Microsoft Lumia 950: It Could Be Better

The Lumia 950 is Microsoft's attempt to turn your phone into something like a full-on Windows PC. It is built to move you to the next level of worker productivity. Unfortunately it comes up a little short.

The first Windows 10 device is designed to extend the benefits of the Windows experience to the smart phone. The goal is to use the phone to power a desk type experience to a monitor. This includes syncing office documents and photos across all your devices and connecting with the Windows store so your favorite apps, game, music and video are all in one place.

On the plus side, the phone does have a nice quad HD display, 5.2 inches, 564 pixels per square inch. USB-C for fast charging and a large capacity battery. The attractive display is easy to read outdoors. It is scratch resistant with a strong display glass.

Photo quality is on-par with the best smartphones. "Rich Capture" provides a triple LED natural flash. You can adjust the color saturation levels of bright or dark areas. A 20 MP sensor attempts to effectively eliminate motion blur. The quality camera image holds up even in low light.

The phone is constructed of plastic, a negative for some. The battery can be removed and it does has a microSD card slot which many phones do not. The Cortana voice assistant is also included.

Microsoft's secret sauce to all this is the Windows Continuum. The goal is to connect your Lumia 950 to a Microsoft Display Dock and use it with an external monitor, keyboard and a mouse. Office apps and Outlook can be scaled up to create a big screen optimized work environment. The idea is maintain productivity even without a laptop.

The Continuum feature is not really available in Android or iPhone devices. It will take some finesse to get it set up and some experimentation with the right type of cables etc. to make it work.

Once you have it together and working, whether it be in a hotel room or conference area, you can share a PowerPoint presentation or a video on large screen. When done you can undock your phone. Then you can resume working on the same project in a matter of minutes.

Many report problems with typing on the device. Automated spell check is not available. It will take longer to correct errors.

Windows 10 brings a few other additions to the Lumia 950. One is Windows Hello, now in beta mode. Hello is iris-scanning recognition software. It works by just starting into the phone.

App selection for a Windows phone still remains challenging. The platform is not supported by Google. Those who rely on Gmail, Google Maps, Google Drive, and Google Docs will have to find third party applications or go directly to the web for usage.

Pricing starts at $ 550 in the US and will be determined by carrier. A larger 5.7 "inch XL version is scheduled to be introduced later and will cost more.

The 950 is a good start for Microsoft to bring more productivity to the smart phone, but not the end result many were expecting. Unfortunately the design is not really anything new, Continuum set-up can be challenging, and a lack of apps is troublesome.

Windows fans may seize the opportunity to jump on the Lumia bandwagon and work through some of the phone's shortcomings.

Others will wait until Microsoft fixes some of the inherit problems with not only the phone but the Continuum system itself before giving it a more serious look.

How to Find Affordable Automobile Insurance in Arizona

Finding affordable automobile insurance for your Arizona vehicle may not be a difficult as you think. Shop around on the Internet for alternative quotes from various companies.

There are discounts and savings that you may not be aware of as follows:

1. Multi-Line Discount: Insurance companies offer discounts to policyholders that have more than one line of insurance coverage with them. Seek insurance quotes from the insurance company that is currently writing your homeowner or renter’s insurance policy. Be sure to make them aware that you have other lines of coverage placed with them, especially if you’re seeking quotes over the internet.

2. Non-smokers: Non-smokers are a more favorable risk to insurance companies than non-smokers. Now would be a good time to kick the habit for both your health and your pocket.

3. Vehicle Safety Features: Newer vehicles come equipped with airbags and automatic seatbelts. These features and others like anti lock brakes will server to lower your auto premiums.

4. Higher Deductibles: How much can you afford to pay out of pocket in the event of a collision or comprehensive loss? If you can afford to pay the first $500 or even $1,000, you will earn a premium discount for the higher deductible. Get alternative quotes with various deductibles. Make sure the premium savings is worth the extra out of pocket expense. Remember, the deductible applies to each loss, not just the first one.

5. Accident Free: How is your driving record? If you have a clean driving record without accident or points, ask your insurance company for a clean driver discount. Companies may call it by different names, but make sure you specifically ask the question how much is my clean driving record saving me?

6. Multiple Auto: Insuring two vehicles with one insurance company is cheaper than two separate policies. If you have more than one vehicle, it only makes sense to cover them under the same policy.

Wireless Computer Headsets For Your Convenience

The present era is the age of wireless gadgets. The days of wired gadgets are now passé. The same can be said about wireless computer headsets. When headsets for computers were first introduced, they were of the wired variety. Notwithstanding their popularity, many users would complain that the wires got in the way of doing routine tasks and would reduce their mobility and freedom. With the advancement in technology, folks have now become used to wireless computer headsets. You can use wireless headsets to listen to your favorite music or watch a favorite video from your couch or seat without the wires getting in between you and your favorite activity.

Wireless computer headsets are now a common option available to people, unlike the past. At that time, wireless computer headsets were something of a rarity and were quite expensive as well. This made wired headsets the only option available. Things changed however, when wireless headsets were introduced. This has brought down the price of wired headsets to a considerable extent and many people have already taken the advantage of their low price and easy availability.

The additional benefit of using a wireless PC headset is flexibility. With these gadgets, it is not necessary for you to be in front of your PC. You can be away from it and still use it or chat to people in a crystal clear manner. Some of the best of these wireless gadgets will help you even filter out unwanted noise as well.

If you have been using the more traditional wired headsets before, then you would like to know if purchasing a wireless gadget would be worth it. Going by the price and the voice fidelity, these gadgets have come up to the expectations and perform as good as their wired cousins. When wireless headsets for computers were first introduced, the signal would easily get disturbed because of interference. But with the improvement in technology, there has been a positive development in the quality of sound produced by the wireless equivalents, so they can easily transmit and receive data with the computer.

The life span of these gadgets is also comparable to their wired equivalent and if used properly, wireless computer headsets have a long life as well. The only precaution you need to follow is that you should not drop these gadgets frequently or else the wireless circuits could get damaged permanently. Finding these gadgets should not be a problem since you can easily locate that at your favorite electronics store. You can even search for these on the Internet at really affordable prices.

Privacy Issues Surrounding Biometric Technology

The terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center have provoked in-depth discussion and study of existing security measures, their deficiencies, and how to enhance security to prevent similar terrorist attacks from occurring in the future. Biometric technology has risen to the top of the list as a possible solution. The government is not the only entity exploring biometric security systems. The financial services industry see biometrics as a way to curb identity theft. Biometrics are intrinsic physical characteristics used to identify individuals. The most commonly used biometric is fingerprints but others include, handprints, facial features, iris & retinal scans, and voice recognition.

Soon after 9/11 there were calls for the issuance of national ID cards containing biometric information on an RFID chip implanted on the card. The argument is that national ID cards will increase security by identifying individuals with their unique fingerprints which are much more difficult to counterfeit than standard photo ID cards. There is also a movement toward biometric passports. It looks like biometric passports are coming soon. National ID cards may follow.

Biometric identification is nothing new. Humans have been identifying other humans biometrically since the beginning of time. You recognize people you know by their facial features, their voice, and other biometric features. What’s new is introducing technology into the mix that compares a given biometric with a stored database of biometrics to verify the identity of an individual. An individual place their finger on a fingerprint scanner and the image is compared with the database to verify the person’s identity. Promising as it is, biometric technology has not been without hiccups but biometrics are advancing quickly and becoming more and more prevalent in security systems.

Fingerprints are the most commonly used biometric identifiers. The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) conducted a study that showed single fingerprint biometric systems had a 98.6 percent accuracy rate. The accuracy rate rose to 99.6 percent when 2 fingerprints were used and an almost perfect 99.9 percent when 4 or more fingerprints were used. The study results show that biometric identification is nearly perfect which is not surprising given the uniqueness of human fingerprints.

The US-VISIT program, which is an acronym for United States Visitor & Immigrant Status Indicator Technology, currently requires foreign visitors to the US to present a biometric passport containing 2 fingerprints and a digital photo for identification purposes before being granted admission to the U.S. Of course the biometrics are compared against a vast network of government databases full of known and suspected terrorists and other criminals.

On the surface biometric technology may sound like a panacea but it’s use has raised significant privacy concerns that need to be addressed. Here are six major privacy concerns: storage, vulnerability, confidence, authenticity, linking, and ubiquity.

Critics wonder how the data will be stored and how vulnerable it will be to theft or abuse. Confidence issues center around the implications of false positives and false negatives. Can the biometric data be used to link to other information about the individual such as marital status, religion, employment status, etc.? And finally ubiquity. What are the implications of leaving electronic “bread crumbs” to mark a trail detailing every movement an individual makes?

Until these issues are addressed, privacy advocates will lead a charge to resist biometric technology claiming it as a way for the government to assume a “Big Brother” type of rule as described in George Orwell’s novel 1984. But protest as they may, it’s likely national security concerns and the ability of biometric systems to enhance the security of US border and possibly prevent another major terrorist attack will win out over privacy concerns.