Monthly Archives: July 2014

Keep your laptop battery healthy: Use it sparingly

Here’s one of those sad facts of life that you just can’t avoid: Like cars, clothing, and people, batteries wear out. You can’t stop this process, but with proper care you can slow it down.What wears down a battery? Charging and discharging. Obviously, you can’t avoid either of those acts entirely (although if you could, you wouldn’t have to worry about wearing out your battery). The trick, of course, is to do as little charging and discharging as possible. And one way to avoid charging and discharging is to remove the battery when you don’t need it.

Ideally, you would remove the battery (with the laptop shut down, of course) before plugging in the AC adapter and working at your desk. Then, before you take your PC on the road, you would shut it down, insert the battery, and let it charge for a few hours.

In reality, that’s not always practical. Shutting down and rebooting your PC every time you go from portable to deskbound quickly becomes a nuisance. Worse, you have to remember to recharge before leaving home.

A more practical solution would be to shut down the laptop and remove the battery when you expect it will stay plugged in for a week or more. And don’t intentionally discharge the battery before removing it. After all, the whole point is to charge and recharge as little as possible.

Some of the charge will be lost while the battery sits unused, so it’s still a good idea to recharge it before taking it on the road–even though that requires some planning ahead of time.


Smartphone Apps of the Month- July

Posted June 30, 2014

Smartphone Apps of the Month- July

By Pat Boyle

July is the heart of summer. And nothing says summertime like backyard barbeques and family road trips. July’s apps help smartphone users grill up mouth-watering meals and plan and navigate the ultimate summer road trip.

Weber® Grills: Available on Android and iPhone.

WeberWhether you’re a grilling guru or novice, there’s plenty to know when it comes to the art of barbecue. And if you’re like me, you can use all the help you can get. That’s why I use the Weber® Grills app whenever it’s time to fire up the grill.

Weber® Grills is a comprehensive, easy-to-navigate app that covers all your bases when it comes to grilling. Featuring 75 mouthwatering recipes with full-color photos, detailed ingredients, step-by-step instructions, and user reviews, you won’t have a problem finding something delicious to impress your family and friends with—no matter what type of grill you use. Recipes are divided by food type, so you can choose from red meat, pork, poultry, seafood, or vegetables. There’s even a category for starters and desserts.

One of my favorite features is the grocery list function. Once a recipe is selected, you can tap an icon to have the ingredient list converted to an easy-to-use grocery list format, which makes shopping a breeze! Other fun and helpful features include food prep tips, grilling tutorials, and the ability to share your favorite recipes and grilling stories with other users.

If you love grilling, or you’re looking to perfect your barbecue techniques, Weber® Grills is a great source of inspiration for your next summer meal or backyard party.

Roadtrippers: Available on Android and iPhone.

I love road trips. There’s nothing better than hitting the open road and seeing new sights while spending quality time with the family. Planning the trip can be another story. Mapping out the route while searching for fun and interesting places to see along the way can be difficult and overwhelming. Thanks to Roadtrippers, planning my new adventures is now an enjoyable experience.

Roadtrippers takes the homework out of planning a road trip. You simply plug in where you want your trip to start and finish, and then choose from a list of attractions, historical sites, restaurants, accommodations, and much more along your route. The map will then populate with pins or a list, identifying recommended sights and services for your trip. It’s that easy! The app even estimates how much gas you’ll need for the trip.

When you’re ready to hit the road, you can use the app’s handy turn-by-turn directions feature to keep you on course to your destination. You can also save your desired attractions or favorite places to a bucket list, which will keep their location and information accessible at any time on any device you’ve synced your trip to.

Whether you’re looking for a historical landmark, a bite to eat, or you need some dependable driving directions to your destination, Roadtrippers is a must-have app to make your next highway adventure memorable.

Tips and Tricks

By John Brandon


Maybe it was a holiday gift; maybe you bought it for yourself. You open the box, tear back the packaging materials, and pull out your shiny new computer. Maybe it’s a laptop with a powerful Intel processor, or a desktop with all the latest bells and whistles (and, if you paid enough, maybe even a horn). Now what?


Ask any seasoned PC professional who knows all about how to set them up, and they’ll agree: The first steps you take when buy a new computer are crucial. Forget to configure your backup software or virus checker, and down the line, you might well find yourself troubleshooting preventable problems or recreating your Microsoft Word documents from scratch. In this guide, we’ll show you the right steps to take―in order―when you first unpack that new computer to avoid that.

Before following these steps, go ahead and set up the hardware: Connect the monitor, keyboard, and mouse (if you are using a desktop), connect the power cables, and position the system where you want it to be. (Note that we did not mention connecting a network, or Ethernet, cable. You decidedly do not want to do that at this time.) Once that’s done, press the power button to boot into Windows for the first time.

Note: These instructions are geared toward Windows 7, since most PCs you’ll buy today are now sold with this, the latest Microsoft operating system. If you bought a PC with an older OS, such as Windows XP (still common on some netbooks, or mini-notebooks) or Windows Vista, most of the same steps and procedures still apply.

Swatch denies rumor it’s working with Apple on ‘iWatch’

Swiss watchmaker Swatch has moved to quickly extinguish rumors that claimed it is working with Apple on the company’s hotly anticipated “iWatch.”

The Swatch Group issued a statement to Reuters on Thursday to publicly say that it is not collaborating with Apple on an anticipated wrist-worn connected device. A spokeswoman reportedly said that Swatch has supplied integrated circuits and other components to some mobile phone makers, but claims of any collaboration on a full-blown watch made with Apple are false.

VentureBeat first reported on Wednesday that it was told by anonymous sources that Apple has been working with Swatch and other watchmakers to introduce multiple “iWatch” devices to the market. The strategy was said to be to offer a range of products that could appeal to a wide range of potential buyers with varying fashion tastes and budgets.

That report alleged that Apple was talking with multiple companies, and that the deal with Swatch was apparently a lock. But Swatch quickly put that claim to rest on Friday with its outright denial.

The rumor, even before it was debunked, was somewhat surprising as Swatch Chief Executive Nick Hayek Jr. said last year that he didn’t think an Apple smartwatch would be a big deal. He suggested that an “interactive terminal on your wrist” would be difficult since there is limited space for an adequate display.

Swatch, along with Suunto and Fossil, previously produced watches using Microsoft’s now defunct Smart Personal Object Technology (SPOT) platform, what can be considered a first-foray into the smartwatch world.

Apple Begins Mass Production of 4.7-Inch iPhone 6, 5.5-Inch Model and iPads Start in September

China media sources (via GforGames) report that mass production of Apple’s 4.7-inch iPhone is underway ahead of the phone’s expected fall launch. These same sources claim the 5.5-inch version of the iPhone 6 has not entered mass production, further suggesting that the launch timeframe for this larger iPhone model is still uncertain.

Besides the iPhone 6, Apple also is preparing the next-generation iPad Air and Retina iPad mini for mass production starting in September. Apple is expected to unveil its new iPads, possibly alongside the iWatch, at an October event that also will likely be used to announce the public release of OS X Yosemite.

As Apple prepares to launch new iPhones and iPads later this year, the company’s Asian suppliers are gearing up to boost production by as much as 85 percent by Q4 2014. Some of this increased production may be handled by Foxconn robots, “Foxbots”, with the company reportedly deploying as many as 10,000 robots at a cost of up to $25,000 each.

Anticipation for Apple’s fall lineup of devices is high, fueled by comments from Apple executives that suggest the company will enter new product categories with a device lineup that is the best it has had in 25 years.

Monday, July 14, 2014, 11:29 am PT (02:29 pm ET) Eddy Cue latest Apple executive to offer up lunch date for charity, throws in MacBook Air

Apple fans have another chance at a sit-down with a member of the company’s senior leadership, as internet software and services chief Eddy Cue has put one hour of his time up for auction — and sweetened the pot with a 13-inch MacBook Air — in the Fortune 500 equivalent of a charity dunk tank.

Apple SVP of Internet Software and Services Eddy Cue at the 2014 Code Conference. | Source: Re/code

Cue is following Apple CEO Tim Cook’s lead in auctioning a lunch date on charity auction siteCharityBuzz, with Cue’s auction set to benefit the National Association of Basketball Coaches Foundation. At press time, the highest of 15 total bids was some $9,500 with the site estimating the value of lunch with Cue at $10,000.

Cook has appeared on the site twice before, fetching nearly $1 million in total for a one-hour coffeeand a one-hour lunch. He chose to direct donations to the RFK Center for Justice and Human Rights.

As was the case with Cook, Cue will host up to two guests — after they have passed a security screen. Scheduling could take up to one year from the auction’s close, based on Cue’s availability, and travel and lodging are not included. 

Cue did do Cook one better, however, adding in a $1,199 13-inch MacBook Air. Bidding closes at 2:20 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time on July 16.