Tag Archive | "Mobile"

Instagram Wants Third-party Apps to Take ‘Insta’ and ‘Gram’ Out of Their Names

Instagram is stepping up to defend its popular brand name. The mobile photo sharing app recently updated its brand guidelines letting app developers know that they are now banned from from using the words “insta” and “gram” in their own app names.

Instagram has already started sending out email messages to “insta” and “gram” app developers with a request to change their names. The updated brand guidelines also require that the Instagram logo cannot be modified in any way, or fully used to represent another app.

This is not great news for popular insta-whatever or something-gram apps that have thousands or even millions of users. There are tons of extremely popular apps out there — like Instacanvas and Webstagram — which have been using these words right from the beginning to build their own brand, but this is the type of thing that can happen when you build an app that is almost entirely dependent on the users and activity from another popular app or social network.

You can read Instagram’s fully updated brand guidelines right here.

Photo © Getty Images

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Five for Friday: Other Forms of Travel That Won’t Happen Before Hyperloop

This week* Hyperloop came and went, leaving a trail of speculation in its wake. If you weren’t on the Internet this week and have no clue as to what I’m talking about, Elon Musk – the current real life Tony Stark, of Space-X and Tesla fame – demonstrated his idea for high-speed travel between San Francisco and Los Angeles. The idea itself is something out of 1950s futurism: Tubes parallel to the interstate freeway, shooting people in pods 800 mph between the two cities.

If Hyperloop can get up and running, it would no doubt change collaboration between the Bay Area and LA. The commute would be a mere 30 minutes, and solar power would keep costs and ticket prices down. This would allow riders to attend separate meetings in San Francisco and Los Angeles as easily – and maybe more easily – than getting from one meeting in Palo Alto and another in San Francisco.

There are other methods of transportation that are also in the works that will bring us even closer together to other cities, and even the stars. However, all of these are a ways off. In the meantime we still have have stuffy planes and miles of asphalt, which is why unified communications and BYOD are still important. We can still take a look at some of the most futuristic transport ideas out there and see how close they are to reality.

1. Teleportation

THE DREAM: How awesome would this be? No long lines at the airport, no all-day international flights, no screaming toddlers on the red-eye. Just one place to the next with all of the ease of putting on a pair of pants.

THE REALITY: China has successfully teleported a photon. Not a hamster, a photon. Also this is called quantum teleportation, and isn’t geared towards sending you from work to vacation. Also, you’ll probably die. On the off chance you don’t, there’s what I will call “The Fly” problem (from the movie). You see, you are not really just you. Inside of you there’s over a trillion organisms. So the transporter would have to copy and reassemble your gut bacteria too, somehow without mixing you and them up. Which means you should probably keep driving your car into work.

2. Warp Drive

THE DREAM: If you love space operas, you’ve probably seen this scene: The captain stands at the helm authoritatively, orders the pilot, and then suddenly there’s a cool CG shot where the stars are all blurry. It was probably called jumping, warp, hyperspace, hyperspeed, FTL, or something similar. However they’re all the same, the ability to travel faster than the speed of light. The meeting on the Mars colony? Who needs a video conference, you’re going to be there in a few minutes.

THE REALITY: We think this is possible, and NASA is testing it out. You wouldn’t be traveling through space, space itself would be moving, contracting behind your ship and expanding in front, as you rest within a “warp bubble.” While scientists are in the testing and building phases, don’t expect a trip to the Alpha Centauri Marketing Conference anytime soon. NASA has yet to prove that warp bubbles can be created – much less exist. Their technology is so delicate that even the slightest seismic motion can skew the data.

3. Hoverboards and Anti-Gravity Transportation

THE DREAM: Okay, so this is more like a hobby form of transportation, but I would consider trading in my car for a hoverboard if someone told me I could. How cool would it be to cruise on into work on your hoverboard? Or you head in on your speeder bike? You would no longer be a slave to gravity!  

THE REALITY: We want hoverboards, badly. But true anti-gravity technology (not powerful fans) may not be real. Scientists think it may be related to anti-matter and are testing for it, but the results so far are inconclusive. We do however have other possible options that will produce a similar effect, just not that true anti-gravity tech we grew up watching.

image courtesy of gizmodo.au

4. The Space Elevator

THE DREAM: Say Google’s new headquarters were located on the Google HQ Space Station. While you couldn’t hop on a Google bike and ride on up there, you could take the Google Space Elevator. Just strap in and check in with your boss via your Avaya One-X Mobile app as the elevator shoots up into space on a series of cables. It docks, and you float in to catch your Q3 meeting and some free space food packets.

REALITY: We want this to happen, but as of right now we don’t have strong enough materials to make the components needed. And that’s just one of the many complications.

5. Self-Driving Car

THE DREAM: Driving yourself is a thing of the past, because your sedan has a silly- looking spinning camera on top that helps drive you around. Just sit back and get work done or play Candy Crush while getting chauffeured around.

THE REALITY: This is the one piece of tech on this list that’s actually close to being cracked, and we’re getting excited. Google’s smart cars can be seen zipping around the Bay Area, whether they’re out on the highway or stopping off to let their riders buy some comics. The cars so far have been largely successful, including mostly accident-free, for the past few years, but they still need supervision and are not considered “fully autonomous”. While some smart cars may be rolling out within the next few years, a completely self-driven car is still several years away. Also, you’re going to have to get used to not freaking out you aren’t controlling your own car. Still though, you could very well have a fully decked out Avaya virtual office in your self-driving car in several years. Giving you the full power of collaboration on the highway.



*This article has time traveled from the past! Or it’s been re-posted at a later date. Whatever.




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Google Drive Cheat Sheet

Get Started with Google Drive with This Cheat Sheet

Google Drive Cheat Sheet

Google Drive is one of the best tools for mobile professionals, web workers, students, and everyone else who needs the flexibility of working on files from any computer, using just your browser. If you’re new to Google Drive’s online storage and office suite (formerly known as Google Docs–for word processing, presentation, and spreadsheet creation), this quick reference guide is for you.

Provided by Ed Galaxy, the reference guides highlight the major features and functions of Google Drive.  You’ll find instructions for uploading files and folders to Google Drive, how to share and collaborate with others on documents, and what the toolbar commands do.

Interestingly enough, the reference guide is provided in Microsoft Word format, but you can actually save Word docs to Google Drive and open them within your browser–even if you don’t have Word installed. Just one of the few neat features of using Google Drive.

Google Drive – Quick reference guide for teachers and students (useful if you’re not in education too!)

Related: Get 5GB of free online storage on Google Drive

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Facebook to Boost Mobile Shopping?

Facebook got a lot of publicity last week for what it described as a “very small test” of a new payment system designed to simplify shopping on mobile phones.

The mobile payment system would store credit card information so users could buy stuff faster, using fewer clicks, rather than have to type in their name and credit card number on the small keyboard of a phone.

While it was initially reported as a competitor to Facebook’s current payments partner, eBay’s PayPal, Facebook clarified that its new system is designed to help, not compete with PayPal. That’s because Facebook wouldn’t actually be processing payments, it would still use whatever payment processor each shopping app employs, such as PayPal or Braintree.

TechCrunch speculated that a key goal for Facebook is to increase its mobile advertising revenue by collecting more granular data on which ads lead to actual sales. Read more.

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Facebook Tests Trending Topics

After introducing two Twitter-like features, hashtags and embedded posts, Facebook said it is testing yet another feature popularized by its rival Twitter — trending topics.

As AllThingsD reported, Facebook has been running a small test that shows mobile users topics that are trending on the social netwoek as public conversation about those topics heats up.

Read the CNet story for more details.

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Public Safety Networks Report

E911 Location Failures – What’s up?

This Avaya CONNECTED Blog
is also available as an MP3 Audio File


The popular belief is:

[When you dial 911, your call ends up in a massive modern control room like environment that could be easily mistaken for NASA with all the latest bells and whistles that tells the 911 call taker exactly who you are, what you're calling about, and your precise location]

Right?

Well, that might be the way it works on TV and in the movies, but the fact of the matter is the majority of 911 centers or PSAPs in the United States (about 80% of them in fact according to NENA) are only 2 to 4 answering positions. While the large “mega-centers” do exist in cities like New York, Chicago, and Los Angeles, they are certainly the smallest percentage.

Likewise there’s a mass misperception by the general public on the technology that a 911 call taker has at their fingertips. To those of my readers that are in the industry, it’s no great secret that the only “information” that is received on a 911 call is a telephone number, and the local equipment uses that phone number to query the telephone company database for the subscriber information resulting in the address. While that’s technology that is useful for residential fixed endpoints such as land lines where a telephone number equals a physical street address, that method of location discovery is completely useless for a device that is mobile by nature such as a cellular telephone.

Since cellular phones can be used anywhere in the country, when they make a 911 emergency call the number that is displayed initially at the 911 center, is a special number that is actually representative of the tower that is handling the call. This is known as “Phase I” location reporting. This number is called a pANI (pseudo Automatic Number Identification). While this provides the 911 call taker with a very general area that the call is coming from, it is initially used for determining what 911 center needs to get the call. All cellular calls, that’s right ALL OF THEM, initially arrive at the 911 center with Phase I location information.

While the call taker is working the call, about 8 to 15 seconds later, the 911 equipment makes a second query on the pANI number received, and by this time the cellular network should have been able to determine a more precise location of the caller, and returns that information along with subscriber data in what is called Phase II location information. Depending on the technology used to locate the device, the information is also assigned a reliability or accuracy score.

When the planets are all in alignment, and the 911 gods are shining down upon the network, this can produce fairly accurate location information, and in fact the FCC mandates that carriers provide this level of location accuracy on a certain percentage of calls. Now that you have the background information, here’s the earth shattering news that was published earlier this week in a letter to Acting FCC Chairwoman Mignon Clyburn by CalNENA president Danita L. Crombach, ENP.

The letter cites several alarming factors that came to light after a study of real-time data over a two-year period by public safety analytics company Public Safety Network. The data focused on the amount of cellular phone calls that had received Phase II data by the completion of the call.

The report focused on four areas within the state, San Francisco, San Jose, Bakersfield and Ventura County and noted that statewide, 45% of wireless 911 calls lacked Phase II data, with some areas such as Ventura County lacking that critical location information on more than 50% of the calls. Was it a particular carrier worse than the others? Not really, although some were better and some were worse the problem was consistent across all five major carriers (AT&T, Metro PCS, Sprint, T-Mobile and Verizon) and the report shows that even under the best scenario accuracy never surpassed 64% in December 2012.

Public Safety Networks Report

There’s quite a bit of speculation why these numbers indicate the problem is getting worse. While no specific hard analytical data was collected to define the root cause of the problem, it’s generally accepted among experts in the industry that to specific phenomena contribute to the problem. The first is the fact that cellular device saturation in the United States is estimated to be at 103%, meaning a device for every person in the country, plus a little. That first factoid directly leads to the second, where people are using their devices more and more inside of buildings and what the report calls “urban canyons”.

iStock_000002375961Small.jpgThe urban canyon actually has two negative effects on cellular location discovery. The first is the fact that GPS signals typically need to be what’s called “line of sight” and therefore do not penetrate steel and concrete rendering them ineffective indoors. The second problem affects the backup location discovery mechanism typically used known as TDOA (Time Delay on Arrival). In layman’s terms, this is the time it took for the signal to travel between the transmitter (the cell phone) and the receiver (the cell tower). Given that radio waves travel at the speed of light, the distance between the two becomes a simple mathematical calculation. Using this information from two or more cellular towers, and old-fashioned radio triangulation can be used to pinpoint a transmitter’s location with surprising accuracy. Unfortunately cellular radio waves “bounce” off of buildings and do not travel in a direct line. These signal reflections, if severe enough, can actually increase the distance traveled skewing the calculation.

Bottom line, more people are carrying cell phones, therefore more people are making 911 calls from their cell phones, and people are within buildings during the work day. Add all of that together, and you come up with a decrease in accuracy statistic. Not because the problem got worse, but because more people are using the problematic method.

Now while this specific report covers California, one would imagine that this same phenomenon exists in every major metropolitan city across the US. So while communication habits have drastically changed with the multitude of smart devices now available at our fingertips, if we’re going to continue to enjoy an accurate level of public safety communications, the Federal Communications Commission is going to need to step in, and as the report states, “issue all necessary orders” to correct this problem.

So just bring this into full circle, if you have an enterprise PBX, and you feel that your cellular phone is a suitable replacement to addressing E911 within the enterprise, based on the information in this report you may want to think that over again.


Want more Technology, News and Information from Avaya? Be sure to check out the Avaya Podcast Network landing page at http://avaya.com/APN . There you will find additional Podcasts from Industry Events such as Avaya Evolutions and INTEROP, as well as other informative series by the APN Staff.

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Office 365 Back to School ‘Throwback Sweepstakes’

Microsoft is offering a sweepstakes to win an Office 365 subscription or Microsoft Surface tablet. Fair warning, it may involve getting over any shame you may harbor regarding your retro school photo…

Details on entering the sweepstakes can be found be visiting the Office facebook page.

More about Office 365:

  • Microsoft Office Mobile App for iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad, and iPad Mini through Office 365 Plans
  • Microsoft Office Mobile App for Android through Office 365 Plans
  • All About Microsoft Office 365
  • Office 365 and Office 2013. . .What’s the Difference?
  • Office 2013 and Office 365 List of Programs: New Features
  • Microsoft Office 365 Tools & Tips
  • Office 365 University

Have a wonderful weekend!

Source: About.com


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Facebook is Working on Its Own PayPal-like Mobile Payment Service

Mobile ecommerce is growing, and Facebook knows it. The massive social networking site is reportedly testing its very own payment service for mobile in-app purchases, similar to what companies like PayPal, Amazon and Google have started offering in order to satisfy the growing mobile shopping trend.

For the initial testing phase, Facebook has teamed up with men’s fashion site, JackThreads, as its first pilot partner. Customers will be able to access their credit card information stored in their Facebook accounts to make in-app purchases, bringing a one-click solution to mobile online shopping through Facebook and eliminating the need for every customer to plug in every piece of their billing information to place their order.

There’s been no word on whether or not Facebook will expand its pilot test to include more ecommerce partners, or whether it will surely launch publicly in the future. With over one billion active monthly users, there’s no doubt that this is a huge and very lucrative opportunity for Facebook, and if launched, PayPal could most certainly take a direct hit.

After All Things D reported the news first thing this morning, Facebook responded with the following statement: “We continue to have a great relationship with PayPal, and this product is simply to test how we can help our app partners provide a simpler commerce experience. This test does not involve moving the payment processing away from an app’s current provider.”

Photo © Dana Hoff / Getty Images

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Enter time and billing information on the go with FreshBooks mobile app for Android.

FreshBooks Releases Android App

Enter time and billing information on the go with FreshBooks mobile app for Android.When I wrote Online Accounting Software for the Self Employed a few months back, I was disappointed that there was no Android app for FreshBooks because it has pretty much everything else a small business or one-person business needs to keep the books.  Well, my disappointment is gone. FreshBooks announced several hours ago that the new Android app is ready and available in the Google Play Store, and I’ve updated my FreshBooks info to reflect this change.

Like the iPhone app, the Android app lets FreshBooks online accounting software customers create invoices, enter expenses with snapshot of receipts and track time.  You can learn about the apps on the FreshBooks Mobile page.

Image: FreshBooks Android App

More About Accounting Software:

  • How to Choose Small Business Accounting Software
  • Your Choices for Desktop Accounting Software
  • Non Profit Accounting Software
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Twitter is Testing a New Trending TV Feature in Its iOS App

Television is big on Twitter. If you follow enough people, tweets about any popular TV show series or award show is bound to show up in your stream. To take advantage of this, Twitter is reportedly starting to a test out a new trending television feature in users’ timelines — at least in its mobile apps to start.

According to TechCrunch, which first received the tip last night from one user who noticed it on their Twitter timeline, the new feature looks a lot like the existing Twitter cards we already see in Twitter’s mobile apps. By the looks of some of the screenshots that were taken by the user who first noticed it appear in his iOS app, you can actually swipe left and right to browse a selection of promoted shows. Choosing any show will pull up additional information about it, along with related tweets.

  • Tools for participating in Twitter hashtag chats

To make joining in the conversation a bit easier, Twitter apparently inserts the related hashtag for the show automatically when you tap the compose icon to type in a new tweet. Subtle features like this should serve as good encouragement for people to get more involved on Twitter while watching TV, and it’ll most likely open up new doors for Twitter in terms of big advertising opportunities as well.

Keep an eye out on your Twitter mobile app for this one. So far, nobody has reported seeing any of these new trending TV features on the desktop version of their Twitter accounts.

Photo © Getty Images

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