Born Mobile brings the personal view of Helio Diamant, mobility geek and computer professional, regarding all the aspects of the life of a mobile person in today's world. Helio is the owner of the Hebrew mobility site MobilityFreak.co.il and of Go-Mobile Ltd., a consulting company that specializes in the area of mobile systems. This site covers all technologies and lifestyle items like phones, computers, cars, motorcycles, and more, and gives a picture of the lifestyle of the writer.
This post comes for closing this site.
I just don't have the time for posting technology news in Hebrew and in English anymore, and technology sites should be updated on a daily basis. So, after much thought, I have decided to declare this site obsolete.
I will continue to blog on lifestyle subjects and motorcycle trips at my own family site www.diamant.org.il, and re-posting the posts there at my facebook page. So whoever is interested can keep following me in any of them.
The technology posts will be only in hebrew at www.mobilityfreak.co.il. There are links in the site to translate the content to different languages using Google Translate.
To all people coming here, my apologies and my big "Thank You". It was good to have you around.
Today, our subject is NFC.
For those who don't know exactly what it is, NFC is the abbreviation of "Near Field Communication", a set of standards based on RFID (Radio Frequency Identification) which base themselves on the communication between both sides when they come to a distance of 1-2 cm one from the other. This principle also sets the fact that there is no need for one of the sides to have its own energy source, since it can get the energy it needs for each transmission by induction from the other side. This last fact is allowing NFC to begin developing into a world of interesting applications.
When NFC was first launched, the main use advertised for it was on mobile payments. "This is the technology that will replace our plastic credit cards", he heard. That's due to the fact that our phone is always with us and it is an unique accessory which can identify each one of us.
In fact, what we see two years later, is that the technology is having some trouble in its mass adoption for this purpose. We still lack a critical mass of businesses which already support NFC payments on their shops, and only now we are beginning to see a real growth in the number of different phone models which include the NFC technology.
Meanwhile, the human mind got in action, and if we already have an interesting functionality in our phone which is not being of such as much use as we expected, why not invent some other uses for it?
This is what this article is about. We will review the different kinds of uses we can make of NFC, how to use the technology, what are NFC tags, how we read them and how we prepare them to use. Be ready also for a demonstration video.
More after the break.
Well, one thing that is beyond discussion nowadays: the computing world is moving to the cloud.
If you ask why, there are many reasons, beginning from the fact that we need sharing of documents between many devices and sharing with others. If in need for more reasons, the fact that tablets and phones are substituting computers and these devices come with less storage space is also a factor.
The problem: there are many different cloud storage services, and the main ones (Dropbox, Sugarsync, Skydrive, Google Drive) offer a very small ammount of free storage, charging real money for larger ammounts. Smaller providers don't even provide free storage.
The fact is that the requirement for money is fair. After all, storage costs money, and those are commercial companies trying to survive and profit. However, this has been a big obstacle for the growth in the popularity of these services.
Around a year ago, a new model has been put together: cloud storage providers joined forces with hardware makers and provided for the purchasers of the hardware a larger ammount - usually 50GB - for a specified period of time - usually 2 years. The idea is to get users adopting the service, getting used to it, and ready to pay for it after the period of time is over.
This is why I got surprised when I found an item in Talk Android telling about the following DELL + BOX promotion:
What? For life ??? It couldn't look better, a good reason to buy a Dell computer.
Well, it does look better. Read well:
One of the subjects that has been a great problem for a long time, actually since the days of Windows Mobile, is the need one has from time to time to print directly from the device.
To tell you the truth, at some point in the past I got tired from trying to find a solution for this issue and just let it go. However, during my last trip to Latin America, I had the need to print a new version of a contract urgently, and then noticed that my hotel (The Hilton Reforma Mexico City) had a kind of a cloud service on place for printing, and the use of the service was simple and rewarding. That's right, I used my computer for that, but it gave me again the appetite to try to find a solution that will make me able to do the same from the phone or from the tablet.
So I went for a visit to the "print" search at Google Play. I've got a list which was at the same time inspiring and disappointing. Inspiring because there are many people working on this subject. Disappointing because most of the things I've found were either useless, not comfortable, or expensive.
You can find there three kinds of apps:
- Software from the different printer makers, which seem to work fine, but at most support their own printers in Wifi or Bluetooth, and require us to install ALL the packages from the different makers if we want to support (almost) all printers.
- Free software that doesn't really work or misses much of the functionality we need.
- Software that sells for $10 or more.
However, in the middle of this mess I was able to find a real gem: Cloud Print by the developer Paulo Fernandes.
At first sight, I loved the fact that the developer was ready to put his own name behind the app. This shows seriousness. Additionally, he was ready to give us a full free version, with only 3 small limitations, and charge around $3 (depending on exchange rates) for the full version - a very fair price comparing to all others that were offering similar functionality.
So I decided to test it, and my conclusions are here for you after the break.
My daughter returned in the beginning of last week from a 2.5-month long trip to South America to find her computer dead as expected (it was dead when she left), so it was time to go with her to buy a new computer.
Still from South America, she had already told me she had one thing in mind: a computer that can also be used as a tablet whenever needed. According to that instruction, I went around the shops here in the Tel Aviv area to see what was available and lose less time with her at the moment she was here.
Then last Tuesday, among others, I took her to the Asus distributor here to take a look at the Asus Vivo Tab RT TF600T, and this was the chosen computer.
(all the pictures in this article can be enlarged by clicking on them)
As you see, it is a small and sleek device, which can easily compete in size and weight with any netbook we are used to see. But it is much more than that.
The special characteristics begin with the fact that it runs on an quad-core ARM processor clocked on 1.3GHz, and it runs Windows 8 RT.... yes, the same one running on the Surface RT.
It is the first time I touch a device using Windows 8, and as well regarding Windows 8 RT. I was quite amazed to see how fast I felt at home with this computer. You see, even considering that during 2 days of the last week it was far away from me in Eilat, in the following day I was ready to begin writing this review in its original Hebrew version and even demonstrate it in video. Actually I can say that in two days I managed to get acquainted to it, to learn it, to solve some initial usage problems which needed to be solved, and finally, to love it!
So please let me tell you the full story, show you a movie, and give you the full specs after the break.
People who follow me on Facebook has been seeing my reports on the winter here during the last weeks.
I have been sharing pictures of the Ayalon River full of water for the first time in 20 years:
I need to add that the river overflood and caused floods to large areas of the Ayalon road, closing the road and causing 4-hour traffic jams in the center of Tel Aviv.
As usually, when these things happen, some jokes that are typical to Israelis immediately appear... these didn't pass unnoticed to my eyes:
And surely, the biggest headline was the snow in Jerusalem and even at Dimona in the Negev desert. Here is Jerusalem in the snow:
Well, I did publish my article about the trip I did in July to the French Alps, the Montblanc, and the Italian Lakes.
However, I forgot to publish the video of the trip.
Unfortunatelly, due to some music that has been used in the video, it is not open for every country. In fact, it is blocked for users in American Samoa, Canada, Germany, Guam, Japan, Mexico, Northern Mariana Islands, Saint Pierre and Miquelon, United States, United States Minor Outlying Islands, United States Virgin Islands
The movie is 20 minutes long, and documents the whole trip. During the 7 first minutes, you see the preliminar trip to the Italian and French Riviera done by the two couples that were our partners in the trip. At the 7th minute, when they get to Grenoble, Lily and myself join the group and from that moment we are part of the group as well.
It is a great form of seeing the views, understanding the roads we have been in, and sharing with you the experience of this trip. I hope you enjoy.
Well, in out last personal view we talked about the best smartphones of 2012, but then what is 2013 bringing to us?
Looking at what happened in 2012, we can get to some conclusions on how things might develop in the next year.
There is surely much to talk about. So let's try to make some predictions.
During the last half of 2012 I have seen many device manufacturers in different areas of the world abandon (either completely or partially) the manufacturing and commercialization of feature-phones and shifting to a total dedication to smartphones using Android.
The reason for that: the plunge in the price of smartphone manufacturing.
This is a nice video I found at Youtube yesterday.
This group of three robots is enjoying the performance of Ace of Spades.....
Ha, it seems that finally robots are getting to the point they can do anything.... even enjoy!
2012 is finished, and I was required by my readers at www.mobilityfreak.co.il to prepare a list of the best smartphones released this last year.
As such, I chose to myself the 8 devices which I would definitely buy if I had the possibility to buy all 8. Surely, as the places go down, the level of preference goes up, meaning, if I had the ability to buy only 3 I would buy places 1,2 and 3.
Mostly interesting, after I built my list and published it at the website, I went to verify my list again other respected sites, and with slight variations in placement and in one or two devices, most had the same lists.
So here it goes, this is my list of the 8 best smartphones of 2012.
It is always a pleasure to see a story and be able to say "Hey, I know this guy!"....
In this case, it is a double pleasure, since I can say "Hey, I know these guys! " ... and refer both to the producer of the video and to the subject of the movie.
The movie I present below was done by Giora Kariv on the subject of one of his friends at Kibbutz Bror Hail that has created a great invention:
The guy: Izhar Gafni.
The invention: a cardboard bicycle.
I happen to know both, since I was a member of Bror Hail between 1983 and 1989, a time in which Izhar was a beginning electrician and Giora was, if I am not wrong, just coming back from the army to the farm.
It comes out that Izhar's hobby, riding bicycles, came out to lead him to this invention - a strong, resistant, and cheap bicycle all made of cardboard when he just heard a story of a cardboard canoe.
According to the video, Izhar has already registered a patent on the invention, and there are already some companies interested on serially manufacturing the bicycle.
See the video:
Please help me wish much success to Izhar in this enterprise.
This is a very interesting project of which I have learnt lately.
Zoos across America and Canada are teaching Orangutangs to use Ipads, on a project called "Apps for Apes". Researchers are letting these apes have controlled use of Ipads, and while the apes learn from the use of the Ipad the researchers learn from the behaviour of the apes with the devices.
Meanwhile, apes have not been allowed to use the devices like in the picture. The devices are still in the hands of the handlers, and the apes play with them from inside a cage. But I can easilly see the project getting to a phase in which the ape would be able to hold the device himself.
The top-hits with the apes are at this point apps directed to infants, simple games and finger drawing apps. Apes also like very much to see video on the devices. But handlers are also beginning to try new types of apps with them, including communication software like Skype.
Just found this in the internet, and I ask you: would you dare doing it to your wife?
To tell you the truth, I doubt I would....
Well, here I am, sitting at São Paulo's International Airport, and rising my level of expectation on every minute that goes by. In some minutes I will enter the plane to Frankfurt, where I will meet my wife Lily to begin what I expect to be another magical journey. Many questions run through my mind: will it be as magical as I expect? Will my wife, who is doing it for the first time and isn't really crazy about motorcycle tours, be able to do it to its end? Will the rental motorcycle be in good shape? How will we make it through the first day, the longest of all in terms of Kilometers to do, after flying through the night? And most urgent of all, will I receive the upgrade to business which will let me sleep comfortably from São Paulo to Frankfurt and be in shape for the first day? I thought and thought and, with this, the moments passed quickly and soon Lufthansa was calling to enter the plane.
I leave the lounge and begin to proceed to the gate. There, I am notified that I have been upgraded. Well, that's a good beginning. Maybe it is a sign for perfect upcoming days. The flight takes off, I eat dinner, and lay down to sleep.
Would it be turning it on?
Or operating a device you have never seen, for the first time, in front of the camera?
Well, it depends on the device.
According to this montage from different websites in Youtube.....
.... It seems that the most challenging part of unboxing a Google Nexus 7 is actually opening the box !!!
Volkswagen China created some time ago a website for users and customers to propose ideas for their "car of the future". From all the crazy ideas that appeared there, they chose two for building concept cars. This is one of them:
This Hover car floats over a magnetic field... Nice, isn't it? We are getting closer to the age of the Jetsons....
Well unfortunately it seems it'll still take a long time until we see those on our roads... but at least there is what to wait for...
Since my first experience with a PocketPC Phone Edition in 2002 I've come to the conclusion that the world was going in the direction of Smartphones, that those might one day replace the computers that we have at home, and that this move was happening in fast speeds.
The world continued going round, technologies were in constant change, and the appearance of the iPhone and Android in the late 2000's made me feel my prognostic was completely right. Until something strange happened to my life: I began working in a company which has in Feature Phones (those simple phones that don't allow you to install software on them) its main market, and received a view of a completely different world.
I must say I was shocked. After so many years of belief, I was suddenly seing some data that showed me I was living a lie!
Well, no, not exactly a lie, but in best case a very partial truth. This discovery was the moment that made me begin looking back at the assertions I had within me and re-check their truthfulness, timing, localization, and all other kinds of details.
With the release of the Iphone 4S, a new upgrade kit has been released for the owners of the old Iphone 4:
Any additional word is superfluous.
Well, this site has become, at best, a little boring in the last months.
To tell you the truth, all my efforts were heading somewhere else, getting a job. My own business wasn't growing the way I expected to, I was not sleeping quietly at night, and I had taken last March the decision to stop being a consultant and going back to a regular job, possibly in international sales.
Well, it seems that those times are over. I have taken over a position in Latin American sales at EMOZE (www.emoze.com) and I am soon beginning to be in the area. So there will probably be more stories to tell soon.
Many thanks to Lucas Repullo who shared with me this pearl.
In today's market, most of the companies in the mobile phone sector are more busy in patent wars for stopping others from making products, than on making their own products at all.
The situation is, let's agree, quite outraging. Specially when you consider that many companies involved in these wars have never released a single product to prove their patent really stands.
But here is the deal: here is a guy that invented a mobile product which can go with you everywhere (though not very comfortable in the pocket), produced it in consumer market commercial quantities, and for what I have read, has already sold 400,000 units of it.
In the video below the inventor Bob Balow demonstrates his invention.
If you are duying to buy this product, here is the link: http://www.rcbproducts.com/
Enjoy the spaghetti.
One of the things I mostly like is new technology developments which are a result of "thinking outside the box".
In this context, one of the technologies that offers the largest potential for these kinds of developments is without doubt Augmented Reality. And I find it not surprising that the automotive industry is finding so much interest in it.
The last thing I have seen is the video below from Toyota:
Yes, the company has built transparent touch displays in the car windows and provided it augmented reality functions which do a lot of things, from Zoom & Pan and up to translations of the names of the objects we see through the window of the car.
It is very interesting to see into what this will develop in the next years. I believe we have some very nice things to see in the future.
And this one was sent to me by an uncle from Brazil. So thanks for this one, Henrique!
It comes from the Agilent Educational Corner, and it shows a group of fields in our life that would be completely different today if there weren't engineers in the world.
The last picture, however, is from the guy that joined all the pictures in one mail, and decided to add one more showing how the world would be if there weren't engineers at all. So, better or worse?
Just join us in the pictures. BTW, the originals in high definition are in this link.
NO CIVIL ENGINEERS
This is a nice one sent by a friend. Thanks, Camille.
What would you say if you would go out boating on a river and a big fish would jump inside your boat? Coincidence? And what would be if 3 fishes would jump in? Luck?
See the video below:
OK, now, 19 is a completely different story. Specially when all fishes around you are jumping like crazy.
I would surely like to go there for some fishing ......
It is quite some time since I last posted on this blog, and this is mainly for two reasons: first I was very busy with some other projects, and second, there was nothing really special worth posting here.
Now, winter is gone, spring is almost gone, and at the end of May we have had a national event called Baja Israel, a cross-country race in which Jeeps, motocross bikes, and track cars and buggys crossed the whole country off-road in one day, from the Golan Heights to Eilat.
Since our Burgmans don't really fit the off-road definition, we created a parallel event: the 'Round Israel Tour. This was a three-day tour doing a circular path that went through: Tel Aviv, Rosh HaNikra, Northern Road, Golan Heights, Mount Hermon, Kibbutz Marom Golan, Tiberias, Jordan Valley Road, Dead Sea, Arava Road, Eilat, Mitzpe Ramon, Beer Sheva, Tel Aviv.
Here is the path in the Map:
You can click the map to see it in full size. The green line is the path done by us in those 3 days, between 1,200 and 1,500 Km.
Thanks to my friend Ofer Spiegel who brought this video to my attention via Facebook.
This is one of the nicest campaigns I have seen for a cellular device. I guess only the Japanese at NTT DoCoMo could do something like that, Bach in the woods.
Just check for yourself:
Let's hope that in the whole world ads will one day be in good-taste like this one.