How to get the most out of an internet bundle

A basic guide for maximising your connection
Internet services have two options: a plain plan that only provides the service, with one main speed per each type of broadband connection. The other is a bundle or package deal service that has an extra thing or two – it is offered with a bundle to add extra value, provide a device along with the connection or offer two similar services in one package. These bundles usually have a special price and can save money for the customer, especially if it’s perfectly suiting, and according to how it’s used.

Internet service bundles available today are peppered with so many options to help the customer get a perfect plan that suits them and also fits their budget. This is important in order to get the most out of a plan or bundle. A short basic guide follows to help make sure the plan fits well and works well.

Identifying the bundle specifics
When getting a bundle, it is important to know the details of the deal, if there is a locked in period or contract, how long the plans are and more importantly, the coverage area. Some areas are not suitable or reliable for some specific connections, and might not work optimally for some customers. This is to ensure the connection is good and reliable before getting into it. This can be checked or inquired ahead of time with the companies offering it in the vicinity.

Main types of connection to choose from for broadband and high speed internet are cable, ADSL, NBN and Wi-Fi. The most commonly bundled broadband service is usually these formats. There are also other less popular connections, depending on availability: T1, satellite, 4G LTE among others, but some of these are used strictly for high speed mobile access or for businesses and large networks, and might be limited in coverage areas.

There are also a few types of bundles to consider here: with phones (home phone or mobile / smartphone plan), with a handheld gadget or tablet or Wi-Fi device or router. Check which one is most applicable, or if the pay plan gadget is really needed, depending if a new phone or device is necessary and fits the budget. Other options include a home phone and a VoIP or voice over internet phone service as the bundle extra.

Individual use or family / household use: for both, it is necessary to check how much data is actually needed or used in a billing cycle, as some plans have levels of data that might meet the needs of the user or users and can be cheaper, and save money in the long run. If the usage is always beyond the given data packages, that’s the time unlimited deals become the best option, however it is usually more expensive than limited plans.

There are bundles with set or limited data packages, designed for those with limited or minimal monthly internet use, mostly for emails and low-data online activities. It is important to know how much is used, to determine if a bigger plan, an unlimited plan or a set plan is applicable. This can often spell the difference and save money.

Another thing to check is the type of usage: stationary, mobile or combination of both. This will determine if the customer would want to put the service to a smartphone or mobile as the main connection or if a computer at home will need it more. It also determines if there will be two similar connections needed for two different devices.

Yes you can do your own DIY Websites

Skills preferably required, but not necessary
The world of websites isn’t really limited to experienced web designers and creators only. Basic web tools and pre-made but highly customisable templates are freely available, and help people get their stuff online.

People access sites and pages everywhere these days – not just on computers. Through broadband and Wi-Fi, tablets, smartphones and mobile phones are now also involved in the online game. They help people expand from basic social media, email and multimedia and help produce other quality sites and pages.

Making online presence felt has always been available and free, but these days, it has improved a lot for common folk to use and develop on their own. There are also tie-ups and links that benefit the beginner to intermediate level independent website creators out there.

Everything is already online, just add some extras…
Those do it yourself website things back in the late nineties (geocities, angelfire, etc.) are not much different compared to the instant sites we have today; some of them were also free and easy to set up to begin with. The only difference today is much better graphics and layout and more dynamic content. They are basically the same: a choice of templates, with color and background options and places in it where stuff can be posted and also modified. Except now, we have even more options to explore with, and even money generating schemes, if done right.

Although owning prime real estate online (i.e. dynamic and fully working whole websites) involve some money, there are simpler, template based basic ones that can be had for free, with basic layout and design. Yes, it still pays to know coding and web design and to have skills in creating great, dynamic sites that pull people and also generate hits for advertising and linking. But these fully working whole sites are best left for the upper level: companies, brands, professionals and those that have major presence on the World Wide Web.

For individuals that want their own sites for personal, hobby or indie-level business needs, everything is possible online, just add some basic smarts and limitless imagination to create visit-worthy sites and for free too. People can start by creating accounts on free basic web building sites online, or use wordpress, blogspot or any other blog generators out there. Although these are just basic sites, the level of customisation allows for a lot of personalised parts. Most of them can also be used with code, either from programmers and actual web designers and web developers, as well as the code generated from website making apps which are easy to use.

A great layout and eye catching aesthetics are possible using these free sites. Basic color, fonts and frame combinations can be used effectively. After this, well-chosen images and content follow, in order to make simple but awesome webpages. Also, a lot of imagination, ingenuity and web smarts help a great deal will go a long way.

Some important things to keep in mind
Aside from these ready-made templates that we can customise and add content on, we also have simplified programs that lets users layout a website as it actually appears online, often without generating a code or html code from scratch. In this case, it’s the other way around. It lets users with no knowledge or experience to use a graphics layout program to create a pages and “layout” the site per page, which then generates a simplified code. Programs such as Dreamweaver CC lets individuals create in this manner, and a whole package includes a Cloud server for uploading pages and content in one easy to use app.

The design must be tweaked further until ready for publishing, and must abide by basic internet “laws” or courtesies. Material must be safe from minors, and not espouse anything offensive or illegal. Final versions must follow these basics and have worthy content. As it develops over time, interlinking and exchanges with other sites can happen, and for those that build up bigger followings online can help monetise their creation by dealing with advertising. There are several levels – from ad-clicks, link exchanges, hit generation and many other ways, and generate money to support the site and the creator as well.

Since we are now in an age where there are several formats online and many ways to access pages, we have to take them into consideration. As mentioned, web access from handheld gadgets and devices like smartphones, mobiles and tablets are highly involved and must fit their format as well. Some sites are to be optimised to make sure they appear and load properly on smartphones and mobile phones. Others might take a while to load and will be proper for those only on broadband and high speed internet. Those that load with flash, heavy multimedia, animation or with streaming audio or multimedia are much preferred for users on a fast speed / broadband internet connections like ADSL, Cable or even NBN.

Top Five Things that NBN will deliver

Superfast internet does have its benefits
For the past two years, the NBN or National Broadband Network has provided some of the fastest known working broadband internet connections globally. It continues to branch out to other areas, replacing old copper line networks with high-speed, fibre-optic connections. Fibre to the Home is the most common type, and is specifically used for residential connections. It provides high speed services and entertainment far beyond the usual residential broadband can deliver or match.

As more residences and businesses sign up on the fastest broadband network of all, the overall speed and quality that was once unattainable has now become standard. It also comes with some awesome capabilities we can expect see more of as it’s use becomes far and widespread. Here are some of them.

Faster Home Networks – a household with a normal broadband connection when compared to a household with fibre optic internet technology are two very disparate homes. Everything will be accomplished in five times the speed, from normal communications, VOIP or voice over the internet phone calls, remote controlling the house from a different location, to even sending a video message from half the world away. The household network becomes a more efficient and powerful hub that meets family broadband needs in lightning speed.

High Quality, streaming HDTV – Those with HDTV box services or hook up their computers to an HDTV now enjoy High Definition movies, series episodes, videos and online documentaries without any interruptions or lags on their streams direct to the TV. NBN more than makes up for delivering the stream in high quality HD like watching real time TV and in crystal clear resolution. Very soon, blue ray quality viewing will also become the norm, connecting viewers to the best and fastest loaded movies and videos online. This also applies to video, audio or multimedia applications, enabling ultra-fast, real time HD viewing.

Global teleconferencing – lags, buffer times and interruptions are now a thing of the past for those who use VOIP, video teleconferencing and international video calling. They can now be easily set up and accommodate a number of international participants on a voice-over-internet-phone connection with video and digicams set-up without worrying about anyone of the participants falling out of the meeting, adding efficiency and productivity with this reliable connection. Even high speed broadband connections experience a few issues with this technology, and the NBN is the best solution.

Database transfers- a huge database that is more than the average hard drive of several hundreds or even thousands of gigs can be a huge problem to transfer, especially over usual broadband internet connections that can be unreliable and much much slower.

Now, with incredible speeds of fibre-optic technology, huge data transfers are super manageable and take five to even ten times the speed of ordinary uploads and downloads and direct file and copy transfers, especially for recipient computers, drives or networks from across the globe. Cloud server uploads and access for example is more streamlined and will not experience any delay issues anymore.

Seamless Online Gaming – speaking of huge interconnected networks, the kind also in use with complex online gaming networks and competitions, this higher level of broadband internet enables graphics and gameplay intensive networks online to interact flawlessly and seamlessly, eliminating gaming lags and delay issues to deliver real-time gaming like never before. Very soon, other higher level gaming in 3D Virtual Reality will also benefit from its top shelf, top level speed.

The Top Five “Other” Smartphone OS’s

Not so popular, but also good operating systems
We all know that the majority of the global smartphone and mobile phone users out there are either on an Android or an iOS platform and talk about either of the two for performance and aesthetics. While there are other operating systems also being used, just like big commercial brands, the two’s exclusive association with the biggest names in the smartphone market makes them the default top two choices for most mobile phones and gadget users.

And while the operating system isn’t strictly limited to just smartphones, other high performing OS’s are hard at work, making sure the smartphone, mobile phone or mobile device it’s installed on works flawlessly and seamlessly for the daily demands of life.

We pay tribute to these unsung heroes of the handheld mobile gadget world, doing their thing on their own terms.

Do you have this OS?
Windows Phone 8 – a rising OS which replaced Symbian and is now paired up with Nokia. This operating system has been designed for newer models from Nokia exclusively, as well as HTC and Samsung. The design aesthetics of this program uses tiles in color, framed with black lines, adding a colorful stack of apps and programs in plain sight with easy to use features and navigation for powerful and seamless operations.

Blackberry OS – Blackberry phones are known for a streamlined design, user friendly features and a QWERTY keypad that sets it apart from similarly structured smartphones and mobiles. The Blackberry OS follows suit as a top shelf exclusive system, with a host of features and user friendly functions such as active frames that shows active apps and programs minimised on screen for easy access; a Blackberry hub that has all notifications in a single list; Blackberry balance to separate work and personal profiles and shift effortlessly in between; an exclusive digital camera app plus an improved graphic interface and exclusive programs.

Firefox OS – Well known browser Mozilla Firefox entered the mobile and smartphone OS domain with the also open source OS last February 2013, aiming to be an alternative to the two dominating and brand-exclusive OS platforms in the market. They believe in the power of open source programs and how this can equal major OS’s and deliver the same level of professional excellence. Firefox features its own internet browser Gecko and user platform Gaia that integrates everything into an easy to use system. And because it is also open source, it’s also compatible with other systems and browsers. Although they have their own exclusive Firefox phone being geared for the OS release, there are a few other phones who will be partnering with Mozilla to use their OS.

Sailfish – this is a newer OS which is also open source for all Android based phones. All apps from the previous OS MeeGo (since recalled and replaced) works on Sailfish, due to being some sort of successor OS. It supports app and software development as well due to the open source nature of the software, allowing continuous development and interactive involvement for its apps and programs. It is also compatible with Android phones, tablets and devices, and runs similarly due to using the same drivers and software that made Android efficient and user-friendly.

Symbian – This operating system was a previous OS major contender, actually one of the very first ones commercially, until it was overrun a few years ago by the smartphone OS wars. BPO Company Accenture took over subsequently, but as of this year Symbian only offers existing apps and software. It still has a huge user base globally, especially for those not into the higher end smartphones and performs with the basics as well as a global touch as it carries a very wide international language support.

Good Health via mobile

Smartphones fast becoming a mobile personal fitness assistant
Yes, that smartphone or mobile that manages daily life and work also has another service feature: it’s a health and fitness monitor as well. It manages the user’s health and makes sure everything is going good with all general and specific concerns.

Currently this system is now active via Heathlkit, on iOS8 (and maybe soon following on Android). It is a combination of apps and systems interacting with the handheld device to process overall health and even provide support and medical feedback – all in the convenience of one phone or handheld gadget.

Smartphone Smart Health
Using sensors linked to the mobile or smartphone, the device checks for the pulse, blood pressure and other vital signs through a combination smart watch plus specific add-on devices linked to the smartphone or mobile via apps. This is also the basic structure for other health features. It processes other info such as steps taken from a run or walk session, length of that walk or run, calories burned, exercise stats, fitness metrics, nutrition facts and monitoring other health concerns.

In order to organise these, schedulers are included, which will notify the user to make sure certain health reminders are followed. External add-ons are now also available for very specific health features. They are a combination of apps with linked devices, and provide health info direct to the smartphone, with the corresponding apps taking care of the results.

The information and results from these are all posted with notifications and reminders that can be modified through the app. The first of these apps have now been integrated into iOS8 and future editions, serving as a hub that coordinates with specific apps and programs in the smartphone or mobile, for a wide variety of health monitors. This hub also creates a profile that will include all the basic health information of the user for easy access.

The smart watch and its linked mobile or smartphone works with a Wi-Fi, dual band and sometimes LTE sync on the device for a high speed mobile internet connection. This allows apps to send and receive messages and notifications regarding results of the tests to online doctors and clinics, and completes the overall health system to correct and maintain good health.

Other health specifics included
Aside from monitoring basic health, the smartphone or handheld gadget works with an external add-on to provide other very specific health services. These app-linked and controlled devices will process incredibly detailed and accurate functions, such as a calorie counter and a purity tester for food and beverages. Some apps provide support and monitoring services, such as apps for quitting alcohol and cigarettes, with a network support team plus helpful information, subtle alarms and reminders for gradual control.

The health systems are just continually expanding and improving, so it’s just going to be going on an upwards trend from here. And this is healthy good news to make sure everyone involved is well-functioning physically. Among other things to look out for, currently being developed, are a diabetes monitoring system called the artificial pancreas, blood testing systems for glucose levels and blood sugar; and continued security and confidentiality of the user’s profile and health info.

Creating the greatest online VR game, ever

Who says it can’t be done?
The mission is to create the most awesome virtual reality game ever using what current technology we have today. While it might be far from flawless, the object of this mission is to provide high level gaming that delivers what it exactly says. It is important to assess pitched ideas and make sure they can be realised and achieved with what we have right now, and deliver the ultimate. It should be a thousand levels of a ripper of game that gamers will ultimately forget reality, at least for a while.

While we are on the subject of gaming, the thing is, there won’t really be a so called perfect game that gamers would universally agree on. Everyone likes different things, look for different thrills but certainly want the ultimate in gameplay, graphics, characters, weapons, environments, storylines and other important game elements. Some don’t even need a storyline, especially for shooting and fighting games.
Let’s begin by checking on the most important things that will make this game excellent.

Important stuff needed for this game
The Oculus Rift, which is undergoing fine tuning and final finishing touches, should revolutionise gaming by offering a fully interactive virtual world where the actual gaming is; it will let gamers enter the actual game rather than view it from the “outside” (i.e. via a computer screen or maybe an HDTV).

With additional tools such as Control VR digital gloves, and an NBN or high speed broadband internet plus a few other special enhancements, this is possible, and should now be a possibility once these things are integrated into a whole. It can also interact and sync with other tools such as smartphones, smart watches, hand held mobile devices and other external items for added dynamics and side games, even.

Then there are some really cool ideas that are floating around that could work. These are what it would consist of and should allow us at least a glimpse of what we can wish or hope for, when everything is in place by next year.

In order to create a fully interactive world, pairing up Control VR gloves with the Oculus Rift is one of the most important steps. Whatever interactive game would be developed, it will allow gamers to have full control in the environment and experience it with their hands as opposed to using the keyboard or an installed control pad or joystick. It could also use a console that can support both. Imagine if random objects can be lifted, recreated, combined with other objects or even destroyed or used in hundred different ways, if doors can be opened or blasted off to reveal hidden secrets, premium items, bonuses or much needed health or strength to finish that level.

The environment and graphics must totally rule and have an immersive, fully dynamic and interactive world that defines virtual reality, at least on the level of gaming technology that we have right now. This means fully seamless graphics for each and every element in this world or dimension or realm, or at least the environment where the game will take place, no matter what gaming style is involved. In this case, full 3D application to high definition, cinematic visuals will be needed. This will apply to everything, including characters, weapons and all items, behaving like they do in the real world, or at least in the world that was created specifically for this game.

Since this is online, a reliable broadband or high speed internet connection is absolutely essential to eliminate lags or delays. Preferably the super-fast NBN or maybe high speed, fibre optic cable or similar broadband connections, optimised without interruptions, should do the trick. Anything less could debilitate the gameplay.

The last piece of course: the gameplay. And it must provide one hooley of a time to game to ensure great success. It could be a full scale RPG full of complex dialogues, missions, interactions and incredible worlds and realms to explore. It might rely on some of the most awesome comic book characters delving into a plot straight out of the greatest graphic novels and comics ever produced.

Or, it could be the most exhilarating racing game that transports you right at the seat of the action in a glorious race track somewhere awesome. It could also be an intense POV fighting game that puts gamers against the most elite from this world or maybe world beyond from other galaxies. The game could also be a movie or show series franchise that perfectly recreates it’s most awesome elements in a top shelf game. Another important element: fun, which is also very important. The possibilities are endless.

Other extras
With such rich graphics, deep interactivity, dynamic gameplay and interactive action and gaming, it is possible to extend the game with other accessories in sync. It can connect to a drone that simulates a certain location where the gamer can play with the VR gloves but the action will only exist in the Oculus Rift.

Any device with a camera and a wireless connection, such as W-Fi enabled digicams, smartphones and the like can send images or information, or stream direct into the VR interface as additional content. From these, walkthroughs, guides or hints can help spell the difference in a game in the most critical moments. Smartphones and mobile phones can interfere, help or interact into the game from other players or characters and provide incredible real life tie-ins with the virtual world. It may or may not need broadband or high speed internet, depending on what is involved.

With the coming next months, key tools and devices are coming to advance virtual reality gaming to even higher levels. The only limits we have are our imaginations, maybe fully optimised computers or consoles and just how many of those health refills or extra lives we can consume while escaping reality in these awesome games to be created and enjoyed in the near future.

It’s all in the Cloud!

How the Cloud Server is changing the storage game     
With high speed internet connectivity almost everywhere, alternate and off-shore storage and networking services in the form of the Cloud is gradually becoming the norm. It services both personal and business purposes and eliminates data storage and other issues associated with traditional data storage and networking methods.

With the structure of a cloud based network or virtual storage, a third party handles everything and does away with the worries of maintenance and security, making sure information and networks are safe and accessed only by the right individuals. It is located elsewhere, yet accessible through any device with a broadband connection: computers, smartphones and tablets can access the data and network anytime, anywhere, without the hassle of storage space, clogged networks or unauthorised access.

Information, databases and networks in one service
The Cloud is now a globally used service for many applications and practical uses. People use it to store important data and files and access them from multiple devices, even at the same time. It can be used in workstations, personal computers at home, or on the go through a smartphone, mobile or tablet with at least a reliable high speed connection for huge data transfers.

Cloud basically provides independent remote access storage and is synced with other devices. Music streams can be uploaded for easy access without any worries of storage and buffering or access lag, broadcasting it to multiple devices simultaneously. Files being worked on can be saved and accessed from different points in real time. It exists on a different plane almost, without the need for extra physical space in just one location or even on a portable drive. Best of all, settings allow either exclusive individual use or a very strict limited group access only depending on the owner’s needs.

The same goes for companies and organisations, which use huge database servers or networks that could be exclusive only, or shared. These types of cloud accounts involve high security and have restricted access, or at least parts of the dedicated server have restricted access limited to a certain group or individuals. There could be a part that is public access, and a separate limited or completely off-limits part that is protected from public access.

Did someone say security breach?
Having a restricted access account requires strict high level security, and this is a requirement for bigger companies and users with sensitive and very confidential files and information. This has raised questions in light of many recent online attacks, NSA spying controversies, government access and the many security breaches that has affected not only basic online based sites and services, but also cloud servers.

Cloud service providers must use up-to-date encryption or safe local encryption, and have no clauses that allow them any sort of access in any kind on your storage. This includes anything that leads them to put it on hold, do an investigation or an internal check on the actual account. For casual use, other more commercial and popular servers will do the job, however they are the same ones who were hit with security issues and were the ones who actually had their own security breaches from within. For users and organisations that demand real security and privacy, the option is to apply strong local encryption through specific security programs, or by setting up a separate could server with its own encryption. It might be a more complicated task, but it has also become an option for more discerning cloud users.

Crystal Balling Music ‘s Future :

Can Tradition and Innovation co-exist in the Music Industry?
The Music Industry seems to be both at the crossroads and on the spotlight these days. In an era when so many options for music formats and delivery are widely available, with the convenience of a click. Both the advancement of technology and the indelible imprint of the traditional aspect now co-exist in a flux today, with music fans both serious and casual having so many choices than before.

Technology has brought music and multimedia on a very widespread but digital format thanks to smartphones and mobile phones with broadband wireless connections. The same thing can be said about analog music formats when it comes to exposure: with the internet, broadband connections and even smartphones, online stores offer their wares globally online. More importantly, research and quick browse information is just a few clicks away.

With this situation at hand, we really cannot address what future holds for the music industry and all the artists, bands, and songwriters and everyone involved, and yes including the music fan. Is this merely a classic full circle situation, only to cycle again just like before? Or is this an actual golden age that now benefits both the fans and those involved in actually creating audio art?

Portable, space free music on demand
The continued rise of streaming media and cloud server based music has eliminated the need for entire record collections or physical media. With smartphones and mobile phones equipped with flat out, powerful mobile broadband, music can be accessed and streamed over these devices and handheld gadgets while on the go, or in the comfort of one’s home, without any other extra sound systems, save for maybe a pair of Bluetooth speakers for a louder experience.

Years ago, the issues and problems of music piracy on the internet was supposed to have been solved with the introduction of music files as legitimate paid downloads. The digital format supposedly answered the problem, despite widespread global piracy that record labels and artists are still trying to counter and even work with to this day. Still, digital music demands the most and still accounts for the majority of sales everywhere along with CD’s.

There are a lot advantages with digital: space for putting actual records is almost nonexistent, and access to almost any type of music is instantaneous. Online, discovering and researching music and then hearing it has also leaped exponentially, whereas before, music magazines and actual human communication were the only ways one can get tips to access (access and not listen instantly, yet) the good stuff. Apps and programs are ready to recommend and show the way. One thing leads to another online when it comes to music, and the convenience and easy access is second to none.

On the other hand, the internet may also be one of the purveyors for the return of vinyl and the analog music experience in general. It might not be above digital sales, but people still buy CD’s and that still indicates the power of physical media, even if vinyl hasn’t trumped overall sales. Still, vinyl’s meteoric rise for the past 6-7 years can be attributed to its lasting value and internet exposure and interest as well.

Although slowly rising from obscurity around the turn of the millennium, it is now back on major record stores everywhere (brick and mortar stores as opposed to the iTunes store on everyone’s browser). And this return seems to be for good. Vinyl sales are at an all-time high in both the mainstream music scenes and the huge underground music scene, where virtually all releases are now pressed in different kinds of vinyl. Advancements in graphics, packaging and marketing, thanks in part to the internet as well, has helped make its comeback.

An analog and digital combination
The combination of the tangible medium – a vinyl record (or even cassette, which has made a glorious comeback too, albeit in a smaller, limited edition way though) and the digital – a download card – along with the pre-release stream of a single song or a whole album, has helped generate good sales. A strong showing for using both the analog format and the digital files that go directly to a player have benefitted from this. This also includes the CD format, which features the physical and collectability aspect plus digital convenience, the music easily ripped for the smartphone, mobile or any handheld gadget for playback.

The free streaming song or whole album in advance for example, generates an incredible amount of hype through social media and the internet, on the mobiles, smartphones and even browsers of anyone on a high speed internet connection, setting up the release in a huge way, globally. By the time the album is released, sales from pre orders and digital sales will have doubled and tripled. In many ways, the analog format has benefitted from the viral, instant access appeal of marketing and advertising online, helping it become a thriving success.

This pairing of both formats as one “album release” but on both digital and analog platforms is a great example of how both can be combined to offer the best of both worlds, with options to either purchase this or get either one as a separate, independent format. Even if separate sales tend to show otherwise, this seems to be a fair choice in trying to reconcile and maximise the strengths of these two different formats, without losing their identity and maintaining their place in music. Perhaps this might be one of the first steps to make them equal, and at the same time adapt their values and benefits, to clear people’s prejudices for both formats, while making sure these formats stay and thrive in the industry.

Top Five Smartphone smarts

Other simple, practical but essential uses for our beloved smartphone
Smartphone looks gorgeous, has tons of apps and features, and performs like a dream. Add on a mobile broadband connection and it becomes both invincible and indispensable.

Generally this is all that it takes for people to want, buy and use these advanced pieces of technology. There’s even a meme on the internet showing several separate gadgets (a camera, walkman, tape recorder, stereo, an old school ‘brick’ phone, pager, radio, television and more) with a line that says that all of these now fit on a current high end smartphone. This compact handheld mobile gadget has now become a powerful all around device and personal assistant that it has also become an indispensable part of our lives. Not to mention a slave to our daily lives (or vice versa?).

But to appreciate it further, here are five more functions that people may or may not be aware of or might have not taken advantage of further.

Top Five Smartphone extra functions
An emergency USB – those files, videos, documents or images just have to be saved in the very convenient moment when you don’t have a USB. Or have one full with no other space and no other files that can be booted out of the drive for extra space. For many smartphones these days, especially those that come with data cards – it can be used to momentarily save those important files or media on the go. Some have the capacity for up to 64GB in total, allowing enough space for saving important stuff. Some even have sync with apps or programs that will transport it direct to a Cloud server just to add more versatility and function.

A Wi-Fi hotspot – a smartphone that has built in Wi-Fi and a (preferably unlimited data) plan for online access can be set up to act as a hotspot in the event that local internet has issues or isn’t even working. Most high end smartphones with Wi-Fi can easily be tweaked, turning high-end smartphones into mini Wi-Fi routers and high speed mobile access points which can be used with other smartphones, computers or tablets and laptops. Beware though of data caps or data usage rates though, and make sure to monitor use.

An all-purpose health monitor – several smartphones now have built sensors that track movements and pulses, enabling them to monitor basic high blood pressure, minutes and steps spent on walking, calorie tracking and much more. Some use it in conjunction with models that have a smart watch in sync will be able to help track all health statistics and help the user monitor their own health signals and improve their day to day health, and on top of that, schedule medications, appointments and set reminders for these activities for a complete health monitor experience.

HD video recording and playback – high end smartphones these days use optimised sensors and cameras that are able to record in high definition, memory card notwithstanding – short films and videos can practically be made and pieced together for a clear and dynamic visual experience without the need for high end video cameras. As long as the phone isn’t being made to create a movie theater experience, just a basic HD film or video, then it’s totally doable. Best of all, models equipped with DLNA or NFC technology can output these videos on HD TV’s and screens for better viewing, if the maximised screen (which can go up from 5 plus inches of screen size) isn’t enough.

An overall distraction and time and boredom killing device – if one actually calculates the amount of time spent (wasted?) on this small portable handheld mobile gadget, it would make people rethink their lives. However, being that the smartphone demands our full attention, it is indispensable in times when it’s actually needed: waiting in airports, bus terminals, malls or at that store or restaurant that has good strong Wi-Fi or those other times when it is the only companion to kill boredom. There are many other more complicated activities to choose from that can do this job, but certainly the good old trusty smartphone will surely be the top choice.

4G LTE – is it what it’s all cracked up to be?

Living and browsing in the high speed mobile world
High speed internet access and reliable mobile connectivity is recognised these days as the standard service for all smartphone, mobile phone and handheld gadget users who want the most out of their usage. In optimal conditions, it provides outstanding speed and reliability while on the go. 4G is currently the widely used format for most smartphones with a demanding high speed connection.

Previous high speed standards such as 3G have achieved this so far, however, higher levels of high speed access have been achieved in the form of the 4G and soon (in development) the 5G as well, ever increasing the speed limits of what global users are accustomed to, and providing the optimum in high speed, broadband internet access. There are some things to consider in order to optimise this technology and reap its benefits for a more powerful and stellar mobile and smartphone performance.

The road to the 4G summit
What sets the 4G apart from other connections is the global speed requirement of at least 300 Mbps, especially for most on the go, mobile access. This is supposed to be the maximum theoretical speed that can be reached, a higher threshold from the 3G connections used before.

In all actuality, this actual  “speed” threshold is regularly around half or more than half of this theoretical maximum speed limit, achievable in the most perfect of conditions; meaning it is the highest possible optimum speed level to achieve with a perfect 4G connection. It remains as the ceiling speed that can be attained, not as a concrete standard, but more of a highest capacity level threshold to shoot for, but not necessarily reached.

For the 4G LTE (Long Term Evolution) high speed mobile broadband access, the data ceiling is the same, and is also the highest speed level among all networks. Since it is the highest level involved, using the 4G network presents significantly higher quality of service for both on the go broadband access and network connectivity.

What 4G can actually do, plus other things to consider…
For one, 4G especially benefits mobile users with exceptionally high data usage rates, i.e. those who use a lot of streaming media, high data downloads and uploads, high data browsing, online gaming and similar online activities. It avoids data throttling as well by using advanced technology to match the high speed mobile internet access to ensure smooth data flow.

If the connection is fast and powerful enough, the 4G connection in the phone can be configured to also serve as a Wi-Fi hotspot to provide access to other devices by interconnecting them into a smaller mini-network. However, it is advisable to gauge the level of usage and how many other devices can be connected without significantly cutting down on the access among the users involved. With this, data as well as phone call quality is improved, avoiding interference and making sure volume and call quality are both at its optimal levels.

However, to ensure effectivity and getting what is actually offered, we have to keep in mind that the rollout for 4G services is currently ongoing, and it is not a hugely widespread service yet like many other high speed online connections. For one, there are only a few existing networks operating them in full, and the coverage area might be limited to just a particular location, and lessens as it becomes farther from the central point from where the main signal is broadcast.

This connection relies on wireless radio technology and the signal plus coverage area might be limited in availability, depending on the strength of the signal and how far reaching the network claims. It is heavily dependent on these two main factors. Other factors include interferences and other network access disturbances or interruptions. In many cases, it is also important to follow certain restrictions on the tablet, smartphone or mobile using it, and it is the user’s responsibility as well to make sure it uses software and operating systems that are compatible for 4G LTE usage.

Although smartphone technology such as MIMO (Multiple Input and Multiple Output) can help improve speed and bandwidth, not all mobiles are equipped with it, and not all LTE connections are strong enough to guarantee fast and reliable connections when used with this capability. It will help, but in most cases it is advised to check local networks and do some pre-research to ensure effectivity. Some pre-testing and recommendations from other users in the same area can help gauge the quality level of the LTE service in these particular areas. LTE is still on the way to becoming a standard, and it will continue to improve as the number of networks and systems expand and improve their radio transmitting conglomerate.