A parent’s wish list for iOS 7

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As a parent with a young child who uses my iPad, I am always monitoring what he is doing when he uses the device. He knows how to delete apps and has decided if he doesn’t like something he should delete it. I am also always watching to make sure he isn’t playing apps that are not intended for him. He knows there is a page of apps that are his and the rest are mine. However, I never know when he might open a news app and see something inappropriate, or open a game that is not for him.

Of course, there is always that risk of an in-app purchase. He doesn’t know my password, but there will be that one time that my password has not timed out and he hits a button that buys something and he doesn’t even know it.

Sure, I could by him his own iPad, but that is a lot of money – even for an iPad Mini. Instead, there are two features I would love to see Apple implement in iOS 7 that would help me as a parent.

Multiple users

People have been asking for the ability to have multiple users on an iPad for years. The ability to have different users with different apps enabled for each user, and only those apps, would be enough to make iOS 7 a hit. I would love to be able to set up an account for my son with only his apps and nothing else. For that matter, I would love to do the same for my wife. Multiple Users is a feature which is a long time coming and I hope it arrives sooner than later.

In-app purchase limitations

While there are parental controls that allow you to turn off In-App purchasing throughout the entire iPad, I would love to be able to specify which apps it should be allowed in. I don’t want to have to go into Parental Controls and turn on In-App purchasing if I want to make a purchase in an app and have to go back and remember to turn it off again.

This could be similar to the on/off switch for notification center or location services. You would have a list of purchase enabled apps and the ability to allow the feature or not by turning it on and off.

Like I said, my son doesn’t know the password to make purchases anyway. However, I would feel much better if I could just turn off that feature inside of his apps.

The ability to set default apps

If you use iOS on any device you know that Safari is the default web browser. Sure, there are others available like Chrome and Opera, but if you click a link in any other app it will open in Safari no matter how many browsers you have installed.

Recently, I noticed Net Nanny, a company the helps filter out inappropriate content on the Internet, has released an app that is basically a browser that is filtered for kids. (I have not used this app, but I am using it as an example. I do not know how well it works.) This concept is fantastic and I would think many parents would jump at using this type of browser for their kids. However, if the child clicks a link in another app, like a spam email, the links to inappropriate content that site will still open in Safari.

As with in-app purchases, Safari can be disabled. However, where would appropriate links open? They would be stuck in limbo, since there is no setting to allow the links to open in another app such as Net Nanny.

Conclusion

There are other features I would love to see added, like the ability to shutdown all running apps with one click, the ability to have the weather on my home screen, and more. However, if Apple just implemented the three features mentioned above I would be a happy parent, and I’m sure there would be many other happy parents out there too.

Mobile apps for business are on the rise

businessmanIn today’s app stores, there are thousands, if not millions of downloading choices. There are games, reward programs, platforms to help keep us up on sports, and other options most have yet to discover.

With all this success, the professional field has begun to take notice. No more are apps only for-fun, now users can file their taxes, sync multiple email accounts, and IM clients with these ever-growing business-friendly models.

Growing Technology

While, in theory, these options have been available to users since the induction of the first app, it’s taken updated versions and more user-savvy designs to put them in the spotlight. Advances in technology have also allowed more apps to be invented, such as those that use cloud storage or scan documents (GeniusScan, for instance). With clearer, more sophisticated cameras, smartphones are able to capture small text and reformat them into readable data.

These advancements can also be credited for geolocation, which, through network Internet, allows users to pinpoint colleagues or meet up with professionals in new locations. Apps like Brosix allow users to exchange coordinates through their business platform, which is also transferable to one’s computer.

Encryption-enabled platforms and voice recognition – such as Dragon Dictation – have also brought on a new layer of professional smartphone apps.

What it Means

With the growth of these for-business apps, more and more workers can perform tasks while on the go. Mobile offices can become much more efficient, cutting traveling costs or office expenses. In many cases, people are able to work from home, eliminating the need for an extra set of bills or commuting time and fees. Office equipment also becomes less expensive, as more and more electronics become unnecessary. With a smartphone alone – before apps are loaded – users can take out the need for an office phone, camera, calculator, phone book, and more.

These lowered costs allow companies to run more efficiently, and will even further advance the need for business app technology. Thankfully, the field doesn’t seem to be slowing down any time soon, providing for more and more software inventions to come into play.

Whether using a smartphone for document scanning, geolocation, or email synchronization, the number of helpful app programs is on a steep rise. To get the most out of your mobile device, head to the app store to see what platforms are available for your needs – personal or professional.

Google Now for iOS: A real reason to use location services

Google Now HomeI am a tech geek. I love technology, I constantly download the latest apps, I do my very best to have hands on experiences with the newest devices, and I am generally constantly reading about new advancements.

That being said, Google Now has completely blown me away.

Google Now: The future is here.

Coming from Apple’s iOS as my primary platform, I have been salivating over Google Now via YouTube videos and tech articles for a long time now. I initially stumbled on it while looking at comparison videos between Siri and Samsung’s S Voice. In the rabbit hole that is YouTube, I eventually ended up watching plenty of videos comparing Google Now to S Voice and Siri, and Google Now handily beat them both every time.

Needless to say, this bit of software was something I was excited about, but honestly was not fully confident that it would make it to iOS. However, as is the trend with Google, they always feel releasing their incredible software on iOS is more beneficial for them than it is detrimental for their Android platform. Lucky for iOS users!

Google Now is basically nested within the Google Search App which can be downloaded from the App Store.

First Impressions

I downloaded the app on April 29th, the day that it was released, and I was blown away right off of the bat. Once I installed it, I went into the Google Search app, and dragged the Google Now interface from the bottom into full view. I was curious what type of “Cards” I would be seeing since it was my first time on the app.

Important note about setting up Google Now

To use Google Now,  it is highly recommended to turn on your Location Services. Without that, Google Now literally does not function. It will just sit there and tell you there are no location services, and show you nothing else. Also, if you have a Gmail account, logging into it will greatly enhance your experience. As far as I can tell, virtually everything is taken from your Google relationship, and generally a Gmail account is the anchor point for that relationship.

2013-05-01 11.14.01Once I had my location services enabled and logged in with my Gmail, I scrolled through my cards. The first thing I noticed were two cards that had the information of two packages that I had ordered from Amazon. I immediately tapped on one, and it showed me all the information about when the order was made, who was shipping it, and gave me a button to “Track Package.” This was the first feature that truly surprised me because it required Google to sort through my email, understand the email from Amazon, take the data and reorganize it for the card, and present it to me with a link that goes directly to the USPS tracking site. That is just plain intelligent, and it’s the type of tech I have been waiting for for a long time!

To be fair, the tracking on the package was rather basic, and didn’t go to the USPS site the first times that I used it. It was still able to tell me the latest status and the delivery day, but wasn’t showing me step by step statuses as the package made its way to my house. However, I noticed that today, when I track a few additional packages that I recently ordered, the “Track Package” button goes directly to the USPS website, and shows me the exact up-to-date status which is even better than using the Amazon app to track things.

Location Awareness and Navigating

I have to admit, this is the category that excited me the most when I looked at all the Google Now videos. Sure, it is incredibly fast at understanding a question and giving you data immediately, but what was being shown for built-in navigation seemed like true predictive and future technology. In these YouTube videos I watched, they showed how Google Now would alert you when to leave for work in the morning based on the traffic situation, basically predicting what time you needed to be at work and alerting you if traffic was jeopardizing that. Since Google Maps navigation has always been the most reliable app on my phone, I was excited by this type of tight integration. So how did it work?

Once I set my Home location in Google Maps, the Google Now integration was absolutely fantastic. However, it relies heavily on having a place to go. While that might sound obvious, what I mean is that this data needs to be in a form Google Now recognizes. For my appointments over the last few days, I had to add them to my Google Calendar (including location)and then it would sync to Google Now.

The result was quite impressive. For example, I put in a doctor’s appointment for the next morning, and when I woke up and went into Google Now, the top card was how long it would take me to get there and a small map highlighting the traffic situation, and of course a button that links to immediate navigating in Google Maps. Pretty cool. Even more, when I was finished with an appointment (or out anywhere for that matter), it would always have a card suggesting the traffic back home. A few times, this made it seem like it was reading my mind, as I was actually heading home.

Again, this is all understandable, and a natural progression of technology, but here is what really surprised and excited me: I was at a doctor’s appointment, and it was my only appointment in my calendar for the day. Naturally, Google Now was suggesting Home as the next destination and that was all. However, I needed to get some blood drawn for a test my doctor wanted, so I started using Google Search to find lab locations around the area, identify their operating hours and perhaps make an appointment. As I was walking out of the doctor’s office, I casually glanced at Google Now to see if there were any interesting new articles it thought was relevant to me, and the top card was the traffic and time estimate to the lab I looked at! Talk about predictive technology.

Location based results that I have experienced:

  • Restaurants nearby that have Zagat ratings attached
  • The weather and forecast wherever I am
  • Traffic to my next destination (if it’s in the calendar), or back home

Some cool location features I have yet to test:

  • When traveling, it will display a translator for you based on the country you are in
  • It will show you the current time zone you are in, and occasionally flash back to your home time zone so you see the time there
  • Depending on the country you are in, it will offer up the current currency exchange in that area
  • It will suggest local venues and shows going on, including movies

Sports and News CardExperience with Google Search Integration

As the magical addition of my Lab location points out, Google Now is heavily integrated into Google Search. Here are some things I have searched for that Google now later assisted with:

  • Locations I have searched for (like the lab), especially when I am near them
  • Sports teams I have searched for future schedules or past scores (they start appearing in cards with results)
  • News articles featuring the type of tech articles I have been searching for and reading (not many, but they were on target)
  • Restaurants nearby

Aside from these types of integration, the Siri-like feature of being able to search with your voice is just plain spot on. Not only does it show you what you said in text so you can visually confirm the search, it does so as you type. The second you say a word, it is on the screen, and you can see it correct itself by the context of your sentence if it got a word wrong. The result is a flawless voice translation that always has gotten it right for me, and leads to a fast and easy search. It generally can find an answer to just about anything, and is way better than Siri (and much faster).

Is this an invasion of privacy?

I am very sure there will be two camps regarding the privacy issue, one saying that of course it isn’t, and one saying Google is an evil corporation and is trying to sell your soul for money. I have always been a part of the former, but with this increased integration, I can really understand the latter. Much of the impressive things Google Now has done has honestly been absolutely creepy. It seems to know what is going on in my life, before I even know I am looking for it. However, I suppose that I am technologically minded enough to find these advances awesome and necessary, and the sharing your information part of it is just a necessary evil for large jumps in life quality.

iOS Drawbacks

One of the largest differences between iOS Google Now and Android Google Now is simply the level of phone integration that you can attain. For example, when you tap on “Get Directions” on the traffic part of iOS Google Now, it will open Google Maps (thank god it’s not locked to Apple Maps for some silly reason). However, in the Android version, you also have choices like notify the person you are meeting that you will be a few minutes late.

Additionally, and one of the absolute worst limitations for iOS is that push notifications are not allowed. This severely limits the usability of the app because you must have the app open to get the benefits. For Android, your phone will alert you that it is time to leave for work (or whatever appointment) based on the traffic and the time. For iOS, it knows you have to leave, but it can’t say anything to you. It’s up to you to notice the time, and check the app for the traffic update. That is a huge downside, but given all the wonderful other features of the app, I found that I am in it regularly enough to notice things before it alerts me.

Final Thoughts

Google Now is still young on iOS, but it is clearly a winning product. Of all the apps to have ever come out on iOS (not counting Google Maps return to iOS), this is hands down the one that I am most excited about. True predictive technology is something that tech companies have been working on for ages, but nobody has been able to really nail. Google seems extraordinarily close, and if they can develop this to know virtually everything I want to do before I do it, then all the other companies will be scrambling as their market share absolutely tanks.

The best part is that I don’t think any other company really can do it the way that Google can, because they don’t have all these integrated services like Gmail that are constantly pulling in information from every aspect of your life. Time will tell if this is truly the future, but I am very certain that this is a large step in the right direction.

The negative effects of cluttered website design

cluttered designAll too often we see websites that are difficult to navigate, read, or simply don’t make sense. In the process of looking for a trendy new look, site owners created a cluttered monster instead. There may be sliders, large photos that take too long to load, or design features that tend to muddle each page. Sure there’s the outdated site or two that’s just behind the times, but that doesn’t make their faux pas any less offensive.

As web travelers, we need user-friendly sites, links that take us to the pages they say they will, and plug-ins that don’t overlap. As for ill-designed sites, let’s hope their webmasters get a raise soon.

The Regular Offenders

Other forms of website clutter is found by way of multiple pictures, text that goes on for days, or a buggy template that doesn’t display like it should. These rookie mistakes can lead to loss of business, web traffic, or even some badmouthing on the internet. After all, how can we expect users to successfully navigate pages when the design inhibits them from doing so?

A properly functioning website should:

  • bring in new business
  • create traffic through word of mouth
  • act as a source of marketing for the company
  • inform customers
  • portray the business in a good light

A cluttered one, however, does just the opposite. Without a design that promotes company navigation, users are more likely to become frustrated or give their business to a competitor. Run-on text can also overwhelm viewers rather than inform and educate them. With an ill-planned design, it’s likely more customers are being sent away than are signing up to hear more.

These errors also hit websites where they hurt most, sometimes even questioning their services. For instance, when marketing companies or tech-savvy sites have cluttered sites, how are customers to trust whether or not they can perform their duties? If it can’t be done at home, customers may wonder whether or not it can be done at all.

De-Cluttering the Web 

Despite the many negative effects that can come from a cluttered website, it’s also just plain unappealing. No one wants to search through links and pages when there are plenty of sites that have done the work for them. To save face, bring in business, and to make the Internet a better place, remember to cut the clutter. Your viewers will thank you.

Facebook adds hashtags to compete with other social networks

hashtagA few weeks ago, Facebook announced that it was working on a way to integrated hashtags into its platform. Already a successful feature on Twitter and Instagram, the change would bring Zuckerberg and crew into the world of random and unnecessary links. Sure, some are helpful and even relevant, but when scouring Twitter, the majority of hashtags consist of a string of words that may or may not be spelled correctly. This is the world that Facebook wishes to join.

Once implemented, Facebook’s hashtags would link similar conversations, just as its counterparts do – or so their announcement said. However, unlike Twitter, Facebook has always been a somewhat private website; how will privacy locked-account owners react to these hashtags? Or will theirs even work? Will open accounts’ entire conversations be linked? There are still several questions in the way of logistics. But in theory, many are wondering if this is a necessary, or even a smart move.

Pros and Cons

Since the blowup of social media, Facebook has reigned as king. They have the most users, the most recognizable features (likes and tags, etc), and they even allow other accounts to post through their newsfeeds. Have a Twitter account? Link it to Facebook for maximum exposure! And so on. But now that Facebook is adapting others’ tactics, it’s hard to say whether they’re still on top, especially when the move doesn’t exactly fit into their platform.

Now, to conform, the site is spending thousands of hours and dollars on development, while raising questions along the way. And all to adapt to a trend someone else made popular.

As for the hashtag itself, only the future can know if it’s here to stay. It could easily die out just as quickly as it came to power, or forever change the way the public used the pound key.

It’s likely that Facebook sees this change as a move in popularity. “Everyone else has it,” they say. “Now we have to have it too.” Sure there will be less confusion as to exactly what the hashtag is, does, or when it can be used – though some will inevitably still use it emails, videos, or when speaking. But for the social media population not obsessed with hashtagging every other word, we’re questioning your motives, Facebook. I don’t see the value in stealing others’ mediocre ideas.

How to uninstall Adobe Acrobat Reader and open PDFs in your browser instead

adobe-reader-logoOver the last few months, I’ve been aggressively pursuing ways to remove my dependence on 3rd-party plugins. Every time I read about a massive security exploit in software like Java and various Adobe products I think to myself, “Why am I putting myself at risk by keeping this software installed?”

PDF documents aren’t going anywhere, nor should they. They provide a useful, lightweight method to share non-editable rich text documents, and the format has been around since 1993 meaning almost all of us have interacted with a PDF document at some point in our lives. The fact that PDFs are so ubiquitous means that most computers come with a PDF document viewer pre-installed, with Adobe Acrobat Reader being one of the most popular.

I certainly can’t criticize Adobe’s efforts to combat security issues because I’m frequently prompted to update my Adobe software via their automatic update system. These updates are often retroactive, though: by the time you receive an update, the security flaw has already done its damaged to hundreds and thousands of computers. The definition of a “0-day exploit” means that the attack used a previously unknown vulnerability, and these exploits can be extremely dangerous.

Unfortunately, we simply can’t rely on automatic updates to protect us from all security flaws for a number of reasons. Some users may not have automatic updates enabled, and many users deliberately disable automatic updates on popular applications despite the security risk it presents. Automatic updaters typically run on a schedule, so there could be a delay before your computer even checks for a security update. And let’s not forget the most basic of issues: Some users simply don’t know what to do when presented with an automatic update dialog.

So what’s the solution? In my opinion, the best way to avoid security flaws in Adobe Acrobat Reader is simply to uninstall it. I don’t want you to be PDF viewer-less though, so in this article I’ll show you a simple way to remove Adobe Acrobat Reader without giving up your ability to view PDFs.

Web browsers to the rescue

Web browsers like Chrome and Firefox have strong incentives for removing the dependency on 3rd-party plugins like Adobe Acrobat Reader. Plugins slow down browsers, open security vulnerabilities, and can cause a variety functional issues with the browsers themselves.

Recently, both Chrome and Firefox have released updates that allow you to view PDFs right from within your browser, without using a 3rd-party plugin. Firefox has offered this feature since version 19, and thanks to Javascript, the Mozilla team was able to render PDFs without relying on a plugin.

If you have the latest versions of Chrome or Firefox installed, you should automatically see their built-in PDF viewers when opening a PDF link in your browser. But what about PDFs you have on your local computer? No problem!

How to use modern versions of Chrome and Firefox as the default viewer for PDF documents

Using your browser as a PDF viewer is as simple as changing the default application used to open the .pdf filetype. In Windows, this can be done by following these steps:

Step 1: Locate a PDF document on your computer.

Step 2:Right-click the document and select Properties.

Step 3: Locate the Opens with: setting and click Change.

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Step 4: Select your web browser of choice. You may need to navigate to your browser’s executable if it isn’t displayed in the list.

Selecting the default PDF viewer in Windows 8
Selecting the default PDF viewer in Windows 8
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Selecting the default PDF viewer in Windows 7

That’s it! Now when you open a PDF document, your web browser will be used instead of Adobe Acrobat. You can now uninstall Acrobat from your computer – you won’t be needing it or its security vulnerabilities anymore.

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What happened, Hulu?

hulu logoAfter years of watching illegally obtained TV shows, I still remember the excitement I felt after the announcement of Hulu – a website to stream current TV seasons for free. No more downloading shows (along with viruses), no more recording shows on VHS tapes, and no more wishing that TiVo existed in the Midwest. It was an event that would change the way we watched TV forever.

Or so I thought.

Five years and an infinite number of changes later, that’s not exactly the case. Not only do users have to subscribe (at $7.99 a month) to watch shows that are a certain number of days old, free shows are only accessible via computer. That means internet capable TVs, tablets, and smartphones all cost extra for the same services. This would seem somewhat reasonable if more shows could be seen for free, but now an increasing number of programs require a Plus account, even for the newest shows. (TV shows are generally listed the day after being aired, with only a few available at a time. The older an episode, the less likely it can be seen for free.)

And how many of us have time to watch entire shows at our computer? Sure we can hook up our computers to our TVs, but the quality is never as good, and without a mouse the interactive ads just seem silly.

Double Jeopardy

The plot thickens when looking at Hulu’s owners – Disney-ABC Television Group at 32 percent, Fox Broadcasting Company with 36 percent, and NBC Universal Television Group at 32 percent. As the owners of programs being featured, these major network companies are re-earning from their content. Because they own the rights, it would be easy for them to post shows for free. Web traffic would be through the roof and they’d make a killing on ads – after all, they show tons of them.

But instead of offering up this incentive, they charge a monthly fee. That means if you already pay a cable bill, you have to pay twice to see the same content on the go. Three if you just happened to forget to DVR a show; how many times can we pay for the same access?

It’s likely we are years away from this universal one-fee-meets all access, but we can dream, right? Maybe with enough opposition, Hulu can return to its former glory, which is to say free. After all, if Netflix taught us anything, it’s that there’s nothing a group of angry consumers can’t accomplish. Complain on, folks.

Without making some changes, Apple can’t stay on top forever

alternate apple logoWhen it comes to Apple, most people think they can do no wrong. Each time they come out with a new product, customers are lining up down the street to get their hands on it – regardless of price or how many previous Apple products they may have. So when, say, Apple decides to change their power cords or requires in the upwards of $20 for a single service call, the customers go along.

And why shouldn’t they? Apple is (arguably) the best option for durability and electronic safety, and their products are just so cute. When you buy an Apple, you know it’s going to work, you know there’s only a tiny chance you’ll get a virus, and you know you have purchased from the most recognizable, and perhaps most respected computer/mobile device creator.

But why all the hoops? Why must we buy adapters to charge our new devices with our old cords? Why won’t our old computer chargers work with our new computers – even when the hardware is the same shape? When wanting an unlocked phone, why must we pay hundreds? And even after our wireless contract is fulfilled, the phone is still attached to the service provider – does that seem fair? (Especially since a profit is still being made on the signing price.) But most of all, Apple, why is everything so secretive?

Consumers have proved loyal release after surprise release, yet every new piece of electronic is still kept under pinky-sworn secrecy until launch day. Surely you can imagine our disappointment when minimal changes are made – after all that to-do we wanted screen unlock with facial recognition, two-week battery life, or at least the option of a new color.

Even for the fans, it’s hard to get past some of these glaring issues, especially as the products remain massively expensive with few updates in between.

In an alternate, un-secretive universe, Apple could leak their own news to see the feedback before a product hits shelves. Then again, maybe they just don’t care. Because of all the loyal fan money coming in (even the money they earn from new adapters matters), the company is still making ends meet and then some. Maybe it’s time to get past the “Apple can do no wrong” phase and realize that, just like every company, without happy customers, there’s no business. Without making some changes, Apple can’t stay on top forever. Let’s just hope said changes come before the growing pains are too great.

Improve your writing productivity with a physical iPad keyboard

revue-keyboard

Do you need a physical keyboard for your iPad? That is the question I have been debating for myself for a while now. I write for this site and a few others, and I am often writing the articles for all of these sites on my iPad. I have always typed directly on the iPad screen and never used a physical keyboard. However, when I type a lot on the iPad keyboard I find I frequently make typographical errors. I was hoping a keyboard might fix that.

I recently discovered the new trend of thin keyboards that double as an iPad cover, like the Logitech Ultrathin iPad keyboard that many people are raving about. The Logitech keyboard is pretty pricey ($100 retail) and I did not want to spend that much money on something I may or may not like and use.

I started shopping for similar keyboards and found many that started at $20 and up. I then decided to search eBay and found similar pricing results – generic keyboards for about $20, and the price went up from there. I searched for keyboards and found a Luvitt like-new keyboard at auction for less than $20. I researched the keyboard and found it retailed for over $100, although it sells for about $80, so I put in a bid and ended up winning it. I was thrilled; I got a decent keyboard that got great reviews for under $20. In fact, I am typing this article with it right now.

This particular style of keyboard is a lot smaller than a standard keyboard, but I prefer its portability. I’ve found myself making typos because I am still to getting used to the smaller keyboard and having certain keys (like the right shift key) in a different spot. However, I really do like typing on the keyboard versus the screen for something like an article. The keyboard also has arrow keys for moving around the text easily. It has other function like volume control, cut and paste, a home button, and more. It really does change typing on the iPad when you have a “real” keyboard.

luvvit

Should every iPad owner get a keyboard? No.

The keyboard is not for everyone, especially if you use the iPad on your lap. The type of keyboard I am using does not work on your lap. The iPad would fall out because it has to be used on a table top surface to stay balance in the system it uses. For the casual user, I’d say stick to the on-screen keyboard. That is what I plan on doing 90% of the time when I am not typing something like an article. However, if you do a lot of typing on the iPad I would say a keyboard will significantly improve your productivity. This can be a small keyboard or a full size keyboard – the choice depends on your preferences and how you plan on transporting it.

The iPad with a physical keyboard is a nice combination, but not for everyone. It can help with productivity for some and be a waste of money for others.

Meet Uber, your on-demand private driver

2013-04-11_09h49_14Thanks to the Uber app for iOS and Android, gone are the days of standing outside trying to hail a cab or find a car service. I was recently in San Francisco for work and I met a friend for dinner across town. We were about to leave, and I said to her, “I really hope there are cabs in this area.” She looked at me and said, “You don’t have the Uber app?” I immediately pulled out my iPhone and download the app, within 5 minutes I signed up and had a taxi waiting for me outside the restaurant.

How it Works

Set up an account

First, you download the app to your iOS or Android device and create an account. You must enter a credit card in order to complete account set up. An email will be sent for you to confirm your information

Right now Uber can be used in the following cities: Amsterdam, Atlanta, Austin, Baltimore, Berlin, Boston, Chicago, Dallas, Denver, Detroit, Hamptons, London, Los Angles, Melbourne, Milan, Minneapolis-St Paul, Napa, New York, Orange Count, Paris, Philadelphia, Phoenix, Sacramento, San Diego, San Francisco, Seattle, Singapore, Stockholm, Sydney, Toronto, Washington DC.

Select the type of vehicle you want

The types of vehicles are listed below; however, not every type of vehicle is available in every city. When you launch the app GPS will locate what city you are in and give you the vehicle options for that area.

Taxi: No flagging or yelling required! Use Uber to request and pay for a taxi, at standard taxi rates plus a $1 booking fee. A 20% gratuity is automatically added for the driver.

UBERx: The convenience of Uber at a lower price with hybrid and mid-range cars in a variety of colors. Seats up to 4 people.

Black: Classic black car option is the default. Choose this and either a high-end sedan or SUV will be curbside in minutes. Note: choosing “Black” and being picked up by an SUV will not charge you the SUV rates. Seats up to 4 people.

SUV: When you’re rolling with more than four people, request only SUVs, for a higher rate. Seats up to 6 people

Use the app to tell Uber where you want to be picked up

You can use the map and your phone’s GPS to tell Uber your current location so they can pick you up. If the GPS does not find the exact location, you can manually type in the address.

www.uber.com
www.uber.com

Wait for Uber to respond

Uber will send you a text notifying you of how long you’ll need to wait before you can expect to be picked up, along with the driver’s name. When your Uber ride arrives, you’ll receive another text to let you know.

Wait for your payment to be automatically charged

Your card will be automatically charged, with the tip already included. You don’t need to manually hand over some cash or your card to the driver before you leave. It’s that simple.

Pricing

Uber’s pricing is similar to metered taxis, although all hiring and payment is handled exclusively through Uber and not with the driver personally. If the Uber car is traveling at a speed greater than 11 mph, the price is calculated on a distance basis. Otherwise, the price is calculated on a time basis. Prices are higher than prices charged by conventional taxicabs and 20% gratuity is automatically added.

At the end of a ride, the complete fare (which includes a tip) is automatically billed to the customer’s credit card. Uber has said that its high prices are the premium that the customers pay for a cab service that is not only reliable but also punctual and comfortable. Check out Uber’s website for prices per city.

Once the ride is over…

A receipt is sent to your email address (great for those who need to expense the ride) along with a survey to rate your experience. I also received an email for $10 off for every friend I get to sign up using the link they provide in the email.

Conclusion

Overall, my experience with Uber was great. The price may seem a little expensive to some people who give it a try, but when you work it out with the tip and realize that you’re paying for more of a high quality and convenient driver experience, it’s actually well worth the cost.

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