It’s Monday and if you’re anything like me, you spent a good portion of your Friday and Saturday nights hopping from one bar to the next trying to figure out where the spot to be was. It really is an inexact science trying to find a bar with that perfect combination of not too crowded but not dead with a good ratio of potential “targets.”
That is, until science got involved.
A new app called SceneTap is set to hit the App Store and Android Market in the next month or so. The startup company behind the app will be rolling it out in 50 bars in the Chicago area. What they’ve done is install cameras in the 50 participating bars. The app then takes the images from those cameras, and using facial recognition technology figures out how many people are at the bar, the male to female ration, and even tries to guess the average age of patrons.
In addition to tricky camera work, it will also use dates from Check-In apps like FourSquare to get a more dialed in demographic picture.
The app will even provide special deals to folks using the app and will feature the menus of participating bars and clubs.
The app should be ready to go by July in Chicago, and is expected to roll out nationwide in the coming months thereafter.
If you live in a small town or you have lived in the same area for awhile, the app isn’t likely to let you in on anything you don’t already know. But if you are new to town or on vacation, this app would definitely come in handy, so keep your eyes peeled.
This morning Apple finally capitulated to pressure from Capitol Hill and has removed several DUI checkpoint apps from their App Store. The move came after pressure from Senator Harry Reid a few months ago. The Senate Majority leader requested the RIM, Google and Apple all remove apps that promote drinking and driving from their various app marketplaces.
RIM immediate removed all offending apps. Google declined the request and still has DUI checkpoint apps in the Android Market.
Apple initially claimed that the offending apps didn’t violate any of their guidelines; hence they had no recourse to remove the apps. Apple closed that loophole by amending their guidelines. Section 22.8 states that any DUI checkpoint apps that publish information not released by law enforcement agencies are in violation.
Law Enforcement agencies have long made DUI checkpoints public information. It is intended to be a deterrent to drunk drivers. The thinking behind it is that if motorists know that police are out in force, they will think twice about getting behind the wheel.
While the actual effects of that strategy are debatable, the developers of these apps argue that their apps perform the same function. That really is beside the point though. Lawmakers and activist groups contend that the apps promote drunk driving by helping people avoid the checkpoints on their way home. However, if a person owns a phone where they can access apps, they own a phone that can access the internet and find the checkpoints via law enforcement anyway.
With this move by Apple, Google is now the only mobile OS provider on the latter side of the debate. Public pressure will likely force them to remove DUI apps in the near future as well.
If you’re like me, or any other smarthpone owner out there, you invariably have wanted to throw your phone through a brick wall because it was taking forever (translated into longer than a nano-second) to open a video or run an app. And by the time the apps starts to run, you’re battery is dead.
Sluggish phones and poor battery life tend to be the marketing talking points for most every new phone that hits the market these days. It’s also the main reason why consumers return their phones or claim that they are defective.
At least one executive at a major phone manufacturer is saying ‘Don’t blame us.’
Sanjay Jha, CEO of Motorola, claims that about 70% of Motorola smartphones that get returned as defective are actually perfectly fine, and are experiencing problems because of poorly written apps that are draining power and trying up valuable processing speed.
Considering most cell phone users aren’t savvy enough to notice which apps are sucking power, an extended life battery or a spare cell phone charger is probably a good start to avoiding such problems.
Motorola is working on a software update to their proprietary MotoBlur user interface that will measure power consumption of apps and warn users if they are about to download an “offending” app.
The problem is, because of Android’s open source and the lax screening process to get an app into the Android Market, there really is very little phone manufacturers can do to control the functionality of the apps their customers are downloading.
Raise your hand if you like backseat drivers. To anyone who raised their hand, you have some real self esteem issues, and this new iPhone app from State Farm is right up your alley.
They are calling it State Farm Driver Feedback. It uses the various sensors in your phone, specifically the accelerometer and GPS capabilities. The app can sense how fast you drive, how hard you corner, and how hard you brake. The app will then score your driving. No bonus points for successfully drifting through a crowded crosswalk ala Fast and the Furious Tokyo Drift.
The folks at State Farm think people will look at their score and make a game out of it by trying to drive safer and in turn beat their score. Beating your score is akin to pulling a Morgan Freeman from Driving Miss Daisy every time you get behind the wheel rather than pulling a Jason Statham from the Transporter. What’s the fun in that?
It will be interesting to see how many people download the app just to see who amongst their group of friends can get the lowest score without running anything over. I suppose concerned parents could use the app, forcing their kids to drive with it on to earn car privileges. But that is about the only practical use for this app we can come up with off the top of our heads.
Supposedly the app doesn’t send any of the data back to State Farm, but with all the privacy and data collection issues that have cropped up recently, don’t be surprised if your insurance rates go up the next time you have to renew.
We’ve written a few blogs in the past about how smarthphones, with a few clever cell phone accessories and a well designed app, are revolutionizing medical diagnostics. We’ve already seen an iPhone app that can diagnose cancer. And now we have an app that can diagnose malaria by simply taking a picture of a blood sample.
This prototype for this device is a Samsung Focus and it uses a microscopic lens that attaches to the phone’s camera. Once a picture of a blood sample has been taken, it processes the photo and looks for the malaria parasites. It can then determine the number of parasites present and even isolate them in the picture by drawing a box around them.
Instead of bringing the patient to a lab, this will allow doctors to bring the lab to the patients, helping to prevent outbreaks of the disease. This has a drastic effect on diagnostic costs, which is a huge factor considering that the areas most affected by malaria are remote and poor regions of Africa.
As it stands right now, a child in Africa dies every 30 seconds from Malaria.
If you aren’t already familiar with the fine products offered by Cobra you are either an extremely safe driver or you have racked up thousands of dollars in unnecessary speeding tickets. Cobra specializes in radar detectors and recently started using mobile technology to expand its product line.
Since the end of 2010, iPhone users have been able to download an app called iRadar and buy a cell phone accessory that is actually a radar detector. In addition to identifying speed traps, the app utilizes your phone’s GPS to find those annoying red light cameras. Eventually, you’ll also be able to share speed trap locations with other iRadar users through the app.
Cobra will be coming out with a similar set up for Android phones next month, so all you lead foots should be keeping an eye out in the Android Market.
While we don’t advocate unsafe driving, perhaps being aware of a speed trap is more of an incentive to slow down than getting spanked with a $100 ticket after the fact. Just a thought.
Based on Kim Kardashian’s single, I sound like Luther Vandross. But if I wanted to sound like Kim Kardashian I could thank to this new iPhone app from 1K Multimedia. Yay.
With a simple free download and a cell phone accessory – any mic with a 3.5 mm jack – you can autotune yourself to a Frampton like parallel universe.
I have a hard time imagining that any grown adult or serious singer would actually find this to be in any way shape or form useful, or entertaining for more than 20 minutes at a time. But then again, somebody out there voted for Sanjaya and somebody bought Heidi Montag’s single. Or maybe Spencer Pratt bought them all?
I’m not narcissistic enough to think that recording my day – which consists of sitting in front of a computer screen writing blogs, followed by a healthy dose of Arizona Basketball and reruns of Futurama with the occasional foray to the gym – is something that anyone would want to watch in a time lapse video.
However, there is an outside chance that someone out there actually has a more interesting life than mine. And for those people, there is a new app called LifeLapse. The app is still in the testing phase, and they are taking applications from people wanting to test it out. If your daily routine consists of a recliner, Maury Povich, Judge Judy and a crippling decision between Cheetos and Doritos, you’re likely not going to get picked.
But if you are one of the lucky ones, the developers of LifeLapse will send you a cell phone pouch that you wear around your neck that allows you to log your entire day for posterity. You can apply here if you’re interested in being a guinea pig.
How great would it be if that traveling taco truck that parks out in front of your office took credit cards. Or the hotdog concessions guy at the ballpark. Or the organic vegetable guy at the farmer’s market. Thanks to two companies, and a handy dandy cell phone accessory, they all can.
With a simple little dongle that plugs into the 3.5 mm jack on your smartphone and an app, you can take credit card payments through your phone. All you need to do is swipe the card through the dongle and you’re set.
The problem is, the two companies are in a cut throat battle for market share and one company (VeriFone) figured out how to hack the other company’s (Square) software to steal credit card information and published the hack in a letter to consumers.
The move was a malicious effort to inform credit card companies and consumers just how unsafe their financial data was if they used one of Square’s products. And while the hack is apparently legit, and it is possible for a shady vendor to steal credit card information from customers and sell it on the black market, to publish exactly how to do it is really irresponsible.
The moral of the story here, be careful who you entrust your credit card to. And if you didn’t already know that, well, feel free to ignore this post.
It’s not every day that technology and medicine converge. Wait a minute. I have just been informed that is exactly the way modern medicine works. Keeping that in mind, it really should come as no surprise that scientists at MIT and Harvard have developed a portable scanner and smartphone app that can diagnose cancer.
In initial trials, the device has had an accuracy rate of 96%, twelve percent better than current methods. To put that in scientific terms – that is ridonkulous.
The device itself only costs $200 and hooks into a smartphone and displays its results on the phone’s screen. In order to work, a tissue sample is needed for the device to scan. Presumably you would need a doctor to get that out of you. Keeping that in mind, the practical application of this device for personal use is limited.
However, with the relatively low cost of this device, imagine the applications this device could have in underdeveloped countries to accurately diagnose cancer. It really is something to get excited about.