Tagged: application

New app makes sure you get home safe

By Kyra Louie, Staff Writer

“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.


Spotlight: Maintaining New Years Resolutions

By Stacy Schoonover, Staff Writer

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

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.


FreepOUT: Five reasons why you should be on DFP staff

In honor of the Fall 2012 Staff Application going live (find it HERE), we combined our mind grapes to further persuade those perspective writers out there to join the best damn news team at 648 Beacon St.

-Rolls. Given our convenient location practically next to Bertucci’s, we editors are casually nursing a somewhat serious addiction to Bertucci’s rolls, and we may or may not be promising to bring them to the new writers workshop …

-Look popular. Not only will your phone blow up with text messages from our faithful associates to assign you stories, you’ll also be meeting and interviewing important people. You can also use these interviews as excuses to get out of things you don’t want to do. “sorryyyyy guys, I can’t go to that Nickleback concert, I’m on deadline. Next time!!!”

-Work. Then you can resist your parents’ nagging for you to get job by telling them you already have one! Don’t worry about getting a job as a hostess, you work in the newsroom now. And may or may not be paid in rolls.

-J-profs are obsessed with you. Real talk, this isn’t a drill. No joke. It exists. For realzies. Yeah.

-Chris Lisinski/the ladies of e-board. Enough said.

We hope you like what you see, because in’t no party like a FreeP party because a FreeP party is mandatory.

FreeP and blessings, E-board Fall 2012

BU students’ startup digitizes real estate game

By Allison DeAngelis, Daily Free Press staff

Take one part Google+, one part Facebook and another part real estate agent and out comes SocialRent, the apartment-finding application created and programmed by five BU students over winter break. The application works to help young adults find roommates and housing over the Internet.

Founded by School of Management senior James Zar and College of General Studies freshman Brandon Cohen, SocialRent was created to solve a problem the boys saw amongst peers looking for apartments.

“There is no one else focused on the customer, that’s focused on making the renter or the group of students have the best experience possible,” Zar said. “The truth is there’s no one doing that right now, except for us, and we’re proud to say that.”

After four weeks of winter break spent working 12 hour days, the finished product emerged as an application on Facebook where friends looking for housing can collaborate on their ideal place to live, each with the ability to make changes in a format that Cohen says resembles Google+.

After logging onto Facebook and downloading the app, users choose their ideal location on the “area chooser” map and rent limit. From there, they drag and drop the number of bedrooms, bathrooms, etc. that they prefer onto the “place creator blueprint.”

Almost immediately after it launched, one of Conrad’s friends used the site instead of a local realtor. After the agent showed the girls a rat-infested former-frat house, “I said, ‘Don’t use them, use our app… We’ll just take care of it,’ and she was like, ‘perfect.’”

Photo courtesy of SocialRent Facebook Page

Users have flocked to SocialRent since it hit the web on Jan. 17, and Zar estimates that they already have around 700 housing projects in the works and more than 1,000 users.

Conrad said he was surprised by how quickly people began signing up with the site. “One time I checked [the amount of users], it was about 450, and the next time I checked [the amount], it was like 800. So it went two-fold in two days,” he said.

SocialRent now partners with 15 real estate agents nationwide. They currently work with realtors in ten different cities, but stress that the very day they get a request from a user, they work to make a relationship with a real estate agent in that town.

As they expand naturally, they look to put SocialRent in “college- and high-tech cities where young adults and recent grads live—the millennial generation, as we refer to it,” said Zar.

Despite the positive feedback from BU students in particular, the team still has work to do on the site. They continue to look for investors to “accelerate their growth process,” but having just returned to school, they are focusing on fortifying the experience users are having as well as juggling the business with schoolwork.

When asked how he was handling the workload as a programmer for the site, CAS junior Jeffrey Giardina said, “It’s a lot of work, but it’s worth it. It’s a good idea and it’s getting a lot of press, a lot of users. It is tough, but we just try to make it work.”

Keep an eye out for this new start-up, and the changes they’re planning to make, including a “roommate finder” and a way for users and their parents to process forms digitally.