Tag Archives: App

New app lets you lend your dog and borrow another

Anna Browne is a woman who loves dogs, but unfortunately can’t be responsible for a dog of her own. She discovered an app called Bark’N’Borrow. The app allows for people who don’t have room for a dog, or can’t completely take care of a dog of their own, to be able to borrow other people’s dogs for a small vacation or simply a doggy sleepover.

Browne found the app because she loves corgis but wasn’t ready to have her own. She states “I live in a studio… I work late most nights.” As someone who works in financial services, Browne desperately wanted a cute little pooch to cuddle with at night, but the responsible person in her knew a long term commitment like owning dog wasn’t appropriate for her at this point in her life.

“The app’s founder, Berkeley, individually reviews and approves every borrower’s profile.”

The app, Bark’N’Borrow, allows for dog owners to reach out to dog lovers who can’t have their own man’s best friend. The CEO and Founder Liam Berkeley said “This is the next best thing between not owning a dog and committing to one.”  It allows for dogs to continue to be put into safe environments, with people who have the time, space, and money to take care of them.

This app, however, isn’t just for people who don’t have the time or space to take care of dogs, it’s also for owners who wish to give their dogs more socialization, exposure to new environments and people. Weiling Chen, the owner of Sam the Corgi, made a profile for Sam after hearing about Bark’N’Borrow.

She said she had some initial hesitations, “It sounded a little odd but you kind of figure if they’re dog owners or dog lovers than it shouldn’t be too bad,” Chen said.

She had found a few potential borrowers, but Browne has become her favorite. “It’s like a delight,” Browne said. “On the weekend if I can hang out with a corgi for a couple of hours it’s amazing.”

To prevent the types of people who go on this app who want to hurt the dogs, the app’s founder, Berkeley, individually reviews and approves every borrower’s profile.

If you want to borrow a sweet, little, cute dog for a short period of time, check out Bark’N’Borrow.

The new “News” app On the iPhone

Apple recently released a new software update, which made a few minor changes to our familiar iPhones. For one, the text font is different and it is possible to switch between apps a lot easier now. However, the big change that I noticed was the new app added to our phones: the news app. At first I didn’t think about using this app but I decided to snoop around and see what it was ad I’m glad I did. The news app lets you select anything you can think of (food, traveling, every-day life, etc.) and personalize it to news appyour liking.

When you open the app it shows an endless amount of articles about the stuff you were interested in. It provides a list of articles about recipes, traveling, sports games, political news, animal news, and so much more. Anything you could want to know about is right there in an app instead of Google searching and different news updates.

The app has seasonal options, too, such as fall food ideas or Halloween costume ideas that you can go back and delete off your news feed when the season passes. This is something very useful and convenient that has been added to our already intelligent and capable phones.

I use the app to get easy recipes, look at movie reviews, catch up on celebrity gossip, and get my daily dose of real world news. The app is a great addition to the iPhone that many people will get a lot of use out daily. This app could be for any age because it lets you customize what you want to read about. The app could let a middle-aged man read the political news but also let his 16-year-old daughter read about the celebrity gossip.

Overall, the new “news” app has proved itself worthy in I’m sure not only my book!

New Snapchat update causes outrage

Ever since its popularity skyrocketed a few years back, Snapchat (a picture sharing app that only allows recipients of a photo to see it for a certain amount of seconds before it vanishes), has been the cause of many a breakup, thanks to its infamous “best friends list.” This list made it possible to see who your significant other was sending pictures to and receiving them from — a problem because Snapchat’s notorious for nude picture trading. Back in January, a Snapchat update got rid of the best friends list and allowed cheaters everywhere to once again “snap” their illicit lovers without the fear of getting caught.

Snapchat is taking criticism. Graphic from Wikimedia Commons
Snapchat is taking criticism. Graphic from Wikimedia Commons

Now here we are in spring of 2015 and a new update has rattled girls all over the internet. If you go to your Snapchat “friends” list, you will see an emoji beside some  friends’ names. These emojis all mean different things about your Snapchat friendship status with the person. The golden heart means that you are each other’s best friend; the “grimace” face with  bared teeth, means that you and the person each have the same best friend; the smile indicates someone  you frequently send pictures to; the face with the sunglasses means that you and the person both have a close friend in common; the smirk means that you’re their best friend, but they aren’t yours; and the fire means that the two of you have snapped each other for however many days in a row are listed beside the flame.

It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to see why this is a serious problem. All of the mischievous snappingthat had been going on between the “best friends list” feature disappearing and the new update has been made public. So now there’s only one question: did the creators do this on purpose to expose infidelity?

Buzzfeed’s Carley Washa’s recent article, “Definitive Proof Snapchat Is The Biggest Snitch of All Time,” described the update as “literally like Snapchat brought back the feature to show which cheaters took advantage of the update.”

Whether or not the minds behind Snapchat intended to create pandemonium remains to be seen. After all, despite its reputation, Snapchat isn’t the only social media site to have a hand in aiding cheating lovers– Facebook and Tinder have been in the hot seat too. Hopefully these updates will show users that no matter how secretive they think they’re being about their affairs, these sites can reveal everything with one click. If nothing else, this update should teach people that privacy involving the internet is not a thing — and to be more discreet with their online actions.

App is friend, not foe

In a world where the smartphone is increasingly becoming the lifeline and constant companion or assistant to basically everyone on this planet, privacy has moved up in the concerns list. And if you’ve been paying attention to the whole data farming debate that’s sparked controversy about everyone from identity thieves to Apple to the federal government, there’s a chance you might be a little freaked out.

Your smartphone is brain sucking. Graphic from Life Hacker
Your smartphone is brain sucking. Graphic from Life Hacker

Nearly every app you download these days asks for access to some of your information, whether it be for contacts, location, or to connect to your Facebook. Regardless of what you download, it’s probably able to access some basic information off of your phone the second the code intermingles with your device. This isn’t necessarily the end of the world or of your privacy since the fact is there’s a only a small chance that the bad guys are going to target little ol’ you.

Still, it can be kind of creepy to know someone out there could potentially have access to information you didn’t explicitly entitle them to.

Luckily, this demand is sparking some supply from developers.

While very few app developers have seen any negative feedback from consumers about the coding which would allow for data harvesting off devices, the occasional outcries have inspired at least one site to post ratings on those apps. The site is called PrivacyGrade and allows the consumer to search for a particular app and few a rating based on the privacy expected from the app versus the actual level of information the app requires.

Security from seemingly harmless apps have come into more focus thanks to such scandals as the flashlight app. Something as small as a flashlight app, it turns out, can ask for a shocking amount of user data when you download it, tapping everything from your calendar to your phone’s location engine — even asking access to your camera.

While almost all of the information that is being harvested by these sort of apps are by legitimate businesses to be sold to advertising companies, this still seems invasive.

Currently, the site is only targeted for Android apps (because, be honest, most Apple users don’t care — we know what you do, Apple!). But in time it, or similar sites, should reach out to all mobile apps.

“Up”-grading to a healthier lifestyle

“Up” by developer Jawbone is part iPhone app, part sensory wristband. “Up” helps users track their overall health. It does this by using a number of sensors built into the wristband, as well as user-inputted data. Jawbone hopes that the $99 app and periphery wristband will improve users’ standards of life.

This iPhone app comes with a wristband. Photo from Creative Commons.

“Up” targets three different lifestyle components to help users achieve a healthier lifestyle. The areas it targets are movement, eating and sleeping. The app focuses on these three components using a combination of sensors and user input.

Movement is monitored through the wristband using a precise motion sensor along with the device’s GPS. The motion sensor determines when users have been sedentary for too long. Users can set the time intervals for when the wristband notifies users that they have been motionless for too long. This provides users with a built-in reminder to keep moving. The GPS access allows the app to determine how many miles the user has moved that day and design challenges around distances walked or run in a set period of time. These challenges can be put on the “Up” community, giving users added motivation.

Along with its ability to track its users movements, “Up” also monitors the sleep cycle of its users. Not only does the app watch for when a user sleeps, it also keeps an eye on the quality of sleep users are getting. The wristband also has the ability to wake users by vibrating against their wrist to let them know it is the best time to get up during their sleep cycle, attempting to ensure the user gets a full night of sleep. All the sleep information data is displayed in a simple bar graph for users to read upon waking from their device.

The wristband can’t do everything though. Users are responsible for tracking their own meals. Users do this by inputting pictures into their food diaries. The app asks users after each entry how they feel after a meal. This allows the app to slowly discover which food makes the individual feel best, and also allows the app to provide food suggestions.

“Up” also comes with a support community. The support community issues challenges to “Up” users to motivate them to keep an eye on their health. Many of the challenges appear to be attempts to get users to start healthy habits. These challenges also provide users with some fun, healthy competition.

While certainly innovative, it’s not the first app periphery combination to do that. The $99 “Fitbit” provides similar services. The main difference between “Fitbit” and “Up” is how they’re worn. “Up” is a wristband and “Fitbit” works as a clip-like device that can be worn under clothing or put in a pocket. Either app seems like an interesting option to help people to monitor and learn about their overall health. It will be interesting to see if similar apps come out in the coming years.