Ford SmartLink adds an LTE Connection to Older Ford and Lincoln Cars
It’s not a surprise that Ford is a smart car manufacturer. I don’t know how they do it, but they’ve managed to implement several useful features even in some of their lower end vehicles. Think voice recognition, push-button start or driver-assist technologies, for example.
And now, Ford is doing something even better by giving people who have purchased Ford and Lincoln cars in 2010-2016 access to SmartLink. It’s the perfect solution for people who want to start their cars remotely, or want to have a Wi-Fi hotspot in their car, for example.
SmartLink plugs into the OBD-II diagnostic port, adding a 4G LTE connection to the vehicle. It’s currently making use of Verizon’s data plans, and it helps you lock and unlock the car from a distance, get location-based assistance, and more. If all goes as planned, SmartLink will make its debut this summer.
JetBlue Announces Free Wi-Fi on all its Flights
JetBlue has recently announced that it has started to provide free Wi-Fi access to all it passengers. It’s a very welcome change, and not necessarily because in-flight Internet access is very expensive.
I am pretty sure that many people who could afford paying for Wi-Fi access didn’t want to do it because the entire process was cumbersome: you had to input your credit card details, password, and so on – and often times, do it on a tiny screen! And the result wasn’t great either; most times, you ended up getting access to an Internet connection that was 10 times slower than the one that was installed in your home. Some people have come up with ingenious ideas, trying to boost connection speeds by using portable Wi-Fi routers, high gain Wi-Fi antennas and various antenna cables and adapters to connect them all. The results weren’t that impressive, though.
Back to the news: JetBlue’s move is a smart one indeed, because it boosts the company image, and it significantly diminishes the number of complaints concerning the connection speed. You are getting in-flight Internet access for free, after all, so why would you complain about it? Intelligently named Fly-Fi, the service is now available for all the E190, A320 and A321 aircrafts that are flying in the US.
The prices for in-flight Wi-Fi are quite high, so it’s surprising that JetBlue is covering all the costs. Still, I am pretty sure that it’s a move which will consolidate their image and bring them more customers on the long run.
Optus Announces Wi-Fi Calling Service
Let’s face it: 2016 wasn’t a great year for Samsung. They had to kill one of their beloved brands – the Note – and they’ve lost a lot of money during the process. Still, this hasn’t stopped them from promoting Samsung Galaxy S7 and Galaxy S7 Edge, which were presented – and actually are! – the best Note replacements for any Samsung fan.
Now, Optus is giving the S7 / S7 Edge users another reason to be happy, by launching a native voice over Wi-Fi service that only runs on these two smartphones for now. The good news is that more phones that support this technology will be added to the list in the near future.
The service allows Optus’ customers to make phone calls and send messages even when there’s no carrier signal in the area, as long as they’re connected to a Wi-Fi network. With Wi-Fi calling, the phone will seamlessly switch between the available connections.
Sure, there are other apps like Skype which do a similar job, but Optus’ service has the advantage of using the same phone number, rather than forcing the users to create separate accounts for each new VoIP app.
New Headphones Help You Relax
Many of us listen to music when we are bored. And some of us listen to soothing music to relax. But now, we can purchase headphones that were built specifically for this purpose. Melomind is not just another pair of headphones; it includes several electroencephalographic sensors that track the activity of your brain.
Just like most gadgets, Melomind pairs with your smartphone by making use of a Bluetooth connection. And once the companion app is installed, you can easily start a session, which begins with a calm, pleasant voice that will talk to you, and is then followed by relaxation music.
Melomind will track the activity of your brain and deliver music accordingly, depending on the measured levels of stress. According to its makers, the device will help you feel relaxed after just five minutes of usage.
Launched initially on Kickstarter, the intelligent headphones have quickly gathered about $200,000 – over 300% more in comparison with the initial goal.
New Google Classroom Features
When you come to think about it, Google offers several free services that are really useful. Sure, some of them will collect user data, helping Google make money, but this is how businesses are supposed to work, after all.
Take Google Classroom, for example. It is a platform that targets people who are involved in education. The platform was launched back in 2014, and since then it has received several updates that have made it better and better. I am talking about a new user-friendly interface, as well as a variety of new tools that will help children and students learn more and faster.
Of course, not every child is the same. Not all of them are able to learn at the same pace, for example. Google understands that, so one of the new Classroom features allows teachers to assign different homeworks to different kids. Basically, a child will get a new homework depending on his or her ability to learn and accomplish various tasks. Adjustments can be made during the process, with the final goal of getting all students at the same destination.
And that’s not all! Notifications help teachers keep in touch with students at all time. This way, they will be able to find out if students have sent their work late, or if a particular assignment has been resubmitted. This feature has already proved to be very helpful for grading student work.
Another new Google Classroom feature is its ability to send email summaries. This way, parents can easily verify and keep track of their children’s assignments and other class activities. Parents are able to get daily or weekly summaries, and teachers can send them homework, can post grades or invite them to get involved in different school projects.
Google Classroom will also help teachers and students jot down all kinds of ideas and diagrams. The new annotation tool allows students to sketch math problems, write a quick answer or test ideas for a musical composition, for example.