I had traveled from New York to Nairobi to learn how to do exactly this—to pay for things with a phone—and to understand why Kenya has gained a reputation as the mobile payments future. Almost everyone in the country uses M-pesa (M, for mobile;pesa is payment in Swahili) to transfer money from one phone to another via encrypted short message service, or SMS. In all, there are about 18.2 million active customers in a nation twice the size of Colorado.
Despite delusions of being an early adopter, I’d never used my phone to pay for anything, not even a macchiato at Starbucks. Also, though I believe myself well-traveled, I’d never even set foot in Africa. All to the better, my editors said; there were already too many self-styled experts on how East Africa was leapfrogging more mature economies on mobile payments. My mission was more grounded: survive a 10-day tour on a phone and nothing but a phone.
August is one of America’s biggest travel months—when vacationers hit the road, the airport, or the beach—but getting away doesn’t necessarily mean getting away from it all. Consumer Reports’ 2014 survey of 1,044 American adults finds that 94 percent of travelers bring electronic devices on vacation. In many cases, that tagalong is a smart phone: Two out of three Americans take one on vacation. But that’s not all they carry. These days Americans take three devices along for the ride, on average, according to our survey.
What should be on your packing list? It depends on where you’re going and what you’re doing. If memorable vacation photos are important, for instance, you should consider toting a dedicated camera with a decent optical zoom and image stabilizer, features you’re not likely to get with a smart phone. If you need to keep kids in the backseat occupied, a tablet loaded with videos and games could provide a little peace and quiet. And if you’re contemplating lazy beach reads, a dedicated e-book reader that’s easy to read in the sun will serve you much better than a do-everything tablet.
If this narrative sounds familiar, that’s because it is: companies have been promising the dawn of the smart home–a futuristic dwelling full of gadgets working seamlessly to satisfy your every whim–since the ’50s. Yet early efforts failed to deliver because of clunky tech and consumer wariness.
SmartThings, which launched in 2012, has arrived amid a legitimate sea change in home automation. In the past few years, the rise of cloud computing has made it easier than ever to build gadgets that connect to the so-called Internet of Things, meaning they can be monitored and controlled from afar, usually with their own smartphone app. There’s also been an uptick in the production of sensors and devices that enable you to smartify objects that are dumb. (Think plugging a desk lamp into an adapter controlled by your phone, or rigging a door with a motion detector that pings you about intruders.) By 2018, the research firm IHS Technology predicts, people will have installed 45 million smart-home services. “We’re really starting to see major volume here,” says Lisa Arrowsmith, an IHS associate director. “It’s an exciting time.”
Some band members and alumni were skeptical about bringing computers onto the practice field. One complaint: Students have for years rolled up their sheet music and jammed it into the horns of their instruments when they’re not playing, and you can’t do that with an iPad. Other, less specific grousing seemed to center on the concern that the use of tablets marked the first step toward a marching band full of robots. The band has worn the same uniform for 135 years; tradition is important.
Waters insists the iPads won’t change the core of the band’s performance. “This makes the process more efficient, but an iPad can’t perform a halftime show,” he says. “What they’re doing out there is an art form we’ve been perfecting for 135 years, and that’s not going to change.”
To boost sales at vending machines among consumers who rely largely on credit cards, PayRange’s USB-size Bluetooth-enabled device can retrofit a cash-operated machine to accept payments via the company’s smartphone app
ESPN (DIS), which has the English-language rights to the World Cup in the U.S., is taking a blanket approach. For the first time, the network is not only showing all 64 matches live on EPSN, ESPN2, or ABC, but is also live streaming them via its Watch ABC and WatchESPN apps (for authenticated telecom subscribers) and via ESPN3, its 24-hour broadband network.
Four years ago, ESPN hired Major League Baseball Advanced Media, commonly known as BAM, to do the background work for its ESPN3 live streams. Over the previous decade, BAM had made itself an industry leader by figuring out how to stream 2,430 baseball games every season.
BusinessWeek (check out article for nice description of the encoding, chunking and other elements of the streaming)
The (N-trig integrated pen and touch) stylus has been redesigned so that you can click the top of it to launch OneNote, even when the Surface Pro 3 is powered off. When you write notes using OneNote you can then click the top of the stylus again, just like an ordinary pen, and it will sync those notes up to the cloud instantly so they're available elsewhere. OneNote will also bring in content from the web when you tap on the stylus, allowing you to turn anything into a note. It appears to be one of the main new advantages of the updated stylus and the Surface Pro 3.