Monday, February 26, 2007

Free Stuff For Your Cell Phone

Owning a cell phone can be expensive, so if there is a way of getting free stuff that makes your life easier how great would that be? This article includes several free (and some low cost) cell phone/text message related services that you can use for free.
  • Some of these services require that your cell phone is capable of sending and receiving data, and your phone carrier provides these services.
  • Before using any of these services make sure to review your cell phone's contract to understand any related fees that you could be charged for using these services.
  • All of these these services will use the your available airtime you have purchased from your cell phone provider.
  • Finally, these links are not endorsements of the following: companies, web sites and/or services. Use these services at your risk!
Free Directory Assistance Services
Telephone and cell phone provider typically charge a $1.00 (or more) for each directory assistance call that is placed. Approximately 6 billion directory assistance calls are made every year within the United States.
  • 1-800-FREE411 (or 1-800-373-3411) This service provides free automated directory assistance services after you listen a commercial. Then after that a computer will assist in finding your number. Other companies that offer similar services are: 1-800-411-SAVE (1-800-411-7283) and 1-877-520-FIND (1-877-520-3463).
  • If you're looking for the 800 number for some company there is a free directory assistance at 1-800-555-1212.
Backing Up Your Contact Information
If you need to input your contacts information via your cellphone keypad, its the pits no matter how easy they make it. There are applications available that allow you to synchronize the data on your cell phone with your laptop. Although most of these cost money and/or require you purchase an expensive custom cable.

Here are some free (and low cost) tips for managing the data on your cellphone:
  • If your cellphone supports BlueTooth, don't purchase those custom cables buy an inexpensive BlueTooth adapter for your computer or laptop.
  • If you own a Nokia phone, the company provides free software that you can use to manage and backup the data on it.
  • If your cell phone manufacture doesn't provide free software, check out a free service called ZYB. ZYB is a web-based contact information backup service that supports a variety of cell phone models that have an Internet connection. Check out the company's web site for more information.
  • If your cell phone doesn't support ZYB then check out a free phone contact backup program called BitPim. This program allows you to view and manipulate data on many CDMA phones from LG, Samsung, Sanyo and other manufacturers.
SMS/Voice Related Message Services
Did you know that you can use the SMS features of your phone to perform different types of searches or other related tasks?
  • Search Google from your cellphone using SMS to get addresses, phone numbers, word definitions, numeric conversions, weather, and more. All you have to do to get started is text the word HELP to 46645 (GOOGL).
  • Google Send to Phone: Send SMS messages to just about any cell phone in the United States using Google's 'Send to Phone' feature. To use this service it is required that you know the carrier of the cell phone that you're going to send a message too.
  • Joopz is a web-based two-way text messaging service to any mobile phone in the U.S. and Canada. Send and receive SMS text messages from the Web to any mobile phone for free.
  • Pinger instant voice messages to a mobile phone. With Pinger you send voice messages directly to someone instantly without having to call them. Watch this video to find out more.
  • Emergency Notification System: A public service web site that will send you a notification when there is a local, regional or national emergency, to your pager, cell phone or email address. These notifications include: severe weather, homeland security, Amber alerts, and more.
  • Internet Search Pro at 1-888-ISP-FOR-U (1-888-477-3678), Basically, they'll look up anything that can be found on the Internet and give you a quick answer (i.e.: businesses location, directions, stock quotes, car appraisals, trivial facts, etc.).
  • 1-800-555-TELL (1-800-555-8355), uses voice commands to provide you with the latest news, weather, sports, stock quotes, time, and more. You can even check movies or buy tickets over the phone.
Other Cell Phone Services
Below is a list of other great free cell phone related services:

  • Google Mobile, Offers several free cell phone based services. You can use services like: Search, access maps, read your email, and catch up on the latest news.
  • Yahoo Mobile, Offers several free cell phone based services. You can use services like: IM, search, alerts, games, and more.
  • craigsnumber Create disposable numbers that automatically expire after a predefined amount of time.
  • The Popularity Dialer: Using a web interface, you can arrange to have your phone called at a particular time (or several times). You will hear a prerecorded message that's one half of a conversation
  • Foonz: Free conference calls, all you have to do is create an account, contact list of the people that you want to talk to, and you will receive a dial-up phone number to hold your conference.
Other cell phone related information and articles:

Friday, February 23, 2007

'Phishing' Scammers Try New Tactics

NPR reports: "It used to be that phishing attacks, a kind of computer fraud, centered around e-mails that attempted to trick users into giving up passwords. ... But the assaults are getting more sophisticated. In some cases, phishers are employing special software that allows them to persuade users they're dealing with a legitimate Web site."

It seems like there is a unscrupulous company that is now selling generic phishing kits to make it easier for a thief to steal your information.

Monday, February 19, 2007

Video: World's First Help Desk

Change Your Router Password NOW! - AppScout

AppScout reports: "today I heard about a new threat discovered by Symantec and Indiana University that could be a real doozy. It's especially pernicious in that normal security software doesn't detect it. But you don't have to buy anything to protect yourself. That's doubly unusual."

This is a proof of concept phishing attack that can affect you easily, and you would not know about. So as the title says, change your router's password now.

Article: D-Wave Demonstrates First Quantum Computer

ExtremeTech reports: "members of D-Wave Systems, a Vancouver-based hardware firm, gathered at the Computer History Museum in Mountain View to demonstrate what they claimed is the world's first commercially viable quantum computer: the '16-qubit' Orion. ... Touted as a systems-level 'proof-of-concept' machine, the Orion uses a new type of analog processor that taps into quantum mechanics, rather than using the conventional physics associated with today's digital processing, to drive the computation."

I have been hearing the industry talk about quantum computing for almost a decade, it will be nice to see a practical use for it.

Saturday, February 17, 2007

Video: Best Visa Commercial Ever

This commercial is called 'Dining out', and it shows what happens when actress Zhang Ziyi says "the soup is too salty" and the French chef hears about it. The commercial is a parody of a scene from Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, and was directed by Ang Lee.

Video: Worlds Fastest Production Car

In this video Top Gear Shows off the Bugatti Veyron, the world's fastest production car. It's an amazing car to watch, I believe the engine generates about 1000HP, and can go about 253 MPH (or 407 KPM).

Ms. Dewey the Search Engine

Ms. Dewey is a interactive Flash-based search engine from our friends at Microsoft. As you preform a search, Ms. Dewey will make all sorts of sarcastic comments or do some other fun and weird stuff.

Its fun to type in keywords just to see what she will say or do next. I have not seen her really repeat herself. So there must be hundreds of clips that they recorded when they created this site.

If you are wondering who is Ms. Dewey, she is played by Janina Gavankar, who is an actress/model/vocalist.

Friday, February 16, 2007

Article: Wake up to the 'daylight-saving' bug

CNET reports: "This year, daylight saving is starting early -- a change that could cause Y2K-like headaches for IT professionals, and even for consumers. ... Congress decided in 2005 to extend the period of daylight-saving time by three weeks in spring and one in the fall, reasoning that providing more daylight in the early evening would reduce energy use. However, the shift could cause trouble with software set to automatically advance its clock by an hour on the old date, the first Sunday in April, and not on the new date, the second Sunday in March."

Are you ready? To patch Microsoft Windows read the following article.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

What is OpenID?

Here is an interesting technology that I came across. Its called OpenID, and it promises an open framework for user digital identification. This technology can benefit web site owners and visitors.

Below is a excerpt from the site:
"OpenID is an open, decentralized, free framework for user-centric digital identity.

OpenID starts with the concept that anyone can identify themselves on the Internet the same way websites do-with a URI (also called a URL or web address). Since URIs are at the very core of Web architecture, they provide a solid foundation for user-centric identity.

The first piece of the OpenID framework is authentication -- how you prove ownership of a URI. Today, websites require usernames and passwords to login, which means that many people use the same password everywhere. With OpenID Authentication (see specs), your username is your URI, and your password (or other credentials) stays safely stored on your OpenID Provider (which you can run yourself, or use a third-party identity provider)."

Visit the site for more information or to find out how it works.

Thursday, February 08, 2007

New Energy Star ratings for PCs on the way | CNET

CNET reports: "Standards for energy-efficient PCs are about to take a step forward for the first time in more than a decade. ... The Energy Star program is set to release the first revision to the specification for PCs since 1992, which was practically the Bronze Age of the PC industry. Energy Star stickers are familiar to those who have shopped for household appliances over the last few years; it designates appliances or electronics that meet certain specifications for energy efficiency."

Even with these new regulations, the US is still lagging behind other countries. I recently read in Europe the 'low-power' modes in most electronics are being banned.

The reason for this is that the low-power modes still consume a lot of electricity. For example, when you turn off your TV it could still be drawing up-to half of the electricity it uses when its on.

IMHO, I would like to see the all low-power modes banned or regulated to consume less power. If you want an alternative, put your electronic on a power strip and turn off the power when you're done using them.

Article: Top 10 Scary Uses for RFID Technology

If you have been following RFID technology, then you might know about how this technology can revolutionize inventory tracking, monitoring animals, etc. The problem is that this technology also carries a privacy nightmare if used wrong. Here is a very interesting article about some scary uses of RFID technology.

New Mac vs. PC Commercials

New PC & Mac Ad: Security (Real Apple Commercial)

PC & Mac Ad: Pie Charts (UK Version)

The PC vs Mac Ads (PC’s Perspective): At Work

The PC vs Mac Ads (PC’s Perspective): Money

The PC vs Mac Ads (PC’s Perspective): The Girl

The PC vs Mac Ads (PC’s Perspective): Music

Sunday, February 04, 2007

Article: A History of Microsoft Windows

Wired New reports: "The world's most ubiquitous operating system was not always so. The evolution of Windows was often uncertain and precarious. Its success was symbiotic with advancements in processor speed and memory capacity, and Microsoft relied heavily on third-party software to bridge the gap between concept and consumer. Tour the 23-year history of the Windows OS through these screenshots."

Saturday, February 03, 2007

Article: HP Reveals MediaSmart Home Server Details

PC Magazine reports: "The server was designed to be a thin version of the full-fledged Windows Server, which typically uses an Intel Xeon or AMD Opteron server processor as a foundation for enterprise software. According to a preliminary spec sheet released by HP, however, the new MediaSmart server will only require a relatively slow 1.8-GHz Sempron, AMD's version of the low-cost Intel Celeron processor. The spec sheet does not list the amount of DRAM included in the machine."

I need to build one of these servers before I comment on it. The idea for a home server is not new by any means but what Microsoft has done is legitimized it. I believe there is going to be several product that build on this idea and make it better.

Article: Netflix Ups Rental Ante Through Internet Streaming

PC Magazine reports: "LOS GATOS, California (Reuters) - Online DVD rental company Netflix Inc is unveiling its long-awaited online movie delivery service which allows subscribers to watch about 1,000 movies and television shows on their personal computers at no additional charge."

Streaming movies over the Internet is nothing new, but the market is starting to get more competitive now that NetFlix has joined the fray.

Video: How to Increase Your Wi-Fi Signal

The following video is a joke, but its funny. Here is some background: "Do you need a stronger wireless signal or greater network access? I'm Mark Erickson, and this is Infinite Solutions. In this episode, I'll show you a simple hack to extend the range of your wireless card."

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Article: 10 Things Your Florist Won't Tell You

With Valentine's Day coming up this is an article that you may want read, its about problems using on-line florists. IMHO: The article almost makes it like the on-line florists industry is a scam or gamble to use.

Remember: Caveat emptor (Let the buyer beware).