Better late than never right? I have been meaning to pick up Amazon’s Kindle Fire for months and have finally got around to placing an order. I got it much quicker than I expected and turned it on immediately. I actually got a much different interface than I expected. I knew Amazon put their own interface on top of the Android OS, but I didn’t expect it to be this different. I found the front page to be a large waste of space with huge icons taking up the middle of the screen. Those icons are what you used recently, which is a nice idea, but I would’ve preferred a different layout.
Black Friday is upon us shortly and with the knowledge and experience of staying up all night in lines and malls, I have a few tips for the newbies among us. Even if you’re used to staying on lines or staying up all night, some folks get irked when they are being towed around by a slow shopper. Don’t worry, TheBlueDot is here for you in your time of need. No, we don’t have some time machine or magical device that will just deliver all the items you need for the holidays. But we do have a few tips and tricks for those not used to the stress of late night shopping and slow tow shoppers.
Technology is part of our everyday lives now, and with that we have to accept that accidents do, and will, happen. Cellphones are probably the number one casualty in electronics accidents. Water, Dirt, Drops, shock, all those things we, as people, may run into every single day and since cellphones are right there with us, they can fall prey to such enemies of electronics. Besides being here to help with getting you a replacement phone, we’re here to help possibly save the phone, or other electronic device, you already have. Here’s a list of accidents, and reactions, that may help you save your precious device.
I remember when I was in middle school and I got my first cellphone in 8th grade. It was an old Nokia with a green and black interface, fat antenna on top and was barely able to fit into my pocket. Best of all it had “Snake” built in! I was 14 at the time and seeing a 14 year old with a cellphone back in 1999 was out of the ordinary. During the late 90′s and even the early 00′s, cell phones were considered an adult device. It had the stereotypical attachment to businessmen and soft top sports cars. Now anyone with a few bucks and a prepaid card can get a cellphone from Walmart and be connected instantly. Of course children can’t just go ahead and do that, but the visual of a teenage with a cellphone is now common place.
According to a report done by The Republic, more than 75% of teens going back to school have cellphones and that number continues to grow. but one market is growing even faster, and only recently became an officially named demographic, “Tweens”. Tweens are the ages between 9 and 12, not quite a teenager but not a child either. This market was exploited by businesses the most, with boy bands, MTV and, more recently, romantic vampires. With cellphones getting cheaper, not to mention having gps tracking features, parents are giving their children phones earlier and earlier in life.
But does your child “need” a cellphone? You only need to ask yourself a few questions to know for sure. Do you want to be able to contact your child 24/7, and vice versa in case of emergencies? Can you trust your child with a phone? Or will he or she lose it? How much do you want to spend? Do you want to get a smart phone with GPS tracking and several bells and whistles? Or a simple clam shell phone only for calls. Perhaps buying a used or refurbished cell phone? The National Consumers League has a guide with some of these questions they want you to keep mind when deciding on what phone to purchase for your child.
Next you’ll want to decide on some ground rules. Do you want to set up a limit of texts per-day? Or just accept teens, and tweens, text more than adults and just purchase the unlimited texting plans? You’ll want to explain the dangers of “sexting” and riding a bike while on the phone (just as, if not more dangerous, than driving your car and doing the same). You’ll want to explain strict rules when bringing their phone to school, not just by you as parents, but by the schools rules themselves. Some phones even allow you to set limits to incoming and outgoing phone calls.
The age for cellphone use is only going to get younger and younger. Our phones are turning into more than “just a phone” and soon enough, seeing tweens with cellphones will be just as commonplace as seeing a teenage or adult with a cellphone. The best advice we can give you is to go phone shopping with your child. Just like an adult, you want to be sure they can use the phone, handle it correctly, and like the phone they’ll be getting. Everyone has different opinions on when a child, tween or teen is ready for a phone. But they are your children, so make the decision yourself, and keep the questions above in mind. Happy shopping!
Over the past decade cell phones have went from simply “mobile phones” to “mobile computers”. We can surf the web, check on our finances, pay bills, stay connected with social media and even use GPS to find our way around the world. It seems that with every year our Phones become more and more essential to our daily lives. Well, that is about to take another leap this very year. Google has just released, though limited, Google Wallet, an Android exclusive application.
Google Wallet, available only on the Sprint Nexus S (for now), is literally what it claims to be, your wallet. Anyone with an Android phone will be able to link their credit and debit cards to one simple application. Each card will be protected with a PIN code, which you unlock for every purchase. No more losing credit cards and scrambling to get it locked before someone uses it to buy a yacht. Now, if you lose your phone, horrible in its own way, you can feel better in knowing that your finances will remain secure.
Android phones outfitted with Near Field Communication (NFC), will be able to go to any store and purchase goods with a simple wave of their phone. The amount of stores accepting such a device are limited at the moment, but growing fast. You can search via the program itself, by entering your zip code, and find locations near you already accepting the new program. We searched for locations in Philadelphia and found dozens accepting Google Wallet.
At the moment only Citi Bank Mastercard is linked to Google Wallet, but Google already has deals planned with Visa, Discover and American Express. In the meantime you can use google’s prepaid card within the application and add money from any card you please. What does this mean for our Cell Phones future? And with such a major change to how we do finances, how will Apples iPhone respond? Competition is healthy, and this can only mean great things for us.
Numerous banks already have finance applications linked to your account, but just imagine having them all in one simple location, in your pocket, protected with the same security as an ATM. No more clunky wallets, no more scrambling for that one specific card for that one specific store. All new Android phones will be NFC compatible, which is some bad news for older Droid users. Or is it? Visa is actually working on MicroSD cards with NFC technology. If such technology gets released, anyone with a microSD slot in their phone will be able to enjoy this application (and future ones to come). Droid X, Reality and even the very first Droid by Motorola could be potentially compatible.
But don’t count Apple or Windows out. If there is one constant in the world it’s that when one company innovates, the others copy and possibly enhance. Apple has been known to go toe to toe with Google on the software market. Apple will respond, and in turn, will cause Google to respond in kind. When that response will be is unknown at the moment.
But why the limited release? This seems like such an incredible program that anyone and everyone will want asap. According to Tech Crunch, Google wants to ensure the security and functionality of the NFC technology behind the Google Wallet. Considering this program could be potentially holding millions of people’s credit cards, it’s a wise choice to field test it as much as possible. Their goal is to make Google Wallet more secure than having a physical card on you at all times. Just having it be PIN activated already makes it slightly more secure than its old plastic cousins. This is only the beginning though, so our flimsy credit cards will probably live on for a few more years before the general public will trust such a program. Now we simply wait for the competition and see what innovation comes next.