Gadget Grave Sat, 23 Aug 2014 16:25:42 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Window XP end of an ERA Fri, 22 Aug 2014 14:00:39 +0000 Window XP end of an ERA and what effect it will have on end users.

  Microsoft Corp. Chief Executive Officer Steve Ballmer News Conference At New Store Opening

I have worked in the technology field for quite a few years I have seen Windows XP slowly get pushed to the back burner. Well the time has come that Microsoft has put the Old Horse to pasture. Since XP is no longer supported what does that mean for us and the corporate world? Well let me tell you it is not good and you will be forced to change. But change is good! So let’s go over what scenarios that will happen if you decide to stick to Windows XP and options that you can take if you have programs that use XP.


Here we go, support ended on April 8th, D-Day if you will, this will leave a big Window (no pun intended) open to viruses and Malware. The security patches that get released on patch Tuesdays will no longer roll out. What does that mean for you? Personal information can be mined. I don’t mean to get all scary but this is true. ANY security hole that is found after the 9th will be exploited. That hole will give hackers a one way ticket to any information they want. You might say I have antivirus software I am protected. Well yes you are for now. But the support will run out after time also. Why would anti-virus companies support an outdated OS that isn’t supported anymore, they won’t. I have tried to use Microsoft Security essentials which is a lightweight antivirus, I prompted me that it is no longer supported for this version of Windows. Yes there are others that will support it until you migrate to another windows but you will have to upgrade anyway.  Next are my recommendations that you should look over and consider.

windows1There are many flavors of Windows that currently available to upgrade to. Well Upgrade is said lightly here. You cannot upgrade per say. The next version of windows will have to be a custom full wipe install. I do not know why windows did that but it is what it is. There are instances where you can upgrade but few and far between. First there is Vista. The support for that will end also but try to stay away from it. I would recommend windows 7 or Windows 8. First Microsoft is making it harder to get ahold of windows Vista and Windows 7. Yes we can get these but 7 is way easier and the support will be around for some time. I have ran Vista and 7 on the same machine for testing purposes and found Windows 7 to actually perform way better than Vista. I guess it is the way Vista manages memory that actually slows it down. In my opinion there are some nice machines out there that are inexpensive with the newest windows. Consider this, it is time to get that old machine out of the house. At Gadget grave we have anything you want and at a low cost. We also offer 180 day warranty and our custom antivirus/Malware package to keep you safe.


]]> 0
Free Programs That Actually Speed Up Your Computer Tue, 19 Aug 2014 14:00:41 +0000 You’ve seen the commercial on TV announcing with great urgency that your computers speed issues are due to thousands of errors in your computers software that need fixing. Consequently enough the software advertised is capable of removing all these errors and speeding your computer up “like it was new again”. What was so good about our computer when it was new, why do they get slower over time, and is there anything I can do to stop it?


The (sort of) great thing about your computer when its new from the factory is that it seems quick, responsive and reliable. With internet access, this feeling of euphoria can fade quickly. Temp files stack up like invisible mountains slowly eroding your hard drive space and robbing precious system resources. Temp File Cleaner at is an excellent resource for clearing out your junk temp files. I do recommend using caution at BleepingComputer, this site does have some tools that if you don’t know what you’re doing can cause you to have a bad day.

The reason for the parenthetical “sort of” above, is that new computers generally come with a bunch of “crap” on them that can annoy you. Your computer will no doubt accumulate this “crap” when you use it on the internet, this is a fact of life. offers a solution to remove multiple programs at a time from your computer. If your having a hard time deciding whether or not to keep the program simply click the help link and you’ll receive global removal statistics for that program. This program will help keep your computer free of junkware and other annoyance-ware!


CCleaner is a great program that cleans quite a lot of junk that accumulates on your computer. The registry repair tool also removes annoying and potentially dangerous registry errors that pop up when you boot Windows. A clean registry, browser and even recycle bin amount to a clean computer. Just like performance robbing gunk builds up in your oil, junk files build up and gum up the works for many computers. Simply running this program can solve many issues you might have in browsers.  



ADWCleaner is possibly one of the most potent and more scary of any of these programs. From the first click you”ll experience a brilliantly designed systematic and highly targeted shutdown and scrub of your browsers. If your having issues with search engines yielding batty results or talking ads everywhere or just plain bad browsing experiences try this program out. The results are incredible and after a two click scan process the system restarts and your browsers are powerful once again.


Ultra Defrag is an excellent program that thoroughly scans your hard drive to ensure optimal performance. For those of us still using mechanical hard drives this is an excellent program to run every four months or so as well.

We use all of these programs on the daily and they are just a small part of our arsenal! Come see what real computer repair and optimization can be!

]]> 0
Old MacDonald Bought a Drone! Sat, 16 Aug 2014 14:00:14 +0000 Drone technology is certainly one of the more exciting tech frontiers that lies ahead of us in the immediate future. Excitement and terror are the two general emotions that a UAV or unmanned aerial vehicle incite. Soon our online orders may be delivered to our homes in a matter of hours, or even pizza delivered not by a human rushing through traffic, but by a small drone with GPS coordinates programmed. The scary stuff comes in the form of spying and other potentially unsavory activities that can be conducted such as stalking someone without the hope of them even acknowledging it. Nevertheless we will likely continue work with these devices and this new tool has farmers across the nation excited.


To get a flight over your land with professional imagery taken manually it would cost you on average about $1000 per hr. A farmer can now purchase a fully functional drone for $2000 and create detailed maps of his/her land allowing them to see things like irrigation problems to fungal growth that wouldn’t be visible from the ground. The drones can be used to dissect the crops growth pattern hour by hour and day after day to spot trouble spots earlier. UAVs are readily equipped with airborne cameras that record multispectral images which means infrared and what we can see, for a unique look at the health of each section of vegetation. This sort of thing just 5 years ago would have cost a farmer a fortune; now its a relatively cheap option that could help farmers get an edge up on the ever growing demand for food. 


While drones are under constant scrutiny in the public eye for privacy issues and dangerous crash possibilities, rural farms do not have these issues. The ability to survey the changing topography of cropland is a supreme advantage to have. Farmers are now able to take a small investment and yield huge results that save time and quite a lot of money as well. Even if farmers are reluctant to purchase their own equipment, hiring a drone firm will be a highly appealing and affordable option for many. The applications around the farm are limitless, check on your livestock or do a quick overview at night to check on the fields or watch for predators invading the chicken coup! In all seriousness, the development and use of this relatively new tool is going to be big for agriculture. Drones will have many business ventures when the legislation that allows it comes along, this is undeniably one of the most useful private ventures I have seen to date. 


Technology is progressing at an incredibly fast rate and while many ventures have been feared, I don’t know anyone who’s opposed to more efficient farming. The fear of technology may come from a deep seeded fear of things we don’t fully understand running our lives. Technology is simply the fruit of the pursuit of a better life. While the pictures you had to shake (well, thought you did) are a part of our nostalgia, we love our smartphones ability to nail that perfect shot after 13 tries in 13 seconds. Life should be enriched by the tech we use, not controlled by it. Come see how we can simplify your life and streamline your tech! Optimization packages for your computer start at $64.99.

]]> 0
Road Not Taken…Yet Wed, 13 Aug 2014 14:00:08 +0000

Every single day free energy comes streaming down to us; relatively unlimited, clean energy that until recent times was sort of a joke. Whatever you believe, you can appreciate words like “unlimited” and “clean”, right? The question is how do we justify putting more money in industries that previously have let us down. The simplicity of this solar collecting idea is what makes it a possible winner and a catalyst for solar power dominance. Quite possibly the solution to clean, renewable energy may be right under our feet. A winding network of previously misunderstood untapped usable space right under our noses. This may sound a little Back-to-the-Future, but keep an open mind, things have progressed quite a lot in only the past 10 years!

  Downtown Sandpoint 2 - small

Our parking lots, driveways, patios, backroads, highways and interstates are awaiting quite possibly the most radical facelift of our time! The majority of them may, over the next few decades, become solar collecting cells! This may sound absurd but you must watch the video and try to think about all the applications that this could be used for. Entire roadways could be programmed by highly secured (let’s hope so) city centralized hubs that would dictate emergency signals as well as navigate detours for drivers and warn of upcoming danger. The light show necessary to produce all of these seemingly magical smart roads is powered by LED arrays which amount to a miniscule drain on the collecting cell. Each tile weighs about 130 pounds and can be easily replaced, which is still not the coolest part of this new idea.


The antiquated roads and highways across the country are a money pit. We can raise taxes and improve these roads over and over and over again but for what? Why keep filling more holes and in many cases repaving hundreds of thousands of miles of road per year when we could be creating energy and smarter, safer roads for ourselves. If we replaced every major road in North America with these solar-roads we could produce three times the energy we actually need, with zero impact on the environment. It is a great idea and a great step forward in this day and age. The only problem of course as with any new green tech, its hard to make and

Coming in at a whopping $10,000 per 12”x12” tile in its initial release it is certainly a very expensive and region complicated solution. For some areas of the country that receive less sunlight it may not be a viable option, but the creators are adamant that it will work. While the green tech boom has boosted the job market, the cost of replacing every single major road would almost be triple the annual budget. The great thing about technology is that we get better at it and it becomes easier, making it cheaper making it more awesome. While this technology isn’t coming to a local neighborhood near you any time soon, you better believe it could be within your lifetime!


]]> 0
100GB of Safe Online Storage Free Sun, 03 Aug 2014 14:00:20 +0000 Online storage is the smart solution for backing up those precious files we all accumulate. The problem is, very few of us want to pay additional amounts of money every month to maintain online storage. There are ways to get around paying for online storage and thats what this blog is going to uncover! I have searched high and low to find you 100GB of the best online storage for free, zero dollars. Scattered below are brief descriptions of each online file storage solution along with their capacity and ease of use. With a little bit of elbow grease you can easily squeeze over 100GB of free online storage!

Google drive is by far the easiest and first on my list to sign up for. Do you have a Gmail account, if so then you already have access to the wonderful tool. Google drive offers you 15GB of online storage, free of charge. Thats an incredible chunk of storage for just signing up, and it comes with a state of the art document suite thats astonishingly easy to use! Your data is safe from the elements on your Google drive



15 of 100

Microsoft is next on the list offering 10GB free just for signing up and downloading the app on your mobile device or syncing with a mac or pc. You also get up to 5GB (½ GB per person) for referrals that you might bring to onedrive. This is a nifty place that also allows you to use a slimmed down version of office online similar to that of Google drive, where your work saves automatically into your cloud.


30 of 100 (w/referrals) is a site that offers 10GB of free online storage right off the bat. It has a desktop sync and mobile app that you can get for iOS or Android. Box doesn’t have the flashy referral bonuses that dropbox does but it offers discounted storage solutions that can save you a bundle! For the launch of their app they actually offered 50GB of lifetime storage that I myself cashed in on.

40 of 100

Dropbox is perhaps one of the easiest online storage solutions to gain extra storage with. You do start off with a measly 2GB of storage but you can refer your way quickly up to 16 extra GB of storage totaling 18GB of free online storage. This is done relatively easy if you have a lot of friends who could benefit from a little extra storage!

58 of 100

MediaFire is a perfect place to store your stuff that offers a whopping 10GB of space up front! You do have to download a desktop app that runs and syncs but its convenient, barring any heavy system usage, to have these drives readily available on your desktop.

68 of 100 offers you 50GB free online storage and has a 100% repuation on This is an incredible amount of space for free and you should check it out!

118 of 100 (WoooHoo!)

Screen Shot 2014-07-21 at 5.48.48 PM

Here are a few that offer small amounts of free storage if you are willing to take the time!


  • Mozy Online Storage-2GB free (You have to download a storage manager)

  • Amazon Cloud Drive-5GB free

Screen Shot 2014-07-21 at 5.50.31 PM
Ask us how pairing an SSD upgrade with online cloud storage can greatly enhance your outdated computer (10X Faster) for a fraction of the cost of a new one!

]]> 0
Bleeding Edge Car Tech Thu, 31 Jul 2014 14:00:56 +0000   Technology in cars is always a hard balance to maintain. The tech in your car must be seamless with its operation in order to inform the driver without distracting. There are many applications coming in the near future that may change the way we connect in our vehicles. Some of the challenges are obviously the distraction factor, ill timed failures or inaccurate information and just plain old scary malfunctioning electronics. One of the technologies in this blog could be a catastrophic fail if it somehow malfunctioned but all in all it is a life saving step forward. Life should be made easier by technology in our vehicles and quite a few new ideas indicate automotive manufacturers are catching on.


The internet is everywhere and soon it will be seamlessly part of your vehicle. The connectivity as of yet has been limited for people wishing to connect in their vehicles. The biggest hurdle lies in trying to connect a device that wasn’t designed by the car company because of the lack of capable stock electronics. GM is one of the most recent companies to step up to the plate in the manufacturing of cutting edge internet connectivity. Their new car lineup will feature 4g internet connectivity inside the car with the ability to navigate the roadways with voice command gps and quest for new music on pandora or apps like it. Imagine if you will a car gps that actually does what you ask it to!


Perhaps the most impressive of all the new car tech are the cars that don’t use gas. Everyone should agree, paying for gas really sucks! Tesla is a car company that is pioneering all-electric automobiles and growing by the minute. The CEO Elon Musk hopes to soon mass produce electric cars affordable to the common consumer. The idea of a vehicle that runs on electricity that’s also affordable to the common man, coupled with the ability to charge it from your solar driveway (look at our other blog about solar roadways) free forever, sounds like a great goal to me. Gas prices have soared and continue to steadily rise and for what? What are we really gaining continuing to research the use of something that’s so difficult to obtain? Solar energy blankets are earth every day in abundance just waiting to be harnessed. These electric vehicles may well shape the future of the auto industry. 

Electric cars that don’t cost anything to operate sound great, but how do you feel about your car driving itself? Google is moving to offer that option soon. State of the art laser sensors coupled with unprecedented gps tracking and traffic monitoring software, will get you from point A to point B in complete safety in a Google self driven car. Think about a world without the possibility of human error on major roadways. Parking lots would be a thing of the past, cars would move in courteous order at an appropriate speed, maximizing the efficiency of the vehicle and the safety of the passengers. While this concept is an amazing one, I’m thinking I would miss driving myself occasionally as well. If you need advice on how to make your life easier with tech, even in your car, give us a call or come by we solve problems.

]]> 0
Why I’m Excited About iOS 8 Mon, 28 Jul 2014 14:00:07 +0000 Why I’m excited about iOS 8, Apple’s new iOS is packed with features that make the phone undeniably better along with all other devices taking the update. Listening to the consumer pays off if you’re looking for loyalty these days and this update proves that Apple is still capable of it. Each new feature listed below is a fantastic evolution of its predecessor. The messaging app, photos and even the keyboard have changed into something much better. Here are some of the key points that I thought were great.


The messaging app has been boring for quite some time and has slowly evolved into useful. iOS 8 brings new features to messaging that make it one of the coolest parts of the phone. To start with, you can now send sound clips via messaging in a push-to-talk style button interface. Easily add multiple pictures or videos to one message and record video or take shots within the messaging app. The long awaited quick reply has arrived as well, allowing you to reply from the small notification while remaining in another app which is probably my favorite of the major changes. Nightmare group messages can now be a thing of the past. Edit the recipients of a group message on-the-fly to avoid blasting friends while they are working!


Photos are getting better and finally so is the storage plan. Since my very first iPhone I have been in constant need of more space for photos. I’m sure you’ve read our blog about how to get free online cloud storage to keep your iPhone’s precious pictures backed up, but it would be nice if your phone just sort of took care of that for you. I would pay a little extra a month to ensure that my iPhone wouldn’t lose my pictures no matter what happened. Imagine being able to pull up pictures or videos from years previous and post them straight to a facebook conversation, without wasting precious storage on your phone. Another great feature added is the ability to search your photo library for events, places, people etc…

The keyboard is an impressive upgrade from its stagnant predecessor. The keyboard now gives you three suggested words or group of words that it thinks you might say next. Imagine that as you type to your buddies your phone finishes your sentences for you. How does it know? It analyzes not only what you say and how you say it, but who you say it to and provides suggestions based on its findings. The “QuickType” keyboard also knows what the conversation is about and gives you auto-reply standard answers like yes or no questions. Apple assures that your conversations remain private and stored only on your devices. Also the keyboard is now open to third party alternatives such as swype!


If you want to know more about how a good smartphone can simplify your life, come see us. We have solutions for many different technology needs and can help you find what works for you. If you’re looking for a simple to use interface across your tablet, phone and even computer then take a look at our Apple devices!

]]> 0
The Worst Feeling Fri, 25 Jul 2014 14:00:54 +0000 Those of us who have children have probably thought about the incredibly scary possibility of a missing or hurt child. These days when children get separated from their parents they can usually send a text and find Mom or Dad, but its better to be safe than sorry and cell phones are not always the best idea for very young children. I wanted to bring to light some of the recent tech that is improving the way we monitor our childrens safety today.


I am about to welcome my second child into the world and we are in a mad dash preparing every little detail for the new addition to our family. It’s nice to have access to a plethora of medical care information for babies! Check out the app Baby MedBasics app which has a number of life saving tips and walkthroughs that are priceless! Quick access to all things baby is a steal at 2.99. The worst feeling is that something will go wrong and you won’t have a plan.This is a great way to ensure that you stay informed on your baby or small child’s health needs.


For those of you with teen drivers the Canary app can offer you a little peace of mind while they are out on the road. Canary alerts you when your teen is driving over 12 mph detailing speeds, locations, calls and texts. This will allow many parents to monitor their teens driving habits and dangerous cell phone usage while moving down the road. The app is actually incredibly easy to use and its free! This is by far one of the most robust driving apps I’ve seen for a simple smartphone tracking app. Many auto insurers have similar programs for tracking your teens driving and phone usage but few are this easy to setup! 


Amber Alert GPS is a small device that your child can carry with them that tracks their exact location as well as allows two way communication between a primary contact (Mom or Dad) and the child in need. It is discreet enough to be hidden from sight if your child were threatened and not able to talk on the phone. This handy little device allows more freedom for your child in a world of uncertainty. The Amber Alert GPS is powered by the AT&T network but it can be used on any smartphone running Android or iOS with any carrier. Simply download the app and connect to the device.



There are several ways to safeguard your computer to prevent your family from being exploited or exposed to inappropriate websites. Numerous programs empower you to control what your young children see online, and most of them are inexpensive. If you’d like to know more about how we can help you do that, bring yourself and your computer into Gadget Grave. We can customize a security solution that works for your family. Our optimization package starts at $64.99.  

]]> 0
The Bright Future of Education Tue, 22 Jul 2014 14:00:17 +0000 Whatever you may believe about public education today improvements should be on everyones agenda. The bright future of education with technology provides new ways for students to gain rich experiences for a fraction of the cost of years before. Students can easily experience safe content monitored information super highways and gain information with ease; it might be obvious why this might worry many. Are we creating a digital dependency in students to just look everything up on Google? If so, is anything wrong with that? What do you really know about the potential for technologically enhanced classrooms across the globe?


World collaboration is an idea of creating a safe environment for students to collaborate with a group across the planet from each other via the internet. Schools can get special grants that pay for a number of devices as well as grants that pay for high speed internet to deliver high quality streaming content. While no system is perfect and there is always room for improvement, many schools comply strictly to safety standards implemented by the federal government. This makes it possible for schools with lower income to deliver a quality experience to its students. For instance a simple projector, a cheap laptop with internet access and a dark room with a blank wall would facilitate the above experience for under $500. While simulation is not reality it can be a great substitute when there is no alternative. It is simply not feasible for every public school to take 300 students on a journey to egypt, and not even possible for them  to explore the pyramids in a way that they could right back in the classroom via a web browser. 


Understanding how each and every person learns and facilitating lessons in a different way is a good place to start if bulleting a list of advances technology has afforded us. While this may sound like a robotic approach to such a sensitive subject of learning abilities it has actually sparked innovation in the way we address those so-called “abilities”. The question is no longer why students are getting left behind, its what can we show them to help them understand. Each student can manipulate tech in the classroom in a way that suits their mode of learning, as long as we are asking the right questions it won’t matter that information is at their fingertips. Good questions probe beyond simple answers and require us to think on a higher level to deliver great answers. Multiple technologies whether it be tablets, laptops, or even kinesthetic technologies can be made available to students to help them collect and understand data in different ways.


Creating critical thinkers has been the goal of public education for quite some time. Specific technologies in assessment allow us to monitor students strengths and improvement needs in real-time, thats kind of a big deal. When I was in public school I never dreamed of the teacher asking all of us a question and in real time submitting our answer! This also allows teachers the ability to track each specific students progress through each step of the lesson and to develop individualized plans for each student in the classroom. Teachers are required to have IEP’s for many students and this program is a successful method for developing strengths in the place of weaknesses for many students. Technology allows the teacher to offer targeted help for every single student.

If you want to know more about how to safeguard your computer for the student in your house, bring yourself and your computer into Gadget Grave and we can show you how to do that as well as install the necessary tools to keep you safe for the long haul. Our preventative shield package is right at $129.99 and ensures top notch protection for your families computer!

]]> 0
Browsers Thu, 03 Jul 2014 14:00:37 +0000 According to several major news outlets, the Department of Homeland Security issued a warning to individuals from using Internet Explorer.  Also NBC and PC World



Why?  Apparently there is a major vulnerability that has been discovered. This weakness allows hackers to obtain all access to your computer.  There is a remote code execution- dubbed- CVE-2014-1776 that allows hackers to gain the same access to the computer as the owner of the computer.

Microsoft is scrabbling to fix the issue but it has yet to be resolved and users should download another browser until the security hole is fixed. This weakness is one of the reasons I do not use Internet Explorer – that and all the pop-ups and spyware that infect a computer.


There are several viable choices for browsers.  Chrome is one of the top browsers.  Since it debuted in 2008.  It is fast and can be ran on most systems- including Windows XP and Vista, which Microsoft no longer supports (causing a person to use an older slower version.)  Flash is part of the design and requires no extra downloads as well as plug ins are “click-to-play.”

Another great feature of Chrome is the interaction between Google and the browser is cool.  I can sign into my Google account and Chrome can load up all my bookmarks on any computer, it remembers sites I frequent on a new tab I open.  It is more secure and you can download an ad-blocker that works very well (no commercials while using Pandora!).  The browser pops up a red display- meaning something is not right here – when you visit pages that are not safe and does a good job with phishing site blocking.

This browser is free and available for most Apple products, Windows and Android devices.  I recommend this browser- especially if you use Google.

Another choice is Firefox.  This browser has remained a steadfast choice among computer users.  The browser is fast and looks great.  Firefox offers Web audio support and still remains the most customizable browser available.  Firefox offers “’Panorama’ tab organizer” that organizes all those open tabs in an easier view.  Battle of the Browsers Firefox has always been a leader and introduced a DO Not Track system.  You have three choices- “Do Not Track, Track, and Don’t tell).  This browser is still the second best in market.

Firefox is available for almost all Apple and Microsoft products as well as Android and I still use this browser.

Opera 20 is another free browser.  This browser offers a sleek, minimal design.  The browser is fast and is compatible.  The browser is considered on of the most innovative browsers and it uses the Chrome interface.  Opera offers plenty of malware, and other warnings built into the page to help keep you secure.  Opera is one of the safest browsers says PC Mag.

While Microsoft Internet Explorer is having a major security breach- do not panic, there are other choices- other options.  It is good to switch up your browsers; all are relatively easy and a lot like Internet Explorer.  If you do not like using another browser, you can switch back when the security is fixed.

]]> 0
Snapfish Tue, 01 Jul 2014 14:00:33 +0000 Have you heard of  This program is a great place to store all your photos.   Snapfish is just a photo storage center, but a place with simple editing tools as well as a store.  Snapfish offers printing through their website or you may send to Walgreens, Wal-Mart and other stores within your town.  You can print all different sizes, books, blankets and other items.  Also, you can ship your items to different locations- to friends and family as gifts.

Screen Shot 2014-05-13 at 2.31.38 PM

When you first sign up, you receive free items plus Snapfish offers promotions all the time.   Snapfish offers unlimited online photo sharing and storage, professional=quality prints and gifts, free uploading from your mobile device and other services free.

You sign up through an email address.  When you first log in, the site opens into a welcome page.  This page contains your recent albums on left and on the right, there is a yellow box that lists Upload photos & Videos, order prints, shop, share and mobile apps.  The site is relatively easy to maneuver.

Another great thing is that your information is private unlike other sites, where your pictures are shared with others.  I use mine for personal and business reasons.  I can send and pay for pictures and I can pick up pictures at the One-hour studio at Wal-Mart or Walgreens.

The editing offered by the site, is simple and easy to use but does not offer complex editing options as other sites.  I suggest you use your favorite editing software- then upload the pictures.

Your pictures are organized by date.  When you upload, you can name each album or leave the date uploaded as the album name.  The picture quality is amazing and I encourage all my friends to use Snapfish.


PC Magazine stated that Snapfish had great editing tools when it comes to creating personalized cards, calendars and other custom products but sometimes the work did not look as good as other sites.  The review talked about Snapfish’s final product,  I have not had this issue but I usually order and pick up my stuff from Wal-Mart.,2817,1859065,00.asp

Top Ten Reviews rated Snapfish as 10 out of 10.  Pros being an easy app and site and a con being that pricing changes depending on store you pick up your photos from or due to the fee charged for shipping.,2817,1859065,00.asp

A blogger and photographer reviewed Snapfish with three other sites similar to Snapfish.  According to her blog, more people voted for Snapfish then the other 3 places- stating clearer pictures.  Check it out here!

The reviews are good with their quality differing in the reviews.  I have used Snapfish for all my storage and to send, share and print pictures.  I have had a free collage sent to my house that was a great photo and I was complete satisfied with the results.  I also send a lot of my pictures to Wal-Mart to be printed.  It is an easy way to get prints quickly.

I suggest trying Snapfish.    You can use it to back up your photos on your smartphones and pictures stored on your computer.   I wish Snapfish would have existed about 10 years ago- as I did lose many memories due to a hard-drive crash.  I have searched long and hard and use Snapfish for my personal photos and have set my photography clients up an account for quick, safe and secure access to their pictures.


]]> 0
The game of LIFE Sun, 22 Jun 2014 14:00:51 +0000 I must say I usually don’t buy apps but this one I did. I remember this game from when I was a kid and thought it was fun. Everyone has at one point played this as a board game. Remember the plastic scenery and that spinner!! The decisions of being an adult, getting a career, going to college, getting married and having children even retirement. Well it is the same here. Everything I remember from the board game is here. You must take a path (fork in the road), and choose if you want a career, or go to college. Over the years the game has changed, going from cash to the current version which award life points. This is a joint effort between Hasbro and EA and I must say the graphics are absolutely outstanding! The 3D animations are pleasing to the eye and are actually pretty cool when moving around the board. You choose your cards at various parts of the game and more than a couple of times made my wife mad from taking half her inheritance. And the spinner the most iconic part of the game is true to the original.
To get a good spin you will have to spin it like a rotary phone, kind of annoying but it does work. Spin the spinner, and the app takes care of the rest, moving what looks like a minivan around the board. Every once in a while the app pops up saying you owe money, receive money and the amount you owe the other player. Every once in a while you will have to make a decision for instance, do you want to be a doctor or a mechanic?
My biggest gripe is you are basically along for the ride. You also have to sit and wait your turn and sit through the other players turn. The saving grace is you have the option to speed up the animations and skip the computer players  whole turn. Also when you are playing multiple players up to 4 you do have to pass the device around, not a big deal but still. But with all the drawbacks this is a fun gave to pass the time. My wife and I along with my 7-year-old son played a few round and he was excited when he got married and had kids. Even though this game was actually meant for kids I found it enjoyable.
In conclusion there could be some tweaks made to the game to make it more interesting and work across more platforms. This is available on the IOS devices and I do believe it is not compatible with android tablets. Since I don’t have a tablet I was unable to test it there. So if you are trying to pass the time by yourself or with the kids say at a Doctors office. That this is great to keep everyone entertained. Screen shots and a market link are below, and at only .99 cents well worth it. (for me anyway).
]]> 0
Back up Fri, 20 Jun 2014 14:00:11 +0000 Back up what, you ask.  Back up anything important that you do not want to lose.  When it comes to your phone, you should back up your contacts, videos, pictures and other information you find important and need.  Backing up is simple and but could take time.

I know you do not believe that it is important to back up your stuff, because you take care of your phone, ect; BUT lately people have questioned how to recover pictures and other data on devices that are no longer functioning..  Accidents happen daily and it is heartbreaking to lose pictures and other information.  How many numbers do you have memorized?  Where is little Johnny’s first homerun picture?  On your phone?  What will happen if you drop your phone in your pool?  What if your phone just quits working?  Backing up saves you from trying everything under the moon to retrieve data- that in many cases is unrecoverable.

Below are some simple ways to backup valuable information.  These ways could take time but to know your important information is always retrievable, that is worth the time.

With Android, there are several different ways to back up your information.  First, you can change your settings so all your pictures are saved to an SD card.   The card is great extra storage and it is removable- so if the phone crashes- then your pictures and other items are on your SD card transfer to your new device or to your computer.

Also, you can connect your Android device to your computer and backup your items.  You have to connect as USB storage- then move your pictures and other items over to your computer.  Just as you would a jump drive; if you use a MAC, then you need to download Android File Transfer to connect to your computer.

Another way is to use your backup services offered by your carrier, Verizon offers “  cloud storage,”  which is free up to five gigabytes.



A few other cloud storage clients!

AT&T offers a similar service for certain customers called AT&T Locker .  You have to be a AT&T Mobile Share Value Customer and you receive 50 gigabytes free.

You can back up your contacts to your Gmail account as well as use Google Drive to store pictures and other important data.  SMS and call logs require an app.  Many are offered free through Google Play Store and these will backup any information you want.  One I like G Cloud

Apple does seem to have an advantage over Android when it comes to backing up your stuff.  You just need to backup to iCloud or connect your phone to your computer and back up through iTunes.  This great feature allows individuals to back up everything regularly and they do not have to worry about what happens when their phone quits.  Also, iCloud allows you to track your phone if it is lost or stolen.

A great way to backup your computer is use an online “cloud service.”  Google drive is free up to 15 gigabytes and you can add 10 extra by adding your smartphone- you have to download an app that is free. .bigstock-Cloud-Computing-29952392

Do not hesitate and back up your information.  You never know when it could be lost forever.

]]> 0
New Phones Wed, 18 Jun 2014 14:00:55 +0000 Two New Phones worth a 2nd glance and their contribution to the next wave of smartphones.


For several years, smartphones have increased in popularity.  With their fragility, these phones tend to break easily- especially the iPhones and almost all screens (unless you own a Casio or other indestructible phones.  Phones are trending to be better for its users and more durable.

First- Sony is introducing an amazing new rendition of Xperia – called the Xperia Z2.  This phone is water and dust resistant.  Their website boosts that the phone is life proof and shows the phone falling into water- which it can go up to one meter of water for about 30 minutes (You MUST make sure all the port covers are secure!).  The phone’s screen is only 5.2 inches and it weighs less than 6 ounces.  It is thin and sleek.  You can use up to a 128 gigabyte micro SD card  and it has the highest amount of RAM in smartphones- three gigabytes of RAM (the Note 3 has 3 gigabytes of RAM but most Android devices have 2 ––and Apple is 1– camera is not too shabby either, boosting 20.7 megapixels and image stabilization.  The video quality is said to be four times the pixels of HD and twice the resolution.  There is a “Timeshift mode” that allows a person to “shoot 120 frames per second then select individual scenes to slow playback”

The Sony Xperia Z2 is following the same ideals of its competitors.  Owning Sony products- you will see an increased similarity between each device as well as NFC tags and other products that will connect to your phone.

This phone will be released sometime in May- being pushed back due to not meeting stock standards and the amount of preorders.  Pricing has yet to be released.  If this phone lives up to its hype THEN it will be a great phone.

The rumors floating about the iPhone 6 boosts its nearly indestructible body.  Using Liquidmetal to make most of its interior- the substance is used currently as a layer around the metal parts of the iPhone 5S.  If the rumors are true about the Sapphire glass- then the screen of the iPhone 6 will be nearly indestructible.  The Apple iPhone 6 is set to release sometime this year. iphone61

You can see the Sapphire glass in action here


Both phones will having amazing points and will revolutionize the smartphone arena.

With the phones becoming “indestructible” people need to remember that no matter how indestructible these phones are becoming there will always be vulnerability to the phones.  The phones made to withstand water- require the owners to double and triple check the ports to ensure proper protection.  Nearly indestructible screens are just digitizers and the LCDs could still become damaged from falls.  I would not suggest testing your phones indestructibility as things happen and even the most indestructible phones finally break.  I cannot wait to see what the world of cellphones holds for consumers.

Of course as electronics break, there will always be GadgetGrave to repair your devices.

]]> 0
Apple Mania Wed, 18 Jun 2014 14:00:37 +0000 Every day, I answer the question- what are the differences between the iPhone 5 series.  One thing all have in common is the added materials and less glass composition of the phones.  This is great who found the iPhone 4 series fragile.

Exactly what are the differences between the phones?

First up is the iPhone 5.  This phone has a four-inch screen.  Weighs 3.95 ounces and is composed of aluminum.  The camera is 8-megapixel and the front is 1.2 megapixels.  The hardware consists of an Apple Mania A6, dual core- 1300 MHz with one megabyte of memory.  Built-in storage begins with 16 gigabyte with 32 and 64 gigabytes available.  The phone colors are black and slate or white and silver.

Screen Shot 2014-05-13 at 3.59.11 PM

The iPhone 5C is similar to the 5.  The phone has a four-inch screen and 8-megapixel camera and 1.2 megapixel front camera.  The body is completely different- composed of polycarbonate.  The processor is not different but the graphics processor is different.  The phone has a gigabyte of RAM and storage begins at 16 gigabytes and can increase to 32 gigabytes.  You cannot get this phone with 64 gigabytes.  The great and different feature of the phone is the color choices.  You can choose between green, yellow, blue, pink and white.

The iPhone 5S steps up a lot from its predecessors.   The screen size is still just four inches and is composed of aluminum.  The camera is only 8 megapixels but consists of a new technology allowing larger aperture, pixels and sensor- increasing better picture quality.  The two-tone flash helps with more accurate coloring in photos.  The phone’s hardware is an A7 dual core 1300 MHz and contains the same 16-gigabytes of storage but increases to 64 gigabytes.  The color choices for the phone are silver, gold and space gray.  The iPhone 5S has a fingerprint scanner made from Sapphire glass.  This glass is supposed to be the second hardest substance in the world.  The Sapphire glass is rumored to be the next screen for the iPhone 6.

The iPhone 5S is for anyone who loves a fast processor and a better camera.  The phone is light; great looking and the reviews rate the phone higher than its predecessors.

Screen Shot 2014-05-13 at 3.59.29 PM

With the iPhone 5C- it is about customization.  If that is what you crave then this is the phone for you.  The camera is still good and the lightweight design makes this a sleek phone.  The drawback is that the phones highest capacity is 32 gigabytes so if you crave a 64 gigabyte- then choose the 5 or 5S.

Screen Shot 2014-05-13 at 3.59.20 PM

The iPhone 5 is not too much different from the 5C BUT is made of aluminum – which some people like better than the polycarbonate.  The color choices are limited but both shades are sleek.

The iPhone 4 and 4S are still popular models due to their low cost.  These phones still viable options but are really slow compared to the new models but repairs for these phones are relatively inexpensive.

The next highly anticipated iPhone 6 will take the market by storm as well as continue to keep Apple Mania lovers happy and competitors vying to break through the market.

]]> 0
Android Mania Mon, 16 Jun 2014 14:00:24 +0000 With all the new phones coming out, which one should you choose?  With all the choices one can have a hard time deciding. I thought when the Moto X was released, that it was the phone for me.  It has some great features- completely customizable, you can increase internal storage to 32 gigabytes, and a decent camera at 10 MP.  It is a bit small compared to other phones but it is rated high- between four and five stars. A BIG downside is no external storage and if you use a lot of apps, then you will need to buy the 32-gigabyte version. Screen Shot 2014-05-13 at 3.51.38 PM

Then there is the LG G2.  This phone has an amazing design but the back buttons are different.   The back button did throw me off at first but while using this button- when you need to increase or decrease the call volume- it really is easier than traditional side buttons.  The reviews are mixed with this phone but most agree it is a great phone.  The camera pictures are good at 13 MP and videos in 1080p HD. The main issue with the phone is no external storage and getting use to the buttons being on the back of the phone. . If available, purchasing the 32-gigabyte internal storage phone is the better option. If that is not enough, there are two more contenders.

Screen Shot 2014-05-13 at 3.51.46 PM

First, there is the HTC One M8.  This phone has a sleek design, fast processor and comes in either 16 or 32 gigabytes.  The phone has amazing sound and cool features like Ufocus- which allows you to focus after the picture has been snapped, photo filters and “seasons” which add drama to your photos.  The back camera is only 4 megapixels but the front camera is 5 megapixels.  The phone is a great gem and worth a look if you are in the market for a new phone. As always, Samsung has added a great phone to its lineup.  The phone is the Galaxy S5.  This phone is quite fast, comes with up to 32 gigabytes of internal storage PLUS a microSD card slot that will support 128 gigabytes.  The camera is 16 megapixels and the video is 4k- which is better than 1080p. But there is a downside, the S5 misses points with critics for its design.   If you need a lot of storage or a great camera then the Galaxy S5 is the phone for you.   If you want a phone that is completely customizable THEN the Moto X is your phone.  Even though the back camera is not the best HTC does boost a 5-megapixel front facing camera- great for all those selfies and the extra photo software is an added bonus.    The G2 is a great phone and would be good for those who can adapt to the back buttons. Always choose phones based on what you want in the phone.  It is ok to look at reviews, check around, go to stores and test devices (listen to the sales people) but overall always choose a phone that fits your needs, wants and one that you love.

]]> 0
Net Neutrality Thu, 29 May 2014 14:00:01 +0000 Right now overwhelming boredom is rolling over you as you fall into a deep, peaceful slumber. Net neutrality is probably not a word that you care much about at the moment. In light of a few recent changes I thought it might be a good idea to give you the ugly truth about what could be happening soon. Imagine walking into a public library and grabbing one of your favorite books and sitting down to read it. As you read this book one of the librarians approaches you and says “Sir, how would you like to pay today”. The librarian would then explain to you that unfortunately because of the wear and tear to the library that specific book has caused over the years, what with all kinds of people wanting to read it all the time, there would now be an added charge to read that book. “You could certainly browse through are free titles up towards the front”


Don’t know what Net Neutrality is? Go here and Learn more!

This kind of logic is the same that some very large Internet service provider’s or ISP’s here in the U.S. seem to be using. Net neutrality is quite literally, freedom on the internet. The ability to go to whatever legitimate website you choose to go to for free is being threatened. The saddest aspect of recent legislation is how it will affect education, public libraries, college students and low to middle income families who have young children in school. The principal up until recently is that the ISP’s were to be sort of a “dumb” pipeline from you to the world wide web, much like your telephone line or cable. A recent ruling by a federal appeals court has set this idea into motion. Basically your ISP’s without net neutrality in their way, can freely slow down websites that they simply don’t like. They may also charge you to access certain premium tiers of internet. Are you mad yet, just wait.


Another perspective shines a less than flattering light on the FCC, the supposed loser/winner (I’m scratching my head too) in a recent battle against Verizon. Usually when things like this happen we are told that those big mean companies are causing all the problems and they want to rob schools and middle to low income families, families with young children in school etcetera. What if it wasn’t Verizon or At&t or any other large ISP that was truly leading this fight. The FCC is spinning the loss in court as a victory that establishes the ability of consumers to go anywhere and view anything legitimate on the web free (I’m scratching my head again). Could it be that the FCC is really just laying the foundation for tightly restricted legislation over our internet content. It would certainly seem like that is their intention, considering the only reason net neutrality was struck down was because it lacked legal framework needed to substantiate the FCC’s authority in the matter.


While both are compelling arguments, it might be that neither are good for us consumers. The hope is that we stop big businesses from getting too big so that they discriminate and  help out other deep pocketed clients more than their everyday consumers. The concern is that we’re trusting a government (who has a history of breaking trust) to legislate responsibly and not acquire more and more control as they mound legislation like a gigantic political snowball. It could be nothing, but if you take a look at how the rest of the world gets their internet you’ll be thankful for the way yours is delivered, at least for now.

]]> 0
Data Storage Sun, 25 May 2014 14:00:57 +0000 Data Storage: I see it all the time, someone comes in to the shop to have their computer looked at and gets the awful news that their hard drive has failed. It’s not something anyone wants to deal with and if you have irreplaceable pictures, videos or documents they can all be gone within seconds. Hard disk drives are mechanical and thus prone to failure. A good bump while your computer is running is enough to cause permanent damage and potentially cost you thousands of dollars for data recovery. Solid State drives are a new resilient figure in storage technology, and while they are resistant to most shock and have zero moving parts, they can absolutely ruin your day as well. Solid state drives have been known to encounter a problem and be blank in a matter of seconds as well, which might be simply not recoverable. The solution is cloud based data storage, the problem is who do you trust with your life’s music, moments and work.

Screen Shot 2014-05-13 at 10.57.58 AM

Dropbox is the data storage giant that I hear about the most. While it is the most widely known I personally am not sure about their security. Dropbox gives you about 5GB free to start out with (pretty standard) but also gives a nice friend referral bonus of 500MB per friend that joins up. The rest of the plans are about par for the course coming in at $99 a year for 100GB of data storage, which can also be paid month-by-month. The only thing I don’t like about Dropbox is their website is a little stuffy. To get help you have to submit a help request, or you can browse the forums for information. If you’re looking for simplicity look no further, although to me it feels more like a locker crammed with your files. Dropbox does have an app that will auto-upload your camera roll, I know mine is always packed!




iDrive is a simple online data storage solution that comes with 5GB for free. This site boasts private key encryption and makes it plain that no one sees your data (which you should already be doing all the time) which get you 20% off all day every day. They also have live chat for customer service and technical support thats open 24/7. I heard about iDrive on the radio and thought I’d check it out, the paid plans are the cheapest I’ve seen from a reputable company at $49.50 for 150GB which is fantastic. They are known to run half price specials occasionally. They also give you 1GB of data storage per referral, yup 1GB per referral and you get little ½ Gigs for doing simple things like following on twitter, or installing the mobile or desktop app.

Screen Shot 2014-05-13 at 10.57.20 AM is a pretty nifty online data storage utility that gives you 10GB free up front. Other than that its mainly focused for a business, its highly customizable in that regard. While you do get a generous starting capacity of 10GB, it doesn’t look like they offer any freebie upgrades like the others. This looks like an excellent program to use in a pinch if you have a large camera roll needing backed up. One cool feature they have in the paid subscriptions ($10 for 100GB) you have the option to search full text throughout your files and pictures and documents. This would come in handy if you knew you wrote the paper about Freud but you can’t remember what the title was. Just start typing Freud and you’ll have it.

]]> 0
Traveling with Technology Fri, 23 May 2014 14:00:57 +0000 There’s a ton of things that I try to remember to take with me when I travel with technology, my pillow, extra socks, phone charger and so on. I have tried to compile a list of nifty things that  might not be on your list of things to pack, but should be…


Surge Protector- I know it doesn’t seem like it’s essential, but if you’re like me and travel with a few gadgets you never know what the outlet situation is going to be. When you’re away you might not think about charging your laptop, phone, tablet or even electric razor but its going to come up. Too much to pack? Check out this travel surge protector for 20 bucks! It eve

Get it here!

Window Mounted Universal Phone Holder- These things are great!  If you use your phone for GPS, watching movies in the passenger seat or pretty much anything while moving down the road one of these will help you tremendously. You don’t have to spend an arm and a leg to get one either. There are cheaper models out there but this is the one I use and it’s lasted for two years. You can also stick the suction cup to the outside of windows to get great timed camera shots with you’re traveling buddies without that punk you don’t know taking off with your phone.

Get It here!

Power Inverter- If traveling by car this is a must have to charge your AC only devices, mostly your wonderful laptop! Why would you take your laptop on a trip when you’re smartphone does just about everything? Trust me if your trip is over one night you will get sick and tired of watching Netflix on your phone. I often have the opportunity to ride rather than drive so I can tether my phone and work efficiently on my laptop because of a power inverter. Whistler makes a nice one that’s relatively inexpensive coming in under $25


Get It Here! 

I can tell you from experience that if you work on the road or make a yearly road trip there is no substitute to having your laptop on board. Traveling with technology doesn’t have to be hard though. Really there are about 30 things I could mention that can make a trip easier and really not take up much space. We seriously took a third of our pictures on vacation this year with our nifty little window suction cup phone holder thing. Simple things like these can make your device that much more useful. Yelp! can find you the best places to slip into local life while saving you time and money, the reviews are golden for finding what you need fast. The app is free and you can sign up free as well at

]]> 0
Google Opinion Rewards Wed, 21 May 2014 14:00:11 +0000 Hi this is Frank, everyone love stuff for free. Being that type of guy, I will be reviewing free apps from the Google Play store. The app I have today is pretty awesome as that it gives you play store credits! Now who wouldn’t want that!!!

Don’t let anyone tell you that your opinion isn’t worth squat. Your opinion is pretty valuable to Google, and they will pay you for it. There are two caveats,  1.  You have to be in the US and 2. You will be paid in Google credits. When it comes to credits for digital content on the play store, I for one can be happy with that. You can spend it on apps, games, music, books, magazines, and videos.



You will initially need to give details including your age, sex, and location in a easy quick survey and then you will do a couple of sample surveys. Once this is done a survey that offers Google Play credit will be available and you should see it or receive notification from Google. Some surveys don’t offer any credits and are also available that you can opt to take part in You’ll only have a certain amount of time to complete any of the surveys though, so keep that in mind.

More information on Google Opinion Rewards here!

The application comes from the Google Consumer Survey group so the surveys center around product usage and shopping habits. I even had one that asked if I like golf! They can be anything though logos, or vacationing surveys anything goes. Once a survey is ready a notification will pop up in your taskbar roughly once a week. There are no right or wrong answers here. It is nothing too taxing, and usually takes about a minute or two of your time, and most definitely an easy way to pay for that .99-cent app or book you have been wanting. Google does not specify how much you will get paid or the amount of questions you will answer, but I have found out and found the process is fairly quick and easy. So far the max I had got was 1 dollar! Easy peasy.


Also your answers will be anonymous, but you will still have to provide a Google wallet account in order to collect your cash. The first survey tests whether or not you are eligible to take part in the program and typical Google fashion it’s not meant to taken seriously. Heck even one or more of the questions might even give you a sense of deja vu.  So if you are looking to pick up a few credits to spend on an app or two when you have free time. Click the link below to get the app and is compatible with devices running Android 2.2 or later, so why not check it out. I have posted some screen-shots below to get a gander of the interface, simple but effective for sure.  If you have any Android questions feel free to contact me at


Get the App:


]]> 0
Toolbars, Extensions and Plugins Mon, 19 May 2014 14:00:06 +0000 The three main contributors to a browser being slow are listed above. Most of the time when a customer brings in a malware infection, its because one of the three have been downloaded and have malware attached. A good rule of thumb for the internet is if it seems too good to be true, it definitely is. Let’s say you found a link to that media you’ve been wanting to watch for awhile, only problem is you don’t have the correct plugin to watch it. This is a red flag, if you’ve already had your computer sometime and not had any trouble viewing content online, you more than likely don’t need any more help.

Need Chrome extensions that are trusted? Go here! 

Screen Shot 2014-05-13 at 10.29.16 AM

Plugins are browser helpers that perform different operations and when they work correctly are supposed to speed your experience up. Unfortunately the bad ones far outweigh the good ones and you should be very choosy of the ones you install. If in doubt run a Google search for the name of the extension you are installing with the word “malware” behind it and see what comes up. If there have been known instances of malware attached to that specific plugin, it will be talked about in the forums and Google will find it for you. Most of the time when you install a bad plugin it came with an extension and installed with that. You can easily remove these in Google Chrome unless you are already infected with malware in which a change is not possible. Adblock plus is a great example of a plugin that doesn’t have any malware, its actually my favorite and it’s free!

 Screen Shot 2014-05-13 at 10.29.26 AM


(Some of my current Toolbar Tools)

Extensions are a bit tricky because there are so many that are good. You can essentially use the same technique listed above to determine the reputation of the extension you’re trying to install. Extensions come from multiple sources and one of the worst is the dreaded click-through installations that we all do. Make sure and read before you click next on ANY installation. Always read what other programs or items the installation is trying to add on. You don’t want anything other than what the program you’ve downloaded came with. If you’re trying to download a program that plays any media format for free or something like that these are well known to be infected with adware and malware. Your computer could be serving ad’s because you didn’t pay attention to what you clicked. Don’t worry we’ve all done it!

Toolbars are ugly little areas that clutter up your browser. With the new browsers there is simply no need whatsoever for these pesky things. Pop your browser open and within seconds you can search right out of the address bar. This feature has been around in most browsers for a few years now. The only thing that toolbars do is take the browser longer to start, load a page or really do anything. These types of software are a waste of your time and will only slow you down. Not to mention they usually come packed with adware and malware, both of which will slow your computer down badly. In other words, I don’t know of any toolbars that are worth using.

]]> 0
Google House Sat, 17 May 2014 14:00:05 +0000 Nest is a company that if you haven’t already heard, designs smart thermostats and now smoke and carbon monoxide detectors for your house. The idea was that the thermostat would be able to learn from your habits and use those habits to save you money on your energy bill. Both the thermostat and the new smoke/carbon monoxide detector can be remotely monitored when connected to your home wi-fi. The feature of being able to monitor and control the temperature in your house or know if a fire has started with an alert anywhere with your smartphone is pretty amazing.

See our other blogs including Google

Now that you know a little more about Nest, what do you know about Google? Google started as a simple search engine with great results and has slowly built itself into a goliath tech company. Recent developments in the company look like something out of science fiction, which really is the best kind of technology. Google Glass is a great example of what kinds of bleeding edge tech Google is currently working on. They want you to have a simple yet amazing experience with minimal effort. The information of the world at your immediate disposal. Now imagine these two companies working together. This is only the beginning of an unbelievable journey into the future



When I was a young kid growing up in Arkansas I was super interested in technology and I always thought the day would come where you could walk in your door, say “Hello, House” or something like that and the wheels would start clicking. Lights would come on at your verbal command be it whispered or not. Heating and Air controlled to fit your comfort level and designed to give you absolute control no matter where you are is just the beginning for Google. Imagine your entire house being at your command, or getting real-time data on how much water your using, or what your energy efficiency is for a single day. It really is something to think of all the possibilities that could soon be a reality for society.



While the reaction to this kind of technology seems to be highly anticipatory, there are a couple of facets that could be a deal breaker for quite a few of us, at least for now. Technology that is capable of doing all the magical stuff we want it to do comes with two costs, one is the whopping retail price you’ll pay and the other is the cost in privacy. Google glass comes in at around $1500 if you can get a spot in the explorer program to try it out. The Nest thermostat is the most expensive you’ll probably ever buy at $249.99, and the carbon monoxide/smoke detector is $129.99. If those prices are scary to you think about the privacy issues that arise with systems like these. If Google were to develop products controlled by your voice or over the internet in any way, there will be a data trail. A possibility that someone else out there could see what you see. Google has some of the best security in the world but it doesn’t help that they along with many other internet giants are forced to share their data with other not so reliable entities.

]]> 0
Note 3 Thu, 15 May 2014 14:00:24 +0000 At a whopping 168 grams, and a massive 5.7” 1080p screen, the Galaxy Note III has to be the largest out of the family thus far. With 3GB of RAM (under 2GB available?), and 32GB (standard) of internal storage, this phone is a powerhouse running Android 4.3. Samsung has filled the Note 3 with so many pen-based gestures, you’ll be hard-pressed to use it without the S Pen. When pulling out the S-Pen you’ll first notice a gesture menu open.


Check out are Note 3 Tips and Tricks Blog Here



I was a little bit curious how this would be handy for the everyday Tweet, Text, or Call. But it’s definitely a handy feature for your average monkey suit business man or woman. The speaker grill on this phone was mysteriously placed on the bottom bezel, likely to make the device as thin as it is. I was let down by the performance of the loudspeaker. Music and calls sounded crystal clear, lows and highs where they should be, but it just wasn’t as loud as I’d expect from a phone so big. The camera on this device was almost constantly a let-down. Low light, great light, even taking photos inside of a light box appeared blurry with any amount of zooming. Maybe I’m just spoiled by my iPhone 5S, but a phone that cost $299 on a 2 year contract should have a stellar image sensor. The front camera was spot on, with “Beauty Face” Making selfies all look fantastic, even in low-light situations. Android 4.3 didn’t seem to feature anything I haven’t seen before, I’m still confused as to why it exist and isn’t just a reiteration of Android 4.2. Samsung’s Sense UI is as expected, the same as on the Note II. The design of the device is almost completely different, though. They ditched the organic, pebble design of the SIII days and went for the same sharp, executive design of the SVI. With a straight, ribbed bezel and flat screen on the front, and an interesting soft leather texture back plate.galaxy-note-2-vs-galaxy-s4-1


The review unit I had (black) wasn’t color coordinated at all, and it actually made the device unpleasant to look at. I had a Blue-steel colored screen, with a chrome bezel and a black back plate. The actual performance of the device was quite impressive, with a score of over 35,000 on Antutu, However on Geekbench 3 my iPhone 5S outscored it several times. As any techie will tell you, though, Benchmarks don’t make the device, however this phone had the speed to back those scores up. Battery life on it was unexpectedly fantastic. I had mine from Friday – Monday, and Friday afternoon I had charged it up to 100%, and was at 30% when I turned it in Monday. That’s with heavy use, with at least eight hours of screen on-time.Note3-HandsOn-24-580-100



Check Out Engadgets Review Here

To sum things up, The Galaxy Note 3 should have been called the Galaxy Note 2S, seeing as the only thing they really changed was the design, processor, and the camera (sadly… The Note 2 Camera was GREAT!). I can’t see any reason to spend $300 ON CONTRACT to buy this device, when there’s so many other great devices out that don’t cost as much, and are more pocket friendly.

]]> 0
Wii Fit U Shows Promise in Nintendo Innovation Tue, 13 May 2014 14:54:58 +0000 I recently saw a commercial for the new Wii Fit U set up and it looks amazing.It’s been a while since I’ve seen the Wii Fit in action, and I have to admit the U part makes all the difference I’m impressed. The new system allows You can take benefit meter with you not only tracks your steps but also your acceleration and atmospheric pressure changes to determine your altitude throughout the day. For instance, running up steps would burn more calories than walking on a flat surface. You can then sync your fit meter to the Wii Fit U profile you created and get detailed graphical information hour by hour of your activity the calories you burn your progress in the game. You can also take this information and apply it to different famous locations around the world to conquer a FitMeter challenge. Basically a fun way to force yourself to think about exercise all the time!

The Wii console has always been different from others, the graphics aren’t phenomenal the games that aren’t made by Nintendo are sometimes lackluster. The system is designed to be fun and custom fit for you and Nintendo has accomplished becoming a staple in American gaming. I still remember when we got our first Super Nintendo. We had Mario to start out with and it was pretty awesome. You didn’t have to ask for more quarters to keep playing just like our old Atari but the graphics were very nice. Through the years and all the games, Nintendo has kept its audience captive and developed loyal fans because of their commitment to making it memorable. While they have drawn some heat over the past several years for “under-performing”, Nintendo seems to never really be focused on what the other guys are doing, they seem to only be focused on making their system better.

The new Wii Fit U is packed with technology that is cutting edge these days. If you wanted a similar product to do these functions of recording your altitude, acceleration and count your steps all while being able to sync and give you a nice graphical interface with a progress bar, you’d be looking at close to $200 for that little gadget alone. Nintendo has made the FitMeter available for $19.99. While the Wii U comes in a little higher ($299.99) than traditional Nintendo systems, the system is worth what you pay for it. The future of Nintendo probably doesn’t reside in one fitness game, but I do think it’s a great step in the right direction. If you haven’t seen the things to come on Wii U, you should definitely check out some of the new Nintendo titles coming out as well such as Mario Kart 8 which comes out this Spring.If you’re having issues with your console, bring it in and let us take a look. The service fee covers diagnostic @ $29.99 and goes towards the cost of repair!

]]> 0
Minecraft Mon, 05 May 2014 15:13:43 +0000 If your children are anything like mine, then Minecraft is a part of their game collection.  Minecraft has grown from just a PC game to one that you can download to almost any platform (is not available for Playstation 4, Vita and Xbox One- but coming soon).    In our house, we have the two PC versions, the Xbox 360 and an Android pocket version.  Our kids have played this game since the beta version and have increased awareness among their friends prompting my cousin and my friend to purchase this unknowing game for their children.   Ya, I have answered many questions concerning this game to my children’s friends.  All four the kids play and they play together frequently.

Screen Shot 2014-05-03 at 1.47.14 PM

Minecraft started out strictly PC/Mac in 2009.   Mincraft has no specific goals but there are achievements that you can complete.  There are different materials to gather- coal, iron, wood, and stones- that are used to build houses, weapons, and torches plus the worlds are infinite.  In the beginning, you needed shelter and weapons for nighttime crawlers such as zombies, spiders, ect.  The game has expanded to include player vs. player- but it is not necessary.

The game’s graphics are “old school” (like the first Nintendo) but requires a decent video card to run. ( The game has expanded and now there are different MODS (modifications)- such as the Iron Man Mod that turns your character into Iron Man and a Hunger Games Mod.  (


Minecraft is one of the top games- Game Informer rated it 9.25 for the Xbox 360 edition (

Screen Shot 2014-05-03 at 1.47.22 PM

While the Android market has it listed as the third most popular paid downloaded game ( ( gave the game an overall rating of a 9.  Metacritic rated 93 out of 100 and 7.4 out of 10 (; while Gamestop rated the game an 8.7 out of 10 (



Minecraft does not advertise but has grossed 322.4 million in the last year.  When it first released the Xbox 360 version in May 2013, it sold over 11 million copies.  The Playstation 3 was released in December of 2013 and by January- sold over 1 million copies.  All due to word of mouth-   (


This game is an interesting game where kids of all ages get into playing- downloading free modifications, all versions, getting their friends involved and making YouTube videos.  These YouTube videos are averaging about a million a year- ( for the most popular videos.  My kids are all about watching these videos- getting ideas and tips.  My friend’s sons watch the videos more than playing the game.


Screen Shot 2014-05-03 at 1.47.29 PM

Overall, it is a cool game that has commanded a place among many children’s gaming collections.  The game is not bad- without Mods- there is no nudity and low violence (unless you play player vs. player).  Go and try this game- it seems simple but becomes very addicting.  If playing is not your thing but you want to know more about it- then go to YouTube and watch the millions (80,900,000) of videos on how to play Minecraft. (



]]> 0
Malware Maintenance Basics Sat, 29 Mar 2014 12:00:18 +0000 Routine maintenance is important for your house, vehicle, teeth and your computer. As much as we procrastinate and put those things off they eventually get our attention. The point of maintenance is to try and avoid the frustrating and sometimes painful attention getters. One area of our lives that often is taken for granted is the correct operation of the computers we use. It’s easier than you think to protect your computer from most malware and even remove most simple forms.


Removing malware from your computer is impossible without some kind of anti-malware software, the foundation of which is an anti-virus. Most anti-virus suites today have adware, spyware, everything-ware removal software with them but they still aren’t as thorough as using multiple specialized scanners. Think about it like getting multiple opinions from several doctors, each specializing in their own field working to give you a clean bill of health for free. That’s right, most of them are free. For antivirus software Microsoft Security Essentials is free and actually is now called Defender in Windows 8, Avira and AVG are also great free programs. Each one of those programs offers realtime virus scanning as well as a sleek interface that isn’t too bulky on system resources.


Cleaning up a mess is a different beast altogether. If you are already infected and your computer is already a little berserk you would need to have put so99me nice portable programs on your computer. Malwarebytes Free Anti-Malware is one of the best at removing unwanted malicious programs on your computer. I recommend you start by re-booting in Safe Mode by tapping F8 on startup, and running this program or one like it as there are several other free ones that are really good. There are a great many resources at that can assist you in cleaning up the damage done by malware. For instance, if every time you search for something it goes to some crazy ad-filled website  you could run adwcleaner which you can find at bleeping computer.  Hitman Pro actually has a tool called kickstart which will make an emergency bootable USB that kicks the crap out of most malware.Luck favors the prepared. Be prepared with free emergency scanner programs preloaded or saved on a flash drive.


Avoidance is a fantastic way to keep your computer clean. If something sounds too good to be true on the internet it probably is. You can always tell the kinds of websites that have the potential of installing malware on your computer because they almost always are associated with getting something for free. Games for free, 10,000,000 free holiday screen savers, free iPad’s! These harmless surveys always sell your information to other ad agencies who want to clog your computer with targeted ad’s designed to catch your eye like, “Economists predict boom in Fort Smith real estate click here to speak to a live qualified agent!!!” . It’s all bad stuff, and the best way to avoid it happening to you is to stay away from sites that are ad heavy. If you don’t recognize the extension, chances are you probably don’t need it. Ad-Block Plus is about the only extension I use across the platforms of Chrome, Firefox and Internet Explorer and it can help eliminate a lot of the mess. If you do get infected and it doesn’t look good, give Gadget Grave a call before you give up on it. We can save you the headache and protect you from malware with a 90 day warranty each time. Our Gizmo  Shield starts at $129.99 and includes all the good things you see above and then some to help back that warranty.

]]> 0
Game review: Minigore 2 Wed, 26 Mar 2014 12:00:50 +0000 Next we have a cross platform game Minigore 2 this is available for the Android and iOS devices. The game will set you back $2.99 on the app store and free on Google Play. The reason it is free on Google is there is a small advertisement up top, it doesn’t hinder gameplay at all. Minigore is a top down shooter, that throws you in the flay as soon as you load up. The dual stick controls are easy to manipulate and fire. The graphics are excellent and the hordes of baddies are everywhere. The auto-aim function can be used but since I am a fly by the seat of my pants guy I chose to for-go that. Once you start the first stage and clear it the second stage starts up without pause. There are special zombies that are thrown in the mix at each stage to keep you on your toes.


The game is kind of weird, in that it’s kind of level-based, as far as I know there are 7 different levels to play, but it’s also based to be endless. There are many objectives to be completed for extra coins, but the ultimate goal is to kill the boss. The boss will usually comes in right at the beginning of the level, but it will come back after a while to finally take on the player again Of course, it’s all about the loot!                 


You will earn coins from killing the zombies and from completing all the mini-objectives you are tasked with and at anytime in the game you can go to the shop to upgrade, unlock weapons, characters and stages. The coins you earn and upgrades are numerous. This is good as you will most definitely need them to complete the higher levels. If you die it’s ok as you will just re-spawn and continue the battle. When you kill the boss glory is yours. I must admit I love the unyielding waves of zombies because it is a blast to play. There are even humorous catchphrases from each character which adds to the playability and arcade like gameplay.


Minigore 2: Zombies isn’t just how a game should feel, it’s how the genre should have evolved long ago, and those who have been itching for a mindless romp should dig in right away. This game is literally a pick-up and play, you will be thrown straight into the zombie fest and you can chose to stop whenever you want. The enemies are randomized and the mini bosses and level bosses keep things fresh. There are plenty of upgrades to buy thanks to the ridiculous amount of gold you collect throughout the game. The only drawbacks are the rates of the weapon drops. There are either an overabundance or the scarcity of weapons. This makes it harder when you drop a weapon and pick up one that you don’t need or want. While there is not a lot of depth to this game, Minigore is the perfect combination of fast pace action and cartoonish appeal to make this game a joy to play.

Available_GooglePlay_Button app_store_badge_en_0609

]]> 0
FatSecret App Sun, 23 Mar 2014 12:00:26 +0000 Fitness…fitness….fitness


The New Year has arrived and many of us are trying to stick to our New Year Resolutions- lose weight, be nice, ect.  There are a few good apps to help with weight that are free.  One, I have used (need to more regularly) is FatSecret.  When I first discovered the app, it helped me lose 10 pounds.  The app is simple and easy to use and helps you stay in control of your weight loss.  The only way to lose weight is to change your eating habits, lifestyle and cutting calories/exercising.  FatSecret helps you take control of counting calories and makes it easy and painless.

Screen Shot 2014-03-19 at 5.45.46 PM

When you open the app, you complete a small questionnaire- Sex, weight, height, and activity level plus email and password.  After your account is set up, the app opens to a new screen that gives you a very short crash course in using the app- but it is simple.  The app reviews your current weight, how much weight you want to lose and your activity level to determine the amount of calories you may consume daily.  You can change the amount of calories you want to consume each day if you do not like their calculation.  As you eat, you scan the barcodes found on food items or you can use the search function to find what you are eating.   You can change the serving size and the app automatically adjusts the calories and adds to your grid.  FatSecret tells you how many calories you have left after each entry.    FatSecret has a list of different activities ranging from housecleaning to running with an estimate of how many calories burned.   Each activity burns some calories plus you can add your own activity such as elliptical machine.  FatSecret includes many restaurant menu items listed as well.  The app adds your daily caloric intake and the calories you burn throughout the day – showing you the deficit in calories thus weight loss or if you are trying to gain weight, show you how many calories you need to gain the weight.

The one thing I love about the app is I can see what I am eating and how many calories I have left; plus with exercise, it helps me make sure I stay on track and lose the pounds I want/need.

Cnet reviewed the app and stated “Calorie Counter is the essential app to simply find nutritional info for the food you eat and easily keep track of your meals, exercise and weight.”   Read more here:


Screen Shot 2014-03-19 at 5.47.16 PM

Download the app here:




With a busy lifestyle, the app takes little effort but does not help with motivation to stay on track.  There is a new feature to the app that showcases tasty recipes.  The recipe offers list of ingredients, how to prepare, nutritional information and a button that imports the information to your food diary.  I love to review and try new recipes, especially since my house is full of individuals with food allergies and other health problems making it difficult to prepare meals.

Screen Shot 2014-03-19 at 5.46.10 PM


The app is available for free from iTunes and the Google Play Store.

]]> 0
BitStrips Thu, 20 Mar 2014 12:00:13 +0000 My addiction is BitStrips.  The short comics are cute, funny and I love the little stories they portray.  BitStrips started on Facebook but there is a free app available for iPhone and Android phones.  Once downloaded, you can sign in either through Facebook or by email.   You “design” yourself and then begin browsing the comics available.  You may choose a friend to be in your comic with you.  If your friend does not have BitStrips yet, it’s ok.  You will be able to make their avatar for them and the friend will receive an invitation to BitStrips.


The app has been on of the top-ten list of downloaded apps since its release and many people still post the fun comics on Facebook- yes; I am one of those people.  The app has developed a new phrase.  I get “BitStriped” from friends and I have “BitStriped” friends. This app and its popularity led to ABC news to write a story on the app-  The app does contain a few bugs but many apps do as well and luckily, I have not had this problem.  Most reviews for the app are positive and the major negative to the app is the inability to be a little more creative. (

One reason I decided to review BitStrips is because they are using their popularity to help teachers in the classroom. .The program is not free but its popularity and ease of use would make it a great way for teachers to help their students learn.  In this day in age, it seems that teachers struggle with ways to compete with technology.  BitStrips combines popular apps with learning.  The site offers many package deals as well as yearly contracts.


With paid access, you are able to browse through all topics offered.  The topics range from Math, Science to social issues and even ESL.  A teacher can create their own comics, teach critical thinking skills as well as develop lesson plans.  BistStrips for Schools allows teachers to create their own virtual classroom that is private.  You can search by grade or subject.  It allows you to review work and provide feedback to each child, privately.   The website even has a blog for teachers-

Many reviews for BitStrips for Schools are positive.  This website,,  discusses the benefits for using the app in classrooms.  The writer likes the creativity and discusses the negative he sees- the limited “design” aspect of the comics.


The website Graphite rated the app for schools as a 3 out 5 for learning and teachers rated it 4 out 5 ( ).   Many pros to BitStrips for Schools is the creativity it allows for the students while doing hands-on learning for many usual “boring” or “mundane” tasks.

BitStrips is fun and I love seeing the new comics as well as everyone’s comic.  BitStrips for Schools seems like a great idea and something that schools should look into doing.  Both apps are sure to be a hit with kids- old and young.

]]> 0
Pixlr Express Wed, 12 Mar 2014 13:00:14 +0000 In the world of selfies, everyone is looking for easy but good photo editing programs.  With Picnik gone, people try all kinds of photo editing apps to edit their pictures.  I have come across Pixlr.  This program has three versions available online- compatible with Mac and PCs as well as two versions available for smart phones including Apple ( ).   When you go to the website, there three boxes- so you can choose the photo editing you want to try.


(desktop view)

Pixlr Editor requires skills in photo editing, as it is similar to Photoshop.  This program allows you to manipulate the photos, as you want.  There are no preset ideas to add to your photograph.  This version is not available for cell phones.

The second one is my favorite.  Pixlr Express combines preset borders, filters, effects, overlays and other ways to edit your photos.  This one is very easy and allows you to adjust everything yourself for a personal look.  I love the idea of applying the effect then adjusting it to help the photo.  It also has a collage feature.  This version is available for smart phones and is free.

Before                                After


I love the ability to take the standard possibilities and make it my own.  The Pixlr Express is easy to use and quite fun.  This is easy to use and you do not necessarily need any skills, you can play and adjust until you like the picture.

The last one is the Pixlr O-Matic.  This program has preset filters.  They are the same ones from the Piklr Express but you do not get to adjust each.  This program is simple and requires no skill.  You upload the picture, apply the filter then download.  It is simple and easy to use.

Reviews for the app are high and Cnet ranks the app as a 9.1 out of 10 ( ).   Cnet states that it is one of the best offered but does not allow a commonplace or a way to automatically upload photos to social media sites like Facebook.  AndroidPIT rated the Pixlr Express - and gave it a rating of 5 stars for being easy to use, ability to share and easy to use navigation and controls.

At the Google Play store, the app has a rating of 4.6 stars.  Most like the app and like how easy it is to use.  The app for the phone has a few bugs but when used on the computer, I have not come across any problems.

The app on your phone pulls pictures from your phone, choose a picture, edit then it saves in your gallery- under a new folder- Pixlr Express.  It is sweet and simple.

You do not download the program to your computer and this is not appealing to those without Internet at home.  When you first arrive, you pick which Pixlr you want to use.  You can edit one of your photos or select one of theirs.  It opens up and you edit your photo- it will save to the same directory so do not forget to rename the photo-so you do not override the original photo.

Download the App today

Available_GooglePlay_Button app_store_badge_en_0609


]]> 0