DOING THE BUMP

Many smart phones these days have what’s called “Near Field Communications” (NFC), meaning you can bump with another phone that is so enabled to exchange files: words, music or pictures. NFC also lets you pay at some cashier counters simply by passing your phone over a receiver.

With a free app called “NFC Launcher” and some sticky tags to serve as receivers, NFC can be used to automate common tasks, like turning music on and off. The receivers are thin pieces of plastic with embedded circuitry. We got some from Tagstand.com. A pack of four tags cost $13.50.

To use this system, simply tap your phone on a tag; this will automatically register the tag’s electronic signature with your phone. In your car, for example, tapping the phone on a tag could turn on a Bluetooth speaker for hands-free calling, turn Wi-Fi off, or start playing your favorite music app. Docking your phone on a nightstand could be set to turn off the ring so you won’t be disturbed. It can also automatically dim the display and set an alarm. You decide what you want to happen in each location. For a list of phones with NFC capabilities, go to nfcWorld.com.

Here’s a different free app that can quickly moves files from your smart phone to the computer: Go to bu.mp, to download the app. Select what files you want to transfer. It will move those files from your Android or iPhone to the computer just by tapping the phone on the keyboard’s space-bar. A tap on the bar uploaded all the photos on our Samsung Galaxy right to the computer; it was done in a few seconds. You can also bump files and photos from phone to phone.

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