Monday, April 15, 2013

Facebook Home, HTC First Smartphone, & Privacy Concerns

Facebook Home was unveiled, by Mark Zuckerberg, on April 4, 2013. It is basically a user interface (UI) designed for Android smartphones to replace home screens on Android mobile devices.

As per Mark Zukerberg, Facebook Home “is designed around people, rather than apps”. With Facebook Home activated on your smartphone, your home screen becomes a cover feed displaying updates from your Facebook Newsfeed. It acts like an automatic slideshow with users being able to interact with their updates.

With FB Home, you can now get notifications, not only from FB, but others apps like Gmail and other social networks. And finally, Chat Heads is a messaging system, via Facebook, which allows users to interact with friends via SMS messages. Though FB Home is your main screen, you can get to your other apps, however, it’s one extra step.

Facebook Home comes pre-loaded on HTC First, a phone specifically designed to provide an optimal user experience with Home. Though, the Facebook Home App is available for download on Android devices via Google Play. The HTC First is a mid-level smartphone with a 4.3-inch multi-touch capacitive display, equipped with a 1.4 GHz dual-core processor, 1 GB RAM, and weighs 124 grams. It has a 5 MP rear camera and a 1.6 MP front-facing camera. The battery life of the HTC First smartphone is approximately 14 hours. The HTC First is not designed to compete with premium smartphones like the Apple iPhone 5 or Samsung Galaxy S4, rather it's meant to be an affordable mobile phone, which is exclusively available through AT&T.

Check the video below to see the HTC smartphone specs and Facebook Home in action on the HTC First:

When talking about Facebook, one has to raise the question regarding privacy concerns. In the past, Facebook has faced numerous complaints with regards to user’s privacy. For users who use Facebook Home as their main screen, given that Facebook Home will constantly be on, it raises the concern that advertisers will be able to track FB user’s every actions as they interact.

Many Android apps today get access to a lot of the data on the user’s smartphones, however, it doesn’t stop Facebook from data-mining FB user’s information so advertisers and Facebook can benefit from it. I know many users, especially those who are addicted to Facebook, will enjoy this new user interface. I don’t know about you, but I’m not too comfortable letting Facebook Home take over my smartphone and my life.

So I will not be using this app. In response to user’s privacy concerns, Facebook responded “doesn’t change anything related to your privacy settings on Facebook, and your privacy controls work the same with Home as they do everywhere else on Facebook”. Here is the link to the Facebook’s Official Response to Privacy Concerns.

Monday, April 8, 2013

How to Choose the Right SD Memory Card

In this digital world, at some point or another, most of us have used a digital camera or video camcorder. Most digital cameras or camcorders, require memory cards to store pictures and videos. These memory cards look quite similar to one another but come in different specifications.

If you take a closer look at the specifications listed on the labels of memory cards, you will notice several abbreviations and numbers. All these specifications mean something and it's important to know how to choose the right SD Memory Card for your digital camera or camcorder.

Generally speaking, the best thing to do before buying an SD card, is to check your owner's manual for the recommended SD cards for your digital device. In order to keep things simple, what you should know about memory card specifications are: SD card size, SD card Class, and SD card memory capacity.

In terms of SD card sizes, they come in standard sized SD cards, miniSD cards, and microSD cards. Standard size SD cards are used in most cameras and camcorders. Whereas, miniSD and microSD cards are used in smartphones and tablets. Having said so, miniSD and microSD cards can also be used in cameras and other digital devices with an adapter.

In terms of SD card Classes, there are mainly 5 classes: Class 2, 4, 6, 10 and UHS (Ultra-High Speed). The Class is used to determine the read/write speed of the memory card. Essentially, a Class 2 SD card has a minimum write speed of 2 MB/s. The higher the Class, the faster the transfer speed.

In terms of SD card memory capacity, there are mainly three types: SD, SDHC (High Capacity), and SDXC (Extended Capacity). The memory capacity determines the memory storage capacity, for example, 2GB, 4GB, 8GB, 16GB, 32GB and so on.

The lower end Class 2 SD cards are good for standard definition and still photography. Whereas, the ones above Class 4 to Class 10 (SDHC and SDXC) are good for high definition (HD) video and continuous HD still photography. The UHS Class SD cards are good for professional level Full HD video and photography.

If you'd like to learn more about SD cards, visit SD Cards 101. If you're ready to buy SD cards, you can visit Amazon's secure shopping website by clicking any of the SD card banners below:

SanDisk SD Cards for Digital Photography

SanDisk Extreme SD Cards for Digital Photography

Lexar SD Cards for Digital Photography

Kingston SD Cards for Digital Photography

Transcend SD Cards for Digital Photography

You can also get Wi-Fi enabled SD memory cards which allow you to transfer your pictures and videos to other digital devices via a Wi-Fi network. You can learn more about Eye-Fi SD cards.