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    June 20, 2015
    Twitter Wants To Be Your Shopping List

    Sometimes you see something very cool and you want to get it for yourself.  For example, someone’s reading a book and raving about it on Twitter.  Sure, you can go hunt it down and look it up on a retailer website, or you can click a link and boom, book on its way.  Twitter is launching product pages and collections that allow companies to organize their products and consumers to buy them.  In addition to the dedicated product pages being set up for companies, trend-makers and celebrities are also being invited to set up collection pages featuring their favorite things for their customers to purchase.

    Pinterest and Facebook already have simliar features, so it makes sense that Twitter adds it, too.  There have been hashtags that have been used to place products into shopping carts on Amazon, and now it’s going to be even easier to make that purchase when the time comes.  Since Twitter doesn’t do a lot of ads, it only makes sense that they look for ways to help brands engage with customers on a way other than simply through conversations.

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    June 18, 2015
    YouTube’s New News Channel

    The future of news is online.  There’s just something about immediacy that even cable news can’t match, in spite of millions of dollars to spend and 24 hours of coverage to fill.  When you get something cool on video, it goes straight to YouTube, and now, that cool video just might make up the future of news.  YouTube is launching YouTube Newswire, a new news service focused on eye-witness video.

    Of course, YouTube isn’t just plucking videos at random.  Newswire will be sourced and organized by Storyful, who promise to find the best news, weather, and political videos and bring them to the world’s attention in a way that the average “man getting hit by football” video can’t.  All the videos will be able to be embedded, provided credit to the original uploader and YouTube is provided.  They’ll even license the videos for the local news, which should make finding great videos and using them that much easier for the local morning show that needs a few minutes of time killed.

    If you’re curious, head over to YouTube Newswire to find out more.

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    May 14, 2015
    Apple Watch Can Be Reprogrammed By Thieves

    It took a long time for the iPhone theft stories to die down.  For a long time, it seemed like everyone was getting their iPhones stolen or stealing iPhones or whatever.  However, it seems like it’s finally started to die down… but that won’t last long, because as it turns out, the latest Apple product is a boon to potential thieves.  If your iWatch gets stolen, thieves can reprogram it without any true security.

    All it takes to reprogram the iWatch to your iPhone, rather than the iPhone of the person you stole it from, all you have to do is hold down the power button, select. and then erase all the data to remove the protective passcode from the phone.  Of course, there’s no real way to remotely wipe data from something that doesn’t actively connect to the Internet, and I guess if a normal watch gets stolen, it stays stolen.  The Apple Watch is a bit different, but apparently not that much different.

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    May 8, 2015
    Google Can Help You Order Dinner

    Some days it’s just too hot, or too cold, or too rainy to bother going out to the store, bringing home food, and cooking it yourself.  That’s what delivery is for, and delivery food remains incredibly popular.  Indeed, ordering food was one of the earliest things you could do online, and it remains one of the biggest things for online restaurant websites.  But what if you didn’t have to go to the trouble of finding a delivery service to bring your food to you?  What if you could just search for a restaurant and Google would tell you how you could order from them?  That’d be cutting out the middle man, to be sure.  Well, that’s what’s happening.  If you search for a restaurant on your mobile phone, Google will be providing an instant ordering option.

    “When you search for a nearby restaurant on your phone, you’ll see an option to ‘Place an order’ in the search results.  Just tap that, choose the delivery service and you’ll be taken to their website to complete the order,” explains Google’s blog post on the subject.

    The service kicks off with six different providers here in the United States:  Seamless, Grubhub, Eat24, Delivery.com, BeyondMenu, and MyPizza.com.  Google is going to expand the offerings eventually, though it might take awhile and they’ve already landed the major providers.  Sadly, it only seems to work through mobile phones, but maybe it’ll be added to the normal Google service soon enough.

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    May 7, 2015
    Nintendo Is Heading To Universal Theme Parks

    The Super Mario Brothers were the first video game I remember playing.  Shortly after that I went backwards to things like Atari and those little hand-held Tiger games that never really worked, but Mario was my first.  I spent hours playing Super Mario Brothers and Duck Hunt with my dad in my room or on the family television.  Mario’s an important part of my life and if there was a Nintendo theme park, I would have already gone.  Now it might be happening.  Nintendo will be licensing its characters to Universal.

    That means Mario, Peach, Luigi, Link, and all your favorite Nintendo characters will be coming to Universal Parks & Resorts properties.  It’s actually kind of amazing that it hasn’t happened before now.  Then again, Nintendo is trying to expand its brand and help its characters get farther out into the world and penetrate even more into pop culture.

    All I can say is that if that means we get a Mario Kart ride, I don’t care who they license to, because that’s going to be phenomenal.  So long as I get the blue shell.

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    May 1, 2015
    Sprint Unveils Free Airport WiFi

    One of the perils of traveling is the inability to find reliable connectivity.  During a trip to London a couple of years ago, the only place I could really get solid WiFi in the city was, guess where?  Heathrow Airport.  It made things a lot easier for me while waiting for boarding and all that fun stuff, but when I got stuck at O’Hare Airport in Chicago for seven hours?  Nothing.  Nothing but books to read and no real way to get online.  Thankfully, Sprint customers won’t face the dilemma of having to pay for what so many places give away for free.  Sprint is teaming up with airport WiFi controllers Boingo to give free access to its customers.

    “By enabling customers to move more smoothly between trusted Wi-Fi and cellular, our customers will have a better mobile experience in more locations, all while lowering their cost of data usage,” said Sprint’s CTO Stephen Bye.

    Of course, this isn’t at every airport, just at 35 specific airports mentioned in a Sprint blog post.  Still, that’s a start.  Maybe Verizon can pick up the bill at some other airports, or AT&T can provide WiFi at truck stops?  The important thing is that free WiFi is starting to really take root in the public sector.  Here’s hoping it continues to advance; if I can get free WiFi at the world’s busiest airport, surely they can roll out WiFi coverage at other major airports.

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    April 27, 2015
    Best Buy Will Now Take Apple Pay

    The wave of the future is the payment app.  I have a payment app for a local coffee chain, and it’s making things a lot easier for me.  Not that I get to buy that much coffee, but to swipe a thing and have it be my payment method, loyalty card, and order tracker all in one, it’s pretty convenient rather than handing over multiple plastic cards.  The future, I guess, is Apple Pay and Apple Pay-like products, and Best Buy is no longer willing to wait for the future.  Best Buy is going to begin taking Apple Pay immediately, having updated their iOS app to reflect the chance in corporate policy.

    Best Buy is one of the companies involved closely in the Merchant Customer Exchange, which is developing Apple Pay rival CurrentC.  I guess this is a sign of a lack of support for CurrentC on Best Buy’s part, which makes sense because CurrentC is far behind schedule in terms of development when compared to Apple Pay.  No sense fighting the current when your own product isn’t ready.

    “Today’s consumers have many different ways to spend their money and we want to give our customers as many options as possible in how they pay for goods and services at Best Buy,” reads a Best Buy statement.  ”The acceptance of Apple Pay in the Best Buy app is the latest enhancement for our mobile platform.”

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    March 11, 2015
    Apple Store Breaks Down For 10 Hours

    If you were one of the millions of people that depends on Apple’s products, you had a pretty rough day today.  After all, you pretty much depend on Apple to keep track of everything, right?  That’s the whole point of the cloud.  Without that, you’re in a lot of trouble.  Apple suffered a 10-hour outage thanks to a DNS issue, which took Apple’s… everything offline for the bulk of the day.

    So what was offline?   Well, the App Store, Mac App Store, iBooks Store, and iTunes Store, to begin with.  Even if you could get your apps to load, there was no capability to do any sort of in-app purchasing, which means that Apple was hurt, but app developers were really in a bad state thanks to the outage.  The estimated financial damage was estimated at $1.14 million dollars per hour, which is a staggeringly high sum despite the fact the DNS outages weren’t worldwide, but more limited geographically.  Still, knock out Europe and North America and there go most of your purchases, at least in this particular part of the day.

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    March 4, 2015
    Wordless Wednesday: Canada Gets Spocked

    Via Toronto Sun.

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    February 24, 2015
    Apple Is Adding Diverse Emoji

    Emojis are apparently a big thing, and people really have opinions about emojis.  Apparently they’re a big deal, and apparently people aren’t terribly happy with the options that are out there.  People want more diversity, and it’s not a surprise that Apple and the Unicode Consortium are willing to make that happen. Apple is making emojis more diverse, with a variety of racial and ethnic options.

    When you tap and hold on a face, hand, or person, another six skin tones pop up, provided it’s appropriate for the character.  There’s no way to change the color of the space invader or the skull or whatever, but the people can all change colors at will.  They’re also adding a host of new flag options, making the smartphone into an iPhone 6, AND changing the watch into a smart watch.  I’m sure there are some other changes being made, but these are the big ones, and they’re the ones people seem to want the most.

     

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