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After a weekend using the iPad, I’ve realized I’m not interested in hedging my reaction to it with careful considerations of its lack of a USB port or webcam. It’s not every day, or every year or maybe even every decade that we’re able to see a piece of technology that takes a familiar human experience–here, using a computer–and fundamentally changes it. But that is what I think the iPad has done.

The Screen

It starts from the moment you pick it up and that obsidian black pool comes to life. On paper it’s not by any means the highest-resolution screen at 1024×768 spread over 9.7 inches of diagonal glass. Many netbooks pack a higher resolution into the same size. But somehow, it manages to be the most breathtaking screen I’ve ever seen. Maybe because there’s basically nothing else–an inch of black glass bezel surrounds it, rimmed by a thin lip of aluminum, but from the front that’s it. All screen. And its saturation and clarity is astounding.

And oh yeah, you can touch it. You can touch everything, and it reacts instantly. It’s fast. The glass feels cool and smooth on your finger, but after a while you’re not touching glass. You’re touching words, pictures, buttons, everything. The Internet. And everything responds.

Plenty of words have been written about the iPad’s touchscreen interface, and I can pretty much guarantee that none of them will mean anything to you until you use it. It just can’t be expressed. On paper it’s just a giant iPod touch. Yes, I’ve heard that a few times, even said it myself. But then it’s in your hand and you’re gliding your finger over your favorite websites, panning around the globe with your pinkie tip in Google Maps, feeling like a CIA analyst manning some future spy satellite terminal. It’s one brainstem-level pleasure after another; it reacts to some base human instinct to touch and manipulate something shiny put in front of us, and well, we can’t really argue with the brain stem, can we?

And that’s why it changes everything. The layers of abstraction are gone, and we’re interacting with graphical information in the most natural way possible. Apple’s unrelenting focus on simplicity means everything but the touch drops away.

Nothing But Interface

Think about it–on your computer, interfaces are stacked inside each other like a Russian doll. The web site you’re looking at sits inside the browser, which sits inside a folder, which sits inside your operating system. Each interface has its own set of conceits and constraints, meaning the resulting experienced is subject to a great many rules dictating what it can and can’t be. But that’s not how it is on the iPad. There, a weather app adopts the perfect interface for browsing weather information–pinch and zoom on the giant world radar map; tap the forecast and current conditions blocks for more detailed pop-ups. You touch and it responds. And that’s just weather.

The Future of Software is Becoming the Future of Hardware

Like the iPhone, the iPad is a blank slate ready to morph into any device with any interface imaginable. It’s a million gadgets in one, with each able to express itself with the perfect interface. The hardware is designed to fade into the background, so in a way, developers are conjuring their software into tangible, concrete things that act, essentially, as hardware. The list of physical real word objects the iPhone has made irrelevant: cheap pocket digital camera, GPS navigator, e-reader, voice recorder, bicycle computer, iPod–the list goes on. The iPad, with a screen four times the size, will only make this list longer.

iPad Back

Using the iPad on the Toilet

Is so, so great. Apple’s case with its wedge-shaped lap stand is an essential tool here.

With a Keyboard

For more proof of how this is the future, connect any Bluetooth keyboard. Immediately, Apple’s Pages (the significance of which I’ve already written about) becomes the coolest word processor I’ve ever used. A word processor? Cool? But with Words and a wireless keyboard, you can enter text just like we’ve been doing for generations, and see it appear on a blank white screen. Then pick up this screen, turn it vertically, and add pictures and other formatting with your fingers. Touch a misspelled word and pick the proper correction. Even after a few days, I already know this is how I want to create anything made of pictures and text in the future.

I’m Typing on the iPad RIGHT NOW

I wasn’t going to honor the cliche of typing a review of a device on the device itself, but now that I paired up a Bluetooth keyboard i had in the cupboard, I can’t help myself.

Going From an iPad Back to an iPhone It’s not Perfect

Believe it or not, a gadget can change computing forever but still have flaws. Shocking, I know! Almost all of the gripes over what the iPad lacks miss the point, but the one that’s spot on? The iPad needs multitasking.

Not the multitasking we’re used to on the desktop computer. No task bar, no ctrl-alt-delete. Just a small, elegant way to tell us when we have a new IM or email while we’re reading Twitter or playing a game. The ability to let apps that play music continue to play it while we do other things.

Without this, one of the internet’s fundamental forms of communication–the instant message–is basically impossible on the iPad. This thing is supposed to replace the laptop you keep open while you watch TV at home, right? Well, what you do on that laptop is keep 12 browser tabs open and four Google Chat windows, responding to them at your leisure. Not possible on the iPad.

Something like Android’s pull-down notifications drawer would work. In fact, the iPad’s interface already hints at this–when a song is playing in the iPod app, you get a little play icon in the ever-present black strip at the top. It’s less than a centimeter thick, but that’s all it needs to be. Apple, open up that area to the SDK and let apps notify you of things there–with the iPad’s increased screen real estate, it’s time to turn the iPhone’s fairly puny background notification system into something truly usable.

Without it, I find myself flying around from app to app at an exhausting pace. Ironically, Apple’s rigid focus on apps performing one task at a time that actually, I think, reduces the focus you’re able to give any one app on the screen. I’d love to read Moby Dick on the iPad for free, but, NEW EMAIL! Someone has to have replied to my wittily provocative tweet on Queequeg’s mark by now, RIGHT? Tap tap tap. Book interrupted.

Do You Need an iPad?

No. As many others have pointed out, it’s just another device. But you/I didn’t need an iPod when they first came out either. When the iPod debuted, I was content to connect a tape deck to my computer to record the dozen or so MP3s I could suck down from Napster through my 56k modem during any given month. I just didn’t see the need because I didn’t have thousands of MP3s. The content environment was not yet ready.

Do we “need” an iPod today? We still don’t. But MP3s are now a much larger part of our lives than they were in 2001 (which, of course, the iPod is partly responsible for). The buying question has changed from “do you want to listen to your music portably in this new digital format” to “do you want to listen to your music portably.” What will the iPad’s similar commodity be? Until that’s defined, no one needs one. But my guess is that it won’t be long until touch-based apps move from novelty to necessity.

In Closing

The iPad is not without problems, some of which have the potential to make the Internet a less happy place than it is now. Yes, Apple’s well-documented closed system via iTunes. Apple is turning into a monopolistic recreation of the Hollywood studio system in the 1940s: if you need something done right, you work with us and no one else. But even then, there was more than one major studio. Not now.

This is bad. But fortunately for Apple, it’s bad in a way that creates an unbelievably pure and easy user experience on the iPad. (For more on this, see Joel Johnson responding beautifully to the closed system crowd).

The iPad presents a computing philosophy that not everyone agrees with: unrelenting simplicity at the cost of openness. But it’s hard to argue it’s not a perfect execution of that philosophy.

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How Our Pandemic Toolkit Fought The Many Viruses Of 2023

COVID-19 caused headlines again this year, but it was matched by a slew of other newsworthy viruses: the adenoviruses suspected to be behind the rise in hepatitis cases in early spring, the outbreak of mpox—formerly known as monkeypox—in the summer, an early surge in respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), and a peak in influenza cases following the Thanksgiving holiday season. Each of these viruses has tested clinicians, epidemiologists, and virologists. But these experts have responded by employing some of the tools that were built during the COVID pandemic.

The beginning of 2023 brought the first trial run for our toolkit: huge numbers of COVID cases, caused by the emergence of the highly transmissible Omicron variant. Virologists had to re-enact the early days of the pandemic: identifying the strain, testing its disease severity, and understanding its ability to escape the immune system. The available COVID vaccines were pitted against Omicron, and thankfully, showed good efficacy. By now, these studies were familiar, and early results were shared quickly to inform how public health officials around the world acted to protect populations.

After the initial surge of cases, in spring of 2023, many jurisdictions began to reduce COVID testing and tracing. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) changed its guidance on face coverings, so fewer people wore masks out and about. Still, researchers continued to track Omicron and its subvariants, and those who’d worked at speed to understand the latest strain would get little respite—2023 had more pathogens to throw at them yet.

Genome sequencing predicts viral spread

Monitoring mutations is a virus-fighting tool that had been employed early in the pandemic, because it’d been proven to help many times before. Since 2008, researchers sequencing all types of viruses have been able to upload whole genomes to GISAID, a science surveillance initiative. Their work had allowed for quick research at the start of the H1N1 flu pandemic in 2009 and during the 2013 bird flu epidemic. 

“When the unknown coronavirus emerged in January 2023, GISAID had already played a key role in influenza surveillance for 12 years,” says Sebastian Maurer-Stroh, executive director of the Bioinformatics Institute in Singapore and a collaborator with GISAID. The collaborative’s array of tools, though designed for tracking flu viruses, had been built in connection with the research community and large organizations like the World Health Organization (WHO). These tools were relatively easy to adapt to track the spread of COVID, Maurer-Stroh says. 

[Related: The World Health Organization officially renamed monkeypox to mpox]

GISAID’s database of SARS-CoV-2 genomes has helped research into the pathogen’s spike protein, the area on the virus that affects how it enters our cells and causes infection. It’s also meant that countries can monitor the rise and fall of different strains in their populations and make changes to guidelines accordingly. Though submissions of new SARS-CoV-2 genomes started to trail off in early 2023, GISAID and the WHO are still tracking Omicron and the emergence of subvariants. 

But in May 2023, GISAID researchers noticed a new genome being uploaded. The hMpxV virus and the disease it caused, mpox, was already endemic in countries in Africa, but rarely caused infections outside the continent. GISAID surveillance showed that there were new lineages spreading rapidly, and by July the virus was present in 75 countries. That month, the WHO declared the outbreak to be a public health emergency. Cases have been steadily dropping since then, though the WHO reports that seven countries are still seeing new cases. As of December 15, there have been more than 80,000 mpox cases worldwide.

Wastewater provide breadcrumbs for disease outbreaks

At the same time as GISAID was monitoring DNA sequences of the mpox virus, researchers were employing another surveillance tool used during the pandemic. Wastewater taken from July to October in  New York showed that poliovirus was circulating in six of 13 sampled counties.

Wastewater sampling had detected COVID in sewers back in April 2023; in September of that year, the CDC launched the National Wastewater Surveillance System (NWSS) to monitor virus levels. Compared to mass-scale PCR testing, testing wastewater offered an easy and unobtrusive way to find out where there were hotspots of virus activity. 

“You can track a lot of viruses in the wastewater, and what we’re seeing with COVID is that it may be an easier way of doing epidemiology, at least on a bigger picture scale,” says virologist Michael Teng, of the University of South Florida Department of Molecular Medicine. Wastewater surveillance can’t pinpoint individuals, so it won’t help identify potential “superspreaders” before they infect others. But it’s a great tool for virologists to see general geographical trends in virus levels.

[Related: Polio is officially circulating in the US again]

The poliovirus spread in the state was “silent,” but posed a real threat. Cases of polio had been basically non-existent in the US since the introduction of the polio vaccine, which has an average uptake of 92 percent in kids across the country—though some counties’ rates of vaccination are as low as 37 percent.

Vaccines fight viruses in and across individuals

As evidenced by the pandemic, vaccine uptake is one of the–if not the–best tools for stopping the spread of a virus. COVID vaccines protect against infection, and if you do get the disease, you’re less likely to have severe illness if you’ve been vaccinated.

So when researchers predicted a tripledemic of COVID, the flu, and RSV heading towards the US, the message was clear: Get your flu shot and COVID booster. But with no RSV vaccine available, case numbers quickly rose in young children and elderly population.

“We had a COVID vaccine within about 11 months of when the first virus sequence came out well, but RSV was first identified in 1957, and since then we have not really had good vaccines,” says Teng, whose focus is on the respiratory pathogen. “But one of the really exciting stories for this year is that Pfizer [who developed one of the COVID vaccines] along with GSK have had really good results in tests for an RSV vaccine for the elderly.”

[Related: Fighting RSV in babies starts with a mother’s antibodies]

Teng says the purchase of COVID vaccines led to an infusion of capital in companies like Pfizer and Moderna, the latter of which has been able to invest into research it began long before the pandemic. This money meant Moderna could move forward with several vaccines in development, according to Teng, including one for HIV.

These important elements of tackling viruses in 2023—genomic monitoring, wastewater surveillance, and vaccine development—are just part of the huge fight against infectious diseases. There is, of course, still a lot we don’t know about COVID and other viruses, and we cannot predict what 2023 will bring. But researchers are armed with more information about the spread of viruses than ever before, and they’ve already begun putting the pandemic’s teachings into practice.

Lg G4C Review: The Lg G4 Mini That Makes Too Many Compromises



Our Verdict

Overall we are disappointed with the LG G4C. It is neither cheap enough to be truly budget, nor good enough to stand out in a crowded middle of the Android phone market. Battery life is great, performance poor.

There’s no official LG G4 mini, but this mid-range phone is the closest you’ll find to one. Cheaper and smaller than the flagship LG G4c is something of a disappointment. Find out what is and what’s not to like in our LG G4c review. Also see: LG G4 review and LG G5 release date, price and specs rumours.

LG G4C review: What it is, why it matters

The LG G4c is a cut-down version of the excellent  LG G4. It is a smaller, more affordable phone from LG, with a 5in display and a quad-core chip. With an RRP of £229 (and currently £209.99 SIM-free at Amazon) it’s not a cheap phone, but it sits nicely in the middle ranks of modern Android phones. It runs Android Lollipop. Also see: Best smartphones and best Android phones of 2023.

LG G4C review: Build and design

The LG G4C revels in a minimalist chic. It has a nicely curved design that makes it look sleek and expensive. The removable diamond-patterned back helps here, with LG branding stamped clearly and stylishly. It feels robust and built to last, and that diamond patterning reduces the impact of scratches.

At 136g the LG G4C is a fairly standard weight; lighter, smaller and cheaper than the LG G4. Measuring 139.7 x 69.8 x 10.2 mm it is slim without being super-slim, but it feels good in the hand.

The volume controls and home button are on the back, which does take a bit of getting used to if you haven’t used the LG G3 or LG G4. But they are responsive and we grew to like this touch. Also see: LG G3 vs LG G4.

Overall there is not a lot of wow factor, but as it’s the cheaper version of the LG G4 we guess this is not the purpose of this particular model. It is good enough in this respect.

LG G4C review: Display

According to LG you are closer from finger to display than on other phones. We’re not sure why that’s a benefit, but hey: we’ll mention it anyway. In use the display feels perfectly responsive.

Indeed, the overall display quality is good – very bright and clear. It is not as good as that found on the LG G4, obviously, but no display is.

Specs fans may like to know that it is an IPS LCD capacitive touchscreen, with 16M colors. Packed into those 5 inches are 720 x 1280 pixels, which makes for a middle-of-the-road 294 ppi pixel density.

LG G4C review: Storage

Onboard is 8GB of storage, which is not enough in our view. But the LG G4C has a microSD card slot, with which you can add up to 128 GB. Also see: How to add storage to Android.

LG G4C review: Performance

You get a quad-core Cortex-A53 chip, clocked at 1.3 GHz. This is paired with a single gigabyte of RAM. So far so standard for a mid-range, mid-2023 phone.

Connectivity is standard too, so there were no problems there. You get Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n, dual-band, WiFi Direct, DLNA, hotspot. The LG G4C uses Bluetooth v4.1, A2DP, LE, apt-X, and there is GPS, and NFC. The LG G4C uses microUSB v2.0 to connect and charge.

In general use we would say that the LG G4C is most certainly not as powerful as the LG G4, which would make us reconsider buying it. Of course it is a lot cheaper, but it isn’t cheap. And we found the LG G4C to be a bit sluggish when moving between apps, which is frustrating.

This is born out by poor synthetic benchmark performance. In the Geekbench 3 test we got a mediocre average score of 1450. GPU performance was similarly meh, with the GFXBench Manhatten offscreen test turning in a paltry score of 1.7fps. You can compare that performance to all the phones we’ve recently tested in our article What’s the fastest smartphone 2023.

Here endeth the bad news. It is not a performer.

LG G4C review: Battery life

On a brighter note, at least new the LG G4C’s battery is better than most. We found that if could last a whole day with heavy use. (And we mean heavy use: I have been at home all day with my five-month-old daughter. Your phone gets some action.)

LG G4C review: Camera

Up front there is a 5 megapixel camera for selfies, around the back is an 8 megapixel snapper for shutterbugs. It is very middle-ground. In use we found nothing that stands out particularly, but the camera is at least reasonable considering its price. It is fit for purpose. Also see: Best phone camera 2023.

One nice is touch is the function that makes you able to flip between front and back camera with just a swipe.

Read next: Best new phones coming in 2023.

Specs LG G4c: Specs

139.7 x 69.8 x 10.2 mm

136 g

IPS LCD capacitive touchscreen, 16M colors

5.0 inches, 720 x 1280 pixels

Android OS, v5.0 (Lollipop)

Chipset: Qualcomm MSM8916 Snapdragon 410

Quad-core 1.2/1.3 GHz Cortex-A53

microSD, up to 128 GB

8 GB, 1 GB RAM

8 MP, 3264 x 2448 pixels, autofocus, LED flash

5 MP

Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n, dual-band, WiFi Direct, DLNA, hotspot

Bluetooth v4.1, A2DP, LE, apt-X

Li-Ion 2540 mAh battery

Bloomberg Android App: Finally, It’s Been Launched!

We must confess that we’ve been waiting for the Bloomberg’s android version for quite a long time. The app was already launched on iPhone, iPad blackberry and even Nokia, but android users have had an unfair long wait, to say. But that’s all history since, it’s finally here. So let’s explore it a little bit.

User Interface

First of all, we are pretty impressed with how easy on eyes this app is. Using a moderate back background for white text with orange titles, the app has surely avoided putting any strain on eyes while retaining it’s beauty. On the right top, there is an edit button, which allows you to select the news categories of your choice — once you’re through with ticking the relevant ones, the app updates itself for the your selection. The category drop-down menu interface is application wide, so it’s fairly easy to navigate through any screen of the app.

Tap a particular headline to read its full content. Once you’ve opened the full article, notice the two arrows on the left top, which basically let you navigate to next and previous article from that screen only without going back. Also, on the right hand side on the top is the ‘send’ option that allows you to send the article as text via Bluetooth or as email, using Gmail app.

2. Markets

Market’s tab displays the markets into four categories: Equity Indices, Commodities, Bonds and Currencies. Browse through the category and listing under it the same way you surfed the main page. All the stuff you are used to looking for is here.

3. My Stocks

My Stocks tab displays your stocks. You have big customization part here if you’re planning to use this app for maintaining your stock portfolio. Hit the ‘edit’ button on the top left to manage stocks — add, delete, add info, etc.

4. Stock Finder

Stock Finder tab opens up a search panel where you can search about any stock to get more details about it. Type in the name of the stock and hit ‘search’. List of stocks matching your query will show up. Code of the stock along with the country code are displayed on the left side while the full name of the company is shown against it. It’s easy to identify your stock, no matter from where you are.

Tap on your stock to get full info about it. The stock info page gives the current quote of the stock with day’s price as high and low, volume and date. Then, 52 week info about the stock is available with chart, high price, low price, P/E (Price Equity Ratio) and market capitalization.


Other info on the stock page includes related news and company’s brief. Tap the ‘related news’ to get all the recent news that involved the company.


Press the menu key on your phone on any screen of the app to get the same two options: About and Refresh. Well, the about will give details about the app itself while refresh will simply refresh the page on which you hit this option.

Download the Android ‘Bloomberg’ App for Free by scanning the QR Code or hit the market link below it, if you’re on mobile.

Mobile Download Link

Kb4489890, Kb4489888 And Kb4489889 Bring Many Issues Of Their Own

KB4489890, KB4489888 and KB4489889 bring many issues of their own




Microsoft rolled out a new series of cumulative updates for three Windows 10 versions: v1709, v1703 and v1607.

The updates don’t come with any security fixes this time.  Instead, they fix some major bugs that have been affecting the functionality of the OS.

Apart from the bug fixes, the cumulative updates come with a long list of known issues.

KB4489890, KB4489888 and KB4489889 known issues 1. Stop error prompts

Those users who have installed kb4489890 can come across a stop error while stating the Secure Shell (SSH) client program from Windows Subsystem for Linux (WSL).

Microsoft suggests the users have to disable forwarding of the authentication agent connection. It can either be done with the help of a configuration setting or a command line switch (ssh –a).

2. IE 

11 authentication issues

The installation of the KB4489889 update might trigger authentication issues for IE 11. The issue arises if the same account is being used by two or more users on a Windows Server system.

Some of the issues that you might face after the installation are:

Keyboard shortcuts fail to work

Zero or empty location and cache size

File download issues

Credential prompts bugs

Webpage loading issues

Microsoft stated that if you are using a Windows Server machine, the problem can be resolved by creating a unique user account. Furthermore, you also need to disable multiple RDP sessions for an account.

This is a temporary workaround, and Microsoft has promised to release a bug fix with the next Windows Update.

3. Cluster service fails to start

The cluster service does not start following the installation of KB4489889. If the users configured the Minimum Password Length of the group policy with more than 14 characters, you might encounter the error  “2245 (NERR_PasswordTooShort)”. 

Microsoft said that a temporary solution to fix the problem is to set a value of less than or equal to 14 characters as the minimum password length. 

4. Applications not responding

Microsoft acknowledges the fact that the installation of the KB4489888, KB4489889, and KB4489890 update triggers a bug in MSXML6. This bug further forces different applications to stop responding and throw an exception error. When a user attempts to edit a Group Policy Object (GPO), the Group Policy editor may stop responding. 

Microsoft is currently working to resolve the bug and promises to release a fix in the next release.

Maybe the following troubleshooting guides could help you fix the problem:

5. Device start-up issue

The kb4489889update brings another bug for the users when a Windows Deployment Services (WDS) server’s device that uses Variable Window Extension is started with the Preboot Execution Environment (PXE).

As a result when the user attempts to download an image the WDS server connection might terminate prematurely. However, those devices or clients that are not using Variable Window Extension does not have to tackle the bug.

The tech giant is currently working on the bug and for the time being, it can be resolved by following one of these solutions:

Open an Administrator Command prompt and type the following:

Wdsutil /Set-TransportServer /EnableTftpVariableWindowExtension:No

Solution 2

Use the Windows Deployment Services UI.

Open Windows Deployment Services from Windows Administrative Tools.

Open its properties and clear the Enable Variable Window Extension box on the TFTP tab.

Solution 3:

Set the following registry value to 0:


Keep in mind that the WDSServer service needs to be restarted following the Variable Window Extension is disabled.

6. Blue screen bug

Microsoft warns the users that they will have to face a system failure and a startup blue screen bug if they enable per font end-user-defined characters (EUDC).

The particular setting needs to be avoided by those users who are currently residing in the non-Asian regions and have installed the latest updates.

The company suggests the users refrain from enabling per font EUDC till a bug fix has been released.


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Is Square The Future Of Mobile Payments?

Last week it was reported that Square, a mobile credit card reader, had opened its doors and was available for download in the app store. Square is the brainchild of Jack Dorsey, who is also co-founder of Twitter.

The app, when used in conjunction with a small card reader that plugs into the auxiliary port, allows anyone to process credit card payments. This takes “mobile payments” to a whole new level as now small businesses and vendors can process payments without the need for a wired or complex point-of-sale system.

All you need is a compatible device (iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, or one of select Android devices), the card reader, and a signal on your device.

So what does this mean for retailers and small businesses? Is it secure to use? And what about the cost? Will this be the new method businesses large and small use? Read more to find out…


Using Square is not terribly expensive. The mobile card reader is free when you are approved for a Square account, and the transaction fee is 2.75% + .15 to swipe. It’s slightly more if keyed in. There’s no start-up fee, monthly fee, minimum fee, early-cancellation fee, or any other bizarre and ridiculous fee. Transaction fee. That’s it!


When watching the demo video, the part I was most impressed with was the finger-based signature. Merchants can allay customer fears or hesitation by allowing them to hold the device, swipe it themselves, and then sign onscreen with their finger. They’ll see the transaction is complete, their information is secure (only the last 4 digits of the card will show), and they don’t need to worry. Receipts are sent immediately to their email.

Is it unreasonable to expect a jailbreak app designed to clone or retain the swiped info? Maybe not, but do thieves really want to go through the hassle of creating some kind of “business” with items or services to sell so they can dupe people into swiping their card on a phone? I run a small business, and honestly it sounds like a lot less work to learn how to pickpocket.


Obviously, this is Square’s strongest selling point. This is a truly wireless and simple solution to credit card processing. Further, it doesn’t just make accepting credit cards easier, in some cases it makes it possible when it wasn’t before.

Think of festivals and street fairs, places where cash-only is the norm. They can now turn a bigger profit by snagging those customers that don’t carry cash or forgot to stop by the ATM (or maybe are too cheap to pay that $3 withdraw fee!)

But it’s not just small businesses and vendors that could benefit, I imagine larger companies can, too. Apple stores are a great example of mobile payment, with their own card reader and device to process payments on the spot. Now other retailers can trial out this system using Square.

It may not happen in your local department stores, but perhaps seasonal retailers that set-up shop temporarily or sell door-to-door can make use of Square’s simplicity. Maybe in the future, Square will grow to include a barcode-scanning system and inventory count for retailers.

The Downsides

Square is still an app, and apps still crash or have bugs. Already Square’s pushed out an update to resolve some issues. And it might be discouraging to think of lost revenue or customers because AT&T’s network is having a grumpy day or your business is in a weak reception area.

And of course, phones are lost every day, which could compromise security. And then there’s the fact that Square is only as good as your device’s battery. Better keep that cord handy and make sure an outlet’s nearby.

But most of these downsides can be avoided or remedied easily. Find a bug? Let Square know. Bad reception? Invest in a Microcell. Lost your phone? Good thing you had a passcode that was set to erase the data after 10 failed attempts. (You did think to do that, right?) Didn’t charge your battery? Well then you shouldn’t be running a business because you don’t know how to plan! (I kid, I kid.)

Is This the Future?

Mobile payment processing is no doubt catching on and building buzz. Paypal has their options, and I think the field is bound to get more crowded. Crowded means competition, which is usually a good thing.

I own a small business that sells clothing at local festivals, and I have used the bank’s merchant payment processing system. It’s a cumbersome and expensive tool, and the cost hasn’t really been worth the benefit of being able to accept credit cards. Square is a greatly welcome alternative. I can’t wait to try it out.

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