How iOS 13 Will Unlock NFC’s Potential

An iPhone XR with NFC tags on top of it.
Josh Hendrickson

NFC has long been held back by Apple not supporting it—only Android did. Now that both major smartphone platforms will soon support NFC, the technology can reach its full potential. From keyless locks to digital IDs, the future is here.

Why Is NFC and Why Does It Matter?

Three NFC tags on a paper strip.
Josh Hendrickson

Apple Pay has always used NFC for contactless payments. If you’ve ever paid for something using your iPhone or Apple Watch, you’ve used NFC.

NFC stands for Near Field Communications, and it’s a set of standards that allow devices to communicate through radio waves when they’re in close proximity. Emphasis on the close, as the devices need to be 4 inches apart or less.

With NFC, you can accomplish a variety of tasks, whether it be sharing data, mobile payments, or tag reading and writing.

NFC isn’t a new technology by any means, but comprehensive support is something we’ve never seen. Android phones have longed enjoyed full NFC support, along with Blackberrys and Windows Phone. But adopting NFC doesn’t guarantee the success of a mobile platform.

But for all the mobile devices that do have NFC, one significant outlier existed: iPhones. While the Android phone with NFC hardware (the Nexus S) released in 2010, it took until 2014 to see an iPhone with NFC hardware (the iPhone 6). And in the beginning, it was locked down to solely payment processing.

That’s been changing over time, and with iOS 13, an iPhone going back to the iPhone 7 will have its NFC potential unlocked. App developers can read and write to NFC tags, read chipped passports and ID cards, unlock NFC-enabled doors, and more.

RELATED: What is NFC (Near Field Communication), and What Can I Use It For?

Use Your iPhone to Unlock Doors

One of the promises of NFC is added convenience to your life. With expanded support in iOS 13, you could not only leave your wallet at home but maybe even your house keys, too.

Read the remaining 26 paragraphs

How To Set Up Your Own Twitter-Like Website Using WordPress’ P2 Theme

A lot of people enjoy using Twitter, but like any
social media network, there are drawbacks to using it. One is the lack of
control over your data and privacy, while another is that you will lose
everything if Twitter suddenly goes belly-up one day.

That’s why, if you want to build an online community,
you might want to consider building it yourself on a website domain that you
own. Getting people to regularly visit your site community will be hard as
Twitter already has a built-in audience, but with a bit of determination, you
might be able to build something to call your own.

Start Tweeting With P2

There is a WordPress theme called P2, which was developed by the same developer team that created WordPress itself. They use P2 to discuss things amongst themselves, the same way that another office might use Slack or Skype.

P2 closely resembles Twitter in that you can post
status updates and people can reply to those status updates. But unlike
Twitter, you can’t make your own profile page, and your avatar is determined by
your Gravatar profile. So P2 is not exactly customizable if you don’t have
administrator access to the website settings.

But for basic chatting and basic community building,
it works just fine.

Install The Theme

The theme itself has been abandoned, in terms of updates, because there is a new version. But the new version looks nothing like Twitter so I don’t use it. If you want to use it, the direct download link to the theme is here.

There are some of you who will not install the
original P2 for that reason, because of the security implications of having a
theme which is not being actively maintained. But I like the Twitter-like
interface so I am willing to take a chance on the older version. It’s up to you
to decide whether or not you want to risk it.

Assuming you do, go here and download the theme. Now upload it to your domain and activate it. I have made a test Twitter-like page called Kipper to test-run the various features.

Tweak
The Settings

There are not a lot of features to “tweak” but let’s
look at them regardless.

First, the background color. I would be careful about
getting too crazy about this because many people get turned off by websites
that don’t have a white background. I know I do. Maybe you could get away with
grey but I would go any wilder than that.

Or you can choose a background image. But unless you
are creating a teenage Justin Bieber community, I’m not sure if polka dots or
Santa is going to project the right “image”.

My advice would be to play it safe and keep everything
white.

You can optionally hide the sidebar if you want,
making the whole Twitter-like structure full-width. You would lose out on some
nifty WordPress widgets if you did that but again, it depends on what you want
out of the page.

I would change the Post prompt. “Whatcha up to?” sounds absolutely hideous. Twitter’s one is “What’s Happening?” so maybe something along those lines. I changed mine to “What Do You Want To Say?”

And I would suggest switching off post titles,
otherwise it starts to look like blog posts and not Twitter updates you’re
posting. But that’s a personal taste choice.

One last tweak is to go into the WordPress settings and change the permalink structure so when someone clicks on the permalink to a status update, it is as short as possible. I would suggest using Post name.

Allowing
People To Register

One of the things which is really going to make
security-conscious people pause is that you need to allow people to register
accounts on your WordPress website to be able to use P2. But as long as they
have the proper “role” on WordPress, the rest of your site will be fine. Nobody
with “Contributor” status will be able to change themes, plugins, and the like.

In the left-hand sidebar of WordPress, go to Settings – General and tick the box Anyone can register. Also make sure the Default Role is Contributor.

Now go to the P2 settings and tick the box for “Allow any registered member to post”. Without doing these steps, nobody will be able to post anything to your network.

If people have a Gravatar account – and they use that account to register to your site – the image associated with the Gravatar account will be the avatar on your site. If they are unwilling to set up a Gravatar account, you can set a default avatar logo by going to Settings – Discussion.

Now when someone wants to register, they simply go to the login page of your WordPress website and click Register.

You can see who has registered by going to “Users” in the left-hand sidebar of WordPress. You can also use this area to manually register people yourself.

Adding
Status Updates

Once someone has registered on your site, they just
have to go to the P2 page and a box will be at the top of the screen, just like
Twitter. Then they simply have to type what they want and save it.

Other registered users can then reply.

You can also add images by clicking the “Add Media” button.

Editing
& Removing Status Updates

On Twitter, there is the option to delete your Tweet directly from the page. But on the P2 theme, to delete or edit your status update, the person who wrote it (or anyone with administrator privileges) must do so from the “Posts” section of WordPress.

If the status update is a reply in a thread, then they
are stored in the Comments section.

Making
Your Community Private

Finally, you may
not want to make your website publicly accessible on a search engine if you are
discussing anything private.

To prevent that from happening, open a FTP program and open up your domain files. Now open up the Robots.txt file. Inside, you may already see a section called “User-Agent”.

Underneath
“User-Agent”, type :

Disallow /NAME OF YOUR P2 SITE

So in my case, I
typed :

Disallow /kipper

What this does is
stops the Google search spiders from indexing the Kipper pages, the next time
they come to visit.

Learn JavaScript Basics Online for Free

This online course has 63 lessons (7 hours) that introduce the basics of JavaScript. If you’re a beginner and want to take a look at JavaScript or would like to brush up on a few things this free course lets you learn at your own speed. All courses are presented in bite size video segments, ranging in length from a few minutes to 15 minutes and include these topics:

ES2015 and beyond
Variables and Scoping
Strings, Numbers and Booleans
Conditional Statements
Operators
Modules
Arrays and Objects
Functions and Closures
Loops and Iteration

You’ll need to create an account to take the class. All you need to supply is first and last name, an email address, a country and post code. The videos are done well on both the audio and video end with clear explanations and examples, though some knowledge of basic terms, such as API that are used but not explained, would be helpful. As is often the case, the site also offers paid courses in JavaScript and other programming languages. Read More

12 of the Best Two-Player Board Games for Couples

A young couple playing a board game together.
StockLife/Shutterstock

You don’t have to invite a group over to play board games. There are plenty of two-player games that can be perfect for a little personal fun with your significant other. But which should you buy?

What to Look For in a Two-Player Board Game

Board games come in all shapes and sizes. In a way, they give you more options for two-player fun than most video games. Some board games are ultra-portable, while others can take up a whole table.

That’s why it’s helpful to consider the three most important aspects of a board game, and how those may align with what you and your partner enjoy.

  • Competition: Known by some as “stress,” competition is one of the most important aspects to consider when choosing a board game. If you and your partner aren’t into cutthroat games, then look for a short game that involves teamwork rather than player-versus-player competition.
  • Portability: There’s no point in getting a giant board game if you’ll never use it. If you have to travel to play games with your partner (or if you like to play on the go), consider buying something small and portable, like a card-based game.
  • Learning Curve: Some people prefer games with a steeper learning curve, but there’s no shame in playing “easy” games if that’s what the two of you enjoy. A more accessible game also means you can skip hours of rulebook talk and get straight to gameplay.

Now that you’ve considered how you and your partner’s preferences align with the three most important aspects of a board game, it’s time to pick the right one.

Competitive Strategy Board Games

A couple dressed as spartan warriors having a conversation in the battlefield.
Serhii Bobyk/Shutterstock

When some people think of board games, it’s the cutthroat strategy games that first come to mind. If you’re ready to put your relationship on the line for a good bit of stress and fun, then these are the board games for you.

  • Patchwork ($25): A quick (15 minute) board game in which the goal is to build an aesthetically pleasing quilt. While based on a weird idea, it’s a really in-depth game that’s worth a shot.
  • Plague Inc. ($36): Based on the famous video game, Plague Inc. is a strategy game in which you race to infect and kill off all of civilization. It’s a bit like Risk, but more focused on evolving your plague than attacking other players.
  • Stratego Original ($18): This is a light, history-based strategy game for two players (no, it isn’t Risk). The goal is to plan your army for war and take down your opponent. War games don’t have to be complicated!
  • Twilight Struggle: The Cold War ($40): If you like long, stressful board games, then Twilight Struggle is for you. It’s a history board game that’s similar to Risk (but also, not Risk), in which you use your power and influence to take over the world.
  • TIME Stories ($40): This game allows you and a partner to go on time traveling adventures. The goal is to control people’s past lives and steer them toward a mission goal. Each game comes with multiple decks of cards with unique stories, so the adventure never gets old.

Sometimes, the intensity of a strategy game can be a little too much. If you and your partner prefer something a little less competitive, a puzzle-based game may be the way to go.

Low-Key Puzzle Board Games

A couple putting two puzzle pieces together.
maradon 333/Shutterstock

Puzzle based games aren’t just for kids. They challenge your mind, are easy to jump into, and provide some of the depth you’d expect from a strategy board game. If you want to keep things low-key with a puzzle game, here are some of the best to check out.

  • Azul ($24): This is an easy puzzle game, but it involves a lot of depth. At a basic level, you compete to pick up tiles and score points. As the game progresses, though, you and your opponent have to fight for tiles, set strategic traps, and keep your eye on the board.
  • Blokus Duo ($15): The goal of this incredibly simple game is to fit more oddly shaped blocks on the board than your opponent. It’s fun, cheap, and easy to get into.
  • Hive ($25): A bit like dominoes mixed with mahjong, the goal of this game is to capture a queen bee. You and an opponent build a board as you go, and you can cancel out each other’s pieces with a bit of strategy.

Of course, both strategy and puzzle games can be a bit bulky. If you want something easy to throw into a bag, a card-based game may be more your thing.

Portable Card-Based Board Games

An older couple playing a card-based board game
wavebreakmedia/Shutterstock

Some board games don’t really come with a “board.” For the sake of convenience, we’re going to call these “card-based” board games. Don’t worry—they’re not like Uno or Old Maid. When playing many of these games, you build a board along the way or interact with elements you’d usually find in a board game.

Read the remaining 4 paragraphs

6 Easy Ways to Find Out Who’s Looking for You Online

If you’ve ever Googled your own name, you may have noticed
that there are a lot of places where people can find information about you
online. These sources include Google itself, LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, and
more.

How do you find out who’s looking for you online? Luckily,
most of those resources have monitoring services you can use to get alerts
whenever someone searches for your name.

The following are very simple things you can do to set up
alerts or otherwise monitor when people look up your name using the internet.

LinkedIn, Twitter, Google Alerts, Google Analytics (on a
site with your name/domain), Facebook Stories, Facebook friend list algorithm

1. LinkedIn Profile Views

People can search for your name from inside LinkedIn, or they can discover your profile using Google and access your public profile information that way.

LinkedIn gives members an easy way to see who viewed your
profile.

To see this information, log into your LinkedIn account.
Under your profile name on the left side of the screen, you’ll see a link named
Who’s viewed your profile.

To the right of the link, you can see how many people have
recently viewed your profile. To see more details, click on the link.

Scroll down to the All profile viewers section. Here
you’ll see some details about who recently viewed your LinkedIn Account.

This information includes:

  • Name
  • What company they work for
  • How they found your profile
  • Which of your LinkedIn connections are also
    connected with that person
  • How long ago they viewed your profile

Unfortunately, you can’t see the entire list of
people who’ve viewed your profile without purchasing a Premium LinkedIn
membership.

If you do need to know who’s viewing your LinkedIn profile, that premium membership may be worth it.

2. Create Google Alerts for Your Name

The most common tool people
will use to look for information about you on the internet is Google. While you
may not be able to monitor who’s searching for your name using Google, you can
monitor when new information is published with your name on the internet.

To create an alert for when anything gets published mentioning your name, visit Google Alerts.

Make sure you’re already logged into your Google Account. In the Create an alert about field, type your name and select Create Alert.

Whenever you add anything to your Google Alert list or any time Google has a new search entry for a website that contains your name, you’ll receive an email for that google alert. This email will include links to the websites that have mentioned your name.

You’ll notice that the bottom
of the email, you can click a link to receive the alerts as an RSS feed. This
would let you add the feed to any kind of feed reader you may use.

3. Facebook Story Viewers

One of the most common
requests Facebook users have is to see who viewed their Facebook profile.
Unfortunately, there’s no way to do that. However, there are areas of Facebook
where you can see the people who’ve visited.

If you make a regular
Facebook post, the only way to know who viewed your post is how many people
have “liked” the post itself. There’s now way to actually see every one of your
friends who looked at it.

However, that’s not the case
when you add to your Facebook Stories. If you select the field to enter a
Facebook post, you’ll notice that you can switch the post from News Feed
to Your Story.

You can post up to 20 seconds
of video (or an image) to your Facebook Story. The post will remain active for
24 hours before disappearing.

Once you post to your Story,
you’ll notice an eye icon show up in the lower left corner of the post with a
number next to it. The number represents the number of your friends who’ve
viewed the post. If you click on the eyeball icon, you can see your specific
friends who’ve viewed the post.

If you view your Facebook
news feed, to the right you can see a link to Your Story. To the left of this,
you’ll see your profile photo with a + symbol. If you click this, you
can view all your recent story posts, and which of your friends have viewed
those posts.

It’s unfortunate that
Facebook doesn’t offer this feature for regular posts, but at least when you
post to your Story list, you can see all of your friends who’ve viewed the
post.

4. Facebook Friends Algorithm

While it isn’t possible to see a list of friends who’ve
viewed your specific Facebook posts, there is an indirect way to see which
friends have been interacting the most with your Facebook profile.

No one really knows the specific details of Facebook’s algorithm for the order they display the friends in your friends’ list.

But there has been enough research conducted to know that
the all the following factors are considered.

  • Facebook Interactions: How frequently
    you’ve interacted with those friends on Facebook.
  • Profile Views: How frequently those
    friends have viewed your profile, or you viewed theirs.
  • Photo Tagging: Friends that have tagged
    you in photos.
  • Wall Posts: Friends who’ve posted
    recently on your wall.
  • Likes: How often friends have liked your posts,
    or you’ve liked theirs.
  • Commenting: Frequency you or friends have
    commented on each other’s posts or pictures.
  • Photos: How often you’ve viewed each
    other’s pictures.
  • Online: If friends are currently online,
    they’re more likely to show up at the top of your friends list.

Since the most common activity on Facebook is viewing
friends’ profiles and posts without interacting with them, the odds are good
that the friends at the top of your friends list are the friends who’ve been
viewing your profile and your posts most frequently.

5. Twitter Viewers

Twitter provides a bit more information about your Twitter
followers than Facebook does, but still doesn’t provide the names of the people
who are looking for you there.

However, you can learn a lot about the people who are
interacting with your Tweets.

To see your audience information, you’ll need to use Twitter
Analytics. You can access this by clicking the down arrow beside your profile
name and selecting Analytics.

This page will show you who your top follower is, and the
general performance of all your tweets.

You can click the View followers dashboard to view general
details about your Twitter audience.

You can see demographics like gender, household income, and
interests of your followers. This may not tell you the names of people looking
for you on Twitter, but it at least tells you their interests so you can tailor
the topics you tweet about for your followers.

6. Create a Profile Site with Google Analytics

Thanks to blogging platforms like WordPress of Google Sites, it’s very easy to build your own profile website filled with information about your background and experience. A profile website is a fantastic way to easily share your background and career experience with potential employers.

In time it’ll also become a top search result when people
search for your name if you’ve purchased a website domain for your name.

This will become a likely website most people will click on
when they’re looking for you online.

If you embed Google Analytics into this site, you can gather
a lot of information about the people who are looking for information about you
on the web.

Google Analytics may not provide the names of the people who
visit your site, but you can learn just about anything else. For example,
Google Analytics will provide:

  • Age
  • Gender
  • Country
  • Interests
  • Frequency of visits
  • Search terms used

This information can give you some insight into the type of
people who are searching for you online. If you’re a writer or in any other
business where you provide information to people, this information can help you
tailor your work toward the demographics of the people who are looking for your
work.

Who’s
Looking for You?

As you can see, LinkedIn and other social media sites are
the best ways to see specifically who’s searching for you online. But Google
Alerts and your site can provide even more insights as well. Which approach you
take depends on what kind of information about those people you want to know.