New software 'mirrors' your mobile phone online

Backup contacts, text messages, calls, photos, video and phone settings online

A company called Dashwire this week unveiled free new software that essentially mirrors your mobile phone on the Web, backing up all your data -- contacts, text messages, calls, photos, videos and phone settings -- and letting you access everything online. It does this not when you connect to your PC, but constantly over your phone's data connection.

Dashwire enables you to send and receive SMS messages online and set your ring tones, wallpapers and speed dials -- all from your Web-based account (these changes are instantly updated on your phone). Dashwire works only with Windows Mobile 5.0 and 6.0 devices -- HTC Touch, AT&T Tilt, T-Mobile Dash, Samsung BlackJack, Palm Treo 750, Motorola Q series and others. The company says it's working on more platforms.

Of course, high-end smart phones like the devices Dashwire supports already let you sync your data to a PC. But the beauty of this software is that it does the mirroring wirelessly, and also that it places it in a usable form on the Web. If you're on the road, and leave your Treo 750 in a cab, you still have the latest info when you get back to your hotel room.

It's also convenient to add contacts and do other tasks on a PC, rather than always being forced to do so with the phone itself.

Some carriers provide similar functionality. But it's nice to see a company providing software that does it for people who can't get it through their carrier.

Very low-cost digital photo frame hits for holidays

The online catalog ThinkGeek is selling a very inexpensive -- US$250 -- 15-in. digital photo frame. It sports a 1,024- by 768-pixel resolution display, built-in speakers and support for eight kinds of removable media. It has a USB port, so you can transfer photos from a USB flash drive -- and it even plays video.

The price makes this one of the least expensive frames available, and it's also one of the largest. And just in time for the holidays.

Gadget tells how much power your other gadgets are sucking

Everybody's talking about cutting energy use to save both money and the planet -- but how? Some of your appliances and gadgets suck way too much juice -- even when you think they're turned off. It's a good idea to figure out which ones they are. An easy-to-use energy meter from SmartHome lets you do just that.

Just plug it into a wall outlet, then plug something into it. The built-in LCD display will show wattage, voltage, current, total energy, energy price and total cost. Just like at the gas pump when you're filling your car, you can watch the money you're spending as you're spending it. You'll be able to calculate exactly when this device pays for itself.

Mike Elgan writes about technology and global tech culture. Contact Mike at mike.elgan@elgan.com or his blog, The Raw Feed.

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