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Technology Untangled: Transfer photos and files between devices with just a bump

Stephen Bour
December 18, 2013
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technology-bourWe have probably all seen the commercials for the Samsung smartphones where pictures and videos are transferred between two phones by simply touching them together. In my favorite one, mom sends dad off on his business trip with a video transfer and a coy warning that he probably shouldn’t watch it on the plane. You can see it on YouTube by searching “Samsung Galaxy funny commercial airplane trip.”

I don’t have a Samsung phone, but I thought an easy wireless transfer feature like this might be useful for business. Today we will look at a cross-platform application that works in a similar manner. The app is called Bump. By cross-platform, I mean you can use this file-transfer utility between Android phones and iPhones, as well as between smartphones, tablets and computers. Bump also will work with your iPad, although I found use with the iPad a little more difficult. More on that later. You can download this free app from both the Apple App Store and the Google Play Store. For your computer, the software can be found at https://bu.mp.

When I started on this article, I hoped I had discovered an app that would be useful for attorneys to share document files with each other via iPad. And while it can be done, I don’t think this turns out to be the ideal tool. In fact, the app can only be found under the iPhone section of the App Store, not within the iPad section. The Bump app seems to be designed primarily for transferring photos between smartphones.

Unfortunately, there is no easy method to access document files on your iPad in order to transfer them to others via Bump. The only readily available documents folder is the folder created by Bump. You can work around this, but you have to connect your iPad to your computer and manipulate files via iTunes in order to import any files you would like to share from your iPad with others. Suffice it to say that the process was beyond what I would define as “Untangled.”

For photos however, things are easy. The app by default pops up thumbnails of all your pictures from your main camera folder. Simply highlight as many as you want to share, and bump. For PDFs and other documents, you have to manually navigate to the proper subfolder on your memory card and highlight the name of each file you want to share. The process is similar for transfer of video and audio files (size limit 20 MB), though it seemed to me that the transfer time for multimedia files was much slower.

Photos, documents and multimedia that are received into a phone are stored into newly created Bump folders. The files do not automatically transfer to the normally expected locations where all your other similar files reside. You have to move them manually with a file manager. I found this to be annoying.

One feature that did seem more business-friendly and useful was the ability to “bump” to share contact information with others, including your business card info. You simply highlight the contacts from your list that you want to share and bump phones. The contacts are dropped directly into the expected location in the contact list on your associate’s phone. Similarly, you can highlight your favorite phone apps to bump and share with others, saving them the trouble of searching them out in the App Store.

At first, I thought that this app required both devices to be connected to the same Wi-Fi router, but that is not the case. Bump will work between phones via the cell connection as well as to/from tablets connected only via Wi-Fi. To bump with a computer though, an Internet connection is required. You have to open the bu.mp website first, and then bump your phone on the computer’s space bar to facilitate a transfer. Your bumped file is actually uploaded to some sort of Dropbox-like repository and you then have to click to download it to the computer.

I wondered if it might be possible to accidently transfer files to a stranger by literally bumping into them in a crowded room. No, you can’t “bump” by mistake. Both phones first must have the Bump app invoked, and then you still have to hit a Confirm button on each phone before the file transfer actually takes place. In fact, all of this transferring could be accomplished with a simple button press. The bumping is used to invoke the phone accelerometers, thus causing the phones to vibrate while transferring files. It is simply a gimmick, but I suppose it makes the process more interesting.

Are there plenty of other methods to accomplish exactly the same end result as Bump? Sure, there are plenty of ways to transfer data. But for simplicity and fun, this app is worth a look, especially for use with photos. If nothing else, you may find Bump amusing for sharing pictures with family and friends during the holidays.•

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Stephen Bour (bourtech@iquest.net) is an engineer and legal technology consultant in Indianapolis. His company, the Alliance for Litigation Support Inc., includes Bour Technical Services and Alliance Court Reporting. Areas of service include legal videography, tape analysis, document scanning to CD and courtroom presentation support. The opinions expressed in this column are those of the author.

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  1. Yes diversity is so very important. With justice Rucker off ... the court is too white. Still too male. No Hispanic justice. No LGBT justice. And there are other checkboxes missing as well. This will not do. I say hold the seat until a physically handicapped Black Lesbian of Hispanic heritage and eastern religious creed with bipolar issues can be located. Perhaps an international search, with a preference for third world candidates, is indicated. A non English speaker would surely increase our diversity quotient!!!

  2. First, I want to thank Justice Rucker for his many years of public service, not just at the appellate court level for over 25 years, but also when he served the people of Lake County as a Deputy Prosecutor, City Attorney for Gary, IN, and in private practice in a smaller, highly diverse community with a history of serious economic challenges, ethnic tensions, and recently publicized but apparently long-standing environmental health risks to some of its poorest residents. Congratulations for having the dedication & courage to practice law in areas many in our state might have considered too dangerous or too poor at different points in time. It was also courageous to step into a prominent and highly visible position of public service & respect in the early 1990's, remaining in a position that left you open to state-wide public scrutiny (without any glitches) for over 25 years. Yes, Hoosiers of all backgrounds can take pride in your many years of public service. But people of color who watched your ascent to the highest levels of state government no doubt felt even more as you transcended some real & perhaps some perceived social, economic, academic and professional barriers. You were living proof that, with hard work, dedication & a spirit of public service, a person who shared their same skin tone or came from the same county they grew up in could achieve great success. At the same time, perhaps unknowingly, you helped fellow members of the judiciary, court staff, litigants and the public better understand that differences that are only skin-deep neither define nor limit a person's character, abilities or prospects in life. You also helped others appreciate that people of different races & backgrounds can live and work together peacefully & productively for the greater good of all. Those are truths that didn't have to be written down in court opinions. Anyone paying attention could see that truth lived out every day you devoted to public service. I believe you have been a "trailblazer" in Indiana's legal community and its judiciary. I also embrace your belief that society's needs can be better served when people in positions of governmental power reflect the many complexions of the population that they serve. Whether through greater understanding across the existing racial spectrum or through the removal of some real and some perceived color-based, hope-crushing barriers to life opportunities & success, movement toward a more reflective representation of the population being governed will lead to greater and uninterrupted respect for laws designed to protect all peoples' rights to life, liberty & the pursuit of happiness. Thanks again for a job well-done & for the inevitable positive impact your service has had - and will continue to have - on countless Hoosiers of all backgrounds & colors.

  3. Diversity is important, but with some limitations. For instance, diversity of experience is a great thing that can be very helpful in certain jobs or roles. Diversity of skin color is never important, ever, under any circumstance. To think that skin color changes one single thing about a person is patently racist and offensive. Likewise, diversity of values is useless. Some values are better than others. In the case of a supreme court justice, I actually think diversity is unimportant. The justices are not to impose their own beliefs on rulings, but need to apply the law to the facts in an objective manner.

  4. Have been seeing this wonderful physician for a few years and was one of his patients who told him about what we were being told at CVS. Multiple ones. This was a witch hunt and they shold be ashamed of how patients were treated. Most of all, CVS should be ashamed for what they put this physician through. So thankful he fought back. His office is no "pill mill'. He does drug testing multiple times a year and sees patients a minimum of four times a year.

  5. Brian W, I fear I have not been sufficiently entertaining to bring you back. Here is a real laugh track that just might do it. When one is grabbed by the scruff of his worldview and made to choose between his Confession and his profession ... it is a not a hard choice, given the Confession affects eternity. But then comes the hardship in this world. Imagine how often I hear taunts like yours ... "what, you could not even pass character and fitness after they let you sit and pass their bar exam ... dude, there must really be something wrong with you!" Even one of the Bishop's foremost courtiers said that, when explaining why the RCC refused to stand with me. You want entertaining? How about watching your personal economy crash while you have a wife and five kids to clothe and feed. And you can't because you cannot work, because those demanding you cast off your Confession to be allowed into "their" profession have all the control. And you know that they are wrong, dead wrong, and that even the professional code itself allows your Faithful stand, to wit: "A lawyer may refuse to comply with an obligation imposed by law upon a good faith belief that no valid obligation exists. The provisions of Rule 1.2(d) concerning a good faith challenge to the validity, scope, meaning or application of the law apply to challenges of legal regulation of the practice of law." YET YOU ARE A NONPERSON before the BLE, and will not be heard on your rights or their duties to the law -- you are under tyranny, not law. And so they win in this world, you lose, and you lose even your belief in the rule of law, and demoralization joins poverty, and very troubling thoughts impeaching self worth rush in to fill the void where your career once lived. Thoughts you did not think possible. You find yourself a failure ... in your profession, in your support of your family, in the mirror. And there is little to keep hope alive, because tyranny rules so firmly and none, not the church, not the NGO's, none truly give a damn. Not even a new court, who pay such lip service to justice and ancient role models. You want entertainment? Well if you are on the side of the courtiers running the system that has crushed me, as I suspect you are, then Orwell must be a real riot: "There will be no curiosity, no enjoyment of the process of life. All competing pleasures will be destroyed. But always — do not forget this, Winston — always there will be the intoxication of power, constantly increasing and constantly growing subtler. Always, at every moment, there will be the thrill of victory, the sensation of trampling on an enemy who is helpless. If you want a picture of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face — forever." I never thought they would win, I always thought that at the end of the day the rule of law would prevail. Yes, the rule of man's law. Instead power prevailed, so many rules broken by the system to break me. It took years, but, finally, the end that Dr Bowman predicted is upon me, the end that she advised the BLE to take to break me. Ironically, that is the one thing in her far left of center report that the BLE (after stamping, in red ink, on Jan 22) is uninterested in, as that the BLE and ADA office that used the federal statute as a sword now refuses to even dialogue on her dire prediction as to my fate. "C'est la vie" Entertaining enough for you, status quo defender?

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