A new way to call

Last week, Amazon announced new devices. Among the new devices are the Echo Show, costing $229.99. This is a more triangular device with a screen. It allows you to make video calls as well. They are offering $100 off if you buy 2 devices with code SHOW2PACK. You can actually watch flash news briefings, see lyrics of songs, security cameras, just to name a few.

Other new devices are a shorter new Echo, the Echo Plus and the 4K Fire TV device. Also announced was the Echo Connect, Echo Buttons, and BMW partnership. The Echo Connect is an accessory to link Echo to home phone line. It costs $35 and is coming later in the year.

If you already own an Echo, Echo Dot, or Echo Show, effective immediately you can make phone calls. It is supposed to work with your land line or your mobile phone.

Echo Show at Amazon.com

“Farm Fresh” Amazon

The Amazon and Whole Foods deal going through today is leaving its mark in a lot of different ways. Whole Foods prices are going down on a lot of items in an effort to allow more people to enjoy the benefits of organic foods. You may start seeing some Amazon devices on Whole Food shelves and Whole Food items on Amazon’s website.

Prices have been slashed on many items already. For example in New York it was reported that organic fuji apples went from $3.49/lb to $1.99/lb, avocados dropped $0.80 per lb, organic rotisserie chicken dropped $4.00/lb, and organic bananas went from $0.99 to $0.69 per lb.

The Amazon devices like Echo and Echo dot found in the Whole Foods stores are the same discounted prices found on their website right now.

The Victor crew plans to shop at one later this week and will report back any other findings.

Bloomberg
TechCrunch

USB Outlets

You can get USB ports integrated right into your outlets. Jody Victor‘s crew found an article that shows a lot of information about the correct way to wire one if you choose to do it yourself.

They suggest you get stick with UL-rated outlets not only for your safety but for the safety of your devices. They range in price from $20-$40. You can find them at The Home Depot or Lowe’s or probably most any hardware/electrical supply store.

Here is the article: http://www.howtogeek.com/244537/how-to-upgrade-your-outlets-for-usb-charging/

Universal Remote

Sometimes when you watch TV, you lose your remote. Or your working on your laptop and with you had a mouse. Well, Unified Remote has ways to turn your smart phone into a universal remote for your TV, set-top box, music player, or computer.

They have a free version with limited functionality or pay a one-time fee of $3.99 for the full version. The free version has 18 free remotes, can connect with WiFi or Bluetooth, has password protection and encryption, allows you to control your computer keyboard and mouse, works with 3rd party keyboards. You can place shortcuts of your favorite remotes on your Android homescreen.

The Pro version has all the above and also has over 40 premium remotes and allows you to be able to use custom remotes, you can view your computer screen on yur device (Windows, Mac, Android – with iOS coming soon), and has an extended keyboard with cmd, ctrl, alt, etc. for Android, you can create customizable widgets, pin quick actions to notification area, use Google voice control, generate tags, URIs, or QR images for your favorite actions, Send IR commands to TV sets, Works on Android smartwatch. In iOS you can pin your remotes to the notification center.

All of this sounds intriguing. Although the Victor crew hasn’t tried this yet, we will and will report back what we find.

Smartphone Myths

The Victor crew found an article called “7 of the Biggest Smartphone Myths That Just won’t Die.” We were curious to see what they were. They started out by saying smartphones have only been in the mainstream less than a decade (hard to believe!) Over this time, some myths have developed and keep getting repeated over and over. Let’s see what they are:

1. Closing apps will speed up your iPhone. Hmm – we know you can remove them from the task list to “refresh” them but does closing them all the time help? The truth is, they aren’t running in the background, however, they are still in RAM. Apple limits what apps can do in the background, and what’s more, they automatically will close apps not in use if it needs more RAM. By continually closing them, you will actually make them run slower since the RAM has to load all over again.

2. Using a task killer will speed up your Android phone. You shouldn’t have to close an app on Android unless it starts giving you trouble and has issues. The same as above for iPhone, the apps are using RAM with limited background usage.

3. You should drain your battery fully before recharging it. Most people don’t let their phones drain completely but what about “topping it off?” Modern Lithium-ion batteries can be plugged in and charged whenever you want, as much as you want.

4. You should only use the charger that comes with your device. Most devices and smartphones use a USB charger. As long as it can be plugged into a USB port, you should be able to use it. If you use a more powerful charger, your phone will still only pull what it needs. It may even charge faster. Likewise, a less powerful charger will charge slower or maybe not at all.

5. You should buy a screen protector to protect against scratches. This is that thin piece of film they sell you or charge to install for you to “prevent” scratches. Most modern phones are using Gorilla Glass, scratch resistant glass, or similar technology. If you aren’t too rough you should be fine. There are also some things that would scratch a screen protector that won’t harm the glass.

6. More megapixels mean a better camera. This is a myth for any digital device, cameras included. A high number that may look good on a spec sheet doesn’t really translate to better. It’s just squishing more megapixels in the same space. A megapixel is one million pixels. So if you have an 8-megapixel camera, it will have 8 million pixels. The 8 compared to the 16-megapixels will allow more light since they are bigger pixels. Take into consideration the sensor and image-processor as well.

7. Android phones often get viruses and malware. Technically a virus is self-replicating software. Phones do not get them and even if you get infected by malware, it won’t infect other people’s phones. Malware does exist but it tends to come from downloads outside of Google Play. If you download pirated apps, you could very easily be picking up malware. Just don’t add apps from unknown sources.

Let’s get down and dirty

You know you do it even if you won’t admit it out loud. You use your device while in the bathroom. We already know mobile devices are dirtier than a toilet seat. Not everyone disinfects their phones either.

Microsoft to the rescue. they have come up with a way to keep your device free from germs. They have a patent for “disinfecting touch-based screen automatically.” A UV and visible light transparent film material is secured onto the touch-based screen to automatically disinfect the external surface. UV light is emitted from the edge and transfers through the film. When this will be ready for release is yet to be determined.

Jody Victor

Here is the link to the patent office to watch progress on it.

Jody Victor® finds out what to do with old devices.

Jody wondered what to do with old devices or gadgets that are no longer in use when you get the latest next best thing?
Jody found there are a few sites that offer trade-ins and or recycling of old devices

Gazelle.com will buy Apple® products (Mac, iPhone, iPad, iPod). How it works: Find your device or gadget, answer some simple questions. You will be sent a box with a shipping label if your item is worth at least $30. You choose how you want to be paid: Check, PayPal or Amazon.com gift card. After they receive it, they will check it out and pay you or revise the payment if it’s not in the condition you said it was.

Nextworth.com will buy iPhones, iPads, iPods, cell phones, cameras (point & shoot or DSLR), tablets, e-readers, GPS, laptops, calculators, tv series in Blu-Ray or DVD, video games, game consoles. How it works: Find your item. Print the pre-paid shipping label, pack the item, apply the label and give it to UPS. Once they receive the item, they make sure it is in the condition described and ask to allow up to 10 business days for inspection and payment initiation. Payment options are money transfer to your PayPal account, check or Target gift card.

BestBuy.com Trade-in center. Best Buy will take video consoles, mobile phones, computers, monitors, laptops, tablets, e-readers, mp3 players, cameras, camcorders, receivers, GPS, multimedia projectors, DVD or Blu-Ray players, movies, music, video games, and musical instruments. You can trade you item in online or take it to your local Best Buy store. You will receive a Best Buy gift card as payment. If your has no value, they will recycle it for free.

Jody hopes you found this helpful and will dispose of old electronic equipment properly.