Posts by Joe Levi

Joe graduated from Weber State University with two degrees in Information Systems and Technologies. He has carried mobile devices with him for more than a decade, including Apple's Newton, Microsoft's Handheld and Palm Sized PCs, and is Pocketnow's "Android Guy". By day you'll find Joe coding web pages, tweaking for SEO, and leveraging social media to spread the word. By night you'll probably find him writing technology and "prepping" articles, as well as shooting video. Read more about Joe Levi here.

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    In recent years, our phones have evolved into the “universal remote control” – not for our televisions, but for our homes. That’s where the Pocketnow Smart Home series comes in! Thanks to a combination of sensors and Internet of Things innovations, taking your old-fashioned home and turning it into a smart home isn’t as difficult, or as expensive as you might think – and it’s all controllable from your phone, phablet, or tablet. • If you’ve been following our smart home series, you've seen how we've added motion detectors, flood sensors, a smart lock, WiFi lighting, door ...

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    Now that Android 6.0 Marshmallow is running on 2.3% of devices, it's time for us to start talking about the next version of Android - Android "N". Marshmallow was released in October 2015, but the Developer Preview of that version (Android "M") was first unveiled in May 2015 at the Google I/O conference. Just as before, we don't know what Android "N" will be called when it's released, but in the meantime we've got our first taste of Google's newest mobile OS. How to install the Android N Developer Preview Here's where the first major change come in. Unlike previous Developer Previews, ...

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    "Who would ever need a 6GB smartphone?" Questions like that will get you in trouble. Despite the fact that he says he never said it, Bill Gates still gets cited as the guy who said we'd never need more than 640KB RAM in our computers, and we've seen how that turned out. If the Vivo Xplay 5 is to be considered today's benchmark, the 6GB smartphone is just around the corner. But that brings us back to the question: How much RAM is "enough" in our smartphones, and is 6GB "too much"? To answer those questions, we've got to know what RAM is, and what it's used for. Thankfully, we covered that ...

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    In recent years, our phones have evolved into the “universal remote control” – not for our televisions, but for our homes. That’s where the Pocketnow Smart Home series comes in! Thanks to a combination of sensors and Internet of Things innovations, taking your old-fashioned home and turning it into a smart home isn’t as difficult, or as expensive as you might think – and it’s all controllable from your phone, phablet, or tablet. • If you’ve been following our smart home series, we laid its foundation with the Almond+ smart router by Securifi - but my quest for a smart ...

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    There's a new portable phone charger making the rounds that's making claims that seem too good to be true. It's called the ASAP Dash and it claims to be the world's fastest pocket-sized charger. Charging batteries can be compared to filing a bucket with water. If you have a small hose, it will take a long time to fill the bucket, but you won't spill a drop. If you have a big hose, say a firehose, that bucket might fill in just a second or two - but you've got to closely monitor and adjust the pressure, or you're going to get soaked - and the bucket might end up with hardly any water in it. ...

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    In recent years, our phones have evolved into the “universal remote control” – not for our televisions, but for our homes. That’s where the Pocketnow Smart Home series comes in! Thanks to a combination of sensors and Internet of Things innovations, taking your old-fashioned home and turning it into a smart home isn’t as difficult, or as expensive as you might think – and it’s all controllable from your phone, phablet, or tablet. • If you've been following our smart home series, we laid its foundation with the Almond+ smart router by Securifi; we added a smart lock by ...

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    In recent years, our smart phones have evolved into the "universal remote control" - not for our televisions, but for our homes. That's where the Pocketnow Smart Home series comes in! Thanks to a combination of sensors and Internet of Things innovations, taking your old-fashioned home and turning it into a smart home isn't as difficult, or as expensive as you might think - and it's all controllable from your phone, phablet, or tablet. • So far in the series we've already covered the foundational part of our smart homes: the hub. We went with the Securifi Almond+ to power our smart ...

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    California and New York are working on bills that would prohibit (or severely restrict) encryption on phones. Why is encryption so important, and why are encryption laws that prohibit your ability to secure your devices and data such a bad idea? Back before these United States of America were recognized as a country, we were colonies of Great Britain. Pilgrims to the Americas were typically fleeing governmental or religious oppression, seeking a new start is a far-off land, free from the shackles and scrutiny of over-reaching governments and tyrants. That was a long time ago, and what ...

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    "A smart home is only as intelligent as the sensors supplying data." Most homes today only have a few devices to monitor environmental variables, but you already may have a few more than you think. You have a thermostat which controls your heating and cooling system. Your refrigerator/freezer has a couple thermostats inside to tell it when to turn on and off to make sure your food doesn't go bad - it's even got a smart switch that turns the little light off when you close the door. Even your sprinkler system could be considered a "smart" device of sorts. Of course, these aren't the types ...

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    A long time ago, the screens on our phones were square - and they didn't rotate when you turned them. These days our screens are notably more rectangular - most mimicking the ratio of our televisions and computers. Videos and pictures are best viewed in landscape, but text is easier to read in portrait. Thankfully, today's phones can detect the orientation in which they're being held and automatically rotate the screen accordingly. Most apps roll with it, either stretching or condensing to fill the available width and height, but the good ones reflow their content to look beautiful in ...

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    "Life's good... especially when you've got a flagship smartphone from LG in your pocket." With the LG G5's formal announcement expected to be made at MWC 2016 in Barcelona next month, the rumor-mill is in full force, churning out leaks-a-plenty. Leaks and rumors are one thing, and we could add our voice to an already growing choir of anonymous sources, educated guesses, and outright speculation. Instead, let's take a look at some of LG's past offerings and where other players in the industry are today, then come up with five things LG needs to do to make the G5's launch a success. ...

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    They say a man's home is his castle, and just like any good castle, a good home has to be secure. The best way to go about securing you home is by using strong, reliable deadbolt locks on your doors. Those deadbolts only work when they're locked, and to unlock them you need a key. These days, technology makes things super-convenient, but that convenience can also open us up to vulnerabilities that we'd never considered before. In days gone, by if a person wanted to make a copy of a key they'd have to either take that key to a locksmith or someplace with equipment to make copies. Now, ...

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    If I had to pick just one company that revolutionized mobile communications, it wouldn't be Apple - it would be Nokia. Back in the 1990's, when cellphones were just starting to rise in popularity, Nokia was the company you wanted to make your phone. They were durable, user-friendly, and who can forget their wonderful battery life? We were just coming down from the popularity of pagers - and two-way pagers (which is where Research in Motion came into popularity), and all of a sudden we had cell phones that could do more than make and receive calls - they could send those two-way messages, ...

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    Apple, Samsung, LG, Motorola, or HTC? There was a time (not long ago) when those five manufacturers were pretty much all one had to look at to decide which phone to get. Each had several models to choose from, so picking the phone that was right for you was rarely an easy task. Today, however, in addition to the "big five", we've got phones from Sony, ZTE, Huawei, Lenovo, Xiaomi, Acer, Archos, Alcatel, Asus, Oppo, OnePlus, Jolla, Blu, Cat, Kyocera, and more. All these added players, some with very enticing options, make figuring out which phone is best for your particular likes (and ...

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    When Pocketnow began bringing you news, reviews, and editorials over a decade ago, the industry was pretty limited in its product offerings. PDAs and smartphones, and other gadgets you could fit in your pocket were our primary focus. Since then we've covered accessories and the wireless networks that empower them, and have branched out into wearables and even fitness devices. Over the years, the role smartphones play in our everyday lives has changed - significantly. In fact, studies have shown that we're using our phones less for their intended purposes than we are for the new and varied ...

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    It started out way back in the nineties - Internet without wires. No longer did people have to tie up their phone line while their modem dialed away, beeped, booped, squeaked, squawked, and hissed. Those lucky enough to have an always-on Internet connection could put their laptop anywhere they wanted it - finally free from the limitations and inconveniences of a wired Ethernet cable. Two standards emerged in the beginning: 802.11a in the 5GHz spectrum and 802.11b in the 2.4 GHz spectrum. Both had their pros and cons, but it was 2.4GHz that gained in popularity, partly because of its ...

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    Back in the early days of handheld mobile technology we packed around things called "PDAs". Apple made one, which it called "Newton". Palm made one, which it called "Pilot". Microsoft's partners even made them, which went by a few names - Handheld PC, Palm-sized PC, Pocket PC, and so on. Eventually Apple killed Newton. Palm spun off and fizzled, and Microsoft pushed forward (renaming things again and again along the way). Ultimately, our PDAs and cellular phones merged into one device. Microsoft's offering was dubbed "Windows Mobile" (and later "Windows Phone"). Apple got back in (and ...

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    "640K (RAM) ought to be enough for anybody." - attributed to (but denied by) Bill Gates Alrighty, before we talk about how many jigga-bytes we can cram into a smartphone, let's make sure everybody knows what that is - and how it fits in with other components. First up we've got the CPU - the central processing unit - which is the "brain" of your computer, tablet, or smartphone. It crunches all the numbers and runs all the logic. It's connected via the "bus" to the other major components. The CPU's speed is measured in GHz, number of cores, and the type of architecture it's based upon. Next ...

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    It seems like many of us are replacing our phones every year. If we're living life on the cutting edge we probably replace our handsets sometime in September through November (to coincide with Apple's iPhone launch and Google's Nexus lineup). That's all fine and dandy, but now that New Year's has come and gone, our once pristine devices are now starting to lose their luster. Thankfully, today's phones are are very customizable, and without much effort you can turn your "old" new phone into something a little more fresh! Aside from going out and buying a new one, here are some quick and ...

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    Just imagine how rested you would feel if you had to wake up a hundred times an hour — all night long! One of the most exciting new features of Android 6.0 Marshmallow goes by the name of "Doze Mode". In general, Android is really good at multi-tasking. It can run a whole bunch of stuff all at the same time, and as long as your hardware has enough RAM and processing power, you'll probably hardly notice that it's doing a dozen or more things at once. The one area where you will notice this is in the frequency at which you'll need to recharge your battery. The faster your processor cores ...

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    Back in the early days of computers (well, the "earlier days"), it wasn't too difficult to determine how fast they were - relatively speaking. Processors and bus speeds were measured in MHz and RAM was measured in MB. An increase to any of those vital components meant your computer got a speed bump over those with smaller numbers. Sometime later, right around the 3GHz mark, we hit a wall. However, RAM and bus speeds kept increasing, and the number of cores inside CPUs started going up. That's when things started getting confusing. We used to be able to say that a system built around a ...

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    Today represents the first working day after Christmas - it's also the first day that we've gotten to take our newly gotten Christmas gifts "into the wild" and show them off to our co-workers. For months Pocketnow has been telling you all about the up-and-coming holiday gifts that the OEMs and retailers have been hoping you'll buy. We've reported on those which we felt were deserving of your dollars and those which were better to be avoided. Now the mad rush is behind us. The wrapping paper has been removed, the packages have been opened, the gadgets have been powered on, and you've had ...

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    "If you don't have anything to hide, why do you have curtains on your bedroom window?" - Anonymous Privacy, in these United States, is a fundamental Civil Right. Specifically, the Fourth Amendment enshrines that no unreasonable searches shall be performed without a warrant. This protects individuals from being targeted because of their beliefs, whether those are religious, political, ethnic, cultural, or anything else. As much as we'd like to deny that sort of targeting exists, history shows us that the British used unlawful searches to single out and victimize Colonists based on their ...

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    Some of you are too young to remember the early days of computing. Back in the 1980's most of us ran MS-DOS. In this environment your user interface was a black screen with a flashing white cursor (or some other color combination). From there you'd type a command to launch whatever program you wanted to run. That program might have been a word processor, a spreadsheet, an encyclopedia, a game, or some other "app". Not only could you only run one program at a time, you had to exit out of it if you wanted to switch to another one. Yeah, try writing a research paper that way. ...

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    Bluetooth was invented and initially marketed with the intent to replace our wires with miniature radios. What's more, the technology was touted as a way to create a "personal area network" of your devices. Unlike a Local Area Network (or "LAN"), a PAN was supposed to connect all of the devices you'd normally use, all without wires getting in the way. This Bluetooth PAN was supposed to help you sync your PDA to your computer, let you beam data back and forth with others, print stuff, talk on the phone just like Uhura from Star Trek, and even surf the web using your fancy cellular phone's ...

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