Phone tracking

I read this very interesting NYT article and thought that I should share it with my readership.

Obviously, I have many apps on my phone that use my location to offer me better, more accurate services. Indeed, some apps rely solely on tracking my location and sharing it with others. And for me, that’s really not a problem: the benefits far outweigh any potential negatives.

If I was in a job where that sort of information could compromise my security, then yes, I would be concerned.

But if anyone can weaponise my weekly visit to Pick n Pay by hacking into the logs of my location pings, then good luck to them.

Sony ad

Sony are advertising their Xperia cellphone range with a photo of an Xperia cellphone taking a photo of an incoming beagle and for the first time since 2005, I’m considering switching brand.

While the Xperia is undoubtedly brilliant at taking photos (and videos) of approaching beagles, the happy-go-lucky, blue sky, not-a-care-in-the-world imagery portrayed by this advert masks the dark reality, continuous hassle and huge expense of actually owning a beagle.

So very misleading.

On a more serious note, I love my Xperias and it would take more than a beagle on one of their ads to get me to move. I’m getting the XZ Premium next month, and I can’t wait.

Reject call with message

I was on a (landline) conference call the other day when my cellphone began to ring. I couldn’t take the call, so I rejected it with a message by clicking the “Reject call with message” button on my phone. It sent a message to the caller which read:

Sorry, I can’t take your call at the moment.

Which wasn’t actually very useful, since they already knew that I couldn’t take their call at the moment, as I hadn’t taken their call.

So I spent some of the rest of the conference call (the boring bit about costings for the new project) editing the pre-written messages* on my phone, so that I could be more helpful when rejecting calls with messages in the future. I could think of loads of useful, informative options, but there was only space for six messages so I had to be selective and choose the most important ones, each of which can now be selected and sent at the push of a single button.

I’m hoping that these new, improved messages will give more clarity as to why I’m not answering people’s calls in the future. I can think of several occasions where I would have used each of these over the past fortnight alone. Especially the one about the beagles [involuntary shudder].

 

* for my Sony: Phone > Menu > Settings > Calls > Manage reject messages

How to get Whatsapp on your desktop

Yes. Whatsapp is now available for your desktop (on Chrome, anyway). You can write message on your phone or your PC and everything is all automatically synced across all your devices.
Look Mum! I’m doing it now!
There are a few niggles – you have to have your phone connected to the internet while you’re using it (but let’s face it, we all do that anyway) and also:

Unfortunately for now, we will not be able to provide web client to our iOS users due to Apple platform limitations.

…but it works and installing it is easier than it seems.

Here’s how to do it on an Android phone.

1. Download the latest Whatsapp update from the Play Store.
2. Restart the Whatsapp app (Settings > Apps > Whatsapp > Force Stop)
3. Go to https://web.whatsapp.com/ on your computer.
4. Open Whatsapp and select WHATSAPP WEB from your phone’s Whatsapp menu.
5. Scan QR code on your computer screen.

And boom. You’re done.

And yes, blue ticks still apply. Now there really is no escape.

Kayak love

Not the canoe boat thing. No, I’m talking about the website and especially the app.

Kayak isn’t new. Even I have been using it for years. I don’t travel overseas often, but when I do, it’s indispensable and thus, it remains one of my favourite apps.

You can use it to book cheap flights and hotels, but then travelstart is probably the best local option for that. You can use it to track flights, but you’d probably want to go down the flightradar24 route for that.

So why Kayak? Because its biggest strength is that it is particularly brilliant at compiling your itinerary, and it has a genius way of doing it. Each time you get a confirmation email from your airline, your car hire place, your ferry, your hotel or your train company (or whatever), simply forward it to kayak and they put everything together in a handy little virtual pack for you.
You can see the bare bones of this at a glance (flight numbers, times etc) and then with a single click, you can get the detail (seat numbers etc). It even stores the original email for you to refer back to if you need to.
Oh – and you can share the itinerary, either as a read-only or a collaborative editable file.

So simple. So brilliant.

One last thing – a really nice touch on the latest update is the app background changing to a photo of your destination. Suddenly, I’ve got Tinsley Viaduct and those infamous cooling towers on my phone and it’s piquing my excitement to head to the frozen North.