Cal, the Calendar App from the Team at Any.DO, Is Available Now

Thanks Lifehacker for this update! Looks like a cool calendar app and I am trying it out now! Take a look:

Meet Cal from Any.DO on Vimeo.

Cal, the Calendar App from the Team at Any.DO, Is Available Now

iOS: A few weeks ago, the team behind Any.DO teased Cal, a new calendar app that would take the pain and drudgery out of using and managing a calendar. Now it’s available, and it shows you appointments, uses your contacts and location to make scheduling easy, and syncs with Google Calendar, Exchange, and iCloud.
In addition to syncing with all of your other calendars (so you don’t have to import items or re-add all of your appointments), Cal also integrates tightly with Any.DO, so your to-dos for the day and their deadlines appear on your calendar in the agenda view. When you need to add an appointment, you can type things like “lunch with Sam,” and Cal will not only figure out who Sam is based on your contacts (or show you multiples so you can pick the right Sam), it’ll also pick a good lunch time and suggest lunch destinations not far from your current location. If you enter your own location, it’ll fill in the location details for you.
Like any good calendar app, you can use its agenda view to just see the matters at hand for the day, or you can expand it out to see a week-long overview or a monthly view, either to browse appointments or schedule something in the future. Check out the video above to see some of those features in action.
Cal is the second in a set of four applications the team at Any.DO want to build—they’re also working on an email client and a note-taking app to compliment Cal and Any.DO To-dos. It’s available now in the iTunes App Store (the developers say an Android version is on the way soon)
Cal (Free) | iTunes App Store

Yahoo Just Made The Most Beautiful Weather App

OK – it is just a weather app (I have tons), but this one is gorgeous! Take a look at the details from Lifehacker:

Yahoo Just Made The Most Beautiful Weather App

It might be the changing of the seasons and the yearning for warmer days and longer nights but why is it that we always end up talking about the weather? For most of us, it dictates a lot of our day. Aren’t you constantly checking the weather on your phone or is it just me?

Now, there’s definitely a glut of weather apps available and most of them you can write off but Yahoo! is releasing its own weather app today and it’s one of, if not, the prettiest weather apps around. With the help of photographers and the Flickr community, Yahoo! Weather screams simplicity. Just look at it.

By pulling in your exact coordinates, the time of day and general weather conditions, Yahoo! Weather selects and displays an appropriate image taken in your town to match the forecast. So at night, you’ll see night time shots and so on. And by scrolling up, you have access to an hourly forecast, five day forecast, the ever important “feels like,” wind and pressure, chance of precipitation and it’ll even tell you when the sun is rising and setting. There’s also a map mode that offers a wider area of coverage in case you’re traveling.

Yahoo Just Made The Most Beautiful Weather App

And by turning your iPhone horizontal, the app goes into full display mode with just images from your city of choice.

Yahoo Just Made The Most Beautiful Weather App

Yahoo! Weather IS available starting today for iPhone.

With Dblcam, Use Both Your iPhone’s Cameras At Once

Here is a cool and free new app for the iPhone – DblCam! It takes a picture with both front- and rear-facing cameras. Kind of a cool idea – details from FastCo:

Hindsight and foresight are 20/20 with a new iPhone app that deconstructs the space around you.

With Dblcam, Use Both Your iPhone's Cameras At Once

“Subtle selfies” like this one both show the photographer and his surroundings.

new app launched in the iPhone App Store this week with a simple enough premise. Dblcam (pronounced “Double Cam”) uses a simple fact about your iPhone’s hardware–that it has both front- and rear-facing cameras–to create images with eyes behind their heads. With the press of a button, the app produces a picture that looks both ways.

The app is the product of a company called Social Print Studio, whose founder, Benjamin Lotan, got his start when he had the idea to print posters of people’s Facebook friends for a fee. That effort grew more generally into a company that specialized in printing and arranging the photographs that swarm our social networks, from Twitter to Tumblr to Instagram.

Photographic manipulations are nothing new, of course, from the filters of Instagram to the panoramas stitched together by enthusiasts. But there’s something peculiar about Dblcam’s particular brand of photographic spatial deconstruction. To judge from some early photos made with the app, the rigidity of Dblcam has actually opened up new avenues of creativity. Hold the phone out in landscape mode, so that it looks to your left and right, and you get a very different image from one in which you hold the phone out, and it gazes up at the sky and down at the ground. The resulting pictures can be fragmented and disorienting, but in very structured ways.

A natural image for such an app to produce is one that features both you and what you’re looking at. “I call it the ‘subtle selfie,’” says Lotan. “You’re kind of in it only as a by-product of the image you’re trying to capture.” Dblcam sublimates a ubiquitous photograph narcisissm, since its self-shots are really about a person and the environment he’s in. “I think that people want to share more photographs of themselves,” says Lotan. “Now they can do that without a stigma attached.” The selfies made with Dblcam are about “how you exist in the landscape,” he says.

Lotan and a friend came up with the idea for Dblcam two years ago, and put together a working prototype within weeks. But in the first iterations of the app, there was an interval of time between the capturing of the front- and rear-facing photos. A series of four iOS developers over two years kept rewriting the code to edge the process as close to simultaneity as possible.

The app is free. Lotan is one of those entrepreneurs who has a blithe faith that if you make something cool, the money will follow–and he has a track record to show it. Last year, his company made $1.7 million in revenues, he claims. Much of this money came directly from Social Print Studio’s service called Printstagram, whose operations you can probably guess (tagline: “We Print Your Instagram Photos”).

But some of the most lucrative work came merely fell out of the woodwork, once Social Print Studio’s name was in the air. The company has partnered with brands like Evian and Nike and set up a kind of deconstructed photo booth at their events. Lotan and co. have developed a “live printer” that culls hashtags from the Instagram API, then prints the photos with those hashtags. Attendees at a recent Evian event were encouraged to use the hashtag #evianeats (thereby promoting the brand to their social graph); those photos then spewed forth from the printer. Eight members of Lotan’s 15-person team are headed to SXSW this year to work similar events.

Lotan hopes that other partnerships might form as a result of Dblcam. “We just know the way to make money is not to think about making money,” says Lotan. “We just try to make cool things, and when we have cool projects, opportunities open up.”

Best Buy has $50 iTunes Gift cards for $40, today only

Today only! Can’t beat this deal:

$50 iTunes card for only $40 at Best Buy!

Thanks 9to5Mac for the details:

Best Buy has $50 iTunes Gift cards for $40, today only

As one of its daily deals, Best Buy offers the $50 Apple iTunes Gift Card for $40 with free shipping. The card contains an iTunes Store code redeemable for music, movies, TV shows, games, iOS/Mac apps, and more.

Apple’s iPhone is Tracking You Again – and How To Turn It Off in iOS6!

Geeez – just when you thought big brother wasn’t  always watching! Apple is at it again – tracking you by default in iOS6! Thanks to Justin for this and details from BusinessInsider:

Apple Has Quietly Started Tracking iPhone Users Again, And It’s Tricky To Opt Out

Jim Edwards | Oct. 11, 2012, 9:00 AM |

But Apple didn’t shout quite so loud about an enhancement to its new mobile operating system, iOS 6, which also occurred in September: The company has started tracking users so that advertisers can target them again, through a new tracking technology called IFA or IDFA.

Previously, Apple had all but disabled tracking of iPhone users by advertisers when it stopped app developers from utilizing Apple mobile device data via UDID, the unique, permanent, non-deletable serial number that previously identified every Apple device.

For the last few months, iPhone users have enjoyed an unusual environment in which advertisers have been largely unable to track and target them in any meaningful way.

In iOS 6, however, tracking is most definitely back on, and it’s more effective than ever, multiple mobile advertising executives familiar with IFA tell us. (Note that Apple doesn’t mention IFA in its iOS 6 launch page).

Users can switch off that targeting, but it’s tricky, as we discovered a couple of days ago. Although at least iOS 6 users are able to turn off tracking, which they weren’t before.

Here’s how it works.

IFA or IDFA stands for “identifier for advertisers.” It’s a random, anonymous number that is assigned to a user and their device. It is temporary and can be blocked, like a cookie.

When you look at an app, or browse the web, your presence generates a call for an ad. The publisher’s site that you’re looking at then passes the IFA to the ad server. The advertiser is then able to know that a specific iPhone user is looking at a specific publication and can serve an ad targeting that user. IFA becomes particularly useful, for instance, if an ad server notices that a particular IFA is looking at a lot of different car sites. Perhaps that user is interested in buying a new car. They’ll likely start seeing a lot of car ads on their iPhone.

More importantly, IFA will allow advertisers to track the user all the way to “conversion” — which for most advertisers consists of an app download. Previously, advertisers had no idea whether their ads actually drove people to download apps or buy things. Now IFA will tell them.

The IFA does not identify you personally — it merely provides a bunch of aggregate audience data that advertisers can target with ads.

iphone 5 limit ad tracking

iPhone Screengrab

Tracking is on by defaultThe new iPhone operating system comes with three things that make tracking easier for advertisers and reduce the likelihood that you’ll opt out.

  • iOS 6 comes in a default “tracking on” position. You have to affirmatively switch it off if you do not want advertisers to see what you’re up to.
  • The tracking control in iPhone’s settings is NOT contained where you might expect it, under the “Privacy” menu. Instead, it’s found under “General,” then “About,” and then the “Advertising” section of the Settings menu.
  • The tracking control is titled “Limit Ad Tracking,” and must be turned to ON, not OFF, in order to work. That’s slightly confusing — “ON” means ads are off! — so a large number of people will likely get this wrong.

Those three factors combined mean that a huge proportion of iPhone users are unlikely to ever opt out of tracking.

“It’s a really pretty elegant, simple solution,” says Mobile Theory CEO Scott Swanson. “The biggest thing we’re excited about is that it’s on by default, so we expect most people will leave it on.”

(His take on IFA’s capabilities was confirmed by two other mobile ad execs at rival companies.)

Again, IFA doesn’t identify you as a person to advertisers. What it does do, however, is provide advertisers with “a really meaningful inference of behavior,” Swanson says. “We haven’t had access to that information before.”

Bluefire looks to spark eBook sales

I love StartUps! They drive so much of our economy. And I am SO old, I remember when these companies were StartUps!:

  • Microsoft
  • Yahoo
  • eBay
  • Starbucks
  • and many others!

This one looks interesting – check out Bluefire.

From GeekWire:

More consumers are turning to electronic reading devices. And Seattle’s Bluefire Productions, which emerged from founder Micah Bower’s 10-year-old design and development services company last year, is looking to help booksellers make the transition.

Bowers is at the Frankfurt Book Fair this week, showcasing the company’s iOS and Android applications for publishers and booksellers. The Bluefire service allows publishers to integrate technologies such as in-app purchases and account management.

We chatted with the 44-year-old entrepreneur to get an inside look at Bluefire, which is being used by Canada’s Archambault and others to distribute book titles via iOS and Android.

Explain what you do so our parents can understand it: “We develop software that gives eBook retailers and publishers a way to sell their books and other content to consumers through mobile apps on iPads, iPhone, iPod Touch, and Android tablets and smartphones.”

Inspiration hit us when: ”We realized that distributing digital documents to mobile devices in a secure, managed and branded way is going to be valuable to any business or institution — not just eBook retailers.”

VC, Angel or Bootstrap: “Bootstrap, because the eBook marketplace is evolving extremely rapidly, and we wanted maximum freedom and flexibility to be nimble and turn on a dime.”

Our ‘secret sauce’ is: Our fanatical focus on creating a ludic reading experience for long format content — where the device and the application ‘disappears’ and the reader is completely immersed in the content.”

The smartest move we’ve made so far: ”Focusing on creating a great platform that levels the playing field for book retailers and publishers on mobile devices rather than becoming a retailer ourselves.”

The biggest mistake we’ve made so far: ”Thinking that once we had built our iOS app that it would be easier and faster to build on Android. It was much harder.”

Would you rather have Gates, Jobs, Zuckerberg or Bezos in your corner: “Zuckerberg. Integration with social network API’s are an important part of our roadmap.

Our world domination strategy starts when: “Large enterprises and institutions realize the value of distributing digital content to their employees, customers, and investors on mobile devices in a managed and branded way.”

Rivals should fear us because: “We have the lead, and it will get bigger.”

We are truly unique because: “We are a team with extremely strong technical chops in digital content technologies, a deep understanding of the eBook marketplace, and a fanatical focus on long format reading user experience. We’re also not affiliated with any particular major player in the space and thus can help anyone who wants to play.”

The biggest hurdle we’ve overcome is: ”Going from an unknown brand to a globally recognized brand in the eBook technology space.”

What’s the one piece of advice you’d give to other entrepreneurs just starting out: “Focus on solving small parts of big problems quickly and get it out into the market and then listen and learn as you iterate.”