CyanogenMod quickly brings Android 4.2.2 to many devices

CyanogenMod 4.2.2

With all the excitement surrounding Android 4.2.2 this week, as you look down at your non-Nexus phone or tablet you may be feeling more than a little left out. Fortunately, the CyanogenMod team has worked quickly to release nightly builds of CM 10.1 to their lineup.

It’s not always easy to sift through an Android update, as history has taught the CyanogenMod team. Previous Android updates that seemed small on the outside have often had so much underlying code that the merge took weeks. Android 4.2.2 is all about polish, slightly changing dozens of tiny things across the operating system. Adding colons and changing font size, as well as fixing some known performance and Bluetooth bugs.

There are more than a few tiny changes, but now that the changes are live in the Android Open Source Project, Android developers can get to work merging the changes into their own projects. CyanogenMod, as one of the largest third party Android OS developers, will be releasing updates to their lineup of supported smartphones over the weekend.

Android 4.2.2

On top of the Nexus devices that are already running Android 4.2.2, CM10.1 nightlies for the T-Mobile Samsung Galaxy S3, Galaxy Note 2, Galaxy Tab P1000, and Asus Trnasformer Prime Infinity are available. Throughout the weekend, more smartphones and tablets are likely to become available. The CM team briefly commented on their progress, noting that as one device in a “family” becomes available, the others will be quick to follow behind. So, if your carrier version of something like the Galaxy S3 isn’t available yet, you won’t be waiting for very long. All of the work being done here continues toward the monthly stable release of CM10.1, which will be announced later this month.

CyanogenMod 10.1 remains the best way to bring your gadget to the latest version of Android, since even phones that will be announced next week will not get the update to Android 4.2.2 from the manufacturer for at least a couple of months. In the case of a phone like the Galaxy S3, whose version of Android is so heavily augmented by Samsung, it’s more likely that the Galaxy S4 will be released before an update is available.

Now read: Android 4.2.2 coming to most Nexus devices

Here’s How To Stop a Horrible Parody Twitter Account Before It Starts

Parody Twitter accounts are a pox on the internet. Comedian Jake Fogelnest, however, has done his part to prevent another one of these vile, unfunny things from becoming a thing.

Hello, this is @jakefogelnest. As a public service, I have registered this Twitter account to prevent another parody account.

— Russia Meteor (@RussiaMeteor) February 15, 2013

Just after the giant meteor hit Russia early this morning, Fogelnest rushed to Twitter to register @RussiaMeteor, so no one else could do it. We just wish he would have grabbed @RussianMeteor, too. Regardless, Jake Fogelnest is doing god’s work. [@RussianMeteor via Cracked via LaughterKey]

Karma 4G Hotspot: An Awesome Stash of Just-In-Case Internet

Having the ability to set up a Wi-Fi network wherever you need one can be great, but it can also come at a cost. Hotspots come with expensive plans, and more and more often, phone tethering does too. The Karma hotspot, on the other hand, is totally pay-as-you-go, and even comes with the built-in ability to accrue a (small) stash of data completely for free.

What Is It?

It’s contract-free, pay-as-you-go 4G hotspot built around the concept of “Social Bandwidth” and Facebook integration.

Who’s It For?

People who want a 4G hotspot they can have just in case, but don’t plan on using it regularly or don’t plan on using very much data.

Design

It’s a tiny little rounded squarish thing with an on/off switch and a microUSB port for charging. It’s got three little LEDs, one that lights up green when it’s on, one that lights up green when it’s able to generate a Wi-Fi network, and one that lights up red, yellow, or green to indicated 4G strength.

Karma 4G Hotspot: An Awesome Stash of Just-In-Case Internet

Using It

When you turn it on, the hotspot will start broadcasting an unsecured—and unsecurable— network named “[Your Name]’s Karma.” You can’t change this to “Free Karma by [Your Name],” or “Karma Wi-Fi”. When you connect to the hotspot, you’re asked to connect with Facebook which involves installing the Karma Facebook app. From there you’re off to the races, with a complimentary gig of data as a one-time bonus on your first activation.

If you’re connecting to someone else’s hotpot, you’ll go through a similar set up process, except with a step where you can interact with the hotspot’s owner The owner of the hotspot gets 100MB too.

If you run out of data (either of you) you’ll be prompted to buy some more at $14 per gig. All the data you buy is associated with your Facebook account, so you can use it on any Karma hotspot you find later on.

The Best Part

It can be free. If you don’t use much data and you’re out in public a lot, you can theoretically use this hotspot without ever paying for data. 100MB is plenty of data to check email, Twitter, Facebook, whatever, and you can just keep racking it up by dangling your unsecured Wi-Fi network in front of Internet-hungry strangers. Oh, and you get a free gig to start off with.

Tragic Flaw

The Facebook integration. Yes, this is inextricably linked to the best part, but it’s also just dumb. If you’re not a fan of Facebook, you’ll find the prompts to make unsolicited and frankly weird comments on a friend or stranger’s Karma activity awkward and stupid. And even as the owner of the hotspot, having it necessarily attached to that online profile can be kind of obnoxious. If you don’t have a Facebook account at all, you’re out of luck. Well, unless you make one.

This Is Weird…

If your privacy settings are strict enough, strangers’ interactions with you seem to disappear into the ether. So they’ll get that extra 25MB for shouting “hey doofus” at your wall, but the message doesn’t show up on yours or theirs. Weird as it is, this is probably a good thing.

Test Notes

  • If you can get a good connection, this hotspot is pretty fast. We clocked highs of 8mbps down (1.7 up) in open air on the streets, an average of around 6-7mpbs down (1.3 up) in buildings and crowded Wi-Fi space, and a low of around 1.5mpbs down (.3 up) in my apartment where all signals are dismal.
  • We were able to get about 7 hours of intermittent use out of a single charge.
  • We found the Karma hotspot’s signal to be available and strong pretty much anywhere a normal cell signal was. But Clearwire—which powers the hotspot—is only available in 80 cities, so plenty of places won’t get connection at all.

Should You Buy It?

Do you need backup 4G connectivity, but not to use all the time? Is there Clearwire coverage in your city? Then yes. At $79 a Karma hotspot isn’t too expensive by hotspot standards, but of course the real value comes in the form of not having to pay to not use it. It’s not the ideal hotspot for streaming a bunch of video or something, but it can be a great backup option to keep in your back pocket in case of an Internet emergency.

[Karma Hotspot]

Your Karma 4g Hotspot

• Weight: 2.1 oz
• Connection Type: 4G LTE
• Price: $79
• Gizrank: 4.0 stars

This Morning’s Google Doodle You Weren’t Meant to See

This Morning's Google Doodle You Weren't Meant to See

Google, topical as always, prepared one of its famed doodles in celebration of today’s passing asteroid and the fact that we’re all not post-apocalyptic shadows of our former selves. The Google Doodle team, however, couldn’t have anticipated how unfortunately relevant they actually would be following the unexpected and destructive meteor explosion over Russia.

The contraband doodle in question had the “g” in Google’s normal logo jump aside for the occasional pummeling projectile from space. It was, of course, quickly taken down, but Search Engine Land’s news editor Barry Schwartz spotted it before the removal. Google confirmed to ABC that it had removed the GIF out of respect saying:

Out of respect for those injured in the extraordinary meteor shower in Russia earlier today, we have removed today’s doodle from the Google homepage. The doodle was created to mark Asteroid 2012 DA14 passing Earth.

But as we all know, nothing on the Internet ever truly dies, and the logo can still be found right over here. [Search Engine Land]

Fooducate review: Best food rating app for iPhone

Best food rating app for iPhone: Fooducate

“If you want to be more consciously aware of the food you’re eating, Fooducate provides an amazing amount of information and user feedback that’ll help you do just that.”

If you’re trying to change your eating habits and eat healthier with less additives and better ingredients, Fooducate contains a wealth of information and user reviews about many of the foods we consume on a daily basis. Eating healthy doesn’t always mean counting calories or working out. What we eat can be just as important. Sure, a calorie is a calorie, but if you give your body calories from better quality foods, you get the benefits of vitamins, minerals, and nutrients that artificially processed foods with lots of additives, high fructose corn syrup, and other “empty” calories just can’t match.

Fooducate aims to help you be more aware of what’s actually in what you’re eating.

Look up information on many foods with Fooducate

The main premise of Fooducate is to give different types and brands of foods a letter grade. These letter grades are based on information provided by dietitians as well as user feedback. Sometimes looking at a label can lead to you only look at things like calories and fat. When in reality products like high fructose corn syrup can be just as harmful to your body in other ways.

Fooducate provides key information about products like artificial flavorings, colorings, and more. If you want to try a more specific diet like eating just whole grain products or going gluten-free, Fooducate will make the perfect companion as you can compare things you’re debating buying with other alternatives that users and dietitians have rated higher in quality and content.

Create a shopping list and share it with Fooducate

Some of the natural or “low calorie” foods I was eating really weren’t as good for me as I thought they were. Thanks to Fooducate I’ve been able to not only stray away from the foods that aren’t so great but pick from healthier alternatives.

When you open Fooducate you can simply start scanning bar codes of items in order to see what their rating is as well as compare them with other alternatives. You can also type key words into search such as “bagels” to see a list view. From there you can choose from popular or recent items under that category. The quick view for an item will show you the overall grade, calories per serving, and the percentage of users who have liked that item.

View detailed information on several foods with Fooducate

You can quickly view user comments as well as key facts with just a few taps. If you’ve found an item that you’d like to purchase you can also add it to your shopping list.

I’ve become fond of the shopping cart feature as it allows me to view and edit my list as well as replace items quickly with other recommended similar items. Once you’re done creating a shopping list you can share it via e-mail, Facebook, or Twitter. The lists section will also show a complete history of viewed foods as well. You can clear out the history at any time with just a tap.

Compare your food choices to others with Fooducate

Another nice feature of Fooducate are the “Healthy Me” checks on the main menu where you can see how you stack up against what other users are eating. It aggregates products you are viewing for the week and all time as well as what products you’ve liked. It then gives you a letter grade based on what you’ve liked and shows you a side by side comparison of what others are liking.

If you’re the type of person who likes to read about nutrition and food facts, the daily tips section will give you just that. It links into Fooducate’s blog that is frequently updated with information on health, wellness, and how they are related to the foods we eat daily. Reading through some of the entries has made me second guess some of the foods I was eating on a pretty regular basis.

The good

  • Finding and viewing information on foods couldn’t be a more painless process
  • The replace feature in the shopping list is a great way to swap out not so great options with better ones in just a few taps
  • Healthy Me checks are an easy way to see how you stack up against many other users
  • More food items are updated and added regularly

The bad

  • The UI could use some work as navigating through menus and back to the main browse foods section is a bit annoying
  • Sometimes manually searching for key words yields unrelated results

Conclusion

If you want to be more consciously aware of the contents in the food you’re eating, Fooducate provides an amazing amount of information and user feedback that’ll help you do just that. While many nutrition apps aim to help you lose weight, Fooducate stresses the importance of also eating foods that are good for your body as a whole.

Fooducate is available for free in the App Store now. You can also purchase the ad free version for $3.99.

Are you currently trying to eliminate certain types of additives from your diet? Share your experiences with us in our Health and Fitness Forums. If you’re looking to lose a few pounds, check out all our tops fitness picks are for Mobile Nations Fitness Month.

Free – Download now

Best nutritional and food information app for iPhone

Best nutritional and food information app for iPhone

When we think fitness we typically think of eating better being one of the very first steps to a healthier lifestyle. There are many apps in the App Store that provide nutrition information about the foods you eat, and in some cases, even healthier alternatives to help you make changes gradually.

We’ve scoured the App Store for the best apps when it comes to nutrition and learning to eat better. We looked for apps that would not only give you nutrition information but provide alternatives, help you shop for them, and let you track your progress when and if you wanted to.

Fooducate Plus was our all around top pick and here’s why…

User interface & design

Upon first launching Fooducate Plus, you’ll be asked to create an account with them or use your Facebook account to sign in. This is so Fooducate can store your information.

Once you’re inside Fooducate Plus you’ll be brought to the main home screen. This is where you’ll spend most of your time and where you access the barcode scanner, health tracker, and the browse foods section. You also have a static search bar at the top that allows you to search for any product by name or bar code number.

Tapping the top left menu button will slide out the main navigation where you have even more options. Here you can access any menu you’d like as well as drilled down menus for browsing common foods. Underneath the browse section you’ll have a lists section. This is where you can view history for all the items you’ve checked out as well as a list of things you have liked or added to your shopping list.

Returning back to the main home screen, you can tap on the scan option in order to scan an item. You’ll then see an informational type card that gives you some basic information on the food. The first thing you’ll probably notice is the letter grade. Next to that you’ll see how many calories per serving and how many users have liked that product. You also have the ability here to add a photo of the product.

Underneath the general information, you’ve got a few ways that you can interact with products. You can like them, dislike them, add them to your health tracker or shopping list, and view alternatives. These are the product cards you see from search or from any of the category sections.

Fooducate Plus keeps a home screen menu link on each page in the upper right hand corner which makes it very easy to return home from wherever you’re at instead of having to back out of a bunch of menus. This makes using Fooducate Plus while shopping more convenient than other options.

The overall user interface of Fooducate Plus is not only easy to navigate but doesn’t appear to be cluttered like some nutritional information apps can be. The side navigation menu has useful shortcuts and makes it quick to drill down and find the information you need. We also found the health tracker to be laid out better than other options that are out there. But we’ll get to the logistics of that a little later.

Finding and scanning foods

To look up a food with Fooducate Plus you can do one of two things, you can search for it by name or barcode or you can just scan it using the built-in camera on your iPhone. While grocery shopping, scanning is the best bet and probably the method most users will use.

In my experience, Fooducate Plus has a wealth of information and I very rarely run into items that they don’t have logged. Some off-brands may not be in their database but that’s to be expected with most regional stores or unique brands that aren’t nationwide.

If you’re at home and you either want to make a shopping list or need to look up items, you can do so without a barcode too. You can use the search bar at the top to search for items or tap on the browse icon. From the browse menu you can view several different categories from fruits and vegetables to breakfast foods to breads and carbs and more. You can search within any specified section as well to refine results even more. Some categories even have submenus to help you break down the results even further.

When you’re within a category of items you’ll notice there are tabs along the top to indicate top graded, popular, and recent. These are accessible anytime you’re within a list of food items. If you’re looking for alternatives to foods you currently eat that are healthier, the popular tab is a good place to start. Another way to go about finding better foods is to find the food you’re currently eating and then view the alternatives for it and see if you can find anything with better nutritional content. I’ve found Fooducate Plus to offer many items for alternatives to almost every item I searched for.

In my experience, Fooducate Plus not only pulls in bar codes and food information accurately, it does it fast as well. I’ve almost always been able to find the food I’m looking for quickly as well as lots of information on it.

Nutrition advice and alternative food suggestions

Part of dieting and becoming healthier is finding better alternatives to foods that you’re currently eating that may not be so great. This is where Fooducate Plus really excels. Not only can you view the current foods you eat and the nutritional information for them, you can also view alternatives that are better for you.

Scanning a barcode or searching for an existing food will pull it up in search. From here you can tap on it to view the information. You’ll see the letter grade that was awarded to the food from Fooducate Plus. Next to that you’ll see the calorie count. If you tap on the calorie count you’ll then be taken to a screen that shows you all the nutrition information for that item.

Fooducate Plus also monitors many other pieces of data on food including GMO (genetically modified organisms). So if you’re worried about eating food that may be genetically altered, Fooducate Plus can give you that information most of the time. You can turn GMO alerts on or off within settings. Other information presented is how much fiber or how many nutrients you are getting.

Another nice feature of Fooducate Plus is the community. You can interact with Fooducate Plus and give your recommendations, likes, and dislikes as well as view other people’s. Towards the bottom of the food information screen you’ll see like and dislike buttons as well as an add button. This is where you can add that particular food to your health tracker or to your shopping list.

The last button on the food information screen is for alternatives. This really comes in handy when trying to find replacements for foods you already it. If you found one that received a bad letter grade and you want to try a healthier replacement, tap the alternatives button. Here you’ll be presented with a list of foods that are comparable to what you’re currently eating. This can help you choose one that is healthier, therefore cutting the unhealthy ones out of your regular diet.

Overall, Fooducate Plus does a very good job of making users more aware of what they’re eating. What I like about it is that it doesn’t just stop there, it also suggests alternatives which makes it easier to get out of bad habits and into better new ones.

Tracking calories and foods

If you’ve ever tried dieting and counting calories, you probably are used to jumping between apps in order to get information. Fooducate Plus actually has a health tracker built right in. It will allow you to set a calorie and food points limit. You can then add foods from Fooducate Plus right to the tracker where your data will be stored.

The Food Points system that Fooducate Plus offers is very similar to many other systems such as Weight Watchers. Each food that Fooducate has stored has a points value. When you’re adding them to your health tracker you’ll see how many points you’ve used for the day.

While I don’t think Fooducate Plus’ version of food points is as accurate or as scientific as a plan like Weight Watchers, it is a much cheaper alternative for users that don’t want to spent the pricey subscription fees those services charge. I personally use Weight Watchers and had the chance to compare what point values each service awards for food items and they typically were not the same. In some instances they were but I found the Fooducate Plus points to be on the low side compared to the Weight Watchers PointsPlus system.

If you aren’t interested in tracking points but plan on tracking calories and other nutrition information instead, Fooducate Plus is a great alternative that provides tons of information without the monthly subscription fee. You’ll get a health tracker to track calories and other helpful information complete with a progress chart to track weight information in as well. For no subscription fee, it’s pretty hard to beat. The only other app that would come close health tracker wise is My Fitness Pal but it lacks the food alternatives feature that Fooducate Plus offers.

Creating shopping lists

One of the best things about Fooducate Plus is how easy it makes shopping for healthier foods. I’ve used it in the past to build a shopping list before I even get to the store. This way I can think about my choices instead of just throwing things into the cart (I really hate grocery stores so I want to get in and out as fast as I can). Making a list helps with two things: I’m making sure our household is eating better and I’m saving money when I’m not buying crap we either won’t eat or don’t need to eat.

There are times when you’re at the grocery store and you see something you want and temptation sets in. This is where Fooducate Plus really helps. Just scan the bar code of the item and Fooducate Plus will give you information on the food as well as the letter grade. I’ve shied away from things when I see a low letter grade. If I’m dead set on getting it, I’ll look for alternatives within Fooducate Plus that may be better options. And more often than not, I’ll end up setting that item down.

When you enter the shopping list section of Fooducate Plus you’ll notice that each item is laid out nicely with an image, letter grade, and a check mark. As you find the items and add them to your shopping cart, you can simply check them off. Sometimes if there’s something I really have a craving for but know I shouldn’t have, I’ll add it but that glaring letter grade makes me not put it in my cart. Or I can tap on the item and try and find alternatives that my store carries once I’m there.

Overall, Fooducate Plus has made shopping trips much more pleasant in our household. We’re eating healthier foods and we’re making better decisions based on user reviews and the information that Fooducate Plus offers us. It’s about being more aware of what you’re eating and Fooducate Plus has helped us accomplish that.

Pricing

Fooducate Plus is currently priced at $3.99 for iPhone which is a deal for all the features you really get. They’ve also got a free, skimmed down version in case you’d like to try before you buy. There is no native iPad app but for most users, that won’t matter. Apps like Fooducate Plus are meant to be used on the go. The only thing I could see myself using an iPad app for is creating a shopping list while sitting around at home but I don’t need a larger screen in order to do that as the feature works just find on the iPhone.

Fooducate does offer other apps as well including nutrition and diet tracking apps for users that have diabetes and allergies. If these are conditions you or a loved one suffer from, the Fooducate suite of apps may very well be worth their weight in gold.

When comparing the price of Fooducate Plus to other options in the App Store, you’re getting a lot for that one time purchase. While the food points system isn’t as scientific or widely supported as something like Weight Watchers PointsPlus systems, you also aren’t paying a hefty subscription fee of over $20 month to use the service. It’s something they offer as a convenience to users that are purchasing their app.

I’ve never used Fooducate Plus as a personal diet tracker app on a regular basis but I use it as a companion app for shopping and making healthier decisions. And just for that, it’s well worth the money.

The bottom line

If you’re starting the new year off with plans to get in shape and become healthier, Fooducate Plus is a great investment that will help you meet those goals. Whether you’re counting calories or carbs, or just want to start making better decisions when it comes to what you’re eating, we’ve found Fooducate Plus to be the best option.

While there are lots of apps in the App Store that provide nutritional information, Fooducate Plus bundles that information with alternatives, a health tracker, and a community that in our experience, is rather large. This means you’re getting information from other users that are trying to make better decisions as well.

Whether you’re aiming to lose weight or just maintain your current weight, you can’t go wrong with Fooducate Plus to help along the way. At $3.99, you won’t be disappointed. And if you’re still hesitant, pick up the lite version first to give it a try.

  • $3.99 – Download Now

Kickstarter Releases Mobile App on iOS

Kickstarter is expanding its crowdfunding reach by launching a mobile app. It’s for iOS devices, and it lets users catch up on projects they’ve already invested in and find new projects to back. Those with existing Kickstarter projects can also use the app to manage their pages, including uploading status report videos. The redesign of the website’s interface for the app is aimed at smartphone ease and access. Kickstarter is blazing the trail for crowdfunding projects, with peers like Indiegogo close behind. Mobile net use, meanwhile, is skyrocketing, along with mobile commerce.

Read the full story at Fast Company.

Is Microsoft Working on a Surface Mini?

Just because Microsoft’s first Surface devices shipped with 10.6-inch displays doesn’t mean the company is wedded exclusively to the large tablet form factor. In fact, it almost certainly isn’t. During his appearance at the Goldman Sachs Technology and Internet Conference on Wednesday, Microsoft CFO Peter Klein said the company is ready, willing and able to bring a range of new form factors to the mobile device market. It’s ready to go smaller, with a device akin to the iPad mini. And it’s ready to go larger, as well. And whether it chooses one route or the other – or both – will likely be determined by the consumer. “We’re set up for that,” Klein said of extending Windows to devices of varying size. “The notion of flexibility and scalability of the operating system is intrinsic to our strategy.” Specifically, Windows 8 and Windows Phone 8 share the same kernel.

Read the full story at All Things D.

Steam officially launches on Linux, putting us one step closer to the Steam Box

via puu.sh

After some time in open beta, Steam for Linux is getting an official launch. Valve announced today that it was releasing a final version, as well as putting the catalog of Linux-compatible games on sale until Thursday, February 21st. That includes Bastion, Amnesia: The Dark Descent, and FTL, as well as Valve games like Counter-Strike: Source and Half-Life. People who play the free Team Fortress 2 on the platform will also get Tux the Linux penguin as an item. A total of 57 Linux games are on sale, and that relatively small number isn’t exactly full of AAA content, but there’s some excellent stuff. Valve has also mentioned games like Left 4 Dead as future Linux titles before.

Linux is an integral part of Valve’s plan to build a Steam Box…

Hundreds of Criterion Collection movies streaming for free on Hulu through this weekend

Criterion stock screencap

Criterion just announced that starting today and continuing through the weekend, you’ll be able to stream every single film in the Criterion Collection for free on Hulu. The company has routinely offered up selections from its catalog — normally exclusive to paying Hulu Plus subscribers — for complimentary viewing, but now it’s opening up the floodgates and making hundreds of classic motion pictures available at no cost. If you’re spending Valentine’s Day alone, at least you can now spend your evening lost in the timeless treasures of cinema.