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.
A non-cable news show just for you. Photo: Reuters
I don’t watch cable TV. I pay a little more each month to purchase stand-alone Internet from my provider. I watch Netflix, Amazon, stream via my PS4, Apple TV and on my iOS devices. I hate commercial TV with a passion.
In 2013, 6.5 percent of American households quit watching cable or satellite TV, instead opting for a streaming-only experience, a 4.5 percent jump over the number of households that cut the cord in 2010. This is an audience that continues to grow.
Now Reuters TV, a fascinating new service from a reputable news outlet, promises to provide mobile TV news via an iOS app. Will other news empires follow suit?
This post is brought to you by Withings, creator of the Withings Aura smart sleep system.
Every morning when you wake up, do you hit the snooze button? You’re not the only one. According to a Withings sleep survey, over half Americans do. And even more Brits. A lot of people even think about smashing their alarm.
A lack of overall sleep and an abrupt awakening when your alarm clock or smartphone goes off in the morning are causing a lot of people to feel tired and unrested throughout the day, affecting their well-being and productivity.
Most people would prefer not to wake up to the sound of a loud noise, and rather let their internal body clock pull them out of sleep naturally in the morning. Now French connected health company Withings has developed the Aura, a cleverly designed sleep system that is set to provide a smooth wake-up experience and put an end to the snooze button.
Nowadays more and more kids are asking for an iPhone, maybe yours as well. But are you worried about their receiving nuisance calls, bullying, contact from strangers, endless spam and trolls? These commonplace tricksters can soon rack up a huge phone bill — and you’ll be the one asked to pay it.
MobiPast is a new monitoring app that allows you to see just whom your kids contact on their phones — and who contacts them. It’s not spying exactly. It’s for their and your safety and peace of mind. To see how MobiPast allows you to remotely track your kids’ calls, texts, contacts, internet surfing, social media activities — and GPS locations — read on.
Rolling with Cubr. Photo courtesy Sébastien Leidgens.
SAN FRANCISCO — Sébastien Leidgens wants to put a new angle on the business card.
His invention, Cubr, is a six-sided die that connects people through private mobile web chat. When a red, blue or green Cubr is tossed your way, you hit the website or download the app, then enter the code to start your instant message convo or share photos with the person who gave you the die. The enterprising Belgian, a former project manager at a digital marketing agency, is taking a gamble on the idea that people are tired of handing out one-dimensional cards.
“It’s a business card for non-business people,” Leidgens says in an English heavily influenced by his native French. “Young people don’t have business cards. This you can use for private situations in everyday life. It’s a lot more fun and outside of the usual public circles.”
While sitting in on a session at Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference last year, Nick Frey, Chris Galzerano, and Veeral Patel got an itch to make something. As part of iOS 7, Apple had introduced “Multipeer Connectivity,” a framework for communicating with nearby devices.
Frey and his friends were at WWDC on student scholarships given by Apple, a tradition that provides the opportunity for hundreds of grade school and college students to attend the expensive conference for free each year.
Nearly a year later, the result of their shared itch is Audibly, a nifty iPhone app that can chain together iPhones to create a wireless sound system.
High-school senior Omar Martin Del Campo and his small team of developers have found a way to make text messaging even more secure. Peek lets you chat with friends via the app and your messages are erased as you read them.
The app asks you to authenticate with Twitter or Facebook to ensure your identity to your friends, and then you can chat away in the fairly clean, purple-themed interface on offer.
“Our focus,” said Del Campo in an email with Cult of Mac, “is a great user experience, beautiful design, simplicity and safe and secure messaging.”
As if we didn’t have enough fat shaming to go around, there’s a new game on the App Store called Plastic Surgery For Barbara, and it’s a doozy.
The idea here is that Barbara (or Barbie, if you will) is overweight. The developers want kids aged 12+ to play a game in which they can assume that fat is ugly, and that the only way to fix a weight problem is through surgery.
“Barbara likes to eat a lot of burgers and chocolates and once she found out that she looks ugly,” says the App Store description. “She can’t make it up with this situation any additional second. And today plastic surgeon is going to make operation on her body and face in order to return cute Barbara’s look.”
So, she’s fat, which means she’s ugly, and she can’t wait any longer. If she just gets surgery, she’ll be “cute” again. Whew.
Which means, of course, that you can use the Canary not only to get notifications when there’s out-of-the-ordinary activity recorded, but also to capture video you can look at later that may not have tripped a notification.
We talked with the Canary crew at CES, as you can see in the video above.