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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TIDAL For All… Who Pay the Piper
Apr01

TIDAL For All… Who Pay the Piper

If you keep up with certain extraordinarily popular stars of the music industry, you might have seen some profile pics on Facebook and Twitter replaced with solid blocks of blue, and cryptic messages accompanied by the hashtag #TIDALforALL. After the enormous success of the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge viral awareness campaign, you might imagine this is another social media fundraising effort. You’d be wrong. This coalition of artists (including such names as Rihanna, Kanye West, Madonna, Nicki Minaj, Usher, and Taylor Swift) is backing a far more noble cause: the ability to charge you large amounts of money for the privilege of streaming their music. Welcome Jay-Z’s TIDAL, a music streaming service similar to the wildly-popular Spotify. Where Spotify offers free and premium subscriptions (a model supported mostly through advertisements), TIDAL will be available only to premium subscribers for a cost of $19.99 per month – double the cost of Spotify’s premium subscription. So why would anyone pay to stream music when free services like Spotify and Pandora are available? Well, for one thing, TIDAL offers lossless tracks, which is a pretty big draw for audiophiles. But let’s be real, the average person isn’t worried about the audio quality in their Spotify playlists. No, TIDAL’s success will most likely depend on the support these artists can garner. If enough mega-stars follow Taylor Swift’s example and make their music available only through payment-based subscriptions, paid services could very easily become the norm. There’s still one more big reason you might choose to support a subscription-only music streaming service over the constantly growing pool of free options – artist payouts. Legitimate concerns exist around programs like Spotify regarding artist payment, and like it or not, musicians need to get paid to keep making music. While I doubt Jay-Z or his band of supporters are hurting for cash, they have the right to make their work available where and how they see fit. Of course, we get to choose whether or not we support their distribution...

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On Comet, On Cupid, On-Body, On Blitzen
Apr01

On Comet, On Cupid, On-Body, On Blitzen

Hold your horses, or in this case reindeer, because it’s not quite time for Santa Clause to be coming to town. But our favorite Internet and technology elves (aka geniuses) at Google have been hard at work on something special down in Silicon Valley for Android users. Google’s working on rolling out a new smart lock mode, coined “on-body,” that will leave your phone unlocked when the accelerometer recognizes the phone is in your hand, pocket, purse, or anywhere on your person. When the phone’s sensors detect the phone has been set down, it will lock the screen and you have to manually unlock is (which is such a hassle). The idea behind on-body is that if you leave your phone sitting on a table somewhere – say, at Starbucks when your drink is ready – then potential thieves can’t steal it and easily access your data. Why you are leaving your phone unattended on the table and walking away is beyond us; you might as well just give it to a stranger on the street and hope for the best. Still, if local coffee shop thieves stealing your phone and accessing your data keeps you up at night, you can rest easy knowing on-body is here to save your day. Unfortunately, it’s not a foolproof solution. On-body will continue to keep your phone unlocked as long as the accelerometer detects it is being held or carried. So if you pass your phone off to a friend or someone snatches it out of your hand, the phone has no way of knowing whether it’s in your hand or not. If that’s the case, your phone will remain unlocked and your data is accessible to whomever is holding the phone until they set it down, which is bad news bears for you. Of course, you have the option of pairing on-body with the other smart lock features such as trusted face and trusted places to better your phone’s security, so all hope is not...

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The End of Internet Explorer Draws Near
Mar25

The End of Internet Explorer Draws Near

Dearly beloved, we are gathered here to say our goodbyes. Here she lies; very few knew her worth – the late, formerly great browser of Microsoft – and we celebrate her inevitable end. Rejoice, speedy and secure web-browser-lovers, for Microsoft has announced the phase-out of Internet Explorer. For those of you who still swear by the formerly flawless, currently ill-fated browser, we express our condolences for your loss, but it’s time to move on. At the Windows Convergence conference in Atlanta, Microsoft announced Project Spartan, the code-name of its next generation web browser and it addressed plans to phase-out Internet Explorer. First released in the mid 1990s, Internet Explorer dominated the browser market and peaked in the early 2000s. Since then, it’s commonly associated with slow loading times, security risks, and poor compatibility with other browsers. Microsoft plans to rebrand its image in terms of web browsers around Project Spartan. While much is still to be determined, including the final name of the browser, current features that are supposedly set in stone include: Cortana – Microsoft’s personal web assistant, Annotation tools that are compatible with keyboards & pens, A streamlined layout, and A reading mode Internet Explorer will still exist in some versions of Windows 10 and Microsoft will make sure its new model is compatible with the software that operates solely on Internet Explorer. But for the most part, it’s gotta be going to that Best Buy in the sky, where it will be join long-time pal Clippy in Internet heaven (or hell, depending on your perspective). Farewell, Internet Explorer. Note: The beginning of this post is inspired by the creative genius that is “La Vie Boheme” from the Broadway production RENT, to which we do not own the rights, but hold in the very highest...

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New Android Operating System Gives You A ‘Break’
Oct31

New Android Operating System Gives You A ‘Break’

As a staple of everyone’s Halloween diet, KitKats are one of the most popular candy bars in the world. That is why you may be surprised to learn that KitKat at is the name of the new Google Android operating system, Android 4.4. With over 1 billion users, this will be a welcome update that is promised to improve the user experience for Android owners. Here is what you can expect from the upcoming update. A Better Looking User-Interface It is no coincidence that Apple’s iOS7 design has people making comparisons to Android’s design. Android has a great look and has improved upon it with the update. You will most likely see a new color scheme and improved notifications. Expect that the interface will stay clean and streamlined as that is what it is known for. Android Update Will Apply To More Phones Android has run into the same issue many times when releasing new operating systems – that their hardware will not support the operating systems. This makes the updates obsolete for most users. Hopefully in the future, the software will become more streamlined and usable for more phone owners. A Look Towards The Future Mimicking Apple’s affordability cue, with Android 4.4 there is an expectation that cheaper phones will be made available. The software will be available to the entry-level devices and not just the most expensive. It is also rumored that KitKat will be optimized for wearable devices like smartwatches, a rising trend in the tech industry. Android 4.4 is supposed to have new abilities like a step detector and step counter. Remote Control Say goodbye to trying to find that pesky remote control in the cushions and change the channels with your phone instead. Developers will be able to make apps that control your television and more with the use of infrared signals.  I don’t know about you but I am always with my phone when I sit down to watch a show, so this is a welcome update. Are you excited for this update? How do you think it will stack up against  Apple’s...

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