iPhone 4 Sound Issue - Ringtones Works, Text Tone Doesn't Work

RINGTONES WORK, TEXT TONES DON'T WORK ON IPHONE 4 - HERE'S WHY

You own an iPhone 4 or iPhone 4S and your ringtones function properly, but your text tones are silent. Plus you notice that your volume buttons don't work, and the sound icon that pops up does not show the volume level changing when depressing the buttons.

You might also notice that videos and music have no sound, along with the text tones. A hard reset does nothing, neither does a full reset. The only way you have sound, otherwise, is by using your headphones. It's a maddening experience.

I discovered this problem when refurbishing broken iPhone 4 devices, on both Verizon and AT&T models. I took to the forums, and found numerous posts about the problem, and solutions that don't work. But then I discovered the source of the problem.

The reason the iPhone 4 devices malfunction in this way is due to a dirty dock connector. Several users reported that if you carefully clean the dock connector with a needle and pick out all of the dirt and lint, you can renew the sound. Apparently some of the leads on the dock connector will prevent the sound from functioning properly when gummed up.

But this doesn't always work. Others reported that cleaning the dock connector with a flat sharp device and a cleaning cloth dampened with alcohol will yield better results. I tried this, and it worked... for ten minutes. I repeated this three times, and it only ended up functioning properly for minutes each time. The last time that I cleaned the leads on the connector, I wasn't able to get the sound working right again.

The only true solution to solving this problem is to replace the dock connector entirely. It is said that this is an "easy fix" that can be done in 15 minutes, but that is the farthest thing from the truth if you are not an experienced iPhone repair technician. I woulnd't recommend that anyone disassemble an iPhone unless they had prior experience.

What really caught my eye was how Apple handled this situation when it first started to pop up. As usual, it is met with denial, or trivialized by the company. But when pressed, Apple would end up completely replacing the devices rather than to acknowledge the fact that it is a common issue.

I've noticed that this is the normal way Apple handles common issues, which was the case with iPhone 4 power buttons sticking and failing to work. When a friend first brought an iPhone 4 to me with this issue, we were able to press Apple to replace the device even though it was out of warranty. I had this happen in 3 more instances.

If you have an iPhone 4 or iPhone 4S and you're experiencing this sound dropping issue, your first course of action should be to ask to have the device replaced if you purchased it within the last 2 years.I must add that I have read several instances of this issue occuring with the iPhone 5 also.

My advice to you: the only solution that will not leave you pulling your hair out or throwing your phone across the room is to have the dock connector replaced.

I hope this post aleviates the frustration to anyone that has come across this issue, and best of luck having your dock connector replaced.

Carlton Flowers
iPhone Whistle Blower

 

Business Owners - New Shocking Trends That Will Make Or Break You 2014

URGENT FACTS YOU CAN'T SLEEP ON IF YOU PLAN TO SURVIVE & THRIVE IN 2014

If you are a business owner or an organization that caters to commerce via the web, take note. These are the alarming trends that you must be aware of if you plan on staying competitive in the future. This information could change your marketing strategy for the new year.

Do you own an ugly website that is not optimized for use with mobile devices? Now is the time to start thinking about these trends which speak for themselves. If you fail to pay attention now, you will risk losing your position in the market. Use these facts wisely, and then act on it accordingly.

If you are a retail store owner, a proprietor of a service based company, or you are responsible for your company's marketing efforts, stop what you are doing and take the time to read each and every oneof these facts. This is critical information you must know in this day and age if you desire to stay competitive.

Now then... let's take a look at what's going on in the world of your consumers, the people that you serve each and every day that make your business profitable and sustainable. Here are the shocking facts!

56% of adults are using smartphones at the close of 2013. That's more than half of your customer base. If you're not serving up your company's presence in an easily viewable way on a smartphone or mobile device, they will bounce (leave) immediately after discovering your site.

75% of Americans take their smartpones with them to the bathroom. While sitting on the can, you can potentially have the undivided attention of your target market! But can your website hold their attention while they are held captive?

27% of companies worldwide planned on implementing location-based marketing in 2013. That means optimizing your website to gain placement in local searching. Is your site optimized for placement in your local market? This is a critical area you must master to remain competitive in your town's market area.

Retailer apps with "store mode" gather 5X more more engagement than regular sites. This means you need a mobile web app that is optimized for veiwing on a smartphone across all platforms. Is your boring traditional website going to cut the mustard when your competitors have mobile apps developed to display their wares to your customers? You must compete in this category.

Mobile devices out-populated the entire human population by the end of 2013. That means your customers own multiple smartphones and tablets that they use for browsing and shopping purposes. Have you tapped into this alarming trend?

46% of "showroom shoppers" still made their purchases in-store in 2013. What does that tell you about the remaining balance? I'm sure you canfigure that out.

Price comparisons weremade on a daily basis by your customers in 2013 by use of smartphones and tablets. Consumers don't need to pick up a newspaper or hit the stores by foot to find the deals they are looking for. You must know your competition, and be able to stand out on the web or you will lose out.

Consumers spent 6X more time browsing retailer web apps in 2013 than what they did in 2012. If you're not set up with a mobile-friendly site, you will have a high "bounce rate" (customers immediately leaving your site after arriving) for your online audience.

25% of marketing executives see mobile devices as the most disruptive force in their industry as of 2013. If the big shots are preparing for this trend, what should small businesses do? Take note immediately before ending up on the losin end of the marketing war.

65% of US shoppers do their research on a smartphone, tablet, or PC before they make a purchasing decision. So you've got a great website... you've won half the battle. But what about the mobile device market? Are you prepared?

54% of consumers would prefer using touchscreen devices right in your store to assist their shopping experience. Is your store equipped with tablet stations to assist them? The trend in small business is to equip retail areas with tablets that have custom catalogs via a proprietary web app, and more are popping up as we speak.

48% of consumers use (or would like to use) their smartphones while shopping in your store. Do you have a poster or sign displaying your webapp to greet customers when they arrive at your location? Those that do keep the attention of thier customers long after they have left the premises. This can prove to be quite profitable.

Nearly 50% of shoppers feel that they are more informed than your store sales associates. You can work with this trend by providing customers a way to allow them to continue learning about your products and services (i.e. a web app), or stay in the dark and let your sales staff argue with them to prove who knows the facts better.

80% of smartphone owners want more smartphone optimized product information while they are shopping in your store. In 2014, you had better serve them with most slick, user-friendly web app possible. This will alleviate the demand on your sales staff to assist your customers.

Within 5 years, half of all smartphone shoppers will be using mobile wallet apps to provide payment for your goods and services. Is this in your future business plan?

Time spent using mobile apps is now challenging television. Your customers are now spending 127 minutes per day on mobilel apps compared to 168 minutes watching television. Are you tapping into this trend by providing the best mobile experience for your business?

24% of consumers used a mobile device to browse Black Friday deals over Thanksgiving in 2012, up from 14.3% in 2011. The numbers are not in for 2013, but it will be highly likely that the percentage has taken another hike.

4 out of 5 consumers have used a smartphone to shop as of 2012. The number is on a steep incline, and this has become the norm. This year, you probably will struggle to find a person who has not used their smartphone to shop at least once.

57% of consumers surveyed said they would not recommend a business with a poorly designed website that is not optimized for mobile viewing and shopping to their friends.

53% of consumers say they have stopped an in-store purchase because they found a better deal online using their smarphone. The only way to combat this behavior is to provide the best mobile optimized website for your customers use.

44% of smartphone owners look for coupon opportunities on their mobile devices to take advantage of special deals and pricing in your store. 17% of consumers have already used mobile coupons at least once as of 2012.

These are enough facts to shock you into the reality of the 2014 consumer mindset, and should more than convince you of how imperative it is to make mobile marketing a focus of your advertising and sales efforts. If you remain unconvinced, which is nearly impossible if you are serious about serving the needs of your customers, stay tuned for part two. I'll have another slew of facts to open your eyes.

Considering all of this information, you might be overwhelmed. But you don't have to solve all of your high tech marketing marketing challenges all at once. Here are a few easy steps you can consider taking to get you on the road to conquering mobile marketing in 2014 and prosper your business.

1. Evaluate Your Website - Pick up your smartphone and pull up your company's website, and take a look at what your smartphone weilding customers are seeing. If the formatting is horrible and it doesn't present well, have an expert evaluate what can be done to have it optimized for mobile viewing. This is your lowest-cost action item on your high tech to-do list.

2. Identify Areas Of Improvement - Even if you have a mobile website, what easy improvements can be made for your customer's experience that won't break the bank?

3. Ask Your Customers What THEY Want - Find out what things your customers would like to have on your mobile website that would streamline their shopping and purchasing experience. Post a sign in your store, hand out a survey to buyers, or post a message on your website asking for ideas. Your customers might have ideas which could have a great impact in increasing your sales.

4. Get A Local Expert - find a local web developer that is experienced in creation of mobile web apps that can work with you in person and coach you to the next level. Beware of online services that claim to provide cheap instant solutions. You might waste your hard-earned money, because many online "consultants" are only out to get your money with no personal interaction or coaching.

Last but certainly not least, if you are located in the Central Missouri area, let me give a shameless plug for Web App Concepts, a locally-owned team of web app developers that can provide you with a complete web app solution for your business at a rate the heavy duty consultants cannot compete with... all while providing a superior prodcut to boot!

Get in touch with me via email at "carlton.flowers@gmail.com" for a free recommendation and evaluation of your current mobile marketing needs.

Carlton Flowers
Partner, Web App Concepts LLC

p.s. Ask about our high-profile web app recently developed for the Missouri Chamber of Commerce "GovWatch" program! See it here ---> http://www.mogovdirect.net/desktop/index.php

I Call Shennanigans On T-Mobile The "Uncarrier"

THE BIG ELEPHANT IN THE MIDDLE OF THE T-MOBILE "UNCARRIER" SHOWROOM

T-Mobile is on a rampage. They are fishing for converts from AT&T, Verizon, and Sprint by offering to pay all of your current contract cancellation fees to make the switch to the "uncarrier". But when you take away all the fluff, they're no different than any other carrier.

If you're not paying full price for a smartphone, or bringing your own phone, you're still required to sign a 2-year contract agreement with T-Mobile. I'm so surprised that nobody seems to realize this.

Smartphones are super expensive miniature computers. They can cost anywhere from $350 to $800. A lot of people don't realize that you're not getting a "free smartphone" or a brand new handset for $200 when you sign on for an agreement.

The cost of that amazing little device that you landed is built into the fees charged to your 2-year agreement. That's how it is paid for.

For example, if you want to upgrade before your 2-year commitment is up, you've still got to finish paying for the device that you have. That's why AT&T offers the "Next" program where you pay an extra $25 (roughly) per month, which covers the cost of paying for the device early.

No carrier currently offers smartphone deals with no contract. You'll pay for it one way or another. It will either be up-front in full, through your monthly fees, or through a special program that catches you up from switching to new devices early. T-Mobile is no different.

So why is T-Mobile promoting their company as the renegade "uncarrier"? I have no idea. I call 100% shennanigans on this practice. It's sneaky marketing, period. They are no more an "uncarrier" than the next company.

Just consider this...if you want the same great deal with AT&T, Verizon, or Sprint, you can do the same exact thing by paying for your smartphone from the get-go. When you do, you won't have to be bound to a 2-year agreement.

Thus far, their marketing scheme is working.  In the 4th quarter of 2013, T-Mobile acquired 866,000 new customers by supposedly undercutting the competition. But in the end, the only thing you'll undercut is yourself, if you switch to T-Mobile in one of their crappy coverage areaa (like Central Missouri).

Chew on that a while.

Carlton Flowers
Carrier Balonga Caller

 

Samsung Galaxy Text Reflow Fail - Will They Ever Get This Right?

TEXT REFLOW STILL A "NO-SHOW" ON GALAXY ANDROID DEVICES

If you found this page using a search engine, you share my frustration. It's about the lack of text reflow on Samsung's Galaxy smartphone devices running Anroid. I haven't ranted about this in a while, so it's high time I shoot the flame thrower at Samsung over this issue.

For those of you who have not been enlightened, "text reflow" is the ability for a mobile browser to reformat the text dynamically to fit the screen when you zoom in on an article of any type. The Galaxy series has never had this ability.

For people like me who consume tons of article content on their smartphone, this is both maddening and frustrating beyond imagination. I still cannot understand why such a useful function can't be incorporated into the best line of smartphones on the planet.

And before any Apple lovers sneer and gloat about an Android fan criticizing Samsung, your crappy devices don't do this either. This is something only HTC and a few other smartphone manufacturers have the common horse sense to value and include in their mobile browsers.

I have forty-something eyes that are plagued with horrible astigmatism and near-sightedness. Reading tiny text on a smartphone really sucks. It makes people like me feel as if companies like Samsung (and definitely Apple) just don't care to take the simple steps to encode this feature into browser codes.

Apparently, not enough people are complaining about this, because Samsung has no plans to incorporate this any time soon. I've waited for years to no avail. If I could take a big stick and whack some of the software development engineers upside the head at Samsung headquarters, I would do it if it meant they would address this and get it right.

HTC on the other hand apparently "gets it", and has included text reflow in all of their browser builds. There are some older devices made by other manufacturers who also had this feature, but it disappeared over time.

I first discovered text reflow when I owned an iPhone 4, and a friend of mine was showing off his flashy big screen Droid Razr Max device. He showed me an article on the BGR website, and while zooming in on the text, it cascaded automatically, increasing in font size, wrapping the sentences vertically so no side-to-side panning was necessary. I was instantly jealous.

Sure, some of the smarty pants geniuses out there claim that Samsung devices do have what they call 'text resizing", but it is hardly text reflow. You basically zoom in on tiny text, but then you have to double-tap the display to make the text fit the screen. But when you do this, it shrinks the font size down considerably, and limits you to a very small amount of resizing.

I want the font size to be as big as possible, and I want to scroll in one direction (vertically) to rapidly read articles. I can tear through text at around 800 to 1,000 words per minute with full comprehension using a device that properly reflows the text.

Another lame work-around that you can use on a Samsung smartphone is setting the text size in the settings window. You can make the text bigger, but you are still limited to the "double-tap-and-reshrink" action. Additionally, it screws up all the text on the screen, giving you major problems with overlapping text blocks. I call that 100% useless.

What people like me want is dynamic text reflow. That means watching the text reformat right in front of our eyeballs while zooming in, ending up with a super large font and sentences that don't fly off the right edge of the display.

The only half-@%$ option we now have is to use a third-party browser like Chrome, Opera, or Firefox. Chrome will not dynamically reflow the text, but it will allow you to increase the font size a lot more than the standard Android browser. Opera will reflow text, but it's not dynamic.

We hit another problem head-on when opting for the third-party browsers... none of the fancy gimmicks and functions that are built into the standard browser will work. I've grown to love the tilt-to-scroll, hands-free scrolling gestures, and other functions of the standard browser. But none of those work when using a third-party browser on a Samsung device.

While this isn't a deal breaker for me, it still makes me mad enough to grind my teeth when I see friends with an HTC One enjoying dynamic text reflow. If you haven't seen this, grab a friend that owns an HTC device and give it a try. You'll instantly see what I mean when you zoom in on text.

Samsung has done so many things right, and I absolutely love their devices. I'll probably stick with this brand for the forseeable future, because there are just so many great things I like about them that you just don't get with other brands.

But at the same time, I sure would be happy if Samsung would listen to customers and tell their developers to pull their heads out of their rear ends and get this encoded into the next software update. But I won't hold my breath.

If you share my frustration, post a comment in the Disqus comments section and tell me what you think!

Carlton Flowers
Arch Text Reflow Advocate Supreme

 

Samsung Galaxy S5 Rumor Watch Begins!

SAMSUNG SET TO RELEASE GALAXY S5 IN SPRING OF 2014

Well folks, it's time for me to start reporting on the rumors of "The Next Big Thing" by Samsung, the Galaxy S5 smartphone. It's gonna drop sometime in the spring of 2014, so let's get this rumor roundup started and see how accurate my guesswork pans out to be!

I'll run through all the worthwile details that the rumor mills are sharing, and give you my thoughts on whether or not I think they will have a chance of becomming reality on release day.

DISPLAY

It's gonna be bigger. That is a foregone conclusion. The tech blogs are saying it will sport a 5.2" diagonal, and that's pretty realistic. They might be able to get that slight increase just by reducing the bezel and stretching out to the limits of the case. 1080x1920 resolution with 423ppi is the call, and I think this is entirely reasonable aso. I don't think this will be the upcomming flexible OLED display, but it will be the best we've ever seen from Samsung. Count on that!

THE HOUSING

The Galaxy S5 will more than likely be made from the same lightweight plastic material that we've seen thus far. I don't believe Samsung is ready to dump what has worked for them thus far, just because there are heavier smartphones on the market that are made of glass, metal, or polycarbonate material. I hope this is the plan, because this makes the handset far more durable, and it will survive drops much better than its heavier competitors.

FINGERPRINT SCANNER

I'm calling this a foregone conclusion also. Why? Because it's already on the iPhone 5S. The market for fingerprint recognition is heating up, and "biometric security" is where everything is headed in tech. I think there will be a slight chance that Samsung will "one-up" Apple by burying their fingerprint detector under the screen, which would keep the surface perfectly flat.

PROCESSOR

Look for a Quad Core 32-bit Snapdragon 800 under the hood of the Galaxy S5, which will be supplied "in-house" from Samsung itself rather than outsourcing to other CPU suppliers. This is in line with the natural progression of smartphone processing power, and will bring it to the next level of multitasking capability and speed of operation. The processor will be supported by 3Gb of RAM, which again is what we would expect.

CAMERAS

The rumor mills mostly agree that we will see a 16MP rear camera and a 2MP front facing camera in the Galaxy S5. I would bet that the camera capability will be that of the current Galaxy Note III, but possibly with more advanced special effects and picture taking options. I'm hoping it will be a serious improvement over the camera in the Galaxy S4, though.

GIMMICKY STUFF

All of the crazy extra gimmicks and tricks that came with the Galaxy S4 will probably be carried over to the Galaxy S5, but rumor has it that they will be adding 3D gestures into the mix. I found most of the crazy extras that were packed into the TouchWiz 4.0 overlay to be quite useless, but a few were really useful. I'm hoping the new tricks will have real utility.

ADVANCED MODEL

Many blogs are reporting that Samsung will release a "standard" and an "advanced" model of the Galaxy S5. I'm not completely convinced of this yet. The reason being is that Samsung has stuck to the formula for providing a standard price mainline Galaxy smartphone while the Note series carries a higher price tag thanks to the extra digitizer layer for the S Pen. But anyhow, word has it that the standard model will only have 2Gb of RAM (I don't believe that) while the advanced model will get 3Gb plus a display with an even higher resolution and pixel density. I don't see the masses paying extra for that, but we'll see.

CONCLUSION

My prediction is that Samsung will keep the options tight. The only realistic scenario I see for a higher priced version would be for one that has more flash memory, similar to what we see with the iPhone line. The company has so many handsets out on the market, I just don't see why they would splinter their flagship smartphone into too many variations.

My biggest struggle will be staying content with my Galaxy S4 when this is released. My bonus prediction? I sell my S4 on eBay before the end of May and scrounge up the extra cash to buy a Galaxy S5 straight-out. Then I pout and whine when the Galaxy Note 4 is released shortly after I drop the load.

Stay tuned and we'll watch for more developments on what this thing will actually look like, along with a firm release date. What would YOU like to see in the Galaxy S5? Shout it out!

Carlton Flowers
Watchman of the Galaxy

 

Smartphone + Tablet = Asus Padfone X

AT&T TO ROLL OUT ASUS PADFONE X EXCLUSIVELY IN 2014

Forget the "phablet" craze! What do you get when you combine a smartphone and a tablet? Would this be a Tartphone? A Smablet? Perhaps a Smartablette? In due time, you'll be able to call it an Asus Padfone X.

Although there's no price or release date set as of yet, you'll definitely be seeing this new concept exclusively in the U.S. through AT&T sometime this year.

This takes the orgininal idea of the Motorola Atrix 4G and its expensive docking "laptop" a step further, only using the popular tablet form factor.

What you'll get is a 5" smartphone with a full HD 9" tablet when placed in the dock on its rear side.

Add in a light weight brushed metal frame, a soft touch back plate, Android 4.4 KitKat, and wondrous dual front facing stereo speakers, and you have one high quality gadget that will get some serious looks.

You'll even be able to dock the smartphone in real time and seamlessly transition to the larger display while running applications. And while docked, you'll be charging the smartphone from the humongously powerful battery within the tablet.

It goes without saying that you'll get blazing fast 4G LTE connectivity, and you'll also get full HD voice service that will be the wave of the future.

ASUS plans on rolling out all the gory details of this new device at the 2014 CES, and you can follow the announcements at http://press.asus.com/events.

Will this break new ground and bring the Tartphone/Smablette form factor into the forefront like the phablet craze that started with the original Dell Streak, that Samsung perfected with the Galaxy Note line? Only time will tell!

Keep your eyes peeled for details!

Carlton Flowers
Smablette Fronteersman

Curvy Concave LG G Flex Flexing On The AT&T Scene Soon

LG BRINGS INNOVATION WITH CURVED FLEXIBLE SMARTPHONE DISPLAY

My trusty AT&T informant has just told me that the LG G Flex will be coming to my favorite carrier network sometime in the first quarter of 2014.

LG has been on the rise for quite some time, tranforming from a brand maker of devices I wouldn't waste my money on to a top-level manufacturer of high quality cutting-edge technology (see my video post on the LG G2).

With the LG G Flex comes a lot of innovation, and it looks like this will be a strong newcomer on the smartphone scene as a result. The G Flex will have a curved form factor that we have not seen on the shelves as of yet. It looks like the G Flex will fit your face fabulously, without fail.

The big fat fantastic phablet front viewing face of the G Flex measures a whopping 6" diagonally, and is what LG calls a "true HD P-OLED Real RGB" display. The catch? It's supposed to reduce glare and provide more of an "immersive" experience.

Looking under the hood of this monster, it's power plant is packing a 2.26GHz quad core Snapdragon 800 processor, 2Gb RAM, 32Gb storage memory, a 13Mp camera, 2.1Mp front-facing cam, a 3,500mAh battery (wow) and Android Jelly Bean 4.2.2.

That's not bad at all, and pretty much keeps the LG G Flex right in the middle of cutting-edge smartphones currently being sold out on the market. We'll have to wait and see how the LG operating environment feels, but if it is anything like the LG G2, I'm sure it will be spectacular.

LG has come of age. I give them 100% respect as a quality hardware manufacturer, and hats-off to them for bringing the first true concave smartphone mainstream.

Carlton Flowers
Innovation Watchman 

Samsung Galaxy Note 3 Lite - Could This Be A Hit?

SAMSUNG TO OFFER LESS EXPENSIVE VERSION OF NOTE 3

If this report turns out to be true, I could be looking at my next smartphone purchase. The Samsung Galaxy Note 3 Lite could hit a sweet spot with what I want most in a smartphone.

I'm still thoroughly enjoying my Samsung Galaxy S4, don't get me wrong. And I've been eyeballing a Note 3 since its release. But I just can't justify spending the money on making that purchase outright.

But with the prospect of the Galaxy Note 3 Lite, I'm thinking seriously of taking that leap if the price is right. And I'm talking about buying off-contract.

The current Galaxy Note 3 can be found used on eBay for around $550 if you look hard. That's an excellent price, considering this phone is priced at $724.99 via AT&T brand new. But if the Galaxy Note 3 can be obtained brand new for what you would pay for a Note 3 that is used, this could be a winner.

As far as tech specs, the Galaxy Note 3 Lite is looking like it will fall right between the Galaxy Note 2 and the Note 3. Instead of a full HD display, we're talking 720p HD. And that's not bad. I'm sure they will pack at least as much RAM and memory storage as the Note 2, but it could be a bit higher.

I'm going to be watching closely for developments, and I'll report back as soon as I see something solid. This would be a great smartphone to run on the AT&T network, my carrier of choice!

Carlton Flowers
Gadget Watcher

The Facebook Poke - What Exactly Does It "Mean" To You?

DOES THE "POKE" MAKE SENSE TO YOU? AN IN-DEPTH LOOK!

Over the past year, I've noticed something very interesting surrounding the Facebook Poke - either people understand it fully, or it makes absolutely no sense and causes complete consfusion and is surrounded in mystery.

Last week, I made a post on my Facebook timeline. It said, "The are two types of people in this world: those that understand the concept of the Facebook Poke, and those that do not." This sparked quite an interesting discussion about the phenomenon known as "poking".

The discussion was so wild, it prompted me to write this post to try to give insight to the people that just don't get the whole "poking" thing. I live in a house divided. Of the Facebookers in my family, two completely "get it", and two can't make any sense out of it. So I will try to give some insight on what I believe poking is all about.

In my Facebook world, I have an inner circle of friends and family who are big believers of the Poke. It is very meaningful to us, and the use of poking is just simply understood automatically. While I've brought several people into my Secret Order of the Poke, there are several others who don't understand it at all.

Some of my new "Pokees", upon receiving their first poke on my behalf, have contacted me immeidately to ask, "why did you do that, and what exactly does that mean?" I get a good laugh out of that reaction.

I find great difficulty at times trying to explain to them why they've been poked, and some don't seem to be able to catch on and understand. But those that do become avid Pokers. But what exactly does it mean?

To members of my inner poke circle, a Poke is a means of staying in touch in a busy world without the need to write emails, instant messages, or making phone calls. Sure, we still keep in touch from time-to-time, but the Poke is a fabulous way to keep people close and let them know that you are alive and well.

To the avid pokers, a Poke is a simple way to say hi. It's an exciting thing to run through your poke list and dole out a fresh round of reaching out to touch your friends. For example, every few days I come to expect a poke from cousin Ritchie, daughter Erika, high school friend Dawn, college buddy Sean, church buddy David, coworker Tandi, and several others.

I even love to get a poke from my lovely wife Schasta, even though she protests all the while. When my daughter and I poke her, the response is usually "WHY DO YOU KEEP POKING ME! STOP!!!", to which my daughter hilariouisly replies, "then quit poking me back!". We just laugh and keep it up.

But my son Scott, like some others, refuses to poke back. His response is usually something along the lines of "that doesn't make any logical sense! I'm not poking anyone!"

Several others get really uneasy when they receive a poke, because it doesn't come with an explanation. Some even get freaked out by the action, and take it in a completely weird way.

The Facebook post brought up some interesting questions. Family friend Sister Kim asked if poking people of the same sex was an acceptable practice, because she had heard that a friend took offense to it. Others even wondered if there was some sort of sexual connotation to the poke.

While poking can be something as simple as a "hello", there's nothing to say that some users don't pop out a poke to express a romantic interest in the pokee. It can spark feelings of creepiness or unease.

In the past, I have had the experience of single guys poking some of my female friends who they are not connected with on Facebook. This is clearly a violatoin of Poke ethics. When this happens, I normally get a message from my female friend asking "who is this weirdo friend of yours poking me, and did you tell him to do that?"

I considered writing a post on my Facebook wall stating a rule that there will be no bird-dogging of my female friends by single men without my expressed written permission, or a $100 fine would be levied against any violators. But I chose to just let it go.

But with all of the good and the bad, the Poke can be a wonderful thing if used properly. In fact, I continue to grow my Inner Poke Circle as time marches on. It is something that my poke family has grown to love.

At the same time, I respect those that have no use for the Poke, don't get the Poke, or are simply befuzzled by what it means. I just stay in touch with those friends the old fashioned way.

What does the Facebook Poke mean to you? Are you an avid Poker, or is it something that you could care less for? Join the Poke discussion and tell me about your poke experience!

Carlton Flowers
Premier Poke Pontiff

 

Samsung To Bring Knockout-Punch Low-Cost Tablet In 2014

"GALAXY TAB 3 LITE" COMING IN JANUARY OF 2014?

Rumors are swirling about the release of a super low-cost tablet coming from Samsung that could possibly corner the market on base-level tablets. Insiders say that it will be called the Galaxy Tab 3 Lite.

At a price of $135 for the WiFi version, this could be the knockout punch that crowns Samsung the heavyweight champion in the tablet market.

Already known for making high quality products, this would make a purchasing decision fairly easy for someone who doesn't want to spend a pile on a tablet.

The form factor of this tablet will probably follow the 7" Galaxy Tab 3, but it will be a tad bit stripped down on features and/or processing power.

A 3G version will supposedly be rolled out 3 weeks after the Galaxy Tab 3 Lite WiFi model, along with an all-black version.

People are wondering what is up with the big dogs focusing on the low-end tablet market. Apparently, the low-end tablet niche is a growth market. There's not much further they can go with the expensive tablets, so this is apparently fertile ground.

I for one would be a prime target. I usually will focus on having whatever the top-flight smartphone is at the time, and I don't really need a super expensive tablet.

But if the price is right, I could see myself using a tablet for video content, reading, checking email, and running basic apps. I wouldn't need one for more than the most basic functions.

There are a lot of great deals coming our way in the tablet market. I have yet to spend my hard earned money on one of these devices. But which one will I finally bite on? Will it be the Galaxy Tab 3 Lite? Time will tell...

Carlton Flowers
Grand Gadget General Supreme

 

Black Friday Smartphone Report - Samsung Jackpot!

MY BLACK FRIDAY SMARTPHONE SNAGGING SUCCESS STORY

I spent Black Friday 2013 in Eastern Ohio, and was lucky enough to bag the Samsung smartphone special, getting two Galaxy S4 handsets for nothing down. The regular price is $199 with a 2-year contract agreement.

My college "kids" were both due for an upgrade, so this was perfect timing. We didn't hear about the deal until we arrived in Ohio the day before Thanksgiving. I had previously planned on plucking a couple of Galaxy S3 devices for their gadget pleasure, but that idea quickly got nixed when I heard about the deal.

We could have actually gotten the new Galaxy smartphones on Thursday, but we waited until Friday. We figured the masses would go after the first day, and the crowd would be much smaller on the second day. That wasn't the case...

We arrived at Best Buy at twelve o'clock. I made my way to the cell phone area, and there was quite a line. It wasn't like one of those obsene lines that go outside and around the building, but it was bad enough. Activating new smartphones takes some time, so even a short line can take an eternity.

The Best Buy rep told us that we were approximately 3 hours away from being served. We all looked at each other, wondering if this would be worth the trouble, but decided to go for it. My wife and daughter bailed to go shoe shopping while my son and I held our place in the line.

Some people were worried about the Galaxy S4's running out of stock by the time they arrived to the front. But we were told that 90% of the people in line were on Verizon, so we were safe with our need of AT&T handsets. That was a relief.

Originally, I had planned on upgrading my son, daughter, and wife's smartphones. The son and daughter had their Samsung Galaxy S2 handsets, and the wife had a Galaxy S2 Skyrocket with an LTE radio. Sadly, we were told while in line that there was a 2-phone limit per family on the zero-down upgrade deal. 

By the time we made it to the front of the line, we found out that my son and daughter's upgrade date was actually one day away. We were a day early! I didn't think once about checking my upgrade eligibility before getting in line. That wasn't very smart!

But thankfully, after speaking to the representatives over the phone at AT&T, we were relieved and truly thankful when they rolled back the upgrade date by one day. Our 3-hour wait was not made in vain.

It took an additional hour to get our phones activated, because I didn't have my bill current. After paying my monthly bill, we were able to move forward and set up the new phones. Since I had an existing plan that I wanted to keep, it took quite a bit of work for the Best Buy rep and the AT&T phone rep but they finally got everything switched over.

We were all exhausted after this long process, but in the end, I would do it all over again. The special is still on today, a day later, but there's no guarantee that it will go beyond today. 2 years ago, I was able to land the S2's and the Skyrocket on similar Black Friday deals. Both of those models returned to their full prices after Cyber Monday.

Last but not least, my wife's upgrade will be available in two days. I have a big decision to make. I'll either look for another Galaxy S4 deal, or pass down my own Galaxy S4 (after I fix it) and get a Galaxy Note 3 for myself. But we will save that for the next post!

Did you land a great deal on Black Friday that you would like to share? Post it in the Disqus comments section!

Carlton Flowers
Black Friday Gadget Sniper 

The Motorola Moto X Review Rises Like The Phoenix

IT'S BACK! CONTINUED REVIEW ON THE MOTOROLA MOTO X SMARTPHONE

Several weeks ago, I had a couple of initial reviews of the new Motorola Moto X (AT&T) smartphone, and I was really excited to get the ball rolling on a thorough test of this great little device. But I hit a snag...

I lost the smartphone!

To my horror, I couldn't find the phone because I let it sit for 2 days and the battery (which actually has great performance) was dead as a doornail. Calling the phone wouldn't help me one bit. I put the Moto X in such a great place, I couldn't find it after tearing my whole house apart and searching my "man bag" twice.

For the past month, I have been haunted by the feeling that it was somewhere close. I've never lost a smartphone (or anthing else of great value), and something just didn't "feel" right. I had a strange feeling that it was somewhere close to me.

A couple of days ago, I reached in my man bag to look for something, and would you guess what my hands accidentally felt in one of the inside compartments? It was the Moto X! You can only imagine how much of a lunk head I felt like, discovering that the smartphone was with me the entire time it was "lost"!

I immediately jumped back on this phone, quickly discovering why I love this device so much. It has such a clean appearance and feel, and is made like the rugged device that it was advertised to be. Having the power and volume buttons on one side is so refreshing. And operating the device is unlike any other I've tested.

The reason?

It's free of bloatware. Motorola has definitely snuffed out most of the competition on this fact alone. You don't have to wade through tons of extra add-on apps that you'll never use, the types that only advertise for extra services that you don't really need. That's quite refreshing.

And the operating system functions incredibly fast as a result. You're never running a pile of useless applications in the background, so the phone can load and run your apps much more efficiently.

The display on the Moto X is absolutely wonderful. The graphics are extremely sharp and brilliant, video content runs as smooth as butter, and the basic layout just looks wonderful.

The built-in notification sounds are not annoying like many other devices which can be downright intrusive. You don't have to fumble through the notification sounds to calm the phone down and force it not to drive you up the walls.

All of this adds up to a quality user experience. I've already made the recommendation that this would be a great first smartphone device for anyone, but also a good choice for someone who isn't focused on having a pile of quirky extras that muddle up your general usage.

I'm going to jump back in the saddle and finish my test of this device and give the final report very soon. Look for it in the coming week!

Carlton Flowers
Absent-Minded Tech Professor

 

 

Nexus 5 Review Hands-On Coming Soon!

LG NEXUS 5 COMES ON TO THE ANDROID SCENE

The delicious LG Nexus 5 with KitKat (Anroid 4.4) is coming to stores and mailboxes! I haven't given this new smartphone much attention, but it's been stirring up quite a bit of buzz. Tomorrow, I hope to video an unboxing of fellow gadget geek Travis Fitzwater's new Nexus 5.

You'll only be able to get the Nexus 5 from AT&T (my choice), Sprint, and T-Mobile. Sorry Big Red customers, you get no Nexus love. Yet.

This is looking like a very decent smartphone, tech-wise. It's packing enough power to have motivated my pal Travis into jumping ship (or at least temporarily) from the world of Apple. It packs a 2.3GHz quad core processor made by Snapdragon, and a healthy 2Gb of RAM (this seems to be the new standard).

The display is nothing short of glorious. It looks like LG has hit a homer with the 5" 1080p screen. This seems to be the trend in smartphone screen size these days. And this big puppy is powered by a 2300mAh battery that has wireless charging capability. Very impressive.

The new Nexus 5 has a Gorilla Glass front screen and a palstic casing. You all know how big of a fan of plastic form factors I am when it comes to smartphones. But for those who are critical, I've read that the pastic on the Nexus 5 has a very silky "quality-like" feel, for whatever that's worth.

The Nexus 5 looks to be super thin, and stretches the edges of the display to the limits. It's right up to the edges of the bezel. It's slightly rounded on the sides, so that should give it a comfortable feel in the hands.

Camera-wise, you have a 1.3Mp front facing cam and an 8Mp rear main camera. That sounds like a step back, but it is supposed to have optical image stabilization (OIS) for reducing blur. That's a big plus in my opinion. I'd rather have less megapixels and blur control, because 13Mp will do you no good when you need to use a tripod to get a good picture.

Price-wise, this looks like one heck of a bargain at $349 for the 16Gb version if you're buying the device straight out. It's probably going to be $150 on contract. Add fifty bucks for the 32Gb version and it's still a great deal.

That's about all I want to cover for now. I'll wait to give more useful details when we rip into the box of Travis's new Nexus 5, and I'll have a YouTube video to share the exicitement with you! Stay tuned!

Carlton Flowers
The Gadget Master

iPad Air Drops November 1st From AT&T

IPAD AIR - THINNER, LIGHTER, FASTER

I've had several people ask me about the new iPad Air coming out Friday, November 1st via AT&T. Let's take a look at some of the details on this slick new tablet hot off the Apple press!

As the name denotes, iPad air is going to be thinner and lighter, and of course the fastest processing power to date. It weighs in at a super light 1 pound. That's 20% lighter than its predecessor, the iPad 4th generation tablet.

Plus it is 28% thinner. How this thing could get any more slim is beyond me, but the Apple devs have apparently been hard at work using miniaturizing ray guns to thin this device out more than all of the previous models.

It has an even narrower bezel than iPad 4th generation, which basically means that the iPad Air stretches the viewable display farther to the edges of the device. It gives a more futuristic experience than ever.

Its packing a brilliantly sharp 9.7" Retina display, which means you'll get some seriously sharp text for ease of reading. This means you'll hardly notice the difference between reading on this display from reading in a print magazine.

Apps will run super fast with the improved A7 cpu chip which is a 64-bit processor. That's kind of like upgrading a 4-lane highway to 8 lanes, which means it can move more data to push your favorite apps even faster. That will seriously decrease load times and graphics processing.

Your wireless capability will be faster for both WiFi and 4G LTE operation. With more an more LTE coverage around the nation, the iPad Air with a data plan will be a blast and give you blazing speeds on the go. Couple that with all the new iOS7 features, and you're in for a great tablet experience.

AT&T will be offering a variety of data plans for the iPad Air, including device data sharing. If you already have a wireless account, you can start off with a $10 addition to power your wireless browsing.

You also have the new pay-per-use plans that start at 250mb for one day for five bucks, and you can take that all the way to a one-time 30 day deal for $50 that gives you 5Gb of data. You can get the skinny on all the available plans at www.att.com/ipad.

For those of you who like to stay on the cutting edge, I think you'd be happy to jump on one of these. I'm going to have to go check this out myself and get a quick test drive. Up until now, I haven't been a big fan of tablets because they are too heavy in my hands. But this one might hit the mark.

Stay with me and I'll be back with a video as soon as I catch one of these puppies out in the wild!

Carlton Flowers
Gadget Monster

 

 

 

Bitstrips - Fun Phenomenon, Or Most Annoying Social Media Creation In History?

MY THOUGHTS ON THE BITSRIPS INVASION

About a month ago, I was perusing the Facebook place, and I noticed something was seriously different. There were cartoon strips everywhere. I couldn't scroll for more than a page length without some cartoon strip showing up with different characters and scenes.

But something just didn't add up... the artwork was amazing, and the layout looked just like a professional had designed them all. Each cartoon strip was slightly similar but unique in nature.

However, there was one huge thing that each and every one of them had in common:

They weren't funny.

Not only were these cartoon strips lacking any trace of humor, they were just plain stupid. Almost every strip that I viewed didn't have a story line or punchline.

Instead, there were random references to things that I couldn't have had a clue about as to what was being referenced.

Then it dawned on me... these were being created by Facebook users. Apparently they had all found some way to create their own custom cartoon strips. That explained the this-is-entirely-not-funny aspect. But how were they making them?

I had to dig a while, but then I discovered the "Bitstrips" app on my Android device (you can get an iOS version too). The precipice is that you can create your own custom avatar, and even avatars for cartoon versions of your friends.

Next, you get to choose from a variety of pre-made cartoon scenes or progressions, and all you have to do is fill in the text bubbles. The end result? You get your very own high-quality cartoon feature! Unfortunately, they don't supply the humor.

The problem is, 99% of people are not very good at comedic writing. Instead of making a cartoon strip that would be understood by any reader, and written for humor value, we have "Bitstrippers" who create cartoon scenes involving their friends involving situations that only they would understand.

What is so annoyingly common is that the Bitstrippers create cartoon strips from inside jokes. But why does this rub people like me the wrong way?

It's due to the nature of a cartoon strip. When you are perusing Facebook or other social media site and you come across a cartoon, you get instantly excited because you anticipate something that will give you a good laugh. The Bitstrippers fool you into thinking you're about to experience a great funny, but you are completely let down when the cartoon makes absolutely no sense.

Right when I was able to write this off as a pure annoyance plaguing Facebook, someone tagged me in a Bitstrip cartoon with an inside joke that involved an experience between only myself and the Bitstripping creator. What happened next surprised me...

I laughed insanely.

So I decided to dig further into this Bitstrip mess, and I found that a great number of my friends had avatars set up when I perused my Bitstrip app account on my Samsung Galaxy 4 smartphone. Then came surprise number two...

I found a friend's avatar that made me break out into laughter because it looked just like him. Then I had a second surge of uncontrollable laughter when I instantly thought of an inside joke cartoon strip that I could create starring the two of us.

Could this be the start of my downfall? Will this lead into an addiction? Will I become an annoying Bitstripper that drives everyone insane with comedy-less inside jokes and situations that absolutely no other person will understand?

The jury is still out on that note. Time will only tell. In the meantime, I'm still of the opinion that Bitstrips need to disappear from the Facebook universe, never to be found again. I'm close to disabling it on my own Facebook account. And I don't want to be assimilated into the Bitstripper Borg population.

But will I miss out on some tremendous fun?

Who knows.

Carlton Flowers
Potential Bitstripper

 

 

Hands-On With The Motorola Moto X Smartphone

MOTOROLA MOTO X REVIEW - A DURABLE SMARTPHONE SOLUTION

I've spent several days with the Motorola Moto X smartphone from AT&T, and it's turning out to be a solid device that I would give a definite positive recommendation for those looking to buy a no-nonsense smartphone that will not only hold up to heavy use, but one that will get the job done.

You can check out the video below to get my initial reaction after my first day with this device. As promised, I'll give you a few more details about the specs and features of this phone that that I really like.

First off, I mistakenly mentioned in the video that the Moto X has 1Gb of RAM. It actually has 2Gb of RAM, which is great. This gives the device top-notch ability to crank through applications with speed, and puts it right in the middle of the best smartphones on the market today.

I call it a "no nonsense" smartphone because it's not loaded up with what they call "bloatware", or extra apps that you really don't need which push you to pay for services outside of the basic functions. It offers a much cleaner platform with much less clutter.

You can get this smartphone with 16Gb or 32Gb of internal storage memory, which is plenty enough to keep your pictures, videos, and your favorite applications. You don't have the ability to put in an extra SD card, but that's not a deal breaker.

The screen is absolutely brilliant. It's a 720 x 1280 pixel display with 16 million colors in a 4.7" diagonal size that fits great in your hands. You can operate the Moto X with one hand with no problem, and you can really enjoy rich video content. I didn't realize it even had a 4.7" size, because it fits as snugly in your hand as the former Samsung Galaxy S2 smartphone that has a 4.3" display.

Something else that I really like is the power cube. It has 2 USB 2.0 plugs, something I have never had with a smartphone power cord. That means you can power up another device while charging your phone, like a tablet or music device. That's very cool.

I love the fact that they put the power button and the volume buttons on the right side together. The buttons pertrude and are super easy to locate without looking at the device. I find it a lot easier to use the buttons on the same side rather than on the right and left, or power button on the top.

The USB power connector is also on the bottom of the device, which I love. There are a few smartphone devices on the market that have the power cord on the top, and on the side. I find that to be very annoying. I'd much rather power my smartphone from the bottom of the device.

Strangely, the Moto X reminds me of an HTC device. It is strikingly similar to HTC One with its shape, but slightly smaller even though the display is the exact same size. Plus you get a solid polycarbonate back that has a rubbery feel that is more grippable than the regular smooth shiny back plates. That's a big plus because I have a propensity to let smartphones slide out of my hand when using them.

You get Corning Gorilla Glass on the front, and Motorola claims it is "scratch proof". I'm not able to take a nail to this device to test that feature out, but I trust that they know what they're talking about. Add that to the solid body, and you get a super durable smartphone.

The Moto X packs a 4G LTE radio for all of its offerings, on AT&T, Verizon, and Sprint. That means you'll be able to surf the web at top speed while in LTE coverage areas.

The camera is very decent at 10Mp, and takes great pictures. There are several devices on the market with 13Mp cameras, but the Moto X takes great shots and you won't notice a real difference. It has an LED flash, face recognition, and can take panoramic pics. The front camera is 2Mp in size, and that also puts it right in the middle of the top devices for those that love taking good quality selfies, and for video chatting.

You get a Li-Ion 2200 mAh battery that performs well and lasts long with regular use. Plus it doesn't seem to generate as much heat as some of the competitor's devices.

You also have a Dual-core 1.7 GHz Krait CPU, which probably lends to its cooler operation. You've got a lot of devices with quad core processors, and they are definitely faster. But even with a middle-of-the-road CPU, most people aren't going to notice much of a difference. It's a good tradeoff.

The shape of the phone's backing is similar to an HTC One with its rounded design. It won't sit flat on the table for those that like texting with their smarpthone sitting down, but you can solve that with a case. It does feel great in your hands though, thanks to that design.

Overall, the Moto X is a go for those that want a smartphone that will get the simple tasks done without piles of extra gimmicky functions. I think this would be a great device for someone who has never owned a smartphone, and for those that want a device that will stand up to heavy use and a beating.

Check out the video, and I'll be writing more about this device at the end of my test period! Comments or questions? Hit me up and let's talk about it! Special thanks to AT&T St. Louis for the review device!

Carlton Flowers

Chief Geek Tester

The CZ Rundown Of The New Motorola "Moto X"

MOTOROLA MOTO X SMARTPHONE - THE QUICK REPORT!

The Motorola Moto X is on the shelves and available for you to nab. Up to this point, I had not read much on this device. But I love the commercials, and the features they stress. So I took the time to look into this handset and give you a quck rundown.

I have not had the chance to test this device hands-on, but that will hopefully happen soon. This one is on my hit list of smartphones that I would love to have a test drive of.

First off, Motorola brags about how the Moto X is "assembled in the US". That doesn't mean much, being that the components are still made in China and Korea, but I guess that's a positive thing that they at least employ some US citizens for putting these puppies together. So that's halfaway commendable.

It looks like a solid design, but I need to hold one in my hands to confirm that. I do like what they are saying about how it is surviving drop tests better than any other device, plus how they have made a seemingly scratch-proof screen. That's all good in my book.

The body is polycarbonate material, like the Nokia Lumia 1020. Some say it even feels ceramic. But that definitely adds strength and durability. The more durable, the better. I think smartphones are way too expensive as it is, so any efforts that the manufacturers make to get these things designed better for standing up to abuse is awesome.

Google has set up voice activation for everything on this phone. Any task you need to perform can be initiated with voice. That would put it a step ahead of Samsung's S Voice, and possibly Apple's Siri. Can't wait to test the functionality of that.

The display looks pretty optimal. It's a 4.7" AMOLED RGB with 720HD & 316 pixels per square inch. It's smaller in size than the Galaxy S4, and closer in size to the HTC One. It might fit in your hand better, but I'm thinking it will still be too big to do much texting with one hand. But this display is supposedly pretty decent to look at.

The camera looks good on the Moto X. It's not the top of the pile by any means, but it will get the job done. It shoots in 1080p HD for video, and the rear camera is 10Mp in size. Plus you get the standard front-facing camera. Not bad at all.

There are a couple of really cool things that are unique with this device. First is the bonus storage space you get from Google Drive. They will dole out an extra 50Gb of space to your free 15Gb account if you buy this phone. That gives you a whopping 65Gb of free cloud storage to jam all of your photos and videos into for safe keeping.

The other cool extra is the ability to buy the Motorola "Skip Clip" for an extra $19.99. You clip this on your belt or shirt, and when you go to your phone, you can unlock it with one touch. If the clip isn't within close proximity, it will abide by the regular unlock settings.

If you get the Skip Clip, you also get three "Skip Dots" for free. They are the sticker versions of the clip that you can stick to your desk (or wherever else you'd like).

The battery on this device packs in a whopping 2200mAh, and reports are that it has a long life in-between charging. That's a plus.

All-in-all, I think this smartphone will be a hit. While it's not on the bleeding edge of technology, is one version of Android under the most current version (4.2 rather than 4.3), and has no SD card capability, I'm still gonna give this device a thumbs-up before I even get one in my hands to test.

I'll post up an audio to discuss this more, and keep your eyes peeled in the near future for some video and a full demo!

Carlton Flowers
Smartphone Geek Supreme

 

Apple iPhone 5C Fruit Fest - Hot Or Not?

AUDIO POST - THOUGHTS ON FRUITY IPHONE 5C

Check it out folks, I'm still jabbering on about the iPhone 5C and all of its colorful greatness. There are a few more points that I cover in this short audio post that I threw together from my smartphone today, and some of the same points I made in yesterday's audio post.

Come join me as I continue on with my discussion about the iPhone 5C, and hear my thoughts on what I would pick as a second smartphone device! Click the image below to launch your device's audio player, and hit me up in the comments section!

Carlton Flowers
Audio Podcastasaurus

CLICK IT!

 

 

CZ Audio Podcast Is Back! Is iPhone 5C Influencing Samsung?

THE AUDIO PODCAST RETURNS! LATEST TALK ON IPHONE RELEASE & MORE

I have finally gotten around to getting back to my audio podcasting. I'd like to know from you, my great CZ Blog gang, whether or not you would like to see more audio podcasts like this posted to the site to fill up all the dead space between my fantastic blog posts.

I tend to write in streaks, and then disappear into the land of being "too busy". But as much of a talker that I am, it's very easy for me to post audio content to the site as opposed to writing the super fabulous techno nerd content that you've enjoyed for so long.

Post your thoughts in the comments section on what you think of more frequent audio podcasts. You can even suggest topics for discussion, ask questions, or even request a song selection for me to sing. I'll leave that up to you.

But in today's podcast, we'll talk about the release of the new iPhone 5S and 5C, and what surprising twist has popped up in terms of sales for Apple. Also, has the iPhone 5C influenced Samsung in some special way? Find out how in the podcast!

Looking forward to hearing back from you, and here's your audio podcast. Just click the podcast image or the link below and it will open up your mobile device media player:

 

Click Here To Listen Now!

Carlton Flowers
Techie Podcast Yapper 

 

Rant Alert! What Is With All The "Plastic" Samsung Yip Yap?

ARE SAMSUNG PRODUCTS CHEAP PLASTIC LOW QUALITY JUNK?

I must be on an island all by my lonesome... I'm the only blogger on the planet who doesn't constanty berate Samsung for making cheap, flimsy, plastic-like products.

Is it just me, or is it actually appear that every noteworthy blogger and tech junkie reviewer seems to slam and smear Samsung smartphones for having a cheap build? I see this happening almost daily when I search for Samsung stories.

I've noticed a repeating pattern. The prognosticators will predict that the next big Samsung smarphone will come in new bullet-proof heavy metal packaging, parting ways with their previous plastic design. Then the product is released, and said prognosticators pummel Samsung for failing to provide a new "higher quality" build.

But has the thought ever occured to these writers who constantly complain about the plastic casing that Samsung might have an actual reason for sticking with their basic design? Wouldn't it stand to reason that the #1 selling smartphone manufacturer would be doing this on purpose?

Somewhere back in history, someone equated bulk, breakability, and heaviness with "quality". And this opinion has somehow stuck in the minds of the tech world. If a smartphone doesn't pass the basic weight test, the product must be "cheap".

Writers continue to implore Samsung to produce a "higher quality" device, or suffer sagging sales if they continue to keep the same stance. But the sales success has not stopped.

I'm guessing that I am the sole tech blogger who believes lighter, thinner, less breakable smartphones are what people want. After breaking each and every iPhone I've owned, I'm left with no desire invest a dime in a heavy device that can't survive a drop.

All one needs to do in order to be swayed to my line of thinking is to watch videos of drop tests. Drop an iPhone, an HCT device, and a Samsung smartphone from 3' high to a nice unforgiving concrete surface. I don't need to tell you the results that you will plainly see.

So for all of the critics and complainers, you can keep cursing Samsung and pleading with them to ditch their plastic design concept on their next series of smartphones. I for one sincerely hope that Samsung turns a deaf ear to the anti-plastic yip yap, and continue manufacturing durable, less breakable devices.

As far as the up-and-coming Samsung Galaxy Note III is concerned, I say wrap it up in plastic. Stick to your guns, and I'll be the first in line to buy. If you break with tradition and create a heavy, bulky, breakable Galaxy line, I'll say you will have made the dumbest smartphone move possible.

Hopefully someone at Samsung headquarters will see my silly little rant. Maybe it will help them keep on keeping on, making smart smartphone design decisions as they should.

Until then, the critics can keep buying iPhones and the likes, along with their bulky $75 monstrous Otterbox cases... because they have to. Ha.

Carton Flowers
Plastics Proponent