It seems like a lifetime since the casual–though clumsy–portable or cellular phone generation switched to Smart Phones. Everyone from the average citizen to the global corporate CEO utilizes a small pocket device for practically every aspect of their lives. But how secure are your Smart Phone interactions?

Many new and refurbished Smart Phones are equipped with some kind of rudimentary security device and it seems that most people are either comfortable with that, or simply feel that browsing the web from a phone is more secure than from their PC. Have they been lulled into a false sense of security, or are Smart Phones worthy of all of our faith?

According to |, the Apple iPhone lacks some basic but critical features when it comes to overall security. It’s operating system can be compromised due to corrupted downloads, it lacks over-air updates, and it has relatively no device encryption.

Windows Mobile phones covers a majority of basic security requirements for corporate and personal use along with the iPhone‘s full VPN support.

RIM Blackberry phones offer better consumer coverage; solid security, traffic routing, and almost flawless encryption. But how do Blackberrys hold up to the Android and Symbian?

Both the Android and Symbian phones have a very open nature when it comes to third party access; however, installed software is “theoretically unable” to do any major damage to the device without being traced to the source.

Android and Symbian users are asked permission to utilize certain protected features–and anyone who accesses these features do so with a protected private key.

If you want the ultimate in Smart Phone protection, however, be prepared to pay for it. The Sectera Edge (sold for about $3350) offers military-grade encryption and was offered to President Obama as the alternative for ditching his Blackberry.

But what does all of this mean? Well, other than the old “if it’s good enough for the President, it’s good enough for me” argument, new and refurbished Blackberrys seem to have the highest rated and most user-friendly security aspects amongst Smart Phones.

No matter what device you choose, you should always be wary of your phone’s security settings and overall management. Proper routine maintenance of your technology is crucial to a happy and long-lasting relationship with whichever device you choose. So, remember to choose your Smartphone wisely, but also take care of it–after all–it takes care of you.

Sources: General Dynamics | TechSpot

– Alex

We’ve all been quite attached to Cell Phones for a while now. It’s time for us to learn some of the rules–or commandments–of phone etiquette. Phones have changed. People have changed. It’s high time for the two to be in sync with one another to a degree at which we can all be comfortable.

You should all know the key rules by now:

Speak quietly in public, avoid extremely personal conversations, avoid a call while in mid-conversation with another human being–and if you must take the call, let them know before you pull the phone out of your pocket. Avoid texting when you’re talking with someone face-to-face as well.

Put your phone’s ringer on silent when in a theater or restaurant. Or better yet, just turn it OFF. Accessing your phone in a dark theater makes everyone else cringe.

Here are some more recent etiquette ideas to think about when customizing your social networking existence:

Some phones and software allow you to control the picture that appears on other devices when you call.

Avoid embarrassing profile pictures through Facebook, Blackberry, AIM, or Twitter.

Don’t look up answers to debates or questions on Google. We’re all guilty of this, but some people find it both annoying and pretentious. Companies like KGB and Cha-Cha offer a fun way to ask anonymous questions that may produce interesting results. Try them instead.

Only use call screening for business. Close friends and family shouldn’t have to go through a Google Voice or business filter to get to you on your cell phone. It’s inconsiderate, and they may disown you.

Don’t play the blame game with dropped calls. Chances are it’s either nobody’s fault, or it could be yours. Blaming the other person for a dropped call is ridiculous–so stop it.

Lastly, compensate for delay. We live in a world of instant gratification now, but with some advancements in technology come minor inconveniences that we have to live with for the time being. Many new and refurbished smart phones have a slight (or perhaps significant) delay that may cause some awkward moments during conversations. Always pause for a moment to give the other person time to receive your voice or text before beginning to speak again. Believe me, it can work wonders–and bring an end to frustrating overlapping conversations.

Following these simple steps will not only bring you into a peaceful and civilized 21st Century of technology, but also make you a much better person for it.

–Alex G. (The Blue Dot)

Photo via Gizmodo

If you’re an apple fan confused about whether or not to upgrade to a new or refurbished iPhone 3Gs (or maybe to an iPad instead, or maybe wait until the iPad gets a camera), your predicament just got a little more complicated. Some poor guy, who had (has?) an awesome job at Apple, lost a prototype of the next iPhone while he was drunk.

What people are making a really long story is actually pretty short: guy worked at Apple and had the next iPhone, guy got drunk, guy left bar without iPhone, Gizmodo somehow got a hold of iPhone, Gizmodo verified it’s the real deal, and here we are. Now we have pictures and video of what the next iPhone looks like and, most importantly, confirmation that it has a camera on the back and the front. Video chat via iPhone, here we come! Check out the video below.

It seems like each time one of these VoIP apps comes out, it’s all hype. I don’t know what the hold up with Skype is, and Google Voice seems pretty cool yet does not seem to be “blowing up,” but now this Line2 seems to delivering more than the rest when it comes to making calls over the internet via Wifi cell phones.

Line2 gives you a toll free number for people to call you on, free of charge, and it lets you make free, unlimited calls via Wifi. If you’re not in a Wifi zone, your calls go through your normal cell mode. The video below does a pretty good job of explaining how it works.

Line2 iPhone User Guide from Toren Ajk on Vimeo.

It seems like business people really enjoy Line2. The downsides, for me, are that it doesn’t offer text messaging via Wifi (why is this so hard?) and that it costs $15 bucks a month. A big plus, however, is that they offer Line2 for Blackberry.

Picture via NPR

Today marks the end of National Recycle Your Cell Phone week and over the past seven days, there has been some really good press about helping the environment by recycling old cell phones.

It’s now estimated that 130 million cell phones are trashed every year, which not only pollutes the environment but also sustains the need for conflict components. An awareness video from Sprint states that Americans discard 16 thousand cell phones every hour. Through cell phone recycling, Samsung is hoping to save 1 million phones from a landfill, which would “reap 75 pounds of gold, 772 pounds of silver and 35,274 pounds of copper. It also would save energy and cut water and air pollution, including greenhouse gases,” according to the EPA.

Don’t forget that one of the easiest, cheapest, and most effective ways to reduce waste and damage caused by cell phone consumption is to purchase refurbished phones. They’re a fraction of retail price and are virtually brand new. To find out more about the benefits of purchasing refurbished cell phones, visit this informative link.

I’m a little late on this, but I’m definitely interested in how this is/will be playing out. Verizon Wireless has officially announced that they will be releasing their own app store, called the V Cast Store, which will first be available for new and refurbished Blackberry phones. I’ve read several articles claiming that the V Cast Store would be unveiled on March 29th, yet five minutes of Googling (which the maximum amount of time I’m willing to Google any particular subject in this day and age) has yet to reveal anything exciting (and it’s April 6th).

I did go to Verizon’s website and found a tiny little link for apps but if the page it took me to is there new “big app store” that will compete with the iPhone and Blackberry’s app stores, my only response is, “Really?”

Now, I understand that Verizon has been around for a long time and that a lot of people who live in remote areas of the US have been loyal to Verizon and are thankful that Verizon covered them when no one else would but, for me, Verizon has always been a day late and a dollar short. Their phones are always the biggest versions in size and at the bottom on the “cool” list. The only thing keeping them in the game, as far as the technological forefront is concerned, is the Android platform, but it seems inevitable that Google will offer their own service via Voice Over IP in the near future, so who knows how long the Google/Verizon thing will last. If I were a Verizon customer, I’d be counting the days until my contract was up.

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