About Us

Most of us want to live better lives. We want deeper, more satisfying relationships with family, friends and loved ones. We want work that energizes and engages our creativity and talents. We want time to rest, rejuvenate and play, homes that comfort and relax us and communities of support and acceptance. We want to live our lives with purpose, passion and attention. Ultimately, we want to be happy.

Technology is a powerful force to help us improve our lives, communicate better or at least divert us after a hard day. Sometimes it fulfills its mission to make the world a better place; other times, not so much. How do we harness these innovations -- and how do we avoid their unintended consequences? At 2machines, we're always asking these questions.

At 2machines (formerly Mobiledia), we're devoted to engaging stories about everyday people using technology to improve their lives, figuring out what works for their values and lifestyles -- and what doesn't. Sometimes tech is an ally in the quest for happiness, peace and meaning -- other times it's an obstacle to overcome. But it's always a learning experience, ever evolving.

We believe smart, discerning readers want more engaging, more resonant content beyond the confetti of information you get on other sites, so we go deeper, with stories about real lives and people struggling and striving for better lives.

We hope you learn something reading our work, find ways to connect it to your own desires and experience and use what we share in your own efforts to bring purpose and fulfillment to your own lives. If you like what we're doing, please share our stuff with the people you care about, and connect with us on Facebook and Twitter.

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We're here to learn from one another; we all want to grow towards happiness, no matter where we live or who we are. Thanks for letting 2machines be part of your own journey, and we wish you the best in your quest for purpose and fulfillment.

2machines was launched in September 2002.

Who Are We?

Our team comes from backgrounds in journalism, literature, film and media, engineering, consulting and more, but we speak with a collective voice. Editors discuss and dispute topics and writers often cooperate on articles.

  • Kat Ascharya -- Kat is the editor of 2machines. With more than 10 years of experience as a writer on media, film, culture and fashion, she founded NoGoodForMe.com, one of the Web's first and long-running fashion blogs. As a graduate from Duke University and Columbia University with a M.A. in Film, her movies have screened at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Anthology Film Archives and the IFC Center in New York City.

  • Cam Lincoln -- Cam is responsible for product reviews, where he weighs the pros and cons, compare specs and debates the latest and greatest gadgets.

  • Margaret Rock -- Margaret is the managing editor. As a graduate from Loyola University with a B.A. in English, she worked for Accenture as a marketing and public relations specialist. Prior to that, she was a reporter for the Examiner.

  • Allen Tsai -- Allen is the founder and publisher of 2machines, responsible for overall operations and business development.


Leading brands and services syndicate our content because they trust us. Interested in working with us? Drop us a line!

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In the News

We are regularly recognized as an authority in the tech and mobile industry. For press inquiries or questions, please contact us. Here are some select mentions:

Siri Attracts Competition and Its First Peripheral

Oct 26, 2011

Wall Street Journal"... Undoubtedly the single iPhone 4S feature which has attracted more attention than any other is the voice controlled Siri. So what is the best way of reflecting in a bit of its reflected glory? Why not create something similar for Android users?..."

"... Mobiledia describes one such attempt: "The clone, nicknamed "Iris," or Siri in reverse, was built in just eight hours during a hackathon by workers at Dexetra.com, who set out to replicate Siri, the new feature only available on the iPhone 4S.

"Like Siri, Iris allows users to search by voice on various subjects, including art, literature, biology and more. For example, if you ask it "what is a fish," it will show you a paragraph from Wikipedia about the creatures."..."

Amazon, Facebook and the Evolution of Privacy

Sep 30, 2011

Washington Post "... When Amazon announced its new Kindle Fire tablet, it also announced that it would come with a new browser called Silk..."

"... According to security firm Sophos, as reported by Mobiledia on Thursday, Silk stores the Web sites that users visit as well as their IP and Mac addresses..."

China Steals "Angry Birds" for Theme Park

Sep 16, 2011

CBS News "... A theme park inspired by the popular mobile game opened Sept. 1 in Changsha, a city in China's Hunan province, where visitors take turns with giant slingshots that shoot the birds at pig balloons..."

"... It's unclear how Rovio, the game's Finnish developer, intends to respond. A spokeswoman for Rovio China told the website Mobiledia that it would welcome a partnership. It would seem that a ready-made market exists..."

Unlicensed Angry Birds Attraction Opens in Chinese Theme Park

Sep 15, 2011

Los Angeles Times "... An amusement park in China has opened an unlicensed attraction based on Angry Birds, a popular mobile game..."

"... "We would welcome a partnership," Rovio China spokeswoman Daisy Yang said when asked by tech site Mobiledia about the Changsha park. "But Rovio would need to give them permission to use the Angry Birds game."..."

Intel Says Work on Meego Software Will Go On

Sep 08, 2011

Wall Street Journal "... Some of the questions about Intel's commitment to the software were prompted by a report in the Taiwan-based publication Digitimes, which reported that Intel planned to temporarily discontinue development of the software due to a lack of enthusiasm from handset and tablet PC vendors..."

"... Mobiledia, meanwhile, reported that Samsung Electronics is planning to help work on Meego..."

Don't Hate the New Player, Hate the New Game

Aug 30, 2011

Washington Post "... The video game industry has undergone a transformation, allowing new kinds of games to come to the fore..."

"... This, writes Mobiledia's Kat Asharya, could lead to games that go beyond the digital and transition into reality: "New gamers are shown to be very socially conscious, heavily engaged with the "offline" world and imbued with a strong drive to improve themselves and the world around them. Latitude found that 95 percent of surveyed gamers would like to see more games combining digital content with the real, physical world."...

Governments, Business and Police: We've Had It With the Hacking

Jul 07, 2011

Washington Post "... It appears the victims of an ongoing stream of black-hat hacking attempts (and some successes) are stepping it up when it comes to playing defense..."

"... According to Mobiledia's Sandy Fitzgerald, ICSPA will focus on the majority of hackers' back yards, zeroing in on Russia, the Ukraine and Brazil -- countries from which a large portion of illegal hacking originates..."

How Hip-Hop Is Keeping Dying Languages on Life Support

Jul 06, 2011

Washington Post "... Could Chilean teenagers' desire to make their text messages more exclusive breathe new life into a dying language?..."

"... Mobiledia's Margaret Rock writes that southern Chilean teens are incorporating the nearly dead language Huilliche into hip-hop videos they are uploading to YouTube..."

Cell Phone Crackdown as North Korea Prepares for Leadership Shift

May 09, 2011

CNN "... Over the last decade, more news has been getting out from, and reaching into, North Korea via smuggled cell phones..."

"... Mobiledia observed: "Sources say the government is restricting the flow of information even more carefully than before in the wake of recent Middle East uprisings."..."

That's a Nice Phone, But How's the Network?

Jul 01, 2010

New York Times "... You need to think about only two things in choosing a carrier: the speed of its network and its reliability. That sounds deceptively simple..."

"... Another site, Mobiledia, tells you where nearby cell towers are. The low-tech approach might be as useful..."

Analyze This: Your Cell Phone Bill

Feb 14, 2010

Chicago Tribune "... Chances are you're wasting gobs of money on wireless phone service because you chose the wrong plan..."

"... Also, consider call quality in your area. Cheaper is not better if you don't have a wireless signal. Sites such as Mobiledia (cellreception.com ) can help determine whether you'll have good coverage..."

In Choosing a New Phone, Online Research Goes Only So Far

Oct 07, 2009

New York Times "... Buying a new cellphone is about as much fun as buying a used car. Had my friend read a couple of online reviews of the Tour, he might have chosen more carefully..."

"... If he had another shot, I'd suggest he start by spending five minutes on sites like CellReception.com to check the coverage of the major carriers in his area..."

Study Guide: How to Save Money on the First Year of College

Aug 24, 2009

Wall Street Journal "... Many students arrive at school with a phone they've had for years. It's often most economical to stay on the existing family plan or to opt for a prepaid plan. One warning: Don't leave home without finding out whether there's good reception in the area..."

"... The colleges could let you know. Cellreception.com is also a potential source..."

What to Do About Bad IPhone 3GS Reception

Jul 26, 2009

San Francisco Chronicle "... I'd return the phone and go shopping at another carrier that has good coverage where you live...'

"... All the big carriers disclose coverage areas on their Web sites. And for an unbiased opinion, go to cellreception.com..."

Switching Networks for an IPhone

Apr 01, 2009

Wall Street Journal "... I have always advised that nobody should get any phone unless it is on a network that they are sure works to their satisfaction in the areas where they will use it..."

"... So, my advice is to ask friends around Boston who have iPhones or other AT&T 3G devices how they feel about the network. You might also enter your ZIP Code at some Web sites that track overall carrier coverage and dead zones, like cellreception.com..."

For Prepaid Customers, Phones That Won't Give You Away Anymore

Feb 26, 2009

New York Times "... Prepaid cellphones have long been an outlet for those without the money or credit rating to get a contract with one of the major mobile carriers..."

"... Since Boost uses Sprint's network, you would be wise to check with your friends, relatives and Web sites like CellReception.com to see how well the company covers your area..."

The Web Brings Together Cellphone Users Searching for Signals

Jan 14, 2009

New York Times "... CellReception is an offshoot of Mobiledia.com, a widely read mobile-industry blog..."

"... The site's president, Allen Tsai, said it held more than 45,000 comments, mostly written by Mobiledia readers..."

Planning a Road Trip? Prepare for Cellphone Outages

Feb 18, 2008

Los Angeles Times "... We must also come to terms with the fact that our cellphones aren't as reliable outside the city. Luckily, we can plan for these things..."

"... Websites such as Mobiledia's CellReception.com allow users to type in their locations and get a map or a list of past issues with AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile and Verizon in that area..."

Computing Q&A

Feb 18, 2008

San Francisco Chronicle "What's the best way to find out which cell phone models have the best reception?..."

"... What you can do is go to the Mobiledia Web site (cellreception.com) and check how well or badly the big wireless carriers cover your area. The Web site lets you search for nearby cellular towers, and it has a database of user comments about coverage from people in your ZIP code..."

The Everything Guide to Belt-Tightening

Feb 04, 2008

New York Magazine "... AT&T Coverage Quality: Spotty all over, especially in lower Manhattan. Verizon: By all accounts, the city's most reliable carrier. T-Mobile: Coverage gaps all over, from Harlem to Battery Park. Sprint: Few complaints, but occasional breaks in service way uptown..."

"... As found on cellreception.com..."

Staying Connected via Cellphone (and Cellphone Bill)

Jun 21, 2007

New York Times "For a second opinion, I phoned the lead analyst for mobile phones at PC Magazine..."

"... He looked at cellphone coverage maps - available online at sites like Cellreception.com - before warning me that switching to a Vermont carrier for prepaid minutes would be prohibitively expensive."

What Is Web 2.0?

May 15, 2007

CBS News "... Ask a dozen tech pundits to describe Web 2.0 and you're likely to get two dozen explanations as to what it is. Apart from the concept itself, some specific Web 2.0 technologies are also important to understand..."

"... Mashups: Websites or applications that combine content from one or more sources. For example, Cellreception.com combines Google Maps with a database of 124,000 cell phone tower locations to help users determine where mobile coverage is strong -- and where it isn't. ..."

Money-Saving Tips

Feb 22, 2007

CNN "Correspondents will tell you how to fight back if you think you're being mistreated as a customer. Here are some tips that could save you money and aggravation..."

"... Consumers generally have little idea how reliable their cell phone service will be when they buy a phone and sign a contract. The best information comes from word of mouth or from Web sites such as CellReception.com."

Nokia's Nifty New Store

Sep 8, 2006

CNN "... Nokia takes a second step in its U.S. retail strategy tomorrow, opening a new, high-gloss store on 57th street in Manhattan..."

"... The transluscent, plexiglass walls deliver a multimedia lightshow synchronized with music ranging from the meditative to industrial. Lining these walls are the goods: pretty much every Nokia handset available, from the heavily-promoted 8801 to diamond-encrusted $44,000 Vertu models made by Swiss watchmakers outside of London. (For all the gory detail, see Mobiledia's blow-by-blow description.)..."

Beyond Tuition

Jul 27, 2006

Kiplinger's "The Zogby study reports that 89% of college students have cell phones. One dad complained that the most shocking cost he encountered was 'that darned cell-phone bill.'..."

"... Check sites such as Cellreception.com to make sure that there's good service on campus; some carriers entice students with special discounts or enhanced service..."

Which Cell Phone Is Best for You?

Jun 11, 2006

Parade Magazine "To figure out which companies offer service you can use, start by checking the coverage maps..."

"... Get an independent analysis of coverage from a site like cellreception.com (a searchable database of cell-phone tower locations and consumer reports)..."

Computing Q&A: Tip of the Week

May 15, 2006

San Francisco Chronicle "Before you lock yourself into a cell phone contract, make sure there's good reception in your area..."

"... You also can check out Mobiledia Corp.'s Web site (cellreception.com), which keeps track of cell site deployments and features comments from users around the country..."

Switching Wireless Carriers

Mar 30, 2006

Washington Post "If you're thinking about switching carriers, I recommend that you do the following..."

"... Check the new carrier's coverage. Wireless service providers include coverage maps on their sites, which you can search by zip code. Independent Web sites, such as Mobiledia, can provide even more information..."

Cell Phone Service, How to Choose

Jan 01, 2006

Consumer Reports "At Consumer Reports, editors say that users in metropolitan areas should go with the cell-phone plan that gets the highest rating. Since Verizon and T-Mobile both rank highly in most regions, your best bet is to ask around -- find out how happy friends and neighbors are with their cell-phone service..."

"... Web sites like CellReception.com can give you a good idea what you can expect in your specific area. This Web site is a great source for identifying service 'dead spots...'"

A Cellphone and a Plan for Just About Any Situation

Dec 29, 2005

New York Times "A few times I thought I had found a nearly perfect phone and a tolerable service plan, but they used incompatible wireless technologies. So start by choosing a carrier, because no phone is useful if it does not get good reception where you need it..."

"... A good resource for all carriers is cellreception.com, where you get access to a map of local cellphone towers and reports from your neighbors about the reception they get..."

Where in the World Is...

Dec 19, 2005

Wall Street Journal "Individual programmers have been the first to seize on the technology and turn mundane lists into such interactive maps. But some larger businesses are starting to use mashups as a way to gain exposure and boost traffic to their sites..."

"... CellReception.com brings up a Google map of nearby cellular towers when you enter a city name or ZIP Code. Also provides comments about coverage and signal strength in nearby areas for multiple carriers..."

Era of the Mash-Ups Newest Web Sites Among Net's Hottest Phenomena

Nov 14, 2005

San Francisco Chronicle "Take a pinch of Yahoo or Google. Then stir in some census data, photographs or crime statistics. What you get is a 'mash-up.' Among the Internet's hottest phenomena, these Web sites combine ingredients from different online sources to create intriguing hybrids..."

"... A mix of mash-ups - www.cellreception.com (cell phone towers + maps)..."

A Journey to a Thousand Maps Begins With an Open Code

Oct 20, 2005

New York Times "Using a Google map as a base, programmers can create interactive charts with information like U.F.O. sightings, cheap gas locations, census findings, restaurant reviews or subway directions..."

"... Related Google Maps Mash-Ups - Cell Phone Reception..."

The Cellphone's Potential as a Search Tool Gets Tapped

May 04, 2005

New York Times "Still, searching the Web on a phone is frustrating for most users. Screens are tiny. Waiting for a page to appear can take 10 seconds or more. And when signals fade, the lag times can be unbearable..."

"... 'The experience is much like text browsing in the early days of the Internet,' said Allen Tsai, founder of Mobiledia.com, a site for comparison shopping of cellphones..."