CNET to the Rescue: No matter where you go, here we are

Rafe and Josh discuss the best mobile apps for finding stuff to do and things to eat near you. Also, your questions answered, including our tips for painting your laptop BMW red.

On our show today: our favorite smartphone apps to help find stuff to do, things to eat, and people to connect with. Also, your questions and calls answered, including tips on painting laptops. But not until Josh shows off his USB-powered warning lights and a beer cooler that looks like a laptop case.

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Episode 11: No matter where you go, here we are

Geo apps

We discuss...

Road test

Josh: Timbuk2 Dolores Park Chiller

Rafe: Apple Magic Trackpad software update

Questions

Joshua Wagner: I bought a Netbook about a year ago. I have had AVG Free on it pretty much since I bought the computer. I also use the free version of Malwarebytes. So far, I have not been infected at all. Is that normal? Is there anything you guys would recommend to keep my computer more secure?

Rafe: Is it normal to not be infected? Yes! Now relax and carry on.

Josh: As long as you're not installing software packages from questionable sources, or visiting malicious Web sites, your computing activities should be safe and sound, yes.

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bpurcell: I have an Evo with the stock 8GB micro SD card, and I'm looking to expand to 16 or 32GB. When I do searches on the cards, I find that there are Class 2, 4, and 6 cards. I "believe" the difference is the speed at which you can pull data off the cards, but I'm not sure. Does the Evo work better or worse with a particular class? Does it really matter what class I get?

Josh: SD classes define the read/write speed the card is capable of. This becomes important when it comes to creating and loading large files, which for the EVO means the HD videos and 8-megapixel stills it takes. For apps being able to write little bits of data to the card it won't make that much of a difference, but you'll notice a nice speed improvement on the photo gallery app and video playback + recording with a class 6 card or higher. Just keep in mind that the price for 32GB class 6 MicroSD cards is not cheap since it just started shipping a few months ago. If you can hold out with the 8GB card until the holidays there's likely to be a price drop. Or just go with the 16GB cards Class 6 cards, which run around 60 bucks.

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I recently got an Android phone. This being my first smartphone, I must say I am thoroughly enjoying having a PC in my pocket which is significantly more powerful than some towers that are still up and running in my home. I of course have gone on an app-installing blitz, and as I was looking at all of my pretty icons (Mint, LastPass, contacts, etc) I couldn't help but get a little worried that I am not fully informed as to how to properly secure my data, both from the cloud and from the physical claws of strangers.

I of course have set up the gesture lock to keep out prying eyes, but was hoping you could give me some further education on the risks and how to properly deal with them.

Rafe: Android apps are supposed to be sandboxed, but developers can let users down. On iPhones, a recent Citibank app was writing financial and personal data to an accessible scratch file.

Josh: Some apps also come with security measures of their own, including Mint which uses its own passcode and a remote wipe feature. If you're concerned about such things, it's worth using those precautions. There's also third-party software that can let you track where your phone is, and do a remote wipe if need be like SmartGuard, SMobile Security Shield, Tomnica Beacon Data Protection, and Remote Wipe--the last of which requires your phone to be rooted.

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BlackBerry-sponsored question from Sebastian: I want to paint my Laptop BMW "cherry red" and I found a BMW certified collision repair facility to do so. What do I need to do, to properly seal/mask my laptop off? Or should I even do it at all?

Josh: This seems like a really, really bad idea to me. There are professional gadget painting services like Colorware that can do it for you in a variety of colors, but they only work with certain devices particularly for the fact that it's difficult to do without getting paint in places where it shouldn't be. Do you trust the grease jockeys at your auto shop to know how to seal everything up just right? My advice is to get a simple acrylic plastic case for your machine and have the guys at the Beemer shop paint that instead. See also the Instructables post, Project Big Red.

Rafe: If you can find a kindred geek spirit at a body shop who's done it before, sure, why not? My advice: 1) Don't let the first computer the guy's painted be yours. 2) Remove the case entirely from the electronic bits, don't rely on masking. 3) Mask every screw-hole, vent, and join seam. 4) Send us a pic when it's done.

Comments

Eric: Not sure if you've covered this app for Android, but thought I would try. It's called EasyTether and allows you to tether your phone (mine being an EVO) to your computer by using the USB cord. I was disappointed that is it not fast enough to stream Netflix on my computer, but I was able to navigate the Internet without any hiccups.

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