Coins in Canada are a fact of life. It almost appears as though, over the years, coins have gotten heavier in our pockets; this despite the phasing out of the penny. Even though we use interac debit and credit cards more and more, coins seem to creep into our pockets and weigh us down. When the coins accumulate, many turn to time consuming counting and rolling, or costly services that charge fees such as 11.9% to count the coins. You can do all this free, if you want. I’ll show you how. Continue Reading »Dec 03 2013 by Kevin Costain
We’re looking to return at more regular intervals with Talking Calwell. This time around, the technology failed us, but we still found a way to make it happen. We talk about Blackberry, BBM, iOS, and Windows Phone. SmartWatches and an idea for sticky data access. The sound is still a work in progress.Kevin Costain
With all that has kept Blackberry from releasing its Messenger tool (BBM) on the iOS and Android platforms, it might be no surprise to see the product scrapped. To get from an expected launch to an eventual install it would take almost exactly a month. Blackberry has publicly blamed all this on a re-release version of the tool on Android, but little else is known. Now that I have BBM, I can share my thoughts on this new tool, and how this may affect the future of other related applications. Continue Reading »Oct 30 2013 by Kevin Costain
Most unusually, I missed Apple’s most recent event. This was not because I didn’t want to see it; It was more about being busy with other things. Sometimes it does feel like both events and work requirements are in a constant competition and the Apple event usually wins. So, after I was able to take a closer look at this event, I thought I’d offer some thoughts about what’s new and interesting from Apple. Continue Reading »Oct 29 2013 by Kevin Costain
When I started blogging more than a decade ago, I knew it was going to be tough sometimes. I knew I was going to have foot-in-mouth syndrome, share too much information, and generally face ridicule for things I get wrong or was too lazy to research fully. The odd occasion, blogging tends to lean me closer to legal issues. In fact, a recent blog I posted about a company I can’t name doing a thing I can’t talk about – was entirely forced offline because of a legal threat. The threats keep coming; This time from what appeared to be a Multi-Level-Marketing firm named Leadership Team Development Inc. (LTD). Continue Reading »Oct 28 2013 by Kevin Costain
We discusses topics such as the iPhone 5s’ fingerprint scanner, and of course Apple in general. We look at branding a business including the bizarre Hostamania by Hulk Hogan. We’ll cover IT Services as a commodity and self -hosting or in the cloud, and a possible third option.Kevin Costain
I’ve recently heard of a brutal new kind of malware. While it is considered part of the ransomware group of viruses, Cryptolocker appears to carry a more unique payload. Once Cryptolocker infects a Windows PC, it encrypts a number of files on the local computer and expects payment for a decryption key. Right now, this software appears rare, and reports are out there, I hadn’t gotten my hands on a computer with it until today. What follows are some thoughts and observations. Continue Reading »Oct 24 2013 by Kevin Costain
Despite what John Gruber asserts, criticisms of the Touch ID fingerprint reader appear accurate. If the purpose of this new tool is to reduce friction on the login process, it does succeed; but, if the purpose is zero friction, Touch ID fails. I’ve had the new iPhone 5s for about a week now, and I’ve been using the new fingerprint scanner as my default unlocking option. What follows are some observations on how this works, and what you might expect with this new tool. Continue Reading »Oct 09 2013 by Kevin Costain
At the end of August this year, Canada’s biggest bank – Royal Bank, or RBC, posted a record quarterly profit of $2.3 billion. That’s $2.3 billion of profit in just three months. To say that RBC has money to spend, might be an understatement. Yet, one of the more perplexing realities is how poorly constructed the company’s mobile iOS application is. At this point, the RBC application should be the best of breed, yet it lacks on some big levels. I thought I’d go over some of what I’ve seen in the hopes that someone there might decide this application is a worthy investment. Continue Reading »Oct 07 2013 by Kevin Costain
This week, a number of contextual horizons have been opened for me. First, I was given the chance to read (and review) a pre-release version of Robert Scoble’s book, Age of Context. I’m reading it rather slowly, but I will get there. Along the way, a column on I, Cringly introduced me to Refresh, a simple contextual iOS application that gathers information on contacts from multiple sources based on information it finds in your calendar. Context is really starting to pick up in applications, and I expect we’ll hear much more about this idea in the coming months and years.
Refresh is a great idea; it uses the information you have available (social media accounts, contacts, connections) and other data that may be freely available on the Internet to build what they call a “Dossier” on a person. Refresh can provide quite a few details from pictures, to the very personal details hidden in less obvious social media posts. What results is probably the most complete look at a person you can get without actually meeting them .
And, context may be a buzzword, but if you’re a programmer or application designer, context is hard. Imagine a simple relative test to figure out how many people in your immediate area prefer Heinz ketchup over that of a no-name brand. To get this kind of relevant data, you would have to have the opt-in of a large enough sample, or be able to pry the details out of a database somewhere. If you don’t have enough people or data involved, there is no context. That’s not even necessarily useful information . Continue Reading »Oct 04 2013 by Kevin Costain