Tungle me this

Tungle Logo

Tungle has been one of the most powerful tools that I’ve come across in a long while. One of the biggest challenge for me as someone who is constantly working with people inside and outside my organization is the ability to schedule meetings. Tungle solves this issue for me. Tungle is essentially a public free/busy on steroids and crack at the same time. It allows you to publish all of your calendars (work, personal, fun, etc) and allows others to book time with you. It is not, however, a calendar server.

Tungle gives you multiple ways to publish your availability to its servers. You can download an iCal client, Outlook client or sync it with a service like Google Apps. I primarily use it with integration to Google Apps. The one thing I like about it with this feature is that it automatically updates to my calendar on my mobile devices as well. If you are using Tungle to schedule a meeting with others who are also on Tungle, a really efficient way of managing schedules is with the iPhone app. It allows you to see the availability of people that have made their information available to you and schedule the meeting.

The best feature, by far, is the ability for others who don’t use Tungle to book meetings as well. In short, vendors who work with me love it. My schedule is usually pretty full on a daily basis. It’s part and parcel of an exciting day at Canpages Technology. The best way for vendors to get my attention is to book my calendar for a follow up or even a conversation and they can do this without giving me a call. I’m surprisingly hard to reach on the phone.

Using it for me was quite intuitive for both users and non-users of the site. For non-users, you use my personalized link to my availability and when you load the screen, the interface is simply time slots in half hour chunks that are available to be booked.The idea here is to propose multiple time slots, add your subject line, location information and any message and Tungle sends me the information. I like the Tungle iPhone app for this part because all I have to do is to turn on the app, go through each meeting and I’m done. Very quick and very efficient all in all.

While I love Tungle, here are some quick things that I think would make this an even more phenomenal product:

  1. The ability to schedule meetings directly from Outlook. Right now, the Tungle plug-ins sends me back to my Tungle site in order for me to book meetings
  2. I would love an Android app for it. I use both my iPhone an equal amount so it’d be nice to have an Android app.
  3. Ability to customize daily availability by user or group. For instance, I’m available to co-worker only until 6 pm but much more available to friends after that

Zoompass Tags

I was quite honoured when I was selected as “one of the first Canadians” to receive my Zoompass Tag. To incent or reward the use of this new idea, I was also zoomed an additional $15 into my account. It was definitely a nice gesture.

The Zoompass Tag is essentially a sticker that is intended to be put on your phone. I suspect it is embedded with an RFID chip of sorts inside it. Zoompass is geared to be a mobile payment tool and this is a logical step in it’s evolution. It allows the account holder to be able to use the Zoompass site or mobile app on the phone before and now you can physically use your phone to swipe at a pay station. All in all, quite clever. When I used it at the Tim Horton’s yesterday morning, the attendant was quite impresses and quickly jotted down the name of the product.

There are a few issues for me personally. The first is that I have at least 3 phones that I use and I use them interchangably. It’s not a major issue as I am quite unique in that regard. The other issue I have is the sticker itself. For one, it protrudes quite a bit. I’m worried that over time, it will be jarred off the phone. Secondly, I chose to put the tag on my iPhone. The issue is that I use a silicon sleeve and that didn’t seem to adhere well on it on first attempt. So I ended up sticking it on the phone beneath the sleeve. That didn’t seem to work when I was at the Tim Horton’s the first time. I had to remove the sleeve to use it. I’ll try again to see if it was a Kelvin issue.

Overall, I love the idea. It’s neat and convenient. It also frees up my wallet from one additional card in my 5-card wallet. It does consolidate my use of Zoompass.

Zoompass – Zoom me please

Angry face

 

While I’ve had a Zoompass account for a few months now, I haven’t really had a chance to use it. I like the idea of it and just as importantly, it is a Canadian venture that as far as I can tell is based out of Toronto. This blog fits more under the ‘perfectissimo’ category rather than a review since I am writing based on how I think I will use it rather than the experience of using it.

First off, a little bit about me to understand why I am excited about it. In general, I don’t like dealing with cash but even less with debit cards. Too often have my friends been victims of debit card fraud. At the same time, the issue with using credit cards is that unless I’m checking constantly, it can sometimes be a surprise at the end of the month how much I have spent on miscelaneous expenses. Not sure about other countries, but there are quite a few services that offer “no fee” banking but one of the issues with that is the one I use in particular does not offer the ability email money transfer.

Looking at the services offered, I think that Zoompass offers a service that bridges the gaps in the financial services provided to me by the providers of my choosing. Here are some of the reasons why I am attracted to Zoompass

Transfer money to another person at a reasonable cost

Zoompass offers the everyday person the ability to securely transfer money from one person to another via money in their Zoompass account or a credit card attached to their Zoompass account. Zoompass to Zoompass transfers cost very little money. We have Email Money Transfer in Canada but for those of us who aren’t banking with the big 5 banks, the cost per transaction is quite high and quite inconvenient. Zoompass assists with this.

Act as a cash account that is integrated with PayPass and Mastercard

One of the things that I thought was very useful was the ability to use my “octopus” card (equivalent of TTC Metropass) in HK to pay for transit fares and other miscellaenous purchases. PayPass brings the same concept to Canada. It is also integrated with a Mastercard giving me maximum flexibility of payment. What I like best about this concept though is that it is truely a cash card. I like the fact that I can limit how much money is on the card. If the card is ever stolen, there’s a bit of a cap on how much money there is on the card. Also, it’s a good way to manage my incidental expenses. My issue with using cash is there its not tackable and the issue with using a credit card is that I don’t check for how much I spend until the end of the month.

A couple of things that I would like to see is the ability to transfer money to and from my credit card to Zoompass. I know that the reason why they don’t do it is for fraud prevention but it would be a nice feature nonetheless. In general, I’m paranoid attaching my personal bank account to any thing on the web and it is one of the reasons preventing me from using this more. Another thing that would be interesting and perhaps it’s just a matter of time is to use a service like Zoompass to facilitate micro financial transactions. I personally think there is a huge market opportunity there. Right now the only way you can transfer money via your mobile device is via an installed app or via the mobile app. SMS money transfer would also be an awesome service although I would be quite curious to see how they would deal with stolen phones or wrongful access of your phone.

I love the potential of Zoompass and definitely hope that it lives up to its promise.