News - Part 13

How To Turn Off Amber Alerts On Your Cell Phone

Last week many Californians were jolted awake, or were at least startled, by a totally unfamiliar, high-pitched tone coming from their cell phones. Looking at their phones, they found they’d received an AMBER alert, per a new emergency broadcast notification system that went into effect January 1 of this year. Because they have no control over the timing of these messages (nor in some cases, the earsplitting ring tone that announces them), and because the messages themselves are somewhat cryptic and therefore somewhat useless, most recipients reacted with 1) irritation that they’d been subjected to an alert they never opted in to receive and 2) an immediate desire to disable this feature so they’d never receive another cell phone AMBER alert. Click here to learn more about the wireless AMBER alert system and the changes that went into effect 1/1/13. Yeah, But How Do I Turn It Off?! On an…

HD vs. SD – Is It Worth Paying Extra For HD Digital Videos?

I recently got this question from a site visitor and thought it’s probably something a lot of site visitors are wondering, so here goes. Neo is just as much The One in SD as he is in HD. High Definition (HD) vs. Standard Definition (SD) In a nutshell, the difference between high definition and standard definition images is the number of pixels contained in the image on display. HD images have more pixels per square inch than standard definition videos. Okay fine, but what does that really mean? It means that HD images can show much finer detail than SD images. Here’s a simple analogy that should explain why. Imagine you have a 3×5″ card, and you’ve been asked to draw a picture of a flower on it. You’re given your choice of two drawing tools: either a preschooler-type crayon (the really big ones) or a finely sharpened pencil. If you…

Closed Captions: What’s That All About?

As anyone who regularly reads my missives here at Digital Media Mom knows, I am in the process of switching to an all-digital movie library. I no longer buy new videos I want on disc, and I’m gradually replacing my existing discs with Amazon Instant Videos when I find those titles offered at a discount. Amazon is my digital video vendor of choice because I’m confident Amazon will outlive me, but I’m not so certain about any of the other folks who’re selling digital videos—like my satellite cable provider, VUDU, UltraViolet and so on. But that’s not what this post is about. This post is about those wonderful, useful, practical Closed Captions!

Amazon Review Tips & Tricks For Savvy Shoppers

Amazon is one of my preferred shopping outlets, mainly because I’m an Amazon Prime member and that means I get free two-day shipping on almost everything I buy there. However, it’s also a great resource for any shopper, even if you ultimately make your purchase somewhere else. This is largely because of the customer reviews, but if your approach to Amazon customer reviews is to merely look at the overall average review rating for a given product and maybe spot-check a few of the most positive and most negative reviews, you aren’t getting the maximum level of helpfulness and guidance from those reviews. How To Use Amazon Customer Reviews Like A Boss: The Little-Known Search This Product’s Reviews Feature Amazon reviews are a particularly great shopper resource when you’re looking at a big-ticket item, such as the Samsung Galaxy Player pictured in this post. You may have heard it’s the exact same hardware as…

Ebooks Settlement Refunds: How To Get Your Share of the Ebooks Price Fixing Settlement Fund

Today Publisher’s Weekly reports: According to a recent filing, publishers have paid a total of $166,158,426 to settle state and consumer e-book price fixing charges, including an additional $3,909,000 to settle consumer claims in Minnesota. In all, the total damages assessed to the publishers came in at $218,883,000…And that figure could jump considerably now that Apple has been found liable at trial. Pending a reversal on appeal, Apple will eventually have to pay to settle the state and consumer claims as well. I wrote an article about this for Kindle Fire on Kindle Nation Daily, Apple Loses in Ebook Price Fixing Case. The article provides more information about the basis of the government’s case against the big publishers who were involved as well as Apple, so if you don’t know what the heck I’m talking about here that may be a good place for you to start. Don’t worry – the link…

Kindle Fire Antivirus: You Still Don’t Need It

Note: Kindle Fire HDX owners, please see this more recent post, which is specific to the HDX line – Kindle Fire HDX Antivirus: Do You Need It? Since a great many site visitors get here via an internet search having to do with virus protection for the Kindle Fire, I’m assuming that many people reading this are gravely concerned about the possibility of their Kindle Fire being targeted by malware. I wrote an entire post on this back in February of this year, Does Your Kindle Fire Need Virus Protection?, and what I said in that post still holds true to this day: The Kindle Fire and Kindle Fire HD do not need antivirus or malware protection because they are not “proliferation-friendly” devices, run a custom version of Android, and cannot multi-task, and therefore are not (yet) being targeted by hackers. Furthermore, Amazon thoroughly vets apps before allowing them to be listed…

Amazon’s Instant Video Finder Is A Terrific, FREE Tool For Finding Your Next Great Movie Or TV Show

Whether you get your movies from Redbox, Netflix, Amazon Instant Video, Video on Demand from your cable provider, or even the old-school way, by purchasing discs, you’ve got to give Amazon’s Instant Video Finder tool a try! You know there are LOTS of great movies and TV shows out there you’ve never seen, but you also know there are plenty of clunkers. How can you narrow the field down to the winners? When you’ve got specific criteria, like maybe you need a kid-friendly film to keep the young ones occupied while the grown-ups socialize in another room, how can you quickly drill down to appropriate viewing material, AND choose something the kids will actually enjoy? When you’re in the mood for something fairly specific in terms of subject matter or tone and the usual broad categories of Thriller, Drama and Action aren’t cutting it, how can you find what you’re looking for without spending as…

How To Delete Items From Your Fire Or Your Amazon Cloud Account

This is a cross-posting of an article I originally wrote for the Kindle Fire on Kindle Nation Daily site, and it’s reprinted here in its entirety with that site’s permission. Many people reading this will already know how to remove items from their Kindle Fire’s carousel, and many will also know how to remove them from the Device screens (e.g., Apps > Device, Books > Device, etc.), but very few know how to prune apps, audiobooks, videos, music and Kindle ebooks from the Fire’s Cloud screens (e.g., Apps > Cloud, Books > Cloud, etc.). Here’s the scoop! Removing Items From The Carousel This is the easiest one. Simply long-tap the item you want to remove, and select “Remove From Carousel” from the pop-up menu. By the way, “long-tap” means tap and hold your fingertip or stylus on the screen until the pop-up menu appears.

Which Device Permissions To Worry About

Today’s Amazon Free App of the Day is Akinator, a kind of 20-questions game app, and as per usual with many apps there are a number of negative reviews that complain about unnecessary or excessive “permissions”. So, what does that mean, exactly? Permissions – It’s The App’s Way Of Asking, “Mother May I?” Whatever kind of web-enabled device thingie you have (e.g., smart phone, iPad, Kindle Fire, Galaxy Tab, laptop, Blackberry, et cetera), it can do some amazing stuff. It can connect you to the internet, it can provide access to your email account, it can maintain a calendar and to-do list for you, and it can run all kinds of productivity and entertainment media, like videos, music, games, ebooks, and of course, apps. Some of those apps take advantage of the stuff your thingie can do and build on it. For example, every cell phone has a ‘contacts’, or phone book,…

What To Do When Your Kindle Or Kindle Fire Is Lost Or Stolen

Hey, Thief Who Took My Son’s Kindle Fire: Think you just got a free tablet you can use to order all kinds of stuff on MY Amazon account? Not so fast. When you lose your Kindle or Kindle Fire, believe it or not the loss of the device is not the worst part. No, that would be the fact that your Amazon account is now vulnerable to wrongful charges from anyone who finds your missing gadget. There is a tiny bit of good news, though: as always, Amazon’s exceptional Kindle customer service reps stand at the ready to prevent this from happening. Note: if you’ve already gotten your lost or stolen device back, see this follow-up post: What Happens If You Get Your Lost Or Stolen Kindle / Fire Back? The Thief Not Only Gets A Nifty E-reader Or Tablet, But Full Access To Charge Stuff To Your Amazon Account, Too Remember when…