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:

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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.

photo  1  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.

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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.

3006653 slide slide 1 dblcam use both your iphones cameras once With Dblcam, Use Both Your iPhones 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.

3006653 inline slide 9 dblcam use both your iphones cameras once With Dblcam, Use Both Your iPhones Cameras At Once

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.

3006653 inline screen shot 2013 03 05 74025 pm With Dblcam, Use Both Your iPhones Cameras At Once

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.”

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 Apples iPhone is Tracking You Again   and How To Turn It Off in iOS6!

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.”

 Bluefire looks to spark eBook salesVC, 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.”

 Bluefire looks to spark eBook salesWould 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.”

Smartphone Market and Apple’s iPhone Impact

I haven’t upgraded to the new iPhone 6 (yet) – have you? Take a look at how Apple’s iPhone has affected the smartphone market in this infographic from AYTM Research:

With the recent announcement and subsequent release of the iPhone 5, we surveyed 600 American consumers to gather some insights into the current smartphone market.

Some of the findings:

  • 73% of people looking to buy a smartphone in the next 6 months are already smartphone owners
  • Current Android owners are 2.4x more likely to switch to an iPhone than vice versa
  • 87% of current iPhone owners plan to buy a new iPhone in the next 6 months
  • Only 9% of current iPhone owners are considering a switch to Android

It seems the perceived iPhone 5 excitement continues to lives up to it’s hype: those planning to buy an iPhone 5 are twice as likely to declare they “can hardly wait” compared to those planning on buying an Android smartphone.

As an overview of our research findings we put together the below infographic:

Smartphone Market featured image1 Smartphone Market and Apples iPhone Impact

iOS 6: All the Best New Features

Earlier I posted some great tips on iOS6: Everything You Need to Know About iOS 6.

Now here is even more about the latest iOS from Apple – this time from Gizmodo:

Today is the day iOS 6 arrives, and it’s going to make your iPhone better than it’s ever been before. Why should you upgrade? There are so, so many reasons.

Facebook

medium iOS 6: All the Best New FeaturesMaybe the best and most overdue addition. (Almost) everyone uses Facebook, so the deeper it’s stuffed into the soul of iOS, the better. Now, just like Twitter, you can directly link your Facebook account with your iOS, allowing your phone to talk directly to Mark Zuckerberg’s big beautiful brain. You can directly post photos from your photo album to Facebook, update your status from the notification center, and sync your contact list with each person’s corresponding Facebook account. It’s terrific stuff, and takes a big step into the turf of Windows Phone—the current lord of social media integration. We want to see more of this.

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Easy, beautiful panoramas

There are a kazillion apps that stitch together panorama shots already, but now it’s a built-in feature with your iPhone’s camera—240 degrees of wide-wide-wide shooting, melded together automatically. Those should be a lot of fun to text around.

Better Siri

medium iOS 6: All the Best New FeaturesSiri: now with 400% less suck. Your iPhone GF now provides sports scores, movie times, restaurant ratings courtesy of Yelp—and will even help you book a table reservation. Now that’s service worthy of Zooey’s adoration. However, it still trips up on some words, (Siri often thinks I’m asking about Syria) and requires you to speak more clearly than you would to any adult human.

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Passbook

There’s no NFC in the new iPhone, but you’ll be able to use your screen as a scannable gift card/plane ticket/voucher/etc. with Passbook, which creates a virtual bundle of all those annoying cards you cram into your wallet. Here’s an ideal little scenario for you: a free cup of coffee at Starbucks, because you’ve got a $25 credit built right into your phone. Hand it to the cashier, beep, coffee, slurp, bye.

New Maps

medium iOS 6: All the Best New Features

Apple kicked Google out of its mapping party, and made its own. It’s a very mixed bag, but there are some terrific changes:

 

Vector based vs bitmap graphics
The new maps are not bitmap-based anymore. Say goodbye to the horrible and slow tile loading. Now they are vector based, which means faster loading-it still loads sectors, but very fast based in our hands on experience-and smoother, much better graphics.

Turn-by-turn navigation
At last, Apple’s Maps will provide with turn-by-turn navigation, just like any other car GPS app. It looks quite good. We have tried and it seems quite neat, with Siri driving directions and 3D view, with clear signs.

Business information card
Now every location in Maps includes a card that gives you all you need to know about it. If it’s a restaurant, it will show you reviews and ratings, along with photographs.

Siri integration
Siri is completely integrated with Maps. You can ask for directions with your voice, it will guide you while driving and, if you ask her something like “Are we there yet?”, she will answer you with the estimated time of arrival. And tell you to shut up.

This is great stuff! It’s definitely faster than Google’s go at it, and the 3D terrain feature is a cool novelty, if not much more. The lack of integrated public transit directions (you’ll get pushed over to a 3rd party app for that) and Street View is conspicuous.

Facetime over 3G

It took a couple years, but now FaceTime is as fantastic as it could have been all along: make video calls from anywhere you have a cell signal. It’ll kick your capped data plan in the shins if you have one, but the difference between cell data and Wi-Fi is minor. Video quality is decent. This is killer. Now you can pause during a hike, call your uncle, and show him the majesty of nature while he sits in his basement.

Unless you have AT&T, that is, in which case you’re mostly screwed.

Power privacy

medium iOS 6: All the Best New FeaturesThis one’s simple: there’s now a list in settings of all the apps that have requested access to your location, contacts, calendars, reminders, and photos. Turn on or off access as you see fit, or set a Do Not Disturb timer to keep your phone from ringing from all but the most important calls.

Easier, prettier sharing menu

medium iOS 6: All the Best New FeaturesThe old one was ugly! It was just a drab list! Now, if you want to share that dong shot you just took, you’re presented with a neat graphical grid of services—email, Facebook, Twitter, SMS—your pick. It’s easier to scan, ergo easier to share.

A modern iPod

medium iOS 6: All the Best New FeaturesThe Music app ditched its old skin for a darker, simpler, monochromatic getup. It functions the exact same, but steps closer to OS X in appearance. Maybe you’ll like it more than the old look—if not, you’ll quickly forget what the old look looked like, anyway.

Tons of new emoji

medium iOS 6: All the Best New Features

All emoji are good emoji. And the old iOS 5 set was pretty great. But just look at the artistry and detail in each of these teeny tiny animals. Notice the chicken’s softly shaded feathers. The poodle’s regal pose. That blow fish! Now return to your old iOS 5 emoji animals—they basically resemble balloon animal heads with beaks.

Sweet rejection

Screening your calls and generally avoiding mankind is streamlined in iOS 6. Want to ignore someone? You can reject their call with a reminder to hit them back later, or send a pre-programmed “hey sorry man I’m busy what’s up” excuse text while simultaneously rejecting the call. All it takes is a quick swipe up while the call is incoming, choose your method of avoidance, and with a couple taps you’ve managed to dodge another call. If you want, you can customize your reply messages with all sorts of zany excuses. It’s brilliant.

Remodeled iTunes/App Stores

medium iOS 6: All the Best New Features

Talk about stale! The stores on your phone were never easy to get around: too many lists, too many sections, too much scrolling. In iOS 6 they get a chic makeover, highly reminiscent of the glamorous Apple TV storefront. The new stores also add clever horizontal scrolling through lists and categories, which is less of a pain and allows for a more digestible spread of information on a non-television screen. Featured albums, apps, videos, and the like are all sorted together with big eye-easy graphics. It won’t cost you any less, but you’ll spend less sanity on your downloads.

pixel iOS 6: All the Best New Features