Posts Tagged ‘Wi-Fi’

Transforming Your Cables: Adapters

Written by mcarberry. Posted in Gizmo Glorification, Tech Musings

Megatron has no use for adapters, but you might.

So by now it may be inevitable. You’ve got dozens of different devices by now, and they all have different connections. So how do you get all of them to connect to each other? You’re going to need cables and adapters. We’ve put together a few adapters that you should pretty much have around all the time.    

If you have this many devices, I can’t help you. (via Gizmodo)

First we’re going to start with mobile devices because who hasn’t been in a situation where they need a charge, but maybe don’t have the right plug? I try to take these particular adapters with me whenever I’m away from home or the office for a full day without access to my car charger. You can’t go wrong with this usb cable kit. It has Apple, Micro and Mini USB, so you’ll be able to charge just about any device you can think of. Sorry, iPhone 5 users. You still need to stick with your own charger for now. You can pair the cable kit with this awesome mini surge protector with USB port charging. Since the usb cable kit is pretty short, I also take along a 6 ft. USB extension cable to give myself a little space. With these, I can charge just about anything as long as I have access to an outlet. When it comes to data transfer, everything I own uses some type of USB connection. So I can usually get by with just using a second USB cable kit, but if you use more devices than I do, picking one of these up might not be a bad idea. The next area is where things get complicated. Sound and video adapters are sometimes a pain in the butt, and these adapters can get pretty expensive if you don’t know what to look for. Luckily I’ve got a box full of experience-I mean adapters, and I can get you stocked for almost A/V conversion for cheap. First we’ll start with video. Biggest conversion cable I use to connect my laptop to my television. It might not be something that you NEED, but I don’t have Netflix apps on my TV, and I’m not going to buy a Playstation or Xbox when I could spend less than $10 on a cable. My television uses HDMI, and for those of you buying Monster Cables for your home entertainment system STOP! You’re blowing a lot of money on cables that aren’t giving you a noticeably better picture or sound. Just use these. It’s ten feet for $4! I have an older Macbook so my computer uses display port. Which means I have to buy one of these. Still I’m connectable for under $10. If you have a VGA or DVI output on your computer, feel free to buy one of these already adapted cables outright or this one for VGA. I know they’re really cheap, and that might lead you to believe they’re not good, but I haven’t had any problems with mine for quite some time. I use mine to connect my hdmi monitor to my dvi graphics card on my desktop. 2 years later, and I’ve got no reason to believe it’s of sub-par quality. Even if it dies on me right now, I bought it 2 years ago for less than $2. I’ll just buy another and go 2 years at a time. Now it is possible that you’re working with technologies that were built in way different times. Some of you may feel you need to connect a laptop with hdmi to a television with composite inputs. I’ve gotta be honest with you, it’s just not a good idea. The picture quality is going to be terrible, and finding an adapter is pretty hard. The best you could do would be to get one of these video adapter boxes, but they’re usually expensive and full of connections you don’t need. Not to mention they take up way more space. Now that we’ve taken care of video cables, it’s time to move onto audio. Yes, HDMI does carry audio signals, no, we’re not going to talk about rigging something like  that up because nearly any device with HDMI will also have a separate audio input/output. Honestly, I only have three different audio adapters, and this is only because my audio needs are fairly limited, but I have a 1/4″ to 3.5mm adapter, the opposite adapter, and a 3.5mm to stereo rca adapter. If you have any other audio adapter questions, post them in the comments, and I’ll look into it. The truth is I use a receiver for my home entertainment system which makes things super simple, and my computer stereo isn’t complex at all.  

Wireless is always another option

We hope this has helped some of you make sense of all the port clutter you may be suffering. Not to mention shed some light on how badly cable companies are ripping its customers off. Most of the cables and adapters I mentioned are under $5, and the most expensive ones are under $20. Another option with newer technology is streaming wirelessly, which would eliminate cables and adapters all together. A lot of my stuff is networked this way, but if I would have started out with this info, I wouldn’t have much of a blog to write, now would I?

To Jailbreak, or Not to Jailbreak…

Written by mcarberry. Posted in Tech Musings

  Today we’re going to get into a little bit of a grey area here. Now we love iOS at ScreenTek, and we use it every day. However, sometimes you need just a little more than what iOS has to offer and jailbreaking is a great way to get it. So maybe you’ve never heard of the term, or perhaps you’ve heard of it, but think jailbreaking is illegal or will turn your phone into a brick. Relax. ScreenTek’s here and we’re going to help. Call them crazy, but Apple puts restrictions on its iPhone, iPad, iPod, and Apple TV. This allows them to ensure the integrity and uniformity of the operating system. Unfortunately, it also keeps a lot of great features off of iOS and leaves users at the mercy of iTunes. Jailbreaking allows users root access to their devices and enables them to remove this restriction, thus allowing for more freedom and control. There are lots of advantages to circumventing Apple’s restrictions such as complete customization, wi-fi tethering, feature upgrades, and using apps that aren’t allowed by iTunes.

Jailbreaking can give you custom icons, backgrounds, and themes. It actually allows custom… everything!

Now before I sound like I’m too biased, jailbreaking isn’t for everybody. There are lots of downsides to jailbreaking as well. For one, jailbreaking essentially turns your phone into a regular computer. This meaning if something goes wrong, the solution won’t be simple, and will not be solvable by those Apple geniuses. Stability and safety will go away with jailbreaking, as will the support. Additionally updates become a hassle. You won’t be able to update as quickly or as easily because you’ll lose jailbreak and access to all those great apps.

Be careful, you don’t wanna turn your phone into a brick.

Jailbreaking doesn’t always work, and if you can’t get it to work, a full restore might be in your future. Granted I’ve never had to restore my iPhone or iPad with a jailbreak, but I know some people who have. If backing up and restoring your media doesn’t sound appealing, you might want to leave jailbreak alone. The last reason not to jailbreak, and in particular the biggest one in my opinion is that not all apps are free, and those that aren’t can be really expensive. Believe it or not the apps that are sold through iTunes are reasonably priced, and you won’t always get that in the Cydia store.

Cydia is the unofficial App Store of all jailbroken iPhones.

So as you can see there are many reasons to jailbreak, and maybe even more reasons not to. The choice is completely up to you, but I like it because I’m a horrible control freak, and I expect way too much out of all my technology. However, it’s obviously not necessary to enjoy your device, and if you’re looking for a way to get a lot of customization out of your phone without changing it, you might want to consider Android.
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