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DEEMABLE TECH

Q: Dear Deemable Tech. I have a question that I am pining for your expert opinion about. What is the best calendar app for a Pantech Renue? I tried Googling it, but nothing really comes up. I am app ignorant.

A: Don't worry. Finding any information on the web about the Pantech Renue is difficult. The Pantech Renue runs on Pantech’s proprietary operating system, which is based on an operating system called BREW. It should run most J2ME apps, which is Java Micro Edition. Java Micro Edition was designed so that developers could build programs for mobile phones. It was supposed to make it so that a developer could make one program that would work anywhere. Unfortunately, that is not how it actually worked, because usually you only able to buy apps through your carrier. Before the iPhone came out, everything in mobile was made for either J2ME or Palm OS. Once the iPhone hit the market, and the Android became a legitimate option, most developers stopped building apps for J2ME. Unfortunately, there aren’t many apps available for J2ME anymore.

As a result, the best calendar app is going to be anything you can find. You can try GCal which is a J2ME Google Calendar client. If that doesn’t work, you might be able to use GCalSync which will sync the built-in calendar with your Google Calendar, assuming you use Google Calendar. Both of these apps use data, so if you do not have a data plan, you may want to stay away from them.

Whatever you do, I wouldn’t pay for anything in their store. You won’t likely be able to use it ever again. I expect it won't be long until almost every phone out there, even the cheapest, bottom of the barrel phones are running some version of Android. There are very, very few developers that have even a mild interest in making apps for J2ME. Most of the apps still available are several years old. There are a few fun apps that you should be able to download for free though. Opera Web Browser most …   More

DEEMABLE TECH

Q: I just bought an app, and it doesn't work. Is there any way for me to get a refund?

A: It depends on where and when you bought the app. Apple, Google, Amazon and Microsoft each have different return policies and practices. The Google Play store has the most lenient refund policy. You may get a refund automatically if you ask for it within the first fifteen minutes after you purchased the app. Apple, Amazon and Microsoft have very simple official policies: no refunds; all sales are final.

However, off the record, from my personal experience and from the testimonies I’ve read and heard personally, most folks are able to get a refund from Apple and Amazon if they legitimately purchased the app accidently or if the app really doesn’t work. Microsoft, on the other hand, is a tougher nut to crack. Unless you were unable to download the app, they tend to stick to their policy.

To get a refund for an app from the Google Play Store, simply reopen the Google Play app and go to the app's page. If you haven't bought anything else, it will most likely open right to it. You should see a refund button if you go back to the page within the first fifteen minutes after you purchased the app. Click it quickly! If there's no refund button, you're too late. But there's still hope. You can contact the developer of the app and they might refund your money. Scroll down to the developer section where you'll find their contact information. 

Getting a refund from Apple is a little trickier. As I said above, their policy is strict. They do not refund app purchases. However, their practices are a bit more loose. To request a refund from Apple, open iTunes on your desktop or laptop. Then, open the iTunes store, and click your email address in the top right corner. Click Purchase History, and then click See All.  Scroll down to the button that says Report a Problem and click it. Then click the Report a Problem link that appears next to the app that you want …   More

DEEMABLE TECH

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 …   More

DEEMABLE TECH

Q: My kid stepped on my Kindle, and now half of the screen is completely destroyed. Have I lost all of the books I bought? Is there any chance that Amazon will replace it?

A: Sorry about your Kindle! Right now might not be the best time to mention it, but you should really consider getting a hard cover for your Kindle. Fortunately, your books are safe. All of them are waiting for you to redownload once you get a new Kindle. In the interim, you can also read them on the Kindle app on any iPhone, iPad or Android phone or tablet, and you can even read them on the web at http://read.amazon.com.

The other good news is that Amazon provides a limited one-year warranty on all new Kindles. Depending on how long ago you bought your Kindle, Amazon might replace it for free. Go to http://amazon.com/kindlesupport and click “Contact Us” on the right-hand side. From there you’ll be given an option to contact Amazon by email, phone or chat. If you’re lucky, they might give you a free replacement Kindle. They've also been known to occasionally replace them for half-price if you’re out of warranty. Here's something for you to keep in mind, though. Technically, Amazon doesn't have to replace your Kindle because the warranty specifically excludes damage from accident, misuse and neglect, but Amazon's customer service is rivaled only by Apple's in the tech industry. They'll often replace it, even though they don't have to. It probably wouldn't hurt to be nice to them.    More

DEEMABLE TECH

Q: Has BlackBerry version 10 been released yet? Is it a smart move for us to stick with Blackberry as our phone?

A: Yes, BlackBerry 10 has been released. It came out January 30, 2013. It doesn't matter though, because you're not getting it, unless you decide to buy a new phone. BlackBerry 10 only runs on the new BlackBerry Q10 and Z10 phones. The change from BlackBerry OS 7 to BlackBerry 10 was so drastic that none of the previous devices can support it. Also, none of the apps you have on your current phone are going to work on a new BlackBerry 10 device if you decide to get one. So, no matter what phone you buy, even if you buy a BlackBerry phone, you'll have to buy new apps.

Now, to tell you the truth, BlackBerry 10 looks pretty good. In fact, it looks a lot like webOS, the operating system that Palm created, HP bought, and LG recently bought from them. Palm was hurting really bad, they were losing money like crazy, their competitors were chewing up their market share, and their operating system looked old and decrepit. So, they rebuilt their operating system from the ground up and relaunched it, they took a really long time to bring it to market, and they completely abandoned all of their old customers. Then, they sold their business to HP, and abandoned their old customers again when they upgraded to version 2 of webOS. Then, HP abandoned their mobile business all together. 

So, to answer your question, maybe I'm jaded from getting burned by Palm and then HP, but I would say no, it's not a smart move to continue with BlackBerry. I expect that BlackBerry is going to take a path very similar to the one that Palm took. The Q10 and the Z10 are probably going to sell very poorly. BlackBerry will then probably attempt to put out another version of the Q10 and the Z10, but they will also sell fairly poorly. BlackBerry will attempt to get other manufacturers to use their operating system, but they won't be able to get anyone interested. Finally, they'll …   More

DEEMABLE TECH

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DEEMABLE TECH

Q: Does it matter which order I unplug my computer? For instance, if I want to move my laptop from the living room to my bedroom, but I want to keep playing Minecraft, should I unplug it from the wall first, or should I unplug the cord from the laptop first? I think I saw a spark one time and it worried me that I could do some damage to my laptop if I'm not doing it right.

A: It used to matter a lot years ago because computers were very delicate. They weren't designed to stand up to any abuse, and they were really easy to break. It doesn't matter that much now, because most modern laptops have been designed to perform without problems regardless of how you plug them in or unplug them. However, when you are plugging in and unplugging your computer from the wall, there is a chance that you could have an arc of electricity that could cause damage to your computer. It's rare, but it could happen, and it sounds like it already has happened in your case. If you really want to be safe, when you unplug your computer, you should first remove the plug from the laptop, then remove the plug from the wall, and go in reverse order when you plug it in.

So when you're plugging something in, first plug the cable into the wall, then plug the cable into the laptop. When you're unplugging it, unplug the cable from the laptop first, then unplug it from the wall. So the rule of thumb is: start at the wall when you're plugging something in, and start away from the wall when you are unplugging something.

Ideally, you should always use a surge protector for your computer. Surge protectors prevent your device from being damaged by lightening or regular electrical surges that can damage your computer while it is plugged in. Some laptop power bricks have surge protectors built into them, but it's still a good idea to plug a surge protector into the wall, and then plug your computer into the surge protector. Make sure that the surge protector you are using has a high enough joules …   More

DEEMABLE TECH

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?   More

DEEMABLE TECH

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.   More

DEEMABLE TECH

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 …   More

 
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