Posts with tag android app

An anonymous stream of hurt

Yik Yak may be the most offensive app you ever install on your smartphone

When I heard about Yik Yak earlier, I was intrigued. The application, available now and released earlier this year for Apple iOS devices and Android devices, is simple – and familiar – enough: a continuous stream of posts that users of the app can reply to, favorite, or down vote. The twist? It’s entirely anonymous, and posts only show up if you’re within a 1.5 mile radius of the one who made the post. No user names, no profiles, no profile pictures – just a stream of untagged,  completely anonymous – and uncensored – posts.

If that sounds familiar, I’m not surprised – the concept is essentially exactly the same as that of the Google Ventures funded Secret application, which allowed for the same concept with a similar execution. Unlike Secret, however, which didn’t find any degree of success outside of Silicone Valley, Yik Yak is enjoying a huge boom of attention all across America, specifically around – you guessed it – schools. For whatever reason, it appears that if you give college aged students access to a totally anonymous, uncensored stream, it’s pretty likely to turn into an anonymous stream of hurt.


That’s a really tame example of the sort of posts one can find while looking through a local Yik Yak stream, especially when browsing through the application in a college town like the one that I’ve spent the last couple of years around. On top of simply crazy posts above, Yik Yak is home to offensive and hateful posts towards women, homosexuals, teachers, undergraduate students, older individuals, etcetera and so forth – and that’s just from spending twenty minutes browsing through my feed.

And perhaps predictably, the negativity that Yik Yak is shepherding is having an effect – The Boston Globe this week ran an article earlier this week chronicling how Asian American college student Jamie Ciocon downloaded the application only to become “repulsed” by an avalanche of demeaning posts about Asian Americans.1

Yik Yak founders Brooks Buffington and Tyler Droll, two college undergraduate students, say that they’ve created Yik Yak as a means to give college students a platform. While it’s important that these sort of applications exist to promote freedom of speech, it’s also important to take a look at how these communities can build a sphere of influence around cyber bullying. Cyber bullying has become a hot topic issue these days as government officials and policy officials have continuously debated the need for anti-cyber bullying laws. Yik Yak, Secret, and other anonymous communities those significant roadblocks to these initiatives as it can be near impossible to find the origin of the posts under certain circumstances.

Taking another cue from third party clients

Twitter now lets you mute the nonsense

twitter-bird-light-bgsTwitter has long had a habit of taking cues from third party clients while looking at how to shape their official products – most notably with the hashtags, @-replies, and retweets in the early days of Twitter, and now that trend is exhibiting itself again as Twitter has officially added the ability to mute users.

Essentially, muting does what it sounds like it is – it allows you to automatically hide tweets from users at any given time under different circumstances without unfollowing or blocking them. Now, finally, you can politely ignore your friends’ inane tweets without the need to complicate your relationships with an awkward unfollow.

Muting is now rolling out on the company’s official iOS and Android applications and will hit all users shortly. Time to celebrate by muting all of your annoying friends!

Source: Twitter

Dark, beautiful, and available now

Spotify grows up, redesigns on the Web, Mobile, and Desktop

Spotify, the free music streaming library that we all know and (mostly) love, is now rolling out a huge redesign that effects its entire portfolio of products, including Spotify on the Web, Spotify for Mobile, and the desktop Spotify client. The new design, which is the first major redesign since the service initially launched in 2008, is both familiar and entirely new.


Spotify has really emphasized the imagery of the music industry in this update, removing plenty of white space in order to make album artwork the real star of the show. Artwork is prominently displayed in big, beautiful blocks of icons, while the design uses a new dark underlying design to really put emphasis on the artwork and make it “pop”. Whereas the old version of Spotify relied on columns of text to get context on whatever it was the user was looking for, now the new design really makes that a visual experience, something that should make finding just the right song a whole lot easier.


The new Spotify design also fits right in with Apple’s latest and greatest mobile operating system, iOS 7, making use of transparency, blurring effects, and minimal, white buttons for playback controls and symbolism. The design is arguably most beautiful here, on Apples platform (seen above), because of how well it really fits in – Spotify now feels almost integrated into the inherent design of iOS, rather than an exception to the rule – and the result is quite stunning. Apple could really learn a lesson or two here from Spotify on any potential iTunes redesign.

The new Spotify design should be now available for your Mac, PC, iOS, Android, and on the Web. No word yet on whether or not other platforms, such as Linux, will be seeing an update.

Twitter improves image integration

Twitter rolls out image tagging and support for embedding multiple images


Twitter has just announced that they have significantly improved support for images on Twitter. While images have always been treated pretty basically on the largely text based social network, the company is now rolling out two pretty significant improvements, currently exclusive to Twitter for Mobile.

First, Twitter users will now be able to tag users in images, a feature found in and often used on Facebook and Instagram. It works pretty much the same – just tap on a photo and type in the user that’s represented in it, who will then have their profile linked to on the image. This is available on both Twitter for iOS and Android starting today.

The next big change is users will now be able to upload and embed up to four images in a single tweet, seemingly by integrating the separate images into a single file uploaded to the server in a sort of collage. At the moment this feature is only available to Twitter for iOS starting today, however it will be brought to Twitter for Android at some point in the future.

The popular social network has long been rumored to be focusing on reframing itself as an image based network, even going so far as pushing out a radically redesigned test version of an image-centric version of the site to a select number of users.

Source: Twitter

It could make sense

Apple may bring iTunes Store to Android phones and tablets


Here’s one out of left field – according to a new report by Billboard, Apple may considering bringing the iTunes Store to the chief competitor of the company’s iPhone and iPad, Google’s Android platform. Android is, of course, the platform used on some of the world’s most popular and best selling smartphone and tablet lineups, including the Samsung Galaxy and the HTC One.

iTunes Store on Android would likely be very much like what Apple did all the way back in 2003 when the company brought iTunes onto Windows. The move allowed hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of users to purchase music (and later movies, television shows, books, and podcasts) legally without the need to switch to an Apple device. Likewise, iTunes Store on Android move would allow Android to purchase and store media directly on the smartphone or tablet they likely already have without the need to switch to an iPhone or an iPad.

Steve Jobs was infamously quoted in 2011 saying that Apple would “never” bring iTunes to Android. That said, Steve Jobs also said the company would never release an iPod that could plat videos, a tablet computer, and then later a small form factor tablet – all of which the company went on to do.

Source: Billboard

Add bling to your bling

Pebble brings the Watch Appstore to Android with new Pebble 2.0 app


Good news to our Android users today as Pebble has officially announced the release of their new Pebble 2.0 application for Android, complete with the one thing that made the new version so great on the iOS side – the Watch Appstore. If you hadn’t heard of this before, the concept is simple – the new Pebble Android application now allows you to load actual working applications to your Pebble smartwatch, giving the device an extendable ecosystem similar to any other mobile platform.

Prominent applications include eBay, Foursquare, and Yelp with more and more applications getting released all the time. The new Pebble app requires Android 4.0 or newer – sorry, Android 2.x laggards, hope your manufacturer still cares about your device – and is available now on Google Play free of charge. Better late than never, I guess?

Source: Droid-Life

Flaw's been around since July

Whoops: Tinder security flaw gave everyone easy access to your location


Well, whoops. Let’s hope you aren’t paranoid if you are, or have been in the last year, a Tinder user. According to a new report by security firm IncludeSec, Tinder has left a security flaw open for the greater part of a year that gave hackers super easy access to your smartphone’s location services remotely. While the attack, which is reportedly now patched, required that attackers had already intercepted your Tinder identifier number, such information would have been child’s play to obtain for anyone on the same network with a simple packet sniffer.

The flaw has been around since July, and was only recently patched last month on January 1st – however Tinder reportedly refused to communicate with IncludeSec, who reported the issue to the social networking service that’s disturbingly similar to “hot or not” services that have been around the net for forever.

The lesson here? Never trust an application that requires access to your phone’s location services unless you’re absolutely sure that the development team is able to find and fix these sort of flaws in short notice. Such a security flaw could have easily put you, and any other Tinder user, in danger if the data was put in the wrong hands.

Via: The Verge
Source: IncludeSec

Floppy flap

Apple and Google stop allowing Flappy Bird clones

Flappy_Bird_logoIf you’re one of the hundreds of thousands of folks who likely got their hands on the real, original Flappy Bird game before developer Dong Nguyen took it down to protect your, and his, sanity – then good job! But if you’re not and you’ve been constantly searching around the App Store or Google Play to get something that’ll give you a rough idea of what the original game was like, we’re sorry to say that you’ll now have a harder time of it. An Apple representative has confirmed that the company is removing and actively denying Flappy Bird clones on the App Store, reportedly telling developers that they’ve “found your app name attempts to leverage a popular app.”

Google is reportedly very much doing the same, however the company isn’t commenting on the news that Flappy Bird wannabees are going the way of the dodo. With Mr. Nguyen appearing increasingly unlikely that he’ll ever put our good friend Flappy back on the App Store, you may wanna act fast if you wanna get something that even remotely resembles his breakout hit.

Source: TechCrunch

It's gone forever

Flappy Bird developer speaks out – he pulled the app for your, and his, sanity

Flappy_Bird_logoFlappy Bird developer Dong Nguyen has at long last made his first public interview since the sudden removal of Flappy Bird from the App Store and Google Play. While Mr. Nguyen originally only claimed that he removed the insanely addicting and popular game from the App Store because he couldn’t “take it anymore”, we’re now finding out more behind his actual reasoning behind removing the popular game.

In the interview, which was conducted with Forbes, Nguyen claims that the removal of Flappy Bird has been significantly “thought through”, claiming that fans of the game should in no way expect it to reappear any time soon. The actual reason behind the removal? “It happened to become an addictive product. I think it has become a problem,” Nguyen says, seemingly pointing out the hundreds of thousands of collective hours likely spent smashing a small pixelated bird into a SNES era sprite of a Mario World-inspired pipe, or the fact that a busted old iPhone 4 fetched hundreds of thousands of dollars on eBay just because it had Flappy Bird. “My life has not been as comfortable as I was before… I couldn’t sleep.”

While Nguyen has spent the last couple of days offline, avoiding his online profiles and not responding to emails or tweets, Nguyen did claim in his last tweet that he will continue to develop games, and prior to the removal of Flappy Bird he was said to have been considering a sequel to the game. The question is – now that Nguyen has achieved such an immense level of fame, will he ever be able to develop a true indie game – one that won’t commandeer thousands of independent blog posts, hundreds of thousands of downloads, and fan frenzy? Or has Nguyen, like those at popular Minecraft developer Mojang, already crossed the threshold of “indie” developer to superstar?

Source: Forbes

Someone is making undeserved bank

Why would someone pay $400,000 for an old iPhone 4 with Flappy Bird installed?

flappybird-screenshotThat’s the $4000,000 question of the day, isn’t it? Why would someone pay $400,000 for an old iPhone 4 with a copy of Flappy Bird installed? This may sound like a joke, but it isn’t – eBay is currently being absolutely littered with iPhones and other similar devices with the infamous Flappy Bird mobile game preinstalled after Flappy Bird creator Dong Nguyen pulled his insanely popular game from Google Play and the Apple App Store. And as promised, one such listing is for an old, kind of beat up sounding iPhone 4 – and its currently going for over $400,000 with over 200 bids.

The success of Flappy Bird on its own is insane enough – a simple game with cool, retro style SNES-era graphics that challenges the player to keep a pathetic, yet adorable looking bird with abnormally large lips afloat and guide him through a series of verticle pipes by simply tapping. The game shot up to the top of the App Store charts seemingly out of the blue after months of sitting unnoticed on the App Store. The explosion of press, attention, and even death threats led Mr. Nguyen to pull the game, apparently skyrocketing the value of any device with Flappy Bird already installed.

Let’s assume, just for a second, that it’s not completely insane that having a mobile game installed has the ability to raise the value of your phone or tablet. Even pretending that that’s normal and not a sign of the impending apocalypse, why would someone pay over $400,000 for an iPhone 4 – a nearly four year old smartphone – with it installed? Do these bidders know what you could do with $400,000? You could feed the homeless. You could pay for sick children’s medical bills. You could donate it to a worthy charity. You could fill an above ground swimming pool with it and lounge on top of it, if your life is like something out of the movie The Wolf of Wallstreet. Or, apparently, you could buy an iPhone 4 with Flappy Bird installed.

I’ll be right back, I need to go take photos of my iPad mini. It’s got Flappy Bird installed. I hear I could make a pretty penny.

Don't just check in

Foursquare now lets you order delivery from your favorite restaurant


If you fancy yourself a Foursquare fan, some good news here – Foursquare has just launched some cool new functionality that allows you to, right from your phone, order out some delicious tacos (or whatever else you’d like) from your favorite local restaurant.

The functionality stems from a partnership Foursquare has undergone with GrubHub Seamless. Just head on over to Foursquare on your iPhone, Android device, or the Foursquare web application (sorry Windows Phone users, ye not apply), find a supported restaurant, and hit that new “Order Delivery” menu. Easy peasy.

Source: Foursquare

Send a photo to 15 users in private

Instagram Direct turns on private messaging


Sometimes, you snap a photo that you really want to show a small, select group of friends, but not necessarily the entire world. Maybe it’s particularly scandalous, maybe it’s irrelevant to the greater community, a seemingly silly photo that doesn’t make much sense but that your two friends from grade school will get and laugh at heartily because of what happened that one time. That’s the market that Facebook and Instagram are trying to corner with their new Instagram Direct, a new social layer on top of Instagram that allows you to send photos in private to up to 15 friends.

Simply snap a photo as you always have, apply a filter, and choose where you want your photo to go – on the global stream where everyone can see it, or in private to up to 15 users. All moments are shared through an inbox section of the application, where requests and photos will exist outside of your larger pool of photos. You don’t even need to follow a person in order to send them a photo – but, of course, the user can chose to ignore your request to send them photos at any time.

Instagram Direct launches today with the new Instagram 5.0 update for both Android and iOS (sorry, Windows Phone beta users), so get downloading. Check out a sweet promotional video for the new feature after the break.

Source: Instagram