10 Ways To Use NFC Tags

NFC tag on Chromebook

For the past couple of weeks, I have been using NFC tags (sent to me by MobileFun) as part of my daily life. Since buying my Samsung Galaxy Note II, I’ve been trying to take advantage of all the little perks that come with having a top of the range phone, and NFC is certainly one of them. To begin with, I felt like I was really forcing myself to use them and I wasn’t using them to their full potential, however over the past few days I have noticed that they have considerably shortened the amount of time I waste tweaking things on my phone, leaving me free to do more in my day instead of navigating menus.

NFC What?

I’ll try to refrain from copy and pasting Wikipedia definitions, but I will say that NFC stands for ‘Near Field Communications’. What does that mean? Well, probably a lot of things, but in this case it means you can wave your mobile device in front of one of these little tag stickers, and make it do whatever you command.

8 Ways To Use NFC Tags

  1. Music: Personally, I very rarely leave the house without headphones in my ears. Whether it’s a 2 minute walk to the end of the road or a long trip full of public transport, you can be pretty sure I’ll be listening to music. Having an NFC tag by the door means that I can quickly swipe my phone as I leave, and it starts playing music. You can even select it to play a certain song, playlist or album with any specific music app too.
  2. Profiles: There are many different settings and uses to sound profiles on mobile phones, most of which I don’t take advantage of. However, while I have it on full notification and ringtone volume while outside of the house, vibrate is more than enough when I’m in the house. NFC tags can quickly toggle between sound profiles, meaning you don’t have to trudge through the menus like you usually would.
  3. Wi-Fi: Looking back through the battery use of my phone, most it is spent using Wi-Fi. What makes this so annoying is that I am very rarely home, but having forgot to turn the setting off, it sits there trying to find connections, draining the party. Having an NFC tag in some convenient places, mostly by the front door, means that I can make sure I have turned Wi-Fi off before I leave the house. (Just remember to turn it back on as you come home, otherwise you’ll eat your data accidentally!)
  4. Alarm Clock: This is probably one of the biggest uses I got out of the NFC tags I was using all week. Basically, by having one by your bedside, you can swipe it as you go to sleep, and it will activate a previously set alarm clock. Certainly saves quite a bit of time.
  5. Checking In: You can set the phone to announce your location on Google+, Twitter of Facebook by using a single swipe. Of course, there isn’t a lot of use for the individual user. However, more and more businesses are starting to use this, so that people can tell their friends where they’re eating or shopping.
  6. Marketing: This has been slightly covered in the point above, but there are so many ways companies can market their products through the use of NFC tags. You might have seen that there are now the occasional NFC symbols on bus stop adverts or on posters at the cinema. Just like an bar code that doesn’t require a dedicated application or camera, these can be used to open up web pages, play videos or even enter you into competitions.
  7. Sending files: You can transfer media from one phone to another, provided both devices have NFC and it is enabled. It’s a lot faster than the olden days of bluetooth sharing, and frankly, it looks so much cooler.
  8. Social Networking:  If you’re an avid sharer on social networks, NFC tags can definitely save you a lot of time. You can have it set to immediately bring up a new tweet/status window the second you swipe your phone over it, so if there is one location where you always share content, then this could work great for you. Not for me, but there are definitely some.
  9. Launching Any App: With an NFC tag, you can launch literally any application you have on your phone, be it a utility, social network app or game. I don’t have a specific location where I use an app all the time, however it could be useful at work if you want to quickly swipe to open a calendar or note taking app.
  10. All of the Above: By now it’s hopefully clear that you can use NFC tags to carry out just about any function on your phone. What’s even better, is that most phones and NFC tags can handle multiple operations at once, meaning you can set it to toggle Wi-Fi, play a game, send a tweet and set an alarm all at the same time.

I have certainly enjoyed the last couple of weeks of using NFC tags, and what makes me really excited is the potential that these little tags possess. At the moment, they can really only be used to shorten the amount of time we spend doing tasks we could already accomplish, but it’s clear that in the future these will really catch on, and hopefully will give us opportunities to use our phones in ways that we couldn’t before.

Apple iWatch: features, specs and more

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We take a look at all the latest rumours circulating about Apple’s upcoming iWatch

Wearable tech is big business and looks to be one of the biggest trends of the coming year. Google has its glasses and Apple and Samsung have their respective watch projects. But how would an iOS-powered watch work? What would it do? And how much is it likely to cost?

Concrete information is decidedly thin on the ground at present but we do know the company has put together a highly skilled team including engineering director James Foster and program manager Adam Pantfoerder to work on the project – and we’re hearing that the whole thing is being overseen by none other than Sir Jony Ive – so it’s fairly safe to say that this is no half-hearted venture on Apple’s part.

So what can we expect in the way of USPs from Apple’s effort?

Specification

To say that little is known about the device’s rumoured spec would be a gross understatement. Apple has this project sewn-up tighter than a sardine’s swimming costume. What we do know is limited to scraps of gossip emanating from supply chain sources, as is always the case with unconfirmed up-and-coming devices.

The iWatch is believed to feature a curved – perhaps even flexible – 1.5-inch screen, fronted by an as-yet undetermined Corning product. Could it be the oft talked about Corning’s flexible Willow Glass? Perhaps. Multiple sources, including CNET, are reporting that Corning’s bendy-flexy display could appear on devices as soon as this year.

The device is also suspected to make heavy use of Bluetooth for syncing and communicating with larger devices like the iPad and iPhone. NFC is also a possibility in this regard also, bringing both connectivity and payment technology into the fray.

Features

Current rumours suggest Apple is looking to give the device a full operating system, rather than a shrunk-down ‘lite’ offering. That means features like Siri, Apple Maps, iMessage and iCloud could make an appearance. Siri also seems like a no brainer at this stage.

We’d also expect hydrophobic and shock-proofing capabilities as standard aboard the iWatch. How many times have you jumped in the shower with your watch on?

Release Date

The rumour mill is divided over this one. Many so-called sources predict that the iWatch could be set for a Q1 2014 launch. Bloomberg disagrees, claiming the product will be with users around the end of 2013, just in time for Christmas.

Price

There’s next to no information currently available about the device’s projected price-point. Knowing Apple, the device will retail with a premium price tag – anywhere from £200 to £800. And because it’s a watch, there’s plenty of scope for variations on design and build materials over time, meaning we could eventually see multiple types of iWatch aimed at varying price-points.

When Apple eventually do ship an “iWatch,” can anyone guess what Samsung’s next product will be?

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The Xbox One – more than just a games console?

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After an endless stream of rumours and hype, Microsoft has finally revealed the successor to its highly-popular video games console the Xbox 360 – the Xbox One.
Revealed to a packed audience at a specially-constructed Microsoft base in Redmond, Washington, gamers were given their first peek of one of the big players in the next major battle of the console war.

In case you missed it, you can see the full reveal, complete with intriguing partnerships and brand-new games packed with crisp graphics, through this link. However, those who did catch the unveiling are likely to be musing at how Microsoft is taking gaming away from solely a gamepad.
Here is a glimpse at how the Xbox One could soon be the main vocal point of your living room and beyond:
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Outside of the launch of the three main video game consoles of the last generation – the Xbox 360, Sony’s PlayStation 3 and the Nintendo Wii – arguably the most intriguing technology in the industry was Xbox Kinect.
Whereas motion-sensor concepts by Sony and Nintendo required you to always have a remote in your hand in order to interact with a virtual world, Microsoft gave you the option to actually become the controller.

However, the intrigue soon gave way for some disappointment when Kinect was released worldwide in 2010. Initially, the gadget was laggy and unreliable, while requiring you to have a considerable amount of space in your home to actually use it. Even when things picked up for the device, there was little support in the form of AAA games to once again peak interest.
With the new Kinect though, which will be bundled with the Xbox One at launch later this year, it appears that improvements are being made to the device across the board.
For starters, the enhanced Kinect sensor is now able to pick up the movements of 25 joints in the human body, right down to a subtle lean in the spine or a slight shrug of the shoulders – great for navigating the Xbox One’s homepage or playing a game controller-free then.
Furthermore, the gadget’s camera is able to create an image of a gamer that is detailed to the point where a shirt’s wrinkles and buttons can be passed over into a virtual reality seamlessly.

As Phil Harrison, a corporate vice president at Microsoft, mused to Eurogamer in an exclusive interview: “So with Xbox One, what we did with the Xbox One Kinect sensor is totally redesign it, so it’s wider field of view, it has new technology to detect motion in the room, it has a more sophisticated sound and voice recognition system, which dramatically improves the fidelity, precision and accuracy of Kinect compared to Kinect for 360.”

Xbox SmartGlass to learn a few new tricks

Microsoft certainly changed the landscape of video games last year, when it launched Xbox SmartGlass. An application that can link an Xbox 360 up with a device powered by Android, iOS or Windows, the strategy has worked to enable entertainment to become much more interactive.

At the Xbox One unveiling though, Microsoft showcased the next-generation of Xbox SmartGlass.
Just say you have a Samsung Galaxy S4 with the app downloaded then. By using your smartphone’s stylus pen, which can be purchased at affordable prices as part of Mobile Madhouse’s excellent Samsung Galaxy S4 accessories range, you will have the power to switch channels on live TV without ever needing to lift up a remote or controller.

Mind you, Xbox SmartGlass has always been hailed as offering users with “second screen content”, and this is not going to change any time soon. If you are watching NBA on your Xbox One, to take the example shown at the reveal event, you will now have the opportunity to see your fantasy sports league being updated on your smartphone every time the score changes.

Microsoft Studios’ corporate vice president, Phil Spencer, summed up to IGN: “Xbox One was designed from the beginning understanding that multiple devices in the family room exist. Some of those devices may leave the family room and still want to remain connected to the experience.

“People might have multiple devices and have multiple players in the room who actually want to interact with the experience on-screen with their own private screen or they might want to play and have their own data. It was definitely a design criteria from the beginning for us because we’ve seen the usage of SmartGlass as very strong on the 360.”

Much more will be revealed regarding the Xbox One at Microsoft’s E3 2013 press conference on June 10th.

iPhone 6: The Teaser Trailer

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The iPhone 6 will be released later this year, we have a look at what it’s all about

Yep, the iPhone 6 is set to be released later this year and the internet is keen to get that drool hanging from your mouth. So have a watch of the extravagantly indulgent fan-made features trailer up above.

Right. What just happened? If you decided to read this instead of the video, firstly, thanks! But secondly, I don’t think there’s enough purple prose to really quantify what just happened to the theoretical iPhone 6.

Like some kind of Transformer, the 6 jettisons its ends, like a space-craft, and raises its screen to a sloping angle before projecting a holographic Macbook keyboard onto the table and a Macbook desktop onto the opposite wall. Seriously, I just watched this and still have no clue what that last sentence means. I think the iPhone 6 just transformed into a fully working, holographic pseudo-laptop…

It seems that whoever made this video got a bit bored as the theoretical-6 lethargically spins around for a while in a white void whilst Kraddy’s ‘Android Porn’ rumbles in the background before fading to a single date, the ambiguously unhelpful ‘2013’.

Belkin Classic Strap Case for iPad Mini – Review

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After recently purchasing an Apple iPad Mini, I knew it was essential to keep it safe from scratches. I wanted piece of mind when putting it in my bag for university, so that when I opened it up I knew it would be safe.

The colours on the Belkin Classic Strap case look very professional and fit very well, regardless of the setting such as a business meeting or in the classroom.

By simply slotting the iPad into the centre of the case, it is secured by four straps at the edges of the tablet. This ensures that it is fixed in place. However, from one angle the battery percentage is obscured, but still viewable nonetheless.

The case keeps the front and back of the iPad Mini safe, with an elastic strap keeping the case together neatly.

Altogether, I’m extremely happy with this case. Compared to other cases on the market, it stands out above the rest. Reasonably priced for the protection it provides.

Blogger: WordPress Theme of the Week #1

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WordPress is an amazing platform for people who want to get into the website game. Many of the biggest blogs and websites in the world now use WordPress as a way to manage their site, as it is very easy to operate and has almost limitless possibilities in terms of design. Sony, Playstation, CNN are just some of the popular brands that use the CMS service, which is also used to manage Geeks Have Landed.

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Instagram Updated With Photo Tagging

instagram update photos of you

instagram update photos of you

Photo tagging has finally arrived on Instagram, although the company are calling the feature ‘photos of you’. The idea is the same on most other social networks, you take a photo which includes some friends and then you tag them in it, which is much simpler than including them in a comment below the photo.

 

Since the update, a new tab has been included in the profile page which you can tap to see which images you have been included in. It’s awesome that these features have finally been released, but it’s really quite shocking that they weren’t already included.

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Samsung Do Their Best To Murder Gangnam Style at Indian S4 Launch

Now that it’s been a while since it was released, and PSY has released a new song since then, Gangnam Style is slowly becoming less and less involved in our lives. So already, the idea that Samsung would choose to perform this song at their Galaxy S4 launch would raise some eyebrows, even more so when you find that they have reworded the lyrics to promote the S4’s key features. The finished product is exactly as you can imaging, two minutes of unbearable torture.

You might remember that at the New York launch last month, Samsung were criticized for several reasons, and while this probably isn’t as controversial, it certainly hasn’t made me want a Galaxy S4 any more than I did already.

Watch if you dare:

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