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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    Some things in life should be exclusive, like the people who are allowed to drive my car or eventually date my daughter. Other things, however, should be open to the general public. Parks, roads, drinking fountains, and the front seats of busses come to mind. Unfortunately, that's not the way things work over here in the States, at least not when we're talking about cellular phones. Carrier exclusives are still very much a thing -- although they should not be, not any more anyway. "Exclusives" are just like they sound, "restricted or limited to the person, group, or area concerned". When ...

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    Printers from yesteryear used parallel ports. Modems used serials ports -- which were available in either 9- or 25-pin varieties. High-speed devices like scanners and external drives used to connect via any number of SCSI connections. A company I used to work for even made products that let you daisy-chain two together via parallel port, and even came out with a drive that you could plug into either a parallel port or a 25-pin SCSI port. Even common devices like keyboards and mice connected through a PS/2 or other style connector. Put another way, there were just far too many kinds of ...

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    The Nexus 5 was unveiled on October 31st of last year, and offered for sale through Google's Play Store the same day. In those several months I've run the stock version of Android, though about half way through I rooted it and run several apps that require those elevated privileges. That's pretty significant. It's the first personal phone that I haven't run a Custom ROM on since my very early days with Windows CE. Even back then I ran "cooked" ROMs on my Pocket PCs. Since then, running a Custom ROM has gotten significantly easier. Rooting toolkits are available that take all the guesswork ...

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    If you've never used wireless charging, you're missing out, and you just can't understand how convenient it is. Every time you need to charge your device, you've got to have a cord plugged into an electrical outlet (or a portable battery). You probably have a few of these "tentacles" positioned in strategic locations that are quickly accessible throughout your day. Although somewhat convenient, that gets a bit messy and unorganized. I currently have four devices in my household that can charge wirelessly via the Qi standard. I wish I had more. To combat the widespread use of wall-wart ...

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    Back in the day we used to refer to our electronic devices as PDAs -- Personal Digital Assistants. They weren't. In fact, they weren't much more than battery-operated day planners, the paper versions of which were in style around the turn of the century. Today these devices have given way to Internet-connected smartphones that are finally starting to include the ability to complete core tasks via voice-assisted input. Apple has Siri. Google has Google Now. Finally, Microsoft has Cortana. Some feel that this personalized and voice-responsive component finally brings the "assistant" to ...

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    Last week we showed you a very novel Qi wireless charger for you to keep your smartphone topped of while in your car, and we were quite impressed with it. Unlike most car chargers that attach to your dash or windshield, this one sits in your cup holder and cradles your phone while you drive down the road. Interesting and convenient! If you're more into carrying around a spare battery, like I do, you might be interested in the ZENS Qi Wireless Charger than other solutions that you have to plug in. Portable Batteries In the "good old days" of PDAs and smartphones we could carry around a ...

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    For those of you who don't know, I'm a smart watch guy. When I saw Pebble on Kickstarter, I knew I had to have one. I backed the project right away. Since then I've been a beta tester for the 2.0 firmware and the new version of the app, I've had to RMA my original watch, and I'm still wearing my Pebble proudly on my wrist. We'd all heard rumblings that Apple and Google were looking into the possibility of releasing their own wearables, and we saw Samsung's Gear line was shown off in the meantime. Then we were all amazed when Google announced Android Wear. Android Wear Android Wear is ...

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    Remember back in February of 2013 when I dropped my Nexus 4 and shattered its screen? That was the first phone that I'd ever broken. Up until that time I'd always thought my friends and family must have been particularly clumsy or simply didn't take care of their devices. While that may be true of some of them (you know who you are!), it's certainly not descriptive of all of them! Inevitably, everyone will break a phone. It's going to happen. What happens next, however, is an entirely different story depending on who made the phone. Broken Phones Let me preface this next bit with my ...

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    Back in the early "two point something" versions of Android, most smartphones came with microsd card slots. Sure, cards were a lot smaller back then -- around 8GB or so. This was enough for us to store some music on, and even to install apps onto. We really needed that space, too. Smartphones themselves didn't include all that much on-board storage -- the Nexus One only included 4GB, and much of that was occupied by the operating system and core apps. Since then, our phones have gotten faster and have at least doubled their internal storage.  Modern flagships contain 16GB, 32GB, or even ...

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    Last week we announced that Microsoft was officially releasing Office for Apple's iPad and shortly thereafter went hands-on to show you what to expect if you're an iOS user. Being an Android guy, I immediately headed to the Play Store so I could download the Android version on my 2013 Nexus 7. The link said that my device wasn't compatible with the app. What? Not compatible? How can that be? I've got Google's latest tablet running the latest version of the Android operating system! How can Microsoft Office not be compatible?! Android Support I pulled out my Nexus 5 and checked the same ...

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    Last week we reported that HTC is planning on releasing BlinkFeed and Zoe to the Google Play Store -- and available for installation on non-HTC devices. Pause for a moment and let that sink it. It's a huge deal. Sure, they're just apps, so there's no reason that they couldn't be distributed through the Play Store, they simply haven't been in the past. There are many reasons why an OEM might choose to keep their apps exclusive to their devices. On the other side of that coin, there are many reasons why an OEM should publish their apps through the Play Store. To publish? Apps that are ...

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    Not long ago we we started hearing that Google would be implementing a new boot logo requirement. The document, first reported by Geek.com, is a bit vague and incomplete, but what it does show is a very simple and stylized "powered by Android" message that we've started seeing pop up in various boot sequences over the last few weeks. We still don't know everything about this move, so we'll have to make some assumptions, and they could be flawed. Disclaimers aside, let's look into the situation, the problem, what Google could be doing to address it, and why it's a great idea, but ultimately ...

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    Yesterday we talked about the benefits of 802.11AC over 802.11n, and the majority of our readers agreed that the newer AC spec wins out almost every time. But what if you don't want to jump on the 802.11AC bandwagon just yet? Good AC routers still cost around US$200, and from a speed standpoint, 802.11n may suit you just fine. Isn't there something you can do with your current 802.11n router that could help without spending any money? After all, if it isn't broken, don't fix it! Luckily, yes, there may be something you can do hiding inside the wireless router that you already own. History ...

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    I've been having some problems with the WiFi side of my router -- the wired side works fine, but WiFi has been giving me problems. This isn't an uncommon occurrence and usually happens as routers age, but happens more frequently as the chips that run the radios get hot. It's that latter part which is kind of interesting. Besides distance issues, I can't recall having had problems with WiFi connectivity in my home. Then over the last year or so I've been suffering from intermittent connectivity problems, dropped sessions, slow transfer rates, and more. The manufacturer of that router ...

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    (Updated to include Pebble's official comments at bottom and a more precise timeline of events.) I'm a watch guy... okay, I'm a smartwatch guy. From calculator watches to Microsoft SPOT, and finally now with the Pebble smartwatch, if you find me out in public, check my wrist -- you're all but guaranteed that I'll be wearing some kind of technology on it. Before I found my current smart watch I went through quite a few Bluetooth watches. None of them did what I wanted. Then I was pointed to a Kickstarter campaign: an e-paper smart watch with real potential. Just two hours after its ...

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