Mobile card readers… for the laptop

Mobile phone card readers have become more popular in recent years because they’re small and easy to use for swiping a payment cards while away from a retail location. There are at least half-a-dozen readers out there that you can get for free from the various payment processors. That’s because the readers are extremely inexpensive to produce – and that’s because they are very simple devices. They read the non-encrypted data on the magnetic stripe of your card. The other day I was sitting with a friend who …

Small business and technology

I started in the software and technology world in 1995 doing tech-support for a software product called “Internet in a Box”. The job consisted mainly of taking phone calls to help customers who bought the software install it, set it up on their computer and configure their modems to get connected to the Internet. By 1996 the Internet had become more open for the public but it still wasn’t ‘easy’ to get connected. Internet in a Box was revolutionary in the same way TiVo and smart phones changed …

When podcasts go mainstream

If you have a car, you have a radio. If you have a radio, you probably listen to music, talk radio, news and/or sports. By the mid-1960s, radios were standard equipment in new cars. Today, it’s almost standard to have a USB or other MP3 player connection – or at least a auxiliary input jack to plug other devices into your car’s sound system. What’s missing though is the digital end-to-end solution that terrestrial radio provides. By that I mean that you turn on your car radio and …

A new search box trend

Recently I’ve seen several websites that are ‘hiding’ the site search functionality. I don’t understand why… and I don’t like it. It’s hard enough to find what you’re looking for in a lot of modern navigation bars. Now with just a search ‘icon’, it makes it even harder to find. Here’s two of the many examples I’ve seen lately: Rally Software DealNews.com I think it’s much easier to quickly scan for that search text field – everyone is use to it, it’s easier to find than a single …

Another reason to use Google Voice

I’ve been on Google Voice for several years, though I only fully committed to it about 3 years ago. “Fully” meaning that I changed my phone number everywhere and started telling friends and family to stop using the ‘physical’ number attached to the mobile. For those who haven’t used/heard of Voice, the basic idea is this – one number for everything. If you call me (my Google Voice number), my home, work, mobile phone and even my computer will all ring at the same time. So no more …

Amazon Locker… fail

A few years ago Amazon came up with a fantastic idea of putting banks of locker (like those you use to see at airports, train and bus stations) at convenient locations in bigger cities. My preferred Amazon Locker is located inside of an Albertson’s grocery store. This is good for me and Albertson’s, as I always buy a few more items from the store when I’m picking up an Amazon order. The magic of the Amazon Locker comes in your email in the form of an access code …