Tagged: app

New app makes sure you get home safe

By Kyra Louie, Staff Writer
@beammeupkyra

“Text me when you get home,” is a phrase that we often give and receive when we part with friends and family at the end of a night.  I’ve used it, you’ve used it, everyone’s used it.  But most people forget to follow up once they do actually get home safely.

With the SMS app Kitestring, this will no longer be a problem.  Kitestring is a free web-based “safecall service” that allows its user to send automated text messages to themselves and their emergency contacts.

When Kitestring is used, it allows the user to punch in their destination and how long their trip will take (30 minutes, 2 hours, etc.).  If the user does not return home by the time previously estimated, they can ask for extra time.  If the user does not respond to the checkup text within a few minutes, Kitestring sends out a custom-made text to your assigned emergency contacts to let them know that something might have happened.

The user can set up their own personal check-in-word, so that if an attacker has struck, they cannot check-in for the user.  There is also a duress code, which is used in case the user is actually in trouble. If the duress code is sent as a reply to the check-in text, the app pretends like the user checked in, but actually alerts the emergency contacts that they might be in danger.

As beautiful as this app sounds, it’s not perfect. If the user’s phone dies, and they miss the check-in text, the distress text will be sent to their emergency contacts. Also, there will obviously be times the user does not remember to reply to the check-in text, or ask for more time, which will result in another text sent to their emergency contacts (followed by unnecessary panic).

Depending on the situation, I get very frustrated when my friends don’t text me that they got home safely. For all I know, something could have happened and I would be devastated to learn that something did happen and I thought it to be forgetfulness.

Even so, it’s a really practical app.  It could save someone’s life, and it is worth investing in. Kitestring is a free app, so, as far as I can tell, there isn’t really any reason not to give it a try.

Flappy Bird: The App That Everyone Loves to Hate

By Kyra Louie, Staff Writer
@beammeupkyra

Woosh, woosh, woosh, ding, woosh, woosh, ding, woosh, thwack, incoherent screaming.

I’m sure that we’ve all heard this, or have been through this, at least once in the past few weeks. This, my friends, is none other than the sound of Flappy Bird.

The popular, yet frustrating app was taken down Sunday at noon by the app’s creator, Dong Nguyen, and there’s a lot of speculation as to his motives behind the move. Some believe that he received death threats from unhappy customers, others said that the game was ruining his life, as well as the lives of the players.

Nguyen received $50,000 a day from ad revenue on Flappy Bird, yet he still took it down.

If you’ve ever tried the game, you would know that it is very difficult (and incredibly frustrating) for most people. Some love it, some hate it. College of Communication sophomore Jacqlene Boening has a high score of 22 points.

“I think Flappy Bird is a really great game and people who think that it’s impossible to win just haven’t strategized or tried hard enough,” she said.

My high score is 38, and I’m not sure if it will ever get higher than that. But, somehow, this game draws me in like a magnet, and before I know it, two hours have passed. I really do like this game because it’s challenging.

But that’s also what makes people like College of Arts and Sciences freshman Andre Orlando hate it.

“Flappy Bird is a boring person’s idea of fun, along with BuzzFeed and the show Scandal,” he said.

But for all the hate that this app has gotten, its absence has taken a toll on many, and some have even resorted to selling phones with Flappy Bird installed on Ebay for thousands of dollars. There have been many apps made as spinoffs of Flappy Bird, but they  will never receive the same kind of popularity that Flappy Bird has gotten over the past few weeks.

“It’s embarrassing that our society is obsessed with this kind of stuff,” says Hayley McNutt, a sophomore in the College of Arts and Sciences who refused to download the app while it was still on the market.

But there is good news for those of us who desperately want Flappy Bird back in our lives. On Monday, Nguyen told the world that he is not finished yet. So beware, users, there may be an equally (if not more) addicting game out sometime in the future. 

In the meantaime, here’s a good way to stop that urge to play:

Spotlight: Maintaining New Years Resolutions

By Stacy Schoonover, Staff Writer
@stacyscootover

Will you stick to your resolutions?/PHOTO VIA Wikimedia Commons

Will you stick to your resolutions?/PHOTO VIA Wikimedia Commons

Making a new years resolution seems simple, but usually its easier said than done.

According to the University of Scranton’s study of resolution statistics, only 46 percent of resolutions were kept for six months or more in 2013.

So with one month of the new year almost complete, we offer some tips to continue the commitment to our resolutions.

1. Continue to be Realistic

Make sure that your resolution is something that you still really want. For example, if you want to get fit but you hate running, don’t resolve to run a mile per day. It’s okay to modify your resolution. Instead, you can ride your bike or lift weights. Find the best possible option for personal success.

2. Plan Ahead and Stay Organized

If you haven’t been organized about your resolution so far, it’s not too late to start. You can keep a calendar, download a new appset short-term and long-term goals,  and make an outline or even a simple list to keep your plans and progress clear.

3. Keep it Social

Talk about your resolution with your friends so that they can hold you accountable. The more you talk about it, the more you’ll stick to it.

4. Stay Positive! 

Lastly, don’t be too hard on yourself! Keep going even when times are tough and before you know it, your resolution will become more natural and rewarding.

Life Hacks: 5 Things Learned from Last Semester

By Shivani Patel, Staff Writer
@shizupates

Shivani Post

Looking back, moving forward /PHOTO VIA Flickr user Nomad Tales

Hello friends! I hope you all had a great winter break filled with great food and good company. Here we are at the start of a new year, time for new beginnings and new life hacks to try out.

But before we turn over a new leaf, it’s important to take a look at the past and learn from our mistakes. Why don’t we take a close look at the fall semester and rectify the mistakes we made (if you didn’t make any, good for you – but let’s be real: we’ve all made mistakes).

Here are five things we (hopefully) learned from first semester:

1. Read.

This does not mean simply skimming. It may get the task done quickly, but not very well in the long run. When it comes to studying, websites like Sparknotes and Cliffnotes are helpful to refresh your memory, but the only way to actually know what’s going on is to read the real deal. Don’t have the time? Try an old elementary school tip and apply it to college by reading a portion of the assignment each night. You can also make a habit of active reading by taking notes or by quizzing yourself at the end of chapters, another great study tool.

2. Monitor your party habits.

Partying is fun, I get it. The experience is unlike any other, but at the same time, don’t be that desperate freshman looking to “turn up” every Thursday, Friday, and Saturday. First semester it might hard to find the delicate balance between having a social life and partying too much, but now that we’ve had a semester to assimilate, it is no longer acceptable for you to stagger into your dorm every single weekend. Instead, plan out your weekend. One night out, another night in. Your body will thank you for less toxins and more sleep.

3. Get involved. 

Academics are great, and should be a huge part of your life. However, if you spent your entire first semester hitting the books, it’s time to get some fresh air. Thankfully, BU has over 500 clubs and organizations, including the Community Service Center (CSC), that you can always find something to do. SPLASH may be over, but another way to find out what BU has to offer is through this great site that lists all our student organizations. If you don’t have the time to commit to anything specific, at least make a late New Year’s Resolution to explore Boston. Go see a Red Sox Game, visit a museum, the list goes on.

4. Make an effort to keep your friends.

This one isn’t as obvious, but if you notice, your friends have been coming and going all throughout first semester. The friends you thought you would keep all four years from orientation are no longer your friends and the random kid you met in math class is suddenly your best friend. Unlike high school, you don’t see your friends every single day, which makes things more difficult. Take the time to keep in contact with people, by making a lunch date to catch up. It will be worth it in the end.

 5. Social media is not that important.

Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, etc. We’re all obsessed, and while we say we can stop at anytime – the truth is, we can’t. Document how much time you spend on social media everyday for a week and you’ll how bad your media addiction really is. By learning to cut back, you can increase time spent on studying and spending time with friends, and therefore improve your grades and relationships. If you can’t stop checking your social media sites, look into applications such as Self-Control (Apple) that block you from accessing those pesky sites you go to by instinct.

Best of luck in making this semester even better than the last.

 

Carrot Dating: Using Bribery To Get Dates

By Katrina Uy, Staff Writer
@katreenz

Who needs laughter and chemistry when you’ve got bribery?/PHOTO VIA Wikimedia Commons

Just how far are you willing to go to find Mr. Right or the girl of your wildest dreams?

A controversial new dating app called “Carrot Dating” hit the market last week. Its website states: “Gifts are the greatest ‘ice breaker.’ Carrot Dating turns ‘fat chance’ into ‘why not?’ From flowers to jewelry, there’s a bribe for everyone’s budget. You can have anyone! All you have to do is dangle the right carrot.’”

Yep, you read right. Brandon Wade, creator of the app and graduate of Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) believes that in order to get someone to go on a date with you all you have to do is bribe them with money. Forget all those silly things that relationships are usually based off of, like similar interests and whether or not you and your partner have chemistry. All anyone cares about is the money you shower them with!

Originally repulsed by the idea but still somewhat curious, I decided to download the app for myself and see if it was as bad as it seems.

Spoiler alert: It is, but the outrageousness of some of the bribes is worth the laugh.

After logging in, the app gives you the option to say whether you’re male or female and allows you to input your sexual orientation by choosing if you want to find singles in your area who are either male or female. Then, it presents you with a variety of suitors to choose from and gives you the option to bribe them after choosing one of five categories: dining, activities, gifts, entertainment, or popular.

I decided to go with “gift.” Options ranged from a box of chocolates to plastic surgery treatment. Some of my personal favorites from all five categories include a sky-diving trip, a tattoo, a tank of gas, and even plastic surgery treatment.

Admittedly, while a sky-diving trip does sound awesome, it won’t be enough to get me to go on a date with you. Tempting, but no. Just no.

The concept behind “Carrot Dating” likens both men and women to greedy goblins (Halloween pun) who only want your money. It teaches us that if at first we can’t succeed with our natural charm, wit, and looks, try, try again – and this time, with bribery.

But even if you do manage to get someone to bite, how long do you expect your relationship last? Any relationship built on manipulation and bribery is probably destined for failure from the start.

Money can’t buy you happiness, and it certainly can’t buy you love, either – although if you’ve got the greens to spare and are that desperate to find someone to date you, I guess it’s always worth a shot.

There’s an app for that

By Devon Delfino, Staff Writer
@devondelfino

Devices

These days it seems like we never have a tech-free moment/ PHOTO VIA Flickr user Jeremy Keith

Last week’s American Airlines computer snafu , which caused the cancellation of over four hundred flights, served as a disturbing reminder of how reliant we have become on technology, and how easily it can fail us.

Smart phones, tablets, laptops, etc. We now have countless ways to stay connected. And with every month, it seems, we are introduced to faster and smaller versions of technologies we probably already own. Not to mention the countless apps at our disposal.

Have a sudden desire to become a priest? There’s an app for that, according to an article on CNN’s Belief Blog. Need to find the nearest Starbucks? There’s an app for that. Need someone to shame you into going to the gym? There’s an app for that, too. There are so many apps that my phone can barely stay charged.

While riding the bus to work the other day, I suddenly looked up from my phone and realized that every single person around me was on some sort of mobile device, avoiding eye contact at any cost, as if it were unnatural. And who can blame them? We all do it.

Technology has become a way of distancing ourselves from others; even under the guise of “social media,” we still use our phones and iPods and tablets to avoid human interaction, whether it’s on the bus, or simply walking to class.

Our reliance on technology is particularly clear in those moments when it fails us. We expect so much of our phones and tablets and laptops, and we tend to freak out when it takes forever to download that new game, or when the touch screen on our phone decides it’s not working right now. It’s incredibly frustrating.

We are wired in nearly twenty-four hours a day, googling our every whim, yet we still need more. We demand faster processors, smaller phones, and better screen resolution.

So ask yourself when the last time was that you went a whole day without using the internet; it’s probably not a bad idea to unplug every once in a while.