Tag Archives: Pizza Hut

PTJ 91: All is Right With the Galaxy

Before J.D. and El Kaiser head over to the Ziegfeld movie palace to queue up for tickets to Star Wars *SQUEE*, they test Domino’s updated iPad app and its 3D Pizza Builder feature. They virtually make it rain pizza toppings. *SQUEE*

In the news the Federal Communications Commission announces its latest stab at finding constitutional rules for governing the Internet; the proposed Comcast-Time Warner Cable deal continues to draw detractors; Netflix strikes a speed deal with Verizon Communications; Microsoft’s acquisition of Nokia’s phone business is finally complete and the software behemoth confirms a rather gaping vulnerability in all versions of its Internet Explorer browser;  the Heartbleed bug may affect the Internet of Things; and the official cast has been announced for Star Wars: Episode VII confirming the return of original cast members. *SQUEE*

Pie In the Sky

Domino’s revealed its latest update for the iPad last week, and unlike most app updates, this one had a press release. The updated software now includes a realistic 3D Pizza Builder photo animation that lets you build your pie from the crust up. The app depicts your dinner as a work in progress as you tap through your order, from picking a crust style to the showers of toppings raining down as you crown your achievement with meatballs and banana peppers.

The high-rez food photography is brilliant and (at least for the waistline) evil. Those tasty-looking pizza pictures will probably inspire a few customers to tap the back button and increase the size of their pizza, add more toppings or experiment with various combinations they wouldn’t normally consider. As with previous versions of the Domino’s app for Android, iOS and Kindle, as well as its website, you can use the Domino’s Tracker progress bar to follow your order as it gets made, baked, boxed up and delivered.

Dominos

But Domino’s is not the only national pizza chain with its own app. Papa John’s has Android and iOS apps to complement its mobile website. With the apps, you can tap together your order (which has its own pizza pictures), set certain pizza combinations aside as repeatable favorites for even faster ordering — and pay by credit card through the phone.

PapaJohns

Don’t forget Pizza Hut, which made headlines a few months ago with its prototype pizza-ordering table. The Hut has its own mobile apps for iPhone, iPad, Android and Windows Phone. You can also get an app for your Xbox 360, although TiVo beat the Xbox by about five or six years when it came to ordering pizza through the TV.

PizzaHut

The dedicated mobile apps usually offer more streamlined experiences than just using the mobile web on your phone, and can do other things like send push alerts for coupons and special offers. According to The Wall Street Journal, about 40 percent of Domino’s sales come from online ordering, so there is a significant user base driving the digital delivery.

But are you one of those pizza purists who dislikes the somewhat-predictable taste of national chain pizza? (Yes, New Yorkers, we are talking to you.) If your preferred local pizza joint does not have its own app or site where you can place your order, see if you can find them on Seamless or GrubHub, sites that provide online ordering from a huge directory of restaurants  in cities across the country. You may be able to get your favorite order sent right to your door — all without having to spell your name on the phone or actually talk to anybody but the delivery person.

PTJ 84: Facebook Drones And Bitcoin Heists

J.D. goes all Winslow Homer on us this week and introduces us to apps she uses to convert photos into digital works of art on her smartphone.  In the news, Samsung reportedly spends $20 million on Oscars product placement; Facebook looks to fill the sky with drones; Radio Shack closes 1100 of its retail stores; the US Department of Justice sides with broadcasters in fight with Aereo; Google barge ordered to pull up anchor and scram; Sony’s PS4 arrives in Japan; and Pizza Hut developing an interactive touchscreen pizza-ordering table.

PTJ 84 News: 11,000 Drones to Go, Hold the Anchovies

Everyone wants to be near those little gold men out in Hollywood. Samsung reportedly spent $20 million on advertising for this year’s Academy Awards show and also got huge product placement with the Selfie Seen Round the World when Bradley Cooper used a Galaxy Note 3 to snap a group shot with Ellen DeGeneres, Brad Pitt and several other celebrities during the show. According to The Wall Street Journal, Samsung and its media-buying firm negotiated to have the phone integrated into the broadcast at various points (although there didn’t seem to be any Samsung ads on those pizza boxes that arrived midway through the show). TheOscar selfie and its retweet (times two million) is said to have crashed Twitter Sunday night. All in all, it was a busy few days for Twitter, which also apologized to a small number of its users on Monday after unintentionally sent them unnecessary password reset notices.

Facebook is reportedly in talks to by Titan Aerospace, a company that makes near-orbital, solar-powered drones that can fly for five years without having to land. As one of the major backers for the Internet.org initiative, the company seems to be doing its part to bring affordable Internet access to some of the five billion people around the world who have no online resources. TechCrunch says it hears Africa may be one of the first areas to see Facebook’s NetDrone Squadron if this all works out.

RadioShack announced earlier this week that it will be closing up to 1,100 of its retail stores this year as it tries to find its place in the 21st century. As Business Insider pointed out,  a RadioShack ad from 1991 shows products that have all been replaced by the smartphone, so the chain could definitley do with some reinvention.

Aereo, the tiny-antenna company known for its service that provides streams of broadcast television channels over the Internet, may also be in for a future bummer. In papers filed recently, the US Department of Justice has sided with the television broadcasters who are currently suing Aereo for harvesting their over-the-air signals without paying the standard retransmission fees. The major broadcast television networks said last week that a Supreme Court decision in favor of Aereo would destroy the broadcast TV model. The Supreme Court is expected to hear the case on April 22th.

Officials in San Francisco have ordered Google to stop work on its mystery barge out in the Bay and tow the structure 80 miles to the Port of Stockton. (No permit? No mystery barge, Google.)

Verizon Wireless has rebooted its prepaid wireless service with its new AllSet plans. The new no-contract plans now let customers carry over unused data allowances from one month into the next. Plans start at $35 a month for regular phones and 500 voice minutes and $45 a month for smartphones with unlimited messages and 500 megabytes of data.

The annual Mobile World Congress event took place in Barcelona last week when we were on vacation, but just to recap the big announcement: the Samsung Galaxy S5 will have a 16-megapixel camera, fingerprint scanner, heart-rate monitor, 5.1-inch screen and Android KitKat, as well as $500 worth of gifted news, productivity and fitness apps when it arrives next month. Other stuff got announced, too.

Cortana, Microsoft’s own personal virtual assistant software is expected in the next update to the Windows Phone software. More details should arrive early next month at Microsoft’s Build conference.

Apple’s “iOS in the Car” project has formally emerged as CarPlay, and is the company’s system for linking the iPhone with the dashboard infotainment system built into certain automobile models. CarPlay is expected to show up later this year on models from Ferrari, Volvo and Mercedes.

Coming sooner: Apple’s iOS 7.1. a major update to last fall’s love-it-or-hate-it iOS 7, should be out any day now. (Also in Apple news, Microsoft may be looking to bring its Xbox Live gaming network to Android and iOS devices.)

Sony’s PlayStation 4 launched in Japan late last month and sold 370,000 units in its opening weekend. The company says it’s now sold 6 million PS4 consoles worldwide.

Georgetown U is headed to the annual SxSW conference down in Texas. The university will be hosting a panel called “Designing the Future University From the Inside,” which will look at the school’s own experiments in finding alternative ways to deliver a quality education and how universities can be proactive in their evolution in today’s world of technology and globalization.

While we were on vacation last week, the Mt. Gox Bitcoin exchange collapsed in a $460 million pile of FAIL. Hackers were said to have made off with the big bucks; the company also has another $27 million missing from its bank accounts. Wired has an excellent rundown of The Great Bitcoin Banjax.

A new survey reported in the Los Angeles Times and elsewhere finds that 1 in 10 Americans think HTML is a sexually transmitted disease. It was perhaps not the most scientific survey with the most rigorous methodology, but remember, not everyone out there is a geek. (If you know some non-geeks, though, warn them of the fake Netflix phishing scam going around.)

xppopSpeaking of warnings, Microsoft is starting to sent out pop-up alerts to Windows XP users telling them that April 8th is the last day of support and to please, please, please upgrade. The company is trying to lighten the upgrade load by providing free copies of Laplink’s PCmover Express migration software that copies the files and settings on an XP machine to a Windows 7, 8 or 8.1 machine. If you’re interested in upgrading, click here. (If XP users need to migrate programs as well, Laplink is offering its PCmover Professional program for $24, which is 60 percent off the regular price.)

And finally:  Chaotic Moons Studio, which has been helping Pizza Hut develop mobile apps for online ordering, has a new concept project. It’s the interactive touchscreen pizza-ordering table. It’s still a concept, but you can bet if it ever goes mainstream, you’ll be able to play Angry Birds on it while you wait for your pie.

Eye OS

It was a busy week for cyber-hijinks. Take, for example, the Associated Press’s official Twitter account getting hacked earlier this week with the message “Breaking: Two Explosions in the White House and Barack Obama is injured.” (Oh, for those simpler days when intruders would just post the word “Poopin’” on invaded Twitter accounts.) Verizon’s 2013 Data Breach Investigations Report found a lot of corporate espionage and that state-sponsored cyber attacks have become much more prevalent.

LG Electronics has an event planned for early May in New York City and where it’s expected to announce the US arrival of its Optimus G Pro smartphone with SmartVideo eye recognition technology. And a code-reader looking at the Android app that comes with the new Google Glass spectacles claims to have found a few lines referring to eye gestures as a way of controlling the glasses.

In mobile news, the popular visual blogging site, Tumblr, has rolled out advertisements for is Android and iOS mobile apps. iTunes users will also be happy to know Apple has added an option to download large purchases later if you buy new music or video over a flimsy data network connection, you now get the option to defer the actually download until you’re home on your zippy WiFi network. And Yahoo has released a new app for iOS devices that has already incorporated summaries from the Summly service it bought a month ago for $30 million dollars.

hubbleMeanwhile, out in space, the Hubble telescope has found a hidden globular cluster of stars and also celebrates its 23rd birthday this week. To celebrate, the Hubble observatory captured an image the Horsehead Nebula in infrared light. Happy birthday, Hubble! Back on (Google) Earth, the new 7.1 update to 3D globe-spinning software has added support for the Leap Motion gesture-based controller. (The $80 Leap Motion controller itself starts shipping on May 13 rolling out later this year.)

Video fans have helped Netflix bounce back from kerfuffles over its pricing plans and other issues to beat HBO in terms of total number of subscribers in America. Netflix has also been crowned the biggest bandwidth hog, chewing up 33% of downstream Internet traffic. And those who occasionally switch over the AV input to play a little Xbox can now order a pizza through the game console, as Microsoft and Pizza Hut have teamed up on an Xbox Live dashboard app that lets you order a pie with your game controller or Kinect motion sensor. Wave your arms and a pizza eventually appears…yeah, life is good.

Episode 44: Nibs! Nibs! Nibs!

J.D. shares tips on how to independently publish your own e-books and Pedro test drives some tablet and smartphone stylus pens. In the news the Associated Press has their Twitter account hacked; corporate espionage appears to be on the rise; Google Glass buzz heats up; and the Hubble Telescope celebrates its 23rd birthday.