Tech News: Cybercafes Get A New Interface

While the cybercafé has grown increasingly rare in North America, in many developing nations it remains the gateway to the Internet and a gathering place integral to community life.  Such is the case in many African nations where these local cafés are still very relevant and the standard way to get online.

The typical scene in these cafes is a crowded one, both with people and bulky computer units that that serve a very limited number of users at a time given the space and energy they require.  Internet connection is often slow, machines unreliable and energy costs huge.

The system could be much more efficient for customers and owners alike. Which is why Google is rethinking the “user interface”, not of a new digital software but of the physical space of the internet cafe.  What, exactly does this look like?  A tablet café.  By replacing desktops with tablets the entire experience of getting online has been transformed for locals in Dakar, where Google is piloting the program.

The first major advantage of the program is economic: tablet cafés make good business sense.  Owners stand to save a significant amount of revenue on electricity, savings that Google Africa hopes, “can be reinvested in faster connectivity to bring in more customers.”

From a social-change standpoint, potential benefits of the program are even greater.  Though customers do not own the tablets, the impact of putting cutting edge technologies into the hands of under-served populations is immeasurable.   Customers emerge with something much more valuable than a tablet: technological literacy that corresponds with some of the most advanced devices and operating systems in the world.  The potential for the democratization through knowledge here is huge.

Finally, from a community building perspective the physical layout tablets afford is inherently more social and much closer to that of a traditional cafe.  Rather than hunched over in separate cubicles customers can sit comfortably on couches, chat and share with total ease.

Do you think tablet cafes are the future face of internet access in the developing world? Can the barriers to sustainability of the program be overcome? Share your thoughts with us!

How do I delete the data from my iPad?

Posted on February 06, 2013 | Apple, iPad, Mac, resale, tablet, Tech tips

The latest, memory-rich iPad has just hit the shelves. Did you decide to upgrade? Perhaps you were inspired by all the tablet chatter on the internet to trade in your old iPad and use the money to subsidize a newer model.

Whatever your reason, we have created a very simple, step-by-step process explaining the best way to delete the data from your iPad so it is ready for re-sale.

1. Start up your iPad and go Settings > General. Then scroll down to Reset.

2. Tap on Erase All Content and Settings.

3. Enter your passcode (if you have one).

4. Tap Erase.

All done! It couldn’t be easier. All you have to do is restart your iPad to confirm that it has all been wiped.

Now that you’ve cleared your data you can safely sell your iPad or pass it on to some you really like.

If you have a few smartphones lying around that you’d like to wipe, ready for resale or re-gifting, check out our how-to posts on erasing data from iPhones and erasing data from Blackberrys.

One last question – do I have to delete the data myself if I send my device to ExchangeMyPhone?
Most people want to stay on top of deleting their own data, and we are happy to offer these explanations.  Of course, here at ExchangeMyPhone our standard procedure includes total immediate data wiping for all products received. So, if you are sending a phone or device to us here at ExchangeMyPhone, there’s no need to worry about doing it wrong or having sent a device with data still on it – we’ll always double-check and rewipe.

If you’ve any questions, please feel free to ask them in the comments section below.

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iPad for business – Apple’s 128GB memory fix

Posted on January 30, 2013 | Android, Apple, iPad, tablet, Tech tips

Apple has launched a 128GB iPad.

128GB iPad

Cupertino’s latest unveiling has twice the memory of existing models, offering users more space to store movies, videos and books amid mounting competition in the tablet market.

“With twice the storage capacity and an unparalleled selection of over 300,000 native apps, enterprises, educators and artists have even more reasons to use iPad for all their business and personal needs,” said Philip Schiller, Apple’s senior vice president of Worldwide Marketing.

In all other respects the device is practically identical to the current, fourth-generation iPad (so far it has been available with 16GB, 32GB or 64GB of memory).

The 128GB iPad will be available starting Feb. 5, priced at $799 for a Wi-Fi version and $929 for a device that also offers a cellular connection.

Timing is key – the launch follows Microsoft’s announcing the pricing and availability of Surface Pro tablet ($899 for the 64GB model and $999 for the 128GB model) and the iPad will begin shipping February 5th, four days before Surface Pro goes on sale.

128GB iPad and Surface Pro tablet

How do you like the new iPad, considering the hefty price tag? Would you, or your business, buy one? Share your thoughts in the comments.

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Gift guide for the smartphone lover on your list

Posted on December 05, 2012 | Android, cell phone, iPad, iPhone, Mac, mobile, smartphone, tablet, Tech tips

In time for the holiday season we have put together our top 5 gifts for the smartphone fanatic in your life. If they’re a true tech lover, we’re guessing that they already own the latest Apple, Android  or Windows products, so we have scoured the web for the best gadgets to complement their phones and tablets. Whoever they are, we hope we have something they’ll like:

The vintage collector

This amazing creation from the folks at Restoration Hardware is not cheap but we think it is pretty amazing for any iPad or iPhone owner who spends their Sundays trolling flea markets. You just set the device in the solid walnut dock and the metal gramophone horn will boost its volume by three to four times. All without any need for electricity.

The Eco-Maven

This beautiful FM radio has a MP3 output so you can easily hook it up to your iPod or iPhone. The internals are housed in a minimalist card structure that can be easily recycled when the product reaches the end of its life.

The Movie Buff

The perfect gift for anyone who travels often and loves the idea of on-the-go entertainment (parents with young kids will love you forever). This pocket projector attaches to your iPhone 4 or 4S device to display crisp video anywhere, onto any surface.

The safe-keeper

In everyone’s family there always seems to be someone who walks around with a janitor-like key chain. Why not give them a gift that gets rid of that gangling weight in their pockets? Enter the Lockitron. This amazing new software lets users electronically unlock doors anywhere from their home to their car and their gym locker, using any type of phone from anywhere in the world.

The traveler

Anyone who travels often knows what a pain it can be to pack all the cables needed for their various gadgets. The Juice Buddy is the world’s smallest charger and it eliminates the need to cart around any iPhone cables. The little box just attaches to your key chain and provides an iPhone charger wherever and whenever you need it most. Simply plug it directly into the wall and then dock your iPhone in the top.

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Phone recycling: New York’s ExchangeMy(Pay)Phone

Posted on November 26, 2012 | Amazing tech, eco-economy, iPad, mobile, New York, phone, Re-use, Recycling, tablet

At ExchangeMyPhone sometimes we feel like we are the only ones who love to “geek out” about phone recycling but as it turns out we have company…a lot! In fact, the City of New York shares our niche passion but only when it comes to a very specific type of phone: the pay phone. Remember those? Yes they still exist, actually there are 1,500 pay phones in Manhattan alone. But in a town where even some toddlers are iPhone clad, most of the pay phones sit idle collecting soot and taking up space.

pay phone recycling

So what’s the solution?  The city government has teamed up with developer City24x7 to launch a pilot program to turn 250 pay phone booths into free information kiosks in all five boroughs.  But wait, there’s more. These kiosks are interactive, touch screen devices that connect users to all kinds of vital information: from where the nearest Pinkberry is located, to live transit updates and evacuation routes in the event of a natural disaster.  The development of this new communal software leverages the neighborhood watch philosophy by putting “vital messaging onto our streets and into our hands; providing everyone with access to urban communication when and where they may be.”

City24x7

The cornerstone of  City24x7′s Smart Screens is the the democratization and proliferation of mobile media, or as they put it, “built with access for all.”  The devices provide geo-specific content on a high contrast screen for the visually impaired, they have a Wayfinder key-fob access point for the blind, headphone jacks/induction loops for the hearing-impaired and are wheelchair accessible as well as multilingual.

The 32-inch touch-screens are made from ATM strength glass so defacement is not a top concern.  Really the only possible buzz kill could be the potential germ swapping, which, if you live in New York you are already well aware of.  But according to City24x7 they’ll be more sanitary than an ATM. “They’re built to be cleaned with a jet hose,” said CEO Tom Touchet, the former executive producer of the “Today” show. “They’re waterproof and dust-proof.”

re-imagined pay phones for New Yorkers

So not only are these re-imagined pay phones good for New Yorkers, they are good for the city budget.  The installation and operation runs at no costs NYC but, after the pilot program, 36% of revenue will go to fund other city programs.  Furthermore, with the information kiosks as a platform, local government will be able to remind citizens about bike-shares, free events and even how to get their tax refund.  Now what payphone can do that?

5 ways to use your smartphone to get ready for Black Friday

It’s time to prep for Black Friday. I’m not sure about you, but it takes a lot to get me off the sofa and into the stores mere hours after eating far too much pie and turkey. Still Christmas is just around the corner and picking up some gifts for everyone on my list, without breaking my bank balance, seems like a very good idea indeed.

So, at ExchangeMyPhone, we have put together some tips for getting the most of out your Black Friday experience:

1) Sell Your Old Phones

If you have recently upgraded, or are looking to buy a new phone in the Black Friday or Cyber Monday sales, don’t forget about your old phone! You can sell your old and/or broken smartphones at ExchangeMyPhone and pad your pockets in time for some serious holiday shopping.

2) Downland Zoomingo

This innovative shopping app lets you track all the holiday sales right from your smartphone or tablet. The app lists all the Black Friday sales from all the major retailers and lets you create a ‘Watch List’ of items you love so they can notify you as soon as they go on sale.

Zoomingo

3) Download Red Laser

If you are into comparison shopping, this app is perfect. You simply use your phone to scan the barcode and you can find out what the item is going for at other local stores or even online. As a bonus, you can discover similar items you didn’t even know you wanted.

Red Laser app

4) Download Mint.com Personal Finance

Does your generosity sometimes get the better of you? If you are one of those people who splurges on incredible gifts for everyone and then dreads looking at your bank balance once the new year rolls around, Mint’s free app is perfect for you. Before you set off on your Black Friday shopping spree just add your bank accounts, credit cards, loans etc so you can manage your budget and track your spending.

Mint.com Personal Finance app

5) Download FatWallet

Sadly, this app is only available on the iPhone but it is a brilliant tool for planning the ultimate shopping trip. You can use this clean, simple and speedy app to shop by specific categories, items or retailers.

FatWallet app

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5 foodie smartphone apps that have, almost, nothing to do with politics

Posted on November 07, 2012 | Android, Apps, cell phone, iPad, iPhone, mobile, smartphone, Tech tips

Perhaps you have a real hangover (after too much partying last night) or perhaps you are as exhausted by politics as this little girl. Either way, here at ExchangeMyPhone we think that everyone deserves a little comfort and, as ever, our thoughts are turning to food.

With politics on the brain, we looked to Obama’s stand-by potluck dish, his family’s famous chili, and Romney’s favorite peanut butter and honey sandwiches, but we wanted more. So we turned to our smartphones and compiled the top 5 smartphone apps for making the best food you can, wherever you are in the country, and whatever your politics.

How to Cook Everything

We are big fans of New York Times food columnist Mark Bittman. However much we love his real books, this app is much more portable than the original and just as user friendly. Recipes are organized by ingredient, just as in the book, but the app shines by offering everything from grocery lists to how-to illustrations. Bittman is so thorough in his writing that it is almost impossible to mess up a dish and, even if we tried, each recipe even has a built in timer to keep us on track.

How to Cook Everything smartphone app

Harvest

This is the perfect app to take with you when you’re out shopping at the supermarket or your local farmers’ market. It tells you what’s in season and how to test and make sure that the produce you’re buying is ripe. As an added bonus the app even tells you the pesticide level for each piece of fruit or veg so you can decide whether or not to buy organic.

Harvest smartphone app

Appetites

If you have ever hankered to take a professional cooking class, but haven’t wanted to spend the money, this ultra-modern and interactive app offers step-by-step cooking lessons and tips from chefs and bloggers. Each recipe that you buy – most go for 99 cents – has a corresponding video shoot from the cook’s perspective that takes you clearly through the recipe one step at a time.

Appetites smartphone app

Epicurious

Conde Nast’s popular recipe aggregator has been re-purposed for mobile users and offers access to their vast access of professionally tested recipes from magazines like Bon Appetit and Gourmet. You can search easily and quickly collate the recipes you’ve selected into a grocery list.

Epicurious smartphone app

Speakeasy Cocktails

For anyone who is still celebrating, or drowning their sorrows, this app contains nearly everything you need to know to mix a great drink. It comes with hundreds of recipes and dozens of tutorials and videos. It even gives you all the info you need to cleverly stock your bar with the necessary tools and booze.

Speakeasy Cocktails smartphone app

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Christmas for Mac Enthusiasts – iPad mini and more

Posted on October 24, 2012 | Amazing tech, iPad, Mac, Tech tips, Upgrade, Weigh In

Yesterday, at the California Theater in San Jose, Apple CEO Tim Cook and Vice President of marketing Phil Schiller took the stage to unveil their highly anticipated, pint-sized iPad Mini. However, that wasn’t all. To the oohs and ahhs of the audience, they also announced an upgrade on the iPad and revealed a whole host of new Macs.

With the unveiling of so many goodies, here’s our rundown of the latest Apple gadgets:

iPad Mini:

The smaller iPad has a 7.9-inch display with a 1024 x 768 resolution. It is 7.2 millimeters thick, 0.63 pounds, comes in white and slate black. The insides of the iPad Mini are on par with Apple’s other mobile devices, including a new processor called the A5, the Lightning connector and a 5-megapixel camera. With a starting price of $329 for the 16GB Wi-Fi model, the tablet is the least expensive iPad ever made.

But how does it stack up against the competition? At the event, Mr. Schiller did a side-by-side comparison of the Mini to Google’s Nexus 7 tablet. He noted that the iPad Mini was thinner, lighter and more durable than Google’s tablet, and still had a bigger screen.

However, Apple’s competition is certainly fierce. Google Nexus 7 tablet costs $200 (about $130 less than the iPad Mini) and has a higher resolution screen than the Mini. Amazon recently introduced seven new Kindles, including a 7-inch tablet for $160 and an 8.9-inch tablet for $300 (it is also expected to launch its 10-inch Kindle Fire next month). Barnes and Noble’s Nook tablet, which starts at $200, has also sold well. Not to be out-done Microsoft is releasing its own tablet, the Surface, on Friday.

4th Generation iPad:

According to Tim Cook, Apple has sold 84 million iPads since their debut in April 2010. Their latest upgrade features an A6X processor, 5 megapixel iSight camera, expanded LTE chipset, front-facing camera with FaceTime and 720p video capture, faster Wi-Fi, and Lightening connector. The new iPad is priced at $499 for a 16 GB model, $629 for a 16 GB model with 4G LTE.

Macs:

Apple also introduced a family of new Macs, including upgrades for the MacBook Pro, iMac and Mac Mini. The 13-inch MacBook Pro notebook includes a high-resolution Retina display (similar to the display technology on the current iPads and iPhones) and is 20 percent thinner, and a pound lighter, than the previous generation. It will start at $1,700. They also described updates to the company’s Mac Mini and iMac, with the latter becoming a razor-thin (80% thinner and 8 pounds lighter than its predecessor) all-in-one computer that starts at $1,299.

What do you think? Are you excited to get your hands on the newest Apple gadgets?

Don’t forget, we purchase iPads so, if you’re looking to buy a new iPad Mini or iPad, come to us first and sell your old devices to subsidize your upgrade.

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Next iPhone may be unveiled on September 12th

Posted on August 01, 2012 | cell phone, innovation, iPad, iPhone, Mac, mobile, smartphone, Tech tips

According to reports from iMore, Verge and the Grey Lady, the new iPhone is only 6 weeks away.

Apple is expected to debut the new iPhone at a special event on Wednesday September 12, 2012, with the release date to follow 9 days later on Friday, September 21st. The iPad mini (a 7 inch, scaled down version of its former self) is also expected to be announced at the same event.

The specifications for both are the subject of much debate, but, if you are keen to own the latest and greatest tech, it seems wise to heed Gizmodo’s advice and hold off on buying any Apple accessories.

One of the new iPhone’s most drastic changes is expected to be the dock connector. We afraid to tell you that your old 30-pin dock connectors are probably going to be rendered useless, replaced by a skinner 19-pin port. If they do go to a smaller port, there will be no going back.

Another change is expected to be the size and shape of the new iPhone. Gizmodo recommends holding off on buying everything from cases to cables, chargers and adapters. In all likelihood, they will no longer work with Apple’s next generation smartphone and, if you ignore the inevitable fire sales, “your future self will thank you.”

What do you think? Will you be queuing up to buy the sixth generation iPhone?

Sports Fan with a Smartphone: Following the London 2012 Summer Olympics

London 2012 Olympics Logo

With the London 2012 Olympics set to start in just two days, smartphone and tablet users can expect a host of new apps, mobile viewing options, and clever technological advancements designed to enhance their Olympic experience in an unprecedented way.

London 2012 Olympics Official Apps

Official Apps

To help fans around the world stay up-to-date on all things Olympics, London 2012 has released three official mobile apps. The Join In app provides users lucky enough to make the trip to London with a guide to all the events, celebrations, and activities the Games have to offer. The Results app supplies up-to-date event results, as well as schedules, medal tables, and athlete profiles. London 2012’s third offering is the Official London 2012 mobile game, which features nine Olympic events ranging from track and field to swimming.

NBC Olympics On the Go

Mobile Viewing

The 2012 Summer Games will mark the first time in history that all 32 Olympic sports will be streamed live on the internet. To help viewers access as much video as humanly possible, NBC Olympics and BBC Sport have released enhanced mobile viewing apps to users in the US and UK, respectively.

In addition to their mobile website, NBC Olympics offers US sports fans two other on-the-go options for satisfying all of their Olympic cravings. The NBC Olympics “Live Extra” App offers comprehensive live coverage of all 302 events of the Game’s 32 sports and is free to subscribers of any TV service package that includes CNBC and MSNBC. The NBC Olympics “Live Extra” App is available on Android and iOS smartphones and tablets.

The network has also made available the NBC Olympics App, which features live updates, video highlights, and the ability to follow your favorite athletes, teams, and sports on various social media platforms, including Facebook and Twitter. The NBC Olympics App is also available on Android and iOS smartphones and tablets.

For viewers in the UK, BBC Sport has released an app that provides up to 24 streams of live coverage, video highlights, and detailed schedules and results of every Olympic event. The BBC Olympics app is available for Android, iOS, and BlackBerry devices.

Samsung Galaxy S3 London Olympics 2012

Connected Hospitality

With the majority of Olympics-related technology targeted at on-the-go consumers, Samsung saw an opportunity to launch some new smartphone capabilities for users looking for a place to rest their heads.

Partnering with the new Holiday Inn London Stratford City, situated next to the Olympic Park, Samsung has set up 40 rooms to be able to utilize the company’s Galaxy S III smartphone as an end-to-end hospitality solution. Equipped with the official smartphone of the Olympic Games, VIP guests will have the ability to check in and out of their rooms; control their lighting, air condition, and television; and utilize their phones as hotel room keys, simply by downloading the Holiday Inn for Android app.

Readers’ Choice

How will you be following the Games? We’re always on the lookout for tips and suggestions, so if there’s anything we missed we’d be thrilled to hear about it in the comments.

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