Tag Archive | "Mobile"

Add Pressure Sensitivity to Windows 8 Tablets and Touch Screen Laptops

If you bought a Microsoft Surface or other new Windows 8 laptop/tablet with a touchscreen and stylus support, you might have noticed the screen lacks pressure sensitivity. Ideally, you should be able to draw or write on the screen lightly for faint lines, then press harder for stronger, bolder marks. The latest Wacom drivers should fix this–as long as you’re using a device with a Wacom digitizer.

This list of stylus-enabled tablet PCs shows which devices use Wacom or another manufacturer for the screen. If  yours is Wacom, head to http://us.wacom.com/en/support/drivers. Select Tablet PC from the first drop-down, then Windows 8, and download the latest driver. (As of this writing, that’s the one released on July 30th.)

After installing the driver and rebooting, you’ll have true pressure sensitivity on your tablet or laptop.

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Source: About.com

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Touch Gestures Reference Guide

Learn Basic Touch Gestures with This Reference Guide

Touch Gestures Reference GuideWondering how to use multitouch gestures on a smartphone, tablet, touchscreen laptop, touch-capable mouse (like the Apple Magic Mouse), or even the trackpad on your laptop? Besides tapping and double-tapping, you’ve got a wealth of ways to move your hands on the touch surface to make your device do your bidding.

This Touch Gesture Reference Guide (PDF) from LukeW illustrates the core gestures and some advanced and upcoming gestures you can use on most modern devices. It shows how you can rotate items by moving two fingers in a circle or pressing down with one finger while circling with the other, how to pinch or squeeze an object to make it smaller (e.g., to zoom out of page) or spread or splay your fingers to scale the object out, and more.

LukeW’s touch gestures resource download page also has a useful table showing how to use touch and multitouch gestures on the iPhone or iPad (iOS), Windows Phone 7, Palm webOS, Android, OS X, Windows 7, Microsoft Surface, and other platforms.

As we start to interact more with our computers and mobile devices through touch (and multitouch), these resources will come in very handy.

Source: About.com

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Luma Camera logo

Instagram Snaps Up Luma

Mobile video startup Luma Camera has been purchased by Instagram, the company announced yesterday. It’s yet another sign that the rivalry between Facebook’s Instagram and Twitter’s Vine is heating up.

Luma Camera logo

Luma created a mobile app for capturing and sharing videos that used proprietary image-stabilization technology. The company said the app will continue to be supported through Dec. 31, but is no longer available for new downloads. TechCrunch, which first reported the sale, explains Luma’s technology in more detail.

Twitter’s Vine, meantime, announced in a tweet this week that its mobile video app has reached 40 million users and continues to grow, despite the formidable competition it got this summer when Instagram launched a competing short video feature for mobile phones.

Twitter launched Vine in January as an iPhone app which allows users to shoot videos of up to six seconds and automatically loops them to play over and over. Instagram’s videos, by contrast, can be up to 15 seconds long.


  • Instagram video tutorial
  • Vine video tutorial
Source: About.com

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Pandora to Ditch 40-hour Listening Cap on Free Mobile Music Streaming

Good news for Pandora listeners. That 40-hour-per-month listening cap that was announced back in February is being lifted so you can start enjoying unlimited music streaming once again starting on September 1st.

The cap announced six months ago was actually the second one Pandora put in place in order to cope with increasing royalty costs. CFO Mike Herring said that other cost-controlling techniques like skip limits have allowed the company to lift the listening cap, and improved relationships with advertisers mean that those unlimited free listening hours can still be monetized.

  • List of apps for music streaming

When the second cap was announced earlier this year, Herring noted that listening usage dropped by around 10 percent. While he doesn’t expect a massive spike in listening hours once the cap is removed for the second time, usage is hoped to increase.

Pandora is one of the top Internet Radio services online today, but with Apple’s iTunes Radio moving into its territory along with other popular music streaming services like Songza, and even paid apps like Spotify and Rdio, it’s unclear whether or not Pandora will be able to keep its top spot among the competition.

Photo © Pandora Media, Inc.

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Source: About.com

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Five for Friday: Top 5 technology commercials from the ’90s

Like most kids born in the early ’80s, I have a very special affinity for the ’90s. My dad bought the first personal computer on our block (an IBM 386), we had a 28.8K modem at home, and cell phones were as big as a brick.

My family was unflaggingly optimistic about technology in the ’90s, eager to try new digital products and formats, most of which died before gaining mass adoption.

For one glorious year–it must have been 2001–I carried around a Nokia 5110 with custom faceplate, a PalmPilot, anti-skipping Sony DiscMan, GameBoy Color, calculator watch and clear plastic pager. Today, that collection of ancient technology is contained in a single smartphone, which is capable of more than anything I could have imagined at the time (just 12 years ago!).

It’s pretty incredible to see how far technology, convergence and communication have come in less than 20 years. Today, we’re pulling together a list of our favorite ’90s technology commercials, all of which introduce, or hint at, communication tools we take for granted today.

#1: Send faxes from your cell phone

In the late ’90s, AT&T introduced PocketNet, a text-based web-browsing interface on mobile phones. In this ad, a man stuck in a snowstorm delights his son by showing him how he reads email and sends faxes from his phone.

#2: Early unified communications (with an (800) number)

The promise of unified communications today is to connect with people instantly on any device, anywhere in the world, easily and seamlessly. Back in the ’90s, that concept was considerably more basic… most people didn’t have cell phones, voice messages were stored on tape, and faxes trumped email.

What do you do if you want to stay connected 24/7? Buy an (800) number that rings your office, home number and cell phone at the same time. It was a rudimentary idea, but was the closest thing to unified communications we had at the time.

#3: Bell Atlantic predicts telecommuting

Telecommuting is so ubiquitous today that it’s easy to take it for granted. Sophisticated communication and collaboration tools make working anywhere incredibly easy.

Video conferencing puts us one click away from our coworkers, documents in the cloud are easy to work on, and email, instant messaging, mobile phones, voice conferencing and shared calendars make us just as efficient at home as we are at the office.

In 1995, telecommuting was so foreign that Bell Atlantic had to create a commercial introducing the idea to people.

#4: AT&T predicts dozens of technological breakthoughs

I love these AT&T ads from the 1993 and 1994, because they paint a picture of how technology would make our lives easier and help us connect with one another at some point in the near future. You can feel it–these breakthroughs are nearly here.

AT&T predicted the future with incredible accuracy (not surprising, as researchers inside the company had been working on many of these products for years). Here’s what they got right:

  • E-book rentals
  • GPS directions
  • The ability to send and receive faxes from your computer
  • Electronic tolls
  • Video conferencing
  • Video on demand
  • Video-based distance learning
  • Telemedicine
  • Remote security monitoring
  • Automated computer assistants, like Siri

Some of their predictions haven’t been built yet, or were built but failed to gain mass adoption. These include:

  • E-commerce at the ATM
  • DMV transactions at the ATM
  • Voice-activated door locks
  • Portable medical history on a card
  • Automatic product scanners
  • Phone calls on your wrist
  • Automatic audio translation from one language to another

2013 is shaping up to be the year for wearables, so a Dick Tracy-style mobile phone watch could be in our very near future. Researchers are racing to improve automatic audio translation technology, and will undoubtedly solve this challenge within our lifetime.

As for voice-activated door locks, we may have to leave that to Star Trek.

#5: Pacific Bell’s superhighway of information

In 1994, Pacific Bell put out its own list of predictions, mostly around networking, intelligent switches and improved communication. The 3D graphics may be cringe-worthy, but the ideas put forth were anything but: PacBell promised limitless connections over the Internet, at a time when most Americans had yet to sign up for their first email address, and Jerry Yang and David Filo had just launched Jerry and David’s Guide to the World Wide Web.

OK, now it’s your turn. Share your favorite vintage tech commercials with us in the comments, and reminisce with us about the ’90s.

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Text Message Scams: Don’t Text Back

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is warning of a new identity theft scam that attacks you through text messages on smart-phones. While the scam is dangerous, the defense is simple, according to the FTC, “Don’t text back.”

The scarily convincing scam works like this: You get an unexpected text message informing you that your email account has been hacked into and deactivated “for your protection.” The message will tell you to reply or “text back” in order to reactivate your account.

Here is an example of one of the scam texts:

User #25384: Your Gmail profile has been compromised. Text back SENDNOW in order to reactivate your account.

Don’t do it, advises the FTC, warning that the messages are really trying to take advantage of security weaknesses in your smart-phone or other online devices in order to steal your personal information.

How to Handle This

Do not reply or text back to messages like that because, “Legitimate companies won’t ask you to verify your identity through unsecure channels, like text or email, ” warns the FTC.

Do not click on any links that might be included in the message. The links may install malware on your device and take you to spoofing or phishing websites that will try to get you to provide your personal information.

Do report the suspect message to your cell phone service carrier’s spam/scam text reporting number. AT&T, T-Mobile, Verizon, Sprint and Bell customers can forward the text message free of charge to 7726 (SPAM).

Do File an online complaint with the FTC at https://econsumer.ftccomplaintassistant.gov/.

If your email account ever is really hacked, chances are you’ll know it. But what can you do about it? The FTC offers a great article, “Hacked Email,” that explains the telltale signs of a hacked email account and how to fix it safely.

Also See:
Big Debt Collector to Pay Big Fine
FTC Strengthens Kids’ Online Privacy
Mobile Apps Failing to Protect Kids, FTC Says

Source: About.com

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Back to School Tech Deals

I have been taking a look around the web at various sites featuring back to school deals. My favorite list this year comes from Mashable.com. Denise Lu shares 12 Back to School Deals You Can’t Pass Up. Her list features hardware, software, mobile plans, and more.

Included is Microsoft’s deal for the student version of its new online software suite, Office 365 University.

Have a lovely weekend, and be sure to check out these additional resources:

  • Office 365 Back to School ‘Throwback Sweepstakes’
  • Back to School with Google Apps, Google Docs, and Google Apps for Education
  • Free Back to School Templates for Students, Instructors, or Administrators
  • Microsoft Slashes Surface RT Tablets by $150 USD
  • Roundup of More Software Deals

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Source: About.com

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Google Glass Hackathon Offers Games and Glimpses into Future of Collaboration

From Friday to Sunday in the SOMA district of San Francisco, techie workspace rental firm Citizen Space hosted a Google Glass Hackathon. The event held there turned out to be the largest gathering of Glass Explorers (the name Google gives those who have purchased Glass) to date,. some 30 or so Glass-wearing futurists donated their hardware to the competition. They were joined by developers for the three-day competition, and together the group turned out an impressive 17 unique apps for businesses and consumers alike.

The victors of the three-day hackathon were an ingenious team that made Frogger for Glass. Their winning app incorporated Glass’ accelerometer, which turned your physical movement into the game controls. Hopping moves your frog forward across the road in Frogger Glass. A programming choice that wowed the audience during final presentations and had them downloading the app afterwards. Second place went to Plant Something, an augmented reality app which allows you and other Glass wearers to grow virtual plants at real locations. Third place went to Connected Glass, which was a platform that allowed developers to create peer to peer connectivity with Glass and your other mobile devices so you could control Glass through your smartwatch or smartphone.


Even though they didn’t take away a prize, there were other teams that were equally impressive. Standouts included Vitals on Glass, whose team brought to the drawing board one of the more ambitious and marketable apps with a medical hack. The Vitals on Glass app displays vital signs data from surgical patients wearing a ViSi mobile wireless monitor to a surgeon wearing Glass.This fully operational software taps into the fast-growing remote and wireless patient monitoring market, which is expected to double by 2016.

The second standout of the weekend was Powercast, a hack for displaying and controlling PowerPoint presentations using Glass and Google’s new $35 Chromecast device. Darshan Shankar presented his final version of Powercast, and the results were stunning: Shankar showed how he could view a Powerpoint on his Glass or on an external monitor or screen with a Chromecast inserted into it, as well as move around the slides by swiping his Glass or wirelessly-connected smartphone. The problem with this? Chromecast’s SDK is still in Beta and developers aren’t supposed to be hacking it just yet. Shankar’s chances of winning may have been hindered because he created a hack that he can’t go out and market yet. Still, he explained it was only a matter of time before the ban was lifted and he could spread Powercast to the Glass masses.

And that seemed to be a key deciding factor at the hackathon. The winning hacks were not only fully operational and utilized more parts of Glass than just the display, but were also immediately accessible. Glass Frogger already has a website up and running for people to download the game on Glass and other mobile devices. So while the future was on display, the future that was immediately accessible was rewarded.

While Frogger stole the show, Vitals and Powercast do show immense promise in bringing Glass to industries as a tool when it becomes available next year. While Google wants Glass to revolutionize consumer tech, it’s hard to imagine non-early adopters to latch onto such futurism. Reports of it being goofy looking and an intrusion of privacy make it a hard sell. However industries are jumping onto the Glass developer bandwagon.

Glass wouldn’t be the first consumer marketing tech to find more love in business. Microsoft’s Kinect had a lukewarm reception among gamers, but has become popular outside of that world: whether it’s to turn it into a 3d scanner, to train a robot to be a jedi, or improve a nuclear power plant’s safety. In fact the healthcare field was one of the first to jump onto the Kinect bandwagon, something that we’re seeing with Glass. Vitals on Glass isn’t the only team who thinks Glass could have a future saving lives, and certainly won’t be the last. And Powercast is tapping into a predicted trend of hands-free tech in the workplace. Even if the general public balks at Glass, hackathons and industries will bring it to the forefront of the future as a cutting edge tool. Which means someday soon you may have the pleasure of downloading the One-X app for Glass.

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Simplicity Tops Mid-Year Review of 7 Communication Trends for 2013

Panel of Experts
Reviewing Top 2013 Projections
Sees Simplicity and Customer Experience Driving Transformation

With the first half of the year complete, now is a good time to look back at our December 2012 projections for 2013 Top Communications Trends and see how they have evolved and which are really propelling growth in communications solutions. For each of the last four years a team of Avaya experts has been asked to identify telecom trends for the upcoming year.

As the experts look back on their projections, simplicity and the harnessing of technologies to create the best customer experience are dominating in 2013.

The seven trends called out at the beginning of the year were:

  1. Simplified complexity drives the agenda. Business leaders have widely welcomed the transition from proprietary to open systems as an avenue to reduced costs, streamlined technology environments and exciting new communications capabilities. But simplification hasn’t been such a simple matter for IT departments, which have the job of integrating advanced applications into existing systems.
  2. Video changes business and customer expectations. With each generation of users more exposed to and comfortable with video than the previous one, it is destined to be increasingly integral to daily life. This transition is presenting huge opportunities for businesses to interact with customers, partners and employees in rich new ways.
  3. Real-time analytics help fine-tune the customer experience. Even companies with relatively small contact centers can generate millions of events a day while larger centers can generate billions. Businesses are increasing their investments to tap into this big data.
  4. Businesses face the private-or-public cloud decision. A key question such organizations will consider as they evaluate the potential of the cloud is what type of cloud offering best meets their needs–a public cloud, where they share resources with other enterprises; a private cloud solution which resides within the corporate firewall; or a virtual private cloud, which is a dedicated portion of a public cloud.
  5. Communications support goes proactive. Businesses that invest in communications solutions and underlying support services are more interested in avoiding problems than having them solved. Yet for a variety of reasons, reactive problem solving has been the industry’s support model over time–until now.
  6. Managed services hit an inflection point. Businesses increasingly will forego the expense of in-house IT staff for support purposes, instead turning to managed services providers for those capabilities.
  7. Mobile muscles in. The next productivity boost will come through the integration of unified communications capabilities with mobility to enhance employee collaboration and customer support in new and innovative ways.

In taking a new look at the top seven with half the year behind us, the experts believe that the seven trends for 2013 remain on target, but there are some very interesting insights into how they see them evolving.

In the case of simplified complexity (#1), the experts agreed this trend is very hot and has become more tightly coupled with Cloud (#4) and Managed Services (#6) trends. With enterprise-owned and in-house managed solutions all the solution complexity is owned by the enterprise. By leveraging Managed Services and to a greater degree a Cloud-based offer, solution complexity is pushed off to the services vendor. This frees up the enterprise to focus on core competencies and greatly simplifies their IT infrastructure.

Also becoming more prevalent, in different forms on different continents, is the move towards video, as mentioned in trend #2. Our experts pointed to the rapid adoption of video by retailers to increase reach by using video-enabled kiosks and ATMs that extend the branch experience. In Europe video is now being used to minimize traditional contact center problems, such as language and culture barriers, that might have caused backlash. The language, inflection, and body language that can be conveyed by agents over a video connection have proven much more pleasing to customers than non-native language audio only interactions. Customers are also leveraging video in their personal life with applications, such as Skype and FaceTime. This increasing video familiarity paves the way for leveraging video to better serve customers, proving that a picture can tell a thousand words.

The growth of the real-time analytics trend (#3) is leading many companies to consider a methodical approach to evaluating their own data collected through day-to-day transactions. Once a company starts to see the benefits of effective data mining, they move from low hanging fruit projects to more in-depth initiatives. Contact center owners are moving from ensuring they deal with the sheer quantity of customer interactions to how they maximize the quality of the customer contact across multiple channels (social media, e-mail, video, etc). Detailed real-time analytics enables this move towards quality by diving deeper into the data and parsing details of the customer interaction to truly ensure the customer is happy on multiple levels.

As touched on previously, simplicity is figuring prominently as businesses face the private-or-public-cloud decision trend (#4). As one expert stated, the private or public cloud decision is less a question of choice “but how to implement a cloud solution in an environment (public, private, hybrid) that meets the needs of different parts of a customer’s business.” Smaller-sized companies that can easily move to a cloud model because of their less complicated system/applications are where we have seen the most acceleration. Large companies are still moving to cloud and managed services, but at a slower rate due to the complexity of their infrastructure (many systems integration to a wide array of applications, etc.) leading to greater issues in deciding what moves to a cloud vs. what must stay on site (technical or security issues) .

The trend of communications support going proactive (#5) is one that our company has leveraged to drive increased value to our customers. By embedding intelligent agents in our infrastructure we have been able to greatly enhance the speed and completeness of issue resolution for our customers. At the same time reducing the number of support requests we need to field.

The path to Cloud can have several steps. Each providing increased simplicity for a company. One step is to leverage Managed Services (#6). Driven by demand for better TCO, this trend is one of our most dominant and still going very strong as we venture into the second half of 2013.

Rounding out the top 7 trends of 2013 is mobile which has been on our list for several years and is starting to see maturity in some sub-segments. For several years, companies have been struggling with the delicate balance between rolling out BYOD vs. the security risks and costs that come with a more open mobile architecture. This trend is now maturing to the point that even the most conservative of banks are adopting BYOD policies and some industries such as retail or education have become primarily mobile.

One sub-segment of mobile that is still developing is the use of mobile status to inform effective customer experience management. Contact centers can benefit from knowing the status of the customer they are servicing by providing a different interaction or information based on where their mobile device indicates they are located (e.g. home vs. hospital). While this is a great feature, we are still early in evolution of service providers providing valuable user location. In this space, the team of experts sees a variety of sub-technology trends, including the geotagging of phone calls that leads to routing and prioritization in contact centers.

How do these trends align with how your year is unfolding and what 2014 might offer?

As in previous years, we greatly appreciate your feedback and engaging conversations with our clients, industry analysts and global IT leaders that help drive the next set of trends.

Where do you feel the industry is vs. the 7 Communication Trends for 2013, or other big trends projected for 2013?

Follow me on Twitter Pat_Patterson_V

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My Experience Using Quickoffice

Image of Quickoffice ProOne of the productivity solutions I use nearly every day is Quickoffice.

Quickoffice was acquired by Google last year, and represents another mobile or online office software app option for users of Android or iOS devices.

For more details on my experience using this app, check out my Quickoffice App Review.

(c) Logo Courtesy of Google

Source: About.com

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