Blog Posts by Becky Worley

  • Scratch Test: Does Your Phone Really Need A Screen Protector?

    You bought an expensive smartphone, and you don’t want it to get scratched up in your purse or pocket. But do you need to add a screen protector? And can these thin pieces of plastic really help prevent cracks when you drop your phone?

    It’s All About The Glass

    Almost all new phones these days come with enhanced glass.  Whether it’s Corning’s Gorilla Glass or another manufacturer’s version, screen glass is chemically strengthened to create a barrier against scratches. Some phone manufacturers have even hinted they don’t think screen protectors do much good.

    [Related: The New iPhones – Should You Upgrade?]

    And I Don’t Like Screen Protectors

    Personally I am not a fan of screen protectors. Yes, they can help fight off fingerprints and reduce glare. But they are hard to apply, air bubbles get trapped under the plastic, and they don’t feel as smooth to the touch as the glass. But I like scratches and cracks even less.  So I’m willing to sacrifice a few phones to see how everyday and extreme

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  • New Ways to Avoid Getting a Real Job

    New moneymaking websites like Etsy, Poshmark, TaskRabbit, and Airbnb have created tremendous opportunities: These online marketplaces let you sell, rent, or do freelance work directly for others.  But how much money can you really make?

    The Sharing Economy

    It used to be that if you had stuff to sell – anything from homemade crafts to handyman services to renting out your boat – you’d list it in the classified ads. That’s changing – fast.  Just as online classifieds like Craigslist spelled doom for newspaper ads, newer sites and apps threaten Craigslist by providing what Craigslist doesn’t – a community where both buyers and sellers are rated by other users, and where service providers are often background-checked and insured.

    But what’s really changed is the efficient sharing of resources: Only use your car 30 minutes a day? Why not rent it out the rest of the time through a site like Getaround? And how often do you really use that Skil Saw? Name your rental price on There

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  • How to Strip Ads from your Facebook Newsfeed

    You’re not imagining things; your Facebook feed has a lot more ads. To make a profit, the company needs you to click them, so the ads have become much more prominent and invasive. But is there anything you can do to tame Facebook ads? 

    Facebook’s Built-In Controls – Not Great

    We’ve trained ourselves not to see the ads on the right side of the Facebook page, but when they appear in your newsfeed, it’s much harder to ignore them.  The bad news: Facebook has no built-in tools to completely remove them from the newsfeed. If you find one ad repetitive or offensive, there is a drop-down menu on the upper righthand corner of the post that lets you indicate “I don’t want to see this,” but in future newsfeeds, you’ll just get an ad from another company. There are, however a few ways to rid yourself of the ads outside Facebook’s controls.

    Better Solutions

    Social Fixer is a browser add-on (software that attaches to your browser and works with it) that gives you a ton of features to manage Facebook.

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  • Cheap and Clever Dual Monitor Trick

    The more screen real estate you have, the more productive you are.  Accountants, video editors, and graphics professionals all know this, and they set up two computer monitors so they can see all their open windows.

    But if you already own a tablet, you don’t have to buy a new $150 LCD monitor to create a dual-monitor set up.

    An app on your tablet combined with software on your computer work together to create a connection over Wi-Fi – no cables necessary.  Your tablet becomes the second screen for the computer; your mouse cursor moves from one screen to the next, and you can drag & drop any files from the computer screen to the tablet screen (this is best demonstrated in the video above).

    For a Windows computer and an iPad, MaxiVista is a popular program.The app costs $10. You download it onto your iPad, and then get the free software for your computer from their website. I like MaxiVista because it is incredibly easy to install. Performance depends on the strength of your Wi-Fi

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  • The New iPhones: Should You Upgrade?

    Apple did something unusual: they announced 2 iPhones at once. There’s a budget model, the iPhone 5C, and a mid-cycle upgrade, the iPhone 5S.  My initial take is that the 5C will be a nice fit for many, but the iPhone 5S may have limited appeal, in part because of a rumor about the next iPhone.

    5C Specs

    ·     Plastic shell
    ·     5 colors – white, pink, yellow, blue, green
    ·     4-inch retina screen (same as the iPhone 5)
    ·     A6 chip (same as the iPhone 5)
    ·     Rear- and front-facing cameras (same as the iPhone 5)
    ·     16GB $99, 32GB $199
    ·     Available September 20th
    ·     Battery – basically the same as the iPhone 5, with a little added talk time
    ·     Siri enabled

    Finally a Cheap (well… cheaper) iPhone

    The 5C feels young: be it the glow-in-the-dark colors that match the new IOS 7 or the “unibody polycarbonate shell” (aka, it’s made from a single piece of plastic). It has much of the same hardware that was in the iPhone 5 – which has been discontinued. This 5C is a way to offer the previous

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  • Why TV Could Be Better for Kids Than iPads

    I have a confession: I’m a tech reporter, with a master’s degree in educational technology – and I don’t often let my kids use an iPad. I’d rather let them watch TV than play with digital devices.

    I’m not going to tell you how you should raise your kids – that’s up to you – but I will offer one perspective you may not have heard.

    Early Successes… and Early Battles

    I have twins – a boy and a girl. When they were toddlers, I searched the iTunes and Google Play stores using the keywords “educational” and “toddler.” Thousands of apps appeared. Virtual jigsaw puzzles for "spatial awareness," letter recognition, games promising “help your child learn to read!” and number of games that “teach your child to count to 100.” I downloaded many because, like most parents, I have moments when I wanted my children to be calm and still – like after dinner in a restaurant, on a plane, or when I just needed to take a shower in peace and quiet.

    Boy did the apps work! The kids were quiet, zombies really.They

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  • Samsung’s Smartwatch – Trendsetter or Follower?

    At the IFA tradeshow in Berlin, Samsung announced Galaxy Gear:  a smartwatch that can’t make calls on its own, but connects wirelessly with the owner’s nearby smartphone. Samsung may have beaten Apple to the punch, but is this watch doomed to be a forgotten accessory, or is it the start of a trend that’s been coming ever since Dick Tracy first flicked his wrist to make a call?

    Galaxy Gear Features

    ·     1.63 inch AMOLED screen

    ·       6 colors: Jet Black, Mocha Gray, Wild Orange, Oatmeal Beige, Rose Gold, and Lime Green

    ·     800 MHz processor

    ·     Bluetooth 4.0

    ·     1.9 megapixel still and video camera built into the watchband

    ·     Battery: Samsung says it will last 25+ hours (real world test: TBD)

    ·     Microphone and speaker for voice-activated calling

    ·     Notifications from calendar, text messaging, apps, and incoming calls

    ·     70 apps preloaded, including: Evernote, Path, RunKeeper, Find my Phone, Weather

    ·     Currently works only with Note 3 & Note 10.1, but Samsung promises more

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  • Forget the Gold iPhone - What Else Can Apple Offer?

    A gold iPhone, a huge iPad and 3D gesture controls? Apple rumors are swirling in advance of new product announcements coming on September10th, so let’s look at the sure things, the maybes, and the “no way” ideas.

    Sure Things: IPhone5S and 5C

    Apple will be unveiling a new phone or new phones on September 10th.

    New Colors: The 5S will have three significant hardware changes and a paint job. The rumor is that gold will join the iPhone suite of black and white color choices. Knowing Apple, we’re not talking a trashy gold lame. Predictions are for a matte, champagne-colored back and muted metallic gold on the front. 

    Better Camera: On the hardware side, we expect a better camera, since many have complained about the current camera’s poor, grainy performance in low light. While some predict a 12 mega-pixel camera, the more prevalent guess is that we’ll see a camera with a larger f/2.0 aperture. That, plus a rumored dual-LED flash would greatly improve night shots.

    Faster Processor: Since the

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  • Apple Security Glitch

    Do you share your apple ID with other people in your family – kids, spouse, parents? You should be able to share music and apps within one family, but you don’t want everyone’s contacts, photos, and calendar notifications showing up on your phone – or worse, your text messages appearing on their devices. So here’s how you can still share media, but separate iCloud sharing for privacy.

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  • Secret Store Scent Recipes You Can Make at Home

    Can you make your home smell amazing with a few secret recipes that deconstruct fancy store scents? You can if you follow these cheap and easy recipes. Plus they may be healthier for you than all those sprays and diffusers.

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