Saturday, June 28, 2014

Get Free Software Diagnostic and Malware Removal at Microsoft Stores

Is your computer running a bit sluggish? Perhaps you've been hit with a bad malware infection? For those of you that might need a little assistance figuring out what the issue is or removing that pesky malware bug Microsoft is offering to lend a hand. That is of course if you live in an area with a Microsoft store.

Microsoft’s in store Answer Desks, is offering customers five free services, regardless of where you bought your computer. It doesn't matter whether you got your PC from Microsoft, or somewhere else. Simply bring your PC into a store near you and they’ll provide you with “extended diagnostics on any device.” They also offer free software repair or support, remove viruses and/or malware, and they’ll also offer to give your PC a tune up in order to boost its performance.

Microsoft’s Answer Desk page also says that you can get an appraisal on store credit for your gear through the company’s Recycle for Rewards program.

Microsoft doesn't make it totally clear as to what each service entails or how thorough the check-ups will be. Each service is listed at $99.0o through the Answer Desk page. Meaning you could save yourself a few hundred dollars and get your PC fixed up and finally tuned in the mean time.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

All You Need to Know About Google I/O 2014 Day 1

 Developing news will be updated as more details emerge! 

During today's 7th annual Google I/O developer conference Google took the wraps off several new projects, devices and services the company has plans to release this year. Some we already knew about like Android Wear, while yet others were the objects of pure speculation.

Here is a break down of a few of the major new updates from Google:

Android L:

Due to be released this fall Android L is the newest version of the Android operating system which features numerous new OS improvements. The Android L release will be what Google is calling "the biggest release ever for Android" which includes hundreds of enhancements and new features. Google will – as rumored – enable ART as the default runtime replacing the aging Dalvik. Thanks to ART, which supports features like Ahead of Time compiling, Just in Time compiling, and interpreted code, Google can offer a performance jump of 2x compared to Dalvik.

Other improvements include 64-bit chip support, though not just ARM-based processors that are found in a lot of  mobile device today -- it also supports 64-bit x86-64 parts from Intel and AMD, along with the MIPS64 architecture from MIPS. In terms of graphics performance, L will support features like tessellation, geometry shaders and computer shaders, as part of the so called Android Extension Pack. Finally, battery life will be improved as well in the L release, thanks to features like a new battery saving mode, scheduling of maintenance tasks, and coalescing of CPU tasks.

Android TV:

Building on the success of the Chromecast, Android TV will bring all that you love about the Android experience like your favorite apps and games right to your living room. In short Android TV builds in Google’s search services directly into your TV-watching experience, through a set-top box or as part of your TV. You can use voice search to find a live TV show, a good flick from Google Play, or a music video on YouTube. Plus, because it’s Android, you’ll be able to play your favorite Android games, reimagined for TV and with a gamepad.

Android TV has access to the popular streaming services like Hulu, Netflix, and Spotify, and many more. There’s a specific Android TV store set to arrive with the launch of Android L, which contains apps, steaming services and games that are specifically optimized for Google’s TV service. Android TV will be coming to a variety of form factors, including TVs, set-top boxes, and streaming boxes. Sony, Sharp, TPVision, Asus and Rasr are all currently developing products with more manufactures reportedly doing the same.

Android Auto:

Delivering a Google Now type experience for the car, Android Auto will make it easier and safer to use Google's connected services while driving down the road. When Android Auto connects to your car's display, it will automatically show information relevant to your driving habits based on the information that Google and Google Now already knows about you.

You'll have access to Google Voice search for things like Maps and Navigation, music and phone commands such as replying to incoming text and email messages using Google's voice input and text-to-speech systems. The familiar commands should be recognizable from Google Now on the phone. Google stated that it has 40 automakers and suppliers partnered up as part of the Open Automotive Alliance and standing behind Android Auto.

Android Wear:

We first learned about Android Wear back in March when Google officially the new OS platform that is the company’s vision for the future platform for smartwatches and other wearable devices. Android Wear extends on the mobile Android OS platlform, and its ecosystem of apps, bringing those features to the “wearable market”.

You get the information you need, quickly at a glance—just like you’re used to doing with your watch. Just say “Ok Google” to ask questions or to get stuff done. Get alerted when it's time to leave for dinner. Call a cab to take you there. See the traffic on the way. Text a friend once you're seated. It’s all right there, on your wrist, easy to see, right when you want it. Two new Android Wear devices are available today with the LG G Watch and Samsung Gear Live, going up for order on Google Play, and the Moto 360 from Motorola will be available in the coming months.

Google Fit:

Recently previewed, details around Google Fit are still a bit vague. Google didn't go into much detail about the new project however it did announce a new set of APIs which are meant to help Google users keep track of fitness goals with wearables, sensors, and data-logging apps by letting those apps and devices share information with each other. Google named a number of partners including LG, RunKeeper, RunTastic, Adidas, Basis, Nike, and Motorola. Google specifically mentioned wearables, but the only device named for integration during the presentation was Nike's Fuel system.

Android One:

Targeting the budget minded and developing markets, Android One is Google's attempt at pushing into markets where smartphone ownership isn't as prevalent as it is in more developed markets. This means budget smartphones with stock Android and great specs. The sample device shown at I/O was manufactured by Micromax and comes equipped with a 4.5-inch display, dual-SIM support, SD card support, and an FM radio. This device will run stock Android, will have automatic updates (just like the Nexus line), and will cost less than $100.

Since the company is targeting the developing world, Google is initially teaming up with Indian smartphone makers like Karbonn and Spice.

Source: Google Official Blog

Supreme Court Unanimously Says No to Warrantless Cellphone Searches

Tech users and digital privacy rights supporters won a major victory today as the U.S. Supreme Court handed down a unanimous decision upholding the rights of citizens against warantless searches. The ruling handed down today re-enforces the Fourth Amendment’s protection against unreasonable search and seizure as it applies to new technologies.

Cellphones are not the same as other physical objects, Chief Justice John Roberts wrote in the opinion. "One of the most notable distinguishing features of modern cell phones is their immense storage capacity," he wrote. "Before cell phones, a search of a person was limited by physical realities and tended as a general matter to constitute only a narrow intrusion on privacy. ... Most people cannot lug around every piece of mail they have received for the past several months, every picture they have taken, or every book or article they have read -- nor would they have any reason to attempt to do so."

At the heart of the decision is the difference between what material evidence a suspect might carry on their person compared to just how different 16 gigabytes of information on a phone as well as information stored via the cloud is from that material evidence.

But with a cellphone, "the sum of an individual's private life can be reconstructed through a thousand photographs labeled with dates, locations, and descriptions; the same cannot be said of a photograph or two of loved ones tucked into a wallet."

Because so much data can be found by searching even an inexpensive cellphone, police must in most cases obtain warrants to search them, the court ruled. "The fact that technology now allows an individual to carry such information in his hand does not make the information any less worthy of the protection for which the Founders fought. Our answer to the question of what police must do before searching a cell phone seized incident to an arrest is accordingly simple -- get a warrant."

Today ruling largely stemmed from two separate cases, one from California (Riley v. California) and one from Boston Massachusetts (United States v. Wurie). Both cases involved arrests whereas information obtained from police searching cellphones of the defendants led to them being charged and convicted.

In both cases, the issue raised before the Supreme Court was whether the warrantless searches and subsequent chargers were deemed reasonable

"These cases require us to decide how the search incident to arrest doctrine applies to modern cell phones, which are now such a pervasive and insistent part of daily life that the proverbial visitor from Mars might conclude they were an important feature of human anatomy," Chief Justice Roberts wrote. In both cases, the cellphones in question "are based on technology nearly inconceivable just a few decades ago," when precedent-setting cases were decided.

"Finally, there is an element of pervasiveness that characterizes cell phones but not physical records. Prior to the digital age, people did not carry a cache of sensitive personal information with them as they went about their day. Now it is the person who is not carrying a cell phone, with all that it contains, who is the exception," the ruling says. "A decade ago police officers searching an arrestee might have occasionally stumbled across a highly personal item such as a diary. But those discoveries were likely to be few and far between. Today, by contrast, it is no exaggeration to say that many of the more than 90% of American adults who own a cell phone keep on their person a digital record of nearly every aspect of their lives -- from the mundane to the intimate. Allowing the police to scrutinize such records on a routine basis is quite different from allowing them to search a personal item or two in the occasional case."

In their ruling the court acknowledged that the ruling will have an effect on the ability of police to combat crime, but reminded us that privacy must prevail!!

Monday, June 23, 2014

Intel 2-in-1s: Getting The Best of A Tablet And Laptop All-In-One Device

The argument over which is better the laptop or the tablet is a never ending one. Each has their own merits with neither necessarily being a "winner," only a preference based on your specific needs. However, when choosing out latest geek gadget we asked ourselves, why choose between either? Why not get the best of both and get something that will offer the extremely convenient and portable features of a tablet, with all the powerful features a laptop has to offer?

When looking for the latest addition to our gadget family we took many factors into consideration. First, and foremost we had to think about what tasks we would need the device to handle on a daily basis and what we thought would be imperative for the device to perform. For example, for us a keyboard or the ability to use a keyboard is essential. Try typing out several long blog posts on a touchscreen and you will soon see why! We also needed something that offered a great deal of portability. I like to travel light and carry as little as possible.

Filling all of our needs has always been a bit tricky. Being tech junkies, of course we also have impeccable taste, so whatever devices we decide to grace the office with have to meet the highest standards. Given this, we decide to add our second #Intel2in1 device.

Meet our new Dell Venue 11 Pro! She came to us fully loaded and ready to tackle any of the geekiest tasks we could toss her way. Under the hood is an Intel Core i5 4210Y processor (3MB Cache, 1.5 GHz Dual-Core) processor, Windows 8.1, 4GBs of RAM and 128GB internal storage. To keep productivity up we added on Dell Tablet Keyboard with a built-in rechargeable battery that Dell says will increases our Dell Venue 11 Pro tablet's battery life by 50 percent.

As a stand alone tablet the Venue 11 Pro offers a 10.8 inch IPS Display with FHD (1920 x 1080) resolution with 10-pt capacitive touch. Which paired with Windows 8.1 gives you a fairly good tablet experience. Multi-touch is really response, the screen is bright and clear and videos really pop. Coupled with the keyboard and wireless Logitech mouse however, is where we really see her shine. The Core i5 and 4GBs of RAM means she purrs like a kitten, especially when compared to our other tablets and even our Samsung ATIV 2-in-1 that features an Intel Atom CPU. Multi-tasking with even some of the most demanding tasks we needed to accomplish was flawless.

Battery life was one area we were really concerned. We have not had the best of luck with out laptops nor our tablets. We are heavy users that like to have a full bright screen while running multiple programs. Both of which eat through battery life quickly. Both tablets and 2-in-1s should have great battery life. Tablets are built around a comparatively lower-powered processor, which typically gives tablets better battery life versus a 2-in-1 and considerable better life compared to laptops.

Here we were extremely surprised. Under fairly heavy usage our Core i7 based Samsung laptop gets a few hours at most battery time. Our tablets usually fair pretty well, but they aren't used nearly as much. When using the Dell Tablet Keyboard the battery on our Dell Venue 11 Pro was still running strong after 3+ hours, with 60-65% battery life left. That means we could have easily made it through a full work day on a single charge. Something we just can't do with most of our other devices.

The ability to seamlessly switch from a powerful tablet to an equally powerful, fully productive, laptop that really made us decide on an #Intel2in1 device. When on the go we can unplug and slim down with just the tablet, yet still have full access to all our Windows apps and content. Then when we need to ramp-up the power usage we can plug in our accessories like a keyboard, mouse or even external HDD and have more than enough juice to keep up with all our need.

For more details on the Dell Venue 11 Pro be sure to check back for our full review, which should be available shortly. If you need more details on selecting the best device for you checkout these suggestions from Intel!

#spon: I'm required to disclose a relationship between our site and Intel This could include Intel providing us w/content, product, access or other forms of payment.

Friday, June 20, 2014

Steam's Summer Sale Get Discounted Games Until June 30th

PC gamers hope you have your credit cards handy. The annual Steam Summer Sale has kicked off with major discounts to several of your favorite game titles. Whether you are a seasoned gamer, a novice or just someone looking to try out some new games, this sale offers a bit of everything for everyone!

For the next ten days, you take advantage of huge savings throughout the Steam store on thousands of games. Aside from the daily offerings there are also Eight-hour Flash Sales. You can even help select what goes on sale with the the Steam Community's Choice Flash Sales.

More than a hundred products will be featured as Daily Deals throughout the sale, with new deals popping up every 24 hours.

In addition to the sale Steam is offer the bonus Steam Summer Adventure. A chance for gamers to collect, trade, and craft 10 Summer Adventure cards that can only be earned during the sale. Players can earn in-game items, community rewards, and points for their team by crafting badges throughout the sale. At the end of each day, the team with the most points wins.

Need some suggestions to get the best deals during the sale? Here are a few that usually help us get the most bang for the buck!

  • Add your must have games to your wish list! During the daily deals or flash sales it is easy to overlook some of your favorites. Having them in one handy place makes it easier to track when or of they do go on sale. Set reminders and track those Flash Sales first! The Flash Sales refresh every eight hours and have four games with deep cash saving discounts each time. Since the Flash Sales section get the deepest discounts and rotates frequently it is best to track them first to get your games for really cheap.
  • Check each day for the new Daily Deals! The Daily Deals refresh every day at 1 p.m. Eastern and usually have between eight and ten games each time. The discounts are generally lower than the Flash Sales, but some are still extremely compelling. 
  • Keep a close eye on those Community deals! Steam is letting the Steam community vote for one of three games to get a discount each day. These deals last about a day, and you can weigh in on which one you want. The result is up to the community, but it's usually the biggest title or the steepest discount that wins.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Review: D-Link DIR-818LW Wireless AC750 Dual Band Router

A few weeks ago we introduced readers to the new more colorful line-up of D-Link routers including the new DIR-818LW. This batch of consumer friendly home routers promises to not only bring you the latest in home networking connectivity with dual band Next Generation AC750 technology and Gigabit LAN but also promises to 'Bring Color To Your Life' and add some style to your home network with four different colors to choose from: Red, Teal, Black and White.

D-Link says the new routers are perfect for any house looking for a reliable and strong home network ideal for HD video streaming, online gaming and multiple user activities.

D-Link DIR-818LW Features and Specifications:

  • Next Generation AC750 Technology for increased speed, range, and reliability to ensure coverage throughout your home.
    • IEEE 802.11ac wireless LAN
    • IEEE 802.11 a/b/g/n wireless LAN
  • Dual Band Performance for faster speeds with less Wi-Fi interference and maximum throughput.
    • 2.4 GHz band: 2400 - 2483.5 MHz
    • 5 GHz band: 5150 - 5725 MHz
  • Four 10/100/1000 Fast Gigabit ports give you high-speed wired connectivity.
  • USB Port - Create your own personal cloud
  • Backward Compatibility to work with existing and future Wi-Fi devices.
  • mydlink Cloud Services to remotely monitor your network using your smartphone or tablet.
  • Latest home networking security
    • 64/128 bits WEP
    • WPA & WPA2 (Wi-Fi Protected Access)
    • WPS (Wi-Fi Protected Setup)
    • Advanced Features: QoS (Quality of Service), DMZ (Demilitarized Zone), Firewall Network Address Translation (NAT), Guest zone and IPv6 ready

D-Link DIR-818LW Setup

Setting up most home routers these days is a snap. Gone are the days of needing to load extra software and fumble through several different screens, while trying to figure out several different default passwords. D-Link offers a quick easy guide to get you started and the router walks you through most of the snags you might hit. For us it was pretty much a matter of plug and play.

Start with powering down your network all the way up to the modem. Connect all your wired connections and start powering on your devices. Start with the modem first, allow it to make the hand shake with your ISP and make sure the connection is up and running. Then power on your D-Link DIR-818LW. Once you green lights across the board, indicating a good connection, power on your PC, laptop or whichever device you are going to use to finish the setup.

From there you can log into the http://dlinkrouter.local homepage or http://192.168.01 and you'll be guided through the rest of the setup. We found the basic setup to be fairly intuitive and easy enough that the average consumer shouldn't have any issues. You'll be prompted to setup the basics like wireless security, network passwords ect. For any entry level router such as this, targeting the general consumer, I'd like to have seen a more user friendly interface. However, the basics are easy enough to navigate, yet it still offers the most demanding geeks all the tools and toys they need for tweaking their networks to perfection!

D-Link DIR-818LW Performance, Speed and Range

Testing performance, speed and range can be a bit tricky. There are a wide range of factors that have negative impacts on wireless networking performance. Things like obstacles like walls and surround terrain, what channel your router uses, the placement of the wireless router, and even interference issues from other routers or everyday items like cordless phones, microwave ovens, ect. can all contribute to poor performance. In our testing we try to set each router up with the same basic settings in the same basic environment.

Given this is our first dual-band Wireless AC router we were a bit surprised in some areas and a bit disappointed in others. Speed and range wise we saw a slight boost over our Linksys E4200v2. Utilizing the 2.4Ghz band and at the furthest possible testing distant there seemed to be a very noticeable boost in speeds. General testing under normal ranges there wasn't any significant change, nor did we expect any given the equipment used.

Testing under the 5Ghz channel we saw a bit of disappointment as range was fairly limited. This wasn't surprising as generally the higher frequencies bands tend to have lest range than that of the lower frequency bands. While we did have coverage throughout the office, we would like to have seen a bit more performance. With the 2.4Ghz band we saw nearly twice the range 30-60ft was our max testing radius and the 5Ghz band saw significant drop off at 15-20ft.

Final Thoughts and Conclusions
For those looking to make an upgrade from an older Wireless N, or god forbid Wireless G router and and are finally looking to break into the AC router market, the DIR-818LW won't be a bad option. As an entry level device it offers solid performance and offered a lot of options for a nice price.

If you already have a top notch Wireless N router such as the Linksys E4200v2 or another router offering 900Mbps speeds, then the speed and range will be fairly similar, making it a bit less of an upgrade option. For those users you may want to spend the extra money and get something with a bit more bang and more speed like the D-Link DIR-850L or another router offering AC1200 or above speeds.

The one aspect we loved was the dual channel option. At any given time we have 10-15 connected devices ranging from tablets, to phones, to PCs and laptops, even a couple streaming devices like the Chromecast streaming content. It was great to have a dedicated channel to offload some of the connections to giving them their own dedicated network and bandwidth. With that we never once saw a slow down even when streaming across multiple devices.

The one major aspect we found flaw with oddly enough wasn't the router itself. It was with the mydlink website and remote interface. The site utilizes Java which we tend to not have installed on our devices due to a) not using it almost anywhere else on the web and b) security concerns over the past several vulnerabilities. Other than that, for the average home user, we found the D-Link DIR-818LW to be well worth the $79.99 price tag.

Apple Drops Price And Performance On Newest Entry Level iMac

Apple, a company probably best known for offering "premium" devices at a premium price, has made a surprising move announcing a new entry level iMac with a $200 price drop. With that discount however comes a bit of a cost, a major drop in performance.

The new Apple iMac features a 21.5-inch LED-backlit screen, a 1.4 GHz dual-core Intel Core i5 processor, 8 GB of memory and a 500 GB hard drive. That's far less powerful than Apple's previous "low-end" iMac, which had a 2.7 GHz processor and a 1 TB (1,000 GB) hard drive. In fact that’s roughly half the processing speed of other quad-core iMacs and identical in almost every way to the MacBook Airs.

Apple generally isn't known for offering 'entry level' mainstream devices to consumers. Their niche has always been offering a 'high quality' device with a 'premium' look and feel. Recently however, the company has made moves to break that mold by offering lower cost 'budget' friendly options such as the new iPhone 5C. Still the company generally doesn't reduce prices on their devices until the model ages, or the company releases an updated version. Even then those models retain the same components, or even offer slight improvements with, for example, a boost to the processor.

Stephen Baker, an analyst with the NPD Group and an expert on U.S. retail sales believes the recent reductions in price and new offerings of budget friendly devices is a move to take Apple to a more mainstream market.

"There's a lot more attention paid to volume at Apple," Baker said. "The earlier MacBook Air price changes, the amount of discounting that's going on with the iPad and iPhones as well, it feels like there's a lot more attention at Apple to getting to more mainstream pricing and more mainstream customers."

Even with the reduction in price Apple is still charging customers a 'premium' over current Windows based models with similar specifications. The average price of a Windows based touch-screen all-in-one with similar specifications and screen size is roughly $800. While the average for non-touch Windows all-in-ones can be found for well was under $500. So Apple's $1,100 is still pretty high.

Will that matter to consumers, no probably not. For those Apple fans looking to buy Apple just for the sake of having Apple, or because they want the new unified experience Mac OS X Yosemite offers the price drop will just be seen as a bonus.

The less expensive iMac is already available on Apple's website and will ship within 24 hours. But it won't yet come preloaded with OS X Yosemite, the operating system Apple unveiled at its annual Worldwide Developers Conference earlier this month. Customers who buy the iMac now can download OS X Yosemite for free this fall.

Source: Apple

Monday, June 16, 2014

Easily Root Your Galaxy S5 and Other Android Devices Thanks to 'Towelroot'

Mobile device security it a priority Android developers and device manufactures. Google and OEMs like Samsung have been working to add as much protection as possible to their devices for years. While extra security is a good thing for all consumers, it has its downsides for us geeks that like to root and customize our devices to our liking.

Having root access to your Android device means you can make almost any changes you'd like, even system-level changes which include new custom ROMs (the OS that runs the phone). Back in the early days of Android it used to be trivial to root an Android device, but they’re much more locked down these days.

As a consequence of OEMs added a new level of security and more security features like Samsung's KNOX, it has become harder to gain root access to many of the new Android devices such as the Galaxy Note 3 and Galaxy S5. Until recently the AT&T and Verizon versions of the Samsung Galaxy S5 were unable to be rooted prompting XDA members to take up a collection for a bounty on a root method that topped over $18,000.

Enter famed developer and noted hacker George “Geohot” Hotz. Geohot has come forward with a working root method that not only roots the Galaxy S5, but it also roots almost every other Android phone currently on the market.

Dubbed Towelroot, the new tool comes in the form of a downloadable APK file that makes rooting your device as easy as allowing your device to install from 'unknown sources', sideloading an APK file and clicking “make it ra1n.” Because this method is easy it should be noted you should only download Towelroot from the official page. That’s also where Geohot is accepting donations for his work via PayPal and Bitcoin.

Since the tool differs from all the standard root methods in that it uses an exploit to root phones, it should work on almost all phones running Android 4.4.2 or earlier. That includes all of Samsung’s recent phones like the Note 3, Galaxy S5, and Galaxy S4. All of LG’s newer flagships (G2, G3, G2 Pro, etc.) are susceptible as well. And that’s just the start.

If you've ever wanted to try rooting your phone and using a custom ROM it certainly doesn't get any easier than this! Just be aware this tool will probably void your warranty, especially on Samsung devices where it will trip the Knox security flag.

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Facebook Will Soon Offer More Controls Over Targeted Ads

Facebook users may have recently started to notice more and more ads on the social media site that seem to 'know' what they've been doing online, the pages they like, or the searches they make. These 'targeted ads' are nothing new to the site, but soon you'll see more of this is a type of interest-based advertising.

On Thursday, Facebook announced that is will take a few new steps to improve their targeted advertising system. Adding in ads that not only cover your Facebook activity, but also your web searching and browsing history. However, the company has said they are also giving users more control as to what is shared and what ads they'll see. In their announcement Facebook said users will soon be able to opt out of their targeted ad system completely through controls in their Web browser and iOS and Android phones. 

You can opt out of Facebook's ad targeting in your web browser using the industry-standard Digital Advertising Alliance opt out, and on your mobile devices using the controls that iOS and Android provide.

Here's the details of how to opt out:
  • Go to the Digital Advertising Alliance at
  • If you are using an ad blocker or anything else that blocks cookies, you will have to turn that off.
  • On the first screen, select the "companies customizing ads for your browser" tab.
  • Scroll down until you see Facebook.Click the check box next to Facebook. Then click "submit."
  • You can also opt out on your phone.
  • For iOS users, open settings and go to General>Restrictions>Advertising under "Privacy" section. Select "limit ad tracking."
  • For Android users, go to Google Settings>Ads>Opt Out of Interest-Based Ads and you're done.
For those that don't mind a few ads or want control over the other ads within the Facebook system. Facebook is introducing ad preferences, a new tool accessible from every ad on Facebook that explains why you’re seeing a specific ad and lets you add and remove interests that you are shown. So for instance, if you’re not interested in electronics, you can remove electronics from your ad interests.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Comcast Turning Customer Connections Into Massive Public Wi-Fi Hotspot Network

Comcast Xfinity subscribers take note, Comcast is actively rolling out an update to your service you may not even be aware of. An update that turns on a little known feature enabling your Xfinity router to be turned into a public hotspot!

Comcast is making headlines this week and not in a good way! We've already seen a number of stories, most notably from The Houston Chronicle, detailing the on-going roll-out of the new Comcast Xfinity Wifi service. The service, when switched on, provides internet access to Xfinity subscribers through the use of other current Xfinity subscriber's internet connections.

At the heart of the story: Comcast is turning some of the Wi-Fi routers placed in the homes of current subscribers into a “massive public Wi-Fi hotspot network,” but it’s doing so without giving customers the opportunity to opt out before the service is rolled out.

The new Xfinity Wifi service roll-out is in fact not new and the spread has been in effect for some time. However, it is just now starting to garner the attention it deserves!

Comcast says the hotspot – which appears as “xfinitywifi” to those searching for a Wi-Fi connection – is completely separate from the home network. Someone accessing the Net through the hotspot can’t get to the computers, printers, mobile devices, streaming boxes and more sitting on the host network. Comcast officials also say that people using the Internet via the hotspot won’t slow down Internet access on the home network. Additional capacity is allotted to handle the bandwidth.

However, we feel a bit skeptical of those claims. Security is always a concern when you have any outside access. There may also be concerns over piracy and other malicious acts. Even though Comcast assures users that they shouldn't be liable for any actions taken on the Xfinity WiFi as it’s set on a different track from your own.

How To Disable Comcast Xfinity WiFi Hotspot

Several different models of Wi-Fi routers are affected by this change-over, and Comcast does allow the service to be shut off. If you’ve got an Arris Touchstone Telephony Wireless Gateway Modem from Comcast, it’s likely you have or will have "xfinitywifi" turned on at some point. To turn this service off, you have only to do the following:

  • Log into your Comcast account page at
  • Click on Users & Preferences.
  • Look for a heading on the page for “Service Address.” Below your address, click the link that reads “Manage Xfinity WiFi.”
  • Click the button for “Disable Xfinity Wifi Home Hotspot.”
  • Click Save

Users only have the opportunity to disable the service after it’s activated. Meaning if you do not see a "Manage Xfinity Wi-fi" link, you do not have a home hotspot active. If you do not have a home hotspot active, you will not be able to disable it - because it isn’t there. A Comcast FAQ section further details Xfinity Wi-Fi.

Personally I hate opt-out services! Even though Comcast reportedly sent out notices about the hotspot feature, and email notifications will supposedly go out after it’s turned on, the feature is being turned on without its subscribers’ prior consent and you have to take action to not participate. I feel that should be the other way around. Comcast should have to get user consent before switching on the service. After all how many of us out there really read all those notices coming from Comcast?

What are your thoughts? Should customer be concerned that their internet connections are being opened up for public use? Share your thoughts in a comment below!

Be Rewarded From Bing Rewards For Staying Up To Date On The Latest Technology

Staying up-to-date on the latest in tech is a reward all of its own. However, earning prizes and gifts can make it all that much cooler. After-all, what geek out there doesn't like to get a freebie just for browsing the latest tech and gaming news or searching for their favorite tech gadgets?

With the Bing Rewards program you can do just that, and the cool part is the rewards are fairly geeky as well. You can earn points towards gift cards from geek favorites like GameStop, Hulu Plus and Amazon or get points for Xbox Live subscriptions and sweepstakes entries for Xbox games or a Microsoft Surface 2.

For you gamers looking for the latest news and trailers from your favorite Games Bing offers videos from several of your favorite site. With E3 just wrapping up you might want to checkout some of the latest news. Head over to Bing and search E3 2014 Games and you'll see an abundance of great videos and related search suggestions!

For those geeks like ourselves that are into tech news I suggest visiting Bing's Science and Technology News page. Here you'll see not only the latest news, but trending topics from around the web. Just remember each search offers you a chance at more Bing Rewards

Here’s how to make the most out of the Bing Rewards service:
  1. Visit to sign-up! You can sign up for the service by linking a Facebook or Microsoft account.
  2. Earn credits by browsing the Web with Bing, referring friends and completing offers. Currently, you get one credit per every two Bing searches you perform, with a daily limit of 15 credits for using a PC and 10 credits if you use the mobile search.
  3. Choose a reward and set your goals. Each reward requires a set number of points before you can make your redemption. Once you have a goal track and manage your credits. Your credit balance can always be seen at the top right of the screen when browsing on Bing.
  4. Click Redeem from the dashboard to claim prizes. There are loads of options available with more and more being added all the time. Current rewards range from Starbucks and Fandango gift cards to Hulu Plus subscriptions and Xbox 360 sweepstakes entries. You can even donate your credits to a few of your favorite charities.

Did you know: Microsoft recently celebrated Bing's fifth birthday? Microsoft launched Bing on June 3rd 2009 and has been working to polish the site and services ever since!

I'm required to disclose a sponsored partnership between our site and Bing. I have been compensated in exchange for this post in the form of payment, product or experiences.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Track What Your Chrome Apps & Extensions Are Doing With Your Information

What is a browser these days without all those handy extensions and add-ons? Pretty boring if you ask me! Browser extensions have become a major part of the browsing experience and off a quick easy was to enhance your browser capabilities, functionality, looks and even feel.

However, some extensions ask for broad permissions that allow access to sensitive data such as browser cookies or history. Some may even go well beyond that! For those that have always wondered what information their Google Chrome add-ons and extensions access, we now have an easy tool that will give us just that!

Last year, Google introduced the Chrome Apps & Extensions Developer Tool, which provides an improved developer experience for debugging apps and extensions. The newest version of the tool, which became available today, will allow any geek or power user that wants full details on any of their installed Chrome apps or extensions to see the precise actions that they performing.

Once you’ve installed the Chrome Apps & Extensions Developer Tool, it will start locally auditing your extensions and apps as you use them. For each app or extension, you can see historical activity over the past few days as well as real-time activity by clicking the “Behavior” link. The tool highlights activities that involve your information, such as reading website cookies or modifying web sites, in a privacy section. You can also search for URLs to see if an extension has modified any matching pages.

For developers, if you’re debugging an app or extension, you can use the “Realtime” tab to watch the stream of API calls as an extension or app runs. This can help you track down glitches or identify unnecessary API calls.

Source: Official Chromium Blog

Thursday, June 05, 2014

Google Maps Lets You Explore 12 World Cup Stadiums

With the 2014 World Cup set to kickoff in just a few short days, Google has added an update to Google Maps and street view allowing football (aka soccer) fanatics the chance to  explore the sights and culture of this year’s football tournament from the comforts of home.

Starting today you can explore all 12 stadiums and the iconic painted streets, one of Brazil’s tournament traditions, in Street View—a digital legacy of the 2014 games for years to come. In addition to the stadiums and painted streets, images from hundreds of sites across Brazil, including Iguaçu National Park and St. Michael of the Missions, are also now available on Google Maps. If what you see in Brazil whets your appetite, you can also explore new Latin American imagery in Peru, Chile, Colombia and Mexico.

For those of you lucky enough to have tickets to the amazing festivities Google reminds you not to forget to pack Google Maps for mobile.

  • Transit: With Google Maps transit available in all 12 host cities, Brazilians and visitors alike can rest assured they can make it to the stadium and other destinations routing the best path by bus or train.
  • Indoor Maps: Make your way through more than 100 venues across Brazil, including airports, shopping malls and, yes, tournament stadiums with Indoor Maps.
  • Turn-by-turn navigation: Zip through Brazil from Point A to Point B with Google Maps for mobile, giving you the most accurate traffic info, including real-time incident reports from Waze, and voice-guided directions.

Source: Google Lat Long Blog

Monday, June 02, 2014

Google Now Voice Commands Every Android User Needs to Know

Using voice commands to control your phone has been around for several years now. Still we see and hear from the average Android smartphone user that they have no idea how to use them or what they can do.

Google has worked hard to integrate more and more commands into the Google Now service and it has become a central part of the Android operating system. With tons of recent improvements the Google Now service has quickly made it easier than ever to control your phone just by speaking to it!

Thank to the team over at Phandroid we now have a great comprehensive list filled with all of the voice commands that you need to know to get the most out of voice commands on your smartphone. The list features all the basic functions such as snapping a picture, going to a website, checking voicemail or opening email, along with more complicated tasks such as giving you translations for English phrases into different languages and converting English measurements to the metric system.

Here are just a few examples from the full Phandroid list we use on a day to day basis.
  • Go to []
  • Call [Contact Name]
  • Send Text/Email to [Username - Subject]
  • Listen to [Song Title]

There are plenty more and don’t forget, many if not all of these commands should work just as well with Google Glass and Google’s web voice search, as well. For more details and a quick how to, be sure to check out Phandroid’s full video below.