Blog Posts by Tecca

  • How to keep your laptop cool

    mg-630-laptop-flickr-tarksiala-630wIf you use a laptop, you're probably already familiar with laptop heat. Use your computer long enough and it can feel like you have a branding iron draped across your lap. Some laptops get so hot that they'll shut themselves off before permanent damage can occur, and there are plenty of urban legends about computers spontaneously catching fire. While you're not likely to have a spontaneous fire in your lap, laptop heat has been linked to problems with male infertility and skin discoloration.

    Most computers produce a lot of heat; laptops get the reputation more than desktops because you don't touch your desktop computer as often as you do your laptop. Most of the heat is generated by your computer's central processing unit and its graphics card.

    Different laptops have different methods for handling heat once it's generated. Some use fans to blow air, while other laptops actually use the laptop's metal chassis as a sort of heat sink, conducting the heat from the computer into the air. If

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  • Xbox 360 gamers targeted in phishing attack

    jc-xbox-phishing-xbox360-elite-front-630-630wWhile everybody is focusing on the extensive outage that hit 77 million PlayStation Network customers all over the globe, it looks like the Xbox Live network hasn't escaped security controversy, either.

    Late last week, reports started popping up that a potential phishing scheme had been launched on the Xbox 360 version of Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2.

    The Microsoft issue is not as widespread as Sony's drama (the gaming network is still running, which is an obvious clue), but it is serious enough for the company to issue a Service Alert to warn all Xbox Live users of the potential security risk.

    jc-xbox-phishing-xbox-live-status-300Be alert, not alarmed
    According to the alert:

    "Users may receive potential phishing attempts via title specific messaging while playing Modern Warfare 2.

    We are aware of the problem and are working to resolve the issue. We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause and thank you for your patience."

    Robert Bowling, creative strategist at the game's development company, Infinity Ward, has

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  • kmg-630-low-light-630wJust about every modern camera has some sort of flash, but that doesn't mean that you will get very good results by using it. Between the dreaded red-eye and subjects looking washed-out and pasty, you're generally much better off not using the flash at all. Taking good photographs in low-light situations without using a flash takes practice and a bit of technical know-how, but it can be done!

    It's worth noting that "low-light" does not necessarily mean "nighttime" — we're using that term to refer to any situation in which the camera might decide it should use the flash. That could also mean indoors on a cloudy day, or under a thick canopy of trees, or at dusk or dawn. In part 1 of our low-light photography series, we'll discuss the basics of how to take good pictures when the lighting is less than ideal.

    kmg-300-low-light-pumpkins-300wTake it off automatic
    First things first: Take your camera off the auto setting. Auto is meant to be as general as possible, and it will assume that if the light is low, you want to

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  • Apple Weekly: White iPhone 4 finally available

    Apple WeeklyApple weekly

    White iPhone now available The white version of the iPhone 4 officially went on sale Wednesday. The iPhone 4 was originally set to launch in June 2010 in both white and black; however, the white version was delayed for over 10 months. You can purchase a white iPhone 4 at Apple retail locations, AT&T and Verizon stores, and some Apple reseller locations. On launch day, lines in Beijing to get the phone were reportedly well over 100 people long.

    ipadApple addresses location data issues Apple released a statement this week regarding location tracking in its iPhones and 3G iPads. The company indicated that the devices track your location merely to help you better find wifi hotspots and cellular towers while traveling, not to keep tabs on you or your phone's location. Apple indicated that it has a software update in the works that will reduce the amount of location data stored on the devices, encrypt that data, and offer the option to have your phone or iPad not store any location-based

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  • Google just announced that it will start supporting video chat through its Google Talk mobile app, but only on select Android devices. The initial rollout of this feature will only be available on phones running Android version 2.3 or higher, which for now only applies to Google's own Nexus S smartphone family.

    Android users have had access to video chat through applications like Fring and Qik for some time now, so it will be interesting to see how well this new Google Talk feature stacks up to the competition. As with both Fring and Qik, video chat will be available over 3G or 4G networks, or over wifi. It's no surprise that Google wants to have an in-house app that supports video chat as an answer to Apple's FaceTime, which was released with the iPhone 4.

    As this feature will only be available for Android 2.3 "Gingerbread," it limits the scope of the app update for now. The Nexus line of phones are considered Android flagship devices, and accordingly receive the most timely software

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  • kf-iphone-photo-panorama-630-630wOut of all the features added to cell phones over the years, the ability to take pictures has had the biggest impact. Whenever something major has happened in the world, camera phones have provided the first, second, and third images taken at the scene. They have helped to bring down governments, they let friends and family know you're okay, and they help you remember what you did last night (even if you don't want to know).

    But for every life-changing shot taken, there are millions of terrible photos — and it's about time we helped fix that!

    iPhone cameras are designed to simply take shots; there isn't a lot of tweaking to the photos that can be done (and there isn't much you can do wrong). However, with a few techniques, you can turn an average shot into a good one just by being aware of the functions of the camera as well as your surroundings. The iPhone 4 camera has 5 options that can be set: flash on / off / auto, High Dynamic Range (HDR) on / off, front or back camera, zoom, and

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  • What is a checkpoint-friendly bag?

    ehh-world-travel-istock-630-630wPost by Michael Gray: Flying was once a fun and convenient adventure. After breezing through the security checkpoint, you could then spend some time chilling out among the shops, bars, and coffee joints while you waited for your plane. In this contemporary world of heightened wariness, though, security lines can take hours to get through all on their own. It's become important for the experienced traveler to do everything possible to make the security checkpoint experience as smooth and easy as possible. 

    We talked a few weeks ago about how to make your carry-on luggage a little more checkpoint-friendly. One of the best ways to save time in security lines is to use a checkpoint-friendly bag. This leads to the obvious question: What is a checkpoint-friendly bag?

    mg-300-computingeverywhere-flickr-redjar-300wIn late 2008, the Transportation Security Administration released guidelines to help certain laptop cases pass through the X-ray procedure more easily. The TSA worked with bag manufacturers to help develop these

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  • U.S. Army creates its own app store

    U.S. Army App StoreU.S. Army App StorePost by Jacob Bolm -- Last year, the U.S. Army announced that it was interested in issuing smartphones to soldiers -- the idea being that these devices would help improve communication on the battlefield. With the introduction of an official Army Marketplace app store, the plan comes one step closer to reality.

    The Army Marketplace currently features a few dozen iPhone and Android apps that soldiers created during the Army's Apps for the Army contest -- a development competition that was meant to kick off its smartphone initiative. As it stands right now, the apps are available only through a secure military website, though the long-term plan is to develop a phone-based app that will give soldiers access to the store in the same way the iPhone App Store and Android Market apps work. Civilians won't have access to the store unless they have an official Department of Defense login to access the server.

    The Army recently announced that it will test a ruggedized Android phone for its

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  • ep-630px-looxcie-630wPost by Emily Price: Even the smallest camcorders can be bulky when it comes to holding them in front of you to shoot a video or putting them on a tripod near you while an event is going on. One company, Looxcie, has created an alternative to the traditional camcorder, a small wearable video camera you control with your smartphone. We recently got a chance to try one out, and we think the compact device brings something a little different to the video marketplace.

    A wearable camcorder?
    The Looxcie is designed like a bluetooth headset. In fact, the camcorder can actually be used as a bluetooth headset along with your phone, when you're not recording video. The camera is mounted on an earpiece so that it is positioned beside your eye, pointing outward. For me, the front of the camcorder didn't stick out further than my face; that could vary depending on the location of your ears and the size of your face. The concept is that what you see, the camera also sees, since it is located beside

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  • 5 worst digital security breaches of all time

    Post by Sebastian Anthony: With yesterday's news of the PlayStation Network being hacked and the unceremonious accompaniment of millions of names, addresses, dates of birth, passwords, and possibly credit card details having potentially been stolen, the tech community's attention has yet again been focused on the tricky and vitally important topic of internet security.

    Breaking in to computer networks and stealing data is not a new thing — it's been happening since the advent of computer networks — but as the number of people on the internet grows and more and more sensitive data is being stored by online services, the problem of data security becomes more important. These databases tend to be incredibly secure, but the fact is, your name, email address, and credit card details are worth real money to hackers and spammers, who'll do almost anything to get their hands on them.

    While the PlayStation Network breach is one of the biggest in recent months, let's take a look at some others

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