Q: My coworker has a jailbroken iPhone, and she keeps trying to convince me that I should let her jailbreak my iPhone too. My iPhone 4S is out of warranty now, but I'm still afraid of breaking it. I can't afford to replace it right now. Not that I don't trust her, but if I do it, I'd like to do it myself. Is it hard to do? Is it worth jailbreaking? Is there any chance I can get in trouble? What happens if something screws up, and my iPhone doesn't work anymore?
A: I don't blame you for being cautious. I had never tried jailbreaking an iPhone either until I received your email. I've always been a little scared to attempt to jailbreak my iPhone because I was worried it might break, too. But, I screwed up my courage and decided to give it a shot.
Is it hard to do? Not really. It used to be much harder. The first jailbreak required disassembling the iPhone! On iOS 6.0 through 6.1.2, as long as you have the most basic understanding of how to use your computer, you shouldn't have a hard time jailbreaking your iPhone. In fact, I can assume that if you are considering doing it, you probably have the skills required to do it.
Is it worth it? Well, that all depends on what you want out of your phone. If you are content with how your phone works, and you don't want to take any risks what-so-ever, then it's probably not worth it to you. However, if you'd like to try use apps that aren't allowed in the App Store, or you would like to customize your iPhone to work the way you want it to, or if you just like to tinker, you'll probably enjoy jailbreaking your iPhone.
There are fantastic customizations like alternative keyboards and themes. There are tons of great apps that you can't get in the app store, not because they have porn or have viruses, but because they work in a way that Apple won't allow. An example is an app called iCaughtU that takes a picture whenever someone tries to enter your passcode into your phone and fails. Because the app …
Q: I’ve heard that you’re supposed to have a good password to keep hackers from breaking into your account, but how do I know what a secure password is? I know I shouldn’t use something dumb like 123abc but I don’t think I can remember a bunch of random letters and numbers. What would you recommend?
A: First of all, there are different guidelines for home users and work users. Here are some password security basics for home users:
Never share a computer account,
never use the same password for more than one account,
never tell a password to anyone, including people who claim to be from customer service or security,
never email your password to anyone,
be sure to log off or lock your screen before leaving a computer unattended,
change your password whenever you think that it may have been compromised, and
don’t use guessable passwords: this includes your spouse’s name, your kid’s name, your pet’s name, and of course your name.
A perfect password would be made up entirely of random letters numbers and special characters, be as long as possible, and not be used anywhere else. Unfortunately, this is not humanly possible. Unless you use something like LastPass. LastPass is a password management app. It suggests complicated, secure passwords for any website or application, and it remembers all of them for you.
Here is another easy way to create strong, secure passwords: instead of using random letters and numbers, use a long string of separate words. For instance, something like "OrangeShrimpOrphanSingers."
Separate each word with a number to make the password alphanumeric. Try not to make the words related to each other because that will make them easier to guess. But you will likely find four words easier to remember than eight or 10 random characters, and because the password is longer, it is actually tougher to crack.
Oh, and you know how you’ve always been told …
Q: I’ve been considering getting an Apple TV or a Roku Box. Which one is better?
A: Both are great devices that are simple to setup and use, have a lot of good content on them, and are around the same price, $89-99.
The Roku Box is backwards compatible with older TVs, whereas you must get an adapter for the Apple TV if you don’t have HDMI which costs at least $30. All of the music, photos and videos on your iTunes account can be played on an Apple TV. If you have an iPhone or iPad you can control your Apple TV and show anything on them on your TV with AirPlay Mirroring. Both boxes have YouTube, Netflix, Hulu Plus, Vimeo, NHL, NBA and MLB, but the Roku Box also has Amazon Instant Video and Pandora. The Roku Box has a USB reader for video, music and photos.
In the end, it’s all about personal preference. If you are invested in iTunes, you might lean toward the Apple TV. If you have an older TV or you want to watch Amazon Instant Video, you might want to lean toward the Roku Box. Either way, let us know so we can come over and watch TV. We'll bring the Tostitos Scoops.
Q: I have a question. What is a podcast? I listen to your show all the time on the website, and you keep saying to subscribe to the podcast. I hear other public radio shows talk about getting their podcast on the web too, but what is a podcast, and how do I "subscribe" to it? I thought the podcast was the show I was listening to on the website. How am I supposed to subscribe to it? Are you going to mail it to my house or drop it off next to the newspaper? Forgive me for sounding stupid, but I don't understand.
A: Thanks for your email. Ooh, this is our first anonymous writer! Well, "Subscribe me confused", you don't need to be anonymous if you are embarrassed for not knowing what a podcast is, and you're certainly not stupid for not knowing. In fact, even your hosts here didn't know what a podcast was only a few years ago. In fact, podcasts didn't even exist until as recently as 2005. A podcast is simply a broadcast to your media player. The term podcast is derived from the brand name iPod, Apple's MP3 player, but that doesn't really matter now. Almost any device that can play music and/or videos can receive a podcast including most MP3 players, smartphones, and tablets.
Subscribing to a podcast means that you will automatically get the latest episode of the show that you listen to without you having to do anything. It works like On Demand works on your TV. You can listen or watch the podcast when and where you want to, and because it happens automatically, you don't have to remember to check the website to see if a new episode has been posted.
To subscribe to a podcast you need a program or app called a podcatcher; the most popular one is iTunes. To subscribe to a podcast in iTunes you can either search for the name of the podcast you are looking for like "Deemable Tech," or you can click a special link that takes you right to the podcast in iTunes, like Deemable Tech's iTunes link. Then, iTunes will pull up the podcast listing and you can click …
Q: When I open a new window it appears in half size. So, each time I have to enlarge to see it. This happened suddenly. How can I change it back so I can see each window in regular size every time I open them? I’m running Windows Vista, and it seems to happen on all windows, not just Internet Explorer.
A: Thanks for your question. Well, it’s hard to say why it happened. In theory, when you open a window in Vista it is supposed to open up the same way that it was the last time it was closed. So, if you close Internet Explorer when it’s maximized, the next time you open it, it should be maximized. And vice-versa, if you close Internet Explorer when the window is at less than full screen setting, it should open that way the next time you open it.
Occasionally, though, it has happened, that Windows will get locked and will just do it the same way over and over again. We dusted off Tom’s old Toshiba that ran Vista to see if we could recreate the problem, but unfortunately we weren’t successful. However, I have read that holding down the Ctrl button and/or the Shift button while you click the X to close the window will solve the problem, but I can’t vouch for those solutions.
I do have a fix that should solve your problems though. Right-click your Internet Explorer icon and click Properties. Then, click the Shortcut tab at the top. Now, look about half-way down the tab, and you’ll see the Run menu option with a drop-down menu. Click the drop-down menu, (you should see the options, Normal window, Minimized and Maximized) and choose Maximized. Now, click OK.
From now on, when you open Internet Explorer, it will always open to Maximixed. You can do that to all of your shortcuts on your desktop. If you ever decide to change it back, just follow the same directions above and choose Normal Window. That should take care of the problem, and you shouldn't have any issues with your programs trying to hide from …
Q: I thought that when iOS 6.0 came out iMessage was supposed to be synchronized between the iPad and the iPhone. I have an iPad and an iPhone, and my husband has an iPhone, but he has to send texts to either my iPad or iPhone. It doesn't send it to both. Did I do something setup wrong?
A: Usually when Apple makes something “It just works,” right? This time, not so much. iOS 6 did fix the problem, but it didn’t fix it automatically. If you want to sync your iPhones, iPad and iPods across iMessage, you'll have to follow a couple of steps. First, open the Settings app on all of your devices and go to Messages, and tap Send & Receive. Then, scroll down to the heading that reads “Start new conversations from:” Make sure that you are using same sign-in in this field on every device. If you have an iPhone, I would suggest using your iPhone’s number, but otherwise, just make sure you are using the same email address. Also, if you have multiple Apple IDs, make sure you are using the same Apple ID for iMessage on all of your devices. Then you should be good. Try it out, and see if you get your messages on all of your devices at the same time.
Since Google announced that it was closing Reader, its news aggregator service, we’ve received several questions at Deemable Tech ranging from "How do I live without it?" to "What the heck is it, and why is everyone freaking out?"
For folks in the latter category, Google Reader is the equivalent of a friendly butler that finds all of the news that you are interested in reading from the news sources and blogs you trust. Instead of having to open ten (or one hundred) different websites every day, you could open just one page whenever you wanted. It automatically gathered all of the stories that have been published by the ten (or one hundred) websites you follow since the last time you opened the page.
Now that you are probably just as upset as we are that Google Reader is closing, let me tell you the good news. There is hope. Other companies are stepping up to fill in the gap that Google Reader is leaving behind. Some of them work exactly the same as Google Reader does; others take what Google Reader does and improves upon it. Tom and I have spent the last two weeks testing and playing with the alternatives that are available. Here's the full list and break down of each Google Reader alternative. We can make it through this. Stay strong.
The Old Reader
If you're looking for something that looks exactly like Google Reader did a few years ago, look no further. The Old Reader was created out of frustration with earlier changes to Google Reader. Unfortunately, it does not have a mobile web interface or mobile apps. Also, due to their indy nature, it has been being crushed under the weight of everyone rushing to its service. The long term success of the service will depend on the community supporting it.
If you're looking for a Google Reader replacement that is lightening fast and can handle lots of feeds, NewsBlur is a great option. The web interface is smart and sleek. Unfortunately, the free version only allows you to follow …
Windows 8 Pro, which has been available as an upgrade for Windows XP, Vista and 7 users for only $39.99, will be jumping in price up to $199.99 after Jan. 31. The standard Windows 8 will be available for $119.99. However, if you purchased a Windows 7 PC after June 2, 2012, but before Jan. 31 of this year, you have until Feb. 28 to register for the Windows Upgrade Offer to receive the upgrade for $14.99. After that date, you’ll have to pay full price too if you decide to upgrade to Windows 8.
Why the 500 percent increase? The $39.99 was never intended to be permanent; it was a special offer to encourage early adoption. Depending on how you look at it, that may or may not have been successful. According to a report by web metrics firm Net Applications Windows 8 market share in December grew by 57 percent over November’s totals.
However that still leaves Windows 8 in 7th place in market share at a dismal 1.72 percent. This leaves Windows 8 trailing far behind Windows 7 at approximately 45%, Windows XP at 39% and even Windows Vista at 5 percent and Mac OS X 10.8, 10.7 and 10.6 at about 2 percent each. Compared to one month after Windows 7′s launch, Windows 8′s activation rate has been significantly lower, and Windows 7 did not have a drastic introductory price to drive sales. Time will tell of this is too soon to bring the price of Windows 8 up, or if consumers just decide that new operating system isn’t worth the higher price.
If you’ve been on the fence about upgrading to Windows 8, the time to make up your mind is now. If you wait until February 1st, you’ll have to pay an $80 or $160 procrastination fee.
Source: Windows Team Blog via The VergeDo you think that Windows 8 will continue to grow in market share and overtake Windows 7 and XP, or do you think that Windows 8 is going to be left out in the cold, especially after the price jump? Will Windows 8 be the new Windows Vista? Let us know in the comments down below.
Q: Yesterday when I came back from lunch, my emails were super tiny. Everything else was the same, but the text is so small I can barely read it. I tried to find a menu or button, but I couldn't find anything. I'm using Outlook 2003 on Windows XP. Help!
A: Most likely you accidently reduced the zoom level. On many programs in Windows, including Outlook, you can adjust the zoom level by holding down the Ctrl button on your keyboard while you scroll the mouse wheel button up or down. Scrolling up increases the size of the text; scrolling down decreases it. You can also try holding down Ctrl and pressing the "-" and "+" buttons. If that doesn’t work, try changing the screen resolution. Right-click the desktop and click Properties, then Settings and then Screen Resolution. Now slide the bar to the left to make the text bigger, right to make it smaller. This will change the appearance of everything on your monitor, but you can adjust it until you find a setting that is comfortable for you. If neither of those work, have you been to the eye doctor lately?
Q: I bought a bunch of ringtones from iTunes a while ago, and I had a fun ringtone set for each of my contacts. I recently synced my iPhone with my computer, and now they are all gone! I know how to redownload my songs from iTunes, but I can't find anywhere to redownload my ringtones. What do I do?
A: You might have to learn to enjoy the sweet, melodic sound of marimbas, or you might have to pay for the ringtones all over again. In the US and in most other countries, you can redownload most of the media that you purchase from iTunes, including apps, books, music, movies and TV shows. However, you are only allowed to download ringtones one time per purchase.
There might still be a chance you can get your ringtones back. If you have backed up your iPhone to your computer or to iCloud once before, you can restore your iPhone from the backup, and you should have your ringtones back.
First, you should back up your iPhone again before you attempt to restore the old backup. Follow the directions at the link above for backing up your iPhone and then restoring it from a previous backup. If you backed up your iPhone after you bought the ringtones, you should get them back once you restore that backup.
Once you have them back, make sure to sync them to iTunes on your computer. Then, if you lost anything else, restore the backup that you created at the start of this process. You should have everything back at that point.