Archive for the 'Phones' Category

Remote Kill Switches are a Bad Idea

Thursday, May 29th, 2014

GuillotineRecently I’ve been hearing about government support for remote kill switches, say in automobiles for law enforcement use, or in cell phones for when they’re stolen. And my first thought is always that some hacker is going to find a way to trigger the switch and cause all kinds of problems.

Apparently the hackers had the same thought. The linked article covers a situation where stolen iCloud credentials were used to lock out iPhones via the “Find My iPhone” anti-theft feature.

(via Kim Komando)

Phone Tracking System Sends People to Wrong Location

Saturday, January 26th, 2013

PhoneThere are apps for most smartphones that allow you to find the phone’s location via GPS or cell tower triangulation. I’ve read stories about people using this to track down stolen phones, where they confront the thief, who then sheepishly returns the phone. (Side note: confronting thieves is not necessarily a wise idea, as you never know how they’ll react.)

But the system isn’t perfect. For some reason, certain Sprint phones are erroneously reported as being located at a man’s house in Las Vegas. For the last couple years, Wayne Dobson has been accosted by irate phone owners and police, at all times of the day and night. He’s even put up a sign saying “NO LOST CELL PHONES!!”. But recently the encounters are getting more serious, so Mr. Dobson has publicized the situation. Hopefully this will prompt Sprint to fix the problem.

Note that this isn’t the first time Sprint has had this issue.

(via Slashdot)

Beware of Malicious QR Codes

Saturday, January 5th, 2013

QR Code for Chad's NewsQR codes are those black and white squares that you can scan with your smartphone to go directly to an associated website. They’ve become popular enough to attract the attention of spammers and malicious hackers, who are including codes in spam emails. They’re also placing QR code stickers in areas with a high amount of foot traffic (think airports and tourist sites) in the hopes that people will scan them. And even worse, they’re putting the stickers on top of regular QR codes—so it seems legitimate, but you end up going to a malicious website. According to the linked article, the only safeguard is to “download and install a QR reader that checks the website’s reputation, and then offers them the option of taking them there or not.”

(via Slashdot)

Create Your Own Mobile App With Yapp

Monday, December 31st, 2012

TabletYapp is a service that allows the average person to create a professional-looking mobile app for events such as weddings, birthday parties, book club meetings, reunions, fundraisers, retreats, etc. It integrates with many of the features of the mobile device, allowing messaging, maps/directions to the event, photo sharing, etc. Once you create the app for your event, it can be shared with others after they install the YappBox app. Looks like a pretty nifty tool, and it’s free (they make money by offering premium services for a fee).

Thanks to Donna for this link.


Tech Gear to Avoid

Sunday, November 18th, 2012

GadgetThe linked article gives a breakdown on tech gear that may seem like a good deal but which should probably be avoided. In many cases it’s possible to get a much better item for just a little more money.

Here’s the short version of what not to buy:

  • Budget Android gadgets
  • 17-inch laptops
  • Bridge cameras
  • Entry-level e-readers
  • Budget LCD TVs


75% of the World Has a Cellphone

Tuesday, August 21st, 2012

PhoneAccording to this report, there are 6 billion cellphone subscriptions worldwide, with about 75 percent of the world’s population having at least one cellphone. Think about that for a moment. A technology that first became commercially available about 30 years ago has spread to more than 5 billion people.


It’s Official: No More Adobe Flash For Mobile Devices

Saturday, August 18th, 2012

Adobe LogoIn a follow-up to this recent Chad’s News post, Adobe has pulled its Flash Player from the Android store. Thanks to Steve Jobs, it appears that HTML5 will be the delivery system of choice for multimedia content. Adobe still has plans for Flash, and it’s fully supported on PCs, but this is pretty much the end of it for mobile devices.

(via Kim Komando)

The Risks of Texting While Driving

Monday, August 13th, 2012

PhoneAaron Deveau, age 18, has been convicted of vehicular homicide for texting while driving. The distraction led to a crash that killed a man. Deveau will spend a year in jail then five years on probation, and he will lose his driver’s license for 15 years. A harsh punishment indeed.

(via Kim Komando)

4G Explained

Sunday, July 22nd, 2012

PhonePhone companies tend to throw the term “4G” around pretty loosely. What does it mean? And how is 4G LTE different from regular 4G (or is it the same)? The linked article answers these questions and more.


A Smartphone With a Stylus

Saturday, March 3rd, 2012

PhoneSamsung has released a new type of smartphone, one that’s a hybrid phone/tablet and which also allows you to use a stylus (in addition to your fingers). It’s called the Galaxy Note and is a throwback to the pre-smartphone PDA days. I could be wrong, but I don’t really see it becoming all that popular.

Thanks to Donna Cloman for this link


NORAD Releases Santa Tracking App For iPhone and Android

Monday, December 5th, 2011

ChristmasNORAD is well known for its Christmas Eve tracking of Santa’s progress across the world, but this year is the first time you can use a smartphone/tablet app to track him. It’s named “NORAD Tracks Santa” and is available for the iPhone/iPad and Android devices.


What Do Those Bars on Your Cell Phone Really Mean?

Monday, August 15th, 2011

PhoneThe linked article explains how the number of bars on your cell phone is determined. It’s not nearly as standardized as you’d think. Comparing bars between different carriers, or even different phones, can be a poor indicator of relative signal strength.