Microsoft Is On The Edge…Of Glory
May04

Microsoft Is On The Edge…Of Glory

Microsoft finally released the name of its new default web browser that will take the place of good ol’ Internet Explore last week…and we’re on the edge of our seats (you’ll see what we did there in a bit). The new browser is titled Microsoft Edge (now you see it) and will launch with the release of Windows 10. The browser, formerly code-named Project Spartan was alluded to at the Windows Convergence Conference in Atlanta back in March. Details on Edge are few and far between. Similar to Apple’s artificial intelligence system, Siri, Edge has Microsoft’s Cortana built-in to support users with searches, appointments, reminders, directions, and more. Microsoft took Google’s love of simple design to heart when designing Edge’s interfaces around the idea of  minimalistic design. Other additions include reader, note-taking, and sharing features, which might be the browser’s saving grace – Internet Explorer’s technical downfall was its compatibility issues with other browsers – and an engine for rendering, called EdgeHTML. Right now, Microsoft is on the edge…OF GLORYYYY and it’s hanging on a moment of truth (Thank you, Lady Gaga). The initial release of Microsoft Edge and users’ willingness to switch from Chrome or Firefox to the new browser will set the stage for the success of the browser long-term. Microsoft has to overcome a deep stigma to atone for the sins of the late Internet Explorer. After all, users will only combat viruses, security issues, and compatibility issues for so long before making the permanent switch to another browser. This is Microsoft’s chance to rebrand themselves as a reliable browser source people can depend on. As a fan of Cinderella stories, I personally hope Microsoft will be able to turn its riches to rags back to riches in terms of its web browser and get a happily ever...

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In-App Dating? GetReal
Apr29

In-App Dating? GetReal

Smartphone dating applications have become the new norm when it comes to meeting new people. While you can still walk up to strangers at a coffee shop or bar and get to know them in person, that particular form of spontaneity has gone by the wayside thanks to apps like Tinder and Grindr. I mean, why should you actually talk to someone when you can left- or right-swipe their profiles to see if they’re interested? Being rejected via social media applications is so much less traumatizing than in person, right? I’m not sold either way, but a new app wants you to get real about meeting new people. GetReal is a recently launched iOS app that wants users to spend less time messaging through apps and more time in each others’ company. Similar to Tinder, it’s a location-based networking app that connects you to the people in your vicinity. However, there is no in-app interaction and pre-meeting conversation other than the request to meet. Here’s how it works: When you open the app, it shows you everyone on GetReal in your surrounding area. After checking out the various user profiles consisting of one photo and a short status, you can send a meeting request through a pin-drop map feature to pinpoint the location and have the option of adding a short message. The requested person has half an hour to accept, decline, or defer your invite. Then you meet them in person and start a conversation that way. All communication on the app is limited to the meet up requests; there is no chat or messaging function. If you’re a little iffy about meeting a stranger, GetReal allows users to link their Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn profiles to the app so you can see if you have any mutual connections. The app also keeps track of how many people you’ve invited to meet, how many people are available in your location, and any people you have muted, which we’re assuming is a way to block people. GetReal isn’t limited to screening potential dates; the main goal is just to help people meet in person. Whether you’re networking, in a new city, want to meet people in your neighborhood or while traveling, want to expand your circle of friends, etc., GetReal wants to help users meet up in person. A group of 200 beta testers in San Francisco and New York tech industries found the app can be used for anything; they have been using the app for everything from recruiting to tech talks to growing their networks. The app creator, Arnaud Meunier thinks the recent inflation of apps and...

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A Hykoo For You
Apr21

A Hykoo For You

“Twelve second story Showing your world in motion Do not call me bro” -Daiva Jarasius, AC writer Poetry wasn’t my strong suit in seventh grade and it still isn’t today so Always Current writer Daiva Jarasius wrote a haiku about Hykoo for today’s post. For those of you who aren’t familiar with haikus, this isn’t the most informational post but if you want to learn about Hykoo, read on. If you’ve ever wanted to make short videos from your phone, there’s another new app for that! Hykoo is an app that allows users to create 12 second videos on their phones through a combination of video clips and text with a variety of filters to complement the video. Now, with all the other video creating and sharing platforms out there today, why is something like Hykoo a novelty? We found a couple possible answers to that question. What sets Hykoo apart from the rest of the video creation mobile apps out there today, including Instagram, Vine, Snapchat, and more, is how the video is shot. Hykoo, pronounced like and influenced by the poetry style “haiku,” is very structured in it’s format. Similar to the poetry, there are three clips that are three seconds, three seconds, and six seconds long (though technically, it should be five, seven, five, or at least three, six, three, but we aren’t filing a complaint just yet). The video has to be shot in those segments; you can’t shoot all 12 seconds in one sitting because the idea behind Hykoo is you’re sharing a story, and stories often have more than one part. Each clip has some text on it to give the video context. Gary Krieg, one of the founders of the app, explained, “So much of the context of why someone is making and sharing a piece of content lives outside of the image itself, so our format allows that information to travel together.” Unlike Instagram, Vine and Snapchat videos, you can save drafts of these videos until they’re completed and ready to share. Hykoos are shareable on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and through email or text so the rest of the world can see your story. Hykoo is an independent startup created by Krieg, the former head of production for ad agency Wieden + Kennedy, Yoni Bloch, founder of interactive video service Interlude, and Jane Rosenthal, a co-founder of the Tribeca Film Festival. The app will officially launch with this years Tribeca Film Festival. As of right now, Hykoo is only available on iOS devices, but the founders are planning to launch a version for Android devices as well. Other changes they’re looking...

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MOTI, Your Personal Cheerleader
Apr14

MOTI, Your Personal Cheerleader

For the past few weeks – heck, the past few months – the Internet has been a buzzing about the iWatch release from Apple. While I’m glad Apple created another device – a wearable one this time – to which I can form an unhealthy emotional attachment, I’d gladly pass in a heartbeat to get my hands on one of these. Meet MOTI, your motivational, habit-forming, robotic, personal cheerleader. MOTI, which I like to think is short for motivation, is a pint-sized gadget that helps you practice, track and eventually form good habits by giving you encouragement. How does this furless, furby-like device help you become a better person, you ask? Well, first of all, it’s not nearly as terrifying as a furby; it’s actually pretty cute and friendly for a robot. You pick a habit you wish to adopt (drinking 8 glasses of water a day, running daily, flossing your teeth, etc.) and you sync that up with your MOTI. We’re guessing there’s a software program or website for that; a mobile app is in the works, but MOTI can be used as a stand alone device at this point in production. Now, back to our example. Lets say the habit you’re trying to form is drinking 8 glasses of water a day. When you drink a glass of water, press the button on MOTI and it will light up, chirp, and vibrate to celebrate your accomplishment. Not reaching your goal? MOTI’s creator, Kayla Matheus said in an interview with Fast Company, “If you start straying, then you’re going to get prompted with a reminder. Rather than being a push notification you can easily wipe away, MOTI might get sad or angry.” MOTI is based in behavioral science, which suggests you need three things to successfully develop a new habit: a trigger, routine, and reward. MOTI gives you the trigger and the reward to maintain or improve your routine. The problem with most fitness trackers and habit-forming apps is there is the reward is delayed and it’s incredibly easy to ignore a notification, delete an app, or take off a bracelet. MOTI is a small hardware device that sits on your desk; it’s physical presence reminds you, “Oh, right, I need to drink more water.” And if that doesn’t, the lights and chirping will. MOTI celebrates your accomplishments and tracks your progress to help your form your new habit; it evolves with you. Matheus said, “My first testers were two guys in their twenties and thirties, and they fell in love with these things. The vocabulary they used was interesting—they’d call it a he or a she, something...

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Twitter Trend: #Discover Dies
Apr10

Twitter Trend: #Discover Dies

Earlier this week, Twitter released an update to it’s mobile app for iOS and Android doing away with the #Discover tab and initiating a new Trend feature. Thank you, Twitter gods.   Twitter introduced the oddity that is Discover in 2011 as a way to piece together news stories, top tweets, trends, events and more. It was the love child of quality content and popular topics that fell short of the mark when Twitter increased in popularity. Discover just couldn’t keep up with the onslaught of tweets and trends compared to Twitter home feeds. Users who were unfamiliar with trending topics also had trouble gauging what the topic was and why it was a big deal because, unlike Facebook’s Trending Topics, Discover didn’t include a summary or explanation. The new layout for Trends has them situated under the search icon instead of their own tab on the lower navigation menu. When users search for something on Twitter, a list under the search bar appears with local, national, and global trending topics and hashtags. The number of tweets about these topics is listed and users can click on a trend to see what it’s about and what tweeters have to say about it. The idea behind the new trend summary blurbs is to clarify the actual topic of conversation but it doesn’t add clarification as to why something is trending. You still have to put your faith in other Twitter users for that. Or go to Google like the rest of us, because they still haven’t adequately explained to me why #1DisFinallyFreeFromModest is important. What does that mean? Were they held captive by an organization that appreciates loose-fit jeans? How unfortunate.   Right now, the Trend update is available for mobile devices throughout the US. Twitter plans on expanding the update globally soon and is currently experimenting with updates to the...

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