Category Archives: Tech News

Google Launches Sync for Mobile Phones – General Acclamation Ensues

Google Sync icon Earlier this week Google launched the Beta version of Sync – free tools for synchronizing your mobile phone’s Contacts and Calendar with your Google account.

Phones supported by Sync include the Apple iPhone, Blackberry, Symbian, and Windows Mobile.

As you might suspect, I’m quite excited about Google Sync, and I’m glad to see Windows Mobile support included. I’ve written a few articles already on syncing Windows Mobile Contacts and Calendar with varying services, all without Outlook. Here are some previous tutorials:

  1. Sync Your Windows Mobile Contacts and Calendar Using Funambol for FREE (article link)
  2. Sync Your Windows Mobile Contacts and Calendar with Plaxo, Thunderbird, and Google for FREE (article link)
  3. Sync Your Phone’s Contacts and Calendar with Google for Free using NuevaSync (article link)

I’m definitely going to try my hand at setting up Google Sync, and am especially curious to see how it compares with the mighty NuevaSync. Expect future articles and opinions related to this topic in the near future.

In the meantime, if you have already tried Google Sync, I’d love to hear some thoughts.

AT&T, Verizon, and Flickr – Good and Bad News

If you pay for broadband Internet through AT&T or Verizon, I have some good news and some bad news for you. First, the good news:

Good News

You have a Flickr Pro account. Congratulations! Perhaps you already knew about it, but if you did not, then YES, a Flickr Pro account is complimentary with your broadband package. Just sign in with your AT&T or Verizon credentials.

So go start uploading your unlimited number of photos. Enjoy! But wait, it’s time for some bad news.

Bad News

Don’t enjoy your Flickr Pro account too much, because you won’t have it for long. Come the first of February 2009, your Pro status will be revoked unless you chalk up and pay the required $25 per year.

From AT&T (requires login):

Beginning January 31, 2009, AT&T Internet members will no longer receive Flickr Pro free of charge. These Flickr Pro accounts will be converted to free Flickr accounts which are similar although with some limits. The free Flickr account lets you upload up to 100 MB of photos per month and allows you to view or share up to 200 of your most recent uploaded photos. Don’t worry, if you have more than 200 photos or videos, they are still stored and will not be deleted unless you delete them yourself. You can easily renew your Flickr Pro account at any time.

Here’s a screenshot of the text. Sad, isn’t it? I blame the recession.

I was just getting used to my complimentary Flickr Pro account, too. Oh well, back to Google Picasaweb I go.

Dropbox Goes Live – Free 2GB of Synchronized Storage for All!

Dropbox logo

I am pleased to report that Dropbox has fully opened to the public, no more invitations needed! A few weeks ago I reviewed Dropbox (see review) and concluded that it was the online storage service of my dreams. I still hold to that claim.

Everyone who signs up receives 2 GB of storage space. Not only that, you can easily link multiple computers to your Dropbox account and effortlessly keep your files in sync. It’s like FolderShare, but with an online backup element. Yes, it’s a dream come true. 🙂

Clients are available for Windows, Mac OS X, and Linux (beta). There’s even an iPhone client. Here I am installing the Dropbox client on Ubuntu 8.04.

Freshly Installed

As of now, Dropbox is the free storage service that I recommend most to others. If they rollout a “Pro” version with more features and storage, I’d be tempted to upgrade. Still, the free service is excellent.

If you only use one online storage service, I heartily recommend Dropbox.

File Savr – Another Free 250 GB Storage Account?

If you missed the offer last May for 250 GB of free storage from FileDropper, you may have a second chance. A company called File Savr now has the exact same offer (free premium accounts), valid until September 15.

Signup

If you wish to grab your free 250 GB online storage, use their special link. Though they claim that the offer is for bloggers and Digg users, anyone can register.

FileSavr.com was created as a fresh alternative to sites like MegaUpload and RapidShare. Unlike those sites, we do not reel the user in and make them wait for annoying countdown timers. We do not hide the download link with aggressively placed ads. Our goal is simple, to offer the most basic file hosting and image hosting service so you can share your stuff quickly.

As a thank you to the community we are offering free accounts on FileSavr.com to bloggers as well as members of Digg, Stumble, Reddit, Mixx, Del.icio.us. To get your free account fill out the form below to receive to get $10 monthly account (250 GB) absolutely free. Accounts created before September 15th will have lifetime membership for free. If you like the service we hope you will help us with small donations via paypal.

Offer expires September 15th. WARNING: The service is very slow due to extreme demand right now.

Signing up only requires a username, password, and e-mail address. Painless.

Usage

For all intents and purposes, File Savr is EXACTLY the same as File Dropper. The offer is the same. The interface is the same. The prices are the same. Heck, the only different between the two sites is the logo. It makes me wonder why the people behind File Dropper felt the need to create a re-badged version of their existing site. Let me show you what I mean:

FileSavr Manager

File Dropper Manager

Other than logo, there is no difference. Well, I should mention that File Savr supposedly offers an upload limit of 10 GB, whereas File Dropper limits upload size to 5 GB. So, yes, there is a slight difference.

Admittedly, I’ve had trouble with File Dropper. Every time I try to upload a file larger than 500 MB or so, I receive an error and the upload fails. Perhaps it’s my Internet connection? Perhaps it’s File Dropper? Nevertheless, the result is that I’ve hardly been able to use my account.

Still, between the two, I now have 500 GB of online storage at my disposal. I only hope I’ll be able to take advantage of it.

Act now, and you too can claim 250 GB of space. Just be sure to use their special link. I only hope you’ll have better luck with uploading than I’ve had.

Live.com Cashback – Let Microsoft Pay You When Making Online Purchases

Whether you love them or hate them, Microsoft is willing to pay you cold, hard cash just for using their Live.com cashback service to buy things online. The idea is that you simply use their search engine to compare products and prices, then click-through to the selected online store. When you make your purchase, you earn cashback from Microsoft. Easy as that.

Keep saving money each time you use Live Search cashback. Every time you make a qualifying purchase, we’ll send you an email to confirm your Live Search cashback savings. Usually 60 days after your purchase (although this time period may vary for some stores), and when your cashback account reaches a balance of at least $5, you can claim your cold, hard cash.

Microsoft wants to increase exposure to their search engine, and they may have some success by paying people in this manner. They hope that by offering this juicy incentive, you will not only use their search engine for online shopping, but for all your other search-related needs. Hmm, maybe they will win a few converts.

Now let me tell you how it really works. Google will continue to dominate the search arena, and people like myself will simply click-through to a specific store when buying things online just to harvest the cash from Microsoft.

Speaking of which, here is a list of stores (sorted alphabetically). With regard to technology, I’m pleased to see Newegg.com on the list – currently earning 5.5% cashback.

If you’re a TigerDirect fan, you can earn 10% cashback from Microsoft! Some other examples currently include:

  • Lenovo – 10% cashback
  • Overstock.com – 4 to 14% cashback
  • Creative Products – 10% cashback
  • Shop4tech.com – 12% cashback

If you’re planning a new computer build from Newegg anytime soon, or are eyeing a new Lenovo laptop, you should use the Live cashback system and let Microsoft reimburse part of the cost to you. It certainly won’t cost you anything extra to do so.

Check it out: a few days ago I decided to buy a new USB flash drive from Newegg, so I clicked-through, spent a whopping $9 on a drive from Crucial, and then checked my Live cashback account. Lo and behold, $0.50 had already been deposited into my account. I’m rich!

Once I hit $5, Microsoft will pay me (through PayPal, direct deposit, or a mailed check). Hmm, I wonder if I have any friends who will let me buy parts for them online (then pay me back in cash)? Earning cashback could turn into a side job!

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File Dropper – 250 Gigabytes of Free Online Storage? (Online Storage Series)

File Dropper logoNeed tons of space to store files online? How about 250 GB, all for free? Is it too good to be true?

Maybe.

A new startup called File Dropper claims to offer their “Gold” plan – a whopping 250 GB of storage space – for free, provided that you register before May 15, 2008. Otherwise, their regular plans start at $0.99 a month for 5 GB of storage. Users who register before May 15 will receive a lifetime account for free, not just a trial account.

Signup

Many of these services disappear as rapidly as they appear, but if you want to register, please use their special link. They claim that this special offer is for members of social bookmarking services such as Digg, StumbleUpon, Mixx, etc, but anyone can register.

As a thank you to the community we are offering free accounts on filedropper.com to bloggers as well as members of Digg, Stumble, Reddit, Mixx, Del.icio.us. To get your free account fill out the form below to receive to get $10 monthly account (250 GB) absolutely free. Accounts created before May 15th will have lifetime membership for free.

Registration is quick and painless, requiring only username, password, and e-mail address. I used a randomly-generated password (thanks KeePass), and my dedicated “spam” e-mail address, but I have not received any e-mails from them yet. So far so good.

Usage

The main interface of File Dropper is startlingly simple, which is not surprising given their claim of simplest file hosting website ever.

Once you choose to upload a file, you are presented with an interface that allows you to upload one file at at time. The maximum upload size is a staggering 5 GB! Here I am, uploading a test file:

File Dropper Main

There is even a progress bar to show you how much data is remaining. Once the upload is complete, File Dropper displays a download link that you can use to share with others.

Warnings and Caveats

I want to like File Dropper. I really do. However, I am suspicious. I’ve seen far too many similar services offer outlandish claims and then disappear into the night. I genuinely hope that File Dropper sticks around for the long haul, but pardon me for doubting.

Therefore, I would not trust sensitive information with them. Their TOS is quite sparse, and even mentions the Digital Millennium Copyright Act. So don’t think that you can store your collection of “ripped” movies on their servers and get away with it forever.

By contrast, a service such as DropBoks has a very strict Privacy Policy, which is currently lacking on File Dropper. Dropboks states:

All files that are uploaded to the DropBoks system are never viewed by any member of the DropBoks team, ever. Neither are they provided to any other party at any time.

On the other hand, my beloved DropBoks only offers ONE gigabyte of free storage in comparison to 250!

File Dropper 2038Of course, there is always the possibility that File Dropper will not withstand the test of time, and will disappear in a few short weeks or months, taking all your precious files with them.

I’m supposedly a paid member until January 18, 2038. So, lifetime to File Dropper apparently means 30 years. I don’t know about you, but I certainly hope to still be alive in 2038. Maybe they are anticipating the Year 2038 problem.

The only other problem I see is that in 30 years, I probably won’t care much about the files I’m currently uploading!

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Open Source TV Show/Legal Torrents

This will be a quick post. I just wanted to spread the word about a new website that is now up and hopefully will be growing:

http://beta.legaltorrents.com/

In their own words:

LegalTorrentsâ„¢ is an online community created to discover and distribute Creative Commons licensed digital media. We distribute high quality digital media of all types and provide support to content creators, including hosting a guaranteed high-speed seed for the content. We distribute content with the full permission of the rights holders. We use the peer-2-peer file-sharing technology called Bittorrent.

They are dedicated to hosting only completely legal torrents. So have no fear and download away. Of course you won’t find all that sweet illegal content that some providers have, but that is not the point of this site. Fellow Linux users should be able to see how useful this site will be for centrally locating distro cds.

I also wanted to draw everyone’s attention to a specific torrent on their site:

Go Open Ep. 1-6

This is the first 6 episodes of a television show from South Africa that is information about Open Source software, and the alternatives to closed source software. It’s free, and pretty informative, especially if you are new to the Open Source scene.

Oh, and if you liked the first 6 episodes, don’t forget: Go Open Ep. 7-13

All files are in .MP4 format. If you have a hard time opening these files [and use windows], I recommend the Combined Community Codec Pack. It is the most complete codec pack I have found yet (originally compiled to play many differant formats of anime encoded by fans with subtitles.)

In the near future I will expound about the process, software, safeguards, etc. of the torrent community.