The Game Isn’t Over for BlackBerry

BlackBerry

BlackBerry became one of the leading brands in the smartphone industry for a brief period in history. It was once the brand of choice among corporate clients and lay people alike because of its laudable security features. But sadly, it wasn’t able to augment nor maintain its good standing; instead, its numbers gradually declined from 43% of the worldwide smartphone market share in 2010 to only more or less 3.8% today. Its downfall is so fast like transferring data using a USB data cable; it will make your head spin.

For quite some time, BlackBerry struggled to keep itself adrift. It even resorted to lay off a huge population of its staff just to cut costs. In the 3rd quarter of 2013, the company laid off almost 40% of its employees due to the $1 billion loss it has incurred. This proof, together with the mediocre stats of BlackBerry, are already convincing enough to foresee the likelihood of its collapse.

But the game isn’t yet over for BlackBerry. In fact, it resorted to a new, bolder approach by getting personal to its patrons. The Canadian smartphone manufacturer sent a letter to its loyal customers which goes like this:

To our valued customers, partners and fans,

 You’ve no doubt seen the headlines about BlackBerry. You’re probably wondering what they mean for you as one of the tens of millions of users who count on BlackBerry every single day.

 We have one important message for you:

 You can continue to count on BlackBerry.

This letter is what we may describe as a desperate measure by the once mighty tech giant, though this definitely makes a compelling case to its consumers. Parts of the letter highlighted the consistent security of the platform and its popularity among the corporate consumers. Furthermore, with the BBM now available to both iOS and Android devices, BlackBerry’s presence in the context of messaging is still alive and sought after.

There appears to be lesser and lesser people who still have an ample amount of confidence that BlackBerry will be able to get back its previously stellar reputation, especially now that Apple and Google are holding a duopoly in the mobile platform market. It will require more than a team of brilliant and innovative people to bolster the company back to the top.

But I have to say, this move by BlackBerry is an audacious one. Regardless of the fact that reports are showing its near-end situation, not to mention the plans of the company to be acquired by other companies, BlackBerry still reassures its valued customers that it will still carry on. For sure, the company has learned from its mistakes, and who knows, if it will take all those lessons into account and apply them, it might be able to salvage its struggling state.

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Phone Calls Eavesdrop Irritation Explained

Eavesdropping

“Hello? … Yeah, it’s me! Hey you know what, I saw her and guess what happened… *laughs so hard* Yes! I know, right? He sure is! … Okay. Yeah … Ah-huh … no … OMG! Really? *laughs so hard and loud again*Okay.  Alright! … Sure! … Okay, bye! *beep*”

And just like that. With just a snap, all eyes on the girl who just had a call. Do you know what they were talking about? Maybe it was her estranged friend? I don’t know, it sounds negative to me. Or, maybe it was his ex boyfriend’s new girl? Probably! Yeah, keep guessing. You will be able to get it right one in a million chances anyway. And then it hits you, why would you even bother to guess what the conversation over the smartphone was about?

On a lighter note, you then realize that you experience that familiar feeling of … frustration! Have you ever felt being annoyed by just listening to a phone conversation? This conversation is somewhat referred to as a “halfalogue” nowadays since, evidently, you only hear a half of it. But the question is: why do we feel irritated when we are just overhearing a “halfalogue” conversation? Why would it bother us when in fact we are not even involved in the discussion? Why do we want to strangle the one talking with the wires of mobile earphones just for him or her to stop talking? Head on; read on! The phone call eavesdrop irritation is about to be explained.

Well, basically, the reason that we get irritated when we overhear a phone conversation is because it disturbs our cognitive functions—leaving you dropping every single thing you are doing just to hear the phone talk whether you like it or not. It is something we just can’t get away from.

An assistant professor of psychology at the University of San Diego, Veronica V. Galván said, “If you only hear one person speaking, you’re constantly trying to place that part of the conversation in context,” and, “that’s naturally going to draw your attention away from whatever else you’re trying to do.” It then basically distracts you from whatever you are doing; kind of gets more annoying if you are in haste or something. Dr. Galván also added, “When people are trapped next to a one-sided conversation – known nowadays as a “halfalogue” – their anger rises in the same way it does in other situations where they are not free to leave, like waiting for a train.” No matter how much you squeeze your hanky out of frustration, you just can’t make the train run faster than it is.

Now, do you see the picture? Well, here comes another reason to now get the picture. We find phone conversation annoying because of the strangeness of one-sided conversation. With that being said, it shows that we are being drawn to the conversation simply because we are trapped in a one-sided discussion—leaving us wanting to figure out what is it all about. Not to mention, their reactions and the words coming out of their mouth are totally surprising. Simply put, our brain is drawn to a conversation because it is something hard or can’t be tuned out.

And because there is no way for us to understand what was being talked about right off the bat, we then believe that the talker is being abnormally loud despite the fact that the talker was just in a normal voice and that it’s definitely, totally, more often times not loud at all.

Said Dr. Emberson, “When you stare at a light, it seems brighter.” And same is true with paying attention to noise.

Being caught in overhearing a phone conversation is something inevitable. It’s either you leave the room when you get a chance, or just get your hopes up that those people will stop having drawn out conversations on the bus.

Would You Expose Your Dropbox Files to the Masses?

dropboxNot everything you have is meant to be shared. While religious teachings want us to practice generosity, there are just some things in life that are better left unknown; better left unsaid. So if you’d think that one of which is your password to your personal accounts, then you are partly right.

I’m sorry, what? Partly?

It’s not a misprint or something. Actually, you do need to share your password, but evidently, only to the person close to you to prepare for that inevitable day when you breathe your last breath, or become incapacitated. But… you should know how and when to draw the line. Do you have your own Dropbox account? That’s more likely what we are going to talk about today.

This file hosting service—as we all users know—offers cloud storage, file synchronization, and client software. With that being said, it lessens the need for USB data cables since you can just access and/or drop any electronic files in your Dropbox account so long as you are connected to the internet. Well, it’s good to have a repository for all your files, but what files really are you keeping in your Dropbox account? May I know? Or the question is: should I know?

Everything you store in your Dropbox account is definitely none of everyone’s business apart from you. And as I have said, not everything is meant to be shared. Now, if you have an iPhone 5S in your hand then there’s nothing pretty much to be bothered about. Well, except when you are asleep and someone used your finger to access your handheld device. On a lighter note, what if someone accidentally—or perhaps intentionally—got your Dropbox credentials? Would you freak out? Shudder no more, because Two-factor authentication has got you covered.

What is two-factor authentication, you ask? Well, it basically combines your password with an additional security code that can only be used once. This code is then sent to your smartphone that you need to enter upon logging into your Dropbox account to access it. Sounds pretty neat, right? If you don’t want to disclose your Dropbox Files to the public, then might as well set up the two-factor authentication.

 Here’s how:

To secure your Dropbox files, first off, you must log in to your Dropbox account. Then once you are logged in, go the Settings by selecting your name in the upper right corner of the window. Found the Settings already? Great! Now, select the Security tab. Now, look for the Account in the heading and find Two-step verification. Once you’ve found it, you may now enable it. Dropbox will then walk you through the process as you setup two-factor authentication. It will then prompt you to enter your Dropbox password. Once you’ve entered the password, you will be asked whether you want the security code via text messages or use the authenticator app instead. If you are subscribed in an unlimited text messaging plan, then it would be pretty much easy for you to choose receiving security codes via text messages instead. But if not, then you can always have the authenticator app that can provide lots of suggestions, too. Now, if you opted for the text message, you will be prompted to enter your phone number. Key it in, and then just follow the process.

But what if you’ve experienced a mishap, say like lost your phone? You need not worry, since two-factor authentication leaves you a 16-digit emergency backup code that you can use to access your Dropbox account once again.

So when you log into your account the next time, you will now be asked to enter the security code apart from your username and password. They will then send you a message that contains the code. Happy Dropboxing indeed!

You No Longer Need these Apps with the iOS 7

iOS-7-Apps-MakeoverApps are indubitably the lifeblood of smartphones. Without them, our mobile devices won’t be as useful and valuable as they are today. This is the very reason why app stores are a thing; they make sure that they always bring something new to mobile consumers so as to make each and every smartphone experience worth it. However, with the iOS 7 already in most iDevices in the open, some apps have proven to be useless and obsolete. See what those apps are by reading the list below.

  1. Pandora. With the iTunes Radio, you no longer need apps such as Pandora and the like. The iOS app lets you stream to your favorite music like the other players. Additionally, it lets you purchase the music of your liking and import it directly into your library.
  2. iHandy Level. The iOS 7’s Compass app has a hidden feature that you can access easily by swiping to the right while on the app. The hidden feature that I’m talking about is a level that is helpful for making sure that your pictures, as well as any other things that need levelling, are flat. The app has a black and white interface for an outright minimalistic approach. Too bad for iHandy Level because you won’t be needing it anymore now that you already have the Compass app.
  3. Flashlight Apps. Thanks to the ultra-bright LED beside the back camera of your iPhone, you can use your device as a flashlight. If before, you have to download a flashlight app to make it work without using the camera, now, you just have to go to the control center so that you can light your way with a simple tap on the screen.
  4. Flayvr. The new Photos app integrated in the iOS 7 is a great sorter tool for your images. You can group your pictures by date, location, event, or whichever you want. Therefore, you will no longer need a photo-organizing app like Flavyr because Photos makes organizing and sharing images a tad easier.
  5. Lookout Mobile Security. More than the looks of the iOS 7, the added security features in this version are worth some praises. The preinstalled Find My iPhone app is like any other apps out there that you can download for a fee, so why the need to download them still? Find My iPhone lets you track down your missing iDevice. Also, it lets you remotely wipe your phone clean if ever there are any confidential information or accounts tied up with it that you don’t want others to gain access to.

iOS 7 is really something, eh? Well, if it so happened that you still haven’t updated your operating system yet, then what are you waiting for? Do it now!

LG Looks Ahead Into the Future of Bendable Technology

flexible-phone-screens

Just recently, Samsung has overtaken LG in releasing the first ever smartphone with a bendable display. The two South Korean tech giants have gone head-to-head with each other ever since word of the flexible screen technology has come out. A few weeks before, Samsung had kept its silence, making people all over the world think that it isn’t going to meet its target date. Meanwhile, LG had been releasing updates to keep its clientele posted on the developments of the flexible display to be integrated to its newest smartphone. As it turns out, the former’s silence came out to surprise the general public when it finally announced the release of Samsung Galaxy Round, the smartphone with a curved display.

Though the Galaxy Round is only going to be available shortly in South Korea alone, it had sparked the interest of tech-savvy consumers all around the world. But mind you, just because the handheld device has a bendable display doesn’t mean that the Galaxy Round itself is flexible. It simply isn’t. At this very moment, the prospect of having flexible gadgets is so far-fetched because the essential internal components, such as the batteries, are still non-bendable. Due to this perceived concern, LG is trying to craft a battery that is capable of being bended.

According to the announcement of LG, it will be developing a flexible battery that could make their devices totally virtually bendable. Recent developments have urged the company to make use of “cable batteries,” which are flexible, energy efficient, and waterproof. And because they can be bended, they will be resistant to physical damage. LG even claims that the cable batteries can be tied into a knot. With a mobile device like this, you will never need a protective case ever again to make sure your device stays intact. It most certainly can stand on its own against all insults.

As it turns out, the curved screen that both Samsung and LG are to release on their smartphones are but a jump-start to the bendable technology. According to Sascha Segan, a mobile analyst at PC Mag, “I don’t think this particular model is going to be a big deal on the market.” And yes, the full potential of the bendable technology is yet to be realized once the essential components within the smartphone are also made to be flexible.

More than for the smartphone industry itself, the cable battery, once fully materialized, can be used in a number of consumer electronic devices of the future, especially for wearable gadgets. Their durability is ideal to the said gadgets because they consume a small amount of space; plus, they can follow the contours of the wearable device. From here on, it’s going to be about which company is going to come up with the best innovation to make it the champion in the gruelling smartphone wars.

Do You Really Need to Secure Your Passwords?

Secure Your Password

There has been a plethora of security systems innovated to evidently secure valuable things against people who have malicious intentions, be it with pricey possessions or personal identity. And so people learned to protect these things by putting them in a vault or securing them with passwords.

People have now been more careful about putting passwords on their accounts even on their smartphones. You’ll never know, in just a few toggle and taps of a stranger, all your precious things have already turned to dust. So, it really pays to have a unique password in which you alone know—or does it?

What if one day you became incapacitated? Or worse comes to worst, what if you… died? As someone said, no one stays healthy forever. And with that being said, a person in your life may need to access all your accounts when the time comes that you barely remember anything. If they know your password, then it will definitely be much easier for them to access your accounts.

This digital world is now evidently password-protected. And it shows from your favorite social networking sites, even to the files of your phone. And so, if you want to protect your handset wholly, a mobile back case won’t be enough. As you protect your phone’s hardware, the software must be protected as well, most especially if it contains confidential information that shouldn’t be divulged in the masses.

Now, if (God forbid) something bad happened to a loved one and you needed to access his or her personal accounts, actually there is a way even without knowing the credentials. But, you are going to get through a rough and tough process just to access the account.

A great example would be on Google’s page for Accessing a deceased person’s mailing account. You are then required to gather up several official files that you also need to send via snail-mail—and that includes the death certificate, of course. Not to mention, you also need to get your pockets and purses all set for paying a pretty penny. Plus, there is also a Part 2 of the processes in which you will be required to get additional legal documents that includes an order from a U.S. court and yada yada.

See how much pain that brings? Of course there would be someone in our life that we can trust to not eat the single donut in the fridge until you get home. It can be your wife, mom, loved one; relative… anyone that is close to you that you know that won’t hold anything against you. One way or another, these people close to you will need to access your accounts just to continue what you have started. Be it a business or for personal matter, they must know them because they are part of your personal and private life. Now, do you really need to secure your passwords even from your loved ones?

Fun Apps for Christmas

Can you hear it? Can you smell it? Can you feel it? In just a few more sleep, the most awaited season annually before each year ends is already being welcomed by people across all nations! What season, winter? Eh. It is the Christmas season, of course. This season sure brings all the bells and whistles as it gathers people—even those who are oceans apart—all close at heart.

Do you want a fun way to enjoy Christmas season? What about the fun way of waiting till this special season comes? May the spirit of Christmas be in our hearts through our smartphones as you load them with fun apps made especially for Yuletide!

Christmas Countdown

#1: Christmas Countdown

Are you always excited about how many days are left before it’s finally Christmas? Boy, I bet you couldn’t sleep already! You can’t wait no longer for Christmas, huh? Save yourself out from exhaustion on counting how many days should you wake and how many more nights should you still sleep before it’s finally *gasp air* Christmas! With this app, you can get an interactive Live Wallpaper with a Christmas Countdown in a snowfall of lights. Not only does this app let you have an instant countdown for Christmas, but it can also be set to 3D New Years Countdown!

Jigsaw

#2: Christmas Puzzle Game: Jigsaw

Do you want to piece together each day as we draw near closer to Christmas, yet in a more fun and relaxing way? Let’s cut to the chase, and have yourself a merry little puzzling and exciting Christmas with this Christmas Jigsaw Puzzle Game! Enjoy dragging the puzzle pieces to the right place to complete the puzzle as you make your way to experience the spirit of Christmas! Loaded with lots of Christmas pictures, you are surely going to love your Christmas.

Slice

#3: Christmas Slice

And you think nothing could spoil your Christmas? Think again. It can be you who could spoil it! To bend the predictability of Christmas, here is Christmas Slice app that lets you help the bat to steal Santa’s gifts by cutting boards, and using items such as Christmas socks. The little bat wants to steal those gifts so he could give it to his fiancée. This little guy is sweet after all. Everything is fair in love and war indeed. So, might as well help this little sweet bat!

Bouncy Bill

#4: Bouncy Bill Christmas Style

Have you played Bouncy Bill already? Now, check this out as he is now in a super festive mood to celebrate with you this Christmas season! Simply tap the screen to make Bouncy Bill jump vertically to reach his destination as quickly as possible. He must then race against time so he could break the evil spell of the evil Wizard Zorik so he can regain his ability to move left and right. Complete each level and make him the happiest Christmas Tre…—Turtle!

Gift List

#5: Christmas Gift List

As what the name of this app implies, it’s here to save the day! With Christmas Gift List, rest assured you won’t likely be caught on the last minute shopping! At least, now you can track gift ideas, set a gift budget for each person, and mark the gift as purchased as you do your shopping! It is even password protected so it will be for your eyes only. With this app installed, you can now forget no one when you give gifts!

Install these apps on your phone, and I bet you will never close its cell phone cover! Hah! Isn’t it nice to enjoy waiting for Christmas while having fun? Well, yeah! Have a Happy Yuletide!

Can Plants vs. Zombies Reach Epic Proportions?

iOS users are very fortunate because the sequel of the very famous and beloved PopCap game, Plants vs. Zombies, has long been released on iTunes. The new game is named “Plants vs. Zombies 2: It’s About Time.” The theme of the game is so out-of-this-world that people have crazed for it. By mid-September, it was already downloaded more than 25 million times, with players spending more than 140 million hours of game play in the process. What’s more unusually fun than relying on plants to defend you against the zombies hungry to eat your brain, eh?

 Given the fame that the game has received, this we ask: is there a chance that it will become big in the gaming empire like Mario? The legacy of Super Mario still manages to expand as time passes by. Mario has become a global icon seen on mashed-up games, the TV, billboards, the internet, and designed on shirts, bags, mugs, mobile accessories, and any other merchandise you can think of. This is a testament on how the short, podgy, Italian plumber has influenced the whole world. Can Plants vs. Zombies reach what Mario has reached?

 The developers of the game are optimistic on this feat. They hold on to the notion that Super Mario was not built in only a single day; it took the game quite a very long time for it to be regarded as how it is today. But then again, what does it really take for a game to establish a name for itself? PopCap believes that the answer lies on details. The team which developed the game did more than just drawing the characters and keying in a bunch of codes. They literally spent months just working on a single plant, trying to figure out how to make it work. That amount of keenness to detail is what contributed to games, such as Super Mario, to garner a lot of loyal fans.

 On a different note, according to Michael Pachter, an analyst at Wedbush Securities, “The free-to-play strategy might help Plants vs. Zombies if their goal is merchandising sales.” He adds, “I think it certainly has franchise potential but not on the same scale as Mario.”

 Maybe it’s too premature to speculate on this matter. What really matters as of now is that we are continually being captivated by the wonders of the game. Who knows, without us even being aware, Plants vs. Zombies might get to build itself its own empire. And all it requires is for gamers like you and me to go with the flow and enjoy the game in our smartphones or tablets like how its creators want us to. It’s just a matter of time till this game reaches epic proportions, especially once the sequel has been made available for Android users as well.

Windows Phones: Better than iOS and Android

When talking about mobile operating systems, the big boys in the mobile industry pinpoints to—more often than not—only two platforms: iOS and Android. Most especially now that they have launched their respective flagships that are on their way to hit the shelves! Just have a few more sleep and you can now see them available on trusty online mobile stores like e_cell.

While the blogosphere is busy talking about these aforementioned great platforms from Apple and Google, netizens miss out all the fun they could get from Microsoft’s Windows Phones. In fact, there are reasons why Windows Phone is ahead of the competition. Let’s have a rundown with Windows Phone’s greatness below:

#1: Windows Phone Home screen

win home screen

Apple iPhone’s home screen is somewhat limiting, but the design is intentional so as to maximize the battery life. With that being said, Android phones have much more edge with interactivity. You think you can never enjoy any home screen other than Android’s? Think again. Try using Android and Windows phones, and you’ll know what interactivity really means. Windows phones have live tiles that help you on selecting the app without having the need to swipe and tap several times. You can organize the tiles easily, move, remove, or resize it depending on your liking.

#2: Microsoft Office

win office

No surprise at all. Since Windows Phones are made by Microsoft, it’ll then be pushing its mobile Office efforts on these handsets. Although you can already get Office files on your Android and iOS devices, Windows Phones offer a better experience on viewing or editing these files.After all, you’re going to need third party apps for you to view Office files on your iOS or Android smartphone. But with Windows Phone, you can start viewing or editing your files right off the bat!

#3: Windows Storage

skydriveTo add space on your mobile phone, we expand its storage capacity by using microSD cards if there are available slots. Apple’s iPhone has no microSD slot, but it can rely to the iCloud. Android phones can also trust services like Google Drive and Dropbox; what about Windows Phones? They call their syncing and storage solution: the SkyDrive—giving you instant access to all your documents in no time.

#4: Social Networking

social networkDo you have countless social networking accounts maintaining? Then I feel all the troubles you get on switching apps so as to check the update on the other. Good thing is that the Windows Phone People app pulls all the updates and notifications from various social networking sites together so you could keep updated across all your accounts on what your friends and family are up to.

#5: Battery Saver

battery saverMost mobile platforms are only concerned about giving you the best features they can offer. But, more often than not, they just render your battery’s phone all juiced out. It then gives you the need to buy replacement batteries. Now, Windows Phone offers a Battery Saver that activates automatically when your phone’s battery life drops low. With other phones, you’ll have to download apps so as to prolong your phone’s battery life. Good thing, Windows Phones are always ready. You can even activate the Battery Saver manually if you like.

With all these features on Windows Phones, aren’t they the ones that deserve the limelight than that of iOS and Android?

Is Your Android Phone Secured Enough?

Smartphone, as a personal device, should be protected more often than not. Since it is one of the personal things we have, like a toothbrush, it is not meant to be shared with other people—well, of course, not unless you want to share something to your friend perhaps in just a matter of minutes.

Why do we secure them, you ask? Well, evidently, there can be important and confidential information it contains that shouldn’t be divulged without permission—most especially when talking about business matters. And so as to protect our nifty gadgets, buying a mobile back case also has now been a necessity more than a luxury. Do you think that the only vulnerable aspect of these phones is the hardware alone? Well then, evidently not. Apple’s iPhone was even declared as the most secured handheld device. But just with the use of a charger, even if the iPhone runs the latest platform that is the iOS 7, the malicious charger called “Mactans” was able to hack the phone in just a matter of seconds. And you might not know, you are already on your way to have your phone all damaged in just a blink of an eye. So, are you sure your phone is being secured enough? Hit the list below to see if you are taking care of your Android phones right:

#1: No Anti-Virus or Security Software Installed

McAfee_Mobile_AntivirusYou might say that all AV programs are only for desktops, and that you and your device do not need having one since you are keen with your browsing, but no. You need to have security apps for your Android devices since it has been reported that the Google Play store has third party developers that has malicious intentions. When you have security app installed on your phone, it can detect the potential threats and it will alert you immediately. Admit it; you have been loading your smartphone with games from Google Play store, haven’t you? With that being said, having an antivirus software is a must!

#2: Have You Read the Permissions?

permissionsThis one is the same as, evidently, the Terms and Conditions. It has been one of the Lazy Rules people live with. They just do not take much time in reading. As long as they know that this certain app is fun, helpful, and whatnot, they are going to ignore and accept whatever is written under Permissions. Two things to keep in mind when installing an app, especially games: 1. It asks access to your phone’s location; and 2.It wants access with the ability to send messages. Once you encounter these two, you might as well think twice if you are going to install this app.

#3: Rooting Your Phone

rootingWhen you root your Android phone, you gain more access to the basest features of it. You can pretty much do almost anything you can’t do when it was still not rooted. Sounds a great benefit, right? But here’s the catch: it creates more potential threats to your phone. Be careful of having a banking app once your phone is already rooted, or you’ll be surprised once you’ve seen your bank account all drained out.

#4: No Security Password

Security LockThis thing need not be mentioned nor stressed further, but most people underestimate the security that screen locks or passwords give. If you have left your phone unattended, you might not know that someone will gain access on your phone in just a few taps. What more if you really value privacy? And so, it pays to have a security password to keep your phone protected—and all the information in it.

#5: Connecting to Untrusted Wi-Fi

wifi hackedWhen there’s a free Wi-Fi, you couldn’t help yourself but connect your device to it. But, little did you know that unsecured Wi-Fi can be the easiest way for your phone to be hacked. In fact, there are even apps for hacking that you can search right on the internet. Would you risk your phone’s security with a free Wi-Fi?

These are just but simple things people usually ignore. You might not know that these small things can wreak havoc not only to your device, but also to your life.