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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  • by | January 24, 2014 2:15 PM

    I've been a T-Mobile customer since the company was known as VoiceStream Wireless. Back then coverage of its PCS network wasn't that great. Big cities and highway corridors were fine, but as soon as I'd venture off the beaten path, my signal would drop to unacceptable levels. I tolerated that because I was covered 80-percent of the time, and the other 20-percent were when I really shouldn't be using my cell phone anyway (vacations, family functions, etc.). Today that's all changed. Coverage has improved significantly (though some areas have better saturation that others), data speeds are ...

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  • by | January 23, 2014 10:54 AM

    Way back when Wi-Fi first came out, there were two versions that you could chose from: 802.11a and 802.11b. From a consumer perspective, there wasn't much difference between the two. Devices based on 802.11b were generally less expensive and more readily available than those based on 802.11a, so the b specification quickly became the consumer standard. 802.11b operates in the 2.4GHz spectrum. These days, it's getting pretty crowded, and to help address the digital noise that comes with it, 5GHz WiFi is making a comeback. 802.11a (2.4GHz) 802.11a was a standard in 1999 which promised to ...

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  • by | January 22, 2014 1:45 PM

    Rooting your Android-powered device used to be one of the only ways that you could make it do some relatively common stuff like take a screenshot or control your camera's LED. Luckily today, many of those are built into the stock Android experience. Root still has its place, and there are still some very helpful apps that require root to be able to make your life easier. Hit play and let's take a look at seven root apps that I can't live without, plus one utility that requires root, but isn't really an app. SuperSU According to its developer, SuperSU is the "Superuser access management ...

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  • by | January 21, 2014 2:06 PM

    Google initially introduced us to Android @Home at Google I/O in 2011. Up to that point, Android was powering smartphones, tablets, and some set top boxes, but that was about it. With Android @Home, it seemed that Google wanted to make Android the one-stop-shop for home automation. Various home appliances and fixtures could tie into an open ecosystem, all of which would play nicely with products powered by Android. It was a marvelous vision of what the future could hold -- and then it fizzled out. However, thanks to a recent acquisition, all hope may not be lost. Thought it may not be ...

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  • by | January 20, 2014 7:25 AM

    I've been a T-Mobile customer for well over a decade. Since I picked up my T-Mobile G1 (way back in the day) I've been a happy user of both the carrier and Android as a platform. As time progressed I loved the ability to tether other devices to my smartphone and use some of my 5GB of data on a tablet or laptop. I was never a heavy user of tethered data, and only used it when WiFi wasn't an option. Then T-Mobile tried to tell everyone that "tethered data" was somehow different from "device data" and phones bearing the T-Mobile brand forced users to purchase a separate tethering plan. ...

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  • by | January 17, 2014 7:24 AM

    The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is the regulatory body that oversees the Internet in these United States. Some times it does a good job, and sometimes it doesn't. Most of the time it depends on which side of the debate you're on. Nonetheless, there is a "Right" on the Internet that most tech writers and Internet surfers around the world will probably agree on: Net Neutrality. Around the globe, regardless of what continent you're on, what country you're in, or what language you speak, the Internet is the same. How you get there, how fast your connection speed it, how much it ...

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  • by | January 15, 2014 1:23 PM

    "The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated ..." That's what the Fourth Amendment to the Constitution of the United States of America says. Put another way: Privacy is a Civil Right. Other countries have similar laws, some with greater power to protect the people, some with less. That's all been thrown in the rubbish bin -- and your privacy with it -- thanks to the broad and arguably over-reaching eye of the National Security Agency: the NSA. Google is creepy Yesterday I wrote about ...

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  • by | January 15, 2014 7:29 AM

    There was a time when people said that Google was all about "search". Today, Google is in to everything, and it's hard to put your thumb on what Google really does. Sure, it's still in the business of indexing the web and helping you find what you're looking for, but today "search" is so much more than just querying a database looking for keywords. Imagine you're at the library and looking through one of those old card catalogs. You really have to know what you're looking if you're going to actually find it. If you don't, or if you're not an expert at the Dewy Decimal System, you might ...

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  • by | January 14, 2014 7:24 AM

    Using your smartphone or tablet as a wallet isn't all that new. I had wonderful wallet programs that held virtual versions of my cards, numbers, barcodes, and even pictures way back when I had my Newton and on my first Pocket PCs. The convenience of yesterday's digital wallet wasn't anywhere near that which it is today. Back then a digital wallet was nothing more that a convenient place for you to store your numbers so they were right there with you. Now, however, your "digital wallet" is just that. Your phone can hold your credit cards, reward cards, even your plane ticket. I use Google ...

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  • by | January 9, 2014 1:30 PM

    NVIDIAs newest SoC, the Tegra K1, made waves at CES 2014 when it was announced to have 192 cores! Alas, they're graphics cores, not processor cores. Another chip maker has some news out of CES as well! What does Qualcomm has in store for us in 2014? What cool new things can its chips do? Here's all you need to know about Qualcomm's newest Snapdragons: the 410, 602A, 802, and 805. Here's a hint: TVs, cars, and 64-bit are on their way! Smart Cars Qualcomm's mid-range Snapdragon 600 powers some of this year's older phones, such as the HTC One. However, since the 600 isn't the highest-end ...

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  • by | January 8, 2014 7:20 AM

    I've got four cores in my Nexus 5. My old Nexus 7 has four cores. Some of today's smartphones have eight cores (though it's arguable whether or not they can use all eight at the same time). My desktop computer has four hyper-threaded cores, so it looks like I have eight. Now, news out of CES 2014 is that NVIDIA has a 192-core processor: the Tegra K1, and it just might power your next smartphone or tablet. 192-cores: that's what the headlines are saying, but they're wrong -- sort of. Let's take a look at what goes into an SoC, and why NVIDIA's new Tegra K1 might not be all it's cracked up ...

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  • by | January 6, 2014 2:01 PM

    For those of you who don't already know, Pebble is a smartwatch that connects via Bluetooth to your Android or iOS-powered smartphone. In addition to doing everything you'd expect a watch to do, it also shows you alerts from your phone. New emails, Facebook alerts, voice and text messages, information about incoming calls, and more are all sent from your phone to your wrist -- it even lets you remotely control your music. There you can dismiss them, or reach into your pocket, pull out your phone, and reply. Unlike the Galaxy Gear, Pebble doesn't contain a camera or microphone, and it ...

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  • by | January 4, 2014 7:35 AM

    We live in a day and age where people just aren't satisfied with having a smartphone or a tablet -- or both. Instead, many seem to want some unholy combination of the two: a phone that's too big to be considered a phone, but a tablet that's too small to be considered a tablet. This Frankensteinian creation has a name: the phablet. I didn't say it was a pretty name, but it's a fitting one nonetheless. Once you get your head around the fact that such a beast exists, that there is a market for it, and people actually enjoy their phablets, one aching question remains: why do phablets cost so ...

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  • by | January 3, 2014 7:35 AM

    For the most part, my favorite social networking platform is Twitter. I love that information is limited to only 140 characters, it makes authors get to the point and take time crafting what message they're trying to convey. This helps me browse through a lot of information quickly, compared to some of the other social networks out there. My favorite mobile platform, you might have guessed, is Android. Unfortunately, the official Twitter client for Android isn't all that great. But, you're in luck! There are a few other apps out there that are very much worth your time. Hit play, and let's ...

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  • by | December 30, 2013 7:44 PM

    When talking about our smartphones and tablets, there seem to be two things we always want more of: battery life, and speed. Ironically, the two may not be mutually exclusive, since completing tasks faster means the processor can return to a more energy-efficient speed quicker. How the speed boost is achieved will have a significant impact on how much battery life will be saved -- or squandered. Overclocking and overvolting are two popular ways to speed up any device, but they're also notorious for causing more power drain and increased heat -- both will zap your battery fast! There's ...

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