Posts Tagged: apps

A Hundred Years of Inquietude

For a start-up like Mr. Butterfield’s, reaching that valuation in such a short time is unheard of. Slack, which offers a chat-room-like product for businesses to use as an internal communication tool, was introduced publicly only eight months ago. It is focused on the enterprise, which means it sells its products primarily to businesses, rather than individual consumers.

But with a new $120 million round of financing, announced on Friday, venture capitalists believe that Mr. Butterfield is building an enterprise company that will lead the next 100 years of online collaboration.

Slack is nice. It might even be well worth a billion dollars. But no one believes this. [...]


Tonight, New York City Crowns Its Best New App! But Will It Be the Racist One?

Tonight, Big Bill de Blasio awards the winners in the NYC BigApps competition. That's a project of the New York City Economic Development Corporation. With mentors and judges from many, if not "all" walks of life, this project is one of the few rare ways that New York City might actually help a small business, while also helping to improve the lives of New Yorkers, or even making the city a better place in general. Cash prizes go to the best apps created out of city data.

But Mayor Bill will be treading on dangerous ground. Will the judges set him up for a disaster? Because among some [...]


Economy Shared

The Times has published its third or so major piece on the part-time and gig economy in nearly as many weeks—this one focussed on those employed by apps, commonly known as members of the "sharing economy." Predictably, the founder of a car-sharing marketplace that will be crushed by Uber, called RelayRides, describes it as "transformational.” And yet:

“On average, you’re going to make $7 per favor,” [Kelsey Cruse] Cruse explained, using the company’s euphemism for a delivery. “If you are running two favors in an hour, that’s $14 an hour. It’s pretty awesome.” She hadn’t yet racked up enough “favors” to earn that much consistently. So far [...]


Man Vs. Word

In 1969, a psychologist named G. Harry McLaughlin published the results of a number of experiments he’d made on speed readers in the Journal of Reading. His fastest subject was Miss L., "a university graduate with an IQ of 140" who had taken a speed reading course and claimed to have achieved speeds of sixteen thousand words per minute "with complete comprehension." He hooked her up to the electro-oculograph, a device that measures eye movements, and let her rip.

Miss L. read Evelyn Waugh’s A Handful of Dust at 10,000 words per minute [...] When she was half way through I asked her for a recall [...] Miss L. recalled [...]


I Deleted Secret

Be the change you want to something in the something, right? Last night, a friend deleted Secret, the new app for… sharing secrets and I realized: oh, I could do that as well! These apps do not own me! (Yet.)

It's a fascinating experiment, and I'm curious about where it will go. But. Opening Secret was like walking onto a trading floor where a pack of goons were desperately displaying the contents of their wallets and/or underwear. It was like carrying a portal to a heinous world of male status anxiety. So much equity terror, so many tepid sexual fantasies unfulfilled. In the future, if I need someone [...]


Fucking Much Easier Now

"In olden days, people hoping to get their rocks off using the Internet had no choice but to try their luck on services like or OkCupid — which require them to fill out profiles, choose flattering photos, and spend hours crafting messages that likely went unread — or wade into the sketchy backwaters of Adult FriendFinder or Craigslist postings. "


Boy Scouts Transitioning To "Indoors"

"Boy Scouts can now earn a merit badge for designing smartphone games"


The "Times" Opinion Curse

A scene from June: On June 10, Arthur Sulzberger Jr., Mark Thompson and Andrew Rosenthal, along with New York Times Op-Ed columnists Charles M. Blow, David Brooks, Frank Bruni, Roger Cohen, Gail Collins, Ross Douthat, Maureen Dowd, Nicholas Kristof and Joe Nocera, celebrated the launch of NYT Opinion, the new stand-alone Opinion subscription and mobile app, at NeueHouse in New York City.

Other notable attendees: Mayor Bill de Blasio, Lorne Michaels, professional basketball player Jason Collins, Katie Couric, Savannah Guthrie, Charlie Rose, Gayle King, Norah O’Donnell, Mia Farrow, “Orange Is the New Black” creator [sic] Piper Kerman, and Barbara Walters.

This was not just a huge party for a [...]


"It’s Uber, but for Golden Parachutes"

The two-way path between government, politics, and private industry, densely shaded by lush money trees, is so well-worn it seems to have been carved by the finger of God, a well-known capitalist, long ago. And yet, fresh trade routes establish themselves all the time. David Plouffe, the man who successfully convinced a majority of the United States in 2008 that Barack Obama would change the country for the better, is now going to make the same argument for Uber, a service that seeks to deeply weave itself into the infrastructure of cities in order to make as much money as possible. Meanwhile, Kara Swisher notes, former Obama press [...]


"Sketch" Is a Lie

The SketchFactor app, which is intended to provide users with warnings as to the location of "sketchy" neighborhoods, was launched last Friday to near-universal howls of protest. The most common complaint was one of racism. Among dozens: "White duo behind app to avoid 'sketchy' neighborhoods is shocked to hear it's racist," said The Raw Story; "Smiling Young White People Make App for Avoiding Black Neighborhoods," wrote Sam Biddle in Valleywag.

SketchFactor works like this: users can tag locations with their impressions of "sketchiness" determined according to the "Sketch Point Legend." In addition to crime, you can report a "Bizarre Discovery" or a "Strange Encounter." Visitors consulting a map [...]


Conflict Apps

Red Alert: Israel is currently the second-most downloaded news app in the US, just below Yahoo. A selection of reviews from the App Store:

And one from Congressman Jeff Duncan (R-SC):

Why do I want the App? So that I can pray for Israel as well as understand, as a policy maker, the magnanimity of the threats and the conflict.

Can you imagine living under this constant threat?…

This speaks to the existential threat that the people in Israel live with constantly.

Red Alert's creator is Kobi Snir, an Israeli developer who worked with the people behind Yo! to build an [...]


Hot New App Already Filled With Garbage

Do you remember PostSecret, that project where people mailed anonymous postcards with secrets written on them to be published in books and museum installations and websites and things like that? Well, San Francisco remembers, because there have been two high-profile app versions in the past few weeks: Whisper and now Secret.

Secret, which is impossible to find by searching for it in the App Store on your iPhone (try searching for "secret" and you'll come up with, like, "My Secret Diary" and "Best Windows 7 Secrets." If you want to download it, go to on your phone browser. Good start to your relationship with this app), [...]


What Do The Apps Want From Us?

App updates seem to come in waves. One minute you've obsessively completed updates, the next minute, your folder or app store icon on your phone has a big red "22" badge on it. Around half of all updates are minor but useful bug fixes. Sometimes they're incredibly undersold security updates, a little trick Tumblr pulled this week when they realized that they were sending passwords in plain text. (No one really went crazy about this, surprisingly, because we live in password denial: "Some company that you exchange information with is going to reveal your password to someone else.") This week's app updates cluster revealed something more interesting: lots [...]


Terrifyingly Cheerful Ghost Revealed To Be Free iPad App Notification

The first time you hear a very clear Chinese woman's voice say "Sou Sou!" in your living room while you are supposedly alone, it is natural to brush it off. There are so many things making noises all the time! The second time, weeks later, when you're sitting alone by the fireplace reading at midnight, is terrifying. At this point, it is natural to wonder if this is how Moses or Allah or Jesus or Neale Donald Walsch or Oral Roberts or Ted Nugent or Charles Manson felt, when they first heard voices telling them what to do. But what did "Sou Sou!" even mean? It seemed less like [...]


Are You a Tech Company?

In 2014, there are but a few questions to ask yourself in order to determine if you are a technology company or "startup."

• Do you have a website which is primarily used to sell your product(s)?

• Do you sincerely believe that your company, which mostly aspires to sell a commodity product to middle-class and upper-middle-class consumers using mildly novel marketing techniques, is going to change the world?

• Has a mysterious man offered you tens or even hundreds of millions of dollars?

Well then! I have good news for you.


The Weird Near Future of News

NowThisNews was started a couple years ago as a "brand new video network built from scratch for people who get their news on mobile devices and through social streams." It was given five million dollars. Its early videos were short YouTube-style news bulletins; most of the old embeds seem to be gone. Now, a few PIVOTS later, the company is focusing on publishing news directly to apps, including Vine and Instagram. This concept—bypassing websites, going directly to other companies' channels—is something that a lot of people will start trying over the next year, because the internet is broken.

NowThisNews is also publishing directly to [...]


Who Will Disrupt the Public Good?

"Haystack provides a solution to a key market failure in popular parking areas: meter prices are too cheap, which results in excess demand."

A few other market failures, which have resulted in excess demand:

1. Space for your blanket at the park on a cool summer evening. 2. Seats on the bus during rush hour 3. Public housing. So cheap! 4. Walking space on the sidewalk, especially in those busy shopping neighborhoods 5. Snow removal 6. Clean water

This undercharging is ruining my overall User Experience. And frankly, Haystack's lack of a parking space derivatives function makes me think they're not serious about extracting capital from parking spaces. [...]


How Do We Know Who People Are?

It seems worthwhile to revisit the idea of the universal reputation market, in light of Schrödinger's Satoshi Nakamoto. Is this man Satoshi, or isn't he? For now, he equally is and he definitely isn't the progenitor of Bitcoin. No one has yet elaborated a way to decide.

One way, of course, that we might discover if this person is Satoshi Nakamoto is through constant surveillance—both physical and digital. Would that be a good thing?

How do we know who people are? We have some definite if hackable systems, like social security numbers. Names are a problem; sometimes unique, often not. So people are who they say they are—except, more [...]


Delete These Apps From Your Phone! If You Feel Better And More Productive After You've Done That, You Should Take It As A Sign That You Need To Kill Yourself, Because Your Existence Is So Vacuous And Superficial That The Absence Or Presence Of Apps On Your Phone Has Any Sort Of Bearing On The Way You Interact With The World And Feel About Your Life. God, What A Useless Piece Of Shit You Are, App-Having Phone User. People Are Struggling At This Very Moment With The Near-Impossible Task Of Basic Human Survival And You've Got A Little Bit Of An Extra Spring In Your Step Because Your Phone Is A Few Apps Lighter? Seriously, Fill Your Tub With Water, Dunk Your Head In It Twice And Lift It Out Once. You Bring Dishonor To All Of Us, But Most Of All Yourself.

"For 2014, resolve to cleanse your cell phone of unnecessary apps just as you resolve to cut out carbs from your diet. Maybe you loved these apps once, maybe you hooked up with them because someone told you to, or maybe you don’t even remember how they came into your life. Doesn’t matter! The time has come to purge them from your system. We swear you’ll feel instantly lighter."


"I'm A Fucker, Not A Chucker"

"Sean Glass, the owner of Win Records, was taken aback when he saw his overall score of 6 — and that more than one hookup labeled him #F—-dMeAndChuckedMe. 'I can’t believe people say that,' says Glass, 28. 'I’ve never f—– and chucked anybody. I’ve just had sex with girls without it turning into a relationship. And #GoneByMorning is not true. I’ve very rarely slept over at anyone’s apartment.'" —"Here's the app every single guy in NYC fears"