Samsung Galaxy SIII vs. iPhone 4s

Thanks to my boyfriend, I am able to truly compare the Samsung Galaxy SIII to the iPhone in this post. I only have the iPhone 4s, but with the latest version of iOS installed, my phone’s capabilities are practically the same as the iPhone 5’s, minus the size of the phone.

Is one phone really better than the other by much or are they almost the same minus the size and a few odds and ends? This is what I wanted to find out by comparing the two smartphones, a comparison I hope may help those who are in the market for a new phone but are undecided which would suit them best.

For starters, let’s look at physical appearance. The Galaxy SIII is too big, in my opinion. It just seems quite bulky for a phone and I would not want to have to use a phone that big all the time. It especially seems too big when you browse the Internet on it.

You would think for its size that it would be able to hold more on its home screens, but it doesn’t. It only holds 16 apps or app folders per screen, just like the iPhone 4s. The iPhone 5, on the other hand, holds up to 20 apps or app folders per screen. It just seems like a waste of space, plus I feel the bigger screen on the Galaxy SIII makes the home screens seem a bit pixelated when looking at the app background and apps.

I just think that the iPhone is more user-friendly when it comes to phone and screen size. The size is a much nicer for for one’s back pocket and for everyday use. The only real advantage I see with the Galaxy SIII’s big size is that it makes viewing Netflix and YouTube videos a little easier on the eyes.

I didn’t find much other big differences beyond the basic Android format versus how iOS operates. The internal memory on the iPhone 4s 16 GB version is a little more than 1 GB bigger than the Galaxy SIII’s. 1 GB probably doesn’t matter to a lot of people, unless you are like me and love taking a lot of pictures and having most of your music library on your phone.

Some might also point out that the Samsung Galaxy is 4G LTE capable. Well, so is the iPhone 5. The iPhone 4s may not be 4G LTE capable, but that doesn’t really matter to me, since I do not live in an area that has 4G LTE.

Other than the previously mentioned differences, I found it hard to find anything too special about the Samsung Galaxy SIII that the iPhone didn’t have or that I think a lot of people who prefer a more user-friendly, less-complicated smartphone would want.

Mobile shopping: Buying gifts no matter where you are

 

This year to make some of your Christmas shopping easier and less stressful, shop online. Or better yet, on your smartphone. You’re probably really busy already. So cut out the unnecessary long trips to the mall as you take forever to decide what to buy for loved ones. Do your Christmas shopping on your own time, no matter where you are.

Shopping on a smartphone is a breeze. I had to buy a game for a friend awhile ago because their original game got lost. It didn’t take me long to find the game on Amazon’s mobile app and order the game. All while riding in the car with my boyfriend. It felt good to take care of it that fast and easily, without having to look at the mall or GameStop for the game, knowing I probably wouldn’t find it.

I already have half of my Christmas shopping done, thanks to a recent trip to the stores and thanks to the family I was shopping for not being the type of people I have a hard time shopping for. For the remaining three people on my Christmas gift list, I will probably turn to Amazon to pick out gifts to make the process simpler than going to a bunch of different stores.

To help with Christmas shopping or any type of shopping in actual stores, Red Laser is very helpful. Just scan the bar code of the potential gift you are looking at and it will help you save a few bucks by finding stores that have the same item for cheaper. And who doesn’t love saving money buying Christmas gifts, especially when they have several people to buy gifts for? Red Laser also gives handy product reviews so you can make an even smart buying decision by determining if the item is even worth buying.

As I see it, online and mobile shopping is the way of the future, and very helpful when you are in a pinch.

Android vs. iPhone: Which performs better?

The good old battle of smartphones begs the question: Which is better – Android or iPhone (iOS)? In my personal opinion, the iPhone is the better of the two mobile operating systems. And no, I am not biased because I have an iPhone. I had an Android phone from the Samsung Galaxy line before I bought my iPhone. So, I’ve experienced the best and worst of both phones.

I will be doing future posts looking at the differences, specifically comparing the Samsung Galaxy SIII to the iPhone, as well as Samsung Galaxy SIII’s voice assistant, Galaxy, to iPhone’s voice assistant, Siri. For now, I just wanted to give my quick thoughts on the two mobile operating systems.

My biggest issue is that Android phones are more complex than the iPhone. There’s too many settings and a lot to learn before using an Android phone. I spent a lot of time in Android forums when I had my Android phone, just to figure out the not so obvious things the phone could do. The iPhone is much easier to use, and requires less reading on how to use it to its potential.

Also, a lot of the Android phones have bigger screens, which I find to be too bulky and not very user-friendly compared to iPhone’s perfect average size. I also prefer the touch of an iPhone because it’s more responsive in ways. With my old Android phone, I had to swipe the lock buttons the whole way across to unlock my phone and to answer and end a call. This was quite frustrating at first. With an iPhone, it just takes a short swipe to unlock the phone, and a call can be answered just by tapping a button, no long swipes required.

These are just a few of the main differences I wanted to point out. If you have used both the Android operating system and an iPhone, tell me about your personal preference and why you think it is the better of the two!

How technology has shaped the 2012 presidential election

 

It’s finally here – Election Day. I hope everyone who is registered to vote has already exercised or will exercise their right to vote today. While we await Election Day night and those late night results, let’s reflect back on the election. Technology has played such an important role in this election. From election apps to keep voters informed on the issues at stake to trending election-related Twitter hashtags. I came across the CNET news clip below that looks at how technology has been changing the presidential election. Check out the video here: http://cnettv.cnet.com/election-2012-tech-advantage/9742-1_53-50133905.html.

Who knows, maybe in four years online voting will become a reality. After all, victims of Hurricane Sandy in the state of New Jersey has been able to submit e-mail ballots. Of course, voting online does raise security issues. We’ll see if the 2016 election will bring in the era of online voting, just like the 2008 and the 2012 elections have brought in the era of social media in elections.

Roaming on the go: Tips on how to make the best of it

Worried about going over your carrier’s roaming limit? As someone who has had to roam a lot when I visit family that live in the country, where there are is no Sprint signal, I can offer a few tips to help prevent this from happening. This is especially helpful when you are planning to go away for a few days on vacation to an area where you cannot use your carrier’s network and must roam on another network.

1. Keep Facebook activity to a minimum.  Checking my Facebook twice a day and posting a few pictures did not hurt my roaming limit. Just be careful not to post a lot of pictures when you’re on roaming. This also tends to really drain your phone’s battery.

2. Stay off Netflix and YouTube. I heard that using either can really add a lot to your data, especially since YouTube videos are such big in regards to data size. I made sure not to watch videos while I was visiting my family.

3. Watch calling time. At least with Sprint, there is a cap that is for roaming data, but it also states data maximum or calling minutes maximum, or the majority of either in a given month. With Sprint, the cap is 300MB or 800 minutes for phone calls.

4. Erase phone usage in settings before entering roaming area. This will help you keep track better of how much data you have used while roaming.

5. Know exactly how much roaming you are allowed on your network carrier’s plan by reviewing your contract or plan specifications on their Web site. 1 GB equals 1,024 kb. So on Sprint’s unlimited everything data 450 minutes plan, 307, 200 kb equals 300 MB.

6. Download Onavo Extend or a similar data saving app. Do this only if you are really worried that you will use a lot of data while on vacation. I downloaded it, and said I was saving some data, but it came with a downside. Apparently I missed voice mail while the app was installed, which is a downside to its data saving.

7. Turn off data roaming. If you aren’t planning to text, use Facebook, or other apps that pull from the Internet, just turn off data roaming while you are not using these services.

Making your smartphone battery last a lot longer

The downside to having a smartphone is that the battery doesn’t usually last more than a day with constant use. I wanted to share some pretty good battery conservation tips I have collected since I have owned a smartphone and  share the ones that have worked best for me. Follow these tips, and you should expect to see your smartphone lasting longer than it usually does, even if just by a couple of hours.

1. Turn off Wi-Fi. It really drains your battery because it is constantly searching for wi-fi networks. Just stick with your 3G or 4G network, unless you don’t have much roaming data or other data left on your plan.

2. Turn off Location Services/GPS. This will just drain your battery by tracking your location. Just turn on location services when absolutely necessary  such as when trying to find a nearby place or looking up movie showtimes at the nearest movie theaters. When I turn my location services on, the only apps I have on to be abler to track my location are Facebook, Flixster, Maps, RedLaser, Siri, The Weather Channel, White Pages, Yelp, and Find My iPhone. Okay, maybe I should have less set, because I rarely use Siri to find my location, and only care to have Facebook know my location mainly for check-ins.

3. Make sure your settings are not set to receive any unnecessary notifications from apps. Under my notifications, I have it limited to phone, messages, reminders, Facebook, Mail, TV Guide, calendar, Twitter, and CNN.

4. Turn down the brightness on your phone. Anything more than 50 percent can really drain the battery. I have mine set at about halfway, with auto-brightness turned off at most times.

5. When you are sleeping and really need to conserve your batter from constant mail notifications, missed text messages, and news alerts, just turn Airplane Mode on until you get back up. You will still get those notifications once your turn Airplane Mode back off. This is also helpful when you are taking a long car ride and want to avoid constantly roaming. Roaming really drains a battery fast, as I have found out from visiting family who live in the country where my network carrier is not available.

6. Change your e-mail settings. When your phone is set to push notifications, it constantly is checking for e-mail. Just go in your settings for your mail, set Push to off, and tell your phone to Fetch less frequently, as often as you can afford to miss getting your mail right on time. I have mine set to hourly currently, or you can even just set it to Fetch Manually, where you can just your e-mail by going to the Mail app at your convenience to see if you missed any new mail.

7. It is recommended that you let your phone run down the whole way until it shuts off once a month to keep the battery healthy. It has been said that constantly waiting until your phone is below 20-25 percent, or worse yet, below 10 percent, to charge it tends to run the battery down a lot faster in the long run. So, I try to charge my phone once I see it is at about 25 or 30 percent, sometimes at 50 percent.

Using Your Smartphone for Hurricane Sandy

 

Hurricane Sandy is in our midst here on the East Coast. People are panicking, running into Wal-Mart buying all the flashlights, lamp oil and D batteries, not to mention all the bread and milk. There is a reason to be concerned because this hurricane is supposed to be one of the worst. However, it is not the end of the world. There may be flooding outside your home or apartment, but for the most part, have faith that everything will be okay.

I do suppose most of those people who bought all the flashlights Wal-Mart carried did not have a smartphone with flashlight capability. Being an owner of a smartphone, I easily have a powerful flashlight app on my phone. For those of you with modern smartphones, I highly recommend downloading a flashlight app if you have not already done so. The one on my iPhone is quite powerful and lights up a big portion of a room in the dark. This is going to be extremely helpful if the power goes out and you need to maneuver your way through your house and read a book or something to pass time until the power comes back on.

Another thing I highly recommend is using your smartphone less often than you usually do right now as we await Hurricane Sandy. The power may not be out for hours or days, but it is always best to be prepared. So, use your laptop for Facebook and the news if you are not required to go outside and into work or something very important. Just use your laptop right now for anything you usually do on your phone that you can also do on your laptop, besides texting.

Also, you should keep your phone charged before the storm hits. Me, I’m planning to charge my phone each time it drops below 70-80 percent, just to be on the safe side. Also tonight, I am making sure that my phone is at 100 percent charge before I go to sleep. Because during this storm, your phone is really important.

Until the storm affects cell phone towers, The Weather Channel app is very useful in keeping up to date with the latest alerts for your area and it is always important to keep in touch with loved ones to make sure everyone is staying safe. Another helpful app before and during the hurricane is Hurricane by American Red Cross, or a similar hurricane app. This app will give you the latest hurricane alerts for your area, along with helpful information in regards to what to do before, during, and after a hurricane.

Below is a news clip I found on YouTube that details some helpful Hurricane and severe weather apps.

 

Social media and its powerful influence in Election 2012

 

I came across this interesting news piece about how social media has impacted the 2012 presidential election and I thought I would share it. Watch the video below and feel free to leave your thoughts about the role of social media in this election!

 

 

Election 2012 on Twitter and Facebook

 

It’s quite interesting how Twitter and Facebook have played such active roles in this election, especially Twitter. There have been so many popular hashtags that have come out of this election, including #Romnesia, #TheRealRomney, #AreYouBetterOff, #BindersFullOfwomen, and #Horsesandbayonets. And Facebook has created groups based on references in the debates, such as a page in support of Big Bird in regards to Mitt Romney’s defunding PBS comment and a page based off of Mitt Romney’s “Binders of women” comment.

Facebook has been pretty abuzz with political memes and political-related Facebook pages sharing tons of information in support of their chosen candidate and against the opposing candidate. The sad thing is these political pages are very proactive, whereas most Facebook users, at least the ones I am friends with, are more apathetic. I probably have only about five Facebook friends out of 192 who have shown active interest in the election in regards to sharing political posts in support of the candidates.

Could this lack of political posting be a sign of voter apathy? Perhaps. I have seen one or two friends who posted about hating politics. Or maybe it’s because they are afraid to voice their own opinions. Facebook can become a nasty place in regards to politics if you strike a chord with the wrong person. This I have learned from experience. Regardless, I still think it is important to let your voice be heard. Don’t be afraid of what others with opposing views will think. Show them that you are your own person who refuses to let your voice be silenced by them.

Social media can be a wonderful and powerful outlet for sharing opinions. I just think that more users need to learn to respect opposing views and not attack posts that go against their beliefs. And if they must engage in a debate on Facebook, do so in a respectful manner and make sure facts are checked before used in an argument.

Most importantly, don’t delete someone just because they share opposing views. I read an article that mentioned that more people have lost friends on Facebook during this election due to their political postings. Yes, postings that are anti-the candidate I support upset me a little. But I keep it to myself and just scoff at them in my head. We just all need to learn to play nicer on social media in regards to the presidential election.

Presidential elections in the age of social media and smartphones

 

I figured I would do more of a political post today after the social media world is abuzz today after last night’s final presidential debate. No, I will not be espousing my political opinions, since this is not a political blog, even though lately I wish I had a political blog to share more of my views beyond Facebook. No, I wanted to talk in general about how the presidential election process has evolved in regards to the public and how we share and consume information now on social media and our smartphones.

This election and the 2008 election really involved the use of social media, which had been a relatively new venue of spreading the word in political campaigns. I think this election has been the most social media-active thus far. I created a Twitter over the summer to finally see what the hype was about, but I just use it to follow politics and my favorite celebrities. If I don’t check up on my Twitter app on my phone for a few days, I come back to more tweets than I could possibly want or have the time to go through. The presidential candidate I am voting for has been tweeting a lot to help voters become the most informed and up to date on what is going on in the election.

In regards to my personal individual use of social media and my smartphone, I have become very interested and passionate about this election. I have been sharing information I find important on my Facebook and have been making my voice heard. I check my CNN news app every day and have shared election-related news articles on Facebook. I also have had quite a few political conversations with friends via text, and have shared a lot of articles with my boyfriend, who shares the same views as I, via apps and the Internet through text messaging.

I have also viewed several political videos via my phone during this election, whereas I otherwise rarely watch videos on my phone. I even watched part of the beginning of the third debate via the CNN app on my phone because I wasn’t at home for the first 10-15 minutes. This I thought was really handy, especially for individuals who may not have cable.

The ability to watch the debate anywhere if you don’t have immediate access to a TV or laptop is definitely a huge plus in the evolving world of technology. Granted, the video wasn’t the best and the picture went out a few times, leaving me with just the sound, but I think that was due to being in a moving car going through varied signal areas.

This election is definitely the most social media, Internet, and smartphone-connected election thus far. Which I feel says a lot about how much technology has evolved and how there are so many more channels of information out there to keep voters more informed than ever.