Square Cash, released today in the United States, lets you send cash to anyone with an email address, simply CC the message to "email@example.com," and the recipient will receive the money in two business days or less.
Send money to anyone with an email address. It's fast, safe, and free!
No account needed. Just securely link your debit card to start sending money. It's free to send, and free to receive money directly to your U.S. bank account.
Secure. Your financial information is entered through a secure connection and kept private. You can confirm or reject any transfer.
Fast. Money automatically deposits to your bank account within 1-2 business days.
Square Cash for iPhone
Anand Lai Shimpi and Brian Klug trace the tricks used by electronics giants to bamboozle benchmarking apps
--a practice widely associated with Samsung, but also used by at least some of its competitors. At The Observer,
Charles Arthur suggests that it's time to stop trusting benchmarking apps altogether
. — Rob
My 16-year-old daughter came home yesterday and showed me an app called Lulu that all of her friends are using. It's purpose is to anonymously rate your male Facebook friends. Each boy is displayed alongside a number from 1 - 10, which represents an average rating for the guy. Users can rate the boys on a number of attributes, such as physical attractiveness, kissing skill, and commitment level.
I predict Apple will pull this from the iPhone store very soon.
I asked Sarina to tell me more about Lulu:
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is the evil twin of all those old-film, toy-lens, Instagram-style apps. Pick a photo, then glitch it all to Hell with broken NTSC emulation, weird 3D pixelation and heightmap extrusion effects, and delicious MPEG-style compression errors. For a $1 upgrade, the free app lets you save animated GIFs, too. [via Joel Johnson
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Anything marketed with Alan Watts -- "Let's have a surprise. Let's have a dream that isn't under control" -- gets my click. Wired's Liz Stinson reports on Shadow, a novel alarm clock for your phone.
Created by designers Hunter Lee Soik and Jason Carvalho, Shadow is an app that makes recording and remembering your dreams extremely simple. On its most basic level, Shadow is an alarm clock/digital dream journal, but the designers ultimately hope to create the largest dream database in the world. Users set the clock before they go to sleep at night, and in the morning, gradually escalating volume and vibration gently rouses you awake. Most of the time, alarm clocks abruptly blast through your consciousness, ripping you from the depths of sleep. In contrast, Shadow’s alarm system gradually transitions users through their hypnopompic state, that not-quite-asleep, not-quite-awake phase, which has be proven to help you better remember your dreams.
Shadow: A Beautiful App That Tracks Your Dreams [Wired]
Making the media rounds as America formalizes a decision to go to war against Syria, this photo by Melina Mara at The Washington Post
Senator John McCain plays poker on his IPhone during a U.S. Senate Committee on Foreign Relations hearing where Secretary of State JohnKerry, Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel, and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Martin Dempsey testify concerning the use of force in Syria, on Capitol Hill in Washington DC, Tuesday, September 3, 2013.
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Heard is a useful app for settling those "but *I* said and then *you* said" arguments with your kids.
When you activate the app, it begins recording everything around you on a 12-second buffer (extend it to five minutes for $1.99). Any time you want, click the “Push to save” button to save the current clip. Do nothing, and the self-destructing buffer lets the audio slip into the ether.
Why would anyone not in the NSA want an app like this? With Heard, you can capture anything from your baby’s first words to a key point in a lecture without hovering your thumb over the record button all day.
Heard reviewed on Netted
is a simple note-taking iOS app named after a Bond cocktail. Unlike most such apps, it's well-designed and pleasing to look at, though you do have to cough up a fiver for the privilege. Moreover, it's for people who do everything on their phones: there's no sync feature, a drawback for which Federico Viticci knocks it in his otherwise very positive review
. I'm gonna give it a whirl. — Rob
Over at our sponsor Intel's LifeScoop site, I wrote about several fascinating iOS apps for music creation that employ non-traditional and intuitive interfaces. My favorite is SoundPrism:
Created by Audanika in Germany, SoundPrism is a stunning interface that immerses the user in a relaxing, meditative music making experience. . The iOS app, most impressive on iPad, is incredibly intuitive, generating an alluring grid of glowing tiles whose colors represent pitch. But while it’s easy for total non-musicians to make stunning melodies, the interface design is steeped in some deep musical theory. The SoundPrism tiles are arranged in a Circle of Thirds, a symmetric model that the app’s musician developers believe is a fantastic method for teaching basic harmonic theory. In fact, if you’re a music theory geek, Audanika created a harmony theory blog to explore the “symmetry model” embodied by their app.
Experiments in Mobile Music Apps
At our sponsor Intel's LifeScoop site, I posted about "Music That Writes Itself":
In ambient music pioneer Brian Eno’s 1996 book A Year with Swollen Appendices, the composer wrote, “I really think it is possible that our grandchildren will look at us in wonder and say: ‘you mean you used to listen to exactly the same thing over and over again?’” Eno was talking about generative music, a process by which a computer creates unique works from fixed parameters set by the artist. In its simplest form, you twist a few knobs (virtual or otherwise) and the computer takes it from there, creating music that can be credited to the system itself. The term generative art is most likely derived from “generative grammar,” a linguistic theory Noam Chomsky first proposed in his book Syntactic Structures (1965) to refer to deep-seated rules that describe any language. Steven Holtzman, author of Digital Mosaics (1997), traces the art form to the dawn of the information age in the 1960s, when musicians like Gottfried Michael Koenig and Iannis Xenakis pioneered computer composition. Decades later, a number of generative music apps are bringing Eno’s vision to our smartphones.
"Music That Writes Itself
This review also appears on Download the Universe, a group blog reviewing the best (and worst, and just "meh") in science-related ebooks and apps.
When I go to science museums, I like to press the buttons. I'm convinced this is a special joy that you just do not grow out of. Hit the button. See something cool happen. Feel the little reward centers of your brain dance the watusi.
But, as a curmudgeonly grown-up, I also often feel like there is something missing from this experience. There have definitely been times when I've had my button-pushing fun and gotten a few yards away from the exhibit before I've had to stop and think, "Wait, did I just learn anything?"
Science museums are chaotic. They're loud. They're usually full of small children. Your brain is pulled in multiple directions by sights, sounds, and the knowledge that there are about 15 people behind you, all waiting for their turn to press the button, too. In fact, research has shown that adults often avoid science museums (and assume those places aren't "for them") precisely because of those factors.
Sound Uncovered is an interactive ebook published by The Exploratorium, the granddaddy of modern science museums. Really more of an app, it's a series of 12 modules that allow you to play with auditory illusions and unfamiliar sounds as you learn about how the human brain interprets what it hears, and how those ear-brain interactions are used for everything from selling cars to making music.
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Count me among the members of the cult of Evernote, a web service (with 50,000,000 users) that stores digital documents and makes them easy to find. I use it with my Fujitsu ScanSnap document scanner (here's my review) and would have a very hard time without them. The current issue of Bloomberg BusinessWeek has our friend Rob Walker's excellent story about ardently devoted Evernote users.
“What you put in Facebook isn’t who you are,” says [Evernote CEO] Phil Libin. “It’s what you want some people to see. And what you put in LinkedIn is certainly not who you are; it’s what you want the professional world to see.” Libin suggests that the addiction to a particular strain of “viral” growth has led to a drastic overemphasis on digital design for extroversion. As a guy who describes himself as too introverted to win over his high school chess team, Libin says that’s an oversight. “What you put in Evernote is who you are,” he continues. “We used to say in the beginning that Evernote is not social. In fact, it’s antisocial; we don’t care about your friends.”
As Evernote's Cult Grows, the Business Market Beckons
Twitter's just released Vine
, a video sharing app designed to make it easy to create and embed short snippets of high-quality, low-bandwidth video
on the web. The shortcomings of animated GIFs
, and the bloatedness of most web video, leave a poorly-served middle-ground that it intends to fill—but only, for the time being, if you have an iPhone or iPod touch. — Rob
Hundreds is a minimalist puzzle game from Semi Secret Software, the makers of Canabalt. Each of its 100 levels is filled with one or more floating circles. When you press down on a circle, its numerical value and size increases. Your goal is to enlarge the circles until their combined values add up to 100. But as a circle grows, it turns red, and if anything touches a red circle, it’s game over.
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KaomojiApp adds a menu item to your Mac with a huge collection of Unicode emoticons that you can easily select and insert in any text area. The free version has a few basic samples in each emotion category, and you can unlock hundreds more for just $3.