Tech Tuesday – July 2, 2014 | The Triangle

Tech Tuesday – July 2, 2014

App Alert


Do you still struggle with expressing yourself via text messages? Do you just have a lot of feelings? Luckily, the Unicode Consortium has your back — or your feelings.

On June 16, the Unicode Consortium announced on their blog that they added 2,834 new characters to the new version of the Unicode Standard, which is a character coding system for text. Unicode wrote in their post, “This latest version adds the new currency symbols for the Russian ruble and Azerbaijani manat, approximately 250 emoji (pictographic symbols), many other symbols, and 23 new lesser-used and historic scripts, as well as character additions to many existing scripts.”

Despite the added possibilities for all of your emotional needs, Unicode reveals that there are a few less-than-desirable consequences that could result from upgrading. The top three of what Unicode deems “the most important of these [complications]” are script-related changes, rendering issues and casing-related changes.

It is likely, though, that these concerns are going to be for your messaging providers to address and may not require any sort of action on your part as the consumer. “How soon can I get these new emojis?” you may ask, and CNET news has the answer for you: “Now that the 7.0 character set has been released, it’s up to various companies to update their software to support the new emojis.” In layman’s terms, it’s up to operating system developers such as Google and Apple to determine how and when you will be seeing these symbols on your phone.

Check out the list of additions here.

Working World



1. FIREFLY — See a phone number, email address or website that you need to jot down for later? Firefly it. Watching a movie that you really love, but don’t know the name? Firefly it. Hearing a song that you like, but can’t remember what it’s called? Firefly it. Firefly is activated by a simple press of a button located on the side of the phone. Here’s to hoping fireflies are more reliable than dragonfly3 and that Owl City doesn’t start playing with every use.

2. CAMERA — Fire has a 13 megapixel camera system, 1080p video capture and rendering, a dedicated camera button, automatic backup, panorama, lenticular and burst capture, and high dynamic range. The coolest part is the dedicated button. According to Amazon, you can “launch the camera in about a second, even when the screen is off.”

3. MOVIES, MUSIC, & APPS — Fire comes with the standard Amazon-branded messaging, email, calendar and maps apps with the capability to add Android apps such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Listen to your music from your respective music app on Dolby Digital Plus speakers that automatically adjust to deliver the best quality of sound.

4. STORAGE — With 32GB and 64GB models, Fire also offers free cloud storage for all Amazon content and photos that are taken with the phone. For non-Amazon related content, there’s another option is purchasing cloud storage or backing up to Drive or Dropbox.

5. CUSTOMER SERVICE — Also known as Mayday, Fire prides itself on being the only smartphone with integrated on-demand 24/7, 365 days a year, FREE support within 15 seconds. Amazon technicians will be able to access your phone to help you through setting up that Drexel email account you can never seem to get working in less time than you spend walking down the stairs to the Hans or waiting in line at Starbucks.

6. 3-D?! — Well, sort of. Amazon calls this Dynamic Perspective, which allows for users to tilt their phones and see a picture or map from a different point of view. Integrated are one-handed shortcuts to allow you to use your phone while walking to classes or multitasking with your laptop and tablet in your other hand.

7. PRIME — Cue promotional tone: For a limited time, purchasers can receive an Amazon Prime membership, a $99 value, for free for one year. In case you don’t do much online shopping and haven’t heard about Amazon Prime, Prime offers free two-day shipping, instant video streaming and unlimited music streaming.

8. HARDWARE — If customizable colors and my previous sales pitch weren’t enough to persuade you, maybe these tech specs will. Amazon advertises a 2.2 GHz quad core processor, 2GB of RAM, an Adreno 330 graphic processor, a 4.7” HD screen, dynamic perspective sensor system, 802.11ac wireless and impressive battery life — “Fire phone delivers up to 285 hours of standby time, up to 22 hours of talk time, up to 65 hours of audio playback and up to 11 hours of video playback.”

9. PRICE — Available on AT&T’s network, with a contract you can purchase the 32GB Amazon Fire for $199 and the 64GB for $299. Without a service plan, however, it’s going to cost you $649 for the 32GB model and $749 for the 64GB model. In broke-college-kid terms, wait for an upgrade unless you have some spare pocket change lying around.

10. Software Development Kit — If you’re interested in developing for the Amazon Fire, you can get the Firefly SDK here.

Smart Student


Talking about writing and English in a technology-focused column seems to be misplaced conversation, unless you’re talking about Wordy is a subscription-based service that provides real-time, human copy editing and proofreading for everything you write.

Wordy hires editors that are located in all major time zones and aims to match the customer with an editor who is a subject matter expert in the paper’s topic. Turnaround time is within a half hour of submitting the assignment, because the editing is done in real time. The cheapest subscription level is $49, which Wordy says is a one-time payment and doesn’t require monthly subscription fees or setup fees. Available 24/7, Wordy may be an option for you if you’re looking for an extra set of eyes and have the cash to spare. Wordy’s other three pricing tiers can be viewed here.

Don’t have the extra cash but still need a boost with your writing process and style? Maybe you don’t struggle with proofreading or copy editing but are looking for some tips or a second opinion on your term paper. The Drexel Writing Center, which is free to all students and offers in-person and online appointments, is available Monday through Friday by appointment.

If you have some spare time on your hands and are looking for a part-time job to exercise your proofreading skills, Wordy could still be the solution for you. Check out their information for becoming an editor here.

Maria Elena Marinelli is a junior information technology major and the assistant web production manager for The Triangle.