Handy Tech For Lefties

If you’re one of the 10% of the world who happens to be left-handed, you may have experienced a lot of frustration with gadgetry. Everything seems to be designed with righties in mind! Fear not, there are some small solutions and tools you can implement into your everyday tech life.

Computer mice tend to always be to the right of the keyboard, with a design fit for the right hand.  You can find some great left-handed mice, though, if you just know where to look. The Human Solution boasts many lefty-friendly computer mice. Their Handshoe Light Click Mouse boasts a contoured shape to fit your hand perfectly while protecting it from repetitive strain. This mouse can be ordered in a variety of sizes so you can pick the correct fit for your hand. They also have both a wired and wireless model. The Evoluent Vertical Mouse by The Human Solution is specially designed for left-handed individuals only. The grip is upright, placing your hand in a relaxed handshake position that will prevent your forearm from twisting like with other mice. For all the gamers out there, Razer makes the DeathAdder, the world’s first ergonomic gaming mouse for lefties.

Keyboards are designed for righties, but there are left-handed keyboards out there that will make your life a lot easier.  Ergoguys makes a USB wired keyboard for lefties that has an “A-shape” key layout to prevent repetitive strain injuries. DSI also makes a great left-handed USB keyboard that boasts a full 104 key layout with the standard numeric keypad on the left side.

You no longer have to feel like your computer wasn’t designed with you in mind. Upgrade your mouse and keyboard and instantly feel more at ease while working and surfing the Internet.

Locals Discount Is Back In Whistler!

Whistler’s Local discount is back for a limited time in Whistler! This year’s local discount will feature a $10 discount on the total repair cost before taxes and all tempered glass screen protectors will be featured at $5 ($5 off). To claim this discount you must select the “I am a Whistler local” button while booking. We only accept 3 local discounts per day so book fast!

You must be able to prove you are a Whistler local. We accept ID or a piece of mail with a proof of name. The locals discount can not be applied to Unlocks, Accessories or any repair $50 or less before taxes.

For the full terms please visit our Terms And Conditions

Please Book Your Repair for Whistler Below

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Recycling & Reusing Old Electronics

Now that the holidays have past and people have gotten used to their new devices, it’s time to consider what to do with the old ones. Tossing old electronics in the trash is terrible for the environment and completely unnecessary because there are much better alternatives for disposing of unwanted devices.

 

Before doing anything else with an old device be sure your personal information is removed. Once you’re sure it’s cleared, you can choose the best option depending on the condition, age, and potential of the device.

 

First, you have the option to reuse it. Is there a child or younger sibling who has always wanted your device? What about a less tech-savvy friend who has been asking advice on electronics? Give them your gently used one. Many electronics that get replaced are still in good, working condition and can be re-gifted to someone else. This can give those who are interested but unsure if they actually want a device the option to test it out and see if it’s for them. It could also be used as the designated kid-device if you have children who constantly ask to play games or watch videos. An old phone is a great toy for toddlers, although it’s best to remove the battery because even phones without a calling plan can make an emergency 911 call.

 

Second, you can repurpose it. Keep an old phone in a vehicle with a car charger so you can call for emergency assistance if there’s ever a need and your regular phone is dead or forgotten. An old tablet can become a digital picture frame: upload pictures or videos, turn on the slideshow, add some velcro to the back and hang it on the wall. There are apps that can be downloaded to turn your old tablet into a remote control. Load an old tablet or phone with songs and keep it in the car as a music player.

 

Third, you can sell it. Amazon will buy many used devices and pay with Amazon gift cards. Gazelle is a national company that will buy used phones and computers for cash. Other possibilities are eBay, Craigslist, or a local Facebook seller’s page.

 

Lastly, you can recycle it. If a device is broken beyond repair, old enough that no one else wants it, or just past its usefulness, you have a responsibility to dispose of it properly. Most devices are not safe to simply throw in the trash, due to substances like lead, mercury, and lithium that are used in making the device and its battery. Instead of just tossing it in the trash, give it to one of many places that take old devices and dispose of them. Options include electronic stores like Best Buy, wireless providers, some grocery stores like Whole Foods, even some public libraries have cell phone & small electronics recycling bins. If none of these options are available in your area, a local recycling center can also take old electronics.

 

Whatever you decide to do, please remember to be responsible when disposing of old devices and don’t simply throw them in the trash.

Battery Performance And Etiquette

How much do you know about your cell phone’s battery? If you’re like many people, you know it works but that’s about it.

 

Most cell phones use a Lithium-Ion battery, these are an improvement over the Nickel-Cadmium batteries of the past, Ni-Cad are still a good choice for remote-control cars, boats, and airplanes. Lithium-ion batteries are smaller, lighter and safer than their predecessors. The main difference between Li-ion and Ni-Cad are the chemicals used for the negative and positive terminals. This matters because cadmium is a toxic metal that is treated as hazardous waste and requires special disposal.

 

The differences in the older Ni-Cad and the Li-ion are actually the reason behind two of the biggest misconceptions about battery care.

 

You can overcharge your battery

Lithium-Ion batteries stop charging once full-charge is reached, so you don’t need to worry about “overcharging” the battery. However, leaving a phone plugged in for an extended time can cause the battery to heat up and this is one of the things that does drain battery life.

 

You have to trick your phone to keep from draining the battery

The second myth is “Draining”. Have you ever been told you needed to trick your battery’s memory? This idea claims that in order for your phone to remember how much charge it is capable of holding it is better to drain your battery completely and then charge it to 100%. The theory is that this would refresh its memory as to what full battery capacity is. Unfortunately, this is a myth. It was slightly true with Ni-Cad batteries, but with Li-ion batteries it’s not. In fact, it will hurt your battery long-term. It is better to “top off” your battery and try to keep it from being completely depleted.

 

Another important note, if you aren’t going to be using your device for an extended time, don’t leave it without a charge. This can damage the battery. It is better to have a partial charge when stored, even if the device is powered down.

 

If you’d like to get the most out of your battery, try some of these tips:

Fully charge your battery before you first use it. It can be tempting to charge it enough to use it and then give it a full charge later, but for optimal life let a lithium-ion battery charge for 5-6 hours before unplugging it the first time.

 

Although it is tempting to use your phone while it is charging, it is actually better to wait until fully charged and disconnected from the charger to use it. Doing this will  keep your battery cooler and will charge faster when not in use.

 

Adjust your settings so that you use less battery during regular use. You can do this by dimming the screen, setting a shorter timeout time, and keeping your phone cool. Protecting your phone from the heat is one of the easiest and most effective ways to prolong your battery. Don’t leave your phone in a hot car, or next to an overheated computer, also keeping it in your pocket, next to your body all the time can drain the battery. However, don’t go overboard to keep your phone cool. Sticking it in the freezer, for example, is too cold and the moisture and temperature can damage it.

 

Though fun, animated backgrounds will drain your battery faster and white backgrounds drain battery faster than darker. The website http://www.blackl.com/black-google.php will let you run a google search with a black background, thus extending battery life.

 

If you aren’t using something, turn it off. This sounds obvious, but if you aren’t using Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, GPS, or 4G (LTE) it’s better to keep them off. Are you at home, turn off data and connect with your Wi-Fi. Are you out but not using your data? Turn it off. Activate airplane mode when you have no signal. Do you have a work phone you only use during business hours? Turn it off when you clock out. Do you sleep like the dead and wouldn’t hear your phone even if it rang in the middle of the night? Turn it off. Some of us use our phones as an alarm, but you can save battery power, and not have to worry about someone pocket dialing you in the middle of the night by turning it off and investing in a cheap alarm clock.

Some of the biggest battery hogs are games and videos. Is a 5” screen really the best way to watch the latest episode of The Walking Dead? Being mindful of your battery life while watching videos will keep you out of an emergency situation.

 

Speaking of (un)dead, do you know your battery vampires? Some apps drain your battery of life and they may be ones you don’t even use! For an Android device, go to Settings> Battery, this will show you which apps are using the most of your battery, then you can turn them off if you’re not using them. For iOS, depending on your version, go to Settings> General> Usage> Battery Usage, or simply Settings then Battery.

 

How often does your phone grab your email, weather, or Facebook updates? How often do you access this information? If your phone is updating every ten minutes but you only access them once a day, consider changing this setting.

 

For iOS, go to the Notification Centre and change the Activation Style to “none”.

 

For Android, go to Settings, then Accounts, then turn Sync off for each account by unchecking Sync.

 

If you aren’t able to make some of these changes or find that no matter what you do you just use a lot of battery, you can always invest in a spare battery or a battery extender.  Both of these will let you continue using your phone after it would have otherwise died.

 

Remember, not all tips are applicable to everyone, but using some of them will make it easy to get the most of your battery’s life!

Reach Out And Touch ID

Fingerprint scanners are a tiny bit of tech that has quickly risen to staple status in  the most popular devices. Now that they are not just a concern to heist planners or secret agents, it’s beneficial to learn more about how they work and if they really are as secure as a passcode.

History of the Fingerprint Scanner

In 1969, the FBI asked the National Bureau of Standards (NBS) to develop a system that would automate the long and irksome process of identifying fingerprints. The NBS started to build a machine that would scan the tiny details (called minutiae) of a fingerprint card and compare it against the minutiae of other fingerprints in a long list. The first iteration of this machine didn’t come until 1975, when the FBI funded the NBS’ research. It used a capacitive technique and couldn’t save a useful amount of biographical data, fingerprint and minutiae details of an individual because it cost too much to store the data.

It wasn’t Apple or Samsung that put the first fingerprint scanner in a mobile phone, it was actually Toshiba. The Toshiba G500 was the first smartphone to use a fingerprint scanner to increase security in 2007. In 2009, Acer, LG and Motorola followed with their own phones with fingerprint scanners.

It wasn’t until Apple rebranded fingerprint scanners and called it Touch ID that the tech really became a staple of modern smartphones. In 2012, Apple bought a fingerprint identification company called AuthenTec and in 2013, the iPhone 5S was revealed as the first phone on a major US carrier with a fingerprint scanner.

How It Works

There are actually three different types of fingerprint scanners on the market: Optical scanners, Capacitive scanners, and Ultrasonic scanners. Capacitive scanners are the most commonly used kind of fingerprint scanner today and it is the kind you’ll find on modern smartphones. Tiny circuits collect data about the inner, subdermal layer of your skin. This layer is conductive and when you touch it to the fingerprint scanner, it can measure the ridges and valleys of your fingerprint. Your fingerprint is then “stored” as an algorithm which will be compared to the algorithms of your finger when you try to open your phone again. When they match, you gain access to your phone. Also in case you were wondering, if your finger were to become unattached to your body, you couldn’t use it to access your Touch ID. The scanner only reads the living tissue in the subdermal layer. Dead tissue doesn’t have an electrical charge and wouldn’t be picked up by the scanner.

Enter Touch ID

Apple’s Touch ID fingerprint scanner, first introduced on the iPhone 5S, is a prime example of a Capacitive fingerprint scanner. It’s used as a passcode to open your device or a way to authenticate Apple Pay and purchases through the iTunes store. Third Party apps are even utilizing the technology such as banks.

The Touch ID sensor is made up of a steel capacitive ring, sapphire lens, image sensor, and housing enclave. The capacitive ring acts as a sensor that turns the scanner on when your finger is close, saving precious battery life. The sapphire glass is as thin as a human hair, but it protects the sensitive hardware from damage and scratching.

The biggest concern among users of Touch ID is security. In 2014, a group of hackers posted a Youtube video seemingly proving that they could bypass the iPhone’s touch ID and gain access to the phone. Apple never acknowledged this particular instance, but there are supposedly several ways to trick the system.

 

Future of Fingerprint Scanner

While it’s not perfect, biometrics are sure to be an integral part of our tech from now on.  Retina scanners and facial recognition are being integrated into popular computers and gaming systems and even Disney World is using fingerprint scanners to pair people with their tickets. A future where we can be sure that our personal information is truly safe and inaccessible to others will most likely be the result of this technology.

Welcoming Ottawa!

Welcoming Ottawa to the CellFurb Team! CellFurb Ottawa will be opening June 15th in the Byward Market in downtown Ottawa! Pricing, Hours and Booking repairs are open under locations! Welcome!

Happy February!

February is here and with February brings a new job position! If you are interested in working for CellFurb Whistler then apply! You can apply at wb.cellfurb.com/jobs! Best of luck to our candidates!

-CellFurb Whistler