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Author Archives: kduggan

Moshi for iPad

  • Next month, all you'll need is your smartphone equipped with the Square Wallet app to buy your latte at Starbucks. In November, Starbucks’ customers will be able to use the Square mobile payment system in about 7,000 U.S. stores.


    Starbucks and Square formed a big partnership last August. Starbucks invested $25 million in Square. The deal allows Square to process credit and debit card transactions and implement the Pay with Square system at Starbucks stores.


    To use Pay with Square you link a credit card to the app. When you’re paying at the counter, leave your wallet in your pocket. Through the app the store can sense your phone's location and charges your account for the amount of your purchase. The cashier verifies your identity through a picture ID and name that pops up on their screen.


    Apple users aren't being left out. The latest update to the Starbucks iOS app lets Starbucks card owners add their accounts to Apple’s Passbook directly through the app. Then you can pay for food and beverages, check your card balances, reload the card with more cash, and add rewards to score free drinks, all through your iPhone.


    Unveiled in iOS 6, Passbook lets users store electronic copies of tickets, coupons, boarding passes, and loyalty cards.


    Starbucks first launched a Square-powered mobile payment app in 2011. Since then, Starbucks has processed more than 70 million mobile transactions.




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  • Smartphones and tablets have transformed retail shopping. The vast majority of the 6 billion mobile phone users love to shop online using mobile devices.


    Links to user-generated content on Facebook, Twitter and review sites make up a quarter of the search results for the top 20 brands in the world. Sixty percent of Facebook users say they would discuss a product or service if they were offered a deal of some kind.


    Social media shoppers are some of the most active shoppers out there – spending an average of $1,800 per person. And 167 million of them are expected to shop online in 2012. In 2014, it’s estimated that the internet will trigger 53% of all retail sales – both online and off.


    Here is how shoppers are using their smartphones according to the online analytics company that compiled all this data - Symphony Teleca:


    33% looked for sales and specials
    33% checked store information
    32% looked at product reviews and ratings
    31% compared prices on Amazon
    31% checked out an online store for a certain product
    29% looked around at online retailers other than Amazon
    27% used a site that focuses on providing competitive prices
    26% made sure the store had a product in their inventory
    24% scouted the prices for certain products on a retailer’s mobile site


    Just to demonstrate the power that we consumers wield – 85% of people anticipate a change in their shopping behavior based on the user-generated information they find online. Remember that the next time you have a great (or a miserable) shopping experience. Help each other out, and take the time to share.




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  • Now even the process of charging your phone can be entertaining. A new app from the Toyota car company called “Plug-in Championship” makes a game of plugging in your phone. This is the first app of its kind.


    The goal of the game is to plug in your phone’s charger when the power meter on the screen is at its highest. The better your timing, the better your score. You score every time you plug in the connector to your phone. Once the phone is plugged and you’ve gotten your score, the app gives you a fast-paced video to add to the fun.


    The Plug-in Championship game isn’t complex or challenging. It's just another way to pass some time and compare scores with your buddies.


    Toyota developed “Plug-in Championship” as part of its promotional campaign for the Prius PHV hybrid car. The app is available for iOS and Android.


    PLUG-IN Championship http://plugin.toyota-digital.com/


    iTunes App Store http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/plug-in-championship/id551957032?mt=8&uo=4


    Google Play https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.toyota_digital.plugin




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  • A report in Fortune magazine says it’s likely that Apple will show the world its iPad Mini in a launch event on October 17th. An Apple investor claims to have heard about Apple’s plans from multiple sources and predicts that invitations to the event will go out on October 10th, we’ll have a first look at the iPad Mini on October 17th , and we could see it on the market as soon as November 2nd.


    Leaked photos of the little tablet have been circulating for quite a while showing a 7.85-inch device with a rear-facing camera. The casing looks to be aluminum-backed with a front display that is similar to the current iPad’s. It will probably have a black or white bezel surrounding the screen and a home button at the bottom. There is no doubt that tablet will be set up with the new Lightning connector.


    Thankfully, the iPad Mini is rumored to be priced in the range of other major tablets like Nook, Nexus 7 and Kindle Fire. Apple offering a tablet for around $200 will probably make everyone except Barnes and Noble, Google and Amazon very happy.


    Since neither the development of a smaller version of the iPad nor any dates for the launch of the alleged device have ever been acknowledged by Apple, all this information could be completely wrong. Since we’re hearing it everywhere, we’ll just let Apple be the one to prove us right.




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  • Despite its faults and omissions, adoption of Apple’s iOS 6 is still off like a rocket. The touch-friendly website conversion provider Onswipe reported the number of users who have downloaded the newly-released Apple platform for their iPhone and iPad devices. With a sample of 100,000 users coming through Onswipe’s partner sites as of last Friday the company is seeing 59.43% of iPhone traffic from iOS 6 devices. 41.3% of iPad traffic is coming from those who have upgraded to the latest version.


    It’s obvious that a seriously flawed iOS 6 (by Apple standards) isn’t enough to keep Apple’s fan base away.



    This post was posted in Apple and was tagged with Apple iOS 6, iOS 6

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  • California has become the first state to pass a bill making it illegal for employers to ask for workers' email or social media passwords. This means companies in California cannot require employees to turn over passwords for online accounts or penalize them if they refuse to comply. The bill also protects students at colleges and universities who refuse to hand over access to their social media accounts.


    State Senator Leland Yee, a San Francisco Democrat, authored the bill. She said, “When you do in fact open up your social media accounts, all kinds of personal information may be there. But information that, by law, no employer can, in fact, get your religion, sexual orientation, other kinds of personal, private information are out of bounds by both state law and federal law," she said at the time. "So, it's not just simply about getting information. There are confidential, protected information that employers will be getting, and that's wrong."


    Facebook lashed out about the requirements by reminding schools, governments, and businesses that giving away passwords was expressly forbidden by their security rules.


    Companies that don't ask for passwords have taken other steps like asking applicants to friend human resource managers or to log in to a company computer during an interview. Some companies have required employees to sign non-disparagement agreements that ban workers from talking negatively about their employer on social media.


    With Facebook’s heavy lobbying, maybe more states will see how much these practices violate individual rights to privacy.



    This post was posted in News and PR and was tagged with privacy protection, Facebook privacy, social media privacy

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  • Amazon's app store is catching up
    Posted on September 27, 2012 by kduggan


    Amazon's app store is only a year old and already it’s giving Google Play and the Apple app store some serious competition. Amazon knows how to do ecommerce, and they’re showing it in how they get the attention of the ones who provide the products: mobile app developers.


    Amazonapps overseer is Aaron Rubenson. In a recent interview, Rubenson gave a little hint as to why their app business has grown so fast. “When you think about some of the things that Amazon does that other platforms don’t, we have this huge physical capability to ship stuff around the world,” Rubenson said. “Games will sell plush toys, but you could imagine other scenarios where a recipes app could send cookbooks.”


    Amazon does seem to like change and manages it well.


    Amazon recently started letting developers offer in-app purchases of physical goods, which will be a big deal for companies like Angry Birds-maker Rovio, Talking Friends-maker Outfit7, Russia’s Zeptolab and more.


    Amazon’s Game Circle offers social features to gamers like the ability to share achievements and leaderboards. It can save a gamer’s progress in the cloud, so that changing devices doesn’t require restarting a game.


    Last year, Amazon had some controversial pricing that frustrated developers. It had all the power when it came to the amount to charge for apps. Since developers are paid a percentage based on of what their apps sell for a big discount meant lost income for the designer. The company recently changed this so that developers earn 70 percent of what they originally priced their apps at, even if Amazon discounts their work. This is the same arrangement that Google Play and Apple Apps stores give their designers.


    Amazon just opened its store to five international markets, so these changes are based on what’s been going on in the U.S. They have a long way to go before they're a big contender for Apple and Google app business, but the new kid seems to be doing it right.



    This post was posted in Apple, General, Odd And Interesting and was tagged with Amazon apps store, Amazonapps, app stores, Apps

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  • When does a kid need a mobile phone?
    Posted on September 26, 2012 by kduggan


    The age at which we become addicted to our cell phones is getting younger and younger. A recent report found half of teens surveyed say they can’t live longer than a week without their phones, and 36% said they check their phones at least once every 10 minutes.


    Since cell phones have become as important as our right hands, is there an appropriate time for parents to get their child a mobile phone of their own?


    In a recent Harris poll 22% of parents said they thought 10 was the right age to get their child a cell phone. 43% said between 10 to 12 years old was the appropriate time.


    While parents might feel better knowing they can contact their kids anytime, having a mobile phone gives a child access to everything on the internet – both good and bad.


    Ultimately it’s up to the parents to decide. Answering ‘yes’ to all four of these questions might mean the time is right for a child to have a phone:


    1. Are there times when your child might be alone and an emergency could come up?
    2. If you put limits on using the phone can you trust your child to abide by what you ask?
    3. Does your child understand what types of apps are okay to download, how to safely surf the Internet and what they shouldn’t share online?
    4. Have you taught your child about who they shouldn’t communicate with – like strangers?


    Ultimately, whether a kid, tween or teen is ready for a mobile phone of their own is up to the parent’s judgment, but it’s also a big responsibility for both of you.



    This post was posted in General and was tagged with tween cell phone use, teen cell phone use, children and cell phones

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  • ZTE and Mozilla are the latest duo to announce that they’ll be launching a new smartphone with a brand new operating system. ZTE is China’s largest manufacturer of mobile phones. Mozilla, the Firefox browser company, is the co-developer of the OS. The team plans to launch their new phone in December.


    In February, He Shiyou, executive vice president of ZTE, announced that the Shenzhen company was developing their own OS. ZTE is the world’s fourth-largest maker of mobile phones. They’ve begun a big push with entry-level smartphones and want to be very careful about staying out of the nasty patent fray that Apple, Samsung and others have been embroiled in.


    ZTE apparently hasn’t learned anything about launching a new OS from the struggles that Microsoft has been put through. The company’s plan is “a very unrealistic strategy,” Pierre Ferragu, an analyst at Sanford C. Bernstein in London, told Bloomberg News. “Operating systems follow winner-take-all rules. How can an operating system limited to a small, low-end manufacturer gain traction ever?”


    What do you think? Would you consider purchasing a smartphone offered by this pair?



    This post was posted in News and PR and was tagged with ZTE OS, Mozilla OS, new OS, ZTE smartphone, ZTE, Mozilla

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  • While Apple unleashed the iPhone 5 last week, they’re being a little stingier with the Lightening connector – they aren’t in stores yet, and online orders won’t ship until October. This is causing all kinds of conniptions among even Apple’s most loyal fans.


    It was inevitable that Apple had to re-engineer its 10-year old 30 pin adapter. The Lightning’s eight-pin, all-digital connector is smaller, more durable and a necessity for the evolution of all Apple devices. But, the impact of the connector change on the whole system is just getting through to many Apple owners.


    Not only will you need the adapter to connect your iPhone 5 to all the old accessories and their 30 pin plug-ins, more substantial systems like your BMW’s electronic interface and the workout equipment at your gym will be useless without the Lightning adapter. Anywhere that there are iPhone-compatible systems will be affected.


    BMW is one of the companies that is already on the problem. They’ve made it clear to car owners that they will still be able to listen to music, podcasts and other audio over the built-in stereo, so yes, the tunes will continue to flow. However, the automaker’s PlugIn feature – enabling video playback while stationary and the mirrored Apple interface – is officially out.


    Have you thought about how Apple’s connector change is going to affect your Apple devices?




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