Meet Uber, your on-demand private driver

2013-04-11_09h49_14Thanks to the Uber app for iOS and Android, gone are the days of standing outside trying to hail a cab or find a car service. I was recently in San Francisco for work and I met a friend for dinner across town. We were about to leave, and I said to her, “I really hope there are cabs in this area.” She looked at me and said, “You don’t have the Uber app?” I immediately pulled out my iPhone and download the app, within 5 minutes I signed up and had a taxi waiting for me outside the restaurant.

How it Works

Set up an account

First, you download the app to your iOS or Android device and create an account. You must enter a credit card in order to complete account set up. An email will be sent for you to confirm your information

Right now Uber can be used in the following cities: Amsterdam, Atlanta, Austin, Baltimore, Berlin, Boston, Chicago, Dallas, Denver, Detroit, Hamptons, London, Los Angles, Melbourne, Milan, Minneapolis-St Paul, Napa, New York, Orange Count, Paris, Philadelphia, Phoenix, Sacramento, San Diego, San Francisco, Seattle, Singapore, Stockholm, Sydney, Toronto, Washington DC.

Select the type of vehicle you want

The types of vehicles are listed below; however, not every type of vehicle is available in every city. When you launch the app GPS will locate what city you are in and give you the vehicle options for that area.

Taxi: No flagging or yelling required! Use Uber to request and pay for a taxi, at standard taxi rates plus a $1 booking fee. A 20% gratuity is automatically added for the driver.

UBERx: The convenience of Uber at a lower price with hybrid and mid-range cars in a variety of colors. Seats up to 4 people.

Black: Classic black car option is the default. Choose this and either a high-end sedan or SUV will be curbside in minutes. Note: choosing “Black” and being picked up by an SUV will not charge you the SUV rates. Seats up to 4 people.

SUV: When you’re rolling with more than four people, request only SUVs, for a higher rate. Seats up to 6 people

Use the app to tell Uber where you want to be picked up

You can use the map and your phone’s GPS to tell Uber your current location so they can pick you up. If the GPS does not find the exact location, you can manually type in the address.

Wait for Uber to respond

Uber will send you a text notifying you of how long you’ll need to wait before you can expect to be picked up, along with the driver’s name. When your Uber ride arrives, you’ll receive another text to let you know.

Wait for your payment to be automatically charged

Your card will be automatically charged, with the tip already included. You don’t need to manually hand over some cash or your card to the driver before you leave. It’s that simple.


Uber’s pricing is similar to metered taxis, although all hiring and payment is handled exclusively through Uber and not with the driver personally. If the Uber car is traveling at a speed greater than 11 mph, the price is calculated on a distance basis. Otherwise, the price is calculated on a time basis. Prices are higher than prices charged by conventional taxicabs and 20% gratuity is automatically added.

At the end of a ride, the complete fare (which includes a tip) is automatically billed to the customer’s credit card. Uber has said that its high prices are the premium that the customers pay for a cab service that is not only reliable but also punctual and comfortable. Check out Uber’s website for prices per city.

Once the ride is over…

A receipt is sent to your email address (great for those who need to expense the ride) along with a survey to rate your experience. I also received an email for $10 off for every friend I get to sign up using the link they provide in the email.


Overall, my experience with Uber was great. The price may seem a little expensive to some people who give it a try, but when you work it out with the tip and realize that you’re paying for more of a high quality and convenient driver experience, it’s actually well worth the cost.

10 great iOS apps to grow and manage a business

As apps become more prevalent and more powerful, businesses are relying on these savvy tools to help their businesses grow and run more smoothly.



This free app handily shows Powerpoint presentations and it displays your notes when you run your slideshow. It’s also a breeze to get your presentations into SlideShark; you can upload them to the SlideShark site, which the app syncs with; or you can grab them from Dropbox or Box. The one thing you cannot do is create presentations directly in the app itself. However, you can reorder slides and hide individual slides, but SlideShark is not an editing program. It’s geared toward users who create their presentations on a Mac or PC.



Clear is quick, simple, intuitive, and perfect for busy people who need a list to juggle a million tasks a day. Clear’s interface is understandable at a glance and streamlined for quick use. Items are sorted by priority from top to bottom, and color-coded according to urgency. Clear looks like a great app because it emulates the best to-do list most of us have ever had: a piece of paper. Clear is available for $1.99 and is worth the price.



Evernote is an easy-to-use, free app that helps you remember everything across all of the devices you use. Stay organized, save your ideas and improve productivity. Evernote lets you take notes, capture photos, create to-do lists, record voice reminders–and makes these notes completely searchable, whether you are at home, at work, or on the go. Entrepreneurs can easily keep track of all of their brilliant ideas. See my previous post on the Evernote 5 upgrade to learn more about the app’s new features.

Onlive Desktop


OnLive Desktop is a service that provides a seamless, no-compromise, instant-response cloud-based PC desktop, wherever and whenever you want it. OnLive brings to your iPad a high-performance PC experience, regardless of the content, even when interacting with fast-action media.


• Instantly view, edit and create documents using actual Microsoft® Office Word, Excel and PowerPoint

• Easily transfer files between OnLive Desktop and other devices• Experience high-performance, instant-response PC applications

• Interact with lag-free animation and video

With each free account comes 2GB of storage on OnLive’s servers. You can also purchase the  Plus plan, which lets you use IE to browse the Web from within the OnLive Desktop app. Tabbed browsing is supported, as is Flash, which might be reason alone to use IE instead of Safari at times.



Bump is a revolutionary networking app that allows users to ditch traditional business cards in favor of virtual ones. Users can trade contact information, photos, and files by simply “bumping” two smartphones together.The new update allows you to share more than just photo using Bump. Now, you can send any file that is stored on your device. You can send videos, documents, spreadsheets, presentations, and more goodies from your device to that of any other Bump users. For sharing files this is about as quick as it gets. Bump works cross-platform, so even if you have friend with an iPad or iPhone, you can use the app to send them files.



If you travel for business, you want to keep your receipts. You can do it the old-fashioned way, but why give yourself extra work? Your smart phone can keep track for you. Using your phone’s camera, you can snap pictures of your receipts to retain a digital record in chronological order. The app also allows you to log mileage, meal expenses and other business-related travel costs.



Billed as a “collaborative information manager,” Asana is a free simple and intuitive alternative to complicated work management software. Asana allows users to manage not only work projects, but personal projects and events in one easy-to-navigate interface.It has many features, including Workspaces, Projects, Personal Projects, Tasks, Tags, Notes, Comments and an Inbox that organizes and updates information in real-time. The product is designed to enable individuals and teams to plan and manage their projects and tasks. Each team gets a Workspace. Workspaces contain Projects, and Projects contain Tasks.



This on-the-go mobile-payment device plugs right into your smartphone to accept credit card payments. And you don’t need to set up a merchant account at your bank. Just order the card reader for $9.95 and set up an account. Square charges 2.75% per transaction, and funds deposit in your account the next day—with no transaction or amount limits.



TripIt is an easy way to keep up with multiple flights, car rentals, and hotel reservations. Just forward all travel confirmation e-mails to and TripIt delivers a master itinerary to your phone. The basic app is free, but added features (like tracking frequent-flier miles) cost $49 a year.



RightSignature is an easy-to-use, all-in-one e-signature solution. It sends documents for e-signature with a few clicks. Your customers fill out and sign documents online in any web browser, or even on an iPad or iPhone. No printing, no faxing, no hassle. The RightSignature integration empowers you to send documents for e-signature directly from your Box account or send Box documents for e-signature from inside RightSignature. Either way, once your document has been signed, RightSignature automatically places a signed copy back in your Box folder.

How to rip DVDs to your iPad

Watching movies or TV episodes is probably one of the top things most people do with the iPad. You can rent or purchase movies through iTunes, but what if you want to watch a DVD on your iPad that you already own? You can convert your existing movies into a file format that is iPad friendly.There are plenty of sites offering free DVD converter software, a good number of which attempt to up sell you into a paid product.

The program I chose for importing DVDs is Handbrake. This software works the same way on both the Mac and the PC, however, for this how-to, I used a Mac.

Here is a step-by-step guide on how to rip movies from DVD.

Step 1: Download and install required software

First you’ll want to download Handbrake. This software is free for both Mac and PC. You’ll also need to install the equally free VLC media player.

Step 2: Insert the DVD

You will need to insert your DVD into the computer that you are using.  This may cause your computer’s DVD player to launch and begin to play your DVD.  If that occurs, press stop on the DVD player and be sure to completely exit the program.

Step 3: Open Handbrake

Upon opening Handbrake, it will bring up a window that looks like the one below.  Handbrake is asking you what source that you would like it to scan for files that it can convert.  In this case, you will direct Handbrake to the DVD that you have inserted into your computer.  In the example above, the DVD is entitled, “PS_I_LOVE_YOU”. Select the contents and click Open.

Image 1

Step 4: Allow Handbrake to scan the DVD

Handbrake will scan the DVD for the movie file to convert. It will automatically select the file with the longest time duration to convert, which is almost always the movie that you want on your iPad. As you can see in the picture below, while there are many other files on the DVD, the longest file is selected is the movie.

Image 2

Step 5: Choose a location on your computer to save the movie

Click on the “Browse” button in the Destination section of the window.  This will allow you to choose the destination where Handbrake will save the file. You may want to save the file to your desktop so that it will be easy to find later.

Image 3

Step 6: Rip the movie to your computer

Click on the “Start” button at the top of the window and allow Handbrake to do its magic!  Your movie is now being saved to the location you selected in a file format that the iPad can use.  This process can take a while, depending on the speed of your computer.

Tip: Do not let your computer go into sleep mode during this process, the movie will stop ripping and you will not get a complete file.

Step 7: Move the converted movie into iTunes

Image 4

Now it is time to move the movie file (that you decided where to save in Step 5) into iTunes.  In order for this to happen, simply select the movie file and drag it into the movie section of the library on the left-hand side of the iTunes window and drop it there.  iTunes will begin to import the movie into its files at this point.  The movie will show up in the “Movies” section of your library with the original title of the file.

Image 5

Step 8: Sync the movie to your iPad

Select your iPad from the menu on the left-hand column of iTunes and select “Movies” at the top of the iTunes window.  Be sure that the box next to “Sync Movies” is checked and the box next to “Automatically sync all” (in the drop-down menu) movies is NOT checked.  Browse to the movie that you just imported into iTunes and check the box next to it.  Select the “Apply” button in the lower right-hand corner of the iTunes window and your movie is happily being synced to your iPad.

Step 9: Open the movie on your iPad

Open up the Videos app on your iPad and verify your movie is there.  Select it and you can now watch your movie without needing Wi-Fi.

This may take you longer the first few times you do it, but before you know it you will be a pro.

Manage your gift cards with Gyft app

Gift cards can be a convenient gift for the holidays, but who likes carrying around all those useless, environmentally unfriendly plastic rectangles? Certainly not me, which is why the free application Gyft is perfect, an application that not only aggregates our gift cards, but allows us to buy and gift others with gift cards from a variety of major retailers like Gap, Amazon, Target and many others.

Gyft provides a gift card platform for consumers and retailers that enables customers to upload, buy, share, and redeem gift cards conveniently from their mobile device. Gyft is seamlessly integrated with Facebook so users can send gift cards to their friends around special events. Around 200 of Gyft’s some 300+ retailers also support deeper integration with their own systems, allowing users to check their gift card balances from Gyft’s app as well. One of Gyft’s goals is to try to overcomes current issues that limit the potential of gift cards, which often end up lost, stolen, or forgotten.

How it works

Adding a gift card

Simply download the Gyft app from the App Store for iOS or Google Play for Android. As a bonus, those downloading the Gyft app will be given $10 in free cards.

  1. Select Add a gift card under menu
  2. Select the store and enter the card information
  3. You can also optionally add the expiration date and scan the back of the card
    • If you have an iOS device you can also add it to Passbook
  4. The one downfall is you need to know the initial value of your gift card

Add gift card

Regifting a gift card

For those who have received gift cards and really and do not plan on using it, you can also use the app to resend to a friend:

  1. Click menu and send a gift card
  2. Select your friend/family member under contacts or Facebook (if you have integrated the app with Facebook, you must let gyft access your contacts)
  3. Select From my wallet and choose the gift card you want to regift
  4. You then choose the delivery method either email or text. You can also change the time you want it delivered and select confirm


You are all set and your gift card is on its way!

Send a gift card

You can also chose to send a new gift card to family and friend from the app. Basically the steps are similar to regifting:

  1. Click menu and send a gift card
  2. Select your friend/family member under contacts or Facebook (if you have integrated the app with Facebook, you must let gyft access your contacts)
  3. Select Buy a Card and choose the store and denomination
  4. You then choose the delivery method either email or text. You can also change the time you want it delivered and select confirm
  5. Finally you have to enter your Payment Details

Delivery options

Gyft estimates that gift cards will account for 20% of holiday sales this season. In addition to record gift card sales, mobile commerce has reached an all-time high, making Gyft a must-have app.

Holiday Gift Guide 2012: Home Theater Edition

Every household needs decent home theater accessories to go with their TV. This holiday season, get your loved ones the right gifts with these bestselling home theater items. We’ve made it easy for you to find out this year’s must-haves in consumer electronics so you’ll know you’re giving the best.

Apple TV

Average Price: $99

Category: Streaming media player

Apple TV lets you stream all of the movies and TV shows available in the iTunes Store to your HDTV on a rental or purchase basis, with purchases stored in the cloud. Netflix, MLB.TV, Hulu Plus, and a handful of other online media services are available, plus music, videos, and photos can be streamed from iPads, iPods and iPhones using AirPlay. AirPlay Mirroring lets you stream any Web video to the Apple TV, if you have a newer Mac running Mountain Lion.

Those who’ve already invested in iTunes content and Apple hardware will love Apple TV.

Roku 2 XD

Average Price: $65-$79

Category: Streaming media player

This digital media player supports signals up to 1080p and features built-in wireless networking that allows you to stream media to your TV, so you can enjoy your favorite TV shows, movies and more in stunning high-definition. Roku 2 XD offers hundreds of streaming-video and -audio services, including Netflix, Hulu Plus, Amazon Instant Video, HBO Go, Vudu, Pandora, Mog, Rdio, and MLB.TV. Roku also offers cross-platform search, capable of finding content across major streaming services.

For people who are not Apple fans and want to access Amazon Instant Video this device will suit your needs.

LG BP620 Blu-Ray Player

Average Price: $99

Category: Blu-Ray Player

If you want the best movie content and picture quality on your HDTV, you need a Blu-ray player. LG’s new Blu-ray player, the BP620, is an impressive device for its price. It features built-in Wi-Fi, plenty of online options, and 3D support.The BP620 offers a wide selection of streaming media services and both free and pay apps, accessible through the player’s built-in Wi-Fi or an Ethernet connection. The Premium services are the most useful, and include Netflix, Hulu Plus, Pandora, and several other streamed offerings. The LG apps are much less worthwhile, and include a middling selection of downloadable games and e-books.

The LG BP620 is an excellent budget Blu-ray player. It supports 3D, has built-in Wi-Fi, and its price makes it very friendly to budget-minded home theater owners. There are certainly more expensive options out there such as Sony Playstation 3 and Oppo BDP-93.

Logitech Harmony 650

Average Price: $59-79

Category: Universal Remote

The Harmony 650 is a powerful universal remote with easy set up, color LCD screen, surrounded by five contextual buttons; Web programmable via Windows or Mac PCs; excellent button layout and overall design; supports custom sequences/macros. It does only control 5 devices, so if you have more than that you may want to consider a different remote. Eliminate multiple remotes and get this very reasonable universal remote.

Sony HT-CT150 Soundbar

Average Price: $188-200

Category: Home Theater / Soundbar

The sound bar has become an extremely popular add-on purchase when shopping for a TV, especially if you don’t want a space-hogging multi-channel surround system. You shouldn’t have to deal with sound so bad it sours your experience with your gorgeous new display.

This 3D sound bar delivers immersive audio without running wires across the room or setting up extra speakers, so you can complete your 3D home entertainment experience with simple, yet powerful surround sound. The  32″ 3D sound bar home theater system features 3D compatibility and can also be turned into your entertainment hub by utilizing its 3 HDMI video outputs. The downfall is the wired subwoofer limits how far you can place it from the sound bar.

With easy setup and great sound, this is an excellent gift for under $200.

Energy Take Classic 5.1

Average Price: $299

Category: Home Theater / Surround Sound

If you are looking for home theater speakers, the Energy Take Classic 5.1 will leave you pleased with your listening experience.  The collection of high-tech components: satellites, subwoofer, and a center channel. Displayed in high-gloss black cabinets, this system looks as good as it sounds. The 200-watt, 8″ subwoofer provides pounding bass while four satellites and a center channel bring an expansive sound stage to the comfort of your home.

Altogether, the system is one of the best home theater values available.

Sony STR-DN1030 Receiver

Average Price: $449-498

Category: Home Theater / AV Receiver

Sony may not be the first brand you think of in connection with audio/video receivers, but that may be about to change with the STR-DN1030. This receiver is a wireless triple threat with Apple AirPlay, Bluetooth, and Wi-Fi connectivity. And all of that is dongle-free.

Wired connectivity includes five HDMI inputs and one output, all on the back panel. There’s also an HD-capable component video output along with two component ins. Composite video switching is limited to two ins and two outs, and there are no S-video jacks. This should be enough to support an average system unless you’re loaded with legacy components. There is a wired Ethernet connection in addition to the built-in Wi-Fi antenna. And if you prefer to connect your iPhone or iPod to the front-panel USB jack.

The STR-DN1030 shows that the company can still make a great AV receiver. It may be slightly behind the Onkyo TX-NR616 in overall value, but it’s a better choice if you want more features built-in.

What’s new in Evernote 5 for Mac

Evernote for Mac recently received a new look and user-friendly interface in its latest update.

The left panel has been updated with new options, including Shortcuts for quick access to favorite notes, notebooks, tags, and saved searches.The sidebar also includes a list of recent notes, and views of your notebooks and tags.

The Notes, Notebooks, Tags, and Atlas icons stand out, keeping data organized and the sidebar uncluttered. Each section may look familiar, but has inevitably been updated at least with a new interface.

Evernote has also integrated your own notebooks alongside Shared Notebooks that other users have let you access. Sharing’s also been improved in the Note Editor—at the top of a note, you can now see how many people have access to the note you’re looking at. Updates to shared notes are now organized more logically, so as not to inundate you as they arrive, and there’s integration with Mountain Lion’s Notification Center.

“Atlas”, meanwhile, is a new function, which lets you view the geographic location in which each note was created.  All notes can be viewed on one map, or via separate Place Cards, which drill down to city-level thumbnails. Location must be enabled for this feature to work.

A similar card view has also been integrated into the revamped Notes List that shows you thumbnails of notes containing images or previews of text notes. All notes can be sorted by notebook or tag.

Major search improvements also come along with Evernote 5, including the updated Type Ahead algorithm that begins suggesting searches based on content inside the user’s account.

Evernote 5 is free in the Mac App Store—paid subscriptions will let you store more information—and is compatible with Macs running OS X 10.6.6 or later.

For a closer look at the Evernote 5 changes, watch the video below.

Is the 4th generation iPad worth the upgrade?

Apple’s announcement of the 4th generation iPad (officially named “iPad with Retina Display”) on October 23 was a big surprise to consumers; just a mere 6 months ago the 3rd generation was introduced basically now making that obsolete. As expected this annoyed recent iPad buyers who thought they had time before a new introduction.

Many consumers are left wondering if it is worth buying the new device. I was in this same predicament until I made the decision to upgrade from an iPad 2. I can say it is totally worth the upgrade and it is everything the iPad 3 should have been.

Here is what makes it the best tablet yet:

Retina Display

Yes this was available in the third-generation, but if you are upgrading from a 1st or 2nd-generation this will be new for you. Retina Display packs a huge amount of pixels in their display 1536 x 2048 at 264 pixels per inch to be exact. Things like internet browsing, photo viewing, watching movies and reading are all much improved over the iPad 2 and is one of the main reasons to pick up the new iPad.  You will be very impressed with this display.

A6X processor

With the new A6X pole was able essentially add more GPU hardware and streamlined memory access design to achieve a 2X performance boost. Using Geekbench, you can see that the A6 core is well over Apple’s 2X promise. All these processor improvements don’t come at the cost of battery life either. The iPad 4 gets the same 10 hours of battery life from the same 42.5 watt-hours battery that the iPad 3 enjoyed. Using this device for less than a week I have noticed how much faster apps open and the speed improvement on the web.

Image Credit: Geekbench

Lighting Port

Apple is known for its proprietary components in its products, and that has not changed with the new generation iPad. Although Lightning has been criticized for not providing easy backward compatible with the previous 30-pin connector, it’s a good idea to get into the Lightning mix sooner rather than later. It looks like the lightning connector is the way of the future with Apple.

The new Lightning connector uses a slightly thinner cable and is about 2 inches longer than the old cable. One of the more tangible benefits is for sets to be able to plug the cable in either direction.

iOS 6

The fourth generation comes with iOS 6 out of the box. Not that it is not the big of deal to upgrade an older device; however this just means that more consumers will be using the latest version of software.

Front Camera

The front facing camera received an upgrade. The iPad 4 is 1.2 megapixels and uses 720p at 30 frames per second compared to the iPad 3 which is 640 X 480 and uses 480p at 30 frames per second.

The rear facing camera are the same at 5-megapixels with 2592 x 1944 pixel resolution.


For some, these features will not be enough for an upgrade. As for the 4th-gen iPad, I wholeheartedly recommend it over the iPad mini, as well as an upgrade from the iPad 1 or 2.

However, there’s just no reason at this point to upgrade from a 3rd-gen iPad. Yes, the latest iPad is the most powerful now, but unless you have unlimited amounts of money you will not see the cost benefit. Let us all cross our fingers that this will not be updated for at least a year.

Top 5 Free Antivirus Software for Windows

Antivirus software provides essential protection for your PC from virus, trojan, spyware, worm, adware, root kit and key logger infections. One of these nasty infections could expose key personal information or stop your computer from working. As powerful as the web is, it is also a very dangerous place. However, installing antivirus software does not mean you have to break the bank. Some of the best antivirus software are free and have what it takes to keep your PC safe.

If you’re tired of expensive antivirus packages that slow your PC down then these free antivirus programs are the way to go.

AVG Anti-Virus Free Edition

AVG Anti-Virus Free Edition  is an excellent choice, if not the best for a free antivirus. AVG Anti-Virus Free is a full-fledged antivirus and anti-spyware tool, includes an email scanner, link scanner, scheduled scanning options, automatic updates, and more. AVG has been certified to remove 100% of in-the-wild viruses

Cons: Unfortunately AVG free has grown considerably in size, has very slow scan speeds and advertisements (but they can be disabled). AVG Free Edition does not provide adware/spyware removal (though it is available in the paid version of the product).

Avast! Free

Avast! Free Antivirus is improving its detection rates over the past few years “heuristics engine” and now ranks with the some of the best. Avast has the following features: full real-time capabilities including web, e-mail, IM, P2P and network shields, boot-time scanning, and a behavioral blocker. This program is also very light on resources.AVAST has been making this antivirus product since 1988 and is often cited as the most installed antivirus product. It also has a large user support community in case you need any help.

Cons: Average scores in PCMag’s malware blocking test.

Microsoft Security Essentials

Microsoft Security Essentials is a another fan favorite with great detection rates, particularly for rootkits. Microsoft Security Essentials has very few false positives, is light on resources and is good at removal of existing malware. MSE is a great choice for average users because of the minimal user interaction required. It is directly from Microsoft and it’s very easy to see if your computer is secure from threats: if the icon next to your clock is green, you’re in good; if it’s red, something is wrong.

Cons: The main downsides are the slow scan speeds and the lengthy amount of time it takes to quarantine malware.

Panda Cloud Antivirus

Panda Cloud Antivirus  protects you from several kinds of malware threats – viruses, worms, Trojans, adware, and more – just like all the other free antivirus programs in this list. Along with Microsoft Security Essentials, it is an excellent choice for average users with a simple interface and completely automated features with automatic updating and removal of malware. What makes Panda Cloud Antivirus one of the top free antivirus programs is that it does its job from “the cloud” meaning the  antivirus work that typically slows down a computer is done on computers elsewhere on the Internet, freeing up your computer to work like nothing is happening.

Cons: As many free program installs Panda Cloud Antivirus tries to install a toolbar and set Yahoo! as your browser’s home page during the installation process so uncheck the boxes before continuing if you don’t want them.

Avira AntiVir Personal Edition

Avira AntiVir Personal Edition protects you from viruses, Trojans, worms, spyware, adware, and various other kinds of malware, making it a fully functional anti-malware tool. AntiVir does not include web or e-mail scanning capabilities; this is only available in the paid version.

On installation, AntiVir schedules a daily full scan. You can, of course, change the schedule or add your own scheduled events. By default its configuration page shows only basic settings.

Cons: One con about Avira AntiVir Personal was the configuration you have to complete after installation which might be difficult if you’re a computer novice.


A lot of time was spent comparing free antivirus programs and there are many more that are not on this list. Each individual may have a different need or use for antivirus software.

Unfortunately no package excelled in every area. Some were lightweight but less accurate, others were good at detecting malware but had a significant performance on your system.Picking a winner inevitably involves some compromises and may vary depending on your requirements.

After weighing the results the program that gets my first place vote is : AVG Free 2012. It has plenty of features and is lightweight making AVG Free 2012 a good all-round winner of the best free antivirus award.

Stay connected with shared iCloud calendars

Keeping track of family members’ busy schedules can always be a challenge, but it can be easier by sharing calendars via Apple’s iCloud. Listed below are ways an iCloud-using family can stay connected.

Set up an iCloud Account

  1. First make sure your device is running the latest iOS version
  2. If you did not set up iCloud when you got your iPad, iPhone or iPod then select Settings –> iCloud and either enter your Apple ID or create a free Apple ID
  3. On a Mac go to System Preferences and select iCloud to configure
  4. Under iCloud Settings verify that calendar is selected On

Sharing calendars with multiple iCloud accounts

Sharing calendars requires users to share and subscribe to each others’ calendars.  These events may not be limited to just one family and can be shared with anyone who has an iCloud account.  Sharing all of the events that you add to a particular calendar can be accomplished by performing the following tasks:

  1. Create a New Calendar in iCal by selecting File –> New Calendar –> iCloud 
  2. Select the Calendar you created in iCal’s Calendar List View on the left and then select the Share Calendar option from the edit menu
  3. Type the invitee’s email address in the Name or email address area and press Done
  4. Click the pop-up menu with the invitee’s name and choose access privileges (View & Edit or View Only)
  5. For each person you want to share the calendar with, repeat steps 3 and 4


Invitation emails are then sent out from your iCloud account to the emails you entered in step 3. The recipient must click the join calendar button in the email for the shared calendar to appear in iCal.

Create calendar using a family iCloud account

Having a single family iCloud account is another way to have a shared family calendar.  Anyone can add any event at any time and everyone will see it instantly.  Once the initial set up and configuration is complete, this can be the easiest way to share a calendar.  Here is what you need to do to set up a shared iCloud account on your family’s devices:

  1. On the first or primary family member’s device you need to create a new AppleID at and set up an iCloud account associated with that AppleID. See above on how to set up iCloud
  2. In the Settings of each family member’s iOS device (iPad, iPhone, iPod), add a new account using the AppleID and password you just created.
  3. In the System Preferences of each family member’s Mac, add a new account using the AppleID and password you just created.
  4. On all devices, ensure that the Calendar option is turned on in each account’s respective mail settings.

Once all of the devices are configured, you just start creating calendars and adding events as if it was your own personal account.  You can also use this one iCloud account to share notes, reminders and contacts.  Basically it keeps all of your family’s events up to date under one account.

Upfront there might be a lot of events being added to the calendar, so there will be a lot of notifications that are sent to your device. To silence calendar alerts go to Settings –> Sounds –>  Calendar Alerts and select none.


With these options you should be able to manage your families busy calendar. You can select one of the options or use a combination of them based on your needs. Try one with your family to see what works best for you!

Ask Techerator: Can I copy photos from my iPad to an external hard drive?

As the popularity of Apple’s mobile devices like the iPad continues to increase, consumers are looking at ways to replace their personal computers for an iPad. This frequently raises a question: Is there a way to connect an external drive to the iPad to transfer photos?

The short answer is no you cannot directly connect an external drive to your iPad; however, I have listed some alternatives below.

Option 1: Syncing to computer

The easiest way to store photos from iPad to external drive is to transfer the files to your computer first. Before setting up syncing, make sure the latest version of iTunes is downloaded. You can change your sync options at any time.

How to sync via USB

  1. Connect the iOS device to your computer using a USB cable.
  2. For Mac users select iPhoto, on the left hand side you should see the iPad listed under device. To Import select the photos and select import.
  3.  On a Windows PC the autoplay window will pop up when the iPad is plugged in. Click “Import Pictures and Videos using Windows”. Select Import.
A few other ways to transfer photos to PC is by using iCloud or Dropbox.

Once all photos have been synced to your PC you can then plug-in your external hard drive to copy them over.

Option 2: Connecting to external hard drive

As mentioned above there is no direct connection between the iPad and external drive. However, currently on the market there are a few wi-fi drives that can be used in conjunction with the iPad.

Kingston Wi-Drive

Image Credit: Kingston

As an external hard drive, the Kingston Wi-Drive supports both PCs and Macs and iPad’s out of the box, but its performance is about the same as a USB flash drive. The downfall is that it is about $60 for only 32 GB of storage.

Access to the drive is done over the 802.11 g/n protocol, just like your typical home wireless hub and can be shared with 2 people. This device is a great way to add storage to your iPad, but with the small amount of storage it is not a great long-term storage option.

Seagate GoFlex Satellite

If you are looking to transfer our photos from iPad to eternal drive without using a PC, then the Seagate GoFlex Satellite  is the best option. It has a built-in wireless-N access point (with a 150 ft range), to which up to three wireless devices can connect.

For the best experience you will need to download the iPad app Go Flex Media. The app can also download selected content from the GoFlex Satellite drive onto the iPad so that you can access them without having to use the drive, or when the drive is out of battery. The downloaded content can only be played and viewed via the GoFlex Media app, it can’t be integrated into the iPad’s library.

Image Credit: Seagate

The GoFlex comes with 500GB of storage space for about $160, which is more expensive than the Kingston drive, but offers a substantial more storage space.


While you cannot directly attach an external drive to the iPad to copy photos, you do have a few options to perform this task. If you have a better method of getting photos over to an external drive feel free to leave a comment below!