RokLock iPad case brings some serious protection — and functionality, too

If you want a very protective iPad case, it’s worth looking into the RokLock iPad case ($69.99).

It’s simple to install. You slide in one piece and another piece over top. There are these things called “friction latches” that help the thing stay closed (don’t worry it works). And once you have it on, you can easily get to the camera, microphone jack and the speaker section is raised so the sound is muffled as some cases can do. There’s also a screen protector included. And with all this protection, why not slide, er, stick that puppy on, too?

This is a thick case and would be a choice for someone who carries the iPad around all day. On the back sit six rubber feet, so the iPad won’t slide down and crash to the ground if you laid it, say, on a desk, and raised up one end. Or at least it wouldn’t slide down as easily.

The big feature here, though, is the Roklock, a mounting plate that you can put on any flat surface. The plate attaches with this stuff that’s stronger than  super glue and won’t come off easily from whatever you attach it to.

For us, we made a flat screen mount for a 11-inch “TV” in the workout room. It worked great. Just like that, we could watch TV via the Time Warner Cable app on iPad while we worked out and we saved, say, $250 bucks on the cheap TV from Wal-Mart we’d been eyeing for the same purpose. Plus we didn’t have to buy a real wall mount.

Better, the case optionally comes with some very powerful magnets that you can install and instantly mount the iPad on, say, a refrigerator. So now we had a new flat screen in the basement and another in the kitchen without spending any extra money. The Maglok magnets are an additional $29.

This isn’t the case for you if you want to do a lot typing and propping up the iPad. But it does what it does very well and gives you quite a bit of peace of mind when taking the iPad out on the road or even letting young people use it.



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In a world of super-big Android phones, Motorola Droid Razr M finds a niche

The beautiful thing about the Android smartphone market is that customers have a choice. If you want a 5.5-inch Samsung behemoth or a 4.8-inch Samsung behemoth, well, there’s an Android for you.

Want a phone that feels — and let’s just say it — iPhone 5 sized? Well the Motorola Droid Razr M is for you. It’s 4.3 inches long, a little longer than the new Apple phone. It feels light enough and durable enough and features an edge-to-edge screen. It’s also running the super strong — at least for us — Verizon LTE network.

Is that a winning combination?

Mostly, yes.

We’ve never been big fans of the Super big phones, so the size here feels familiar, from back when you could easily hold a phone in one hand and touch all portions of the screen. And this is one of the best-looking phones out there. It’s 8.3 millimeters thick. It’s thicker than the new iPhone 5 but not by much, and the rounded edges make it a little more comfortable to hold.

People get about as fussy about their phone’s operating system as they do the hardware. We like Android and this rocks Android 4.0. It’s smooth, polished and does about everything you could possibly want to do. The learning curve is steeper than on Apple’s iOS or on Windows but Motorola smartly didn’t overlay the software here with a heavy dose of its own MotoBlur software. And one thing we liked is that if you swipe from left to right on the home screen, you get a “Quick Settings” screen where you adjust ringtones, Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, etc.

You don’t have to press the home button and go into the Menu.

Stuff like that make this phone easy to use.

The screen isn’t as good as the Samsung or the Apple and it displays white as a tad yellow but it’s more than sharp enough to get the job done. Unless you’re holding the phones with the better screens beside it and constantly going back and forth to notice the difference — and who does that? — this screen is going to be fine.

We’d seen some reviews that took the camera to task, but for our uses, the camera was fine. Again, there are better cameras on smartphones, but the photos you take with this aren’t going to make you frown.

All in all, this is a very nice package if what you want is a smart-sized Android phone that fits comfortably in your hand. Good news, again, in Android land, is that you have choices.

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FitBit Ultra is a pedometer but so much more

C’mon, we are a Twinkies society, and the (sad) fact that Hostess, the company that makes the gooey cream-filled cakes, is going belly-up, isn’t going to help America get into shape any faster. Hostess closing simply means more people are looking for work, more families are struggling, but as long as there’s a McDonald’s around every corner and grocery stores filled with more closed up boxes than open produce, well, we’ll still be a country that sits on the fat end of the BMI index.

Now, the new FitBit Ultra ($79.95-99.95) can help track your daily activity and motivate you to add more activity to your day (at least it did for us). This tiny little thing clips onto your belt, or onto your wrist via a little velcro wrist band-thingy, and it tracks how many steps you take, how far you go, how many calories you burn. It’ll even track if you’re getting a restful sleep.

It uploads all the data to a pretty neat computer/Web-based companion and you can fill in all the food you eat, including all your Hostess Cakes and Whoppers. You can also input data for activities that the little FitBit can’t track. We did some golfing and weight lifting.

You can press one button on this device and cycle through a lot of data, and you don’t have to charge it much. We got through four days without a charge on the included USB base station, which also served as the entry to the computer hub to upload info.

The little device resets at midnight and tracks your next day. You don’t have to sync it with your your computer, though it does yield more and better results. Best of all? There’s a little smiley face that lets you know you’ve been more active than before, or not. It’s kind of like driving a hybrid car and watching the little indicator light up and get brighter on the dash board when you figure out the best way to most efficiently drive the vehicle.

If nothing else, this little device will show you — or least it showed us — how sedentary we are, or were.

Excuse us, time to go for a walk.

 

 

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Sprint starts selling 4G iPads and iPad Minis with aggressive data plans

Beginning Friday, Sprint will finally get the iPad. It will begin selling the iPad and iPad Mini in limited quantities. And it plans to do so with some pretty aggressive price plans.

If stores run out of stock, customers can sign up for the wait list, and if you buy a $50 Sprint gift card, customers can hold their spot in line to receive an iPad or iPad Mini when additional inventory becomes available.

Sprint is also pushing its data plans. For $14.99 per month, you get 300 MB of data. AT&T offers 250MB for the same price point. Verizon doesn’t offer a plan that low.

Sprint also offers 3 GB for $34.99 (AT&T is $30 for 3 GB; Verizon is $40 for 4GB). For $50, Sprint will offer 6 GB (AT&T offers 5 GB for $50 and Verizon offers 6GB for $50.

For $79.99, Sprint will unleash 12 GB of data. Verizon has a $80 plan for that amount of data. AT&T doesn’t offer that.

Sprint is also offering current smartphone customers to add an iPad or iPad Mini to their account with a specially discounted rate plan that includes 1 gig of 3G/4G LTE on-network data for $15 per month, or 100 MB for $10 per month.

Sprint is also waiving activation fees for all 3G and 4G LTE tablets for a limited time.

Lastly, Sprint is offering Sprint Mobile broadband passes for iPad Mini and iPad that allow customers to bill to a credit card on a recurring basis. Passes begin at $14.99 (300 MB). Other rates are $34.99 (3 GB), $49.99 (6 GB) and $79.99 (12 GB).

 

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Life with my iPhone 5 is going just fine

It’s been a couple of weeks since I switched from the dark side of Android to my Apple iPhone 5 and I must say life is going just fine.

It was no secret I was eventually going to the iPhone. I’ve owned three iPods, a Mac desktop and two laptops. I would have owned more but that’s all I’ve needed. I kept the first two an average of seven years. I’m happily into my third year of my current Mac Book and I’m not pining for an upgrade yet (although the iPad mini is looking really, really good).

iPhone 5

That’s why I wanted an iPhone – to complete my Apple ecosystem. OK, I really wanted this thing because I don’t have to buy a new iPod. My Nano was a third generation and it was dying a slow death. I’ve got all the music from my computer on the iPhone 5 and still have room. The new headphone design fits better in my ear and the sound quality has improved greatly. I never put any music on any of my other smartphones. iTunes was not compatible. Problem solved. Love the Apple ecosystem.

Sooooo, how is the iPhone as, well a, phone? So far so great. Everyone tells me I sound much clearer  when I’m using Bluetooth in the car or speaking into the phone.

This is also the smoothest operating phone I’ve ever used. It’s light and thin (enough) and feels expensive to the touch. It should.

That’s my biggest gripe about Samsung product. It looks great but feels flimsy.

I’m loving the retina display. I’ve watched some video and think it looks spectacular.

The new iOS6 has been rock solid, also. I’m living in the App store. I’ve not downloaded a lot but each visit shows me  something that I may use later. I’m glad Youtube didn’t get all mad when Apple didn’t make it part of the iPhone’s standard offerings. Yes, I’m now addicted. There’s way too much stupid stuff I’d miss without that app.

Siri and I are developing a relationship. Yeah, her voice is a little annoying but she usually has the right answers to my questions. She not going to let me get close, though. When I thank her, she tells me that’s not necessary. That’s a tad cold, but this is artificial intelligence.

I also really like the hands free texting. My fat, stubby fingers don’t like any phone’s keyboard so being able to dictate a text is better for me. It takes a couple of tries to get it right, but it make take several times for me to hit an O when I really need a P.

The iPhone’s biggest criticism (other than the fact its made by Apple) is the screen size. I think it could be a bit wider but I’m totally satisfied with the height. I’m not understanding the desire to carry a flat screen in your pocket or in a case on your waist. I have a friend who wants a phablet (phone-tablet) like the Samsung Galaxy Note II. Umm, no. That’s to big. Apple makes something like that but they call it an iPad mini. It just doesn’t make phone calls.

I didn’t try the map feature which was jacked up on release. I have GPS most of the time or I just use Map quest. I’m told the map thing is fixed so I’ll take Apple’s word until I try the app.

I’ve taken many pictures and haven’t experienced any problems with the camera. It has a quick focus and the picture quality is unreal. Nothing replaces a good DSLR camera but this is close.

Complaints. Not really, but the affair is still young. I still have a lot to try. So far, I’m happy to be an iPhone convert. Not missing the buggy Android system or flakey touch screen of the T-Mobile My Touch or the awful – and I do mean awful Motorola Clique.

iPhone, where have you been all my life?

cross@alldaytech.com

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Nintendo adds Wii U kiosks for hands-on demos before launch

So we walk in our local GameStop Sunday and what’s that sitting beside the door? A shiny white new Nintendo Wii U. The new console launches Nov. 18.

We got to spend about 15 minutes with the machine, standing in front of several other sweaty-handed gamers who were anxious for some hands-on time with that new huge white controller with the screen built-in.

Nintendo has placed Wii U kiosks in 5,000 retail stores throughout the U.S., each with the aforementioned Wii U GamePad controller.

So where can you and Little Jimmy find it? Try Target, Best Buy, GameStop, Walmart and Toys ‘R’ Us. To find the nearest Wii U sampling station, visit http://www.nintendo.com/wiiu/events.

So what did we think? The Wii U is a gorgeous machine, brilliant white and the new Wii U Game Controller is going to be excellent when you’re playing a friend, but we really think you’re going to want two Wii U controllers. We can see this making a game like, say, Madden football, pretty competitive. No longer, theoretically, would you opponent be able to see a selection of plays your opponent is picking from. In that way, if EA Sports was to design a Wii U Madden like that, it would  be like the old Sega Dreamcast.

Graphically, Wii U is a huge jump ahead from any previous Nintendo console. These are graphics on par and perhaps superior to PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360. That may be disappointing to some, hoping for some nuclear leap past the competition, which is really due for a refresh.

The new controller, though, is the star of the show. It’s easy to hold, easy to operate and the on-screen guide is going to open up so many opportunities for gaming and for control of other features Nintendo plans to launch like search.

Some information from Nintendo.

Launching Nov. 18 in North America, Wii U and the integrated Wii U GamePad offer completely new experiences that change the way people play games, watch video programming and connect with family and friends. The Wii U Deluxe Set will be available at a suggested retail price of $349.99, and includes black hardware with 32 GB of memory, a black Wii U GamePad, Nintendo Land, a console stand, a GamePad stand and a GamePad charging cradle. Consumers who purchase the Deluxe Set will also be enrolled in the Deluxe Digital Promotion and earn 10 percent back in Points on all games and content downloaded at the Nintendo eShop for the Wii U. Points can be exchanged to receive Nintendo eShop credit that can be used toward a future Wii U or Nintendo 3DS game purchase. The promotion is currently planned through 2014.

The Wii U Basic Set includes white hardware with 8 GB of memory and a white Wii U GamePad, and will be available at a suggested retail price of $299.99.

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HTC Droid DNA aims for best screen in a smartphone. Does it win the claim?

The big news in the crowded smartphone world — literally — is HTC’s new Droid DNA announcement.This is a 5-inch phone. So it’s bigger than the big Galaxy SIII and nearly as big as the Galaxy Note II. It debuts Nov. 21 at the now familiar price point of $199 with a two-year contract via Verizon.But the, um, big news here is the screen. It’s running Google’s smooth Android Jelly Bean software, and that’s as good as anything on the market. You probably have tried some flavor of Android by now. Know that Jelly Bean just does everything, but better. It’s also got built-in wireless charging.

The news here is the screen. The new Nexus 4 has a very good looking 4.7-inch display, but the DNA brings to the market a 5-inch 1080P display. This display matches the one of your flat screen TV. And the DNA also brings something called “pixel density” to numbers we haven’t seen before.

The new HTC, according to the Verge, clocks in a 400 pixels per inch. It means text looks sharper, mostly. We wonder about battery life, however.

Gizmodo took a very in-depth look at the display today comparing it to several others on the market. They deliver the image above which shows the pixel densities of some of the best smartphones on the market. To our eyes, the DNA is the new king (photo from Gizmodo)

HTC and Verizon are touting the high resolution screens being great for gaming and photos and noting that with a five inch display, your fingers won’t get into the way of gameplay.That may be true, but for many users, 5-inches is going to be two big, requiring two hands for most tasks. We do like the idea of simply laying the phone down on a charging pad to charge it and a one button access to Amazon shopping.The Verge claims this phone tops the HTC One-X as having the best smartphone screen on the market. We love to the One-X so to top it goes a long way, but for the size may be a turn off for most, but if you can handle the size, this could be a very good smartphone for you. Our advice?

Go to your nearest Verizon store and give a try.

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Honda caves to pressure with Civic quick fix

Well, the mighty Honda is redesigning its vaunted Civic a little more than a year after its debut as an all-new model.

Why is this news? It takes years to design, test, tweak and deliver a new model, even if it’s an update to an existing model. We are talking millions of dollars in research and development. Honda is so vexed with criticism for the compact it will debut this new Civic at the Los Angeles Auto Show November 29. The Civic will go on sale the same day.

2013 Honda Civic

This could be viewed as embarrassing for Honda. The company was hammered by the automotive press for the current Civic. It has been one of the best selling cars in the small car segment. It is certainly the hottest car with wannabe racers and car tuners.

The car buying public wasn’t as put off by the Civics’s, umm, bland styling. Sales for the new Civic haven’t been bad, but the competition is stiff. Ford’s Focus is as solid as anything on the market. The Hyundai Elantra’s sedan and coupe are gaining in popularity daily. Toyota’s Corolla is always in contention. The list goes on.

I’ve driven two versions of the current Civic and liked both a lot. The HF was very frugal on fuel and fun to drive. The coupe was light and agile – the hallmark of Honda’s best models. Neither car’s styling bothered me. It was much like the previous Civic, which was OK. Nothing stood out as wrong and there was a lot to like. I did feel the competition may be closer than Honda hopes.

It’s that competition that is making Honda do the quick redo, especially from Kia and Hyundai. The sister companies are churning out serious cars that seem to entice the public. Honda is feeling this heat, as do all other car makers.

The most interesting aspect of Honda’s actions is that a major manufacturer is admitting it may have gotten things wrong. The Civic was to get a refresh in 2014 and full redesign a few years later. Honda hit fast forward and said price be damned (sort of), despite the car’s good sales. Could Honda hear the Koreans at their gates?

Maybe, but Honda’s doing the right thing. The new Civic will have some styling cues from the new Accord, which is selling better than expected. The Accord’s styling still lags behind that of Hyundai’s Sonata, but it is clean and handsome. Don’t be surprised if this new grille becomes Honda’s new face.

2012 Honda Civic Si Coupe

There will also be some interior changes to the Civic according to Honda, but no word on any engine improvements. In a statement released yesterday, Honda called the styling “more youthful and premium.”

Honda has asked its dealers to clear out the current inventory of Civics as soon as possible. The company thinks the new car will make it difficult to sell the outgoing model, Expect deals galore until November 29.

Honda’s actions point to how hot this competition is. The company lost the crown for best selling family sedan to Toyota when the Camry knocked the Accord out of that spot. That’s when the Accord moved from midsize to a large car, possibly the company’s biggest mistake. It seems Honda doesn’t plan for something like that to happen again.

Honda’s ability to respond so quickly is rare in the auto industry. Will other companies use this as a template to handle such emergencies? We will see.

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Halo 4 videogame making entertainment history

Can a videogame really make more dough in its first week than the Avengers blockbuster movie?

Yes, and there are a whole lot of teens who are filling up GameStops around the country.

“Consumer demand and excitement for ‘Halo 4’ is even greater than we anticipated,” said Tony Bartel, GameStop president. “Day-one sales of ‘Halo 4’ make it the biggest ‘Halo’ launch in GameStop history and the biggest game launch on any platform so far this year in our stores.”

Turns out that the new “Halo 4” videogame is on track to reach $300 million in global sales in its first week. That would make it the biggest “Halo” launch ever and the biggest entertainment launch of the year.

In 24 hours, Halo did $220 million plus worldwide.

What’s that beat?

That tops first day totals for “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2,” and the biggest movie of 2012, “The Avengers” – based on U.S. sales alone.

To date, the Halo franchise has racked up sales of $3.38 billion and users have spent more than 31 million hours online playing Halo 4 so far. That pushes the total number of Halo playing hours to over five billion.

“We’re thrilled that ‘Halo 4’ has emerged as the biggest U.S. entertainment launch of the year,” said Phil Spencer, corporate vice president of Microsoft Studios. “Thanks to the millions of fans worldwide who helped make this another record-breaking launch for the ‘Halo’ franchise, ‘Halo 4’ is kicking off a strong holiday season and has become the must-have blockbuster experience of the year.”

Halo was released Nov. 6 at midnight madness store openings around the world. More than 10,000 retail stores in 40 countries sold the game.

Halo was developed by Microsoft studio 343 Industries exclusively for the Xbox 360, and continues the story of the series’ iconic hero the Master Chief as he returns to confront his destiny and face an ancient evil that threatens the fate of the entire universe.

The standard edition of “Halo 4” will be available for $59.99 (U.S. ERP 3), and the Limited Edition, which includes an extended 90-minute version of the live-action digital series “Halo 4: Forward Unto Dawn” and additional bonus content, will be available for $99.99 (U.S. ERP). Fans can also pick up the Xbox 360 Limited Edition “Halo 4” Console Bundle for $399.99 (U.S. ERP) and a standalone Xbox 360 Limited Edition “Halo 4” Wireless Controller for $59.99 (U.S. ERP). In addition, players can purchase the “Halo 4” War Games Map Pass for $24.99 USD (2,000 Microsoft Points), which provides access to three upcoming War Games map packs as they become available in December, February and April, and represents a savings of more than 15 percent versus purchasing the packs individually.внешняя MMS-камерауличная MMS-камераgopro hd hero 3 обзорKI52форма 063болгария горящие турыаренда под складnavigate to this websiteroam 2 contour

AT&T launches Samsung Galaxy camera — and a discount

Samsung’s new Galaxy Camera will be available for AT&T customers Nov. 16 for $500.

A little steep, you think? Well, AT&T is sweetening the deal. For a limited time, AT&T customers can get up to $100 bucks off the camera or any Galaxy handset.

To get the discount, just sign a new two-year agreement on any Samsung phone, tablet or the camera.

Here’s the official release with all the particulars:

DALLAS, NOV. 12, 2012 — AT&T* today announced the Samsung Galaxy Camera™, the 4G connected camera, will be available for customers beginning Nov. 16 for $499.99.2  For a limited time, AT&T customers will receive up to $100 off the purchase of a second Samsung Galaxy handset or other Samsung connected device, including the new Samsung Galaxy Camera, when they purchase any Samsung Galaxy smartphone (w/ two-year agreement incl. qualifying voice and data plans).

The Galaxy Camera combines high performance photography with Android™ 4.1 Jelly Bean and AT&T 4G mobile internet, resulting in a powerful point-and-shoot camera with a familiar, intuitive user interface and access to Android applications from the Google Play™ market.

The Galaxy Camera is a perfect fit for those who wish to shoot, edit and share brilliant photographs and video easily and quickly through social networks without connecting to a laptop or PC. The Galaxy Camera features a 4.8-inch HD Super Clear LCD™ screen, boasts a 21x optical zoom lens and a super-bright 16MP backside illuminated CMOS sensor for shooting high-quality images close up and in low light conditions. This device is powered by a quad-core 1.4 GHz processor for quick and responsive performance. Galaxy Camera includes powerful manual controls with its Expert Mode, which allows for manual setting of shutter speed, aperture, and ISO. Smart Mode gives amateurs the tools of the pros, with Rich Tone HDR mode, Light Trace for ‘light painting’ photos and features like Best Face and Best Photo, which help users pick the best shot.

“By connecting the Samsung Galaxy Camera through the AT&T wireless network, users can instantly share photos, giving family and friends a glimpse into their favorite holiday moments,” said Chris Penrose, senior vice president, AT&T Emerging Devices. “Customers will receive $100 off the purchase of the new Samsung Galaxy Camera when they purchase any Samsung Galaxy smartphone, making the Samsung Galaxy Camera the perfect gift this holiday season.”

In addition to being able to share to social networks and cloud services on-the-go, consumers can harness the speed and connectivity of AT&T’s wireless network to share images and videos between Galaxy Camera and a range of Galaxy devices including the Samsung Galaxy S® III, Samsung Galaxy Note® II and Samsung Galaxy Tab® 2 10.1. 3

Customers purchasing Samsung Galaxy Camera from AT&T have more options in choosing the plan that’s right for them and their mobile devices. With new AT&T Mobile Share plans, new and existing customers can share a single bucket of data across smartphones, tablets and other compatible devices. AT&T Mobile Share allows customers to build a plan to fit their devices and usage. Customers can select one of the new shared data plans or choose one of AT&T’s existing individual or family plans. 4

The full range of data plan options include:
·         AT&T Mobile Share: $10 to share between 1 GB and 20GB
·         AT&T DataConnect 250MB: $15 for 250MB
·         AT&T DataConnect 3GB: $30 for 3GB
·         AT&T DataConnect 5GB: $50 for 5GB

The Galaxy Camera will have access AT&T Locker, a free and easy-to-use photo and video sharing service for AT&T customers.  AT&T Locker users get 5 GB of storage for free – enough for 5,000 average sized photos.  AT&T Locker provides users the ability to upload images and video to secure online storage and quickly share on Facebook, MySpace, Twitter or e-mail.  Users can create and customize albums for photos and video on the device or online in the AT&T Locker website.

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