TripMode 2 helps me keep my tethered data usage under control

Unless I'm in a cafe, hotel or staying at someone's home I connect to the internet over a tethered connection to my smartphone. I've got an unlimited data plan--but only the first five gigabytes of information that I send or receive is at LTE speeds. After that, things turn slow as molasses flowing uphill in January. To try and keep my data useage under control and, thus, my speeds higher for as long as possible, I use an application called TripMode 2. It's available for MacOS and Windows ten and, priced at eight bucks, it's ridiculously inexpensive to purchase a copy.

Once installed, TripMode is stupid easy to use. Activate the app, locate it in your Menu Bar (MacOS) and click it to get at its drop-down menu. There you'll see every piece of software on your computer that's begging for access to the interwebz. If you're not using the apps you see on the list, de-select the check mark next to it. Boom, they're cut off from using your tethered device's data. You'll note that at the bottom of the list, you can see how much data you've used since you started your session, during the course of a day, month or year. If you're on a plan with limited data, having that information is pure gold.

Best of all, when you're not using it, TripMode 2 can easy be shut off. It's easily up there with Scrivener, ProtonMail Bridge and Adobe Lightroom as one of the most important bits of software that I use on a regular basis. Read the rest

LG's G7 ThinQ smartphone looks like a great handset but it creeps me out

Last week, I flew to Toronto to check out a new phone that LG's had a hell of a time trying to keep a secret: the LG G7 ThinQ.

It looks looks and feels a lot like most of the high end handsets that companies are pushing out today. It's slick to the touch (you'll definitely want to put it into a case), has a nice heft to it, and yes, a notch at the at the top of its display a là iPhone X, but the company reps were quick to point out to me that you can totally make it disappear with a little software sorcery.

Depending on where you are in the world, you'll be able to pick up the G7 ThinQ with 4GB of RAM plus 64GB storage or with 6GB RAM plus 128GB storage. No matter which one you fork over your money for, storage shouldn't be an issue: the handset supports microSD cards up to 2TB in size. The phone's got an ultra bright 1,000-nit display which, while they wouldn't let me take outside to test, LG swears will make it easy to see in direct sunlight. I don't doubt that this is the case.

Its camera does tricks, too. It uses onboard A.I. to guess at what you're taking a photo of and sets itself up to take the best shot of your subject that it can. Under controlled conditions, I was shown how it can take photos in near darkness that'll come out well lit and looking reasonably good. Read the rest

A tiny stand for your smartphone or tablet

My daughter and niece will whine incessantly if their phones do not have a Pop Socket attached.

These cute pop-up buttons act as a stand or handle for your small screen device. It sticks to your case, or the phone direct, and simply works. The kids use these to position their phones for viewing in all sorts of weird angles.

Pop Socket via Amazon Read the rest

IOS 9.3 will let you dim display's blue light to help your brain shift towards sleep

Apple today unveiled a teaser of what's in store in the latest iOS release, 9.3. Among the “numerous innovations” promised: a blue light dimmer to “help you get a good night’s sleep.” Read the rest

WATCH: turn smartphones into 3D hologram projectors

Mrwhosetheboss made a down-and-dirty holographic projector for a smartphone using a plastic jewel case and special video files. Try it yourself! Read the rest

Apple Watch "bug" turns out to be intentional

When the Apple Watch first came out, users were able to monitor their heart rate every 10 minutes throughout the day. Then there were "glitches," or so the users thought, and the smartwatch became inconsistent with its heart rate readings. Apple updated their site today (brought to our attention by 9to5Mac), and it turns out the Apple bug was on purpose: the watch will no longer take your heart rate while your arm is moving.  Apple hasn't explained why they downgraded this feature, but some people guess that it's to save on battery life. Read the rest

Watch this next-gen thermal camera attachment for smartphones

Looking at the world in Predator-vision will get easier later this year thanks to consumer-grade forward-looking infrared (FLIR). The same tech used to find the Boston bombing suspect can be used to find a lost dog at night or to check your house for thermal leaks. Read the rest

NASA launched three smartphone satellites into orbit

On Sunday, NASA launched three PhoneSats into orbit. House in a standard "cubesat" structures, a Google-HTC Nexus One serves as the onboard computer and sensor system, taking photos of Earth. Aamateur radio operators are monitoring the transmissions and picking up data packets that will be recombined here on Earth. According to a NASA press release, the use of commercial-of-the-shelf parts, a minimalist design, and limited mission requirements kept the cost of each satellite as low as $3500. PhoneSat: NASA's Smartphone Nanosatellite Read the rest

The Scary Consequences of A Lost Smartphone

If you're one of those people who tend to lose their phone shortly after putting it down, then you'll want to read this. According to a new study, if you lose your smartphone, you have a 50/50 chance of getting it back. But chances are much higher -- nearly 100 percent -- that whoever retrieves it will try to access your private information and apps.

According to a study by Symantec, 96 percent of people who picked up the lost phones tried to access personal or business data on the device. In 45 percent of cases, people tried to access the corporate email client on the device.

"This finding demonstrates the high risks posed by an unmanaged, lost smartphone to sensitive corporate information," according to the report. "It demonstrates the need for proper security policies and device/data management."

Symantec called the study the "Honey Stick Project." In this case the honey on a stick consisted of 50 smartphones that were intentionally left in New York, Los Angeles, Washington, D.C., San Francisco and Ottowa, Canada. The phones were deposited in spots that were easy to see, and where it would be plausible for someone to forget them, including food courts and public restrooms.

None of the phones had security features, like passwords, to block access. Each was loaded with dummy apps and files that contained no real information, but which had names like "Social Networking" and "Corporate Email" that made it easy for the person who found it to understand what each app did. Read the rest