App Ideas for a Small Business

Small businesses can gain big benefits from getting involved in the latest hot technology trend: app development. Whether a small business wants to develop an app that complements or highlights its products or services, or one that simply helps to better brand the company and get it noticed, iPhone app developers Los Angeles can open the door to a whole new audience and functionality.

Small Business App Ideas: Complementary Apps

Some businesses have services and products that naturally lead to apps. For example, a cleaning service could create an app with cleaning tips, to-do lists, and appointment-making options. Or a flower shop could create an app that gives decorating suggestions, color palette advice and ordering capabilities.

Before finding your company for mobile application development Los Angeles, consider the types of applications that complement the products and services offered by your small business and the utilities your customers could use in order to more easily order your services.

Small Business App Ideas: Branding

Some small businesses prefer to build apps that help to brand their business and don’t necessarily lead directly to purchases. Consider a temp agency that develops a time management app or an accounting firm that develops an app with an up-to-date tax FAQ. These apps help to promote the business while providing an actual utility that prospective clients can use.

No matter which approach you want to use for your small business, make sure you find an app development Los Angeles service who understands your needs, goals and priorities.

5 Computing Tips That Will Stay Relevant

Article Submitted by: Pierre Zarokian

With rapid advances in technology and computing these days, hardware seems to get faster while operating systems acquire new features as well.

Yet there’s computing advice that continues to remain relevant as it was 10 or 20 years ago. So, here is a list of 5 tips that can be considered as timeless advice for users:

#1: Use the internet to find solutions to system errors or other problems

There’s every chance that you will find users who have had the same errors or issues if you type the error message in Google. An excellent alternative when the help resource at your device manufacturer’s site is of no assistance.

#2: Back everything up

Don’t get caught with just one copy of files. Back them up as well as backups for these back up files as well. Some of the options to do this consist of the use of external hard drives and a cloud storage device.

#3: Keep Your Software up-to-date

While it might seem annoying when you receive those ‘Software Update’ notifications, the benefits of keeping your software up-to-date can be added functionality that the software has to offer as well as security patches that can prevent data loss and crashes.

#4: Say ‘No’ to cookies

Look for the ‘Do Not Track’ feature on your browser and enable it. This will prevent website from installing cookies in your browser which will also track your movements on the Web.

#5: Don’t depend on your battery

Don’t depend on your laptop or tablet’s battery to work for forever but instead carry your power cables with you or invest in secondary and backup options.

About the Author: Pierre Zarokian is a tech geek. He is also the CEO of a leading reputation management company. Connect with Pierre Zarokian at Facebook.

 

How LCD Screens Function, and How They are Built

Today’s computer enthusiast takes his monitor for granted. Higher refresh rates, lower blue colors and other features help to lessen eye strain and provide a smoother experience. Thanks to new manufacturing technology, these monitors are also getting progressively more affordable. That puts better technology in the hands of people who will utilize that tech to its fullest potential.

Impact of Manufacturing

With thin film evaporation, manufacturers can build extremely precise objects, with very specific measurements, enabling cell phones and handheld gaming systems to display hundreds or thousands of colors. The thin-film aspect is important, because these devices manufacture objects without any kind of defect or imperfection on the surface.

LCD screens are made of liquid crystal, which is manipulated by electric current. A few things need to happen for this to be possible:

  1. The current must be able to pass through the surface of the screen in order to create the colors we see.
  2. A covering must be applied that doesn’t mash against the LCDs and create problems with the display.

Plasma-enhanced chemical vapor deposition, or PECVD, helps manufacturers create a thin film that won’t press up against the screen covering.  A polarizing film is then added to the equation, which changes how the light is reflected or displayed. The result is a display that changes as a current is applied.

Creating the World’s Most Basic LCD

The first step to creating the most basic LCD screen possible is to find two pieces of polarized glass. Once you have the glass, apply a thin film vacuum coating of polymers that create microscopic grooves in the glass. A coating of liquid crystals is also added, but only to one of the glass filters. The grooves basically force alignment so that the film and colors are displayed properly. This is why some TVs appear darker if viewed from the side. Once you have your glass/liquid crystal sandwich, you need electrodes to help display certain images or colors.

The electrical charge untwists the liquid crystals, which helps to adjust the angle of light that passes through the glass. So true black is basically blocking light from passing through the LCD screen. That’s why your TV needs a constant flow of energy, which it uses to manipulate electrodes around the screen in order to display the image that is being fed to you.

External Hard Drives: The Ultimate Buying Guide for the Novice

Summary: External storage drives can save the most important data if a fatal crash were to occur to your computer or laptop.

If you’re like most people, you’ve been slowly accumulating photos, video, music, and other data on your computer. Maybe you have numerous files for clients that carry sensitive data. Or, you might have 5,000 digital photos sitting in numerous files on your desktop. Either way, this media takes up precious space on your computer and needs to be allocated properly. External hard drives are the solution, and if you’re in the market for one, this guide will help you get the ball rolling.

Back Up Your Computer

Leaving content on a computer without backing it up is a definite no-no. For one, your computer will begin to slow down over time. And another, you risk losing everything in the event of a catastrophic hard-drive crash. A $3000 computer doesn’t mean you’re completely safe from crashes, it can occur to anyone at anytime.

Choose What Type You Want

There are essentially two different types of external hard drives: solid state drives (SSD) and hard disk drives (HDD). SSDs, while extremely fast, can be extraordinarily expensive. And, the higher the capacity, the more you’ll have to fork over. On the other hand, you have HDDs which are half the price but don’t have the exact speed that an SSD has. Although an SSD is much safer, an HDD also works, as long as you aren’t reckless with it. If durability is truly a concern, look for external drives that boast ruggedness. These drives are reinforced with a variety of materials to increase the overall protection of your drive. Take a look at the various models and see what fits your budget and preference the best.

Add and Set Ringtones on your Android Smartphone

If you have recently purchased an Android smartphone, you may be wondering how you can add additional ringtones, alarms and notification sounds to the phone. To clarify the three types of tones that can be added: ringtones are used for incoming phone calls, alarms are used by the alarm clock application, and notification sounds are used by applications such as email and SMS for alerting you of incoming messages. The three types of tones are available on separate lists so you cannot, for example, assign a tone from the ringtone list to an alarm.

Other applications may choose to use one list or the other for their sounds depending on what is appropriate for that app. There was probably no documentation that came with your phone that explained how to add these tones to your phone, but it is an easy task to accomplish. Some of the methods described below only apply to ringtones, others apply to all three types. The simplest application solution for adding a new ringtone is to use Android’s built-in audio player.

This will allow you to set any song you have installed on your phone as the current ringtone. While you have the audio player application open, pressing on a song will result in a popup menu being displayed. That menu contains an option to assign the selected song as the phone’s ringtone. This will not only add the song to the ringtone list but will make the song the current ringtone at the same time.

A drawback to this approach is that the built-in audio player will not let you add a song to the alarm or notification sound list. There are also many ringtone applications which can be found on the Android Market by searching the market for “ringtone”. Most of these apps can be downloaded for a small fee. Some of the ringtone applications allow searching and selecting from large directories of commercial ringtones, while others only provide a single ringtone or a small related set of them. These applications vary in whether they will allow installation of just ringtones or all three types of tones. Be careful to read the description of the application as well as the comments to understand exactly what is provided and what the costs are. Another approach is that offered by the free Ringdroid application.

Ringdroid allows you to select any song that is on your phone and then choose exactly which portion of the song you wish to use as your ringtone. You can then save that portion of the song to any of the three lists of alarms, ringtones, or notification sounds. This is probably the most flexible solution for creating and saving tones if you already have the song you are starting with on your phone.

You may already have existing ringtones on your computer or have received some via an MMS message or email. It’s possible to turn these sound clips into ringtones, alarms, or notification sounds, although it takes a bit more manual work than the approaches discussed above. The first thing you will need to do is create the appropriate directories on your phone’s SD card. If you’ve used Ringdroid or one of the other ringtone applications then the directories may already exist, but if that’s not the case there are two ways to create them: either using your PC or through a file manager application on the phone itself. In order to create these directories with your PC, connect the phone to your PC with the USB cable.

You should be prompted on the phone to mount the SD card, which will then make it available as an external drive on the PC. Once you’ve done that, you can access that external drive as a folder on the PC. What you will see in this folder is the contents of your phone’s SD card. Now you want create the following folders on your phone’s SD card, just like you create folders on your PC.

These folders may already be present and if so, just click into them in order to verify that all of the folders needed are present. At the top level of the SD card, create a folder named “media” and click into it. Within the media folder, create a folder named “audio” and click into that. Finally, within the audio folder you will need to create three folders: “alarms”, “notifications”, and “ringtones”.

What you should wind up with are three folders: “media/audio/alarms”, “/media/audio/notifications” and “/media/audio/ringtones”. You can also create these directories on the phone itself using one of the file manager applications available for Android phones, such as Astro or Linda. There are many of these applications available, but any of the highly rated ones should have the capability of creating folders on the SD card and then moving files to them. Once you have created these three folders you can copy your existing tones, stored as either mp3 or ogg files, into them. As mentioned above, there are three different selection lists of tones available: ringtones, alarms, and notification sounds. The folder you choose to put a sound file into corresponds to which selection list the tone will show up on.

If you want the same tone to show up in more than one of these selection lists you will need to copy it to each of the appropriate folders. If you have these tones on your computer, you can drag and drop them to the appropriate one of these three folders while your phone is connected with the USB cable. If you have the tones attached to a MMS or email message now, it may be a little more complicated. For an MMS message, you can usually press on the message to get an option to save the attached audio file to the SD card. Then you’ll need to find the file and move it to the ringtone directory.

If you are using the default text message application, then the file will probably have been saved to the “download” directory on the SD card. Similarly, if your tone is in email, the email program on your phone may offer a way of saving the attachment to your SD card. If it doesn’t, then simply access the email on your PC and save the audio file to the appropriate directory on the SD card while the phone is attached to the PC with the USB cable.

With the techniques described above, you should be able to set any song or sound clip you’d like as a ringtone, alarm, or notification sound on your Android smart phone. One thing to be aware of is that if you’ve set a tone to a sound file that is stored on the phone’s SD card, that sound file is not available to be used by the phone while the card is mounted to your computer as external drive. In that case, you will most likely hear a default tone in its place. You will need to disconnect the phone from the PC before the tones on the SD card are available for use.

 

Picking an eBook Reader

Dedicated ebook readers are hot sellers these days; prices are dropping and ebook files are readily available, so more consumers are taking advantage of dedicated readers. People like ebooks because they don’t require storage space, are instantly available when people make the purchase, and are easy to take out in public with an ebook reader or smartphone. Which reader should you buy? There are lots of manufacturers offering devices these days and each reader has its own pros and cons.

Before you invest your money in any of these offerings, consider these factors.

Screens. Not all manufacturers use the same technology. How important is the screen quality to you? Do you want to read outside, possibly in direct sunlight? Do you find that screen glare from “traditional” materials and technology strains your eyes? Also, screen size can matter. If you’re used to reading on a smartphone, getting a paragraph or two of text on the screen at onetime is standard. However, what if you want more text at once?

Battery life. If you plan on recharging your reader on a regular basis, this probably isn’t as important as other factors. However, long battery life can be great if you’re going on vacation or simply forget to recharge your device. Speaking of batteries, remember that some devices use internal batteries while others use plain, disposable types you can easily find and replace on your own.

Storage space. Some ebook vendors, like Amazon, will archive your ebooks; you can grab them whenever you want assuming you can connect to the service. Storage space isn’t top priority in this case, but what if you want to keep your collection on hand? What if you’re not planning on syncing your device in the near future? Some readers have external, removable storage, which might be important.

File compatibility. If you do most of your ebook shopping at Barnes & Noble’s website, you probably don’t want a Kindle, and will most probably get the Nook. Before you buy a reader, make sure you know which files will work on it so that you don’t have to buy another version of the same book or do without.

Extra features. Do you want a full keyboard for making notes? Does a color screen appeal to you? Do you like the idea of being able to walk into Barnes & Noble with your device and get coupons and other bonuses? Do you want to temporarily loan ebooks to friends and family? Read company information about each device you’re considering and decide which additional features are important to you.

Price. Even though prices are falling, an e-reader is still an investment. Finding a device that fits your budget and is expected to give you quality service for years is one way to make your dollars work hard for you.

Ultimately, the final decision depends on your budget, preferences, and needs. There are lots of devices on the market, just like there are lots of people reading ebooks, so you’re bound to find one that’s nearly perfect for you.

Distinguishing between i3, i5, and i7 Processors

When you finally decided to buy a new computer and eventually gather the necessary amount of money to do so, you still have to face the complex denomination of the computer processors provided by Intel.

The innovation of these products brought along serious changes in the denomination of processors hence a lot of questions arise from simple user regarding the characteristics of i3, i5 and i7 processors and making the correct distinction between them.

The main differences between these three processors are to be found by analyzing their number of cores, available memory, built-in processes and clock speed. The problem is rooted by the discrepancy between the values of these characteristics and the numbers included in the denomination of models.

The essential information everyone should know is that i3 processors have 2 cores, i5 processors can have either 2 or 4 cores, while i7 processors can have up to 6 cores, all of these being determined by the model one uses. In order to correctly identify the actual clock speed of a processor, one must be aware of actual number of cores the target processor has. Therefore one must multiply the number of cores with the specified clock speed to understand the real hierarchy between these three models. To make it crystal clear, this is the explanation for the fact that an i7 with a 1.7 GHz clock speed and 4 cores has a better performance (and is more expensive) than an i3 with 2.7 GHz clock speed and 2 cores.

How to Turn Your PC Into a Powerful Media-Streaming Machine

So what does one do to access all the photos, music and videos that are stored on their PC?

Thanks to mobile technology not being advanced enough to be able to store all these files, they will remain trapped within your PC and your home.

 

The solution: streaming your files.

 

So, here’s how you can turn your PC into a powerful media-streaming machine:

 

Step #1: Find a computer that is up to the task

 

Streaming files from your computes means that you need to have a PC that’s right for the task. Not only will you need one that can support the task of streaming files but will have to stay 24/7. For this purpose, it’s a good idea to find a PC that uses Windows 7 or Windows 8 Optimized so as to be able to carry out this task.

 

Step #2: Find reliable media server software

 

Media server software not only determines what kind of software you can share but also where you can share it. Some of the options that are available include Pogoplug PC, PlayOn and Plex that can help you stream files to not only tablets, mobiles but also your television as well. The first two are free while the latter might have a few costs attached to it.

 

Step #3: Make Use of Cloud Storage

 

Free cloud storage can help you access all your files from your mobile devices and tablets quite easily. You can also get basic media players that can help you access these files. If you’re already doing this, you can take your PC out of the equation but no matter what you think: nothing beats a machine that can stream files to just about anywhere in the world.

The Best Headsets for Gaming

In order to have the complete experience when gaming, you should consider acquiring a new headset to enhance the effects provided by the games. To narrow it down, one is advised to choose from the five headsets described below.

The Astro A40

Starting with the option involving the highest investment ($249.99), one can analyze what the official headset of MLG has got to offer. It was designed for professional users and they did not complain. Its best asset is the noise cancellation.

Sennheiser PC36 

With only four cents behind, this model has the outstanding feature to automatically turn its microphone off when the resonance increases. It also has high quality and high fidelity surround sound and a great design.

The Razer Tiamat  

When it comes to gaming accessories and peripherals, the Razer brand can easily pop in one’s head. Providing an almost perfect sound and an appealing design, it has a competitive advantage compared to the first two entries by costing exactly $70 less.

The Logitech G390

The G390 is unique by being the only fully wireless solution amongst the ones presented in this article. Even though it has a way lower price ($119.99), it provides the same sound, automatic microphone-off features. What’s more, it allows for both vocal and tactile adjustments.

Turtle Beach Ear Force ($112.78)

Right behind G390 with the price of $112.78, the Turtle Beach has a quadruple set of speakers and double set of subwoofers integrated, providing an extraordinary surround-sound experience and is also 360 compatible.

New gigs for video gamers

The video game industry is without a new gig since 2006 and Nintendo intends to end that drought with its fall 2012 release of Nintendo Wii U. The new Wii U to include iPhone like touchscreen called GamePad that mimic a large phone. It will have two joy sticks on the top. When projected on to a TV, it will have room for additional information to be displayed on the screen. It is capable of accessing social networking sites so that players can play with others online. The new Wii U console is expected to be retail around $250.

Apple’s new phones and tablets are also capable of using TV screens to play games. The technology is known as AirPlay Mirroring. Your iPhone or the tablet will act as the controller. Electronic Arts’ Real Racing 2 allows the game to be downloaded for $6.99 using an app onto a TV and play with others online using an iPad as a steering wheel. Those with Apple TV, it will cost $99 to play using an iPad, iPhone or iPod Touch. If you are not on Apple TV, you can buy $40 cable to connect to your TV. Imagine the Apple’s ability to market games to its enormous Apple product users.