Tech Tuesday: Coin


By Michael Lesser

Mobile payment methods have proliferated over the past few years in an effort to “reinvent” the credit card. For the most part, these payment systems have relied on near field communication (NFC) technology or QR codes. However, Coin is a new and innovative app-based payment option that still relies on a physical card for making payments.

Coin is a credit card sized electronic device that stores multiple debit cards, credit cards, gift cards, loyalty cards, and membership cards. The device keeps the magnetic information for up to eight cards in its memory, and rewrites its own magnetic stripe to mimic the card that you wish to use. Therefore, it works anywhere that a traditional card is accepted (e.g. ATMs, gas station machines, retailers) – this aspect alone makes it unique from just about every other mobile payment solution, as most alternatives require that each merchant acquires and maintains special equipment.

Coin’s mobile app allows users to add, manage, and sync the cards that will be stored on the device. In order to add a card, you just need to take a picture of the card and then swipe the card through the provided dongle. Then, the Coin itself has a button that allows you to switch between your stored cards. In addition, the Coin has a built-in Bluetooth chip, which enables the device to notify you if you leave it somewhere and automatically disables certain functions based on its proximity to your phone. In fact, you can choose for the device to disable itself after it is away from your phone for a specified amount of time.

The Coin won’t be available until Summer 2014, but pre-orders are already being accepted. For more information, go to



Tech Tuesday: Easybib by Hao Wan

Welcome to this week’s Tech Tuesday!

College life is sometimes filled with research and paper writing. Typing citations about physical books that one refers to and formating it in a desirable format might seem to be a boring task. With the help of EasyBib, citing materials from a book becomes much fun.

A free iOS app, EasyBib is very a small yet powerful tool. All you need to do is to open the app, which instantly opens up your camera, and focus the camera on the barcode of the book you are going to refer to in your paper.

Then, you can choose the citation format you want, be it MLA, APA, or Chicago. You can also add multiple citations, manage and search for the citations in the record. (This could serve as a memo) After that, with a simple click on the green button (lower right), you can email your citation to yourself and copy it into your paper.

To use it collaboratively, citations can also be sent to other students/professors to let them know the publisher/version of the book you are referring tool.

AT Friday: By Michael Lesser


As a second year AT Fellow, I’ve seen the program evolve and I’m glad to be a part of this group’s accomplishments. In our wrap-up meeting towards the end of last year, an idea that was mentioned was for our group to host a workshop series for students, faculty, and staff. It certainly makes sense for our group: we come from a variety of academic backgrounds and have different skills and interests, but we all share the common goal of helping the Tufts community integrate technology into their educational and research initiatives. Therefore, we made the Academic Technology Workshop series a reality this semester.


Early this semester, our group began to brainstorm topics that we felt would be beneficial to the community, and we ended up with ideas ranging from demonstrating how to build a WordPress site to describing various programming languages to using LaTex for writing research papers. After much planning, marketing, and other logistics, we kicked off the series on October 21st and we have had three workshops so far with student, faculty, and staff attendees from various areas of the university.


This semester, the Academic Technology workshops take place on Monday afternoons from 12pm to 1pm. If you would like to get more information, please go to

Tech Tuesday – Venmo

Written by Michael Lesser




The use of peer-to-peer payment platforms has expanded over the past few years, and most recently, many platforms have been released as mobile apps in order to target the growing user base of smartphones. While many options exist, Venmo is a new app that has stood out to me.


In particular, Venmo is intended to take the pain out of splitting payments among friends and colleagues. When you create an account, you can add and refer friends using your contact list or Facebook, and then you can link your account to a credit card, debit card, or bank account in order to transfer money. Like many peer-to-peer payment applications, it is relatively simple to send money to others. However, Venmo also makes it less awkward and frustrating to collect money from those who owe you. The “charge” feature lets you request money from others using the same straightforward process as you would to send money.


Although I have only known about Venmo for a few weeks, I am already encouraging my friends to download the app as I see a number of uses for it. As a college student, I often need to split expenses such as meals, rent, and utility bills. In addition, when others owe me money, I tend to rely on scattered notes and numerous reminders in order to actually get paid back. Needless to say, Venmo can make these tasks much easier.


Sending money is free as long as you use a bank account, debit card, or the balance in your Venmo account. If you choose to use a credit card, there is a 3% fee. Receiving money is always free. The app itself is free as well and it is currently available for iPhone and Android.