Sunday, 31 March 2013

Yahoo! You've Been Hacked

Annoying as it is, you are blamed in sending spams, worst is, spammy messages with infections that further spread through your friend's contacts, but in fact you did not send anything, you are just hacked. This I just discovered today, when my gmail account received a message coming from my yahoo account. An account that has been "buried, forgotten and have not accessed"  for years. If you have received this email from me, then my apologies, and please delete it, specially the one with attachment.

Sent messages through my email

How Am I sure I did not sent these out?

As long as the email can still be accessed it is easy to know when they take over the account and where in the world did they use it. I can also see their IP addresses.  To check whether other people are using your account, do the instructions below.

Click the dropdown menu after your name, and click account info. This will send you back to the log in window, and after login click recent activity.

And here's the explanation of the spammy messages "I've sent " 9th and 28th of March. I blame it to somebody from Texas and Peru.

What to do to a hacked or compromised account?

First stage hack

Messages that are sent from your email address without your knowledge is the first sign of an account being sent. This means somebody has gained access to your user name and password that he use your details to send spams, or other messages with built in malicious codes on it, that further spread the infection when clicked. 

What to do 

Change your password, update your recovery email and phone number.

The second stage 

Second stage is they change your user password. For hackers who gain thousands or millions of emails, it is also hard for them to deal with every single email like changing passwords. So in case they managed to change your password, other information like alternate email, security questions, and telephone numbers are left untouched. 

What to do

If the hackers has not changed the recovery details like email. or phone numbers, you can still recover your email by choosing  " I cannot access my account" and ticking "I think my account may have been compromised". This will prompt you to enter the recovery email you have set up to receive the link in resetting your account. After clicking the reset link, you will then be able to choose another password.

Third Stage 

The third stage is the hacker takes over the account wholly. The reset emails, phone numbers, and answers to security questions are all changed. This third stage is dangerous, specially if you keep emails from your banks and other financial services.

What to do

You need to contact your bank as soon as possible and change the contact email you have provided and other companies that your email is attached to, like paypal, ebay, amazon, etc.etc.

And just create another one!

Friday, 29 March 2013

Self Powered Emergency Equipment

The freezing temperature in spring time is very odd. Is it the effect of global warming that makes the ice caps  melting and with the aid of the blustery wind, it sends down the temperature readings to below zero degrees celsius? Whatever the reason, it is disturbing the nation or the world by halting transportation, necessities like heating and power, and creating chaos not just like here but all over the world.

Emergency equipment is so essential specially at times like this, as in case of being isolated due to bad weather or lost somewhere else, it is comforting to have battery juice on our radio and cellular phones to hear from the "outside world" what's going on or to tell relatives not to worry we're doing fine. Or battery powered light could be the last thread between life and death in an emergency. But like any powered equipment that rely on battery, the power source could run dry that renders the best smartphone and radio useless. It is therefore worth thinking about the worst case scenario, where mains power is out for a week or more, and invest in something that could be a life saver, a self powered generating station.

Dynamo wind up power light

As the name says, it is powered by a dynamo. The device still have batteries inside, but not like the disposable ones, they can be recharged by cranking a built in dynamo by hand. A two minutes of continuous cranks can provide 30 mins of power. The bulbs are made up of  LED, known for being a power efficient and last many years.

There are also models that can be recharged by mains or by car battery aside from dynamo.

Dual powered radio

And to hear from the outside world, a portable radio is essential. Even more essential is a radio that lasts without the need of additional batteries. Dual power model like the dynamo and solar powered device can give you news at anytime, rain or shine. No worries even the mains doesn't come back for a month, as this device doesn't need it. Other models also have the capability to recharge a compatible cellphone with charger cables that come with it.

Self powered chargers

Communication can be the last bridge between life and death in an emergency, so it is essential to keep the lines open and the equipment up and running. Harnessing the power of the sun to use it on batteries or by the use of the power of magnets can give you an endless source of power as long as you have the gadget to do this. They may not be available to your normal electrical store or if they are, they can cost arm and leg. But getting this at the worlds marketplace is a bargain. 

The reality of man's great contribution to global warming is alarming. Though we can not stop in one push of a button, perhaps we can help in retarding it's effect by simply relying to natural forces in powering up the gadgets we use everyday. This can also make us fit in the process.

Monday, 25 March 2013

The HTC One

I like HTC phone mainly because of it's internet passthrough function. Second factor is because of it's  built in sound system, beats by dre. So what's new with the HTC One that can entice mobile users that are already with apple, samsung, backberry and sony phones to get a second look and try HTC One instead?

The  Design

It's body is one of a kind in mobile phone world. It is made from lightweight aluminum metal body with zero gap construction that took 12 years to perfect. The edges are tapered for comfortable and sturdy grip. This makes it look more solid than other smartphones that are made of plastics and polycarbonates. It hits the scale at 143gms and has this dimension of 137.4mm x 68.2mm x 9.3mm. It's display has a decent  4.7 inch total viewable area and offers, full HD 1080p, 468 PPI.

The Innards

It is powered with quadcore Qualcomm Snapdragon 600 processor with clock speed at 1.7GHz, and paired with 2GB of RAM. This specs would run any apps like a breeze and the 4 cores will promise better multitasking functions without lags.  

It's powerhouse has an embedded battery with 2300 mAh capacity. A choice between two storage capacity of 32GB and 64GB is available. It doesn't have any micro sd card slot for expandable memory but the device can be connected into an external hard drive in case you run out of storage. HTC 

Equipped with the usual mobile phone connectivity like Wi-Fi, bluetooth, NFC, and DLNA for wirelessly streaming media from the phone to a compatible TV or computer with a suitable connection. 

The Interesting Bits

The sound quality is powered by Beats by Dre and this time it is more enhanced with HTC Boom Sound, a dual front facing speakers with built in amplifiers. Who needs speaker dock with this?

The HTC BlinkFeedTM, it's all new user interface, delivers a live feed of news, social networks, calendars and apps direct to the home screen and updates easily via Wi-Fi or network data. 

Your photo gallery will no longer be boring with just mere snapshots but "live" images taken with the smart HTC Ultra Pixel camera that captures  more than one image. HTC Zoe shooting mode automatically captures up to 20 photos and a 3-second video to give you the "live" feel when you are viewing it, so your entire photo album becomes a interesting and breathing gallery.

Always fighting which channel to watch and can't do anything because you only have one remote? Why not hide your existing remote and set up the HTC One's Sense TV so that it will work with your TV unit to select TV channels, access program guides, adjust audio and more with simple and easy to follow set up?

Saturday, 23 March 2013

DIY Mobile Phone Car Application

Using a mobile phone whilst driving is not allowed in the UK. Unless it is connected to a wireless handsfree system for telephony or with a suitable docking cradle, you can be pulled over by the police. The word "using a mobile phone " doesn't only mean placing a call but could be anything as long as you are caught fiddling it with your hands. The consequences could be 3 points added to your driving license and a fixed penalty or a summons to court. A lot of inconveniences. 

As answering a call is the most likely mobile phone activity we do whilst driving, making a car bluetooth enabled is the easy solution. Problem is solved by just buying a bluetooth enabled FM transmitter and a mobile phone car dock or holder to route your calls to the car's stereo system.  But sometimes there are situations where we need to place a call whilst driving. Specially in an emergency like telling your work you're running late or your bleeper went off and need to make a call as soon as possible. Fiddling your phone can be dangerous specially when you need to key in buttons like passcode, choosing the right menu to get to your contacts and finally dialing the number. Touch interfaces can be helpful but still, you need to navigate through menus which could take time and disrupt your concentration.

Dashboard Application

Solution to this is to download a mobile car application like Car Home Ultra or Car Widget for Android OS.  They are free to try but need to be purchased after 10 tries or after 30 days of use. Other free apps of this kind are limited in functionality and have some bugs on it. So if you do not fancy dipping in your pocket to have one of this, the good news is, you can make one yourself!

DIY Car Dashboard Page

First step is to know what do you want to do whilst driving. Like in my case, I want to easily connect my phone to bluetooth so I can be called and can place a call in one push of a button. I also want to listen to the mp3 music stored in it and easily control the loudness of the input from the phone, this is to eliminate crackling noise from the car speaker when the input source is not at a suitable level like to much at the maximum. Navigation is also good to be on standby,so I also need to control data signal. This is to prevent the flow of money from data charges.

Second is to create a page by tapping the bottom left hand key. Tap edit page then create a page by tapping the icon with + sign. 

Third is to add the widgets that you require in the new page you have created. Tap and hold at any empty space  until a menu asking you to add a widget or application appears on the page. If you want to make a shortcut for one touch dialing of a contact, choose  widget, then tap and hold direct dial until it goes back to the new page you've created and then choose from list of contacts that appear.  The toggle switches for bluetooth, wifi and data are not native to the widgets so if you want to put them in the new page, you need to download them from google play. You also have the choice to just use the native control by swiping your fingers downwards from the top of your S3. The same with the volume control. You need to download it as using the physical volume buttons is not easy specially when the phone is in a cradle or holder.

And here's my personalized page when I am on the go! I can toggle data, in case I need to go internet for some reason, toggle bluetooth in case there's a problem in the connection, just one touch to make direct dial to my most called contacts, MP3 music player, volume for media, phone etc, and even screen brightness. Thay are all in one page and available in just a touch. The volume control is quite good as you can customize it. Another good thing is it can work in the same page rather than opening a different window when activated.

The additional widgets I downloaded before I can add are Bluetooth and Wifi Switch (CurveFish), Data Switch (Hongyu Wang) and Slider Widget - Volumes (Hinternoffapps). I used the Samsung S3 for this post but I am sure you can also do this to other smartphones running Android.

Saturday, 16 March 2013

The Samsung Galaxy S4

The Galaxy range has wowed us in the past, specially with the S3 variant. It's sleek profile but large screen is more than enough to show us as much detail as possible of a page or a file. This time around, Samsung is ready to wow us again with it's latest discovery in the Galaxy range, the S4.

The looks

At first glance, aesthetically, there is no significant difference between the S3 and S4. They look the same, like twins. But if you take a look closer, or set them side by side, the newer brother is wider at 136.6 x 69.8 x 7.9mm compared to the 136.6 x 70.6 x 8.6 mm S3. But despite it's bigger profile, it weighs less 3gms than the 133gm scale of the  S3's. 

This time, the display is made up of Full HD Super AMOLED screen(441 pixel per inch), known for crisp and bright rendering of colours that doesn't necessarily drains up power. And encased in a poly carbonate body known for robustness with heavy scratch resistant component but totally light on scales. And you can have a choice between black and white initial colour offering.

S4  and   S3    img src:

The innards

The real difference and noticeable change come from what's within.  It initially ships with the latest Jellybean version 4.2.2, known to be sleek, fast and smooth like butter! 

The UK version's brain now consist of  a quadcore chip from Qualcomm's snap dragon family, four Cortex-A15 cores with a total speed of 1.6GHz, designed to do the complicated tasks, while the non UK variant has an additional four cores, which means 8 cores???. The second quadcore chip consists of Cortex-A7s clocked at 1.2GHz which will be used for less demanding work. The RAM also gets better this time with 2GB. And the device has plenty of storage to offer, the 16, 32, or 64 GB option plus an additional micro SD card slot that can take up to another 64GB. With the tremendous speed and performance, Samsung put in a removable Li-Ion 2600 mAh battery in it's power house. 

Interesting bits

Enticing the snappers of today is the installation of 13-megapixel rear camera, and 2-megapixel front camera. One fancy bit about taking a photo with this phone is, the one holding the camera can insert his image taken from the front camera with the photo being taken from the rear camera!  That's the dual camera at work. And a more interesting bit is the eye scroll software that can use the camera to track down the position of the eyeball, and the software automatically scrolls the page you are looking when the position of your eyeball reaches the bottom of the page.  This brings a new user interface, the eye control! Click video below!

video src: Cnet Youtube Channel

You can do magic with it's airview functionality, taken inspiration from the S pen that shows the content of a folder or a message by just hovering the pen over it, but this time without the S pen as you can use your fingers to do the trick.

Video Src: T3 Youtube channel

And more surprises

It is also equipped with the latest and fastest 4G LTE mobile internet protocol and the future NFC connectivity interface. Air gesture is another interface that users can use to place a call, or use the internet without touching it's screen. The text to speech application not only reads the message you type in but also translates it into several languages. Whilst you can take 2 simultaneous shots from the 2 cameras, you can also record the sound whilst taking the shots. The drama mode can take 100 shots in 4 seconds and it's up to you to decide the best or make a collage out of it. And if there are S4 users around, you can share this photos wirelessly using group play. As the name suggests, you can also share your games and play with other S4 users around the room. It can even use it's built in  InfraRed Led light to remotely control  compatible TV's, and set top boxes.

Where to get it

 Who wants one? At the moment, all you can do is to register and reserve from the vendor below and be the first to try it's S4 magic!

img src: carphonewarehouse

Sunday, 10 March 2013

Cheaper Calls With Rebtel

Register for free 5 international minutes!
Do we still make overseas call when we can use voice over internet protocol for free? Those who are always with high speed internet and have VOIP application installed might no longer need it, but people like me, whose contacts are mainly without the convenience of a reliable high speed internet is a must. It is a necessity that even if it costs arms and legs, I still need to do it. Thanks we have phone cards, international call sim card operators and pay as you go international bundles with popular networks.

Problem with phone cards is sometimes the connection and the quality of the calls are not good. The most annoying part is when you get charged the moment you are connected to the routing access number even when the international number you're trying to call is busy, unreachable or the worst, has not made a connection yet. 

International sim card service is also good, straight forward to use, no access number to dial and no pin number to memorize. Just be careful with their deals. I have a bad experience with an operator's country saver deal of 1500 free minutes for a month. I just used about 100 minutes until the interruption of service because of their own technical fault for 27 days. They did not return the unused credits.

VOIP like skype, is for free communication, but only for those who have the required equipments, it is brilliant and cheap. But as the service is internet connection dependent, sometimes it is not practical. 

A better alternative to VOIP, phone cards, and international sim card is Rebtel. It has a VOIP free communication like the Skype, cheap rate like a local phone (5.49pence to call Philippine landline and 6.49pence to call mobile), and the flexibility of a mobile. Rebtel works in assigning a local number in place of the international number of your contact. As it is a local number, the charges is also local. You can dial this generated number of your international contact with any PC's, tablets, land line phones, basic mobile phones, or smart phones. 

Video on how it works on landline:

When using a mobile basic phone, you can use your free minutes allowance provided by your network to dial the assigned local number of your international contact. And if you have a smartphone, ( apple, android or blackberry), you can download their Rebtel application and use Wi-Fi instead of the free minutes. And just use the inclusive allowance when away from Wi-Fi access.

Video using Rebtel on a mobile :

The best thing is you can try the product first before you buy. See for yourself about the quality of call and the connection. You can register here or above advert and get your first 5 minutes of international call for free.

Using Rebtel

I've started using the service with the free 5 minutes. It was a call placed to a Philippine Mobile. Rebtel has converted the Philippine number into a local UK number that starts with 0207. Because I have an unlimited local number from BT, I used my landline to do this. The call was clear and did not interrupt until I finished the 5 free minutes.

The second test was using a mobile. I turned on airplane mode so my mobile network is disabled and used Wi-Fi to connect (Data,Wifi, 3G button). Connection is alright but the first 2 calls did not maintain connection. The third call had no problem until I stopped after 20 minutes.

I used my provider's network on the third test(local phone). The connection is the same as when using Wi-Fi or landline. The quality of call is clear and no interruption.

The only downside that I can think of is the 15% Lux Tax for users who are members of the EURO union. The 15% tax is not reflected on the total calling credit. For example your £7 calling credit is actually charged £8.05.

Screenshots of calls and costs.

Thursday, 7 March 2013

Generous Cloud Free Storage

Smartphone users are growing each day, in fact there are 1 billion smartphones in use all over the globe since the end of 2012. That's just 5 years since apple opened the door with the first iPhone. As these gadgets are getting smarter everyday, with millions of possibilities of what they could become, thanks to apps, one of the real problem of having one is shortage of storage. Android users are lucky enough to have expandable and removable storage, but the likes of apple fans are limited and fixed to what the manufacturer gives them. This is a not so good news to generations of digital data users, either your device is a smartphone, computer, game console or smart TV.

Storage Shortage

To add more storage, apple offers it's users 5GB of free storage in icloud. Online storage is a practical solution to frequently accessed and shared files, like applications, photos, music, videos, and even documents. It is very useful for writers who do their work from different locations and use multiple device flat forms. As long as they have internet connection, any file is ready to be accessed, edited, and saved. 

But free 5 GB is not enough. This just translates into at least 1190 photos in 12 mega pixel camera with a file size of 3.6MB. What if you have videos, music and other files you want to access anywhere? The convenience that a cloud storage offers has a price.  Additional icloud storage from apple starts from $20 a year from for an additional 10GB, and if that is still not enough, be prepared to shell out $100 for a 50GB yearly storage!

Free Storage

If you are not ready to pay for a cloud storage then the solution is to look for freebies, like dropbox, googledrive, skydrive and others. The only problem is, they can only provide a little amount of digital space of at least 2GB to 7GB. The good news is you can sign up to any freebie space providers as many as you want but the bad news is, the inconvenience of signing on and off between these providers  that would become a nightmare when you could not remember where you have stored a specific file and on which provider.  

Generous Free Storage

To prevent confusion and headache of multiple accounts, and if you are not really prepared to dip into your pocket but is really desperate of having an online storage, then these freebie from these companies can provide your digital data, an abundant storage solution. The amount of free storage might change in the future, as well as their terms and conditions.

Personal basic plan from adrive gives the user 50GB of free storage and 2GB file size upload. This is a real generous solution to Android and Apple users. As this is a free account, the web interface is loaded with mandatory banner adverts and emails.

If you are a BT broadband customer, then you could be eligible for a free 50GB of storage. See how much storage you get by logging in to your BT account here.

Although it is still in it's Beta state, this one from New Zealand is my favourite, it has a clean interface and very easy to create an account. I made one for myself in less than 5 minutes. It offers 50GB of free space and you need not to worry if you have a large file. It has an unlimited size file upload.

Here's another favourite, it offers 50GB of free storage and 500mb of file size upload. It has a downloadable program to upload files from your computer without the need of a browser. It also has a mobile application.

There you go, free storage that offers premium capacity!


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