TabbedOut is a great idea for an application and I am surprised it hasn’t been in use sooner. TabbedOut was created to allow customers to open, view, and pay bar or restaurant tabs from their own smartphones. This app eliminates the wait time for the check and a easy payment method. Consumers can get better insight into how their money is being used and can access offers and deals to save on their purchases. And merchants receive a lot of data that lets them better serve customers and understand what they want through the upgraded customer relationship management tools. It will be interesting to see if there are any issues with user security because credit card information will be stored in a phone. TabbedOut is used in over 1,000 venues nation-wide and the numbers continue to increase daily. 





Virtual U.


Recently, there has been an increasing trend in online college level-courses. Massive open online courses or MOOCs allow the use of online lectures and discussion forums and are instructed by elite professors. At first, teachers were skeptical on how the technology would work. When Professor Duneier from Stanford published his first lecture online, students wrote hundreds, then thousands, of comments and questions in online discussion forums — far too many for Professor Duneier to keep up with. But crowd-sourcing technology helped every student reading the forum vote questions or comments up or down, allowing him to spot important topics and tailor his lectures to respond. Online education companies such as Coursera offer free courses online and is launching faster than both Facebook and Twitter. Udemy is a company that helps individual professors put their courses online. Harvard and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology have each provided $30 million to create edX. Another Stanford spinoff, Udacity, has attracted more than a million students to its menu of massive open online courses, or MOOCs, along with $15 million in financing.  I think being able to take these free MOOCs are very beneficial. It allows more independent thinking and responsibility. It will also increase the number of people graduating within 4-years. Teachers from some of the top Colleges and Universities in the US are teaching these courses and the number of institutions accepting MOOCs is increasing rapidly. I really think Miami should consider creating or accepting courses like this for the required Miami Plan. It will allow students to take courses over the summer and stay on track to graduate within four years. Overall, all of this new technology could well add up to the future of higher education.




Braille Smartphone

It has been announced that the world’s first ‘Braille Smartphone’ is currently being developed. There are features now on smartphones that tend to the need of visually impaired such as Siri and SayText but there hasn’t been a smartphone created specifically for the visually impaired until now. The screen is comprised of grids and pins which move up and down to form brail characters for texts and emails using Shape Memory Alloy technology. I think this is very important and will drastically benefit the lives of individuals who are visually impaired. The phone is estimated to be released by the end of 2013 for around $185.

Article: The World’s First ‘Braille Smarphone’ in Development

Helpful Apps to have when Studying Abroad!


I am studying abroad this upcoming fall semester in Florence, Italy and I was interested to see if there were any apps that people find helpful while in another country. I found this article which listed a few apps I have never heard of before but also listed apps I already have that will be helpful.

1. AccuWeather and Weatherbug- tells you the weather when you are traveling between cities on the weekends.

2. Vonage Mobile and Viber- both people communicating have to downloaded the apps, that way calls, texts and roaming charges won’t apply.

3. Convert Any Unit Free- converts all types of measurements like celcuis to farenheit and all types of currencies. 

4. Highlight- this app will let you know if friends, or people it thinks you might be able to make friends with, are nearby. You sign into the app using your Facebook account and are able to message people privately through the app.

5. Currency Banknotes- this is a more advanced converting app because actually see an image of what each bill in a selected currency should look like, in addition to being able to calculate the exchange rate.

6. iTranslate- This is helpful for trying to converse with hotel staff, waitress or in time sof an emergency.

7. CouchSurfing- this app connects you with people who have at least a couch, but maybe even a bedroom, to let you sleep on for the night as you travel.

8. SuperKing- this app is great for travelers who want to meet new people and mingle with locals.

Article: Top Apps for College Students Studying Abroad




Twitter announced this morning on Good Morning America that it now offers a music service app called #music. This app will use Twitter activity, including Tweets and engagement, to detect and surface the most popular tracks and emerging artists. This app has a unique layout and also offers suggestions of music you may like. The music comes from a combination of Spotify, iTunes and Rdio. #music will be available on desktops and even on the go with an iPhone. This new app shows how twitter is expanding its services and continues to satisfy its users.


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Boston Marathon Bombing

I first found out about the Boston Marathon bombing on Monday from a CNN text message alert sent to my phone at 3:24pm saying, “A pair of explosions rocks the finish line at the Boston Marathon, injuring at least a half-dozen people.” When I turned on the news and started reading online, I couldn’t help but compare it to September 11th, 2001. It seems hard to believe that Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and many other social media sites didn’t even exist in 2001. Due to technology and social media the immediate shock and aftermath of the Boston Marathon bombing was much different from September 11th, 2001.

1. You can search your friends who currently live or go to school in Boston through the new Facebook Graph Search. The Boston Marathon Facebook page was also being updated to notify participants of schedule changes.


2. Twitter users were posting continuous updates on what was happening. The Boston Police Department even tweeted out in search of a video of the bombs exploding at the finish line. The top hashtags in the U.S. on Monday were: #prayforboston, #JFK Library, #Person Finder, #BPD and #CNN.


3. YouTube has set up a dedicated page about the explosions via its YouTube Spotlight account/service, which collects videos on similar issues and it has over 4 million subscribers.


4. Google set up a page called Google Person Finder, which helps people look for and find loved ones who might be missing in an emergency. It is currently tracking over 2,500 records.


This really shows how technology and social media is hugely beneficial in times of emergency or crisis. Even though September 11th was on a much larger scale, how this catastrophe interacted with social media made me consider how different things were in 2001. If the social media devices we use now were implemented in 2001, the public would have been much more informed and the immediate aftermath would have been extremely different.


MTV Introduces the “Giffie” Award

There has been an increase in the use of GIFs in social media and MTV will award the best GIFs during the MTV Movie Awards on April 14th 2013. MTV considers GIFs a staple in MTVs strategy. A GIF artist and comedians from VH1’s Best Week Ever will team up to quickly create entertaining GIFs for impromptu categories such as Sexiest Lip Licking, Best Side Eye and Most Unexpected Stage Dive. The GIFs will appear on MTVs tumbler and Twitter account during the awards show. MTV often tests digital initiatives during the Movie Awards in order to see if they would work at its most important event, the Video Music Awards. Last year during the MTV Movie Awards, fans were allowed to vote using Twitter hashtags in the newest category, Best Hero. The success of the live social voting during the Movie Awards, led to the implementation of live social voting for a new category during the Video Music Awards a few months later. This is a great example of involving the audience through technology. This attracts more viewers and also invests them into the program.

Article: MTV will Launch GIF Awards During 2013 Movie Awards

Facebook Security and Third-Party Applications

I was totally shocked when I read this article. I had no clue that my friends’ Facebook applications could potentially access my personal information. Even if you use a particular app and have blocked all personal information from the application, if your friend uses that application, your information can then be gathered. Facebook gives you a way to change this default setting which shares personal information and instead protect your information.


1. Go to Privacy Settings

2. Go to Apps/Apps Others Use

3. Uncheck each option if you wish to limit what information about your Facebook friends can share with third-party applications. 



Instagram, Vine and the News Industry


I decided to blog about this because I signed up for vine this week. I had heard of it before but didn’t really know what it was until my friends started getting them. So far, I think it is great. Most of the people I follow post videos that are really funny and I catch myself watching them over and over until it gets annoying. When reading this article I found it interesting how vine can also have a huge impact on the news. I didn’t think about it until I saw the video of the crashed car. This 6-second clip can almost serve as a “hook” or a lead to draw readers in. It gives reader a little preview but also makes them interested and want to know more.

The article also mentions vine being used in the sports industry. This clip shows the Michigan Wolverines moving on to the final four in the March Madness tournament. MLB has also started to use vine to show sports highlights. I can totally see Vine being a huge hit in the upcoming sports seasons.

I have discussed Instagram in previous posts but more and more celebrities are using Instagram and posting pictures everyday. The almost professional looking photos with additive features and filters allow the public to follow celebrities just like their other friends!

Michigan Basketball’s post on Vine

NBC New York’s post on Vine


Website Layout: CNN

When I was deciding which websites layout I liked the most, CNN really stood out to me. It is really easy to navigate and the news is broken up into very distinct categories. At the top of the homepage there are tabs for all of the different news categories. When a category tab is clicked, you are brought to the categories individual news page which features all of the news pertaining to that category. The second and third tabs are for both news with TV&Video segments and CNNs Trending news. Under the category tabs they have links to the most breaking and important news. These topics would most likely be determined by the number of hits each topic receives. Down the left-hand side of the webpage CNN lists links to the latest news. This feature makes finding important breaking news very accessible. CNN also includes little videos or a small play symbol next to news links that are in video format. If you scroll all the way to the bottom the news categories are listed again in a grid format with all of the most important news links listed underneath the respective categories. CNN also includes a search box at the top right of the homepage which makes accessing old news really easy! Overall, I think CNN has a very visually appealing website. Photos and video are included in the homepage but do not take over and overwhelm the user. The homepage is more text based but it is formatted in such a way that is organized and categorized by topic. CNN is my first stop when reading news and I think its because I enjoy the layout of the website.

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