When I was a kid, I remember seeing commercials for Oreck vacuum cleaners on TV. David Oreck himself usually starred in the ads, and when he did, he'd always cheerfully proclaim the merits of his machine, the 8-pound Oreck XL. The XL had the look of a complete clunker, with an ugly, dated design that seemed like it hadn't been updated since 1963, when Oreck first started selling vacuums in Louisiana. All the same, there was just something endearing and perhaps infectious about Oreck's unapologetic confidence. Sure enough, everyone I knew who used an Oreck XL swore … Read more
Over the years, Sonos, once a fledgling startup, has grown up to dominate the DIY multiroom wireless audio space. Now it has some serious competition.
Bose has officially unveiled a new line of Wi-Fi speakers under its new SoundTouch brand, which features simple setup and operation, and it's definitely aimed at the same audience that Sonos has targeted.
The three new speakers that are available at launch -- you can order them today -- are the SoundTouch 30 ($699), a larger speaker designed for larger living spaces, and the SoundTouch 20 ($399) and SoundTouch Portable ($399), which are designed … Read more
One of the advantages that iMessage has over text messaging is that an indicator is displayed when the other person in the conversation is typing a message. This simple animation gives you a heads-up of an incoming message; I often find myself staring at the dancing dots until the message eventually comes through.
That same feature can also be the center of a prank. Yesterday I spotted a tweet from @Panzer linking to a GIF-based iMessage prank. I wasn't sure what to expect when I clicked on the link, but I was not disappointed.
What you'll need to … Read more
When shared iCloud Photo Stream albums first launched on iOS, they were a one-way street. Only the person who created the album and invited others to view it could add photos to the stream.
During the iOS 7 announcement last June, it was briefly mentioned that shared iCloud Photo Streams would soon have the ability for both the creator and the subscribers to contribute to the same album.
Fast forward to the release of iOS 7 and the revamped iCloud Photo Stream service, which now also allows for video uploads, and it's not far-fetched to assume subscribers are automatically … Read more
A new Microsoft video shines the spotlight on a few of the new and improved features in the Surface 2 tablet.
Available via YouTube, the "Making of Surface 2" video highlights the new Touch Cover, showing how you can create touch gestures by swiping across keys, thanks to a high-resolution sensor. The original Surface embedded a pressure sensor under every button. But the new Surface uses a matrix of sensors spread out across the entire keyboard, thus allowing for gestures, as well as more accurate keystrokes.
Available in a wider array of colors, the Surface 2's Touch … Read more
Style Touch Preview is a fashion model simulation, allowing you to create your own outfits, customize the looks of a model, and then test that outfit to gain points and credits in the game. Combined with daily allocations of money that can be used to buy new outfits and options, the game is designed to keep growing and unlocking new choices as the player develops a keener sense of what works and what doesn't.
When you open the app for the first time, you'll be greeted with a daily bonus screen. Every day you get a bonus for … Read more
There's no way around it, the Alcatel One Touch Evolve is cheap — both in price and specs. At $99 all-in, it's a bargain smartphone that has a sleek design, but it's held back by an old version of Android, a dim screen, and a lousy fixed-focus camera.
The Evolve, along with the $139 One Touch Fierce, is part of the Alcatel's efforts to bring entry-level budget smartphones to top-tier carriers in the US, something the company hasn't done before. Though the Evolve is a budget device, and I'd expect lower-end specs and features for … Read more
Despite its name, the Alcatel One Touch Fierce is anything but "ferocious."
For starters, its 5-megapixel camera takes poor photos, and its quad-core processor lags behind rival phones.
And yes, while the Fierce's competitive $139.99 prepaid price and solid call quality are redeeming factors, it's best just to save up some more dough for a faster, smoother, and more reliable prepaid smartphone like the LG Optimus F3 or Samsung Galaxy Victory 4G LTE.
Design The Fierce comes in two colors, slate and silver, with the latter featuring a nice brushed-metal look that adds a unique … Read more
With the redesign of iOS 7, the color mode to differentiate when a switch is set to on or off has changed. The color of a switch that's off is white, and the color for a switch that's on is green.
Previous versions of iOS also had an On or Off indicator in view when a switch was moved to one side or another. Alas, those labels are gone in iOS 7, but you can add a different type of label should you prefer it. For some, be it due to disabilities or other personal preference, the color-only … Read more
TouchOCR is a stripped-down scan and transcription tool for the iPhone that allows you to take photos and then convert the text in those images to straight font-based text on your device. While this works some of the time, there are some issues related to the way the app is set up and the accuracy of the OCR transcriptions.
When you open the app for the first time, you won't find any instructions, but there are limited options, so it's easy to get started relatively quickly. Select the "Photo" button and you can take an image … Read more