Archive for Random Thoughts

Contactless Communication

Close enough to kiss … but shopping instead

Soon SmartPhones will be used like credit cards and the need for carrying all images (1)those plastic cards on your keychain or in your wallet will seem positively primitive.  NFC technology is here and traces its roots back to radio-frequency identification or RFID (the wireless use of electromagnetic fields to transfer data, for the purposes of automatically identifying and tracking tags attached to objects that contain electronically stored information).  What does it all mean … let’s break it down.

visa-iphone-contactless-payment-in2payNear Field Communications (get it … near the field … lol) is a set of standards for smartphones and similar devices to establish radio communication with each other by touching them together or bringing them into proximity, usually no more than a few centimeters. This shorter communication range is more optimal for security reasons than RFID, which may be able to transmit data from hundreds of meters away.

Who is at the forefront of NFC technology?  In 2004, Nokia, Sony, and Philips came together to form the NFC Forum. This group is dedicated to promoting the security, ease of use, and popularity of near field communication. It aims to educate businesses about the technology and upholds standards that allow NFC to operate between different devices. Those who wish to create NFC compliant devices must meet these standards set forth by the NFC Forum. This ensures that any user with any NFC device can use it with any other NFC device or NFC tag.

Who’s currently in on the action? Google has launched Google Wallet that supports MasterCard PayPass, PayPal offers money transfers between smartphones, and other companies are expected to follow suit. As the technology grows, more NFC compatible smartphones will be available and more stores will offer NFC card readers for customer convenience.

So there it is, just wave the smartphone over a NFC compatible device and actually pay a merchant. I mean … .what’s not to love?  There is a strong chance Apple’s iPhone 6 will include NFC-compatibility. If so … that will be a game changer. Apple is the only smartphone manufacturer that has enough influence over its customers to change payment behavior en masse.

Let’s go shopping!

 

 

 

Apps to Live By (come on get appy)

Where would we be without them … those apps we have learned to depend on.
Our handhelds hold google walletthe keys to our lives and that is likely why you see people in the streets, supermarkets and restaurants looking at their phones. For me…the more paper I can eliminate, the “appier” I am.

I recently installed the Google Wallet – and wow – am I glad to remove all the loyalty cards that have been crowding my keychain!  Now I simply open the app, show the loyalty card and the cashier can scan my phone.

When shopping … if I see the logo for NFC technology, I can use my Google Wallet to tap- and- pay utilizing contactless payments.  Can it be this easy?

wazeWhen I am driving anywhere over 30 minutes I depend on Waze for real time traffic and road information. This app also indicates where the most economical fuel is located … who could ask for more?

And here is another great app – Big Oven, a cooking app that helps you with step by step cooking directions, creates a shopping list and even provides nutritional big oveninformation (ok, that might be over the edge). I love the design which features a user friendly interface and appetizing images. I keep this one on the tablet so I can have larger pictures and allow the husband to be influenced (*wiggles eyebrows*) which is always a good thing.  It even helps you use left-over’s which is economical … so let’s see what’s in the Big Oven …then let’s eat!

shazamFor those who love music (wait …that’s me) here is a great app, Shazam.  This app will recognize music and media playing around you and identify it for you.  It will additionally create a playlist for you and … of course direct you to iTunes so you can make a purchase it if you like.

As a coffee drinker, nothing is more convenient than my Starbucks card. Flashingindex the phone is way easier than finding the little card when I am standing in front of my favorite barista … and I can always load using the convenience of my laptop so I’m never charging/signing at the cashier … I love this app.

An how can any of us live without our banking app.  Forget to pay a bill, check a deposit … transfer money … the bank is right there in the palm of your hand. I can remember when the first ATMs showed up and we thought they were the coolest … but now that acronym just means “at the moment” *smiles*

 

“Ma, it’s not a phone, it’s a computer that has phone”

It’s yet another truth from my astute son.  That’s exactly what we are using when we manipulate the touch screens of our handheld devices – a micro-computer complete with an operating system and applications that help us run our lives. They run the gamut from calendar, address book, e-mail,  camera (for stills and video, of course), Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, GPS, text messaging , media player, links to social media  and other applications to personalize the experience for the user.  Oh, and yes. You can even call someone.

Ma, it’s not a phoneBack in the 80s I remember experiencing my first fax machine and I was so impressed!  No longer would I have to pack up the artwork in a portable, though sometimes cumbersome, portfolio, drive to the client for the required in- person meeting and secure approval for a magazine ad. Today if someone even suggests sending me a fax … or even asks for my fax number … I have to smirk. I now send my clients pdfs and in seconds ads are in front of them where they can study them and get back to me at their convenience – now that’s progress.

I use my handheld to pay for my coffee at Starbucks, show my boarding pass and check into a flight,  use coupons at the department store and text my husband to see what’s for dinner. I read and answer email or play FreeCell when I have to wait, and I  take photos and post them to social media when I’m feeling kinda social … man has life changed.

So in this age of the handheld, the next device that features a faster processor, a high def screen, and a longer lasting battery has my vote. I will be opening my wallet and upgrading. My latest love is the HTC M-8 phone (oops I mean computer) in glamour red … sweet!

 

How smart is your watch?

Smart Watch1Gone are the days when we were satisfied with the ability to merely tell time, here is the age of the SmartWatch.  A smartwatch is a computerized wristwatch, complete with functionality that is often compared to a PDA.  Recent designs in smartwatches do much more than the basics of calculations, translations, and game-playing. Todays’ smartwatches are actually wearable computers. They run mobile apps and function as portable media players, offering playback of FM radio, audio, and video files to the user via a Bluetooth headset.  Why is that woman staring at her wrist … oh, she appears to be watching a video. Some smartphone models, (also called watch phones) feature full mobile phone capability, and can make or answer phone calls. Wait … that woman appears to be talking to her wrist … oh, *looks confused* is she on the phone?

Smartwatch devices may include additional features such as a camera, thermometer, calculator, cell phone, touch screen, GPS navigation, map display, graphical display, speaker, scheduler, watch, SDcards that are recognized as a mass storage device by a computer, etc. and a rechargeable battery. It may communicate with a wireless headset, heads-up display, insulin pump, microphone, modem, or other devices. Seems many companies are searching for the next best thing to the iphone … and all devices will be subject to push that envelope.

Some have “sport watch” functionality as seen in GPS watches made for Training, Diving, and Outdoor sports. Functions can include training programs (such as intervals), lap times, speed display, GPS tracking unit, route tracking, dive computer, heart rate monitor compatibility, cadence sensor compatibility, and compatibility with sport transitions (as in triathlons).

Smart Watch2So … I waited for the day my phone replaced my watch … now I will shop to see if my watch can replace my phone … lol

Well … now I’ve seen everything … Google Glass

google glassGoogle glass is a wearable computer with an optical head-mounted display (OHMD) that is being developed by Google in the Project Glass research and development project. The mission …. to produce a mass-market ubiquitous computer. Google Glass displays information in a Smartphone-like hands-free format, that can communicate with the Internet via natural language voice commands.

The Explorer Edition is available to testers and Google I/O developers in the United States for $1,500, while a consumer version will be available some time in 2014 for “significantly less” than the Explorer Edition. On July 2, 2013, Google launched an informational press site for Glass, which stated that the company’s goal “is to make Glass available to a wider group of Explorers later this year, with even broader availability next year.

http://www.google.com/glass/start/

check out the fashionable eye-wear … what will they think of next?

The Creative Habit

twyla tharp the creative habitI read a book written by a woman I greatly admire entitled “The Creative Habit” and it was nothing short of a validation of my own life. The woman is Twyla Tharp, one of America’s greatest choreographers. In the book she explains that being creative is not an occasional thing … it is not done every once in awhile, no… it’s a habit and a lifestyle.

I feel like am luckier than most. I have a studio that
I can walk into every day and be surrounded by other creatives and the creative tools of books, media and technology. Of course there is tons and tons of inspiration. It’s my creative place … my sanctuary
for allowing that creativity to flow and be recorded,
fine tuned, evaluated, validated and ultimately launched. I am lucky also that I never once dreaded the walk into this studio … it is truly my happy place.

I imagine I identify with this woman because in my young life I was a dancer. Early on I adapted the ritual of routinely taking dance class, a discipline that became a joyful habit. Dancers need to keep their instrument tuned and toned, fit, healthy and working smoothly. For this reason, they go through the ritual of class every day to insure that their bodies are ready for the expressions that will flow from them. To this day I take at least 3 dance classes a week … not that I am a dancer professionally … but it is a habit I adapted early in life and my body loves the feel of it.

Twila Tharp dancingIn the book, Twyla describes how a great chef spends every morning tending an urban garden that dominates a tiny terrace of his Brooklyn home. Obsessed with the idea of fresh ingredients, this creative environment allows him to think about blending flavors and creating new dishes. She also speaks of a painter friend who cannot accomplish anything in her studio without propulsive music pounding out of huge speakers. Another writer friend cannot work indoors because he feels he will miss something. This writer takes his morning coffee outside to the porch and begins his day in the warm sun of southern California. These are all creative habits.

So each day when I enter my studio and think “What I will create today?”, I know that the discipline of my creative habit … the fact that every day I deliberately and happily move into a space that will ignite inspiration and free creative thinking , insures my ultimate creative success.