Right now, this minute, drop everything and make sure you have tracking turned on for every smartphone or tablet you own. It's free, and you'll be really glad you did if you ever need it; I was when my phone went missing last week. Options include:
- Apple devices: Find my iPhone
- Android devices: Lookout Mobile Security
- Blackberries: Blackberry Protect
When I realized it was gone, I logged in on a nearby computer and:
- Sent a loud noise to my phone (it wasn't nearby)
- Tracked it live on a map. . .to Newark! Ugh.
- Sent a message to the screen so the thief would call
- Locked it remotely to protect my data
Sadly, the thief was notnegotiable; big mistake, because at long last US cellular carriers are keeping a SHARED list of stolen phones so they can't be reactivated. It's worthless.
While that's not immediately useful to the victim, it helps put a damper on the market for stolen phones. If your phone falls into the wrong hands, please report it as stolen to your carrier.
I'm now the happy owner of a Galaxy Note 3, which is an enormous phone or a small tablet. Too many features (Apple is the master of simplicity, no question) but the 5.7" screen makes it very readable and it's a comfortable phone size (for me, at least). Here it is dwarfing an iPhone 5S. Too big? You decide.
Netflix, Hulu, Apple TV, DVR, On Demand. . .Help!
Remember the music industry before iTunes? There's a titanic, messy battle going on for our eyeballs, leaving consumers overwhelmed. Save time and frustration by using CanIStream.It (website or app) to find out where you can stream, rent or buy the video content you are looking for. It's free.
Apple NewsiPhones and iPads
Considering a new iPad? The iPad Air (larger size, super thin and light) and the new iPad Mini (improved screen) offer greater speed and battery life than their predecessors. Which to choose? Good discussion here.
Satisfied with the iPad/iPhone you already have? Our last email suggested waiting to upgrade to iOS 7. Now that it has stabilized at version 7.0.3, make sure you are up to date; it's worth it just for the new search and control panel. Solutions to a couple of common complaints:
- The new "slim" text is hard to see: fix here
- What happened to my view options on the calendar?: fix here
Free update for Macs
The new Macs are beautiful, speedy, and pricey, but compatible older ones can have the new Mac operating system, Mavericks, for FREE. A few minor problems have been reported (notably with the Mail program and gmail), but it has some nice features; if you are ready, Click here for a useful guide to upgrading.