Uber is Uber Cool

Uber is Uber Cool

Uber

Uber is an app (iPhone and Android) that allows you to request a black Towncar or SUV rather than a typical cab in the U.S. and Canada.  When you use the app, it finds your location and allows you to order an “Uber”.  You can see all of the black cars in your area on a map.  You can simply pick the closest driver and the system will send you an alert on your cellphone to let you know the car is on its way.  The service alert includes your driver’s name and his cell phone.  You can even watch the vehicle coming toward your location on the map.

I spoke to a frequent user of Uber who told me that it normally takes about 5-10 minutes for the vehicle to arrive.  The driver opens the car door for you.  They usually have bottles of water, candy, gum, and other handy items. The price is a little more than a standard cab.  However, she felt that the few dollar difference was well worth it.

When you reach your final destination, you do not have to worry about having cash, tipping, or even dealing with negotiations.  Since your information is stored in the app, the receipt is simply sent to your email. They ask you to rate the drivers so that they can be sure they have excellent service.  I was told that drivers need to maintain a 4.7 out of 5 star rating in order to continue driving for the company.

Related Articles:

How to Use iPhone to Connect Computer to the Internet

Apple

If you are like me, you may want to use your laptop when you travel.  One way to gain access to the Internet is by using an iPhone’s Personal Hotspot feature.  The cellular data connection on the phone will allow you to connect your laptop or desktop to the Internet.

To use this feature, go to the settings on the iPhone (3GS version or later) and chose general and then choose Personal Hotspot. Turn the Personal Hotspot to the “on” position.  The Wi-Fi password will be listed on the iPhone under the Personal Hotspot area next to Wi-Fi password.  The wireless connection should now be listed as a choice on the laptop or desktop computer.  To connect to the iPhone, go to the Internet Access area on the computer and select the iPhone connection option. Then enter that password listed on the iPhone when requested.

When the personal hotspot is turned on it may incur charges so it is important to turn it off when not using it for temporary access.  The Apple support website states that the Wi-Fi hotspot will turn off when no devices are detected, but I was told by a Verizon employee that there may be charges.  I was also told that the phone could not be used when in personal hotspot mode.

According to the Apple Support site, “While devices are connected to Personal Hotspot, the status bar will be blue and will indicate the number of connected users.  The maximum number of supported connections may vary depending on your carrier or iPhone model.”

Related Articles:

What You Should Know About Push Notifications

Anyone who has installed iPad or iPhone apps has probably seen the notification: “Would Like to Send You Push Notifications” (with the options of don’t allow or OK).  IpadAcademy.com explains, “Push notifications are a way for an app to send information to your iPad or iPhone even when you aren’t using the app.”  If you’ve noticed the number of email listed on your email icon, that is there due to a push notification.  That notification reminds you that you have mail without making you actually open up the application.

IOS (Apple’s system) is not the only one that utilizes push notifications.  Android and Windows smartphones also use them.  Check out:  Not all Push Created Equal.

Apple’s IOS system provides 3 types of push notifications.  To manage these notifications for an iPad or iPhone, you “Go to Settings > Notifications to choose the apps you want to receive notifications from. You can also select what form you’d like the notice to take – sound, badge, alert or banner, depending on the options the app includes.”  For more help, check out:  IOS:  Understanding Push Notifications.

Some push notifications may be very useful.  However, TheNextWeb explained push notifications need to be smarter.  Having the ability to adjust how they work may need to be adjusted.  Lifehacker explained that push notifications may not be the best thing.  In the article You Should Forget About Push Notifications for Your Email, author Adam Pash stated, “the vibrating pulse in your pocket indicating the arrival of a new email; the unpredictable “ding” from your desktop’s email notification; these things are killing your focus and destroying your ability to work to your capacity.”

Push notifications are an effective marketing tool. Check out the following video explaining why:

MobileMarketer warned that apps need to be pushy but not too pushy to be effective. “ONE-SIZE-FITS-ALL is not an effective strategy in any marketing channel. An effective push notification strategy should maximize the likelihood of message relevance and a beneficial value exchange between brand and customer.”

Related Articles:

Could Augmented Reality Technology Inspire the Next Steve Jobs?

One of the biggest obstacles the new entrepreneur faces is coming up with a unique idea.  The Steve Jobs and Mark Zuckerbergs of the world have raised the creativity bar.  By creating augmented reality phone apps, certain companies are getting attention.  Autonomy has developed a new technology called Arasmsa that may change how people interact with objects.  It works with a smart phone and can reveal some things that are not readily visible to the naked eye.  Check out the following video:

With the popularity of QR codes and now new technologies like Arasmsa, there is potential for some amazing app possibilities.  For example, you can now point your phone at a magazine and have an app translate the material from one language to another.  There are a variety of augmented reality apps already available on the market.  Check out 40 Best Augmented Reality Phone Apps and 2 Augmented Reality Technologies that are about to Change the World.

The question is who will be the next Zuckerberg or Jobs to create an idea that goes above and beyond what is already out there?  Perhaps they are listed in the article 8 Important Silicon Valley Innovators Not Named Steve Jobs.  Only time will tell.

Related Articles

Researching Apple: Top 10 Most Useful Links

The following list was created to put all of the most useful information about Apple in one easy to find location:

  1. When Was Apple Incorporated?  “Apple was incorporated in the state of California on January 3, 1977.”
  2. When Apple Went IPO Apple’s initial public offering was on December 12, 1980 at $22 per share. “The stock has split three times since the IPO so on a split-adjusted basis the IPO share price was $2.75.”
  3. Apple’s Mission Statement:   Apple is committed to bringing the best personal computing experience to students, educators, creative professionals and consumers around the world through its innovative hardware, software and Internet offerings.  The Apple website officially lists their mission statement as:  “Apple designs Macs, the best personal computers in the world, along with OS X, iLife, iWork, and professional software. Apple leads the digital music revolution with its iPods and iTunes online store. Apple reinvented the mobile phone with its revolutionary iPhone and App Store, and has recently introduced its magical iPad which is defining the future of mobile media and computing devices.”
  4. How to Find Up to the Minute Price on Apple Stock Apple’s ticker symbol is AAPL – click here for 20 minute delayed price.
  5. The First Apple Logo Featured Isaac Newton Newton was sitting under a tree with an apple about to fall on his head.
  6. The Name iPod Came From 2001: A Space Odyssey “As soon as I saw the white iPod, I thought 2001,” Chieco told Wired in 2006. “Open the pod bay door, Hal! Then it was just a matter of adding the ‘i’ prefix, as in ‘iMac.'”
  7. Apple Lists Detailed Information About their Environmental Footprint:  The Apple site lists their total footprint including information from manufacturing, transportation, product use, recycling and facilities.
  8. Apple’s Annual Report  “Apple does not produce a glossy annual report. Apple’s Form 10-K is available on our website. If you require a hard copy, go to the Request Information form and select the Form 10-K.”
  9. Apple’s Dividend History:  Find Apple dividend and stock split information.  Apple has had three 2- for-1 stock splits in 1987, 2000 and 2005.
  10. Apple Press Releases: This link includes all press releases, including Steve Jobs’ Retirement Letter to the Apple Board of Directors.

Related Articles

Make a Free Easy App Without iTunes

It can be quite frustrating and difficult to create an app that iTunes will accept.  I found a quick little way to create a free app that is easily accessed through a site called ConduitMobile.  You need to access the site to create the app through Safari instead of Explorer though.  If you don’t have Safari, you can download that easily for free.  

Once on the ConduitMobile site, it is very simple to create a decent app that contains things like RSS feeds, websites, Youtube feeds, contact forms and more.  When you are finished creating the app, you can test it on your computer screen to see how it looks.  When you are happy with the app, you can simply pick the option of “Web-based App Open on Mobile Phone”.  This will generate a QR code that you can scan with your QR Reader.  You can have this QR code and link sent to your email address.

If you scan the QR code, that will open the page to your app on your phone.  At this point, you click on the icon at the bottom of your iPhone that looks like a circle with a pen in it.  At that point, it will ask you if you want to open in Safari.  Pick yes and this will open up the website on your phone so that you can save it to your home screen. 

To see how it works, scan this code into your reader or click here to see more about the code and app.  By scanning in my code listed below, you can have access to my articles, Youtube videos and more on your iPhone. 

An even easier way to get the app onto your iPhone is to just use the link that is sent to your email that contains the QR code.  The link for the one above is http://drdianehamilton.mobapp.at/.  Simply open the site like this one on your phone and save it to your desktop.  You can also go to that link and forward it to people by entering their email address.  Keep in mind though that, unlike an app you download from iTunes, this app will be web-based and will require an Internet connection to display the information. 

Watch the following video for step by step directions about how to create your free app without having to go through iTunes:

Steve Jobs Resigns as CEO of Apple

Steve Jobs has officially resigned from Apple.   Jobs picked Tim Cook as his successor.   Apple shares fall after Jobs’ resignation announcement but ended slightly up at the end of the day.  WSJOnline.com has a very complete article about Steve Jobs’ resignation including a slideshow of his life. 

The following from TechCrunch shows his letter of resignation to the board of directors:

steve-jobs1
 

Title says it all. More to come. For now, the letter from Steve Jobs himself:

To the Apple Board of Directors and the Apple Community:

I have always said if there ever came a day when I could no longer meet my duties and expectations as Apple’s CEO, I would be the first to let you know. Unfortunately, that day has come.

I hereby resign as CEO of Apple. I would like to serve, if the Board sees fit, as Chairman of the Board, director and Apple employee.

As far as my successor goes, I strongly recommend that we execute our succession plan and name Tim Cook as CEO of Apple.

I believe Apple’s brightest and most innovative days are ahead of it. And I look forward to watching and contributing to its success in a new role.

I have made some of the best friends of my life at Apple, and I thank you all for the many years of being able to work alongside you.

Steve

Update: Apple has confirmed that Apple COO Tim Cook will replace Jobs as CEO, following Jobs’ own recommendation. Considering that Cook has filled in for Jobs in the times of his medical leaves (including the one he has been on this year), this has been widely expected if and when it came time for Jobs to step down.

How to Use QR Codes on Your Resume and Business Cards

QR codes are the latest thing in marketing.  They are in the newspapers, on billboards and on just about every kind of marketing material you can imagine. Now you can utilize this amazing new technology to make your business card and/or resume stand out from the rest.  This is an innovative way to show prospective employers that you are tech savvy.  It also can redirect them to important information on your website that you cannot include in your resume. 

Here is an example of how to put one on your business card. 

Anyone with a smartphone that has an app for reading QR codes can easily point their phone at your card and find out more information about you.  If you don’t have a QR reader app on your phone, they are easy to download from sites like iTunes and they are free.  I use QR Reader for iPhone.  Once you have the app on your phone, open it, and point the phone’s camera at the square on my card.  See how it directs you to a site. 

The QR codes are simple to create.  Check out this article:  how to create your own QR codes.

Here is an example of how to include them on your resume:

 
If you used your reader to scan these codes listed here, you can see they each will send you to a different site.  You may just want to send them to your LinkedIn page or some other website that showcases your abilities.  You could create a presentation in Google Docs or on YouTube that would make you stand out from the crowd.  If you have always felt that you could get that job if only they could see you, now is your chance.  Just be careful to create quality content on the site where you direct potential employers. 

To see QR codes in action, check out this video about how QR codes are changing the way people shop:

Top Things You Should Know about Google Plus (Google+)

You may have started to receive emails announcing that you have been added by someone on Google+ and be confused by what that means.  First of all it is important to understand Google+.  SEOdesk includes a nice article explaining what is Google+.  This new system is not unlike the Facebook “Like” feature. 

The author of the SEOdesk article pointed out how Google’s new system works. “A small transparent plus one button will appear near your search results (log into your public Google account first), when you click on it, it should turn blue; this indicates that you have +1’d that particular link, it will appear on a new tab in your account which keeps a record of the various things online that you have +1’d (the plus one tab).” For a more detailed explanation, read the entire article

How can people add you to Google+?  First of all, people can find you to add through a search function.  See how to find people on Google+.  They can then invite people to be friends with them on Google+. How can you protect your information if you don’t want others to see it?  Check out: protecting your Google+ profile information. For more information check out:  guide to working with circles in Google+.   

If you receive a notification that someone has added you to Google+, it may include a statement like:  Don’t know this person? You don’t have to add them back (they’ll just see the stuff you share publicly). If you want to block someone, you can do so by following these instructions on blocking someone on Google+.

Top Apps for 2011

 
 

mobile apps

 

The list of apps that are available for iPads and other tablet devices can sometimes seem staggering.  Entrepreneur.com recently listed their 10 Must-Have Business Apps for 2011.  Most of these apps had to do with productivity.  For a more productivity apps click here.

Hubspot had a more complete article titled The 25 Most Important Mobile Media Apps. This list is nice because it is broken down into financial tools, organizers/time savers, utilities, news/information, shopping, social, and productivity applications.

One application that any mobile device should have is for reading QR codes. For more information about QR codes and their use, click here.

Reality of Being Seen Live on Facebook, Google+ and Facetime

Today Facebook announced its new integration with Skype that will allow video calling and group chatting. Zuckerberg is touting “ease of use” as one of the key benefits of this system. Facebook can now compete with Google+ and their video chat service named Hangout.

The question now becomes, do you really want to have the capability of having people see you? Recently I was having a conversation with my husband on my iPhone using Apple’s Facetime application. As my husband took his iPhone around the office and said, “say hello to so and so”, I realized that as I could see them, they could also see me in my jammies with no makeup, hair up on top of my head and wearing my reading glasses. It wasn’t glamorous.

Many people use these video calling services when they are at home. Do we really want to see what everyone looks like when they first wake up in the morning? As we start opening up our homes to people with our video capabilities, we may also be showcasing things that may be better left unseen. Think about the dirty dishes in the sink or the unmade bed. Now more people than ever will know everyone’s dirty little secrets.

Job Seekers: The Demand is in Apps so Consider Learning HTML5

This year will be about tablets and apps.  For those looking for a job right now, there are plenty of companies including Google who are looking for app experts. 

Apps are everywhere these days.  Look at iPhones, Androids, iPads and such and you’ll see plenty of little mobile programs that are the fasting growing thing out there.  Angry Birds and Cut the Rope are just a few of those fun little games that people are playing.  Not all apps are games.  Many are used for productivity. 

It has become a very competitive field out there with Google, Itunes, Facebook and other companies expanding in the area of apps.  The Wall Street Journal reported, “World-wide, revenue from mobile apps is expected to triple this year to $15.1 billion, including paid downloads and advertising revenue generated by free apps, according to research firm Gartner Inc. Besides the potential of making money directly from such creations, more and better apps can help devices powered by Google’s Android operating system continue to gain ground on Apple’s iPhones and iPads.”

[GOOGAPP]

Because of the popularity of apps, Google is taking this very seriously and is in the market to hire app experts.  For more about this, check out the Wall Street Journal article that reported,“Google executives in October said the company was on track to generate $1 billion a year in mobile-related revenue, though it declined to provide a breakdown of the revenue sources. Google, based in Mountain View, Calif., last week said it planned to hire more than 6,000 employees this year, and a spokesman said mobile would continue to be an important area for the company.”

The increase in jobs is great if people have the skills.  What is required to get a job creating apps?  The applicant must have strong HTML5 skills.  The number of job listings that include the words HTML5 or apps is increasing.  Tech. professionals looking for jobs may want to check out Dice.com.  This job board lists opportunities for people with high tech skills. 

[JOBSKILLS]

2011 Another Big Year for Skype

With rumors of Skype going IPO and their recent purchase of Qik (provider of mobile video software), Skype is making a lot of headlines lately.  It is anticipated that this may be an even bigger year for the growing company. 

In a recent article explaining how company names are becoming used as verbs, companies like Google and Facebook were used as examples.  Skype is now being added to that list.  The Wall Street Journal reported, “Making audio and video calls between computers over Skype is now so common that the company’s name has become a verb. People ask others to “Skype me” or say they are “Skyping.”

With the recent announcement that Verizon will be offering the iPhone, apps are becoming the topic of many a conversation.  Skype is now going to be available for use with Verizon’s new service.  WSJ reported, “A couple of weeks ago, Skype introduced free mobile video calling to its iPhone app and has plans to extend the same functionality to certain Android-based phones running on Verizon’s new high-speed 4G network later this year. And, last week, at the Consumer Electronics Show, it launched a paid service it had been testing that allows for group video calling on computers.”

Universities, including one where I work, have required professors to have a Skype account. Video-conferencing is the way of the future.  What is nice about Skype is that you can connect between computers and cell phones now.  In fact, “Group calling, which can handle between three and 10 people, is a feature of the latest Windows version of Skype, and of the latest beta version for the Mac.”

Skype does face some competition with Tango and FaceTime. FaceTime is video software developed by Apple for the iPhone.  Tango enables anyone with an iPhone or Android phone to make free mobile video calls over 3G, 4G, or Wi-Fi to their friends and family around the world.

How big is Skype?  According to SkypeNumerology, over 27 million people were online using Skype this week.  SkypeJournal reported that “Skype maintained 20% of all international minutes in 2010.  Skype will be reporting about $1 billion in revenue this year.”

photo

Skype’s International Market Share 2010

IPhone Finally Available On Verizon

There have been plenty of rumors that Apple would finally make the iPhone available on Verizon.  Tuesday there will be an announcement that this is in fact going to occur.  There is no word as to when these devices will be in the stores.   Apple is strategically adding more partners to grow sales of the product.

It looks like a good year for Verizon who has already done well with their Google-powered phones.  Many Verizon users are loyal to their quality service. 

 

image via deadzones.com

Iphone has drawn many to AT&T, but there have been complaints about their service.  According to WSJ.com “IPhone users have long complained about dropped calls and poor service on AT&T’s network, even as the carrier boosted spending to improve coverage. A Consumer Reports survey last month ranked Verizon’s network as most reliable among the major carriers and AT&T’s as the worst.”

What kind of sales can be expected with the new iPhone relationship? Mobiledia.com reported, “Analysts at financial firm Pacific Crest believe that component orders and anecdotal evidence suggest that the launch of a CDMA iPhone at Verizon is “highly-likely” in March. They also estimate that Verizon will be able to sell approximately three million iPhones in the second quarter of 2011, offset by approximately 600,000 fewer iPhone sales at AT&T.”

Skype Brings Video Calling to iPhones

 

Image via google.com

Press Release:

30 DECEMBER 2010, LUXEMBOURG – Skype today announced the new version of its iPhone application that brings video calling to millions of mobile users around the globe over both 3G and WiFi networks. Available to download from the Apple App Store today, the new Skype for iPhone App allows iPhone, iPad and iPod touch owners to make and/or receive free* Skype video calls for the first time. Users can now see their family, friends and colleagues around the world while talking to them. With approximately 25 million concurrent users logged into Skype at any given time**, the new Skype for iPhone makes it easier than ever to share moments wherever you are.

Video calling significantly enhances the user experience of Skype for iPhone, which is one of the top five free iPhone apps in 2010 according to Apple. Now, users can make and receive free Skype-to-Skype calls, call mobiles and landlines around the world at very low rates, and now share more moments together with video on Skype for iPhone.

“With video calling representing approximately 40% of all Skype-to-Skype minutes for the first six months of 2010, our users have been eager to get Skype video calling on their mobile phones,” said Neil Stevens, general manager of Skype’s consumer business. “By bringing video to mainstream users at their home or work via their desktops, on the go with their mobiles, or into their living room via their TV, Skype has made it possible for millions of people to share video moments wherever they are.”

A video call evolves communication beyond transactional experiences to a shared experience where people can share any occasion with others wherever they are. Whether this is a military father watching the birth of his child while deployed abroad, loved ones communicating via sign language or work colleagues collaborating around the globe – the opportunities are endless.

Users can place Skype video calls with their iPhone over both a 3G data connection* or WiFi. The new Skype for iPhone app is compatible with the iPhone 4, iPhone 3GS, and iPod touch 4th generation with i0S 4.0 or above. Video receiving capabilities are available on the iPod touch 3rd generation and iPad. Calls can be made between devices using the new Skype for iPhone app and desktops including Skype for Windows 4.2 and above, Skype for Mac 2.8 and above, Skype for Linux and ASUS Videophone.

The Skype for iPhone application is available for free download from the App Store or at www.skype.com/go/iphone.

Google’s E-Book Store Takes Off Touting Ability to Read Any Book Anywhere

Yesterday was the opening of the Google e-book store.  This creates some serious competition for Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Apple.  Publishers are flocking to be included on their site. 

According to the New York Times, “More than 4,000 publishers, including large trade book companies like Random House, Simon & Schuster and Macmillan, have made books available for sale through Google, many at prices that are identical to those of other e-bookstores.”

Independent bookstores are even able to sign up to sell Google’s e-books on their websites.  According to the New York Times, “It is also an opportunity for independents to learn from past missteps. They were slow to build Web sites to sell books during the initial expansion of online retailing in the 1990s, a mistake that led their customers to turn to Amazon and its deeply discounted selection.”

Google’s site boosts of having over 3 million titles that are usable on just about every e-book device.  They are touting their site as the world’s largest library of e-books.

Thebookdesigner.com had an interesting article about Google’s e-book site.  One important thing they pointed out was “The Google eBookstore is completely cloud-driven. Rather than the Kindle or iBooks model of downloading your purchase to a device, the eBookstore is where your purchase lives. You surf there to read your book, whether you use your iPhone on the train, your iPad sitting out on the porch, or your PC while at your desk. And since the book itself is centrally located, it keeps your place each time you log on to read it.”

To find out more about the store, check out the following video.

 

Wall Street Journal Partners with Unigo to Create a Site that Offers Potential College Students Some Sound Advice

 

The Wall Street Journal has teamed up with Unigo’s student correspondents from more than 2000 colleges across America to produce a site they call WSJ on Campus.  If you are not familiar with Unigo, you can watch a video that explains what they do by clicking here.  Their system helps student match their interests and values with appropriate universities.  Their offer help to prospective students by providing reviews written by past students regarding the schools they have attended.  This information is used to help prospective students decide which school is best for them.

If you to go to WSJ On Campus, you will find that they offer the following information about getting prepared for college:

  • What matters when choosing a school
  • What it will really be like when you get to college
  • The perfect school for you
  • Are Ivy schools are really worth it
  • How to master the admissions essay
  • How to deal with school’s turning your requests for admission down
  • How to prepare for the SAT
  • What to do if you can’t go to your first choice school

They also offer the following information about what to expect once you get there:

  • How to choose the right classes
  • How to choose the right major
  • Who earns the most money
  • How to handle doing the assignments
  • Understanding academics
  • How to succeed in your Freshman year
  • How to get an A on your papers
  • How to use textbooks on your iPhone

 

I tried searching by online, online colleges, distance learning and other terms but found no information about online education on the site.  I even typed in some of the top online universities to see if they would come up and there was nothing.  It appears this site is very helpful if you are considering going to a traditional college but not so helpful if you want to use it to choose an online university.  Even if you do decide to attend an online college or university, you can learn a lot from their articles about how to be a successful student.

For more information about being a successful online student, click here.

Can Google’s New e-Book Store Knock out the Competition?

How do you decide which e-book to buy?  After all, there are Kindles, Nooks, iPads and now Google is planning their own e-book.  In fact, they are in the final stages of production. What is taking them so long?  In a recent WSJ.com article, Google product manager and director Scott Dougall said, “Because of the complexity of this project, we didn’t want to come out with something that wasn’t thorough.”  According to that same article, “Users will be able to buy books directly from Google or from multiple online retailers—including independent bookstores—and add them to an online library tied to a Google account. They will be able to access their Google accounts on most devices with a Web browser, including personal computers, smartphones and tablets.”

Currently Amazon controls 65% of that market. Forrester Research is predicting the market to be worth $966 million this year.  The first product to market may do well, but it doesn’t guarantee that they will stay number one. Sometimes it is better not to be first on the market.  Flydogdesign.com noted, “Apple is known by their strategy of not being the first. None of the Apple’s top sellers today were first in the market. iPod wasn’t the first mp3 player, iPhone wasn’t the first smartphone and iPad wasn’t the first tablet computer. Apple prefers being the best to being the first. And they make billions on that bet.”

Only time will tell if this strategy will also work well for Google.  They have done a nice job of catching up in the past.  Remember Yahoo? As of September, 2010, Google was used 90% of the time for searching the Internet. Yahoo was down to 4.4%. 

If their past performance is indicative of what is to come, Amazon, Apple, Barnes & Noble, and Sony may have a tough race ahead of them.

image via techpinas.com
Related Articles

What is Google Goggles? Visual Search Technology is Here

Google Goggles is a visual search engine for Android and iPhones.  It allows you to search by taking a photo.  It is as simple as opening Google Goggles and taking a picture of the thing you want to know more about. It has many uses.  One of those uses is to scan a business card in to find out more about the company or person and add their information easily to your contact list. You can take pictures of landmarks, famous buildings or artwork and Google Goggles can give you more information about them. Goggles also includes a language translator. Their video shows an example of taking a picture of a menu item that is in a foreign language and having it easily translated. They say it works well on a lot of things but no so well on food, cars, plants or animals. Right now it is available for Android and iPhone.

Yesterday Google announced an experiment they are doing with Buick, Disney, Diageo, T-Mobile and Delta Airlines. These companies have enabled their ads, posters and other media to be Googles-enabled. This means that you can take a picture of these items and they will be recognized by Google Goggles, allowing the user to go directly to the brand’s mobile destination. For more about this go to GoogleBlog at Blogspot.

How to Get Free e-Books

Are you considering buying an e-reader but don’t have the money to pay for a lot of e-books?  You might consider going to the library.  Libraries are offering more and more electronic titles.  Keep in mind that certain libraries may not have the ability to download files into specific readers.  I am in Arizona, and the local library here cannot download files for the Kindle or the iPad.  They do offer titles for other readers such as Nook, Sony Reader, and Libre.  Even if your local library doesn’t support certain readers, you can still find sites on the Internet that do.

How do you get the titles onto your reader?   You will first need to download the Adobe Digital Editions software.  You can obtain this by Downloading the Adobe Products Digital Editions Software.    One that is downloaded you can then connect your e-reader through a USB connection to your computer and transfer the book to your e-reader.  Adobe’s site also allows you to download free sample e-books.

If you are looking for more free e-books, check out:

Free-ebooks.net  

Guttenberg.org has over 33,000 books that you can read on your computer or many other devices including iPad, Kindle, Nook, Sony Reader, iPhone, iTouch, Android and more.

Barnes and Noble offers a free trial membership   

For a more complete list, read the following article: 20 Best Websites to Download Free Books

Suggested reading about e-books/e-readers:

Using e-calibre for Your e-Books Conversion Needs

What Kind of e-Reader are You?

Top 15 Articles to Help with Confusion about How to Choose an e-Reader and Application

e-Texbooks and iPad

e-Books vs. Traditional Books

Colleges to Offer More e-Books

5 Ways that e-Books are Better than Paper Books

What is the Status on Apple’s iAd?

Getty Images

Apple Chief Executive Steve Jobs unveiled plans for the iAd service during a product event in April.

image via online.wsj.com
 

This summer Apple introduced iAd, its mobile advertising network for use with iPhone and iTouch.   Since I teach a lot of marketing courses, I was curious to see if this has been successful.  WJS.com reported that the service has gotten big brands interested in these ads.  

Some are complaining about the ad rates being high, with Apple requiring a minimum of $1 million in advertising commitments.  Although the service is only currently available on iPhone and iTouch, they will be making it available to iPad soon.

What is Ugly Meter? New APP Analyzes How “Ugly” You Are

 

Jo Overline, co-creator of the Ugly Meter app for iPhones, shows a scan. The app snaps a picture of a subject's face, analyzes the image for symmetry, ranks one's ugliness and flings an insult or compliment.

Image via azcentral.com

There is a new app available for Iphones that will allow you to take a picture of someone and then have it run a facial recognition, analyzing whether the person is attractive or not.  The app then makes a comment about their appearance . . . good or bad.

The app is very popular but it is causing debate as to whether this is a good thing to do.  Some see it as harmless fun, while others think it can be causing bullying, leading to psychological distress. 

The app, only 99 cents,  will assign a score from 0-10.  Ten being the least attractive.

How popular is this app? According to azcentral.com “About two months after its release, Ugly Meter has generated over 100,000 downloads, peaking at No. 3 on the most popular chart.”

How did a beauty like Angelina Jolie rate on their test?  How about Brad Pitt? Check out the results by clicking here.

The Ugly Meter iPhone App

image via dailymail.co.uk

Online Schools Using Skype, Tinychat, Video Conferencing, Wiki and Other Technologies

Recently one of the universities where I work sent me an email stating that they require that I have a Skype account.  I was curious to see if other schools were using Skype and did a little research.  I found an article which I found interesting from informationtechnologyschools.com.  In the article, they mention 10 ways to use Skype in the online classroom:

  1. Videoconferencing
  2. Tutoring
  3. Live Lectures
  4. Guest Lectures
  5. Global Projects
  6. Student Presentations
  7. Classroom Discussions
  8. Announcements
  9. Oral Examinations
  10. Virtual Field Trips

For the complete article, click here.

I can see that Skype would be extremely useful in synchronous classrooms.  Click here for another article about online learning using Skype from collegefinder.org.  I like that they are finding new and unusual technology uses for the classroom. Click here for an excellent article on 100 inspiring ways to use social media in the classroom from onlineuniversities.com.

I’ve seen that some schools are using TinychatPBworks.com claims, “Tinychat delivers dead simple video conferences without the extraneous ad-ons and inconvenience, making video conferencing an accessible, uncomplicated experience. It works on Windows, Mac and Linux; with Firefox, IE, Safari, and Chrome; and there is a version available for iPhones. You can have up to twelve people in a room with HQ video, protected by passwords and moderators, share your desktop with them, and your conferences can be recorded and embedded on your website.”  – Check out this tutorial on how to use Tinychat by clicking here.

When it comes to video conferencing, though, one of the advantages I see for online learning is that it can be completed in asynchronous format.  In other words, users can log on at any time of the day and not at a specific time.  As an instructor, I find this to be extremely helpful to me.  I do my best thinking at around 5:00 am and I doubt my students would want to log on for a lecture at that time.

Asynchronous video is still an excellent option for online courses. It may not have the interactive abilities that programs like Skype have, but it may also avoid some of the confusion and problems that come with understanding the technology as well.  There is also the blended learning option that some schools embrace.  Some schools have parts of the classes offered synchronously and parts asynchronously. 

There are tools for both types of learning.  There are advantages and disadvantages with both.  Chronical.com stated the following about synchronous online tools, “If using the “same time, different place” model of communication, some common barriers to implementation of synchronous tools are cost and bandwidth—not only cost and bandwidth on your end, as the individual teacher or the institution, but also to the students. This is especially true with conferencing systems; video/web conferencing requires equipment to deliver but also to receive. Although the benefits of real-time video conferencing are clear—it’s as near to a physical classroom environment as you can get—the software, hardware, and bandwidth necessary on both sides can be more cost-prohibitive than actually physically attending a class.”

That same article addressed asynchronous online tools, giving the following examples of technology that can be used in this asynchronous online setting:

  • Discussion boards: whether integrated into your online learning environment or not (such as Google Groups), well-managed discussion boards can produce incredibly rich conversations about topics at hand.
  • Blogs: my personal favorite, as not only are the students discussing with one another (and the instructor), but they’re learning something about writing for a wider audience whomay or may not be listening in.  The open nature of blogs also allows for communication between students in other classes at other institutions who are studying the same topics.  You might have to make “comments on blogs” count for a grade in order for some students to do it, but such is the nature of  the beast—those students probably wouldn’t talk in class, either.
  • Social Networking Site:  Facebook and Twitter can play important roles in your asynchronous communications strategy.  Facebook pages for a class can be the destination for up-to-date information about the course, without your students having to friend you (or even one another).  Twitter, and Twitter lists, can be useful sites of asynchronous discussion, although not in the threaded format that one is used to seeing in a discussion board setting.
  • E-mail/Listservs:  Some people consider mailing lists to be quaint relics of a previous technological age, but it’s hard to argue with the fact that they still work: an e-mail based discussion list does afford one the ability to carry on threaded discussions in a private environment, yet outside the confines of a managed system (for discussion boards).  In fact Google Groups (referenced above) is a threaded discussion board that can also take place via e-mail, putting a different twist on the typical concept of the listserv.

I personally often use my blog in my online classrooms.  I teach many courses where students are researching specific topics such as entrepreneurship, leadership, marketing, etc.  By adding links to my blog where I have written about many of these topics, it helps add content to the discussions.  I have not had students create their own blog as the above author mentions, although I like the idea, but I have taught classes using a wiki.

For those of you not familiar with what a wiki is, think of Wikipedia.  That is the ultimate wiki where information can be added to a site by multiple sources.  When classes are taught on a wiki, it is a bit more complicated as students need to write some code-like information.  It worked out well in the school where I taught it, because it was a technology-based school where students had more technology training.  One advantage of a wiki is for group-based projects.  In the course I taught, students were able to work together on one big project where they could all enter information onto the wiki.  The problem with any group project, wiki-based or not, is that you still have those students who do not participate as much as others.   

As with any technology, there will always be some obstacles to overcome.  However, I embrace technology and look forward to the next new product that helps increase student involvement and retention. For more information about online learning, check out my book:  The Online Student User’s Manual.

8 Things to Learn From Apple and Steve Jobs

In the management courses I teach, we often discuss Apple and Steve Jobs’ management style. BusinessInsider.com has some interesting articles about Apple and Jobs. To see the article “8 Management Secrets I Learned Working at Apple” click here.

To learn about 8 innovation secrets from Steve Jobs, click here.

New Kindle For the Web – Embed Book Excerpts

Readers can now read the first chapter of Kindle books for free through web browsers – no download or installation required
Bloggers and website owners can embed Kindle book samples and earn referral fees on sales
SEATTLE, Sep 28, 2010 (BUSINESS WIRE) –Amazon.com (NASDAQ: AMZN) today introduced the beta version of “Kindle for the Web,” making it even easier for customers to discover new books and authors by sampling Kindle books directly through web browsers–no installation or downloading required. Amazon is also inviting bloggers and website owners who are participants in the Amazon Associates Program to be part of Kindle for the Web by embedding samples of Kindle books on their websites. These website owners will earn referral fees from Amazon when customers complete book purchases using the links on their websites. More information about Kindle for the Web and how to embed Kindle book samples is available at www.amazon.com/kindlefortheweb.

Customers simply click the “Read first chapter FREE” button on a book product page on Amazon or on other websites, and the first chapter will open within the web page. Customers can change the font size and line spacing, adjust the background color, and share their favorite books with friends and family via Facebook, Twitter, and e-mail–all without leaving the book in the browser.

“With Kindle for the Web, it’s easier than ever for customers to sample Kindle books – there’s no downloading or installation required,” said Dorothy Nicholls, Director, Amazon Kindle. “Kindle for the Web is also a great way for bloggers and authors to promote books on their websites by letting visitors read a chapter without leaving their site.”

To see examples of Kindle for the Web on authors’ websites, go to the blog of author Karen McQuestion at www.mcquestionablemusings.blogspot.com and the free sample of her bestselling Kindle book “A Scattered Life,” or the website of author John Miller at www.heymiller.com and the free sample of his book “The First Assassin.”

Kindle offers the largest selection of the most popular books people want to read. The U.S. Kindle Store now has more than 700,000 books, including New Releases and 108 of 111 New York Times Best Sellers. Over 575,000 of these books are $9.99 or less, including 80 New York Times Bestsellers. Over 1.8 million free, out-of-copyright, pre-1923 books are also available to read on Kindle devices. Kindle lets you Buy Once, Read Everywhere–on Kindle, Kindle 3G, Kindle DX, iPad, iPod touch, iPhone, Mac, PC, BlackBerry and Android-based devices. Amazon’s Whispersync technology syncs your place across devices, so you can pick up where you left off. With Kindle Worry-Free Archive, books you purchase from the Kindle Store are automatically backed up online in your Kindle library on Amazon where they can be re-downloaded wirelessly for free, anytime.

The all-new Kindle has an electronic-ink screen with 50 percent better contrast, a new sleek design with a 21 percent smaller body while still keeping the same 6-inch-size reading area, 15 percent lighter weight at just 8.5 ounces, 20 percent faster page turns, up to one month of battery life with wireless off, double the storage to 3,500 books, no glare even in bright sunlight and built-in Wi-Fi–all for only $139. The all-new Kindle 3G with all of these new features plus the convenience of free 3G wireless is only $189.

In the future, Kindle for the Web will include optimization for mobile browsers and other features. For more information about Kindle for the Web, including instructions on how to embed Kindle book samples, go to www.amazon.com/kindlefortheweb.

Top 15 Articles to Help with Confusion about How to Choose an e-Book Reader and Application

I don’t know about the rest of you, but I am confused as to why there needs to be so many e-book devices and applications. How do you know which device to buy to be able to read the books you want to read? It can be even more confusing as there are more and more applications being created to allow access to books from each of these devices.

To help relieve some of the confusion, check out the top 15 articles explaining eBook devices and applications:

  1. 5 Fantastic Free iPhone reader apps http://mashable.com/2010/04/06/free-iphone-ebook-readers/
  2. Reading Books on the iPad: iBooks vs. Kindle: http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2817,2363078,00.asp
  3. How to download Kindle for your iPad: http://www.amazon.com/gp/feature.html/ref=kcp_ipad_mkt_lnd?docId=1000490441
  4. Kindle receives favorable reviews over iBook app: http://notratched.wordpress.com/2010/09/05/kindle-app-beats-ibooks-for-reading-on-ipad/
  5. Reviews of ebooks apps for Ipad: http://www.iphoneness.com/iphone-apps/8-best-e-book-reader-apps-for-ipad/
  6. Google Books has a large assortment of free books you can read right on your PC.  Check out:  http://books.google.com/
  7. Google Books competing with Apple and Kindle:  http://www.guardian.co.uk/technology/2010/may/05/google-ebook-store-launch
  8. Barnes and Noble free eReader application:  http://www.barnesandnoble.com/ebooks/index.asp
  9. Stanza for iPad http://ireaderreview.com/2010/06/04/reviewing-the-new-stanza-for-ipad-app/
  10. 50 Free Kindle books http://ireaderreview.com/2009/08/17/40-free-books-in-the-kindle-store/
  11. Kindle vs. Nook http://www.best-ereaders.com/2010/05/02/kindle-vs-nook-2010-ebook-reader-reviews/
  12.  iPad vs. Kindle http://www.pcworld.com/article/193242/apple_ipads_ibooks_vs_amazons_kindle.html
  13.  iBooks vs. Kindle for iPad http://waltshiel.com/2010/09/06/ibooks-vs-kindle-for-ipad/
  14.  Reasons why iPad won’t Kill Kindle http://bits.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/01/27/three-reasons-the-ipad-wont-kill-amazons-kindle/?src=twt&twt=nytimesbits
  15. iPad, Nook, Kindle or Sony http://www.suntimes.com/technology/ihnatko/2658254,ihnatko-kindle-ipad-nook-ereader-083110.article

Think of Technology When Managing Class Assignments | CollegeSurfing Insider

was with a group of college students this week recently who brought their planners with them to schedule events throughout the semester. I was surprised at how most of the dozen students brought paper calendars and planners, instead of plugging the dates into calendars on their phones or computers.

I understand the reluctance to put all assignments in a calendar or file on the computer or to use the calendar and to-do apps on an iPhone or Blackberry. There’s always the concern, especially with students who aren’t that tech-savvy, that something could happen with the phone or computer and all of that crucial information for a college student seeking to ace a class would be lost. Talk about a stressful situation.

Maybe it’s easier to contemplate going virtual with assignments and calendars when you’re taking an online class. All the class information is online, so why shouldn’t your planning and time management for assignments be on the computer, too?

Diane Hamilton, author of “The Online Student’s User Manual,” says she’s a fan of the free iGoogle service because it allows students to keep track of and access their calendars and course information from anywhere. That’s helpful, even in the worst-case scenario.

Hamilton, who teaches for six online universities, says that even if your computer crashes, your schedules and assignments will be accessible through any computer.

Have you tried using iGoogle or other sites to manage your college coursework and other activities, and what have you found are the pros? Or what should students know if they’re trying to use more web tools to manage their assignments?

-Lori Johnston

Using Camtasia and Powerpoint to Make Videos for YouTube and Beyond

 

Ask Dr. Diane: How do you make those presentation videos that you put into your classrooms and here on your blog?

I personally use Camtasia and PowerPoint combined to create a lot of my presentations for my students. It is very simple to do. All that is required is to create a PowerPoint presentation as you normally would, then use Camtasia to record the voice over portion as if you were giving the presentation to a live audience. The software is simple to use and you can save it in different formats that are easy to upload to Youtube. For some information about Camtasia and its use, click here.

I teach a lot of online courses and find that this type of presentation is a great way to reach students who prefer more than simply reading directions on a screen. Camtasia will capture not only sound but can show your curser movement to explain directions in a way that is more effective to the visual and aural learner. For an example of these packages used together, click here.