Here's a terrifying new game that's one of the most popular apps in the United States, Photo Roulette. Up to fifty players allow the app to access their photos. Each round, a random photo from one of the player's galleries pops up on everyone else's phone. Players then race to guess whose photo it is.
Julie Jargon rounded up some horror storiesfor the Wall Street Journal. Here's one:
“I was kind of freaked out by it so I went to my camera roll to make sure there wasn’t anything embarrassing and I didn’t see anything too bad,” she said.
But when she joined the game, the app displayed a photo of her Social Security number.
Emma Romney, a 20-year-old college student from Spokane, Wash., was playing Photo Roulette with her cousins, uncle and father during a road trip recently when a selfie she had taken a few years ago came up in the game.
Read the whole article here, including a look at what information is shared with the app developers. Read the rest
SpotHero is an app that lets you reserve parking in advance. It seemed like a cool idea, so I installed it and gave it a try when I had a business lunch on Tuesday. I entered the name of the restaurant in Hollywood and SpotHero showed me a map of parking spots near the restaurant. I found one on the corner of Argyle and Sunset for $6.
When I arrived at the parking lot, I found that the entrance was barricaded. A worker standing by the entrance told me that the entire lot had been rented for the day. I showed her my SpotHero reservation, and she called for the lot attendant who came over told me the same thing. He said I could go to another lot at the corner of Hollywood and Vine and that I "might be able to work something out with them." He described the lot, but when I drove there I couldn't find the lot he was talking about, and I had my doubts that they would let me park there anyway.
At this point, I was already late for my meeting. Fortunately, I found a metered spot in the street, which is rare for this area, and paid $8 for 2 hours. So I ended up being late and paying $14 for parking.
After my meeting, I contacted SpotHero through Twitter to let them know about the problem with the lot. I received a reply on Wednesday morning:
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This is Emily from SpotHero, our Social Media Monitor passed your information along to me.
Rewound is a free iPhone app that simulates the iPod Classic click wheel interface. How did its creator Louis Anslow manage to get it approved for the App Store? From 9to5Mac
The app used some tricks to get through the App Store review process, which generally prohibits the use of images from Apple products or interfaces. It works just like any other third-party player created for Apple Music and you probably won’t find it in the store as an “iPod Classic simulator”.
That’s because the app comes with normal control buttons by default. The secret is in a function that allows users to add any type of image as a player skin. When you add the iPod Classic theme, which is not included in the app, it hides the buttons so it can be controlled by the virtual Click Wheel.
Download Rewound from the App Store and then grab the skin from 9to5Mac or elsewhere. Read the rest
Tsunami Democràtic is a radical, decentralized wing of the resurgent Catalan independence movement, centered around an anonymously authored app designed to coordinate revolutionary uprisings.
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A spokesperson for the Facebook-owned WhatsApp says the company has fixed a security vulnerability that let hackers take control of the messaging app by way of a malicious GIF. Read the rest
david.li/paint is a spectacularly gloopy painting app online. You can set paint fluidity, bristle count and brush size, and of course pick any color you like. What I like about it (as opposed to pro apps like Corel Painter or Artrage that offer similar natural media simulations) is that it's just a loaded messy brush that doesn't make it easy or clean itself up for you. The limitations force you to work with it! Author David Li published the source code. Read the rest
The Most Dangerous Writing App is a simple, attractive text editor on the web. But there's a twist to Manuel Ebert's design: if you stop typing before 5 minutes is up, your work starts to fade, and if you don't start again immediately, it disappears completely.
It's not absolute—you can copy your work out of the box, and it's not bugging you with a spellchecker to stop you going klsdafjgh alskdfjhasd kjfh to get through moments of block. But you are gonna be typing all the same, and that's the point.
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I wrote a while back about why typing on old keyboards feels better: it's because they were simple, low-latency devices interacting with your computer's bare metal. Nowadays, many device instructions end up filtered through a zillion layers of microcontrollers, firmware, virtual machinery, applications, hardware abstraction layers and God knows what else before a byte gets to the screen. How annoying is too annoying? is a Glitch site by Monica Dinculescu that lets you simulate keyboard latency, to see exactly how much of it you can take.
This is an experiment to see what amount of delay is too annoying for a user interaction like typing. Here are some presets; make sure to type a lot of characters at once for the full effect.
Note that whatever you select in the app, it's added to the actual latency of your own keyboard and computer--probably 100ms or so for most of us. After about 50ms of extra wait, I start to get aggravated. Read the rest
Bad Hombre is an award-winning satirical game created by 16-year-old Jackie George. Two days after it won the Shortly Award and was recognized in her school newsletter, Bad Hombre was removed from both Apple's App Store and Google Play (George notes that her town of Naples, FL is very conservative with a lot of Trump supporters and is suspicious that one of her neighbors reported the app).
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Today's FTC ruling impacts how the TikTok app works for users under the age of 13.
If you need to build an app quickly and easily, you might decide to use Facebook's SDK, which has lots of bells and whistles, including easy integration of Facebook ads in your app's UI.
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Second Chance is a smartphone app developed by University of Washington engineers to detect an opioid overdose. The researchers tested the app at a public supervised injection facility in Vancouver, Canada with encouraging results. From Science News:
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Second Chance, described online January 9 in Science Translational Medicine, converts a smartphone’s speaker and microphone into a sonar system that works within about a meter of a user’s body. When the app is running, the phone continuously emits sound waves at frequencies too high to hear, which bounce off a user’s chest. Tracking when these echoes reach the phone allows the app to detect two possible signs of an impending overdose: slow breathing or no breathing at all...
For real-world use, the researchers envision the app notifying a user if it detects breathing problems and sending for help only if the user doesn’t respond to that notification, says study coauthor and computer scientist Shyam Gollakota. The scientists still need to ensure that this setup could reliably alert emergency contacts or medical personnel in time to resuscitate a person.
Most software, writes Ink & Switch, is slow. Slow Software works as a FAQ about all the reasons this is the case, from input latency to inefficient design. Read the rest
Pixelmash is clever indeed: create your resolution-independent art with the same freeform speed as you might in any other painting app, then let it nondestructively pixelize it, with 1-pixel outlines, adjustable gradients and dithering.
Pixelmash's resolution-independence lets you do really cool things... Like create animations using layer transforms rather than having to paint every frame pixel-by-pixel. Or make outlines, shading, and dithering easily adjustable by having them applied as layer effects. Or easily create different resolutions and color variants of the same image. Or convert photos or other hi-res artwork into pixel art using layer effects and the resolution slider.
Free demo, $15 to pre-order. Read the rest
Johnathan Movie is losing his shit and it's all our fault. Read the rest
So you like Trello but like your terminal even more? Taskwarrior and Taskbook are apps for task management and note-taking that live in the dark space of pure text. From Taskbook's homepage:
By utilizing a simple and minimal usage syntax, that requires a flat learning curve, taskbook enables you to effectively manage your tasks and notes across multiple boards from within your terminal. All data are written atomically to the storage in order to prevent corruptions, and are never shared with any third party entities. Deleted items are automatically archived and can be inspected or restored at any moment.
I am very fond of high-quality single-purpose text apps, the sort that only require keyboard input. Yes, there is the whiff of empty rustic nostalgia about it, but I'm too young to have ever used textmode apps in a way anyone would be nostalgic about (first PC: 1996) so I can confidently say it's the empty faddish minimalism that appeals to me. Read the rest
Hardware reviews are a big part of how I put bread on the table. In order to do my job properly, I’ve got to be something of a platform agnostic.
While I do most of my writing using Apple devices, I also have to consider other platforms in my coverage: software that works well on a laptop running Windows 10 may be a dog’s breakfast on a MacBook once it’s been ported.
A bluetooth speaker that sound great when paired with my iPhone 7 Plus, for example, might sound like hot garbage when linked to another audio source. So I invest in other hardware that may not be used as part of my day-to-day life, but which I still need to think about when doing my job.
About six months ago, I came to the conclusion that maybe hauling the hardware out when it came time to test something and then throwing it back in a box when I’m done with it wasn’t enough: to really understand whether, say a pair of headphones that comes with an app to control their EQ or noise cancellation, without seeing how it fits into my day-to-day life using a given platform. So, I upped the amount of time that I spend working in Windows 10, I now read books on both Kobo and Amazon e-readers and, in a real shift in how I live my lift, I’ve spent more than half a year using Android-powered smartphones as my daily drivers. In the time since I last used an Android device as my go-to, things have improved so much, I was taken aback. Read the rest