US Lobby Group, The Internet Association, Formed

In the wake of Congress’ efforts this year to halt internet piracy (which drew strong opposition and were eventually rejected), there is a new pro-internet lobbying group being created. The group, which consists of Facebook, Google, eBay and Amazon , will be known as The Internet Association and will operate out of Washington. The launch of the group is scheduled for this September, and the group plans on attacking political and regulatory issues concerning the Internet, as well as educating lawmakers on the internet.

Michael Beckerman, president of the new Internet Association and former adviser to the chairman of the House of Representatives Energy and Commerce Committee says, “We want to educate [lawmakers] about the impact of the internet in their congressional districts.” While Facebook, Amazon, eBay and Google make up the group right now, a full list of members, as well as a detailed description of the matters they have listed on their Plan of Attack will be announced at launch time in September. Word has it, however, that some issues that the lobby group intends to address will have to do with immigration reform and how to facilitate the process of employing foreign engineers, as well as taxes, privacy matters and cybersecurity.

Assembly of the Internet Association comes in the aftermath of attempted legislation to hinder online content like the Stop Online Piracy Act and the Protect IP Act earlier this year. These bills attracted a massive amount of controversy underlined by the perception that these plans undercut the freedom of the internet. In fact, protests against the bans reached a zenith when Wikipedia and a slew of other popular sites launched a full-fledged 24-hour “black-out” period in which their pages were not accessible. The upshot: both the SOPA and the PIPA bills are currently on hold as reported in this article – and this may which may foretell a similar influence that lobbying groups like the Internet Association may have in the future.

Stay tuned to CPS for updates on the Internet Association and how it may affect the way you use your tech devices. In the meantime, protect those devices with warranties.

Touchcreens Will Have a Keyboard Feel Thanks to Upcoming Tactus Technology

It took me a long time to join the ever-increasing population of people in the land of the touchscreen. In all honestly, I really liked my bedrock phone – simply because it had a keyboard. With buttons. That I could feel. But I’ve never been good at standing up to peer pressure, this case being no exception – and so I went touchscreen; and regretted it immediately.

Hesitantly, I walked away from the store I purchase it at, bought myself a smoothie and sat down at an empty café to toy with my new “snazzy”, Android phone. After all, the woman at the store assured me I’d “get used to it”. But after ten minutes of hitting the wrong letters and taking a whole minute to tap out a text that would have taken half that time with my old, beloved keyboard, I marched right back into the store with the intention to return it.

Ultimately, I ended up keeping the touchscreen because returning it would have entailed paying a “re-stocking fee” (for Pete’s sake, what does THAT mean?) – therefore I was somewhat forced to keep the Android. Here we are months later… and yes – I have sailed over the learning curve and gotten the hang of learning each letter’s sweet-spot for texting flawless messages, but I have to admit, I still miss my old keyboard.

That is why I am stoked to hear about Tactus Technology, a development that promises to add that keyboard feel to touchscreen devices! Essentially, the technology consists of a tactile layer component that results in dynamic physical buttons that bulge up off the surface of a touchscreen, making for an interface on which users can see and feel the buttons, simulating the experience of typing on a keyboard. When not used, the buttons essentially disappear and become part of the screen again by receding down back into it.

CEO of Tactus Technology, Craig Ciesla reported to BYTE, “I was thinking about how I could do without my BlackBerry and keyboard, and at that moment I thought this microfluidic technology could solce the problem and be the solution.” He may be right.

What’s really cool about the new technology is that it will not take away from the slim factor of today’s devices – and everyone knows that nowadays, slim is the new black. The tactile layer that is added to the touchscreens is totally flat and transparent and will simply replace one layer of one that is already on today’s touchscreen displays. Therefore, no extra thickness would be added.

There is little word as of yet if and when the new technology will be found on electronic devices, but Ciesla reports that he aims to roll out a first product sometime in the middle of 2013. I hope to get my fingers on the first doo-dad as soon as it hits the shelves!

In the meantime, here’s a sneak-peek into what you can expect from Tactus Technology.

For now, protect your touchscreens, BlackBerrys and all of your favorite electronic devices with a service plan from CPS.

Consumer Priority Service Review Gone Rasta: The House of Marley Bag of Rhythm is a Hit

The House of Marley Bag of Rhythm is a jamming product – and not solely due to its great name. The boombox (or bag, if you will), is made of a canvas tote detailed in a rasta-inspired green, yellow and orange threading with a birch wood front reminiscent of all things natural (and on that note: it is covered in a sheath of recycled plastic). This House of Marley product is actually a modern-day boom box for your iPhone or iPod, and comes with a battery, too, so you can take it anywhere. In fact the “bag” part of this item features straps for carrying on your shoulder as well as handles – and is also removable and can easily be snapped on or off the exterior unit.

House of Marley is the new kid on the block when it comes to the audio electronics market – other products manufactured by the company include a Bob Marley-influenced headset, headphones and more, this latest creation is perhaps the best as of yet.

How well does it jam? Very. Even when the bag is placed on its side, the sound is booming. The House of Marley Bag of Rhythm features a pair of 1-inch tweeters and 4.5-inch woofers, and a power of 32W, resulting is impressive audio, taut bass, and crisp, clean music. While the House has not received as high of praise as that afforded to a similar product, Monster Beats by Dr. Dre Beatbox, it still offers a good enough sound – especially when it comes to outdoor party-goers. Added features include auxiliary input for linking with other MP3 players or smartphones – or any other gadget that has an audio output… but other than that, there are no additional specs to speak of (or needed).

The House of Marley Bag of Rhythm is yet to be launched – so keep a lookout, because the release date is just around the corner. And it arrives, be sure to purchase a warranty for the product at CPS – to keep the jam going, no matter what.

Consumer Priority Service Reviews the Zune HD 32G Platinum

Three cheers for the Zune HD 32GB Platinum MP3 player! While some may sneer at the fact that the device cannot be used with a Mac, all-in-all the Zune HD flaunts a dazzling OLED display, a battery that can outlast the Energizer bunny, and extra cool perks like the ability to subscribe to movies.

Yes, the Zune has been condemned to underdog status when compared to the iPod in recent years, but with that in mind, let us remember an old adage: “No pain, no gain” – because the saying certainly applies here. Not only has the Zune grown to mimic the iPod’s high degree of aesthetic appeal, but it matches Apple’s price, too, at less than $200. And to boot, the Zune features a throng of add-ons that – take this, Apple – the iPod doesn’t.

In a land where the hipster population is ever-growing, design is at the forefront of purchasing decisions – and the Zune is sure to allure the bucks. Its body is of galactic anodized aluminum with aluminum curves around its rear, bestowing a space-age appeal that design-freaks will go gaga over. The 3.3-inch player dons a responsive touchscreen and there are only three hardware buttons – Power/Hold, Home, and a Playback or Volume control.

The interface may take a little getting used to as the Zune has taken a bit of a risk in this department – but the learning curve isn’t too intense. You’ll see an over-sized Main Menu, album covers lingering on the backdrop and a tertiary “Quickplay” menu which you can consider the “junk drawer” of this player, jammed with all the things you access most frequently.

What makes the Zune so mesmerizing is that it is all about media playback and entertainment. Whether your fancy be tunes, videos, photos, radio or the Web, the Zune delivers – as well as podcasts, e-books, apps and more. The device is like an MP3 player on steroids – it supports MP3, AAC, WMA, WMA LossLess formats and more.

The hot-spot on the Zune, however, is what happens when it comes to focusing on a specific tune or artist. Select “Grateful Dead” for instance, and not only will you be provided with a complete run-down of the band’s prolific album collection, but you can click on tabs for bio information – and for hippies still mourning over Jerry: the Zune will steer you towards related bands you can still shake your tie-dyed tails to.

With an awesome screen, mega media capabilities, super-cool features that you won’t find on an iPod, and an industrial, hip design, the Zune HD takes the cake.

For your new music player, head to CPS for an extended warranty today.

The HP Omni 220 Quad All-in-One – A Consumer Priority Service Review

In spite of what you may think, desktops are not extinct – yet. Rather, they seem to be making a come back – but in a different, more compact form. New, all-in-one PCs are comforting veteran desktop users everywhere who were afraid they’d lose their beloved desktop systems forever.

The HP Omni 220 Quad is a good choice for an all-in-one. It’s power-packed, sports a pretty small screen at 21.5 inches – and although it’s got some flaws, it’s overall functioning makes it easy to overlook its quirks.

The HP Omni 220 Quad sports and intel Core i7-2600S processor, 6GB of RAM, Wi-Fi connectivity, and Beats Audio technology. In short, this machine is a speed-racer and in WorldBench tests actually scored highest out of any other all-on-one on the market today. However, caveat gamers: this is not the machine for you. In trial game runs, the system squeaked out 47.8 fps and displays a scant resolution of 1024 X 768 pixels.

Modest and minimal, the 220 Quad is neither flashy nor unattractive – it just is. The 21.5-inch display has a native resolution of 1680 X 1080 pixels, and the monitor sits on an unadorned L-shaped base. It is not a touchscreen, as many new all-in-ones are these days – so if your fingers have grown accustomed to tapping and swiping, this isn’t the machine for you. Viewing angles are a little gloomy, too, so you’ll need to go face-to-face with the Quad if you want to see it best (on the contrary though, its matte screen suffers little glare).

Standard specs on this system include four USB 2.0 ports, gigabit Ethernet port, headphone and micrpphone jacks on one side, as well as two additional USB 3.0 ports and headphone and microphone jacks on the opposite side. There is also a Blu-ray disc player .
All-in-all, the Omni 220 Quad boasts super fast processing with the trade-off of a less than perfect display – and its low cost may be the perk to win you over.

You’ll find an adequate collection of extended warranties for this all-in-one desktop system and for many other electronics at CPS.

The PlayStation Vita: Consumer Priority Service Reviews the New Gaming Gadget

Phones, tablets and most other devices nowadays not only come pre-loaded with some fantastic, addictive games – but with the booming app marketplace, gaming add-ons are pretty much endless. With that in mind, you may wonder why people would choose to invest in yet another electronic device when it comes to games. The answer: The PlayStation Vita.

At 7 inches wide, 3 inches tall, this awesome gaming device is surprisingly lightweight – and most importantly, ultra-durable due to its reinforced plastic chassis that is highly resistant to bending. The gaming gadget sports a 5-inch OLED touch screen display which boasts bold, brilliant color, even in sunlight, so you can get your game on whether at the beach or in the comfort of your own dimly-lit man-cave. For kluztier players who prefer munching and gaming at the same time: you’ll be glad to know this mac-daddy of game consoles is viewable from multiple angles, and its gloss-finished screen doesn’t smudge easily.

The only con to the Vita is in the storage department. Unfortunately, in order to create sufficient space, you’ll need to purchase a Vita memory card along with it – which can be pretty expensive. But the super-real, colorful, and fast gaming experience that the Vita offers may just cancel out the extra work and cost required for upping its storage capacity.

The Vita’s performance specs will leave contenders in the dust, for sure. It flaunts a quad-core PowerVR Series 5XT SGX543MP4+ graphics processor making for an ultra-real gaming experience even when playing the most graphic- and speed-demanding of games like Super Stardust Delta and the Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3. Its battery is a real champ, too: the Vita will deliver up to about five hours of playtime – including watching movies and listening to music at the device’s maximum brightness and volume settings.

For those who need to up their gaming experience from what they’re currently getting out of a smartphone or tablet, consider the PlayStation Vita. It’s big, bold, beautiful and not as costly as you would think – if you’re willing to go the extra mile when it comes to equipping the device with ample storage space, this portable gaming console will definitely win you over.

You can find a PlayStation warranty for extending the life of your game-gadget at CPS!

A Few Tips for Improving Your Web-Browsing Experience

No matter what type of browser you use – Chrome, Firefox, Internet Explorer or Safari – you want a smooth, glitch-less, and speedy surfing experience. To enhance your web browsing experience, there are a bunch of tricks and tips you can implement – and here are a few that will work for all browsers previously mentioned).

1. Make sure that automatic-updating has been enabled. The simplest way to keep your browser performing at top-notch speed and fluidity is to always be using the latest version of the browser.

2. Disable cookies. Nowadays, pretty much every site you log into – whether it be GrubHub, PayPal, or your online dating site (don’t worry, we won’t tell) – chances are you find entering passwords over and over again quite annoying. For automatic password entries, cookies are great. However, tracking cookies, which are the ones that follow you around from site to site to gather marketing information, are not so great. To speed up your browser, try disabling these third-party cookies – you can do so without getting rid of the handy ones.

3. Use Lazarus to save form data. How crummy is it when you’ve spent hours composing an important message, only to have you browser suddenly crash, rendering the message lost in cyberspace forever? (Answer: very.) Avoid this catastrophe with Lazarus – a program that automatically saves your data so that you can retrieve it back after an unexpected crash.

4. Shield your machine from unsafe links. The days of hesitantly clicking on a shady link and praying it doesn’t screw up your system are over. With Web of Trust (WOT), a colored dot traffic-light red, orange or green) will pop up next to each link you are viewing, alerting you of its security level and whether or not it’s OK to go.

There are tons of tips and tricks for enhancing your web-browsing experience – the above is just a handful. Search online for others – you’ll be surprised how many there really are.

You can also make the most of your surf-time with an extended warranty for your laptop, desktop, tablet, phone or whatever your device-of-choice may be for tinkering in cyber town.

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