Instagram's integration with Facebook and a more Facebook-centric Terms of Service have many users looking for new ways to share photographic pieces of life. Consider expanding your vision to other apps. Just like the photography service you already know so well, there are plenty of other awesome apps and communities for beautiful photos. Read on for Instagram alternatives for your app library.
Thanks to this Friday's release of The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, we're taking the liberty of celebrating the fantastical story all week! Hailing from the fictional world of Middle-Earth, hobbits have been described as relatives to man but coming in a much smaller package. And just because they aren't human (or, well — real), doesn't mean you can't learn something from their adventures in The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings trilogy. Here, we take a look at a few lessons you can learn from the pint-sized creatures.
- It pays to have friends — Throughout The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings series, Gandalf, Bilbo, and Frodo Baggins are surrounded by friends, family, and allies that help them along their journeys. Without those friends, they may not have survived. Stay true and kind to your friends; you may never know when you'll need their help.
- Money is not the most important thing in life — In The Hobbit, we learn that dwarves would rather starve than share their wealth. But as the leader of the Dwarves, Thorin, was on his deathbed, he realized the error of his ways too late: "If more of us valued food and cheer and song above hoarded gold, it would be a merrier world." True that, Thorin. True that.
- Don't judge a book by its cover — Or a person's strength by their stature. Let's face it — Frodo is tiny, but he was able to complete his task of destroying the ring when other, much stronger men couldn't. The amount of one's passion, will, and strength has nothing to do with their size.
- Appreciate the little things — There's a scene in The Lord of the Rings when Frodo, Sam, Pip, and Merry meet Aragon in a bar in Bree. Pip orders a beer and is totally astonished when one arrives in a full pint. Appreciating the small things in life, whether it's happy hour with your best gals or the fact that your phone takes and sends pictures to this thing called the Internet in five seconds flat, makes the tough times seem not so tough.
- Say yes to adventure — Bilbo Baggins wasn't looking for adventure in The Hobbit, but once he followed his own journey, he ended up with wealth that he used to make his friends and family happy. In turn, making himself happy. If you say no to unknown tasks and callings, you might miss out on a big opportunity to be happy.
What have you learned from the fantasy series? Share in the comments below!
- Toggle screens — Quickly toggle between open applications with the Alt + Tab (for PC) or Open Apple + Tab (for Mac) keystrokes. This will allow you to quickly switch from your open web browser and work applications when you hear the boss tromping down your aisle.
- Use your desktop wallpaper — Take a screenshot of an important spreadsheet, document, or collection of open applications and set it as your desktop wallpaper. Commence shopping. If someone approaches, use the keystroke of Windows + D on your PC or F11 on your Mac to switch focus to your desktop, which will conveniently be populated with your busywork instead of a photo of your boyfriend, dog, and/or kids.
- Fake an Excel spreadsheet — If you're tweeting or Facebooking your finds, don't forget to keep that on the down low too. Applications like Spreadtweet and ExcellBook keep your social networking under wraps by disguising your feed as an excel spreadsheet.
Traveling this holiday? If you can't take a car or a train, be sure to check out these packing and travel tips to make your life easier while booking flights, getting through security checkpoints, and beyond.
- TripIt — Once signed up for the free service, forward travel confirmation emails to TripIt, which will automatically create a master itinerary of an upcoming trip accessible through the web or a mobile device. The itineraries even include the tidbits we seem to forget like weather updates, local maps, and directions.
- Google Flight Search — Book that plane ticket before prices rise any further! Google's flight search engine incorporates travel basics like price point, maximum number of connections, and preferred airline with an easy-to-use interface.
- Hotel Tonight — If there are too many relatives in one house, scan the last-minute hotel deals at Hotel Tonight for a chic getaway at a discounted price. Every day three hotels in a city reveal their discounted rates starting at noon, and you then have until 2 a.m. to book the deal and take advantage of a peaceful room.
- My TSA — Can homemade fruit cakes go through security? How early should you show up to the airport for a flight on the eve of Thanksgiving? Answer the pressing travel questions that could otherwise cause delays or stress by adding the TSA's free iOS app to your device. The app's airport security line estimator may become the most crucial feature on your phone when planning your airport arrival.
- HearPlanet ($3) — Take the time to discover the cultural side of your holiday destination. This interactive app highlights attractions in over 300,000 locations and uses geolocation features so that you don't miss any of the nearby fun, plus it's a great excuse to get out of the house and move around in fresh air.
- GasBuddy — Hitting the open road instead of the air? Use the free GasBuddy app to locate the cheapest fuel on the interstate. Show your fellow travelers some love and share the low-price gas station you discover within the app.
- iPad or Tablet — If you have the luxury of spending upwards of $500 on a tablet, it's probably the only gadget you'll need to tote during travel season since it can hold your ebooks, surf the Internet, and keep you connected.
- eReader — If you're sans tablet, pack up your favorite ereader. Whether it's the latest Kindle or the new Nook Simple Touch, you can read the entire Game of Thrones series without all the paper weight.
- Compact laptop — Though the MacBook Air is arguably the most popular lightweight laptop out there, there's plenty of compact PCs and ultrabooks to choose from as well.
- Chargers — If you're toting all these gadgets, you're going to (obviously) need some chargers to keep things juiced. Thankfully, many airlines are offering charging stations in the terminal and even seat-side outlets on board, so you can stay 100 percent charged throughout your trip.
- Headphones — Keep the roar of 35,000 feet at bay with some nice sound-isolating headphones. If you're going over-the-ear, consider Skullcandy Aviator ($150), which offer great sound and deep bass and are even comfy for those geeks who wear glasses.
Get more tips on how to pack your bag and save some dough after the break.
The Northeastern US is bracing for the impact of Hurricane Sandy and securing their property. Your tech may be the last thing on your mind when a storm strikes, but with added complications from thunder and electrical charges, precautions are necessary. The savvy geeks at DriveSavers Data Recovery shared a few tips on how to keep your gadgets safe during extreme weather. Check them out below.
- Unplug your hardware during an electrical storm — Make sure that your laptops, hard drives, gaming consoles, and other electronic equipment are unplugged during severe weather. If lightning does strike, you could experience a power surge that could knock out and/or fry your gadgets from the inside out.
- Use surge protectors, and replace them every few years — Don't just plug your expensive equipment into any ol' power brick! Make sure your extension cords and power adapters have surge protection to ensure that any power spikes won't destroy your machines.
Get one more important tip after the break.
Halloween may be the time to get all dolled up and head out with your pals for a night of debauchery, but what about your four-legged friend? No need to leave your dog at home — there are a number of costumes for pets that will show off your geeky side and send tails wagging as you trick-or-treat. No elaborate AT-AT crafting required.
Wondering just how much data you're pulling down in a given month on your iPhone? There are a few ways to check your usage, one being to head to AT&T's wireless website, log into your account, and AT&T, Verizon, or by signing in to your Sprint account.
However, this third way only requires you and your iPhone to see how much data you're devouring. Find out what to do after the break.
The killer collaboration between fashion and tech stretches far beyond supermodels on smartphones. In honor of New York Fashion Week this week, we're celebrating some of our favorite tech-outfitted items, from LED-adorned dresses to the most fabulous geek-toe shoes around. Some will cost you a pretty penny, while others exist only in movies, but they're all fun to gawk at. Which is your favorite?
What could possibly make this three-day weekend more exciting? The season seven premiere of Doctor Who on BBC America this Saturday, Sept 1, at 8 p.m. EDT.
If you're eager to outfit your home, bedroom, and office in Doctor Who-related goods wherever you are, we've found nine must-haves for any fan of the Eleventh Doctor.
Making photography fun is the hobby's number one requirement. When wanting to add some spunk to your picture-taking routine (and potentially come up with some seriously amazing images in the process), check out these lenses that can be swapped out for your regular DSLR lens.
Star Wars isn't just a movie, it's a way of life. If you can quote the film and know what scene it is based on the music, you might be a superfan. Let your home decor reflect this fact with a few choice pieces. No need to go overboard, but let's just say we had to hold back from buying all of these items.
I love Instagram, but sometimes I want a quick and easy way to get that same feel on my desktop. Enter these eight Mac apps that will instantly take your photos from drab to fab and worthy of a share.
Marissa Mayer, a Google leader for 13 years, will be Yahoo's next CEO — joining the small group of female chiefs in Silicon Valley. As the company's 20th employee, Marissa was Google's first female engineer. She was responsible for the clean look of Google's popular products: the simple white search homepage, Gmail, Google News, and Google Images.
A leader for women in the technology industry, Marissa told The New York Times that Yahoo was "one of the best brands of the Internet." Even more exciting? Marissa and husband Zachary Bogue are expecting their first child — she's currently six months pregnant with a baby boy!
Not familiar with the newly appointed CEO? Learn more about the woman who'll be leading an Internet legend below:
- She bought her first computer in college, where she was studying to be a pediatric neurosurgeon, then switched to a unique mix of courses only offered at Stanford: symbolic systems — a blend of psychology, linguistics, philosophy, and computer science.
- Following her 14 job offers after graduation, Marissa created a matrix, ranking each position on salary, location, chance of success, lifestyle, career trajectory, and happiness. She then recruited an economist to help her analyze her data and spent hours charting pros and cons with her friend before deciding which offer to accept.
See the rest of the list — including some sound career advice for women — after the jump.
With Comic-Con less than a week away, attendees are adding the finishing touches to their comic book and sci-fi costumes to hit San Diego in style. Don't have your attire ready? Click through the gallery for some eleventh hour cosplay inspiration for this week's events, as well as any geek convention you may find yourself attending in the future!
Now that we're more than halfway through with 2012 (how is that possible?), we're looking back at our progress on the resolutions we started in January. You know, those New Year's promises to ourselves to take on clutter and become a better person. Naturally, since we spend most of our days in front of a computer and attached to our gadgets, our take on these yearly vows have a technology bent. Need a refresher on how to be kinder to your gear this year? Here, 10 midyear pick-me-ups to keep you and your tech happy and healthy for the rest of 2012.
- Backing up your data — It's 2012 now, folks, so it's high time you start routinely backing up your data to save your important documents, files, photos, videos, music, and whatever else you keep stored on your computer.
- Securing your home WiFi network — After you set up your home WiFi network, did you set a secure password to protect it from squatters? If not, now's the time to do that. Not only can strangers steal your signal for unlawful activities, but they can creep in and gain access to your personal documents and information, which can lead to identity theft.
- Routinely cleaning your tech — You shouldn't just clean your tech on the outside, but should take precautions to clean that machine on the inside as well. Perform these care tips often and save yourself from germs. You'll even save cash since your computer will last longer.
- Changing your passwords on the regular — You should be updating your password every few months, but it won't do a bit of good if it's a lame one that anyone can guess. Follow these tips for hacker-proof passwords to keep your info safe.
- Recycling old gadgets — Upgrading to new tech is a given in a new year, but instead of tossing your used gear aside or in your closet, give it a new life by recycling or donating it to charity.
See the rest of the list after the jump!
The latest comic book incarnation hits theaters today — The Amazing Spider-Man, and before we catch up with Peter Parker we need to get our tech accessories in order. Swinging into action are the Marvel Comic cases by Case-Mate. Available in five themes — Spider-Man (of course), Captain America, X-Men, Iron Man, and Thor — these cases fit iPhone and BlackBerry smartphones.
Get a better look at all of the artful designs in the gallery!
While it seems we can't live without our iPhones, they certainly have a habit of speeding through their batteries at inopportune moments. Though some Apple customers have vocalized feeling constantly at odds with the battery life of the iPhone 4S, there are a few things you can do to lengthen the life of any cell phone battery life. See our tips for prolonging your iPhone 4S battery life below.
- Lower your screen brightness — Just like on your laptop, you can lower the screen brightness on your iPhone to increase battery life. Just head to Settings > Brightness to adjust.
- Use WiFi where you can — Instead of downloading apps, making Google Voice calls, or browsing the web over your cellular or 3G connection, find a WiFi hotspot or use your home's WiFi network instead. This will keep your data charges down and will improve battery life since your phone won't be searching for a data signal.
- Block GPS tracking in apps — If you're using lots of apps that include automatic GPS location and tagging (a la Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter), your phone is working overtime to locate you. If you don't need to geotag your posts and updates, keep the GPS off.
- Turn your iPhone's "Fetch" and "Push" off — I have my iPhone set to "fetch" my data every 30 minutes and a ton of apps set to push new messages and alerts as they happen. This is great for keeping up with news and messages when I'm at home, but bad for your data and battery. To turn your "fetch" functions off on your iPhone, just go to Settings > Mail, Contacts, and Calendars > Fetch New Data > Manually. You can also turn off your email and calendar "push" from this screen. To turn off app "push" notifications, head to Settings > Notifications, then switch to off.
- Shut down apps often — Do you shut down your apps after you're done using them? If not, you're using up lots of battery by allowing those apps to run. To shut down apps after use, double tap on the home button to get to your app drawer. To close open apps, just hold down on one until you see the wiggle, then click on the "X" to shut down.
Have any tips of your own to keep your iPhone battery juiced up?