Smartphones have basically become a synonym for distraction. With so many people staring into their glowing rectangles, it’s hard to believe they could help someone become more present in the moment. Turns out it might actually be true.
It’s a lot easier to create a reading list than it is to make progress on one. For many people, the time and energy to get through a book is harder and harder to find. Luckily, you don’t always need to read every word of a book to catch its meaning.
Whether you’re into a quick search for needed information or a deep dive down the rabbit hole of a massive topic of your own choosing, chances are you’ll spend a bit of time on Wikipedia.
Wikipedia’s new iOS app update today will help you with both use cases, letting you drill down to a single bit of knowledge as well as leaning back and enjoying your exploration of the online portal’s over 36 million articles.
When I first became a reporter, I bought one of those little mics you could suction-cup to a telephone to record interviews. That was some gadget, except for having to tape it to the handset because the suction cup sometimes popped off.
You can still buy this kind of microphone or use your smartphone with an app called Yallo. A simple interface lets you record incoming calls, share the recorded conversation with an associate or have recordings transcribed and automatically sent to email.
Alex Gorokhovskiy is like a lot of musicians – broke and in search of compatible bandmates. But instead of investing in recording demos or outfitting his own group, he’s spending on everyone else who has ever wanted to play music and be in a band.
Gorokhovskiy created the social media app Encore Music, which is a kind of place for musicians to gather. But to call it a social media platform, understates the potential business value of the app.
You’ve got the perfect photo lined in your sites and so you push the button on your iPhone camera. Instead of a memory etched in pixels, you get a message saying “Cannot take photo. There’s not enough storage.”
An iOS app called IceCream lets you quickly free up space without deleting photos, instead saving them to a secure cloud server with the tap of a button.
Your iPhone can help you find a good brunch place, with reviews on Yelp that indicate a restaurant’s best dishes. But there really isn’t any real-time help, except maybe calling or taking your chances and just showing up, to find out if you and your friends can get a table at a local hot spot.
A company called Density has developed a door-frame sensor that monitors the coming and going of people and then reports to an iPhone app whether your favorite place is full. It collects data on people’s movement at various hours of the day and recommends windows of time when you can get right in.
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.”
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.”