If you’d like to create a new, better you, but you’re struggling with poor willpower, try this incredibly simple trick: develop a seemingly unrelated, small habit such as emptying the dishwasher every night before bed. More »
Now’s the time everyone’s thinking about working in their gardens, but few of us lookforward to the hard work of digging and weeding. Make it easier on yourself and your plants by moistening the ground ahead of time. More »
When I was younger — much younger — I once opened a tin can using the sharp end of a garden sprinkler. It’s not something I’m proud of (now), but hunger and a lack of common sense got the better of me. If only my adolescent self had been able to watch this video, I’d have had a safer (and MacGyver-approved) way of accessing the delicious contents of that can. More »
The founders of lyric website Rap Genius revealed today that they’re starting to move into annotating news content too, under the name NewsGenius.
They were onstage at Disrupt NY, where they gave a surreal, joke-y interview without too much detail about what NewsGenius actually is. Co-founder Mahbod Moghadam mostly told the audience to follow the Twitter account and asked, “When is Obama getting a verified account?”
If you do follow the account, you can see links to a number of annotated news-related documents. The first one appears to be President Barack Obama’s statement to the Senate on gun control, which has been marked up with links to additional content and context. For example, when Obama referenced the shooting of US Representative Gaby Giffords, NewsGenius includes quotes from the Wikipedia article on that shooting.
This might seem like a pretty radical shift from crowdsourcing explanations for rap lyrics, but the Rap Genius founders noted that they’ve already been expanding beyond that to includeannotations of works of literature and other documents.
Still, there has been some pushback — on the Obama speech, three of the four comments are some variant of, “Why are these kind of things on RapGenius?” So as the company expands to more kinds of content, and it serves different types of users, it may need to do more work to divide that content on the site.
It more serious news, Rap Genius tells our writer Josh Constine its future business model will be building “Enterprise Genius”, a collaborativedocument annotation tool for businesses.
If you have any cables that you routinely disconnect and reconnect (a laptop powercable, for example) you’ve probably dealt with the annoyance of having it fall to the floor. This can lead to it being snagged, yanked and otherwise damaged — but you can avoid all that with a paperclip and a bit of packing tape. More »
Today Wander is launching a mobile app called Days, which aims to change the way you think of photo-sharing on every basic level.
To start, Days asks you to stop thinking of the moments that are “share-worthy.” On Days, every moment is share-worthy, because the idea is to share the normal, everyday routine of your life. The idea is that people can consume your whole day through photos, as opposed to picking up on little snippets throughout the day.
So as you go through the world snapping photos, Days automatically documents the time and puts them into the “Tuesday” gallery, or whatever day it might be.
Days also isn’t about taking beautiful pictures. It’s about taking a lot of them.
See, founder JeremyFisher believes there’s a huge disconnect between the best moments of people’s days and their Instagram feeds. He also feels that it takes far too long to share a single moment when you’re worried about making it visually appealing, as filters and captions pull you out of the moment.
On Days, you aren’t supposed to worry about how beautiful the picture is, but rather that you’ve documented as much of your day as possible.
But here’s the real zinger — nothing on Days is shared in real time. I know, right? Mind. Blown.
“I think people thought real-time was going to be a bigger deal than it actually is,” says JeremyFisher of most social and sharing services. “For things like friend-finders it’s a different story, but when you’re photo-sharing, real-time doesn’t actually make a difference.”
In fact, Wander studied Instagram photos tagged with #latergram (signifying that they were shared after the time they were taken) and found that these photos have the same level of engagement from other users as photos shared in the moment. For this reason, Days shows you a countdown clock within the app to the time you can share your day, starting at 5am each morning to ensure that party-goers late night photos don’t show up in the beginning of their Day.
Fisher explained that their beta testers don’t seem to be bothered by the fact that they’re catching up with their friends a day later. In fact, he said sometimes seeing someone’s daily story through pictures feels more real and meaningful than any narrative they might tell you when you ask the classic question: “How was your day?”
To keep your picture-snapping quick, and keep users in the moment, Days has implemented some restrictions.
One is that you must snap the pictures within the app, as you cannot import from the camera roll. The reason for this is that Days doesn’t want photoshopped, filtered, or edited photos on the service. They want you to feel like a photojournalist capturing each of the minute, but powerful, moments of your day.
Photos taken within Days are still saved to your camera roll, so you can share them through other social networks later if you feel the need.
Wander also picked up on the fact that users normally snap more than one picture of a certain event. This is to ensure you have multiple options for each instance.
But Wander doesn’t want you filling up your day with a bunch of throwaways and then having to go back and edit them out. So, to solve this problem, Wander turns all photos taken within ten seconds of each other into a gif. You have the option to go in and split the gif, delete one or two pics, or leave it the same.
Users can also add captions to all their photos after the fact, and go through and delete photos that they don’t want included in their Day. After that, you can share within the internal follow-model network, or push to your other social networks like Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, etc.
But what about Wander?
Well, Wander is the umbrella brand behind a lot of lifestyle products the company is working on. Since Wander is focused on travel, and recording your experiences to be lived by others, Days has been released as a counterpart to that.
Brewster launched late last year with a simple goal: Replace your tired old A-to-Z contact list with an address book that actually understands your relationships and, in turn, helps you become a better friend. For some of us, this feels like a hopeless pursuit. We’re overworked, stressed, have terrible breath, and just can’t seem to find enough hours in the day to better manage our personal relationships. It starts in your twenties and gets worse from there.
Sure, Brewster’s mission sounds similar to the one that Plaxo launched with back in 2002, and there are enough smart, mobile address books out there to make your head spin. They’re all trying to simplify contact management, but there isn’t anything out there that’s based on the understanding of the people in your life and how those relationships fit together, which is how founder Steve Greenwood tells us he thinks that the team can actually transform the address book.
Today, Brewster launched its web application to let users enjoy a newly designed, fast Brewster experience on your phone, tablet or laptop. The app also introduces easier and faster contactsharing so that you no longer have to open your address book only to realize you’re missing a close friend’s number or have forgotten to update their work email.
If you’re anything like me, at least once in your life, this has probably happened to you. Or, you want to be a considerate friend and send them a birthday gift, but guess what? You have no idea what their address is. You scramble to find it, and a giant headache ensues and you send a birthday cake to the wrong house. Sigh.
When you scroll through your address book, Greenwood says, it’s almost appalling how much incorrect and incomplete information is in there for all the people you know, even for some of your closest friends. With its new contactsharing functionality, Brewster is looking to bring your relationships “to life” in your address book, enabling you to have each other’s current and complete contactinfo in your phone — or in your browser.
With one click, the founder says, you can take your contacts from static, probably out-of-date entities to something that’s at least a little more dynamic, and maybe even a realtime representation of the people in your life.
In terms of how it works?
Users sign on and create a personal contactcard for the information they want to share with particular friends. You get to decide what information you’d like to share, whether it be phone numbers, emails, addresses, Skype IDs and usernames, etc. At any point, you can edit your contactcard and the information you share with those friends and the card will update in realtime across platforms.
The app will list suggested friends based on its relationship algorithms, which Greenwood says “study each user’s closest relationships” in an attempt to streamline the connection process. If you don’t see someone in the list, you can add them yourself manually.
After sending requests to shareinfo with friends and they accept (hopefully), you and those chosen will have complete and up-to-date contactinfo in your profile — and the same goes for them — or at least that’s the idea. If your friend gets a new job and updates their email address, for example, the new address will automatically update on each profile, for example, so you don’t have to worry about keeping contactinfo up to date for your close friends. Pretty cool.
Greenwood was sure to point out that users can disable sharing with any contact whenever you want, along with the ability to modify information that’s in your contactcard and being shared with those select friends. Just in case you start to feel anxiety over lock-in. There’s a big market for the next-gen, automatically updated mobile contact manager, and, while there’s a lot of competition out there and many have come and gone trying to climb “Contact List Mountain,” but Brewster is off to a good start.
OK, so you guys are amazing. We were highly impressed with the quality of entries from our IT Pro readers seeking the chance to travel to New Orleans and help us cover TechEd2013North America in June. So who are the two well-deserved winners that will help us post from the event? More »