On Flipboard


EDIT: 2 days later and my readership has almost doubled!

So. I’ve got 28,000 51,000 readers of my online gaming magazine – a Flipboard titled On Gaming.

Holy Cow!!!! When I started my Flipboard I had never realized it would become this successful. I’m totally humbled and blown away.

What’s a FlipBoard?

If you follow me on Facebook (and if not, why not? 😀 )  you likely have seen that I’ve been posting or crossposting more articles to FlipBoard, a gorgeously laid out magazine format curation system for content.

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Whut?
Flipboard is, quite simply, an online magazine that lets you take content you find online and group it into one online ‘magazine’. Similar to what Pinterest lets you do with various image content. Flipboard originally launched on the iPhone and iPad, now is available for Android devices and Computers too. A very nifty platform. To quote the creators:

Millions of people use Flipboard to read and collect the news they care about, curating their favorite stories into their own magazines on any topic imaginable. Now magazines created by our readers, from Nepal to Sauce and spread, can be shared and enjoyed on the Web by anyone, anywhere.

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And why is it something you’d want to do?
Well, in my case, I love finding neat stuff and sharing it with others. And, having a successful Flipboard allows me to extend the reach of articles *I* write by simply including them in the appropriate Flipboard.

As well, having a popular Flipboard also enhances my ability to profile content I think is important.

So, if you’re so inclined, feel free to check out On Gaming, or any of the other magazines I curate, and let me know what you think! If you’ve got something you’d like me to share with my readers, just contact me. And if you start your own Flipboard magazine, then let me know too! I’d love to have a look!

How your mobile phone or tablet could save your life

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Believe it or not, there are many ways your mobile smart phone could be used when you find yourself in the middle of an emergency situation,  aside from the obvious — making a phone call for emergency assistance, I mean.

The recent events in Japan and New Zealand have shown that when disaster strikes, getting the most accurate information is likely the best way to make choices that could save your life.

Browser
Provided the event hasn’t taken out the local mobile network, your mobile phone’s browser will help, linking you with many local, national, and international news services, as well as many different channels of communication (email, voice chat, twitter, etc).

Hardware
f1.jpgBut there are other ways your smart phone can help. For example, many smart phone’s display screens are bright enough to be used as a makeshift flashlight when the power goes out. Color Flashlight is a leading Android app and Flashlight 4 is one of the most popular ones in Japan right now.

As well, most phones these days know where they are in the world, either by triangulating between communications towers, wifi sources, or built-in GPS systems. Tie this in with any of the popular mapping applications and you have a good visual understanding of where you are. Helpful when you have to find an alternate route or transportation system in an unfamiliar city.

An app for that? You bet!
As you can imagine, there are many things that you could need in an emergency. And, of course, there are some apps that can help.

During the Tsunami warnings following the Japan earthquake, information like that provided by this Hawaiian-developed Disaster Alert app helped keep islanders informed about the impending waves.

And after an event, finding people and shelter is a priority.

Google launched their Google Person Finder during the Christchurch earthquake, and updated it for the Japan event.

And the American Red Cross has released their free Shelter View app.

So as you can see, with just a few bookmarks, perhaps an hour of app-store browsing, and a few dollars investment, you can have a pretty good emergency preparedness kit all tucked neatly into your mobile data phone.

I think it’s time I started on mine, what have I missed that I should add?
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Reinventing the Walkie Talkie

walkie.jpgBack in the day, this kind of thing was what people used to talk to each other over distances, using radio waves. You were limited by the power of the unit and the type and number of obstacles between you and the person you were talking with.

And generally, your conversation could be overheard by anyone else using a similar device.

Fast forward to this century and the digital dataphone. And this nifty Android & iPhone/iPod Touch/iPad app called HeyTell, brings the Walkie Talkie concept up to date.

Simple, but it works
HeyTell is a simple app. On an iOS device (I assume it’s similar for Android), HeyTell uses your contact list to manage contacts and invite others to the app.

Using HeyTell is drop-dead simple:

1) Select the contact to speak with

2) Push the ‘Hold and Speak’ button
That’s it. The voice message is beamed to their device. They can talk back to you immediately.
And that’s the way it works. It’s not real-time two-way communication, rather staged delivery of voice messages… a great way to check in, update someone, when it’s not convenient or practical to send out an email.

And it’s free (excluding Internet charges).



This post of is one of many I publish weekly at the Future Shop Techblog. Read more of my stuff here.