Localphone.com

One of our favorite VOIP companies – Localphone.com is offering a incredible deal this week. If you refill an existing account or fund a new account with $10, they will provide you with 100% bonus credit worth up to $10. In other words, if you fill it with $10, they add $10 to your account and you end up with double the amount at $20. Plus, they have one of the lowest rates around for international calls so better take advantage now.

Simply use the Coupon code ECBONUS_100 when filling up your account.

www.localphone.com


It’s no secret that we’re fan of the Android platform, due in part to the various Google services we use. So for the Apple fans, here is a no-biased review of the virtual assistant feature available through Google Now and Siri. So which one is better?

Well, watch the video from Cnet. Spoiler alert, the results are somewhat of a toss-up. Google is better are getting information from the broader web while Siri is better at managing apps on the iPhone.


It’s been awhile since we did a DIY project due to time. However, we do miss working with our hands and building things. So this weekend, we went to our local Microcenter and purchased the Raspberry Pi SOC computer. For those not familiar, Raspberry Pi, is a tiny microcomputer based on the ARM processor (The same ones you use in your phone). The computer only cost $35-40 in stores and online and you can use it built all kind of fun projects. It was originally designed by a college in UK to teach kids to program. However, it was also a hit with the DIY crowd who built robots, media players and other fun stuff with it. For our project, we build  one of our favorite TV media player – XBMC, with the pi.

It’s amazing that something so tiny can power a full 1080P screen and playback movies and video in silky smooth quality. So if you’re itching for a fun weekend, we can’t recommend the Raspberry Pi enough. If you want to follow our lead, you can download the Elec files for XBMC that was customized for the Pi.

Raspberry Pi Model B Revision 2.0 (512MB)

http://www.raspberrypi.org/

http://www.openelec.tv/


One secret cable companies hope their customers never find out about is the abundance of over the air HD TVchannels available for free. However, most people don’t realize that over the air channels are available or think the channels will be fuzzy or static. The truth is, because all tv channels are digital now, you will either get the channels or not. In fact, you will get a better picture over the air than through cable because the channels are uncompressed.

One of the easiest way to get over the air reception is to use an antenna like the Mohu Leaf Paper-Thin Indoor HDTV Antenna – Made in USA. However, if you’re a tinker at heart who like DIY yourself projects, we may have another option for you that can save you a few bucks. After cancelling our cable subscription, we were looking to purchase the Leaf. While the pricing wasn’t an issue, we didn’t want to have a white patch blocking the light from our window, where we would’ve mounted our antenna. So instead, we searched online for DIY projects for antennas. Most were of the kind using metal coat hangers, which didn’t please the slim aesthetics of the window sill antenna. That is until we found the design for foil paper based antenna. The antenna only use foil paper, cardboard, and clear plastic sheet (So it won’t block the light coming into the window). Total cost of materials – $5. We decided to make it a weekend project and was blown away by the results. We were able to pick up almost all local channels with crystal clear reception from an antenna made out of foil that look like snow flake in our window. So if you’re in the market for an indoor antenna, this can be a quick fun project to test out.

We found our design on this website:

http://www.htpc-diy.com/2012/04/diy-flexible-fractal-window-hdtv.html

With data caps implemented at most carriers, most users are always looking for way to save precious data. Not to mention travelers who do not want to pay the exorbitant roaming charges. Gowex, a wifi services known in Europe has finally launched in NYC. Granted, you will see ads with the free service but free is free. So next your in NYC and need a free wifi connection, you may want to download the Gowex app and enjoy the free wifi coverage.

http://www.gowex.com/en/free-wifi/app-gowex-wifi-free/

Every day, there seem to be more and more prepaid MVNO (Mobile Virtual Network Operator) popping up. Here is another one that just launched with one big difference. GoSmart Mobile is wholly owned by T-Mobile, 100%.  Another difference is the that all the plans are unlimited with great prices.

$30-Unlimited Talk and Text

$35-Unlimited Talk, Text, and Web (Slow 2G Edge Data)

$45-Unlimited Talk, Text, and Web (3G with no caps)

The $45 plan matches what Sprint offers with their Virgin Mobile brand but with no data caps. In addition, because it uses the T-Mobile network, you can use any unlocked phone you like with SIM card kit for $8 instead of purchasing a new phone. So you can even use your unlocked iPhone on the service. As always with prepaid, there is no contract and no surprise fees. In addition, they bested their own postpaid plan with low cost add on for International text and calling.

For addition fees below:

$5 – Unlimited International Text to over 200 countries

$10-Unlimited calling to to over 200 countries

This is a great service for those looking to have one phone service to do everything. For $40, $30 plus $10 international calling, you can pretty much call anywhere in the world without additional fees

https://www.gosmartmobile.com/

 

If you’re been watching Netflix on the big screen, you probably either have the Apple TV or the Roku player on your tv shelf. However, there is a new product that just may warrant an upgrade if you’re in the market for a streaming player for Netflix or other Internet TV sources – WD TV Play.

While the Play may resemble the Roku or the Apple TV in design and color. There is one big difference and the feature that pushed us to purchase the previous version of this player – USB Playback. While the Roku or Apple TV excels at streaming Netflix or Hulu, they can’t playback videos or movies you saved on an external hard drive. The WD TV Play on the other hand, can play back almost all video format from the USB port. So you can download a movie from the web or from your camera and play it directly back on the player. At only $60 retail, it’s definitely the player to beat.

WD TV Play

Ever wanted to learn how to built a website or create a game for iPad? Well, today is one of the best days to sign up for Treehouse – One of the premier online learning sites for web design and programming. The gold package usually cost $490 a year, they’re running a special promotion with AppSumo for only $49 a year. Better hurry, the offer ends tonight.

http://www.appsumo.com/~fgjqb/


We’ve been gamers from the late eighties and we owned quit a few systems over the years. From the original NES to the XBOX 360, we grew up with the gaming industry in general. However, sad part is, over the years, the cost of gaming systems and games have gone up astronomically.

Look like there is at least one company looking to change that – OUYA. Founded by former gaming industry executives, the company does a few thing differently. First, the new OUYA gaming system only cost $99 and powers by the NIVIDIA Tegra 4 processor (Same class of speed and power as the latest iPads). Second, the system has no physical discs for games. Instead all games are stored in the cloud and free to play during trials. This not only solve of the problem of buying a bad game but also lower the barrier for independent developers to push out unique games to the TV screen.

While we can’t say it’ll win over the PS3 and XBOX 360 crowd just yet but at $99, it sure won’t hurt to try to something new.

ouya

Travel Agent – Useful in an Expedia world?

31 Jan 2013 In: Travel

We missed this article awhile back on NY Times. In the age of Internet travel websites, one would think that travel agents would be obsolete. To a certain degree, that is the case. However, as the article shows, there are still times when it would pay to hire a travel agent versus going to the Internet.

For example, for many foreign country travels, an agent with specialized knowledge and relationships can often get you a better price than the Internet travel sites. For example, agents in the ethnic Chinese neighborhood of Flushing can often get you tickets to China for only $899. While many travel sites have the same ticket for over $1400. Just goes to show, it pays to shop around. Even offline.

http://frugaltraveler.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/02/14/is-the-best-travel-search-engine-around-the-corner/

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