Sunday, November 15, 2015

Easy to do Solutions to Common Smartphone Usage Issues

Simplify Your Life Week Tangle Tamers

Share & BookmarkDuring National Simplify Your Life Week, you might think to yourself, I already have the latest, greatest, does-it-all device! It keeps me connected to all the people, music, games and other media I love in the palm of my hand, and my straightforward Straight Talk plan is as simple as it gets.

But one thing we could all use help with is keeping our device chargers, earbuds, and other digital paraphernalia under wraps. Cords get lost, knotted and generally worn out as we fumble to keep our batteries full while living life (and using our phones) to the fullest.

We decided to bring you simple, practical solutions to this everyday problem, using just a little ingenuity, a few office and household supplies, and the wisdom of the world wide web. We hope you find our Tangle Tamers useful!

1. Outlet Caddy
You may need the juice, but you don’t need to put your phone on the floor. 
Get directions via How About Orange.

2. Binder Clip Earbud Reel
You may be able to go paperless, but it’s a mess to go clipless. Get more binder clip organization inspiration via Live Simply by Annie

3. Cassette Case Phone Stand
Never let your phone just sit there. Prop it up properly. 
Get directions via Life Currents.

4. Gift Card Phone Stand
Fold up a used gift card for another easy stand. 
Get Directions via Decorating Your Small Space.

5. Ribbon Box Charging Station
If you’re over your ribbon-organizing phase, use the box to create a super organized charging station. Get directions via All You.

6. Tube Sock Armband
Don’t get tripped up by your earbuds while you’re working out. 
Get directions via CNET.

What Tangle Tamer do you use to simplify your life? Share in the comments or on our social channels! Talk Blog

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Asus ZenWatch Smartwatch

Received as a Christmas present, I have been wearing this watch ever since.  Did I really need a Smartwatch?  I didn't think so at the time, but I'm really finding that it comes in handy for finding out why my phone is vibrating without having to take it out of my pocket.  It also shows me notifications while driving as I almost always have the Waze GPS app running on my phone.

There have been probably three or four updates to Android Wear since I've gotten it.  It keeps getting better and better.  Setting new watch faces was a challenge early on as you had to deal with separate apps for each watch face.  This has been consolidated in Android Wear.  There are still a few that haven't updated their app, but they should get to it eventually.

I keep the display always on so I can see the time and last notification.  It displays in a dim monochromatic way.  When the watch is "woken up" I get the full color display and notifications.  Battery life has been GREAT! I go through my normal day and still have over 50% battery life available.  I hear Moto 360 owners aren't so lucky.

More thoughts will be forthcoming...

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Foxit Reader Security Alert 01-13-13

Per PCWorld, the popular Foxit reader browser plugin can allow hackers to take control of your PC.  They are in the process of developing a patch, but for now make Internet Explorer your default browser and avoid using Chrome, Firefox, and Safari to view PDF files.  See for more details.

[UPDATED 01-13-13] How to Update/Disable Java in Your Browser

On January 13th, Oracle has published a fixed version of hacker prone JAVA (Javascript is OK).  Go to to download and update to the latest version.

In case more security concerns develop, my friends at have provided instructions on how to disable Java in all of the popular PC browsers in use today (see below), DO NOT disable Javascript however as it does not have the security issue. 

Chrome disable instructions

  • Open Chrome and type chrome://plugins into the location bar.
    Disable Java in Chrome
  • Click Disable underneath the Java plugin.

    Want to disable Java in other browsers?

    Here are our instructions for disabling Java in other internet web browsers:
  • Saturday, October 27, 2012

    How to make Windows 8 Act & Look like Windows 7

    Given that Windows 7 is or was almost perfect (for a Microsoft product), now a new version of Windows is threatening to kill productivity for businesses until they "figure out" how to interact with Windows 8. It is aimed more at the Consumer than Business professional. Works best with a multi-touch touchscreen or trackpad, both of which are not found plentiful in the wild at the moment.  Give it 6 months or so for the hardware to catch up. Until then stick with Windows 7 or modify Windows 8 per the article below.

    The folks at CNET UK have published a great article on how to transform Windows 8 into looking and acting like Windows 7.  Some of the "tweaks" require some technical expertise, so it may not be for casual Windows users to try and install.  Read more here.

    Sunday, July 22, 2012

    Test Your Brain Health for Free!!

    BrainyApp was developed by Alzheimer’s Australia and Bupa Health Foundation to raise community awareness of the risk factors for Alzheimer’s disease and other types of dementia and on how to live a brain healthy lifestyle.

    New to Android, this app provides an insight to the health of your brain, heart, and body.  This app should be a must for all of us that have had a family member afflicted with Alzheimer’s disease, as we too may develop this debilitating disease.

    UPDATE: I have found that the app doesn't work with Cyanogenmod 7.2 custom roms (you get Force Closes), your experience may vary.  Please post your results in the comments.

    Available now from the Google Play store.