Category Archives: Phone Applications

Apple iOS7 Is Here

ios7Apple, Inc. recently released the newest operating system for its mobile devices, including the iPhone, iTouch, and iPad. The new OS is a major overhaul to its predecessor. Long gone are the skeuomorphism design of the Steve Jobs era. The new iOS7 utilize the “flat” design UI to guide users through its new “swipe heavy” navigation. There’s also a new layer of transparency at different stages of the menu, allowing you to make sense of where we are at within the context. The 3D feel have also been replaced with flat colorful buttons.

The lock screen has been revamped to support a new control center and notification agendas. Double-clicking on the home button now launches a carousel of recently used apps. With a flick of a finger, you can effectively navigate between opens apps or swipe upward to close them.

Brand new is the iTunes Radio, which is very similar to Pandora Internet Radio. You can choose radio stations according to genres, and while the songs are streaming for “free” with limited skips, there’s always the $1.29 BUY button for you to download onto your device to listen offline.

This is only a few of the new features in iOS7, visit http://www.imore.com/ios-7-review for a thorough introduction. People who are used to the look and feel of iOS6 may need some time to get adjusted to the new interface, as it is a drastic change to the look and feel of the operation system. If you already upgraded to iOS 7, what’s your favorite new feature? Like it or Meh? Let us know!

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Filed under Computing, Phone Applications

Square Up

If you are a small business owner and are wondering how you can accept credit cards, I have a mobile application for you. This tiny square device allows you to process Visa, Mastercard, American Express, and Discover  transactions on your iPad, iPhone or  Android device.  Sign up for a Square Account at www.squareup.com - and they will send you a “FREE” card reader.

Once you receive the Card Reader, download Square to your mobile device from the App Store or Android Market. Sign into your account, setup your bank information and plug in your card reader.  You’re ready to start processing credit card transactions. It is just that simple.  Payments are sent nightly to your bank account.
Just a few highlights that you should know:

  • The credit card reader is “FREE”.
  • Fast Setup, Signup and install the application and you will be accepting credit cards within minutes.
  • Only 2.75% per swipe for Visa, MasterCard, Discover and American Express.
  • Next day deposits, take payments during normal business hours and Square will deposit your funds the next business day.

Increase your business!

Improve customer support!

Speedy transactions!

It’s all right here: https://squareup.com/square

 
Happy Credit Card Processing.  If you are using Square, we would love to hear from you!

Holly L Berlin
General Manager

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Filed under Free Applications, Phone Applications

A Fresh Apple and Some New Windows

Apple is in the news… again!

On Tuesday morning, February 28, Apple sent invitations to the tech news media inviting them to come to San Francisco’s Yerba Buena Center for the Arts on Wednesday, March 7 for one of their famous “events.” All eyes are on Apple to announce the iPad 3. That is evidenced by the nature of the image submitted with the invitation; a definite iPad-looking photograph of a finger on the calendar app.

There is much conjecture about what new features might be released with the third generation iPad. The most prevalent is that it will include a tablet-sized version of their Retina display, offering the high resolution that can currently be seen on the latest generation iPhone and iPod Touch.

Another circulating rumor is that there will be a 4G version available for both the Verizon and AT&T cellular systems. While this is a nice convenience, it is one that comes with a cost as you would need to enter a contract to use the service. While some may need that kind of connectivity, my own personal style is happy with the Wi-Fi version. With the expansion through the years of free public Wi-Fi hotspots, I find that I am never disappointed that I didn’t splurge for the cellular model.

One thing is for sure; with Apple, we will never have things fully figured out prior to their event. They always seem to pull some unanticipated surprise from their hat. Does anyone remember when the iPod Touch was first announced? Everyone thought Steve was winding down to close the event when he said, “We’re not done yet…” and unveiled for us that slick, new media machine that fits in your pocket. Jobs was famous for his “one more thing” announcements that preceded some great new Apple products. So, whether the iPad 3 comes next week or not, you can still expect the unexpected from the post-Jobs Apple.

And more from Microsoft…

As we turn now to Microsoft, I am feeling more and more sure of my early predictions that this will be a good year for that company. This week, a public preview of Windows 8 was released for anyone to download. While it is readily available for anyone to test-drive; it may be wise to not jump in without exploring the ramifications. Microsoft was careful to emphasize that this is still a beta (test) version and there may still be issues with drivers and software compatibility. So, proceed with caution. Also, if you overwrite your Windows 7 OS, there is no option to turn back. You will have to continue to use the beta until the official launch at which point you will have to buy the new OS.

When the official release date is announced (expect it to be in the fall of this year), I anticipate a media publicity blitz as the folks at Redmond, WA promote the cross-platform convergence between desktops, laptops, tablets, and smart phones.

We’ve only just passed the two-month mark in 2012 and it has already shaped up to be a very exciting year for technology-minded people. Stay tuned for more as the year continues to unfold.

Randy Kightlinger

Computer Service Technician

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Filed under Computing, Phone Applications

QR This…

Why might you use a QR Code?

Scanning QR codes can reduce customer frustration when typing in long URL’s.  QR Codes – abbreviated from “Quick Response Code” – is a trademark for a type of matrix barcode (or two dimensional codes) which allow people to connect people with each other and to multimedia digital content via a mobile application loaded on their smartphone.  QR codes allow the digital world to come into the real world. Once scanned, QR codes take you from the real world back into the digital world. There are a lot of different free QR code generators out on the Internet; here is a link to a blog post about “10 Free Online QR Code Generators”: http://freenuts.com/top-10-free-online-qr-code-generators/

Microsoft QR Code Cookies? Really?

QR codes work like this:       

  1. Place the QR Code at eye-level when scanning.     
  2. When designing: QR Codes should not be smaller than 5/8 inches by 5/8 inches when they are printed.
  3. Besides text, you can turn phone numbers, maps, business cards and other information into QR codes.

The QR Code generator that I use is QR Stuff  -   www.qrstuff.com – an easy to use website where I can select my data type, my URL content, pick a color and preview my QR Code before I download the image (pretty simple huh?). 

Things you should consider with QR codes:

  1. Place the QR code at eyelevel when scanning.
  2. When designing; QR codes should not be any smaller than 5/8-inches-by-5/8 inches when they are printed. 
  3.  Besides text, you can turn phone numbers, maps, business cards and other information into QR codes. 
  4.  Use a URL shortener for faster loading:   https://bitly.como   or  https://tinyurl.com

Check out this video on Advertising with QR codes:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZYDbFTai0iE

Are QR codes the way of our future? Be on the look-out for QR codes in your magazines, on products in the grocery store, on video games, on marketing literature, or on your local TV station – I am positive you will see them. Stop back and post or tell us where you are seeing QR codes appear in your life? How many QR codes do you think were scanned across the world, during the time you read this blog post – kind of a fun way to market isn’t it?

Check it out, I even found a QR code attached to a recipe.

Who does't like General Tsao's Chicken?

 Check out our website and our blog and tell us how many times you can find the CS Technologies Plus QR code? As always, your comments and ongoing discussions are always welcome.

Happy Scanning!
Holly Berlin, General Manager

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Filed under Free Applications, Phone Applications, Social Networking

It’s an App World

With the massive popularity of the smartphones, software developers have inundated us with close to a million applications (affectionately referred to as Apps.). According to About.com, there are over 500,000 apps in the Apple Store. TheVerge.com estimated the Android market to be carrying over 400,000 apps to date. The market is estimated to have revenue over $15 billion in 2011, and is projected to have close to 185 billion downloads worldwide by 2014. Whether for work or fun, if you think it, there’s an app for it!

I don’t have a smartphone (yet), but I do have an iTouch, which is  capable of downloading a majority of the apps. My daughter is constantly downloading free apps to play with. My husband recently received a smartphone for work, and he’s scouring the Android marketplace for apps. I think it’s our favorite pastime in the Simmers household. Visiting the Apple App Store really passes the time while you are waiting in line at the grocery store.

There are paid apps, and free apps. Now the free apps aren’t really free. Many of them will start out free, then lure you in at the right moment, then they tell you to open up your pocket book (in this case, credit card), if you want to continue with the app. The free apps are a great way to try out the program for a few days, and see if you want to invest in having the full version.

At the 2012 Consumer Electronic Show in California, many apps were featured as the latest and greatest products in the industry. One notable is BlueStacks, which allows you to run Android apps in Windows 8, amazing! For a list of the new apps featured at the CES, click here .

I am always looking for the “coolest” new app out there, so I thought this would be a good way to ask my co-workers and family what their favorite apps are. So here they are, enjoy!

Linda Linneman: Keychain, Around Me
Melissa McTiernan: WeightWatcher Barcode Scanner
Holly Berlin: Facebook, Key Ring, Geoaching, QR Reader
Carol Smith: From the Couch to 5K, Geoaching, Map My Run, Pedometer, Emoji Icons
Sean Woodard: JL Audio’s SPL meter, Mocha Remote Desktop lite
Dave Warner: Time Clock
Randy Kightlinger: Evernote, Kindle Reader
Chrissy Le (me): YouTube, Kindle Reader, PDF Reader , Smurfs’ Village
Ruth Simmers (my 5 year old daughter): PBS Kids
Todd Simmers (my husband): My 3D

What’s your favorite App? We’d love to know. All comments are welcome!

Chrissy Le, Technology Marketing Specialist

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From Rearview Mirror to the Horizon Ahead

As I write, we are on the verge of a brand-new year. Christmas has passed and our new socks have found their home in the drawer with our holey (as opposed to holy) old friends (my socks definitely aren’t holy!!!). This is the time to reflect on the year that was and look ahead to the year to come.

As I look back, my thoughts go to the tech news-makers of the year. This is, after all, a tech blog. So, who made news in 2011? Well, once again, there was much attention focused on Apple at the release of the iPad 2 in March. Throughout the summer, rumors and imaginations grew at the anticipated fall release of the iPhone 5. Instead, we were introduced to the 4S. Initial disappointment turned once again to excitement as the world had its first conversation with Siri; the voice recognition app that came standard with the iPhone 4S. I say “conversation” because Siri is much more than the voice recognition of the past. “She” is intelligent. So much so that MacLife magazine featured an interview with Siri in their latest issue (http://www.maclife.com/article/features/chat_siri). Siri is quite amazing.

In the midst of all of the Apple excitement, the world lost one of its truly innovative minds when Steve Jobs passed away on October 5, 2011. We will never forget Jobs’ keynotes, wearing his signature jeans and black turtleneck as he casually walked the stage, revealing to the world the next big thing.

While there were many innovations in 2011, we saw one thing remain a constant; Facebook users continued to be moved to uproar over the occasional random changes that are forced upon them. Many of our “friends” threaten to kiss Facebook goodbye every time the change comes, but yet they remain. Why? Well, although there have been competitors rise up, none can compare to the connectivity of the giant. It seems that everyone is on Facebook!

As we consider the pivotal time of year at which we now stand, I have two questions for your comment. Here’s question number one: What was your favorite tech news of 2011?

Now, let us turn our attention toward 2012. Put on your special future-seeing glasses and let’s gaze into the months to come. What do you see? One of my Twitter followers, Cinnamon, says, “I think the iPad 3 is going to take the world by storm… I know I am waiting for its launch in spring 2012.” I’m with her on that one! While the iPad 2 was thinner and lighter than the first generation, I believe that the third offering of this tablet will be another forward leap. Some of the buzz is in anticipation for a smaller, perhaps 7” model. Fellow-blog-writer Chrissy is hoping that the next generation iPad will finally get the Retina display that iPhone and iPod Touch users enjoy. One thing is for sure; we techies will be on the edge of our seats the day of the spring Apple event.

I am feeling that 2012 will also be the year of Microsoft as the much-scrutinized Windows 8 is released. Some are excited to get their hands on this new tiled version of Windows and others are dreading its release. As I mentioned in a previous article, I also think we will see a major wave in the tablet market as the mobile version of Windows 8 leads the way for greater convergence between desktop and mobile computing.

This all leads me to my second question for your consideration: What tech advances do you see coming in 2012? What’s the next big gadget that we won’t be able to live without? Let’s dream a little.

It will be interesting to look back on this article at the end of 2012 to see if our predictions came true and perhaps laugh about those big things that we never saw coming. Just remember to take off those funny-looking future-seeing glasses after you finish dreaming. You really shouldn’t wear them out in public.

Randy Kightlinger

Computer Service Technician

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Filed under Phone Applications