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Topic: Mobile applications and how I can use them, This is the future, and here's proof!

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Doctacosa
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Posted on June 6, 2012 at 14:11:00 [Post link]
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We're in 2012. This is the digital age, right? Some things have changed for the better, while others have yet to be worked on.

I'm making this post, hopefully the first in a series, to share my thoughts and experiences on how I can use mobile technology in my life.

Many people around here know about the PETs from the Mega Man Battle Network series, and how the characters in the games, anime and manga appear to be able to use these versatile devices to do about anything that involves computers or the Internet, from ID card scanning, gaming and remote access. Real life isn't that easy or convenient, but some parallels can be made!


First up: the Cineplex Mobile App

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The Cineplex mobile app, designed for smartphones, is used by moviegoers attending all theatres owned by Cineplex Entertainment in Canada. I've used it a few times now, and it represents the first time where I really feel like a mobile version of a specific software is superior to any other computer access available.

The app, as you can guess, can be used to browse through the various movies available at local theatres. I can view show times, descriptions, movie duration and all the information I'd come to expect. Once I've chosen a movie to see, I can purchase my tickets right from the app. No switching to a "normal" computer required, or waiting on site to do the purchase!

The really nice part comes afterwards: once the purchase is done, a virtual ticket is provided with a code and a barcode displayed on your screen (example below). No printing is required at all. With that in hand, I head to the theatre, find one of the standalone units dedicated to ticket holders, show this barcode to the scanner, and it will automatically print the real ticket to show to the attendant! Those printers are used only for that function, and it all happens quickly, so there's no lineup to be expected. I can show up a few minutes before the movie only! If someone happens to use phone with a smaller screen that doesn't display the barcode clearly enough to be picked up, inputting the alphanumeric alternative provided will do the trick.

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It works extremely well, so I can decide at the last minute to get a ticket as I leave work, show up at the theatre, scan the barcode, get the real ticket, and go enjoy my movie. No fuss, no muss.

Even more interesting is the fact that the rewards program offered by Cineplex, called Scene, is integrated within the app. If I've earned enough points, I can use them straight from my phone to get a free ticket, making payment even simpler. Participants usually get a physical Scene card to show at the food station to get 10% off popcorn, soda and other things. If one happens to have the app, and at some point linked it to his Scene account, he can tap a button and get it to display a barcode representing his rewards card. Show that to the cashier, and he'll be able to scan it so that any rebates or points are earned!


What does this all boil down to? The app allows me to do everything, from purchasing tickets to earning rewards, directly from it. It doesn't need a constant Internet access, so people without a data plan can use it properly once their actual ticket purchase is done. The barcodes for ticket fetching and Scene rewards mean that I don't need to find the plastic card in my wallet. It's hard to make things easier than that, and I seriously like the convenience it all offers.


This is what I expect from mobile apps. Easy to use, fully featured, and they actually provide something more than a typical website on a computer screen can hope to offer. I'm hoping to find more uses for my phone like this in the future, so that the device can live to its full potential!


The admin formerly known as Dr. Cossack.

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Posted on June 12, 2012 at 10:05:07 [Post link]
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That.... is pretty awesome. I don't actually know if there are theater apps like that around here (since my phone usage is still very basic-like) but I love the functionality you've described here.

Doctacosa
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Posted on August 6, 2012 at 17:19:06 [Post link]
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Part 2: Accepting payments on the go

I attended an event this weekend where multiple people had items available for sale. I decided to purchase two prints from an artist, and saw that he was accepting credit card payments. I decided to pick that option to save the bills I had with me for other purchases where no other alternative was available. I was surprised that an individual like him was able to process credit card payments but didn't think much of it...

... until he whipped out his iPhone with an attached dongle! The setup was very similar to this picture.

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While this has apparently been available in the US for a while (here's an article from January 2011 on the subject), this is the first time I even considered that such a setup was possible. I talked a bit with the seller about that... thing as I was very curious about it, and it turns out it's only been available in Canada for a short while. He purchased the dongle, had his bank link it with his bank account, and here we are!

After the seller entered the basic purchase information (especially the amount!) on the touch screen, he took my card, scanned it, then immediately returned it to me along with his phone so I could continue the process. I accepted a basic confirmation screen, then digitally signed with a pen. A receipt was even available: I could receive one by text message or by e-mail. I picked the e-mail option, entered my address, and that was it! I handed the phone back, got my prints, and went happily on my way. Sure enough, when I reached home that night, the receipt was waiting for me in my inbox.

The option of using my card's chip and PIN to pay instead of the old scan-and-sign method wasn't available yet, but I don't think it'll take long before it shows up. Despite that, the whole process was fairly quick and, as I can imagine, is much less costly and complicated than purchasing a full credit card terminal along with getting a contract with VISA, Mastercard and the others.


In this case, I wasn't using the device myself, but I can easily imagine a scenario where I'm the one handling payments on my phones for customers.

Edited by Dr. Cossack on August 7, 2012 at 9:53:26


The admin formerly known as Dr. Cossack.

I post musings, images and nonsense on Tumblr! I play games on Steam! Add me on either/both, and don't hesitate to ask if you want to play something with me!

"There are only three things certain in life: Death, taxes, and Teej's obsessions." ~ RisingDragon (still true in 2017!)

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Posted on August 7, 2012 at 4:47:12 [Post link]
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A seller at Otakon in Baltimore was using that setup and I thought it was awesome.

Also, interordi on tapatalk. Make it happen.


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Doctacosa
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Posted on January 3, 2013 at 19:13:39 [Post link]
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Part 3: Boarding pass

As some of you know, I went to Minecon last November. That was all the way out in Europe, so I needed to board a plane. I made an online reservation, packed my stuff and later headed to the airport. Simple. I decided to leave my phone behind as I didn't really need it and wanted to avoid any silly international roaming charges. Looking back, however, it could have been both fun and handy to carry around.

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The receipt from Air Canada that I printed at home featured a barcode that I could scan from an automated kiosk at the airport to get my actual boarding pass. After entering my code, the system offered two options: print a boarding pass, as usual, or get it sent directly to my smartphone, eliminating the paper completely. While I couldn't pick the second option (remember, I left my phone at home), I happened to get in line right behind a couple who had decided to follow this new procedure. I was thus able to see how it went.

The guards at the first security check were all equipped with a barcode reader able to get the required information displayed on the phone's screen, just like they scanned my paper pass. Right after that, at the customs luggage check, the inspector took the phone and placed it under another scanner that could read the information right off the screen. The phone was then handed back immediately to the passengers who went happily on their way.

The entire process seemed simple enough, eliminated the use of paper and might make the whole deal safer for some: there are people out there who will lose a strip of paper way before losing their phones!

I'll have to try this the next time I travel out of the country.


The admin formerly known as Dr. Cossack.

I post musings, images and nonsense on Tumblr! I play games on Steam! Add me on either/both, and don't hesitate to ask if you want to play something with me!

"There are only three things certain in life: Death, taxes, and Teej's obsessions." ~ RisingDragon (still true in 2017!)

 

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