How to Get 40% Off a Casetagram Custom iPhone Case That Features Your Instagram Photos

Casetagram for iPhone

Gilt City‘s got an offer this week for 40 percent off Casetagram iPhone cases, custom iPhone cases that feature your Facebook or Instagram images.

At $21 for an iPhone 4/4S case or $35 for an iPhone 5 Casetagram case, this really ain’t a bad deal considering they are custom covers.

“With seven design templates to choose from and three case colors, Casetagram keeps it simple and streamlined. Their tech-savvy designers are “obsessed with quality and getting the details right,” so the process is seamless, from the design work done online at their site to the printing and shipping.”

The deal expires on Monday, December 3.

Grab it here »

iPhone, Productivity & Entrepreneurship: How the iPhone is Helping Me to Realize My Entrepreneurial Dreams

Work Fortune Cookie

Since I began college in 2006, I have made an income online, and have aspired to be a full-time entrepreneur. Today, the iPhone is helping me to make that dream a reality.

As a freshman middle-class teenager beginning my career at Santa Fe College — and later, at the University of Florida — I had the luxury of full tuition coverage by a state scholarship, and parents who were willing and able to help me pay my rent and cover many of my expenses. But they warned me this would not last long. I would soon have to get a … job.

As someone who had only held an office job in high school, the thought of applying for jobs in Gainesville was intimidating. Especially since I was new to this town among thousands of college students far more experienced than I in most types of work.

Nevertheless, I applied to a few places but was never hired.

I did once get an interview at a health food store, but as I was driving to the store for the interview, all dressed and rehearsed for the interrogation, I received a phone call from the store manager telling me they had just hired someone who had experience in the health food industry.

I was pissed at the time, that she didn’t even give me the chance to interview, but I see now that she did me a service.

So I went home, pitied myself for a little while, but then scrambled to try to figure out how to start making some money without having to get a traditional job.

My father is a businessman, and he had inoculated me throughout childhood with tales of making childhood money mowing lawns, distributing newspapers and through other odd jobs. I was raised to believe that I too could produce something of value to offer to people.

In the midst of the blogging boom that was occurring at the beginning of my college years, there were thousands of companies and solo entrepreneurs looking, and paying, for unique content to add to their sites. I also happen to be an English major who enjoys the craft of writing.

I realized I could make a decent chunk of cash by getting really efficient at writing articles and selling them for relatively low prices. I began making one to two hundred dollars a week selling content articles via Constant Content, Associated Content and by pitching myself directly to people. I once created a blogging job for myself, where I convinced an online natural beauty product store to pay me $10 per post to write 300 words each day on the benefits of natural beauty products.

What else could I do to earn money? I made around $25 per month filling out surveys for one of the few reputable survey companies; I bought domain names that I considered valuable, and sold them to people in forums; and I taught myself how to build WordPress themes and sell the unique rights to people.

At the time, the recession was not something on many people’s minds, so there were more people willing to spend money on these services, and fewer people competing for the jobs. Incidentally, my timing was just right.

In December of 2006, when the iPhone was merely a rumor, the opportunity to build this website,, fell into my lap. I purchased the domain name with the intention to sell it, but abandoned that hope when all prospective buyers insisted there would be no iPhone given that Cisco Systems, Inc. owned the trademark to the word. Oh well. I started writing about the iPhone anyway, just in case.

The original Linksys iPhone, by Cisco Systems, Inc:
Original Linksys iPhone

Then, a month later, the Apple iPhone was introduced, and I was one of the first people to begin writing about it. Because no one believed the iPhone product would actually come to fruition, I had a competitive advantage in already owning this domain name, and I took the opportunity in the next few years to build the site up to its eventual readership of several thousand people per day.


This iPhone website is in fact the reason I became financially independent from my parents by the time I was in my junior year.

Today, I have neglected my beloved iPhone site as I have become occupied by a new business I started in Gainesville, and my income from this site has also suffered.

But I have made a decision to try to revive this website, only with a new purpose: namely, a stronger focus on productivity, and on how to use your iPhone as a means to a more meaningful life.

I will still post iPhone tutorials, reviews of accessories that I recommend, and other helpful articles. But my overall focus will be on teaching people how to use your iPhone as a tool that enables you to build a more productive and meaningful life, rather than as a toy that distracts you from achieving the life of your dreams.

I am on a personal journey to build an income in a meaningful way, and I am using my iPhone as a means to that end.

This blog will document the story of my life as an iPhone-owning entrepreneur, and given the time, I would like to build a stronger community here and encourage more people to help each other out, as often happens on here already. It is always inspiring to see in this blog’s comments people all over the world helping each other to solve problems.

My aim is to continue to offer valuable information, in the form of a blog (which will always remain free), alongside more in-depth, paid offerings that could help me make some income, help people with a real productivity problem, and hopefully allow me to reduce the number of Google Ads on the site. Everybody would win.

Why Productivity?

Productivity is a problem that I am trying each day to solve in pursuit of a meaningful life for myself.

I believe that it is the work that you do that determines the quality of your life. And as a member of the generation of “lost 20 somethings,” I have decided not only to reject the traditional job market and pursue my own full-time income online, but to do so in a meaningful and fulfilling way.

Make no mistake, productivity is a large part of the equation that sums up a meaningful life. No matter who you are, a part of your day must be dedicated to doing work that gets you paid. Especially if you have taken it upon yourself to start your own business, then this “getting paid” stuff requires your utmost in creativity and productivity.

The iPhone is an incredibly sophisticated tool that can help every one of us to do meaningful work and live up to our self-appointed personal purpose. But it can also be a brain drain and a huge distraction, so we must learn to use it properly.

In the past year while running a new business, the iPhone has become a vital technology for achieving my business and life goals. I am now the master of my iPhone; it is not the master of me. Over the next few months, I will share what I am learning on how to use the iPhone as a tool rather than a toy and as a means to a rich, meaningful and productive life.

Consider this recent fortune:
Work is the True Elixir

I look forward to connecting with you on a more meaningful journey.

To stay connected, sign up to receive occasional free emails on my progress:

iPhone Productivity Reports Newsletter

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Joseph Gordon-Levitt Directs ACLU Clip Defending the Right to Video Police

The American Civil Liberties Union has collaborated on a short film called Know Your Rights created by actor and HitRecord director Joseph Gordon-Levitt. The film, which premiered at Sundance Film Festival, upholds the right of people to take iPhone videos of on-duty police officers.

At one point a caricature of Ben Franklin issues this decree:

… You see kids, even cops make mistakes, and it’s our job to keep an eye on them. And it’s easy with your modern technology and crazy iPhones…

Amazingly, the animation components were crowdsourced by up to 163 people who contributed images in the six days leading up to the festival.

Do You Have the Right to Record iPhone Video of Police Encounters?

Record Video of Police With iPhone

As iPhones and smartphones with video cameras are more widely adopted, clashes between citizens and police over video recording of police encounters have become increasingly common.

The question of whether it is appropriate, both legally and ethically, to record a police officer on duty remains a topic of debate.

Many cases involve a citizen recording a situation where police are publicly performing their duties, followed by an altercation between the camera-wielding citizen and the police officer who is uncomfortable being recorded.

Recent cases in the United States where citizens have gotten into trouble for recording police include:

  1. When a woman in Rochester, New York this June used her iPod to record a traffic stop while standing on her own property, the police officer making the stop arrested her and charged her with obstruction of governmental administration.
  2. When a Newark, New Jersey teenager recorded video of police coming to the aid of a man who collapsed on a bus, she was handcuffed by officers and charged with obstruction of justice.
  3. When Miami Beach Police surrounded an unarmed reckless driver this June and shot him to death, a citizen who recorded the incident had his cellphone allegedly smashed by police.
  4. When a speeding motorcyclist’s helmet camera captured a traffic stop by an undercover police officer brandishing a gun and failing to promptly identify himself, the Maryland State Police Department showed up at the man’s house days later, seizing several laptops and cameras and slapping him with a “wiretapping” charge that could have resulted in a 16 year prison sentence.

Is It Legal to Record Video of Police Encounters?

Legal Police Video Recording

Most charges against citizens who record police are eventually dropped since there is no law in the United States forbidding the recording of police encounters.

Just as a citizen has no right to privacy in a public setting, neither does a police officer doing their duty in public. As long as you are not interfering with the police, it is generally considered your First Amendment right to record incidents that occur in public.

Nevertheless, because smartphones with cameras are being adopted so rapidly, the technology is outpacing the law and police who seldom used to encounter citizens with video cameras are often taken aback and respond inappropriately.

Citizen as Watchdog: Recording Police is Good for Democracy

While many police are responsible public servants, citizens with smartphones can act as a check on police abuse and misconduct when it occurs.

UF Taser incident on iPhone

My first impression of this “citizen watchdog” phenomenon was in 2007 when a student at my alma mater was tasered at a question-and-answer session with John Kerry for behaving obnoxiously – albeit harmlessly.

Because an audience member recorded the incident and put it on YouTube, the public was able to see the confrontation, and judge for themselves whether the police acted inappropriately.

The iPhone did not have a video camera at the time, but in a post on the taser incident, I anticipated that an iPhone with a video camera could be a powerful tool for democracy because of its ability to record such incidents.

Is It Acceptable to Record Police With Your iPhone?

What do you think? Should the right of a citizen to record a police officer in public be preserved, or is it an obstruction of justice to record an officer on duty? Feel free to share in the comments.

7 Ways Siri Could Be a Better Personal Assistant


Siri Problems

iPhone 4S users,

Can we all agree that Siri has been a bit underwhelming?

While Siri is arguably the most advanced voice-powered personal assistant on the mobile market, there is still a lot left to be desired.

I often use Siri to send text messages, perform Google searches, set timers, and get directions — works great for all of the above — but there are some things that I would expect Siri to do and find myself surprised that it is incapable of doing.

Below are seven features that Apple should add to Siri to make it live up to the hype. Apple has admitted that Siri is still in its Beta stage, so let’s hope these changes are coming to Siri soon:

  1. Open apps. If you tell Siri to “open camera” or “open Photos,” it is incapable of doing so. At the moment, Siri can only perform tasks within the Siri interface. So if you tell it to send an email or write a text message, it will do so within the Siri interface and send it off without ever opening the app. But if you ask it to open any app, it will tell you that it does not have permission.
  2. Deeper integration with native apps. Siri interacts well with native iPhone apps. You can send messages, send emails, add calendar items and get directions within Siri. However, I would like to see Siri more deeply integrated within these applications. For example, it would be great if I could tell Siri when to alert me about a new calendar item, or to drop a pin at my current location in the Maps application.
  3. Interact with third-party apps. At the moment, Siri can’t interact with any third-party apps from the App Store, although I predict that Apple will introduce API’s for developers to incorporate Siri commands into their applications. I would love to be able to tell Siri to add a task in my Appigo Todo app, to add a new station in Pandora, or to Shazam the song that is playing in the background. The ability to interact with third-party apps would make Siri truly groundbreaking.
  4. Adjust settings. I wish Siri could change my iPhone settings with a simple voice command. Imagine telling Siri to adjust your screen brightness, or to connect to the nearest Wi-Fi network, or to turn on Airplane Mode.
  5. Read notifications. Currently, Siri can only read your latest text message to you. But I would love for Siri to be able to read all of my notifications to me. “Read unread emails” should prompt Siri to read my latest emails aloud, and “Read Facebook notifications” should prompt it to tell me who recently liked my statuses or commented on my wall.
  6. Say bad words. If you say a curse word, Siri will often understand it and repeat it, but if someone sends you a text message with the word “sh*t” or “f*ck” in it, Siri will simply say nothing, which is a bit confusing. Adult iPhone users should have the option to allow Siri to say bad words.
  7. iPhone 4 compatibility. Don’t expect this to ever be permitted by Apple, but I don’t see a reason why Siri shouldn’t be available on iPhone 4. Hackers have proven that Siri can be ported to iPhone 4 with no problems.

    Unfortunately, Apple often restricts software features to new hardware models, most likely in an effort to encourage customers to buy more of their products. This reeks of the time Apple prevented its multitasking feature from being added to the iPhone 3G, even though jailbreakers proved that the 3G could handle multitasking just fine.

What features would you like to see in the next version of Siri? Please add your recommendations to the comments.

Why You Can Support Occupy Wall Street and Still Admire Steve Jobs

Steve Jobs, Wall Street

Steve Jobs & Occupy Wall Street

The death of Steve Jobs will be remembered as one of those “where were you when…” moments.

When the planes struck New York in 2001, I was in my eighth grade Spanish class. When Michael Jackson died, I was vacationing in Costa Rica during the break between my summer 2008 college courses. When Steve Jobs died last week, I was at The Midnight downtown for a “Green Drinks” event.

My intention is not to compare one person’s death to a tragic day in history, but simply to illustrate how memorable I believe Steve Jobs’ death will be, and how much of an impact he had on people.

I was stunned by the news, because I am one of the many who view Steve Jobs as a visionary person.

After the news, mildly tipsy after Green Drinks and perhaps over-emotional, I posted to Facebook that I was surprised to be this affected by the death “of a celebrity.” I said I wanted to live my life like Jobs, with passion and enthusiasm and a belief in the impossible.

Steve Jobs Death

Many of my Facebook friends posted similar statuses, quotes and articles about Steve Jobs.

Then some of my friends began calling out the Jobs grievers.

Mainly, the criticism was that you were a hypocrite if, like many people today, you supported the Occupy Wall Street movement against corporate greed, and yet you still publicly honored a “1 percenter” who ran a corporation of the same sort that people are rallying against. I disagree with this sentiment.

Yes, Apple as a corporation has engaged in some disturbing practices. Is their practice of employing cheap workers overseas admirable? Is it okay that a Foxconn worker in China committed suicide because he was harassed and accused of leaking a product design? No. But that doesn’t mean one can’t honor Steve Jobs as an individual.

Yes, he controlled lots of capital, but Steve Jobs also inspired many people, including me.

As someone with a desire to improve my ability to communicate effectively — English was an appropriate major for me — I am frequently inspired by Apple messaging and communication. I browse their website or go to the Apple Store and everything is so detailed and carefully thought-out. It’s a great customer experience, and it makes me think, “How can I learn from this experience and use it to communicate my own ideas more effectively? How can I take this simplicity and effective design and apply it to my website and business?” Steve Jobs and Apple have inspired me a lot in this regard.

Jobs was a radical thinker who revolutionized the computing industry. I heard an interview of his on NPR the morning after his death, and was deeply inspired by his ideas, his passion and his clear desire to make computing truly accessible to people by way of design.

It hadn’t occurred to me that we should NOT honor, or “glorify” Steve Jobs and instead call out those who grieved just because Jobs worked for the same type of corporation that the world is angry at these days.

I recognize Occupy Wall Street as a peaceful and compelling movement, but it should not motivate anyone to hate a person or deny others the solace to grieve for a dead person. The fact is Jobs had an impact on people’s lives, and the world grieved when he died.

When you die, what will matter will be what you left behind. I choose to remember Steve Jobs for the way he inspired the world, and the way I can learn from him to communicate my own ideas to my community and to the world. Not to mention Apple’s tools are fantastic instruments that assist creative people in doing meaningful work.

Yes, Steve Jobs may have made decisions that negatively affected people. These issues should not be ignored. But you are human, too.

And you and I will die one day, too. I hope that no one will judge us on the days of our funerals, but rather forgive us, remember our strengths, and wish our spirits well.

I stand behind the 99 percent. And I remain inspired by Steve Jobs, the designer, the marketer, the visionary.

iPhone 5 or iPhone 4S: Two Possibilities for Apple Announcement Tomorrow

iPhone 4S or iPhone 5?

There has been no shortage of news, opinions, or rumors circulating about the iPhone 5 (or iPhone 4S, or whatever the next iPhone will be called). Yet despite all the noise about the next iPhone, most people have no idea what Apple will be announcing tomorrow.

Apple has kept the details of tomorrow’s announcement secret, but in a nutshell there are two main possibilities:

  1. iPhone 5: Apple announces a groundbreaking new iPhone with major innovations. The hardware looks much different, and there are many needed improvements, plus impressive new features that no one anticipated.
  2. iPhone 4S: Another possibility is that the next iPhone could be not-so-next-generation, and simply add some improvements such as a better processor, more storage, and only slight hardware modifications. The iPhone 4S would be to the iPhone 4 what the iPhone 3GS was to the iPhone 3G.

I consider the second scenario to be more likely, though I welcome the first.

A Third Possibility

It is also possible that Apple chooses a middle-ground between the above two scenarios and introduces a modestly improved iPhone — one that is faster and more spacious, has a similar hardware design, but has one major, game-changing feature that will set it apart from other smartphones.

It’s possible the next iPhone will be called something other than iPhone 5 or iPhone 4S, but I consider the above situations to be the most likely scenarios for the iPhone announcement tomorrow.

Some possible features to be announced tomorrow:

  • 4G network-compatibility
  • Improved camera, more megapixels
  • Faster processor
  • More storage space
  • 1080P video recording
  • Sprint availability
  • A larger screen
  • Thinner body

What do you think Apple will announce tomorrow? Do you plan to buy the next iPhone?