How use and don’t use apps

In many cases, our use of apps is fleeting. With kids, one mom described the concept of “app burnout” as her kids got bored and went back to their toys.

That said, there are many sticky apps where people use them religiously.

This is a totally new industry, so it will evolve quite a bit as more people use apps.

3 Car Accessories for the Business Traveler

Whether you’re cruising around in a rental car or making the drive all on your own, you’ll probably want some cool, useful accessories to accompany you on the trip. When thinking about what to bring for your business traveling, from travel-related apps to audio books, consider what will make your drive more comfortable and productive (without getting distracted). Here are some ideas.

Car Neck Pillow

If your job involves a lot of traveling or you’re going to countless meetings in a new city, you might regret not having considered your own comfort when planning what to bring along. There are some easy options, like this adjustable car neck pillow, that are meant to support your neck and provide you with a more comfortable drive. Consider what you can purchase before you grab the keys and go that will make your drive more enjoyable.

Audio Books

It’s definitely fun to crank up the radio and listen to your favorite tracks, but you can take a more productive route and get business audio books you can listen to on your drive. This will give you the opportunity to learn more while you’re traveling. If you’re going to another country, you can take it a step further and get audio books that help teach you a different language. You can sometimes check out audio books in CD form from the library, but you can also download them from websites like Audible. Just make sure you have a car connector if you plan on hooking your iPod up to your radio.

Cellphone Headset

You’re on a business trip, so you’re probably going to need to make some phone calls. Don’t resort to just holding the phone to your ear while you drive — it’s uncomfortable, and it’s dangerous to not have both hands on the wheel. Plus, if you’re going to a different state, the laws vary about whether or not it’s legal to use a handheld phone at all. For example, Washington D.C. bans all handheld cellphone use while driving. Check out the laws for your destination, and see if getting a headset or Bluetooth is a solution for you.

Conclusion

Before you get in the car, think about what accessories you can bring to keep your drive from becoming monotonous or uncomfortable. These are three ideas to start with, but there are more options out there. What accessories do you use during your car rides for work?

Pandora audience keeps growing

We’ve seen Pandora set up partnerships with many of the auto OEMs, so this recent news on the growth of Pandora isn’t surprising.

His baby, the Pandora personalized online radio service, has more than 125 million registered users, a huge jump from 75 million at the same time last year. Pandora has expanded its reach into the car, with 16 alliances — including new ones with Kia and Acura — compared with four car companies this time last year.

Monthly listening, on average per user, is now at 18 hours, and shares of its stock are up 21% this year.

Coming off a successful $2.6 billion IPO in 2011, Pandora founder Westergren says the company is at the “tipping point” of expanding beyond the early adopters into a service that he says will one day be utilized by billions of consumers.

Once they can expand beyond the US, expect growth to accelerate.

OLED TV Buzz

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These new TVs are pretty amazing:

The biggest buzz so far at the Consumer Electronics Show comes from the new OLED (Organic Light Emitting Diode) televisions from the giant South Korean manufacturer Samsung.

Production costs had previously limited the size of OLED screens, which is why consumers mostly found them in cellular phones, and the only commercially available OLED television model had been the Sony XEL-1, an 11-inch model that debuted at the 2007 CES with a price of $2,500.

Samsung’s new televisions feature a 55-inch screen, an absurd 0.6-inch width, and a richness of color never before seen in commercial displays.

Check out the video and see for yourself. 3D TVs were a huge bust, but now these new super-thin TVs should generate some serious buzz.

GAME REVIEW: All Zombies Must Die!

The zombie genre may be running on fumes at this point, but that hasn’t stopped the guys over at Doublesix from adding another game to the pile with this spiritual sequel to their 2009 arcade shooter “Burn Zombie Burn.” The developers’ latest offering, “All Zombies Must Die!,” is very similar in concept, but the addition of RPG-lite elements adds some much-needed depth to the overall experience. Instead of trying to earn the highest score by mowing down a seemingly never-ending horde of zombies, you’re now tasked with completing a series of quests as you attempt to survive the zombie apocalypse that’s overtaken the ill-fated town of Deadhill. Each of the four playable characters have a unique secondary attack that affects the zombies in a different way (like lighting them on fire or giving them radiation poisoning), but apart from that, they all handle the same.

Where “All Zombies Must Die!” really shows its depth, however, is in the ability to upgrade a character’s specific attributes (like attack, defense, health and speed) and create better weapons using a crafting system where you combine standard weaponry with items found throughout the map. Each item yields the same special ability no matter which weapon you pair it with (for example, firewood adds fire damage), but it plays a big part in preventing the game from getting stale too soon, even if the repetitive nature of the combat makes that an inevitability. Still, the game’s self-referential humor helps to keep things light and entertaining throughout, and it’s an absolute blast to play with a group of friends. Unfortunately, that also proves to be the game’s biggest shortcoming, because multiplayer co-op can only be played locally. The lack of an online mode isn’t the only thing standing in the way of Doublesix’s latest effort from reaching its full potential, but it’s certainly the most annoying.

4 Awesome Accessories for Your Set of Wheels

I’m not talking about cliché bumper stickers, antenna toppers, or those family member decals on the back of minivans. I’m talking about cool, useful, entertaining items, some of which you may not have even known existed. Check out these awesome accessories and discover what’s out there!

Ram Drink Cup Mount

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Okay, sure, this isn’t the most high-tech accessory in the world, but it’s definitely a handy contraption that can allow your drink to actually be in reach. According to the Ram Mounts website, the accessory can even be used on motorcycles, ATVs, and riding lawn mowers, so any time you need a refreshing beverage, it can be conveniently located and ready for drinking. Avoid a car crash, and keep your auto insurance rates down with this great gadget.

Drivemocion EX Series LED Car Sign


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This gem of an accessory might not be legal and every state (so check up on that), but it’s pretty awesome. Attach it to your rear window and control what displays from a remote by the driver’s seat. You can communicate with the people driving behind you with a choice of 16 messages, including, “Sorry,” “Back off,” and “Have a nice day.” Now you can thank that angel from heaven who let you merge onto the highway. Thank you, kind soul. Thank you.

OnStar FMV


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Now anyone can experience the benefits of OnStar with the For My Vehicle version that was designed as a rearview mirror and can be installed into cars from any company, according to Time. With this style of OnStar, you’ll still have features like automatic crash response, the ability to call for emergency help with the push of a button, and access to advisors who can help when you need roadside assistance.

Anti-Theft Chair


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Fingerprint scanners exist, but a whole new realm of identification has been discovered and may be implemented in the coming years. Shigeomi Koshimizu created a chair that can use the identification of someone’s butt when they sit to then allow actions like turning on a car. The use of pressure points allows the device to make this determination, so security has reached a whole new level of weird.

Conclusion

Whether the accessories help you drink a soda or prevent car theft, there are dozens of devices and gadgets out there that can make driving more convenient, more expressive, and more secure. Think about what you might want for your car and look it up — it might already exist!

Sources:
http://www.popularmechanics.com/cars/how-to/products/car-gadgets-gifts#fbIndex14

CES kicks off

The biggest technology and gadget show, CES, just kicked off in Las Vegas, and as usual much of the talk surrounds Apple:

Apple is the only company that consistently gets big buzz out of the International Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas — without even attending.

This year will be no different.

Connected TVs — TVs that connect to and can access content from the Internet — will be a big part of CES this year. And just about everyone in tech expects Apple at some point to launch such a television — an iTV — that easily consumes and shares with other Apple devices content served from the company’s media-storing iCloud.

Microsoft made news earlier by saying this was the last year they would attend CES/ Why attend if Apple gets all the buzz anyways? Maybe Microsoft should focus on new products instead of protecting its Windows/Office cash cow? Or maybe not . . .

App explosion and parental controls

News stories are reporting what we all expected. With all the smartphones and tablet computers sold over the holidays, consumers are downloading apps like crazy. This is true of people of all ages, as there’s now an app for almost everything.

This does, however, raise a host of issues for parents. It’s alright for mom to go on Facebook and Twitter or play free bingo. For example, there are free apps out there so that anyone can text phone numbers. So think about young kids. Many parents don’t want to purchase a phone, let alone a smartphone, for them until they reach a certain age.

But now with something like an iPod Touch, kids have access to so many things. They can use an app to start texting. Just imagine how many problems that can cause. They can open a Facebook account. They can play all sorts of games. They can access web sites.

Monitoring Internet access is going to get exponentially more difficult, so it’s imperative for parent to educate themselves. It’s not enough now to just have the family computer in the kitchen where parents can see it. With tablets and iPods kids can use them anywhere.

So if you haven’t done so already, go check on what your kids are doing with those new devices.