Friday, July 29, 2011

Smartphone Battery Drainers and Life Savers

There is nothing worse than a dead cell phone battery. When your phone starts blinking and beeping and buzzing to alert you that you have 12% battery life remaining, it usually comes at the worst time. Seriously! Does your battery ever die as you are settling in bed for the night? No! It dies when you need to let the person you're meeting know you're stuck in traffic, or when you're expecting an important call or message. Just the other day, my phone started to give me the "low battery" routine and I swear, I left it completely alone - but the more it buzzed, and beeped, and blinked, the quicker my battery drained. I constantly see people on Twitter and Facebook talking about their dwindling down to nothing and how annoying it is when it gets to the point where the warning signs start. The general consensus seems to be that these "warning signs" seem to kill your battery quicker than if there were no signs...

Unfortunately as phones get more and more advanced and have more and more capabilities, they use more battery power. I remember ages ago, having my Nokia 5165 - it was all the rage when I was in middle school - and my battery lasted a lot longer. I could get away with charging it once every couple of days. When I upgraded to a BlackBerry, I would have to charge it every night, but if I forgot, I could get by - now with my Android phone, I can barely make it through the day. If I forget to charge it when I get home, forget about it. If I go a night without charging this phone, I may as well leave it at home! Luckily, I have some helpful hints to help your battery last a little longer!

While none of these will seriously prolong your battery life, they will help you conserve battery power.  Turn off wifi and GPS - these are serious drains on your battery. Turn off vibrating notifications or profiles - your phone exerts more energy when vibrating than simply playing noises. Think about it this way, are you more tired after going out dancing or singing? Odds are you picked dancing! Turn off push notifications - turning off these notifications almost defeats the purpose of having email or other apps on your phone, but in desperate times, turning them off will help preserve power!

Even better than turning off all the fun stuff that puts the smart in smart phone, is investing in a mobile car charger, like Accessory Power's MiniBolt. Having a charger on the go will help recharge when your battery needs a boost.

Another great option for improving battery life is investing in an extended battery. Most extended batteries are slightly too big for your phone, so like the truCELL Extended Smart Phone Batteries from Accessory Power, many come with a larger back door to attach to your phone. This can add a little bulk to your phone, but in the long run, bulk is preferable to 100 warning notifications that your battery is low. Another solid option is to get a backup or spare battery for your phone. Make sure the backup battery is fully charged and carry it with you to swap out when your battery gets low. This way, it's like doubling the battery life and enabling your phone to last hours longer. Accessory Power has several options for standard "back up" Smart Phone Batteries.


Friday, July 22, 2011

In Case of Emergency

At 3 am this morning while I was soundly asleep, the fire alarms in my apartment building decided to go off. After suffering from what I thought was a minor heart attack after being woken up by screeching sirens and flashing lights, I was able to gather my thoughts and figure out what I had to do.
I quickly put my sandals on, grabbed my purse and walked out to the pool, where many of my neighbors had decided was a good meeting place at 3 o'clock in the morning when a fire alarm goes off and there is no fire in sight. Twenty minutes later, our huddle by the pool grew a little, as did our frustrations. We all wanted to go back to bed, but weren't ready to assume that there wasn't a fire we had to be worried about. Finally, we were instructed by a firefighter that someone had pulled the alarm in one of the stairwells and that it was safe for us to go back to our apartments.

After almost an hour of flashing lights and blaring sirens, there was no way I was going to fall asleep very easily, so I decided to tidy up my apartment until my sleepiness came back. It's amazing how many personal items I found that I realized I would have dearly missed had they been lost in a fire.

When I was younger I remember having been told that all the personal items I could easily carry that could not be replaced should be kept by the front door where they are easy to grab and go. But it wasn't until this morning that it occurred to me how much sense that made. So while at work, I decided to pick up a few items that would help me see this concept through.

First thing I bought was the USA Gear Deluxe Digital SLR Camera Bag to carry the DSLR camera that my cousin had given to me as a gift before she passed away. I had wanted this camera bag for a while now, but it wasn't until today that I realized how essential it was to have a durable bag for my DLSR camera and its accessories. This bag is incredibly easy and comfortable to carry, and provides a secure fit for my camera and two additional lenses. In addition, I can keep extra accessories for my camera, including my SD cards, extra cables and batteries, so I can literally grab my bag and go. 

In addition to my USA Gear Deluxe DSLR Camera Bag, I also had prepared a backpack at home to carry the smaller things I would need. My external hard drive was one of the first things I put in the back pack after safely storing it in its USA Gear Armor Case since it holds all of my important files, as well as most of my pictures. While thinking about pictures, I grabbed a couple of photo albums containing old family pictures that were not stored in my external hard drive and put them in the backpack as well.

To make packing easier, I thought about what items I felt were irreplaceable and what I could buy more of, and I recommend you do the same, keeping in mind that one friends' bag may be very different from yours. Whether a random fire alarm at 3 in the morning is a hoax or the real thing, you'll want to be prepared to grab what you can and get out as quickly and safely as possible.


Friday, July 15, 2011

What I Thought was a Minus Could be a Plus - Google+, That Is

I'll be honest. When I first heard about Google+ (before it came out) I thought the idea was ridiculous. I was irritated by Google's necessity to create a social network and battle it out with Facebook, even though Google already reigns over a good portion of the Internet. Why feel the need to control social media, too?!

After Google+ was released a couple of weeks ago (invite only, of course) my irritation with the giant grew, especially with the talk and fuss continuously growing, not just on news sites and blogs, but even on social media outlets like Facebook and Twitter. I even came across a Facebook Page called "Moving to Google+" where Facebook users were talking about "relocating" and getting rid of Facebook accounts.

Were we all complaining this much about our Facebook profiles a couple of months ago? Personally, I love my Facebook account for several reasons. I can keep in contact with friends and family, both near and far, make plans for the weekend, keep tabs on my exes, etc. When my friend was in Japan during the recent earthquake, the first thing I did was check her profile to make sure she was safe. Facebook has been so useful and convenient in such a wide variety of ways that I can't imagine not having a profile. And due to the love and appreciation I have for my Facebook profile, I was upset with everyone who was "moving."

"Traitors," I thought to myself.

A week later, the buzz multiplied, and my irritation transformed into curiosity. Reading an article on Mashable stating that there was already an estimated 10 million users on Google+ certainly did not help the situation. Why wasn't I one of the chosen ones to get an invite? And what was all the fuss about?

Finally, after a serious inner battle with myself on whether I would stay true to Facebook or adventure on to new horizons, I decided to use my invite and witness the new social media site for myself. Like many users have already mentioned, Google+ seems a little daunting at first and is a little difficult to navigate through. But I have to say, it does put a nice spin on the Facebook version of a profile.

Business accounts have yet to exist in the Google+ world, although some like Mashable have taken the liberty of creating one anyway. But I believe the website is simply too new to know how a Google+ account for a company could benefit it and its consumers.

Although similar in many ways, Google+ is unchartered territory that I feel many of us who are devoted to Facebook will have to accept. I'll tell you one thing, though. My Facebook profile isn't going anywhere. At least not yet.


Friday, July 8, 2011

Accessory Genie Introduces TwinPort External Battery Pack

Have you ever been in a sticky situation when you REALLY wished you had charged your phone before leaving the house? Or where you wished you hadn't been so cheap and invested in a DC charger to use when you were on the road? Sometimes, it's not even your phone that you wish you had charged, but maybe your Kindle or your MP3 player.

I have unfortunately found myself in similar situations too often and am entirely too familiar with the low battery symbols on all of my devices. Honestly, it's not out of laziness that I don't take the time to charge my products, but that I don't realize that I have to until the battery on my iPhone is nearly empty and turns red.

If only there was a way to charge my devices whenever and wherever I need to...
Cue the ReVIVE Series TwinPort Dual USB External Battery Pack!

This unique and powerful external battery pack can store up to 5,000 mAh of power to provide charges to a wide variety of electronic products, including smartphones, MP3 players, e-readers, and other small electronics.

Designed with convenience in mind, the TwinPort provides a charge to your electronics whenever or wherever it is needed. With a 2.1 amp charging current and the dual USB design, the TwinPort can provide a simultaneous full charge to two electronic devices such as cell phones or MP3 players.
In addition, the external battery pack's internal lithium battery can conveniently be charged through any powered USB port on a desktop computer or laptop, or through an AC or DC power outlet. With a low self-discharge design, the TwinPort keeps its charge for approximately two months while not in use. A convenient LED status indicator on the back of the TwinPort allows the user to easily check how much power is left in the battery with the simple touch of a button.

Ever since I bought my TwinPort, my devices are always charged and ready to go! So whether I'm away on vacation, in the car, or even at home, I can always conveniently charge up my devices as needed.

To check out TwinPort Dual USB External Battery Pack and other ReVIVE Series chargers, batteries and ports, visit


Friday, July 1, 2011

App Happy at Accessory Genie!

After reading a Mashable article this morning announcing that there are 100,000 apps now available for the iPad, I couldn't help but wonder how important apps are to people when considering what tablet to purchase. For the most part, my Android friends have the same application as I do on my iPhone, and my coworker's iPad has the same apps as my Samsung Galaxy Tab. Personally, I can't really see 100,000 apps affecting my decision to buy one tablet from another.
 Like many people, I use basic apps that make my life a little easier and more entertaining. But I wonder if that's just my point of view or if that's the general opinion. I took the liberty of going around Accessory Genie headquarters to find out what the popular apps were, whether for Apple or Android, tablet or smartphone. Of course, not all the apps available for Apple and Android were the same, but there were replacements that were very similar!

As you may have guessed, the two most popular ones were Pandora and Facebook. And after those came a slew of basic applications for everyday use, like The Weather Channel App, Bank of America, Chase, Google Maps and other apps that designed to make your life a little easier.

Being a social media and tech junkie, I have Mashable and CNET apps on my phone to keep me updated on the latest products and tech related news. Other popular news apps included USA Today, Newsy and the LA Times apps.
If you enjoy reading as much as I do and don't have a Kindle or Nook yet, the apps available with Android and Apple tablets are perfect for you. iBooks is a personal favorite of mine, while some of my coworkers prefer apps like Audiobooks, where you are read to. One of my coworkers even has an app called vBookz where books are read to him in robot voices!

Of course, there is also that long list of apps that are simply designed to alleviate even the most boring of situations. Popular games apps like Angry Birds and Words With Friends are always fun to have, especially when you have nothing better to do. Want to watch a show or a movie? Check out Flixster or Fandango for movie times at a theatre near you, or check out Hulu Plus or Netflix.

Other fun and completely pointless apps that were popular around the office included Google Star Chart, Fat Booth, FML, Zombie Booth, Zippo Lighter, and many, many, many (at least 99,000) more applications.

Remember that whether you have an Android or Apple operating system, or if you're looking for apps for your tablet or smartphone, we have all the accessories you'll need at!