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Make Your Smartphone Batteries Last

Many smartphones are produced with unibody cases, meaning that you can’t open them and replace the internal battery without having to deal with warranty. Because of this, there’s greater demand to learn how to make your smartphone battery last until the next phone. How should you charge it? What apps to use? Depending on what your battery is, there’s many solutions and ways to make your battery last as long as possible.

What Kind of Battery Do You Have?

There are three batteries that are currently being used for smartphones. Those are Lithium-Ion, (Li-ion) Lithium-Polymer, (LiPo) and Nickel-Cadmium. (NiCd) Most smartphones have a Lithium-Ion, but make sure before you assume. Remove the back cover of your phone and look at the battery. If it’s unibody, look it up or check the manual that came with it.

How to Properly Charge Your Devices

Once you take your device out of the box, you should charge it fully. The manufacturer has specific instructions about this, because the phone discharging after you use it for the first time isn’t good. If you want to make it discharge to see how long it lasts, recharge it fully when you have a low battery. It’s a good idea to do this, as you can see just how long the battery lasts.

But, don’t do it out of the box. Set up your phone, install the apps, and leave it alone for a couple of days. When you start using your device at all times look at the times you charge it, and use it like you would. By seeing how long a low battery lasts, you can change your usage based on that.

Li-ion Batteriesmaking phone battery last

This battery is used in most devices for a reason. It can last longer at higher temperatures. However, if it becomes stressed, it may lose its charge. In fact, you can only charge your battery for so long before it begins to lose its charge for good. This is why you should only charge it at certain times and not as a habit.
Some people just keep their devices charged at all times, but the truth is that your phone needs to discharge once in a while to stay at its peak. To do this, try keeping the charge between 50%-80%. This will give you the best performance. Watch the battery level to do this. Your Li-ion doesn’t need to be fully discharge before recharging.

Discharging the battery before recharging is a myth of Li-ion that has its roots in NiCd cells (see below for more on this). Your Li-ion device does not have a “memory” and it never needs to be fully discharged.

LiPo Batteries

Dealing with the health of these batteries is about the same as a Li-ion, since these batteries are a variation of that. These batteries are formed to your device’s shape, so it’s great for unibody batteries. The HTC One and iPhone 6 use these batteries. Since they are so similar, LiPo batteries work about the same as Li-ion.

Nickel-Cadmium and its Myths

If you have an older device, it more than likely has a NiCd battery. There have been many myths about these batteries and how to take care of them, and they’ve passed down to other batteries too. One example is the memory effect, where people short-circuit their batteries on order to apparently revive them. NiCd batteries are limited to 500 recharges. That means the battery can fail before you’ve had it for two years, and that’s one of the main reasons why smartphones have moved away from this technology.

The memory effect comes from a limit of the material of the batteries, where the substances forms into crystals if you don’t use it. By not discharging every once in a while, your device will not keep a charge. People tried zapping and short circuiting the battery, but it did not fix the memory effect. In fact, you should never fully discharge these, as they can get damaged. Charge when you see the low battery. Also, if you do not use the device, one percent of the battery will be used each day.

Storing and Chargers

Having one charger for every device sounds convenient. Less messy cords, after all. However, if you use the same charger for different devices, it can have problems. Chargers output different amperage’s. Check the fine print in order to figure this out. If you match the voltage and amperage, you can tell if they’re the same chargers. However, most modern devices have the same voltages.

To avoid this headache, just use the charger that came with your device. This will help keep your battery lasting longer. Don’t risk using a knockoff charger if there’s no guarantee you’re going to get the same charge.
If you are not using your device for a bit, leave it around 50% charge in room temperature. Keep it in a safe place where it won’t be pressured, pierced, or dropped. This can damage both your phone and your battery.

Temperature

Keep your phone cool at all times. Do not leave it in a place over 140 degrees F (60 C.) Aside from forced shutdowns, it can damage your device. If your phone’s hot, this may mean you’ve been gaming too much or watching too many videos. The processor is working like mad, and it can overwork both your phone and your battery. Stop playing if that’s the case.

Having your phone hot can be damaging. It’s never good for computers, and it’s never good for your batteries. Also, while rare, it can cause your battery to catch fire if it’s too hot. Keeping it too cold can hurt your performance and well, though it won’t hurt your battery. Just try keeping it at an average temperature for best results.

Overall

Your battery is important. Replacing them is expensive, and if you have a unibody phone, it can even be more of a pain. Just because we live in an age where you don’t have to constantly be buying batteries, it doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t give your batteries special treatment. Keep them charged, and keep them healthy.

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Essential Android Apps for World Traveling

World traveling has become more pervasive as the years go by – nowadays individuals from many varied walks of life are joining in. Subsequently, handheld devices are becoming much more commonplace as well – with almost everyone having a tablet, smartphone or both. So, fittingly enough, let us take a look at 8 of the most beneficial Android apps that World Travelers can make use of.

An important point to consider is to try to utilize apps that have offline capabilities, you should also try to find the best fit for your style and personality. Do you prefer a way to contact people or an on the go way to translate what the locals are saying? Here’s a look at the best the Google Play Store has for world travelers.

Translation

As it stands today on the market there are two main apps that should be mentioned.

Google Translate will be the first app that we mention – based purely on the fact that it is usually the go to choice for most people. One of the best features of Google Translate lies in its offline capabilities. Google Translate gives you the ability to have offline translation for when you are traveling and/or don’t have a stable connection. However, if you plan to take advantage of the offline features you will first have to download your preferred language packs (click the pin beside the language). Google Translate also gives you the ability to speak into your device’s microphone and have an on screen translation take place.

On the other hand, Word Lens is a bit different. It is an example of what is called an augmented realityapps for travel translation app. What this means is that all you have to do is bring up the app; point your device at the text that is to be translated; and “magically” have said text translated and shown on screen. What this means for you is that you will spend far less time typing lengthy difficult sentences. This means you can read things like signs; restaurant menus; and labels on the fly – therefore you can make informed decisions faster. Similarly to Google Translate, Word Lens also has offline capabilities; however, it only supports 7 languages which is dwarfed by Google Translate and its 80 languages. Word Lens supports English, French, German, Russian, Spanish, Portuguese and Italian – if you are looking for other languages then you are out of luck.

It was recently confirmed that Google has actually purchased Word Lens; this means that Google Translate may soon be seeing some Word Lens’ features added to it.

Packing and Organizing

Even before your travels get underway you will obviously have a hefty to-do list. The tickets for your plane ride won’t buy themselves and your hotel won’t just be magically  booked when you arrive. To manage every task and relevant information you will have to be vigilant and organized.

One of the best ways to do this is to utilize Tripit Travel Organizer. This useful app gives you the ability to not only compile lists for various purposes, it also provides you with a means of forwarding emails that you find relevant and add them to your itinerary. If you use Gmail then as an added bonus, your Tripit listings will be automatically updated with the details from forwarded emails.

Currency Converter

In this category there is really only one app that we should really talk about – that app is XECurrency. It is the most popular currency converter for Android – as showcased by its over 20 million unique downloads.

XECurrency give you the freedom of performing virtual conversions between an extensive listing of global currencies. This means you can be more frugal with managing your limited travel funds while paying your taxi driver or leaving your waitress a tip.

XE Currency is another app that also boasts the asset of having offline capabilities for its conversions. You can also make a catalogue of favorites that you can observe concurrently for maximum efficiency. Another useful addition is the historic rates mode which you can use to view currency trends over prolonged periods of time.

Contacting Home

Be it after a few weeks, days, or hours at some time or another while traveling we may all feel the need to contact our loved ones. However, unlike other categories of apps that can make use of offline capabilities, this category has no apps with this ability.

Apps like WhatsApp and Skype are recommended; however, they will most likely be on your device already. Another name worth looking into – while not as popular – is Tango. Tango is often times referred to as an alternative to Skype (or less flatteringly a “Skype clone”) but it has its own flair to make it worthwhile. It allows free voice calls, texts and also voice calls – standard fare for an app like this. However, it also has the inclusion of “channels” that let you listen to news, music, and sports and also share music with Spotify. The only real visible disadvantage that you have to face with Tango is that it is not as widely used by individuals compared to more popular names, so you may have to forgo using it to talk to certain people.

Flights

Sooner or later you will either need to continue your travels elsewhere or find your way back home safely. When you need to do either of these things a flight app can be a blessing.

There are two main types of flight apps available for download, online travel agents and meta search services. For online travel agent apps you have choices such as Travelocity, eDreams and Expedia; meta search apps consist of options such as Kayak, Seatguru and Momondo.

One of the most important factors to be considered when booking a flight is the overall price. While many apps will claim to have the lowest prices and best deals, one app outshines the competition, Skyscanner. Studies have shown that the average user can make use of deals that have been averaged to be, at the very least, one percent cheaper that the competition.

Meta search services all have one problem in common, they all eventually have to redirect you to an online travel agent or an airline website so that you can fully complete your booking. The best online travel agent for thrifty users is Cheapoair; while it is not as popular as the competition, it is averaged at being four percent cheaper that the competition. However, the app is not as functional as the more well-known apps on the market like Expedia.

Memories

The memories that you make on your travels are often times the best things about the actual travels themselves. However, once time begins to go by, our mental recollections will start to fade a bit – thankfully there are ways that you can organize all of your videos, photos, feelings, and thoughts. Apps like Evernote are an okay enough way to accomplish this, even Facebook has its uses as well. However, if you are a traveler who is serious about your memory keeping, it would do you well to make use of the Vacation and Travel Journal. This app gives you the power to record your travels with audio recordings, video, text, and pictures; after you are done you can then sync your collection on a website so that it can be shared with your loved ones. While the expected information, such as the time and date of each entry are recorded, there are other things as well. Among these are the altitude, latitude, longitude, and the weather – there is also an option to create shared trips that can be edited and used by multiple travelers.

Your Recommendations

So do you like our selection of Android apps for travelers? Maybe you know an app that we forgot to mention or didn’t add to our list. Let us hear about it in the comments, and finally happy travels.

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How to Make Your Mobile Data Plan Last

Using your Internet on your phone can increase your bill if you’re not careful. How do you keep your data usage low without ever using your phone’s Internet, anyway? One way is to use apps. Here are some useful tips to help you out.

Mobile Internet is Hardly Unlimited

It’s probably happened to you. You thought you hadn’t consumed too much data on your smartphone or tablet, and then when you got the bill, you had to take out another mortgage to pay for it. Okay, it probably wasn’t that bad, but you had to pay more. No matter how big your allowance is, you will probably exceed it, and you’ll be charged for extra data.

If you have an Android, there’s plenty of built-in tools to combat this. Go to Settings>Data Usage. Switch your data on, and tap Set Mobile Data Limit, which will give you the option to have a limit. You can even restrict the data in the background in the same menu. It is not as accurate as your carrier’s methods, but it should help out. If that’s not enough, there are apps to help. These compress your data either by using remote servers or making you access the Internet through their networks.

Data-Compressing Appsdata plan last

There are plenty of apps that use compression methods and virtual private networks (VPNs) to reduce your data usage. These include:

UC Browser HD

This allows for faster browsing via the technology of compression. It also makes you use less data when going to websites. It has ad blockers too, and you can watch videos while you download. It’s a great alternative to Chrome.

Onavo Extend

This app will run in the background and sends all data through the app’s servers. It then compresses the data you use. It will also optimize your images and allows you to see how much data you’ve saved. You can save a lot through this app.

Vortex VPN

This app allows you to select one of their servers and connect to it. It’s very easy to setup, thankfully. These servers are in different countries around the world, such as USA, Brazil, Singapore, Australia, and Ireland.

Once you connect to the VPN, you will see a key icon in the notifications. To use this app, you need to create a free app, which allows up to 250 MB of data. You can buy more data, however. This app is just one of the many VPN applications out there, so don’t think it’s the only one.

Opera Max

Opera Max monitors and compresses your data to keep it as minimal as possible. In addition, it even forces the big data consumers on your phone to work only when you’re connected to Wi-Fi. This app can double your data plan, and it uses a VPN that allows for privacy. Your data will download quicker, and you can even compress mobile video. Video is usually the reason why you exceed your allowance, so that’s a plus.

These apps do help, so try them out individually and see which one works the best for you.

Using Wi-Fi to Reduce Data

If you’re still exceeding your data usage, simply turn off your mobile data and use public Wi-Fi. It’s a great way to eliminate those data hogs like app installation, audio streaming and video watching. It’s not recommended for banking and purchasing, as it’s not secure, but it will work for everything else. It’s ideal for urban areas where there’s Wi-Fi all around, but it may be difficult when you’re in the suburbs or in the country.

Saving Data Can Make Your Experience Better

By using less data, you can pay less for your phone bill, and even let you enjoy streaming video and podcasts. Remember to be smart about it and consume less data if possible. We all need to save where and when possible. Give it a go and see what happens, you will be surprised.

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Is Phone Spy Software Really Legal

Have you noticed a lot of talk lately about people using cell phone spy software? It is definitely becoming popular and I wanted to clear up some questions around the legality of this software. Spy software on cell phones is indeed perfectly legal to sell and use in certain specific circumstances.

The problem lies in how it is used, by unscrupulous people. Advertisements don’t help – going for misleading headlines like spying on your Ex or catching your cheating spouse, to lure you in but add disclaimers and other legal jargon to protect the company from legal action. Thankfully things are changing and some of the better companies now focus on the legal uses for spy software. Today’s spy software focuses more on legal and legitimate ways to use the program, check out this website Acisni for examples of good legitimate spy software programs – and how to use it properly.

While the attitudes of some companies may have changed the disclaimers remain the same. The disclaimers are there becauselegal questions no matter how much these companies tell you to do the right thing there is someone willing to do the wrong thing. The company should not be at fault for people’s negligence, and they want to protect themselves from ending up in a legal situation. Their strategic disclaimers make sure that does not happen.

The legal situation is about privacy laws. There are individual privacy laws, government privacy laws and law enforcement privacy laws and all of them use a different set of rules. The law varies between countries, regions and cities so it is never straightforward. Individual privacy laws may not count as much as government and law enforcement privacy laws in the eyes of the court. People need to stick to the basic privacy laws so they will be safe from prosecution – if you follow carefully what is mentioned in the disclaimers you should be safe. There are certain conditions to keeping legal, they are as follows:

  1. You must own or have the legal rights to the cell phone you want to monitor. (You pay the bills)
  2. You must let the user of the cell phone know that the phone is being monitored if they are an adult

In other words the cell phone of interest must be owned by you or you must be the one to pay the cell phone bill. So when you purchase the other party’s cell phone you cannot monitor it without their knowledge. That’s not how the system works. This will backfire because the courts can argue that you bought the phone just to spy on them. That hurts your chances of winning. That is why using spy software on cell phones and having legal authority over the cell phone is a grey area. But the second privacy law of notifying them makes the situation much clearer.

The best way to use the cell phone without legal action is the following:

  • Monitoring children’s cell phones under 18
  • Monitoring work cell phones employees use. Companies can do this if they tell their employees the phone will be monitored. Have this discussion in a meeting and in writing, before allowing workers to use them.

There are no exceptions. If you do use spy software illegally any evidence you uncover cannot be used in court. It doesn’t matter if you catch them admitting or doing something that will get you off the hook; you can’t use it. Plus, you will most likely end up in the courts yourself for invasion of privacy. Stick to the legal ways to monitor and you will be safe and remember the penalties can be severe.

So is spy software legal? Yes, but it is the way you use it that will make it illegal. Think before you act.

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Keep Your Smartphone from Ruining Your Life – and Other’s

Smartphones are now a part of daily life, and there’s no getting around that fact. Our faces and the faces of our children are buried into phones, tablets, and laptops. We all have that annoying friend that won’t put their phone down during a meal. How do you cope with the constant distraction? Hopefully, these tips can help you keep your smartphone from ruining your life.

Put your phone away when with friends and family.

There’s nothing wrong with excusing yourself while you check in with the babysitter or multitask checking the score of the game while heading to the bathroom, but when you are in the midst of interacting with your friends, practice some restraint. Talk, enjoy yourself, and forget your phone. If you are expecting an important call, set your phone to vibrate (in your pocket phone_use_bored-pic1or purse and not on the table), and excuse yourself when you need to take the call.

Another fun way to spend dedicated time with family or friends is to have tech-free evenings or parties. Invite your friends and let them know they’ll need to check their phones at the door. Instead, plan an evening of fun activities and games to play.

Think twice before snapping a pic.

Every moment does not need to be chronicled. Living in the moment can be much more rewarding than what you can share with friends you barely know on Facebook or Instagram. Make a plan to take a couple photos with friends or in front of a location, and let it stop there. The view through your phone is not nearly as good as the one through your very own eyes.

Bored? Take a look around.

Smartphones are our go-to time passer. If you are bored, get creative, and try to think of something else you can do before you grab for your smartphone. If you’re at home, ask yourself if there is anything you’ve been procrastinating on. How about learning a new hobby? There’s more to life than YouTube!

Don’t over share.

Twenty years ago, you may recall your uncle’s family vacation to the Grand Canyon. You may also recall the hundreds of uninteresting photos he was so ready to share of his experience. The second hand experience he subjected you and others to was probably lackluster at best. Odds are your social media friends feel the same way. So, before you snap that photo of your breakfast to share with the world, ask yourself: does anyone really care about this?

Don’t count on your phone in risky situations.

Whether you’re traveling across the country or expecting a conference call while in a new restaurant, don’t leave anything to chance. Your GPS could leave you stranded in a bad part of town, or you may not be able to get signal in this new restaurant your friends couldn’t stop talking about. What do you do now? Have a backup plan that does not rely on your smartphone. For the above situations, bring a paper map, and call the restaurant ahead to make plans for a phone call if you have cell trouble. Being resourceful is not limited to your ability to Google.

A Quick Conclusion

Set boundaries for yourself, and have expectations for your family and friends’ behavior when it comes to technology in social situations. Don’t become a phone bore!

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