Factor reviews: Microsoft’s mobile apps for grads

With 2014 university graduates now released into the professional world, Microsoft has developed a line of apps to help ease their transition. We reviewed them on the Nokia Lumia 925, a sleek smartphone that operates on Windows.

JobLens

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This app helps grads on their job hunt by connecting to contacts through LinkedIn and Facebook.

The highlight of the app is an augmented reality feature that allows you to see available jobs around you using your phone’s camera. Move your phone screen around and you can see the general direction of the companies that are hiring, listed with their distance from your location and the position they are looking to fill.

I found the augmented reality feature rather unnecessary and difficult to navigate, preferring the display that showed available jobs on a map, so I could get a better idea of a company’s exact location and nearby landmarks.

The app also allows you to create a resume, though it seems impractical to type out your entire resume on your phone rather than a full keyboard.

Looking for jobs through an app is certainly useful, but augmented reality just seems to be a distraction to the job search, especially for grads that have no time to waste as they start to pay off student loans.

CityLens

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CityLens gives you a comprehensive look at everything there is to do in your city of choice. From reviews and locations of restaurants to event and venue listings for daytime and nightlife activities, CityLens is extremely useful for grads who want to stay busy as they transition into working life.

In fact, this app would be useful to just about anyone who travels. It provides transportation information to make sure users always know how to find venues, as well as accommodation listings with reviews from TripAdvisor for people trying to find a place to stay.

The augmented reality feature is better served on CityLens than its job search counterpart, since people are more likely to look for nearby restaurants than careers in the spur of the moment.

This is a quality app for anyone who lives in a city or is looking to visit one, and it would definitely help grads find something fun to do on a night out.

Waze

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Traffic can be a pain, especially if you are heading to your first day at a new job. Waze is a handy app that gives full traffic reports, complete with the direction of the traffic, the cause and the average speed.

It gives moods and locations of other Waze users and allows you to report the traffic around you both actively and passively through your phone’s location services.

The app also contains a navigation system so you can figure out the best route to avoid heavy traffic.

Generally, it seems quite helpful, but it appeared that very few users were reporting information around me.

Waze would be more effective if more people used it, so I recommend downloading it and taking advantage of its features.

Overall

Other apps in the grad collection include Travel, Real Estate Search, LinkedIn, and the particularly fun-to-use notepad OneNote.

I found the apps for grads mostly user-friendy, but to be honest, there are some things you just shouldn’t do on a phone. It’s much easier to plan a vacation, look for a house or a job on a laptop than a tiny phone screen.

So if you want to browse these apps to find your perfect career, you should probably expect a little augmented reality-induced frustration.

Factor’s verdict:

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3/5: USEFUL BUT NOT ESSENTIAL


Featured image courtesy of 1000 Words / Shutterstock.com


DJI’s First Drone Arena in Tokyo to Open This Saturday

Consumer drone giant DJI will open its first Japanese drone arena in the city of Tokyo this Saturday, providing a space for both hardened professionals and curious newcomers to hone their flying skills.

The arena, which covers an area of 535 square metres, will not only include a large flying area complete with obstacles, but also offer a store where visitors can purchase the latest DJI drones and a technical support area where drone owners can get help with quadcopter issues.

The hope is that the arena will allow those who are curious about the technology but currently lack the space to try it out to get involved.

“As interest around our aerial technology continues to grow, the DJI Arena concept is a new way for us to engage not just hobbyists but also those considering this technology for their work or just for the thrill of flying,” said Moon Tae-Hyun, DJI’s director of brand management and operations.

“Having the opportunity to get behind the remote controller and trying out the technology first hand can enrich the customer experience. When people understand how it works or how easy it is to fly, they will discover what this technology can do for them and see a whole new world of possibilities.”

Images courtesy of DJI

In addition to its general sessions, which will allow members of the public to drop by and try their hand at flying drones, the arena will also offer private hire, including corporate events. For some companies, then, drone flying could become the new golf.

There will also be regular events, allowing pros to compete against one another, and drone training, in the form of DJI’s New Pilot Experience Program, for newcomers.

The arena has been launched in partnership with Japan Circuit, a developer of connected technologies, including drones.

“We are extremely excited to partner with DJI to launch the first DJI Arena in Japan,” said Tetsuhiro Sakai, CEO of Japan Circuit.

“Whether you are a skilled drone pilot or someone looking for their first drone, we welcome everyone to come and learn, experience it for themselves, and have fun. The new DJI Arena will not only serve as a gathering place for drone enthusiasts but also help us reach new customers and anyone interested in learning about this incredible technology.”

The arena is the second of its kind to be launched by DJI, with the first located in Yongin, South Korea, and detailed in the video above. .

Having opened in 2016, the area has attracted visitors from around the world, demonstrating serious demand for this type of entertainment space.

If the Tokyo launch goes well, it’s likely DJI will look at rolling out its arena concept to other cities, perhaps even bringing the model to the US and Europe.

For now, however, those who are interested can book time at the Tokyo arena here.

Commercial Human Spaceflight Advances Prompt Calls for Space Safety Institute

Commercial human spaceflight has been a long-held dream, but now it is finally poised to become a reality. Companies including Virgin Galactic and SpaceX are inching ever closer to taking private citizens into space, and there are serious plans for spaceports in several parts of the world, including Hawaii, the US, and Scotland, the UK.

But while the industry is advancing, the legal side of this fledgling commercial space industry remains underdeveloped, leading to calls for the development of an organisation to establish a framework for the safe operation of spaceports for human commercial spaceflights.

Writing in the journal New Space, Mclee Kerolle, from the United States International Institute of Space Law in Paris, France, has proposed the establishment of a Space Safety Institute recognised by the US congress and the United Nations.

This institute would “develop, enforce and adopt standards of excellence”, allowing the industry to develop while protecting it from liability and insurance risks.

“Currently, no international regulatory body exists to regulate the operation of spaceports,” he wrote. “This is unfortunate because while the advent of commercial human spaceflight industry is imminent, a majority of the focus from the legal community will be on regulating spaceflights and space access vehicles.

“However, the regulation of spaceports should be viewed in the same light as the rest of the commercial human spaceflight industry.”

The article focuses particularly on the establishment of a spaceport at the Kona International Airport in Keahole, Hawaii. At present, the spaceport’s development is subject to regulation by the Federal Aviation Authority, however there are aspects to spaceport development that do not apply to conventional aviation operations.

A spacesuit design for commercial flights developed by SpaceX. Featured image: SpaceX’s proposed spaceport for its conceptual interplanetary transport system. All images courtesy of SpaceX

The institute would be designed to first and foremost ensure safety within the industry, so it would be important, according to Kerolle, to ensure it was made up of individuals with expertise in the field, rather than bureaucrats.

“To make sure that this flexibility is inherent in a Space Safety Institute, the organization should be composed of individuals within the industry as opposed to government officials who are not familiar with the commercial human spaceflight industry,” he wrote.

“As a result, this should protect the commercial human spaceflight industry to some liability exposure, as well as promote growth in the industry to ensure the industry’s survival.”