Tracking Your Flight – FlightTrack Pro iPad App Review

FlighTrack Pro is an essential app for the mobile warrior. It’s probably the best $10 you will ever spend it you frequently fly. The app allows you to keep all your friends, family, and co-workers up to date with your flight status. You can automatically synchronize your flight schedule by forwarding your airline confirmation emails to plan (at) Within a few minutes, your travel itinerary will automatically appear in your iPad’s FlightTrack Pro app. In addition, the app functions as an organizer where you can write down all notes and any information needed for your vacation or business trip. The software automatically alerts you with real-time flight information even when the app is not open so you won’t miss any schedule changes. If your flight is delayed, or you are simply looking to find another flight, FlightTrack will tell you alternative routes and can help you plan your trip. While this might be overkill, Flight track will allow you to view the airtime, aircraft, and spend & altitude (in US only).

My favorite feature was the incoming flight tracker that predicts if your flight will be on time. On my trip from Los Angeles to New York last week, I was able to use FlightTrack to gauge my departing time and it was just 8 minutes off.

Developer Features:

• Automatic synchronization of itineraries
• View zoomable, live flight tracking maps with weather radar
• Push alerts – Notifications pop up even when app isn’t open
• Sync with your phone’s calendar
• In-app SMS
• Fast switching between FlightTrack Pro and other apps
• Track incoming flight legs to predict if your departing flight will be on time
• Track all your flights on one screen (iPad version only)
• Find alternate flights at a tap
• Full international flight coverage with 1,400 airlines
• Covers more than 4,000 airports worldwide
• Airtime, aircraft, and speed & altitude (US)
• Offline mode for use in airplanes, maps still work
• Predict flight delays with airport warnings and historical delay forecasts
• Save flight itineraries up to 11 months in advance
• Add flight notes for seat numbers, confirmation numbers and more
• Share flight status with friends and colleagues
• Review weather radar and forecasts.

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Kindle Fire Vs Other Tablets

The Amazon Kindle Fire has already become a tablet to be reckoned with since its introduction on Sept. 28. In just one month (Sept. 28-Oct. 28) Amazon is rumored to have collected 500,000 pre-orders for the new tablet, with possibly another million or more pre-sales made through retail partners such as Target, Walmart, and Best Buy.

What makes the Kindle Fire so popular? How does it compare with other tablets on the market? Here’s the low-down.

The 5 Best Features

PricePrice is undoubtedly the most attractive feature. At $199, the Kindle Fire is less than half the price of most other tablets; its nearest cost competitor is the Nook Tablet from Barnes & Noble at $249.

To achieve this cost advantage, Amazon has likely adopted a loss-leader strategy and priced its tablet below cost, anticipating that it will create more sales for Amazon down the line. In addition, the device forgoes many of the frills offered by other tablets. For example, it has no camera/video, no GPS, no microphone, and no Bluetooth or 3G wireless connectivity. (More on that below.)

Portability — The 7-in. touchscreen makes the Kindle Fire more portable than larger tablets such as Apple’s iPad2 and HP’s TouchPad. The whole tablet is less than half an inch thick and slightly smaller than a mid-sized paperback book in width and height. It weighs just 14.6 oz.

Of course, size is a classic Goldilocks dilemma when it comes to tablets. Too big, too small, and just right depend on how you use it. If you do mostly Web browsing, then a 7-in. screen is usually too small for the typical Web page. You’d be doing a lot of scrolling around. But if you like to watch streaming video or movies, play games, listen to music, or read an e-book, then a 7-in. screen is usually just right.

The device is clearly designed as a portable content-delivery device, particularly for Amazon content (but not exclusively). The 7-in., 1024 x 600-pixel display works well for streamed or downloaded visual media and delivers crisp, bright, vibrant images.

Seamless Access to Amazon Portal — When you order the Kindle Fire from Amazon’s online store, it will be delivered with pre-links to all your favorite Amazon accounts, such as Apps, Games, Kindle eBooks, Cloud Player and Kindle Prime. The media can be bought or rented and then streamed or downloaded to the tablet from the vast server farms of Amazon Web Services (AWS).

If you have other devices for streaming media, Amazon’s Whispersync technology keeps them all synchronized with the tablet. For example, if you stop watching a movie on the Kindle Fire, and later you want to start watching it again on your MacBook, Whispersync saves your place so you can pick up where you left off whenever you reconnect to the Web.

Amazon also provides 5 GB of free Cloud storage, which helps compensate for the meager 8-GB of onboard storage. (More on that below.)

In addition to Amazon’s ginormous library of more than 18 million movies, TV shows, songs, books, and magazines, the Kindle Fire also provides seamless access to many other sources of content such as Netflix, Rhapsody, Pandora, Twitter, Comics by comiXology, Facebook, The Weather Channel and games from Zynga, EA, Gameloft, PopCap and Rovio.

Simplicity — Amazon has done a great job with the user interface (UI). The home screen is intuitively graphical, consisting of two virtual bookshelves with media icons arrayed on them. The upper, larger bookshelf, called the “carousel,” contains icons that are stacked chronologically with the last-used item on top. The lower, smaller shelf is designed to hold your favorites.

In one stroke, Amazon’s bookshelf UI pays homage to its bookstore roots while also demonstrating a flair for form and function once found only in Apple products.

Innovative ‘Silk’ Web Browser— Perhaps the most innovative feature is the Web browser. Unlike standard browsers, Amazon’s “Silk” browser does not compose a requested page locally. Instead, the high-speed AWS Cloud server caches the page first, then sends it to the tablet in one stream of code.

The result is a split browser system that resides both on the tablet and in the server cloud. The division of labor enables web pages to download faster than with typical Android devices. According to Amazon, the servers also adapt to your browsing habits, so the process gets faster over time.

Kindle Fire vs. Other Tablets

Much has been said about the Kindle Fire vs. the Apple iPad2. Let’s be clear: Apple has nothing to worry about. The two tablets are not really comparable in any meaningful way. In fact, Amazon has created its own genre of tablet, which makes it a little awkward to draw straight comparisons with other devices. Amazon has also created its own closed-platform version of Google’s Android OS, so even comparing the Kindle Fire with other Android tablets is tricky. Nevertheless, it is useful to list the specs of other popular tablets just to see how the Amazon Kindle Fire stacks up against them.

Kindle Fire:

  • Operating System: Android (custom)
  • Processor: 1-GHz Dual-Core TI OMAP 4
  • RAM: 512 MB
  • Storage: 8 GB
  • Display: 7-in. IPS LCD
  • Resolution: 1024 x 600
  • Cameras: None
  • Video: None
  • Battery Life: 8 hrs. (reading only)
  • WiFi: 802.11 b/g/n
  • 3G/4G: No
  • Bluetooth: No
  • GPS: No
  • Dimensions: 7.5 x 4.7 x 0.45 in.
  • Weight: 14.6 oz.
  • Price: $199

Apple iPad2:

  • Operating System: iOS 4
  • Processor: 1-GHz Dual-Core Apple A5
  • RAM: 512 MB
  • Storage: 16 GB
  • Display: 9.7-in. IPS LCD
  • Resolution: 1024 x 768
  • Cameras: Two
  • Video: 720p
  • Battery Life: 10 hrs. (browsing, video, etc.)
  • WiFi: 802.11 b/g/n
  • 3G/4G: 3G (+$130)
  • Bluetooth: Yes
  • GPS: Yes
  • Dimensions: 9.5 x 7.3 x 0.35 in.
  • Weight: 1.33 lb.
  • Price: $499

BlackBerry Playbook:

  • Operating System: QNX
  • Processor: 1-GHz Dual-Core TI OMAP 4430
  • RAM: 1 GB
  • Storage: 16 GB
  • Display: 7-in. IPS LCD
  • Resolution: 1024 x 600
  • Cameras: Two
  • Video: 1080p
  • Battery Life: 7 hrs. (playing video)
  • WiFi: 802.11 b/g/n
  • 3G/4G: 3G/4G
  • Bluetooth: Yes
  • GPS: Yes
  • Dimensions: 5.1 x 7.6 x 0.4 in.
  • Weight: 0.9 lb.
  • Price: $499

Nook Tablet:

  • Operating System: Android (custom)
  • Processor: 1-GHz Dual-Core TI OMAP 4
  • RAM: 1 GB
  • Storage: 16 GB
  • Display: 7-in. IPS LCD
  • Resolution: 1024 x 600
  • Cameras: None
  • Video: None
  • Battery Life: 11.5 hrs. (reading only)
  • WiFi: 802.11 b/g/n
  • 3G/4G: No
  • Bluetooth: No
  • GPS: No
  • Dimensions: 8.1 x 5 x 0.48 in.
  • Weight: 14.1 oz.
  • Price: $249

HP TouchPad:

  • Operating System: WebOS 3.0
  • Processor: 1.2-GHz Dual-Core Qualcomm Snapdragon
  • RAM: 1 GB
  • Storage: 16 GB
  • Display: 10.1-in. IPS LCD
  • Resolution: 1024 x 768
  • Cameras: None
  • Video: None
  • Battery Life: 9 hrs. (playing video)
  • WiFi: 802.11 b/g/n
  • 3G/4G: 3G
  • Bluetooth: Yes
  • GPS: Yes
  • Dimensions: 9.4 x 7.5 0.54 in.
  • Weight: 1.6 lb.
  • Price: $499

The list makes it pretty clear how Amazon can offer its tablet for only $199. It’s no-frills all the way. The tablet has 512 MB of RAM, 8 GB of storage memory (half the storage of other devices), no camera, no video, no microphone, no 3G/4G, no Bluetooth, and no GPS. It also lacks an expandable memory slot.

If the Amazon Kindle Fire were competing head-to-head with other more-established tablets, it would lose. Instead, Amazon has shrewdly recognized that content is king, so it has created a low-cost, no-frills tablet that taps into what is arguably the largest online repository of content on the planet. Who needs a GPS for that? Do I really need to know my exact coordinates while streaming my favorite episode of “Mad Men?”

Of all the other tablets in the above list, Barnes & Noble’s newly announced Nook is the closest competitor. The Nook also runs a custom Android OS and taps into Barnes & Noble’s content. The Nook has twice the RAM (1 GB), twice the storage (16 GB), and a longer-lasting battery. It also has an expandable memory slot and a microphone. Based on hardware specs alone, the Nook offers more, but it also costs $50 more. Moreover, when it comes to content Barnes & Noble is still mostly an online bookstore. Not even Apple can compete across the board with Amazon’s vast array of media, products, software, etc. When it comes to overall content, Amazon is king.

The 3 Worst Features

7-in. Display— Although the 7-in. display is an asset when it comes to portability, it is an annoyance when viewing certain content. Web browsing and magazine reading, for example, are frustrating on a 7-in. screen. Screen size, therefore, cuts both ways.

There is no obvious way to avoid this “Goldilocks dilemma” for all types of content without a technological breakthrough such as a flexible, roll-up tablet (which is probably just around the corner). For now, the trade-off is between the full viewing experience of larger displays vs. the more limited experience of smaller, cheaper, more portable screens.

No Expandable Memory Slot— When designing a bare-bones tablet, it makes sense to skimp on memory to lower your cost. But how much more, if anything, does it cost to include an expandable memory slot in your design? Including a memory slot not only keeps your manufacturing costs low, it also adds value for your customers, who now have the option of adding more memory.

One can only assume that Amazon wants its users to store their media in the Amazon Cloud. Amazon provides free, unlimited cloud storage for all Amazon-acquired content, but non-Amazon content over 5 GB costs money to store. When combined with the onboard storage of 8 GB, the total free storage for generic content is just 13 GB. That’s still less capacity than the onboard storage of other tablets, and not very much capacity for digital media.

Also, the only access to the Amazon Cloud is through the Wi-Fi modem. There is no 3G or 4G connectivity. If you’re traveling, for example, and have no Wi-Fi connection to the Cloud, all of the content you want to access must be pre-loaded. It would be better for Amazon and its customers if the Kindle Fire came with a memory slot.

Mediocre Battery Life— When compared to its closest competitor, Barnes & Noble’s Nook, the stated battery life of the Kindle Fire comes up short by about 3 1/2 hours. An 8-hr. battery life for just reading is nothing to write home about. Besides, most people would be doing a lot more than just reading.

Unfortunately, the rechargeable battery is sealed inside and can’t be upgraded.


Kudos to Amazon for recognizing the value of a low-cost tablet specifically designed for delivering content. The beauty of this tablet is that it plays to Amazon’s indisputable strength as a content provider while also extending the Kindle legacy. It’s ironic to think back to November of 2007 when the Kindle First Generation was introduced for $399. It sold out in 5 1/2 hours. It was the only Kindle to have an expandable memory slot, too. (Hint, hint.)

If pre-sales are any indication, the Kindle Fire is going to be another raging success. Despite the dismal economy, or perhaps because of it, people were lining up to buy this low-cost no-frills tablet even before it started to ship.

The Kindle Fire is no iPad2, but it has the potential to become an important new media and information platform. Only time will tell if this is just another Kindle or something else altogether. Who knows, the Kindle Fire could do for Amazon what the Walkman did for Sony.

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Cloud Computing Is for Everyone But Not for Everything

Cloud computing is rapidly growing in popularity and general awareness, to a point where businesses of all sizes are looking into whether the medium is appropriate for their needs. So, what sort of businesses can cloud hosting effectively and securely handle? The simple answer is – all of them. From small business hosting to larger corporations, cloud computing can make your business more affordable and versatile. However, this doesn’t necessarily mean it should replace all of your existing hosting solutions.

The best way to approach cloud hosting is to see it not as an all-or-nothing proposition, but as a way to streamline your IT requirements at appropriate points. Examine all of the functions of your current hosting solution and think about whether it could benefit from multi-tenant cloud computing, in-house hosting or a combination of the two.

A major benefit of taking a hybrid approach to hosting is that you can cut your overheads on IT, storage and general maintenance, without taking too much of a risk. Until cloud computing evolves to a point where it is the norm, an innovative, open-minded approach to hybrid hosting could give you a significant advantage over your rivals who are slower to pick up on new opportunities.

One of the most common concerns with cloud hosting is the idea that it is less secure and reliable than in-house hosting. In truth, cloud hosting is generally very secure, and far more data breaches take place in corporate data centres than among hosting providers. But nevertheless, there are instances where, for the time being, companies may wish to exercise a note of caution. For example, from small business hosting to larger corporations, a great many businesses avoid using public cloud computing for extremely sensitive financial information, or anything that requires compliance with the rules of the Payment Card Industry (PCI). Quite often, solutions which need to meet strict security and compliance specifications are best housed on private cloud solutions.

Another option is to combine multi-tenant cloud hosting with a broader kind of cloud computing – wherein traditional managed hosting is performed on servers that are dedicated to specific customers, but are owned and managed by a hosting provider. Top-line hosting providers are generally more reliable and secure than in-house data centres, and can still cut down your IT overheads significantly.

If you are interested in engaging with cloud hosting and would like some more information, talk to a dedicated and reputable hosting company to find out what package would be best suited to your business. The natural versatility of cloud hosting allows for a tailored hosting package to be constructed around the unique needs of your business, so don’t be afraid to shop around to find out as much as you can before committing to a plan. It could be one of the most important decisions you make for your business.

Rackspace Hosting is the World’s leader in hosting and cloud storage. Since 2001 Rackspace has been hosting and supporting mission critical websites, internet applications, email servers, security and storage services for 6,000 customers.

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How to Market Your Mobile App Effectively?

Each week, developers submit hundreds of thousands of apps into the various app markets. If you are a new developer, competition is cutthroat, and it is difficult to be successful. The market is very busy and it can be easy for your app to be lost. If you want your app to have any potential, you have to address several fundamental questions in your development:

1. How do you make certain that your app is ranking high enough in search engines for it to be discovered organically?

2. How do you ensure your apps is receiving enough downloads for it to be of meaningful monetary value for you?

3. How do you make certain, your target audience is downloading your app for it to build an excellent usage ration?

Pay attention to your marketing model

You need to address the three above questions in your marketing model if you want to have any real chances of success with your app. However, one of the biggest worries of app developers is that the marketing cost is very high, and will make their app unprofitable.

In addition, they claim that since the market app is constantly changing, the marketing techniques required to market them effectively are also changing along with them. Here are some of the marketing strategies that have stood the test of time, and will not drain the entire profit line of your app business:

1. Ad networks: Consider using an affiliate ad company to help you boost your revenue. These ad networks promote your app via ads and banners in other apps. Even though the click-through rate of marketing apps through these companies is a little over 1%, it can boost your ratings in top app stores and increase your organic ranking. Make sure the ad network you choose will market your app to your target audience.

2. Social media: If you are not harnessing the power of social media then you are missing out big time. Effective use of social media can benefit your app in various ways including, increasing brand awareness, capturing the personal aspect of your app business, and drawing the right audience to your app. Furthermore, social media is an excellent tool of communication between you and your end users. You can use it to alert your users of new upgrades, and provide a link for them to upgrade. You can also receive suggestions, reply to queries and address problems.

3. Maintain loyal users: If you want to build an app empire, you have to learn how to maintain your current users as you strive to acquire more. One of the oldest tricks in the book for maintaining users is coming up with a rewarding scheme for your most loyal users. This will make your users feel special, and they will continue using your app, rating it high, and recommending it to others. Excellent examples of rewarding your loyal users is giving them offers or discounts on certain products, adding them more lives in case of certain games, and giving them VIP status.

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