McDonald Stories October 24, 2014

Update: A spokesperson for Amazon confirmed Amazon Rewards Visa cards now support Apple Pay: “Amazon Rewards Visa Cardholders can now pay with Apple Pay. The website (https://www.chasedigitalpayments.com/) has been updated and cardholders can now start provisioning their cards.”

Just two days after Amazon said it was working to enable its Rewards Visa card in Apple Pay, the company has made good on its promise. Reddit users are reporting success in adding the card, and TechCrunch posted the above photo of a card loaded into the app …  expand full story

McDonald Stories September 8, 2014

Spotify app to offer 30 mins of ad-free listening if you watch a 15-30 second video ad first

Spotify currently offers you a choice: pay ten bucks a month to listen without ads, or listen for free but have your music interrupted by audio ads. Those using the iOS or Android app will be offered a third option later this year: watch a 15-30 second video ad in return for 30 minutes of ad-free listening.

Known as Sponsored Sessions, the idea is that advertisers get the ability to run video ads for the first time, while the experience is made relatively painless for consumers by guaranteeing 30 minutes of uninterrupted listening afterwards.

Spotify began pitching the option to advertisers back in June, and Ad Age reports that a number of major advertisers have now signed-up.

Spotify will start testing the video ads in the fourth quarter with a limited number of brands and plans to extend them to all advertisers in the first quarter of 2015.

Coca-Cola, Ford, McDonald’s and Universal Pictures have signed on as the ads’ first global buyers. Kraft Foods, Target and Wells Fargo will be the U.S.-only launch advertisers.

The Spotify app is a free download from the App Store.

Via Engadget

McDonald Stories September 7, 2014

Apple and longtime partner Disney this week are bolstering their stores with upgraded versions of iBeacon sensors and NFC readers, according to sources. Apple Stores have had iBeacons stationed throughout showroom floors for several months as a way to pinpoint exactly where a customer is within the store. This allows Apple to better serve customers by providing relevant sales information to their iPhones and iPads while in the store. The upgrades happening this week within Apple Stores place several new Gimbal Series 20 Proximity Beacons across stores to make location tracking within the store even more accurate.

In addition to providing relevant information for the Apple Store app, iBeacons can be useful for NFC mobile payment technologies as a form of authentication. If Apple knows where a customer is in the store to a precise degree, it can ensure that is it wirelessly connecting to the correct iPhone for mobile payments. As has been widely reported, the new iPhone 6 and upcoming Apple wearable device will include new wireless sensors (including a near field communication chipset) to conduct mobile payments with credit cards stored in an upgraded Passbook application.

expand full story

Sylvania HomeKit Light Strip

McDonald Stories August 11, 2014

A MacBook and a few parts from eBay allow hobbyists to take control of an abandoned NASA spacecraft

A MacBook, a flatscreen monitor rescued from a dumpster, a few parts bought on eBay and an abandoned McDonalds as a base may seem a reasonable basis for a hobbyist electronics project of some kind – but taking control of an abandoned NASA spacecraft might feel a little ambitious. Not so, says a team of nine geeks who have successfully taken control of ISEE-3, a spacecraft launched by NASA 36 years ago to measure the solar wind and radiation. The story of what has to be a strong candidate for coolest thing ever is told in full in BetaBeat.

The satellite’s battery has been dead for over 20 years, but it had solar panels to power 98 percent of the satellite’s full capabilities. In its heyday, it ran missions around the Moon and Earth, and flew through the tail of a comet. But technology gets old, and everyone happily let the successful satellite go, knowing it would be back in Earth’s orbit someday — namely, 2014.

Since the satellite went offline, the team had retired, the documentation was lost and the equipment was outdated. They could still hear the satellite out there talking, but they’d need to build the equipment to talk back.

They did have a few more expensive requirements, like a helicopter to lift a transmitter into place, but a crowdfunding campaign took care of the costs. There was then the small matter of getting permission from NASA, no doubt helped by one of the team being a former employee.

They brought the idea to NASA, but there was no precedent on which to base an agreement. No external organization has ever taken command of a spacecraft, but NASA didn’t want to say no, so they asked the team if they needed any help.

Astonishingly, they’ve now successfully placed the craft in a new orbit around the sun, and Google has helped them build a website that will be used to share data transmitted back from it – appropriately enough named Spacecraft For All. The full story is well worth a read.

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