Author page: Keaton Taylor

Do You Need A Data Plan?

Most all of us have at one point or another been robbed by our mobile phone carriers by the ridiculously expensive data plans, and while we continue to believe that we need these data plans I’m saying to my carrier AT&T “thanks, but no thanks.” Over the summer I flew half way across the globe to Singapore for a nice and relaxing vacation. Due to the nature of international voice and data roaming you can imagine my unwillingness to pay the ridiculous fees associated with using my phone while abroad. Thus, I was stuck with only the public WiFi connections I could find. Before my trip I dreaded this fearing that I would become incredibly disconnected from my life on the Internet and moments before the trip wishing there was some way I could afford that $199 200MB international data roaming plan.

Thankfully the place I stayed had a free wireless access and allowed me to make free calls back to the U.S. using my Google Voice account. During the first day in the actual city my need for connectivity was starting to grow. I wanted to check my email, read the latest technology news, see the newest viral video and while the city was dotted with public wireless access the always on connectivity of cellular data just seemed far superior. I wanted to access the information and wanted to do it while I was moving. Not while sanding around in some coffee shop or McDonalds. After the first few days I started giving up on wireless access, it was becoming to difficult to keep a connection and it was never reliable for more than a few minutes.

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Rumor: Apple Pushing OS X Lion to App Store Servers

If you are here you’ve probably noticed that the iTunes and Mac App Store are both running extremely slow. I myself have attempted to download a few apps for my iPad and my Mac and have been stuck waiting for quite some time. After looking around on the Apple developer forums most of us are convinced this slowness is due to Apple pushing Mac OS X Lion to the App Store servers.

If you were/are wanting to download anything from the App Store we suggest you wait a few hours until things go back to normal. We will keep you posted on any more developing news as we receive it.

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How To: Set Up Facebook Video Calling on Lion

You might have heard that Facebook announced Video Calling with the help of Skype on their service today. You might have also noticed that if you are running a pre-release version of Mac OS X Lion it simply does not work. In reality the Facebook video calling feature will work on Lion but is blocked due to the unofficial nature of Mac OS X Lion. Below are a few simple steps to get Facebook Video Calling working on any modern browser in Mac OS X Lion.

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Why Linux Distributions Will Never Be Mainstream

Throughout the history of software there has always been people who prefer customization over simplicity. In the more modern era of computer software the most evident example of this phenomenon is Linux distributions. A distribution of software cobbled together into one massive bundle that seems to be held together by an elastic band. Normally these operating systems are outdated and are almost always neglected by mainstream software developers. For example, Adobe Flash on Linux seems to only work if you pray to the Adobe gods before loading any flash content.

I’ll admit over the years this cobbled bundle has become more refined and in rare cases Linux distributions like Ubuntu can actually be useful. However, many issues still exist that make it impossible for a mainstream user to ever become familiar with the complexities inherit in all open source applications. This is caused simply by the unorganized method in which open source software is created. Imagine writing a letter, then giving that letter to your neighbor and allowing him or her to edit the letter along with adding their own letter to the same paper. The person who eventually reads this letter might end up being somewhat confused. Now imagine allowing thousands of people to edit the letter and add their own. By the time someone finally reads the finish product it would be total chaos.

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What Is OAuth and How Can it Make the Internet Safer?

Over the last few months I’ve been working on discovering the functionality of the OAuth standard. OAuth (Open Authorization) is an open standard for authorization. It allows users to share their private resources (e.g. photos, videos, contact lists) stored on one site with another site without having to hand out their credentials, typically a username and password.

So lets assume some third-party website like Dropbox wants to import your photos from Facebook. The way this would work is Dropbox would first redirect you to If you had been logged into Facebook already it would ask you to allow the Dropbox website access to your Facebook information, in this case your photos. If you had not been logged in it would ask you to log into Facebook as usual and then would continue as stated above. Once you had allowed Dropbox access, Facebook would redirect you back to the Dropbox page and the download of your photos would begin.

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How To: Speed Up Your PC Without New Hardware

So you just finished building your first custom PC. You’ve installed all of the state-of-the-art equipment and the latest and greatest operating system. You press the power button for the first time and you are amazed at how fast it loads. It is a truly mesmerizing experience. If you’re a geek you know what I’m talking about. It feels great right? Well get this, you might not be getting the most out of that awesome PC. I myself recently realized that my custom build PC was not running at 100% and that after a few simple modifications I gained a 20% increase in speed without any new hardware. These tweaks where due to my lack of knowledge and overall haste when originally building this PC.

Before we get started I wanted to say something that causes many slowdowns on new systems. These slowdowns are caused by users installing drivers from the CD included in your hardware packaging. These CD’s contain outdated drivers and sometimes broken software.  Some of the biggest speed increases you will ever see will be by simply updating these drivers. Most driver updates can be found on the website of the hardware manufacturer. Before continuing with any other tweaks be sure to always download and install the latest drivers first. Okay, now we can move on.

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AT&T to Impose Caps on Home Internet

Broadband Reports has learned that starting May 2nd, AT&T will start imposing bandwidth caps for both DSL and u-Verse internet services. Between March 18th and 31st, AT&T users will receive  notices informing them of the change in the company’s terms of service. AT&T spokesman Seth Bloom confirms to Broadband Reports after initial contact with him last Friday. According to AT&T, the cap will involve overage charges, similar to the ones we see on AT&T mobile devices. However, only users who consistently exceed the new caps for three months will have to deal with these charges that are set to $10 for ever 50GB over.

This is absolute idiocy. AT&T claims that the average DSL customer uses around 18GB per month, and that the new rate cap will only affect 2% of its subscribers. The goal is to eliminate excessive bandwidth usage from the top 2% and eliminate congestion on their data network. Really… how much would AT&T save? Lets assume the top 2% goes over the monthly allotted bandwidth by 50GB.

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Mac App Store to Ignite Mac Gaming

I’ll admit my previous article about the Mac App Store was less than approving. I mentioned five different things that could potentially bring the store to its knees. However, after almost two months the store is alive and well. Maybe not as good as the iOS store, but I see no signs of it failing anytime soon.

I recently began discovering new apps via the Mac App Store, looking around for utilities and things that would make me go wow, but was disappointed to find nothing of interest. I thought at that moment my suspicions of the store had been confirmed until something unexpected happened. By complete accident I clicked on Pangea Arcade, a simple retro style platform that brings together three classic arcade games with a modern twist. Over time I found many more games and slowly began to fill my Applications folder. A week passed and I was amazed at how little time it took to find, download and play games that let me relive my youth.

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LTE Explained: How It’s Going to Make Mobile Better.

Picture this: you’re sitting at the Super Bowl about to text your buddy about the awesome game. After typing your message and hitting send you are greeted with this message: “The message can not be sent at this time. Please try again later.” Most of us have seen this before and all of us hate it. What exactly causes this? Over congested mobile towers and what seems to be little attempt from the carries to solve this growing problem that leaves hundreds of thousands each day with cellular headaches.

LTE, which is the next big thing in mobile telecommunications promises to alleviate these issues and provide end-users with more reliable connections. All the big mobile phone providers are jumping on board talking about how amazing their LTE is going to be vs. the competitors. So will LTE solve those cellular headaches?

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How To: Minimize Wireless Interference

Wireless network connections, also known as “WiFi” make it convenient for users to take advantage of their local network and Internet connection from various areas within their homes.  However, wireless slowdowns and dropouts can cause many headaches and nightmares. Many things in your home can interfere with your wireless network. These devices operate in the 2.4Ghz band, a highly crowded spectrum. To give you an example of how crowded let me list some devices that use 2.4Ghz.

  • Cordless Telephones.
  • Baby monitors.
  • Wireless security cameras.
  • Wireless keyboards and mice.
  • Nearby wireless networks.
  • Clear Internet Services.
  • Microwaves. (They don’t technically operate on 2.4Ghz, but can interfere.)
  • Bluetooth devices.
  • R/C Toys.
  • Some T.V. Remotes.
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What Possible Problems Could The Mac App Store Face?

Recently the good ole boys at 1 Infinite Loop announced that in ninety days we will see an App Store for the Mac. All over the internet people were cheering, hugging and discussing world peace (not really) because of this innovation. However, dark times may lie ahead young Mac user.

Problem #1:

Developers, Developers, Developers, Developers, Developers. I think you get the point. See as an app developer myself I can’t really seem to stomach paying for a developer license to submit my App into the Mac App Store and then have Apple take 30% of my profits when I know I could with a little more effort setup my own download site, get some payment method setup and take 100% not 70%. Also we are unaware if Apple is going to allow registered iPhone developers to submit applications into the Mac App Store or if those developers will need to pay another fee. This spells disaster and I really hope Apple chooses or has chosen wisely regarding this topic. If not the fate of the Mac App Store could be at stake.

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Advanced: Mac Security Guide

If you have not already read The Basics: Mac Security, now would be the time to ensure you have a complete understanding of the basics.

In the previous article we discussed the basics in Mac Security. Now we will be taking it one step further by explaining more advanced techniques to really lock down your computer. Note: Most of these steps will be for more advanced users really wanted to ensure their data is safe from theft or loss. Most average users will not need to worry about these features.

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The Basics: Mac Security

So you purchased a Mac and your surfing the web feeling safe, right? No pesky viruses, no worries about encrypting your data. Apple computers are immune to all those wonderful tricks of hackery, right? NO! Apple computers are just as vulnerable to online attacks like malware. A recent survey from Secunia ranked OS X one of the most vulnerable operating systems. Now don’t lets this prevent you from heading out and snatching up one of those sexy aluminum unibody Macs because today we will be discussing how to get your future Mac secured.

Regardless of the manufacturer, computers store gigabytes of information about our e-lives. Be it our favorite websites, school papers or maybe even email. We all have some type of personal information stored on our computers and without properly protecting it you could be in a world of hurt. In this two part series, I’m going to discuss details to keep your Mac computer safe from intrusion or information theft.

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Mac User Guide: Tips & Tricks

If it’s one thing we have heard about Apple computers it is that they are expensive, can’t be customized and everything is made for someone without a brain. However, Apple in truth provides one of the most customizable and feature rich operating systems currently on the market. In an attempt to redeem the Mac OS I’ve compiled a list of tips tricks and features.

One of the more interesting features about a Mac is it’s unique dock. Applications are placed in the left of the dock to allow easy access to your most used programs. Folder are placed in the right of the dock for ease of access. Here are a few pointers for customizing your dock.

  • By default when applications are minimized they go into the right part of the dock. This can be redundant and kind of annoying. To have your applications minimize into the application icon in the dock simply navigate to System Preferences (This is by default in the dock. If not click the Apple logo in the upper left then click System Preferences.) Inside System Preferences you’ll find under the Personal options Dock. By clicking it you’ll be presented with all the options for your mac dock. To enable windows minimized to the application icon tick the box “Minimize windows into application icon”
  • Stacks are a really cool feature in OS X. Not only does it make the folders placed in the dock look really bad ass it also gives you the ability to customize the look of your folders in the dock. Simply find a photo any photo and place it in the folder you want to customize. Rename the photo to *.jpg (Yes that is an asterisk.) This will ensure the photo you select is always in the front of the stack. That is it! You have a completely customized icon for your stack.
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