Saturday, May 5, 2007

Traffic Mapping For Your Mobile Phone

Traffic Mapping For Your Mobile Phone
by: Madison Lockwood

In late July, Google announced that it will be offering live traffic information to mobile phones in more than thirty U.S. cities. Plans to provide the traffic feature to PCs are still in the works. The Google traffic feature will be released as an update to the free Google Maps for Mobile service, which has been available for 18 months for download on the Google web site. Google would not disclose how many subscribers it has, but it says the number is growing rapidly.

The feature expands Google's mapping technology into an area where Microsoft Corp. and Yahoo already have a presence, but in different ways. Yahoo and Microsoft offer real-time traffic information on their Web-based mapping services for PCs. Microsoft has chosen to move into the mobile “space” by licensing traffic-monitoring technology for mobile devices to a Kirkland-based startup, InRix Inc. Yahoo currently has no mobile traffic service. MapQuest, an AOL property, offers traffic reports over cell phones for $2.99 per month.

With typical bombast, Microsoft announced that when operable, the InRix mobile service will actually predict upcoming traffic problems – however currently the MSN mobile mapping technology provides no traffic information at all.

In the cities where it works, the Google feature will show traffic conditions on most major highways - indicating green for clear roadways, yellow for medium congestion and red for high congestion or stopped traffic. Google Maps will work on most Java-enabled phones offered by Cingular and Sprint and all color BlackBerry devices. The service does not currently work on phones from other major carriers such as Verizon or T-Mobile USA. Google Maps sends the data – obtained from an undisclosed source - every five minutes.

Although Google's free service doesn't identify traffic hazards or accidents, it will let drivers know if there is a clogged road. Google also shows the expected drive time for a route when phone users search for driving directions. It has introduced a feature that lets users save their favorite locations and frequently used driving directions for future use.

The three search engines are not alone, however. In February, Rand McNally Traffic began offering a downloadable mobile application that delivers news of real-time traffic flow, accidents, weather conditions and road closures to 94 cities. Rand McNally Traffic is available on Sprint, Nextel, AT&T Wireless and other services for $3.99 a month.

Media giant Clear Channel Communications' Total Traffic Network feeds content in 125 markets in the country to 15 services. One of them provides the information to subscribers with Sprint mobile phones for a $9.99 monthly subscription. That service is relatively new. In addition to weather conditions and traffic information, the service also provides data on gas station prices.

Cell phones are rapidly turning into GPS devices, with localized information as an added feature. It remains to be seen how many people will turn to their cell phone screens for traffic news, one eye on the road and another on the phone. In some states and several local jurisdictions, it is already illegal to use a handheld cell phone while driving. Some of these jurisdictions allow hands free use, but that won’t help with a visual feature. It will be interesting to see if this new functionality is limited by governmental concern over safe driving habits.

About The Author
Madison Lockwood is a customer relations associate for Apollo Hosting. She helps clients understand how a website may benefit them both personally and professionally. Apollo Hosting provides website hosting, ecommerce hosting, & VPS hosting to a wide range of customers.

Thursday, May 3, 2007

Find Yourself With Your Cell Phone

Find Yourself With Your Cell Phone
by: Madison Lockwood

A few years ago, the FCC mandated that cell phones have GPS capacity or some form of location mechanism so that the phone and its operator could be located in the case of a 911 call. The law took effect at the beginning of 2005. Today, over one hundred million cell phones in this country have a chip that provides GPS capacity and increasingly, software services are emerging that put them to use.

GPS stands for Global Positioning Software and it simply means that an equipped device can be located by the satellites overhead in geosynchronous orbit that are built to pick up GPS signals. While the cell phone companies initially were reluctant to participate, they have begun to develop subscription services that provide software to help you use the tracking system.

The GPS technology without bells and whistles simply pinpoints the location of your cell phone. A techie named Chuck Fletcher developed a freeware program called Mologogo that allows one Mologogo equipped phone to locate other, similarly equipped phones. It's become a method for a few thousand cell owners to keep track of each other, but hasn't moved much beyond that.

Verizon and Sprint have developed subscription services that will allow your phone to pinpoint your location, complete with overhead map. It's a mobile driving assistance tool that should enjoy some degree of popularity. The cell phone companies have been reticent to provide general access to the GPS feature in their phones, because it can be a sensitive privacy issue - especially if you're somewhere you're not supposed to be.

More to the point, however, is the fact that the cell operators see the GPS technology as a potential profit center. One way to get driving directions with a GPS cell phone is to subscribe to a GPS navigation service. Nextel offers two: Televigation's TeleNav and Motorola's ViaMoto. Using the GPS and Nextel's network, TeleNav and ViaMoto can send driving directions to a Nextel phone. If you make a wrong turn or miss a street, the service detects that you're off the route and new route is calculated to put you back on track.

Aside from the basic mapping and location support, if you're a Sprint-Nextel customer you can subscribe to a service called Smarter Agent. This GPS supported technology is tied to a real estate database and can provide you with information on home sales in the neighborhood where you and your cell phone happen to be located. It will identify which homes have sold in the neighborhood in the last few years, and for what price.

Verizon has a service called getGOING. You can download applications such as AtlasBook Places. With AtlasBook Places you can get maps and directions and navigate to nearby places. An option is a web-based planning tool. These functions are available on selected Verizon phones.

There's an inherent privacy issue here that is a challenge for the major cell providers. Sprint-Nextel is the only company that has always allowed access to the GPS chips in its handsets. They have a strict privacy agreement with any third party service providers such as Smart Agent. If you download software that is not provided through Nextel, however, you have no such guarantee of privacy. This issue, aside from dollar signs, is what has kept GPS functionality largely an in-house development of the cell phone companies.

About The Author
Madison Lockwood is a customer relations associate for Apollo Hosting. She helps clients understand how a website may benefit them both personally and professionally. Apollo Hosting provides website hosting, ecommerce hosting, & VPS hosting to a wide range of customers.

Wednesday, May 2, 2007

Mobile Phone Deals: Choose The Deal And Enjoy

Mobile Phone Deals: Choose The Deal And Enjoy
by: Carly Charu

One of the best ways to connect the world in the present time is through mobile phones. It has become the most important and essential gadget of this decade. Well, apart from the mobile phones, mobile phone deals are also important.Mobile phone deals are offered in the UK by different network service providers such as T-mobile, Three, Orange, O2, Virgin and Vodafone. All these network service providers offer mobile phone deals for consumers to have a cost-effective deal and services.

With the advancement in the mobile phone technology, mobile phone manufacturers are offering basic phones to latest mobile phones in the market. These mobile phones are endowed with camera, music player, Internet, office tools, and latest 3G technology for fast connectivity. These handsets include Nokia, Samsung, Motorola, Sony Ericsson, etc. So, if you have a choice, you have different mobile phone deals available in the market. Choose the handset and the cost-effective deals exclusively for you.

Mobile phone deals include pay-as-you-go and contract mobile phones. In pay-as-you-go phone, you buy a phone and it is usually loaded with some amount. You cannot make a call if you don’t have sufficient balance. You need to purchase vouchers for adding credits. Other mobile services are also limited. On the other hand, in contract mobile phones, you will have to pay a fixed monthly line rental. There are many tariff plans under a particular deal, compare the plan and choose as per your requirement. A cost-effective deal and seamless connectivity must be the first priority for all the consumers. Contract mobile phone deals fulfil these entire requirements. First choose the handset and then look for the deals available for a particular handset. You may get free minutes, free texts, free line rental and free insurance as an incentive.

Don’t think twice, choose the mobile phone deals and get connected with the people and the world anytime-anywhere.

About The Author
Carly Charu is the webmaster of Mobile Rainbow specializing in Latest Mobile Phone Reviews and information.

Tuesday, May 1, 2007

How To Find The Right International Cell Phone For You

How To Find The Right International Cell Phone For You
by: Michael Furniss

Having an international cell phone with you while traveling abroad can make things much easier — you can be instantly contactable, either with the folks back home, or to deal with your trip plans and reservations as you travel.

However, if you research on the Internet it can be a little overwhelming with the different options available.

In truth you really only have 3 main options with international cell phones, and the major factor that will affect your decision is whether you want the easiest and most convenient option, or the option that has the cheapest call rates, because you can only have one or the other.

1. Check if you can use your own cell phone

If you have the right type of cell phone, you may be able to use it when you travel abroad. If you are unsure then your carrier should be able to tell you. The advantage of taking your own cell phone is that you will keep your own number so it will be easy for friends to call you. However, using your own cell phone can be more expensive due to roaming charges (the extra charge added for routing the call abroad).

Conclusion — potentially this offers the greatest convenience but be prepared that your calls will cost you more. The most likely outcome will be that your carrier does not offer an international service, or if they do, you do not own the right type of handset.

2. Rent an international cell phone

If you cannot use your own cell phone abroad then you can rent an international cell phone that will work, just for the period of your trip. The cost of the calls will vary, depending on what type of SIM card the rental phone uses. If it uses a global SIM card then your calls will be higher priced, but if you are traveling to a number of countries you will keep the same number. If it uses a local SIM card your calls will be cheaper, but you will need a different local SIM card for each country you plan to visit.

Conclusion — rental sounds like a good idea, but you can now buy your own second cell phone, just for traveling, for the same price as one or two weeks' rental charges, so that might be a more cost efficient option for you.

3. Buy your own international cell phone

The cost to buy your own second cell phone, just for international travel, has now come within the reach of all travelers. As with renting an international cell phone, the cost of your calls will depend on what type of SIM card your phone uses. If you use a global SIM card, you will keep the same number in every country but your call charges will be a little higher. If you use local SIM cards you will get cheaper calls but have to buy a different one for each country you visit in the future — this can start to get expensive if you are a frequent traveler.

Conclusion — If you cannot use your own cell phone, buying a second one is generally more cost effective than renting every time. If you want a system that is easy to use then a global SIM card will be the best for you. If you bottom line is cheaper calls, and you are happy to put in a bit of effort to get them, then buy and phone and use local SIM cards (but don't overlook the cost to buy each individual SIM card when you do your price analysis).

About The Author
Michael Furniss is the copywriter and newsletter editor for Mobile Rental, home of the $49 Mobal World Phone, where he writes about tips and advice on all aspects of travel, including international cell phones.

Sunday, April 29, 2007

Battery Wars – This ‘Is’ the New Wireless Frontier

Battery Wars – This ‘Is’ the New Wireless Frontier
by: Dennis Schooley

I can picture it now. Luke Skywalker and Darth Vader face off for an epic light-saber battle to the death! The fate of the world hangs in the balance!

Then their light-saber batteries run out of juice so they’re left holding onto a couple of limp licorice sticks, resulting in a leg-wrestling extravaganza. Yoda wouldn’t stand a chance. Not quite what George Lucas had in mind for the ultimate Star Wars battle scene.

With all of the tremendous advances that are taking place in our world of internet and wireless existence, a person may never consider that the ‘holy grail’ is in the field of battery life. You might have thought that it would be the next generation of wireless devices that allow you to project holographic images of the Google screen so that you can do web searches in mid-air in the airport. Yep, it’s true – it’s in the works! The restricting problem is that little-considered power source we simply take for granted. The simple battery. It has been confounding for a century now.

Thomas Edison said, “I don’t think that nature would be so unkind as to withhold the secret of a good storage battery if a real earnest hunt for it is made. I’m going to hunt.” That was more than a hundred years ago and the foxes are still out. In fact the hunt is getting very intense.

In a recent article in ‘Wired’, John Hockenberry states that, “In the last 150 years battery performance has improved only about eightfold. The speed and capacity of silicon chips, of course, improves that much every six years.”

In curious irony, as I write this article on my laptop, on an airplane, on my way to Charlotte, my battery has declared bankruptcy and I now have to resort to my back up power source – pen and paper. How Neanderthal! My hand is actually aching because my fingers are apparently out of shape for these callisthenic demands. I thought that my two-fingered typing was just as good as a Gold’s membership for these types of events but I am woefully wrong. It’s just another reason that better batteries are required – we can’t write anymore, opposable thumbs or not, – it’s just an evolutionary thing.

It seems that our insatiable demand for self-powered consumer electronics is driving the battery wars to new heights. Suffice it to say that the spoils of this war will far exceed the wampum that Edison received for that light bulb thing.

As devices miniaturize in size, yet enrich in features, the hapless battery is forced to produce more power in less space. If battery capability stagnates, as history has dictated so far, then portable device capability will follow suit. Yet our demand, and the ability of manufacturers to supply, indicates a burgeoning market for wireless devices to make our lunch, tie our shoes, entertain us, and generally make our lives dependent on such units.

The problem is that all that functionality is dependent on the development of more efficient, more powerful, and smaller power sources. Oh yeah, and safety seems to matter as well, as evidenced by the recent spate of spontaneously combusting laptops caused by the fire-starter known as the Li-ion battery. Thermal runaway is the name of the culprit, and it means that the chemicals in the battery break out of their metal casing, which causes the lithium to ignite when it makes contact with moisture in the air.

Without getting technical, voltage and current are created chemically to generate power through the movement of electrons from pole to pole in the battery. As we have progressed through lead acid for car starters, to alkaline and mercury for transistor radios, to nickel and cadmium for the first laptops and video cameras, to lithium rechargeables for current electronics, including MP3 players, camcorders, and Blackberries, the digital demands keep multiplying. In fact digital calculations themselves require steady voltage to maintain memory, and power fluctuations can be catastrophic for the device functionality.

Backlit screens, hard drive demands, and graphics needs are mounting the pressure on the development of power sources. At the same time, the thermal runaway risk must be managed which tends to create wasted resources within the battery, and batteries that destroy themselves before they ignite.

The war rages for alternatives. The venture capitalists are betting big in a number of areas. They are driven by the demand for laptops with dual processors and eight-hour run times. They are driven by our consumer demands that we have wireless devices on our hip that store and play music – 1000 songs at a time, guide us over highways, and send attachments via email. Actually, the device should be in your pocket and not on your hip unless you’re a nerd according to insinuations by Kevin Sintumuang, associate editor for GQ.

Among the warring factions for battery supremacy are:

1) Lithium batteries with their own chip to manage power resources

2) Fuel cells, which have always been challenged with practical design. Proponent Rick Cooper feels that notebooks will have both a fuel cell and a lithium battery engineered into the next generation.

3) Silver & zinc chemistry is also on the horizon. Backer, Ross Dueber, makes the point about current lithium alternatives; “It’s the only rechargeable battery technology that uses flammable liquid.”

4) Lithium polymer uses an advanced gel to create a power source as thin as paper. Prototypes have been designed to power a new breed of smart card.

5) Then there’s Nanograss. It’s not a Robin Williams football field, but it is a radical approach to power supply. It allows cells to carry their own power and to turn on and off chemically. It provides for a solution where there are fields of tiny batteries as opposed to a single power source. This one uses charges to effect the surface tension of fluids by basically making them appear and disappear (into the Nanograss, which is actually metal) depending on conductive requirements.

Regardless of who wins this war, the riches will be great. And regardless of who wins this war, it seems that re-design of electronic devices will be required to allow for the new optimum power delivery system. That means it won’t be overnight.

Now let’s take the battery war to another level beyond electronic devices with a ‘what if’ scenario. What if battery technology advanced to the level where a reliable, safe, and powerful field of such tiny units became the source of power for our furnaces, air conditioners, and cars? Not just cars that look like you’re driving a phone booth, but real cars – and SUVs. Wouldn’t that just change the environment, both figuratively and literally?

Let’s just hope there is a winner in the battery war as opposed to continuing stagnation. Let’s hope that the hunt that began in earnest with Edison is rewarded with success. Let’s hope that new technologies, dependant on battery capability, can continue to develop so we can sate our desire for electronic nirvana. Otherwise we may be stuck in this backward time where battery capability restricts our Columbus-like voyage of discovery of the electronic universe.

About The Author
Dennis Schooley is the Founder of Schooley Mitchell Telecom Consultants, a Professional Services Franchise Company. He writes for publication, as well as for and, in the subject areas of Franchising, and Technology for the Layman., 888-311-6477,

Friday, March 2, 2007

Comparing The Playstation 3, Xbox 360, And Nintendo WII

Comparing The Playstation 3, Xbox 360, And Nintendo WII
by: Gary Ruplinger

Finally, they’re all here. The Xbox 360 has had the next generation gaming market to itself for a year. Now its two competitors, the Playstation 3 and Nintendo Wii, are here. No more speculating about speed. No more guessing about memory. Now we can take a look and see exactly how they stack up compared to each other.

Let the console wars begin again.


The PS3 has two configurations much like the Xbox 360. The PS3 comes in a $499 version that comes with a 20 GB hard drive and a $599 version that comes with a 60 GB hard drive; Wi-Fi; and memory stick, SD, and Compact Flash slots.

The Xbox 360 has two configurations. It comes in a $299 core version and a $399 version that comes with a 20GB hard drive.

The Nintendo Wii is the cheapest of the bunch with just one configuration that costs $250.

Processing Power

The Playstation 3 comes with its Cell processor. It’s a PowerPC based core that runs at 3.2 GHz that also have seven DSPs that run at 3.2 GHz. This configuration can do about 2 Teraflops.

The Xbox 360 has a Custom IBM PowerPC processor. This processor also runs at 3.2 GHz. However, Xbox went with a true 3 core processor compared to the one general processor of the Cell and seven additional DSPs. This configuration can do about 1 Teraflop.

The Nintendo Wii includes its Broadway processor, a PowerPC based processor running at 729 MHz.

Disc Media

Part of the reason the PS3 is so much more expensive than the Xbox 360 is because the Sony decided to include a Blu-ray drive on the system. The drive can play both Blu-ray movies and regular DVDs. The Xbox 360 comes with a DVD player and an HD-DVD add-on is planned. The Nintendo Wii uses a DVD drive; however, the system will not work for playback of movies, just Nintendo games.

Backwards Compatibility

The Playstation 3 is just like the PS2 was. You’ll be able to play both PS2 and PSone games on the PS3. Nintendo is taking things a bit further. Their system will be compatible with the Gamecube games and also the Gamecube controllers since the two systems use very different controllers. Not only that, but the Wii will also have the ability to download games from the original Nintendo (NES), Super Nintendo (SNES), and the Nintendo 64.

Sweet Features

If you want high definition gaming, then the PS3 is the way to go. It comes with a Blu-ray drive built in and can output in 1080p. Although the PS3 controller may look familiar, it’s had some updates. The controller is now motion sensing so in some games you’ll be able to move your character or fly a plane just by moving the controller.

The Xbox 360 was built to work with Windows XP media center. If you have a computer that already has media center on it, you’ll be able to view pictures, videos, and even recorded TV by using your Xbox. You won’t need to put your PC in your living room to take advantage of having a Media Center PC.

The Nintendo Wii decided to completely change the way gaming controllers are built. In the past, one controller was always held with both hands. The Wii’s controller looks more like a TV remote control than a game controller. It has a built in motion sensor so, for example, to swing a sword, you simply move you hand just like you were really swinging a sword.

Hopefully this review has helped you compare the three next generation gaming systems. Each has its pluses and minuses, and feature that are unique to it. Ultimately, your decision will likely come down to which system has the games that most appeal to you. And that is a decision that only you can make when deciding on a system to buy.

About The Author
Gary Ruplinger is the editor of, a resource for getting the in demand PS3 system. He also is a writer for where you can learn about all of the next generation systems.

Friday, February 2, 2007

Webcam Basics

Webcam Basics
by: Brian R. Lee

Instead of just communicating over the internet with text and emoticons, people are beginning to realize just how easy and fun it is to send video clips through cyberspace. Webcam setups range from simple to complex, and increasing the complexity is only a matter of adding functionality through software, custom code and/or equipment connections.

A simple Webcam setup consists of a Digital Camera attached to your computer, usually through the USB port. The camera part of the Webcam setup is just a digital camera -- nothing out of the ordinary so far. The "Webcam" functions of the camera originate from the software. Webcam software takes a frame from the digital camera at a preset interval (for example, the software might grab a still image from the camera once every 30 seconds) and transfers it to another location for viewing.

If you're interested in using your Webcam for streaming video, you'll want a Webcam system with a high frame rate. The frame rate indicates the number of pictures the software can grab and transfer in one second. For streaming video, you need a minimum rate of at least 15 frames per second (fps), and 30 fps is optimal. To achieve high frame rates, you must necessarily have a high-speed internet connection.

Once it captures a frame, the software broadcasts the image over your Internet connection. There are several broadcast methods. Using the most common method, the software turns that image into a JPEG (compressed) file and uploads it to a web server using File Transfer Protocol (FTP). You can easily place a JPEG image onto any web page in this manner and post your webcam images on the internet.

If you don't have your own Web server or web site, you can also use your web cam to send a video email. First, launch the software that comes with the camera. Depending on the model, the process of e-mailing and recording your video messages may vary. Press Start or Record to begin the video message. Click Stop and then preview the video. You can then click E-mail or Send, which automatically opens your default e-mail program.

When sending a video e-mail, the longer the video message recorded, the bigger the attachment will be, so make sure the recipient's computer can handle the size. The recipient of the e-mail does not need special software to see your video message; they simply choose to open the attachment and the mini movie will play.

Another increasingly popular way to use your web cam is a chat session with webcams in "real time" with instant messaging (IM) programs. During an IM chat, there will be an option to start the webcam right on the screen, or under the Options or Tools menu. In Windows Messenger, for example, the words Start Camera are on the right-hand side of the screen. It is also possible to adjust the volume, window size, and video resolution with IM options. The person on the other end also needs a webcam to visually chat.

Adjust your camera's focus, point it toward your face, and most importantly, look right into the "eye" of the webcam so your friends on the other end see more than just your forehead. Keep in mind that some webcams require an additional microphone to record audio.

Don't expect terrific video quality. It's often possible to adjust the video resolution by toying with the webcam's software settings, but the higher the quality, the choppier the video frame rates will be. Webcams can also be used for remote security monitoring, but beware of hackers who could intercept your video feed and then spy on YOU. Make full use of passwords and encryption.

Brian Lee
World Camera Video

The World's Best Brands of digital cameras, camcorders, webcams, security cameras, camera phones, photo printers, and accessories. Get yours now.

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