefer the lighter composite plastic build of the Galaxy S IV. For clumsy people like me, I would rather drop a Galaxy S IV. I don't think the HTC One will survive a similar drop to a hard surface, but it is still built in a way that it won't be nearly as fragile as an iPhone. Here are the specs on size & weight:

  • Galaxy S IV - 8mm thick, 130 grams
  • HTC One - 9mm thick, 143 grams

BATTERY

This is a category where the Galaxy S IV is the clear winner. This aspect alone gives me reason to pick the Samsung product. The batteries on both are very capable, but the Galaxy S IV packs a bit more juice. But the deal breaker for me is that the HTC One does not have a removable battery. I love the option of having the capability of popping in a spare battery with the Galaxy S IV. Here's the battery comparison:

  • Galaxy S IV - 2,600 mA·h, removable
  • HTC One - 2,300 mA·h, non-removable

OTHER SIMILAR FEATURES

Both of these incredible smartphones come with 32Gb of internal memory plus 2Gb of RAM. Both units are built to run on the 4G LTE networks of all major carriers that have coverage. Android Jellybean operating system is the standard for both, and each comes with its own version of a UI overlay. As of recent, HTC has added similar features that allow eye scrolling and smart pause for watchin videos. So there's no clear winner with any of these general categories.

One comment I have heard from Leo Laporte was that the HTC One has a slightly less durable front glass. He reported that he scratched the display while testing the HTC One, and really wasn't being haphazard with handling the unit. A screen protector could help to avoid this, but if you are one who doesn't like to mask your screen, this could be an issue.

What it boils down to is personal preference. If you are the type of person who conserves the juice in your phone, you'll do fine either way. For heavy users as myself, the lack of a removable battery will be a significant issue.

I prefer the lighter, thinner design of the Samsung Galaxy S IV because I am accident prone. Others might like the stronger, "heavier" build that gives the impression of better quality. But the heavier they come, the harder they fall. Add to that the issue with the battery removal, and I give the slight edge to the Samsung Galaxy S IV.

But again, you can't go wrong with either of these smartphones. The HTC One is still a beautiful, well-built phone with several superior capabilities than most other Android phones. So I give them both a green light. You'll just see me packing a Galaxy S IV with two spare batteries if you catch me out on the streets.

What is your opinion of these smartphones? If you are due for an upgrade, or if you've just bought one of the two of these smartphones, I'd love to hear why you chose one over the other. Share your thoughts in the Disqus comments section!

Carlton Flowers
Gadget Lover Supreme

GO SHOPPING NOW FOR THE BEST PRICING ON SMARTPHONES AT AMAZON!

Hit the link above to check out the Samsung Galaxy S IV and the HTC One on all major carriers in the Amazon Wireless Store! You'll get the best pricing on both of these units with a new 2-year contract with super fast shipping

 

 

Which Is Easier? Android Or iOS?

ANDROID VS APPLE - SIMILAR DIFFERENCES?

Okay folks, the topic of today's SoundCloud podcast is the following question: "Which is easier to use? Android or iOS?"

This question has come up from time to time, and the answer used to be a resounding iOS. But that's not necessarily true anymore.

"Tune in" to the podcast and hear my reasons why this discussion is a moot topic. You might be surprised to hear what I have to say about this.

I'm an Android fan who has 2 Apple iOS devices on the side. What do you carry in your pocket? Which operating system appeals to you, and why?

Sound off in the comments section and let the world know!

Carlton Flowers
Geek Podcaster Supreme