Dongle Me This

PayPal’s New Blue Dongle Reminds Everyone of the Dunder Mifflin Pyramid

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As expected, PayPal released its own version of Square’s mobile payments service today. Like Square, “PayPal Here” uses a small dongle that can be plugged into an iPhone’s headphone jack as a credit card swiper. Merchants punch in the required amount and customers can choose whether to swipe their card, use the camera to read the credit card number, or even scan a check. Also like Square, the app boasts tracking features for small businesses and allows for direct payment based on location.

However, it’s super hard to focus on the pros/cons and whether the eBay subsidiary can squash Square, when all we can picture is Dwight Schrute’s moonpie face as he unveiled the similiarly-hued-and-shaped Saber Pyramid.  We’re not the only ones who noticed. Verge commenters couldn’t stop knee-slapping over the likeness. Read More

App for That

News.me Brings News Discovery to the iPhone (And, Yes, It Lets You Browse Articles In the Subway!)

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News.me, part of the Betaworks family of social web startups, just released a free iPhone app version of its news curation and discovery service and, due in part to the C train’s snail-like crawl from Brooklyn to Manhattan, we’re pretty psyched to test it out. The startup, which was born as a prototype in the New York Times Research and Development Lab, aims to solve the “too much stuff” problem when it comes to finding news you actually care about.

To pull the right articles from the social media deluge, News.me’s iPhone app analyzes the links shared by your friends and followers on Twitter and Facebook to determine what’s relevant to you, using some metadata from Bit.ly (another Betaworks company) to help figure that out.

News.me already has a pared-down email product (of the top five links a day) and an iPad app that launched last April, albeit without the Facebook connection. But as general manager Jake Levine told us yesterday, the iPhone app is where things get social. The clean interface displays a nicely-formatted photo, headline, and, immediately below that, what your friends have said about the article, including their tweets and Facebook status updates as well as reactions on News.Me. Read More