Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Going on vacation with your smartphone: five tips every traveler needs to know

Traveling across the country can be an exciting and time consuming task, especially if you’re unsure what to pack, but there’s no need to worry. From cool camera applications to helpful budget applications, we have five tips will make sure you’re not stuck on the wrong side of town when you could be dining with locals, hitting the secret hot spots and staying within your budget! 

  1. Itinerary: Travelers who are flying should always have their itinerary downloaded on their phone. Most airlines also have smartphone applications that allow travelers to check in to their flight, monitor arrival and departure times and watch for cancellations. 
  2. Budget: Traveling expenses can add up quickly, so it’s important to keep track of your vacation budget. There are multiple applications on the market that can keep travelers on budget, including Money Book, Mint or EasyMoney. All three allow travelers to allocate funds based on categories like food, clothing, activities and gas.
  3. Battery Power: From car chargers to adapters, smartphones need access to power, especially when being heavily used! Having a full battery will keep travelers on route, on time and on top of plans. 
  4. Directions: Whether it’s directions to the hotel or local restaurants, smartphones can provide driving directions, reviews, suggestions and check-in opportunities. Travelers who want to take advantage of public transportation can download BusTime or Go To There. Many cities also have specific applications that update the location of buses, metros and subways in real time.
  5. Memory Making: Pictures capture memories of a vacation long after it’s over, so take plenty! If you’re feeling creative, try applications like Instagram or PicFrame. Want to share a photo with a co-worker or family member? Both applications have social capabilities so snap away.
We hope these travel tips turn your vacation planning from stressful to restful. If you have another smartphone application that’s been especially beneficial, drop us a note! We’d love to hear your travel tips! Happy vacationing!

Monday, April 9, 2012

Four Tips to Save Your Wet Smartphone

Whether you’ve dropped your phone in the tub, toilet or swimming pool, you know the frustration that accompanies losing your smartphone. In fact, an online study showed that one in five people have dropped their phone in the toilet. 

Because this is such a common scenario we’re sharing several tips and tricks that can help save your smartphone if dropped in water.*
  1. First, get in there and get it out! Whether it’s a pool or a washing machine, you have to retrieve the device. Once you do, immediately remove the battery and SIM card. Do not turn the device on. This can cause short circuits that are irreversible. Be sure to dry the battery off as quickly as possible.
  2. With a soft towel or cloth (not paper towels because particles of the paper may stick inside your phone) gently wipe the water off of the keypad, screen and battery area.  Be sure to avoid the hairdryer. Heating your phone can be just as harmful as dropping it in water. Some recommend putting the phone near a dehumidifier or on top of a cable box. Both will draw out the water.
  3. Grab a big bowl and fill it with white or brown rice. We strongly discourage using rice with flavoring or seasoning because it could get stuck in your phone.  Stick your phone face down in the rice for at least 48 hours; the rice will absorb the water. After 48 hours take it out of the rice and turn it on. If the device does not turn on, return it to the rice for another 24 hours. Continue until you pull your hair out until you feel that your phone has had enough. 
  4. Try using a compressed air can like the ones sold at computer stores. Hold the can straight up and down when spraying your phone. Holding it sideways, upside down or at an angle will discharge a freezing liquid damaging your phone further. Spray the air into speaker, microphone, keypad and hard-to-reach crevices.

Your phone may look like this now, but...
Throw it in some rice and you could end the week looking like...

If these tricks don’t work you have several options. One, you can wait it out, there have been occasions where smartphones come back to life two weeks after taking the plunge, try leaving your phone in rice for a few days. Also, check with the store where you purchased the phone. They can sometimes judge whether a not a smartphone is kaput or not. You might just need a new battery. Two, purchase a new one. Check to see if you’re eligible for an upgrade. If not, try purchasing a refurbished phone. They’ve already been pre-approved by the carrier and have limited wear and tear.

Finally, living without a smartphone isn’t fun or easy, we know, but patience is the key in this situation.  Remember, it’s important to take the time to repair your phone because there is no easy fix for water-damaged phones. To hold you over, consider pulling out an old phone and using it until your smartphone is up and running again. Carriers can usually set up one of your old phones on a temporary basis. 

Have a trick that saved your smartphone? Please share with us!

*Disclaimer: We can’t guarantee these tips will save your phone because some water damage is irreversible. 

Monday, April 2, 2012

Dr. Gordblower’s Museum of Privacy

As soon as Mark Zuckerburg announced that Facebook Timeline for brands would go live on March 30, we pulled out our drawing board and started thinking about how we could have some fun with it! As many of you have suspected, it is privacy as a whole that inspired our new Timeline.

Let’s be honest, privacy is an issue that the public has dealt with for centuries. From outhouses to two-piece swimsuits, it seems the public always has an opinion about how much information should be shared. So, we created a fictitious museum of privacy!

We hope you have as much fun exploring our Timeline as we did creating it. Leave a comment or two on our Facebook page about what privacy issue we should feature next.

May your Timeline live on.