According to a survey of users on goal-setting Web site 43 Things, the most popular New Year's resolution for 2011 is to lose weight. (This is Jasmine's utter lack of surprise.) Indeed, many of the top resolutions year after year are health-related. Drink less, get fit, quit smoking, manage stress, be happy, and run a marathon all continually rank high on the list.
Luckily, there is plenty of technology available to help you reach any of those goals. Of course, it would be irresponsible of me to attempt to cover it all in one article; after all, carpal … Read more
With the new year upon us, there are no doubt plenty of plans in place for changes both big and small. For precisely this reason, January's Tech Dos & Don'ts column will be focused on helping you through the necessary transitions--at least as far as technology is concerned. First up: out with the old, in with the new.
Certainly, both the holidays and the Consumer Electronics Show have inspired a lot of dough-dropping in the gadget space. Many of you probably have a new device or two lying around, which raises the question: what to do with the … Read more
Now that the holiday season has us in its clutches is well under way, it's the perfect time to bring my well-rested Dos & Don'ts column out of hibernation. And while I count myself among the lucky few who don't have to do much traveling to visit family, I know many of you have some lengthy treks ahead of you.
Whether the mode of transport is plane, train, or automobile, one of the best ways to counter the tedium and annoyances of travel is with some video entertainment. What follows are some tips on the best ways … Read more
The Internet is a veritable smorgasbord of music, and it's oh so easy to partake. Better yet, many of the options are completely free. So if you haven't already jumped on the digital-audio bandwagon, now is as good a time as any. The following tips should help you enjoy the vast array of gratis listening experiences available on the Web, whether you don't know where to begin or you're just looking for new sources for your online rotation.
First, let's get this out of the way: DON'T steal music. People have many "shades of gray" arguments on this matter, but for our purposes I'm going cut and dry here. Unless songs have been offered up for free directly by the artist, it's just not right to download tracks you haven't paid for. There are plenty of legal ways to listen to music online for free to decide if you want to shell out for a copy for your hard drive.
As for streaming, options abound, but you have to decide what kind of experience you're after. If you want to stream a particular song right now, DO search for it on Grooveshark. This rather unique music service lets you listen to songs on demand, create playlists, and see what's popular with other users. It manages to be completely free and legal by serving fairly unobtrusive ads, which ensure licensees get paid--or so the company states. Grooveshark has been the subject of legal battles in the past; however, it has managed to stay up-and-running so far.… Read more
Regardless of whether you elect to upgrade your iPod to one of the newest models or decide instead to purchase another MP3 player, one thing is undeniable: the earbuds that come packaged with your new device aren't going to provide the best possible listening experience. To that end, I've compiled several tips aimed at helping you ditch crappy headphones in favor of a pair that will treat your ears the way they deserve to be treated.
First things first: DO pay attention to the design of a headphone. For those who want ultimate portability, earbuds are going to … Read more
You may have noticed that this column enjoyed a hiatus last week. You may have also taken note of a little announcement from Apple about some new iPods. That was no coincidence; I spent the first several days of September up to my neck in the related iTunes 10 news.
Still, the new MP3 players didn't escape my attention, mainly because I'm eager to replace my essentially ruined second-gen iPod Touch. But more importantly, should you upgrade to one of the new iPods? To answer just that question, I spent some time with all three players.
Record-breaking heat in San Francisco earlier this week got me thinking about the effect of temperature and other external conditions on portable electronics. Most gadgets weren't designed to withstand extreme heat or cold, or to fend off excessive moisture (with somenotableexceptions). With that in mind, I've compiled the following tips to help you keep your tech in good working order.
It may already be nearing the end of August, but many of us still have several warm, sunny weeks left. During that time, DON'T leave your cell phone, MP3 player, or other portable device in your car all day long--especially in direct sunlight. (In this city, doing that is just begging to have your car window smashed in, as well.) Gadgets, like prescription meds, are best kept at room temperature. Exposing them to extremes can damage the internal hardware, causing system malfunctions and general user unhappiness.
If you're wondering about the limitations of your device, DO check out the packaging; most electronics call out an appropriate temperature range in the specs. For example, the iPod Touch is guaranteed operational between 32 degrees and 95 degrees Fahrenheit. As you can see, the upper end of that range is not all that high. From what I've been told, many parts of the country also dip well below freezing some months of the year, so heed this advice in the winter as well. (Or just spend November through March in California--it's totally affordable, I swear.)… Read more
As of this morning, I had reached a point of stoic reserve about covering the whole ditching your MP3 player issue, a topic that I've been avoiding like the plague since it makes me depressed and nostalgic. Happily, I was saved at the last minute by an article about increased hearing loss in adolescents that the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) posted yesterday.
As more and more people listen to music on the go, whether through their cell phones or dedicated MP3 players, innumerable ears are exposed an assault of audio through headphones. These listening implements aren't inherently bad, but they can contribute to hearing issues over time if certain precautions aren't taken. The following advice can help to ensure that you continue to hear all sound as nature intended it.
I feel that this should be an obvious point, but it always bears repeating: DON'T listen to your music at ear-splitting levels. The quickest and easiest way to damage your hearing is to expose your ears to overly-loud sounds, music or otherwise; this is the reason that people who work at factories (and some other loud locations) are often required to wear earplugs under local health and safety laws.
So how loud is too loud? Anything over 75 decibels, according to one study. Of course, it's tough for most consumers to accurately measure this; when in doubt, DO employ the volume limiting feature on your listening device. Apple's various iPods and most of Sony's Walkman players include this functionality. Alternatively, you can even pick up a pair of earbuds that ensure safe listening levels, such as the Ultimate Ears Loud Enough earphones.… Read more
Last week, I turned the tables and asked you for advice on what the next Dos & Don'ts topic should be. Well, the masses have spoken, and though there was a fair amount of interest in every option presented, with five out of the six topics ranging around 15 percent in the poll, the clear winner is Craigslist personals with about 24 percent of the votes. Far be it from me to let you down.
Of the multitude of online dating sites available today, Craigslist is perhaps the most casual. And I'm not referring to the casual encounters … Read more
Today marks the 20th weekiversary of this Dos & Don'ts column, and I'm finding it hard to believe that I've really been churning these things out since March. That, or maybe I'm just fresh out of ideas--the horror! Actually, I have so many rattling around in my brain that it has become exceedingly difficult to actually choose one and stick to it for a handful of paragraphs. This is precisely why I'm passing the buck this week and letting the rest of you decide on the topic, which will be addressed next Thursday.