Uber’s new video game puts you behind the virtual wheel

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Is it really this glamorous and fun?
Is it really this glamorous and fun?
Photo: Uber

Uber, the disruptive (and controversial) ride-sharing service, has a real problem. If you want to corner the market on the backs of a global workforce of what are essentially freelancers, how do you ensure that they all know how to use your system? And, more importantly, how do you replenish your supply of willing Uber drivers.

The San Fransisco company thinks that a video game may be the answer. Called UberDrive, it will be available on the App Store for anyone who wants to take a virtual trip as an Uber driver.

“UberDRIVE is a compelling representation of what it’s like to be an Uber driver-partner on the platform,” said Mike Truong, a senior product manager at Uber, in a statement. “Through the course of playing the game you can get a sense of how much money you can make using your own car and driving on your own time. With the sign-up flow embedded directly into the game it makes it really easy to start the sign-up and screening process right then and there.”

Cruiseable cuts through the hassle of high-seas vacations

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Find a cruise that matches your style and budget without a lot of travel industry tricks.
Find a cruise that matches your style and budget without a lot of travel industry tricks.
Photo: MSC Cruises

If you’ve ever tried to book a cruise through a portal like Cruise.com or — heaven forbid — via a cruise line’s website, you know that it can be an incredibly confusing and costly experience.

The thing is, though, that it doesn’t have to be. Cruisable is a startup that hopes to take the obfuscation away and let you find affordable and/or incredibly fantastic cruise vacations with a website and app that won’t try to trick you.

“Cruises can be cheaper than other getaways,” said CTO and co-founder Giacomo Balli, “as low as a couple hundred dollars.”

Delayed gratification is key feature of new Hipstamatic photo app

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Hipstamatic rolled out DSPO, a new product that creates a social network. Photo: Hipstamatic/iTunes
Hipstamatic rolled out DSPO, a new product that creates a social network. Photo: Hipstamatic/iTunes

Many smartphone photographers use Hipstamatic as a way to articulate their personal vision. But the quest for beautiful photos need not be so solitary.

The iPhone app that lets you apply a vintage aesthetic from any era of photography now has a social component called DSPO.

Moju image app puts your moments in motion

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Just twist and watch your Moju file come to life. Photo: Moju Labs
Just twist and watch your Moju file come to life. Photo: Moju Labs

We grew up in homes with robust photo albums, reels of 8 mm home movies and stacks of VHS tapes. These represent the branches and blossoms of our growing family trees.

In the digital age, we’ve filled out the branches, capturing millions of pictures and video clips almost out of concern we will miss something.

And we rarely look at any of it.

Mok Oh wants to change that with Moju, an iPhone app that distills the essence of a life moment by taking a sequence of photos and creating seamless motion in a file that comes to life with a simple twist of your phone.

Bindle takes the suck out of group messaging

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New group-messaging app Bindle feels your pain. Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac
New group-messaging app Bindle tries to un-suck the group messaging experience. Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac

Chris Toy was an Everquest geek in the early days, playing the addictive open-world video game somewhat obsessively.

It wasn’t slaying the monsters or leveling up that really motivated Toy, but the social aspects of the game.

“I was honestly pretty isolated,” the Hong Kong native told Cult of Mac by phone, “and talking to people via Everquest or World of Warcraft felt better than talking to real people.”

That’s when he realized that being able to text chat with other people wherever they were was the future of messaging, and perhaps even communication itself. Fast-forward to now, and Toy and a high-tech team living in San Francisco have created Bindle, a new group-messaging app designed to create this very same future.