As we mentioned last week, we're celebrating Device Theft Awareness Month in conjunction with Absolute LoJack. We gave you a rundown of just how big a problem device theft is nowadays, with over 3 million people becoming victims of smartphone theft just last year alone. It's a growing problem that you can protect yourself from, and this week we wanted to share three tips that you can do to avoid permanently losing your device or data in the event of loss.
1. Create a passcode for your device. This is a simple method of protecting the data that lives on your device in the event of loss or theft. Some Android devices will allow you to set a pattern instead of an alphanumeric code, and the iPhone 5s and later lets you use Touch ID fingerprint recognition. Any of these are a better option than not protecting the home screen of your device, which will let prying eyes get to anything on your product.
A few weeks ago we talked about what what you can do to protect yourself in the event that your smartphone, tablet, or laptop gets lost or stolen. We even took a 24-hour #DigitallyDark challenge where we gave up our smartphones for 24 hours to see how it would feel. Well, August is Device Theft Awareness Month, and we wanna talk more about what you can do if you find that you're one of over 3.1 million Americans who'll likely fall victim to smartphone theft this year. A staggering 1.4 million people who lost their devices in 2013 never got them back--that is 4.5 million lost and stolen smartphones (and that doesn't include tablets or laptops,) and is enough to make us want to do something about it. This month, follow the hashtag #AbsoluteUncovered as we dive deep into this topic.
Back in June we introduced you to Absolute LoJack, a data protection software product that is tailored to help you keep your mobile data safe, track your devices in the event of loss or theft, and even an option for assistance with recovery so you can get them back. We are taking part in Device Theft Awareness Month by bringing you a series of articles in order to keep you more informed on the issue and how you can protect yourself from becoming another statistic.
If you happened to catch the 13-part adventure that was Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey, hosted by Neil deGrasse Tyson, then you are already aware that it's a visual masterpiece worthy of being in your collection, and we're giving away a copy of the Blu-ray set. Aside from the 13 episodes in crisp 1080p, the $40 set includes over two hours of bonus content:
- The Cosmic Calendar: An Interactive Look at the History of the Universe (Blu-ray Exclusive)
- COSMOS: A Spacetime Odyssey – The Voyage Continues
- Celebrating Carl Sagan: A Selection From The Library of Congress Dedication
- COSMOS at Comic-Con 2013
- Audio Commentary on Episode One: “Standing Up in the Milky Way”
Cool, right? Ready to enter? Simply use the widget below to keep track of your entries! If you're a Gear Live Patreon backer at any level, you get an extra 25 entries in this giveaway! We've got a lot of ways for you to enter even if you aren't, but don't check off any that you don't actually perform. If you do, you'll be eliminated:
Here's how this is gonna go down: The grand prize winner will talk away with $150 in Google Play store credit. Second place gets $100. 15 other winners will each get $50 in credit. Ready to enter? Go get it:
OS X 10.10, better known as Yosemite, represents the next-generation in Apple's desktop operating system. Yosemite brings a new look to the desktop experience, and also ties OS X and iOS together through a feature called Continuity that I bet will make work a lot easier for Apple users. With any big change, customers will wonder if their older hardware will be supported. We recently received this question from a reader named Steve:
Q: I'm excited to check out OS X Yosemite once it launches, the redesigned interface looks great! My MacBook Air is from 2010, and I was curious if you knew if it would run Yosemite without any issues, or if I have to upgrade my computer?
A: I agree--I think the look and feel of OS X Yosemite is a breath of fresh air. I've been using the Developer Preview since it was made available at WWDC 2014, and when I use a Mac that is running Mavericks or earlier, it already feels like a big step backwards from a design perspective. Now, on to system requirements! The nice thing about Yosemite is that Apple hasn't changed any of the system requirements from what was required to run Mavericks. In other words, all Macintosh products capable of running OS X Mavericks will be supported by Yosemite; as with Mavericks, 2 GB of RAM, 8 GB of available storage, and OS X 10.6.8 (Snow Leopard) or later are required to upgrade. To make it easier to figure out if you're specific Mac is compatible, here is a listing of all the Apple hardware that is Yosemite-capable:
- iMac Mid-2007 or newer
- MacBook (13-inch Aluminum, Late 2008), (13-inch, Early 2009 or later)
- MacBook Pro (13-inch, Mid-2009 or later), (15-inch, Mid/Late 2007 or later), (17-inch, Late 2007 or later)
- MacBook Air (Late 2008 or later)
- Mac Mini (Early 2009 or later)
- Mac Pro (Early 2008 or later)
- Xserve (Early 2009)
As you can see, anyone who has bought a Mac within the past five years is covered and will be able to run OS X Yosemite. Mac Pro, MacBook Air, and MacBook aluminum buyers as far back as 2008 are also good. In fact, some MacBook Pro and iMac buyers from back in 2007 can even get in on the Yosemite action, and those computers are now 7 years old! This is a pretty large blanket of Mac users that will be able to enjoy the next generation of OS X, and I comment Apple for including as many Macs as it did.
OS X 10.10 Yosemite is set to launch later this fall, and will be available exclusively on the Mac App Store. At WWDC, Apple announced that it will be made available completely free to its users. Can't beat that!
Curious about how Cortana made her way from assisting Master Chief in Halo over to helping you out on Windows Phone? During a sit-down with Microsoft's Marcus Ash, he spoke to us about what it took to get Cortana just right on Windows Phone and to be seen as a legitimate competitor to Apple's Siri.
First, the Cortana logo was the first thing Microsoft has to get right. Originally, they didn't want a physical representation. The thought was that people could think it was creepy if it is "too human." They also didn't want it to be like Clippy, the infamous character from Microsoft Office that was hated by many. It was also decided that Cortana couldn't be just a voice, since it wouldn't feel the same.
Initially, Microsoft tried to use the Xbox Live avatar idea, but that was odd due to everyone having the female Cortana voice. Then they started playing around with the circle. A circle can stretch, bounce, and transform. They also tried triangles, diamonds, hearts, and the ability of letter the user choose any of these. At the end of the day, the circle next to Metro on the start screen looked good, so that was what Microsoft decided on. The next issue was that a simple circle isn't iconic, and is hard to brand. That's when the Windows Phone team met with the Halo team at 343 Industries.
It's summertime, and we've got a few items we're giving away to bring the fun to a whole new level. Courtesy of AT&T here in Seattle, we've got a Jawbone mini Jambox, Jawbone UP24, and a Bodyguardz tempered glass protective cover for the iPhone 5 and iPhone 5s. Here's a little more on each item and why we think they're perfect for this Summer Bundle Giveaway:
- Jawbone mini Jambox: Okay, for real, who doesn't wanna have music with them when by the pool or at the beach? A lot of us have a seemingly unlimited amount of music accessible by our smartphones and tablets, and the mini Jambox allows you to stream it over Bluetooth. At the next family BBQ, you'll be the star of the show.
- Jawbone UP24: Fitness wearables are all the rage these days, and if you like tracking your stats or are looking for a motivational tool, then it's easy to see why. With the UP24, you can monitor your fitness throughout the day, and even track your calories and water intake. At night, it'll even keep track of how well you are sleeping, which is probably not well if you're out camping in a tent. The device connects to your smartphone or tablet using Bluetooth LE, so the battery lasts a full week, and there's no plugging anything in to sync.
- Bodyguardz Screenguardz Pure: I always thought it was kind of silly for people to protect their smartphone screens with a thin plastic film. The Screenguardz Pure is a super-thin piece of tempered glass that can actually take a real beating, and exceeds the hardness of steel. That's protection.
So, are you ready to enter to win some of that goodness? Simply use the widget below to keep track of your entries! Remember, if you're a Gear Live Patreon backer at any level, you get an extra 25 entries in this giveaway! We've got a lot of ways for you to enter even if you aren't, but don't check off any that you don't actually perform. If you do, you'll be eliminated:
When most people think about gadgets in the home, they focus on the living room. The thing is, while that 4K UHD TV may look great, there is a lot of fun you can have in the kitchen with the right high-tech tools. I wanted to bring you a look at a few kitchen gadgets that I'm a fan of that will add a flair of fashionable tech to this often-neglected room. Be forewarned--just like other gadgets, kitchen appliances can have a hefty price tag!
Today in the Gear Live Deals Shop you can enter to win a Sony PlayStation 4 Battlefield bundle. You can't get better than free, so this is our Deal of the Day.
Aside from the actual PlayStation 4 console, you'll also walk away with two wireless PS4 controllers, and a copy of Battlefield 4 as well. Ready to enter? Go get it:
One of the more exciting aspects of Windows Phone 8.1 is the appearance of Cortana, a Siri-like voice-based personal assistant. We spent time talking to Microsoft's Marcus Ash about Cortana, and we asked him about the possibility of Cortana making its way over to other smartphone platforms like iOS and Android. After all, the demo we were given was impressive. According to Marcus, at first it'll be a focus that is part of Windows Phone, and that's the number one priority with Cortana.
To extend Cortana across the entire smartphone ecosystem, that's the part that Microsoft is still mulling over and figuring out. The question is "How do we get Android or iOS users that also use Windows to have a great Cortana experience?" As a company, Microsoft is putting work into solving the question, and it isn't afraid to put its apps on competing platforms. After all, there's Office on Android and iOS, Bing, and others. For our money, it makes a lot more sense for Microsoft to release Cortana across multiple ecosystems rather than tying the service down as a Windows Phone exclusive. It's not the kind of feature that sells phones (similarly, we don't think that Siri on its own sells iPhones, either.) As a cloud-powered service, is Cortana a Windows play or a service play? Time will tell.
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