Phones

Who The Smartphone Revolution Left Behind

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I never really thought about how the disabled will be able to use smartphones. I do know someone who is considered legally blind, although he can still somewhat see if something is really up close to his eyes; he uses the option on a smartphone to make the text the largest size it is capable of. That feature would help the visually-challenged elderly too.

But for people with other disabilities, how are they able to use smartphones? Good news is that there have been a few companies who have developed devices that can primarily be used by the disabled. Read on to find out more.

TechCrunch

Editor’s note: Oded Ben Dov is the co-founder and CEO of Sesame Enable, the world’s first completely touch-free smartphone, created for the disabled by the disabled. 

How many of us have been tempted to chuck our smartphones into the ocean while on vacation to stop the incessant buzzing of incoming emails and texts from interrupting what is supposed to be down time?

While many of us have become increasingly desperate to unplug – there’s even a growing industry of “digital detox” vacation spots – in our love-hate relationship with our smartphones, love ultimately conquers all.

We wouldn’t dream of cutting the cord for more than a day or two max. After all, mobile connectedness has become so critical to modern life that according to research by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, even people living on less than $2 a day reported owning a mobile phone – cutting back on food purchases…

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Find Out How Your Smartphone’s Idle Time Can Help in the Search for the Ebola Cure

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BOINC appThe Scripps Research Institute (TSRI) in partnership with IBM’s SoftLayer cloud-enabled World Community Grid makes use of a virtual supercomputer to help screen millions of chemical compounds to identify new drug leads for treating Ebola. This virtual supercomputer is collectively powered by volunteers’ computers, tablets, and smartphones where the CPU (central processing unit) is being utilized when the devices are idle through the use of a safe and free app installed on these devices.

Currently, anyone with a computer, Android tablet/smartphone, or an Amazon Kindle Fire tablet, can volunteer their device to help in the cause to find a cure for Ebola. On a computer, first, you would need to go to www.worldcommunitygrid.org and register there. When you register, it will provide you the links to download and install the software to your computer.

If you will be using your Android device or Kindle Fire tablet to help this cause (sorry, no iPhones at this time), you can also register on the same site then download the app from the Google Play Store or Amazon App Store, or alternatively, you can download the app first and register from there.

On the app store, search for BOINC then download and install it. When BOINC starts, it will ask you to select the research projects that you want to support. Select World Community Grid, sign in (or register) and make sure you select the Outsmart Ebola Together project.

There are also two Android apps that are re-packaged versions of BOINC:

  • HTC Power to Give
  • Samsung Power Sleep (lets you participate in only one project, SIMAP; provides a simple alarm-clock interface).

Take note that BOINC will not significantly reduce your battery life or your charging time as it only computes when your device is plugged into a power source (AC or USB) and your battery is charged 90% or more by default. Click here for more BOINC FAQ.

Without your help, the research could take hundreds of years, instead of weeks or months. So, what are you waiting for? Let’s all help find a cure for Ebola now and help spread the word!

Video: Help find a cure for Ebola with your computer or smartphone

Read the IBM Press Release here.

Texting Turns 22

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Texting has now been around for 22 years; I’m just a few years older than the technology. Who would have thought that texting would be such an important part of our lives today?

TechCrunch

[tc_dropcap]Half a lifetime ago, 22-year-old Neil Papworth sent the first ever short message service (SMS). His fifteen-character missive – ‘merry christmas’ – was sent to colleague Richard Jarvis on December 3, 1992.[/tc_dropcap]

This act was considered important enough to mark the occasion with a party but not important enough to invite its author. The truth is, nobody really saw the significance of what they were working on.

Twenty-two years and quadrillions of text messages later, SMS is the king of electronic communications. It makes tens of billions of dollars for network providers and connects billions of people around the world. Annual text traffic is expected to reach 9.4 trillion by 2016.

And why wouldn’t SMS statistics be so impressive? Cheap, effective and widely available, the rude health in which texting finds itself in 2014 was patently obvious in 1992. Or at least that’s what hindsight bias tells us. The truth…

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Prynt Case: the next gen of Polaroid for smartphones prints instant photos from your smartphone

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PryntThere is a French company that has developed a new smartphone case that will print out a small, hard copy of photos you take with your smartphone. The printer is connected to the smartphone via Bluetooth and prints out the photos in 50 seconds.

The case will be first available via Kickstarter for $99 by early next year (2015).

I think this is pretty awesome. Check out the video about Prynt below.

Prynt’s New Photo Printing Case

New Features for BBM Include Timed Messages and Message Retraction for More Privacy and Control

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Samsung phone screen with BBMBlackBerry released new features for BlackBerry Messenger (BBM) on Friday, October 31, 2014 which include Timed Messages and Message Retraction. This allows users to have more privacy and control over their messages.

With “Timed Messages”, similar to popular photo messaging app Snapchat, you can set a timer to control how long messages and pictures you share can be viewed within BBM. The message is hidden until the recipient touches and holds on the chat. Once the timer expires or if the recipient takes their finger off the screen, the message is no longer visible. The user also receives a notification if BBM detects that the recipient has taken a screenshot of the image or message. Only thing is, if the recipient  has another phone/camera handy, of course they could still take a picture of the picture/message without you knowing it.

With “Message Retraction”, users can now retract messages from their BBM chat before it will be read by the recipient, or even after it has been read so that it will no longer be visible within BBM.

The premium features will be available to BBM users for free for the next three months, after which will be offered as part of a broader bundle of features with a BBM subscription.

Other new features include a quicker sticker picker, HD Picture Transfer, and the ability to see what music your contacts are listening to in BBM Feeds.

Check out this video showing how the new features can be useful:

BBM – Yours to Control – “The Dive”