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Posts Tagged ‘app store’

Hundreds

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I’m going to send you into the weekend with my new iOS game obsession: Hundreds. It’s a wonderfully simple game in which you grow circles until their collective value reaches 100 — but you cannot let them touch anything else while they grow. Oh, and there are things (like razor circles) that will ‘pop’ your circles and reset their value to zero. Maddening, but the one of the most addictive games I’ve played. Worth three bucks, easy.

Here is a gameplay video, because looking back on my description the game sounds horrifically boring. It’s anything but.

Casual Friday: An App That Tracks and Quantifies Your Sleep. Yes, Really.

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I’ve talked about sleep before, and how it relates to health. I’m a nerd that way. I think sleep is important, and most of us don’t get enough of it and what we do get is often poor quality.

So, that said, can I tell you about something I like?

There’s an iPhone app called Sleep Cycle that purports to do what nigh borders on magic: track your sleep quality and report in the morning on how well you slept. How does it do it? The iPhone’s gyroscope, mostly, but I wouldn’t be surprised if it uses unicorn tears either, because what began as skepticism with me changed into full-on belief/amazement five days later. In a word, it works as promised, so much so that I have no choice but to echo the other reviews this app has received: it’s amazing.

The exact voodoo Sleep Cycle uses to determine sleep depth is a mystery, but again, at a basic level, it uses the iPhone’s gyroscope to detect movement. Increased movement = lesser sleep quality, but I’m sure there’s more math to it than that. In my experience, I found that the app perfectly tracks my cycles of being awake and deeply asleep.

Example: I get up at 3 AM to go to the bathroom. It knows and records it.

Another: I typically have my deepest sleep around 3:45 AM. I know this from 43 years of being alive. Sure enough, the app knew it in one day.

The concept is simple: you place your iPhone face down on the corner of the bed nearest you. The instructions say place it under the top sheet, but I don’t. You must leave your phone plugged in, because the iPhone is ‘conscious’ overnight as the gyroscope collects movement data.

That’s it. You go to sleep, and it goes to work.

When you wake up, you flip off the alarm (if you have it set; more on that later) and you get your sleep report card:

This is your sleep results dashboard: you can see your sleep quality hour by hour (ranging from awake to deep sleep), and after five days, the app will start giving you a percentage ‘sleep quality’ score based on what it knows about your sleeping (and movement) patterns. When you wake up, you can have the app ask you how you feel: good (happy face), average (normal face) or lousy (sad face). You an also set up sleep notes like ‘stressful day’ or ‘worked out’ or ‘had drinks’ and the app will start to correlate these notes with sleep quality scores.

Like most quantified-self apps, this gets better the more you use it. It’s database grows pretty robust, so your results get increasingly accurate over time. If you’re into poring over the raw data, the app even provides an option to show it to you in the Settings menu.

If you flip your iPhone to landscape orientation, you get a bevy of additional reports. Here are a few:

Sleep Cycle also has an innovative alarm function: it will wake you in a time range (say, 6:30 AM – 7:00 AM) when it detects you’re sleeping the lightest. That way, the logic goes, you’re not jarred out of a deep sleep, which tends to make humans wake up with bared fangs. It has a regular alarm too (which wakes you up at a static time), but from what I found, the smart alarm works as advertised.

What can I say? This app is modern-day magic, and you’re probably not getting enough sleep as it is. If you’re at all a performance nerd like me, you should stop reading and just go get it. You probably spent two grand on a fancy mattress, so spend a buck on this and see where it gets you. Available on the App Store.

(Full disclosure: I have zero financial interest or stake in Sleep Cycle. I just think it’s modern technology put to a good use, and a smartphone app innovation showcase. Plain and simple.)

Have a good weekend, everyone.

RIM Now Worth Less than Apple’s App Store Alone

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You read that right: RIM, as a company, is now worth less than Apple’s App Store, a fragment of a company, alone.

An analysis from Trefis places the value of the App Store at 2 percent of Apple’s market cap. AAPL stock has a market cap of $354 billion, or more than 50 times greater than RIMM, and 2 percent of that means the App Store contributes $7.08 billion to Apple’s market cap.

“The App Store is probably worth more than BlackBerry,” Hall wrote. “All of BlackBerry. Just the App Store. Nothing else. Not the iPhone or iPod. Not Mac. Just the App Store.”

This makes me both sad and angry. I mean, I’m sitting here shaking my head.

I’m sad because BlackBerry was my real introduction to smartphones. (We won’t count my fling with a Kyocera 7135, which was awful.) It was the first device that brought mobile messaging and email to the masses, and it gave us the ability to check the web, however awkwardly, on the go. BlackBerry was the leader: everyone had one, and they worked.

You would think RIM would have been able to parlay that early momentum into a broader vision, one that took the platform well beyond messaging. But you’d be wrong.

That’s why I’m angry. Through either sheer, bald-faced laziness or incompetence, RIM did essentially nothing notable for the past five years. Bombarded by Apple and Android — who now own the mobile space — RIM released reheated versions of their QWERTY devices, a few models of touchscreen devices that were universally decried as garbage, and then built a rushed, half-baked tablet to try and react to the iPad. As of this writing, they still have no next-gen OS that will appear before late 2012. The PlayBook tablet, especially, illustrated the company’s lack of vision and strategy: not only did the device get met with poor reviews and even poorer customer demand, but RIM went and built 2.65 million units of the things and later had to eat the losses as a $485M writeoff. Finally, as icing on the cake, a couple of RIM executives hopped on planes and began drunkenly chewing through restraints, which they found themselves in after some pretty horrific behavior.

And now, today, RIM is a shell of what it used to be. And certainly an even thinner shell of what it could have become.

If Apple’s Phoenix story is the tech world’s yin, RIM’s foibles might very well be the yang.

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MIPRO Consulting main website.

MIPRO on Twitter and Facebook.

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Word Lens

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It’s not often (read: ever) I go into ad hoc iPhone or Android app reviews here, but today I’m going to break with tradition and tell you about an amazing iPhone app.  If you’re an iPhone user, buckle up.

Word Lens is an augmented-reality app that translates or otherwise modifies text in real time through you iPhone’s camera.  What does that mean?  It means, for example, if I point my iPhone at a sign that says MIPRO CONSULTING, the app can translate that to Spanish on-the-fly.  No  processing time necessary.  Just aim the camera at some clear, well-lit text, and it just works.

Right now, Quest Visual, the makers of Word Lens, have Spanish-to-English and English-to-Spanish dictionaries available as in-app purchases for $5.  More languages are on the way.  Included with the app – which is free, by the way – is Reverse Text, which is a proof-of-concept/demo more than anything else. (MIPRO CONSULTING becomes ORPIM GNITLUSNOC.)

Some demo videos:

Word Lens for iOS

 

Word Lens demo

It’s like an app from the future wormholed its way back to us.

Word Lens [iTunes link]

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MIPRO Consulting is a nationally-recognized consulting firm specializing in PeopleSoft Enterprise (particularly Enterprise Asset Management) and Business Intelligence. You’re reading MIPRO Unfiltered, its blog. If you’d like to contact MIPRO, email is a great place to start, or you can easily jump over to its main website. If you’d like to see what MIPRO offers via Twitter or Facebook, we’d love to have you.

More nerdery posts.

Linkology: The Best of the Internet for 9/10/2010

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In case you’re one of those readers who think the Internet is “big” and there is “lots” of information out there and you don’t have enough “time” to read everything you want because you have “obligations,” here is the very best of what you missed this week.  Now you can cram all this stuff into your brain this weekend before next week begins and your “real life” again prevents you from being a total information wonk like me.

MG Siegler with a great read about how Android’s ‘openness’ is nothing more than an invitation for the wireless carriers to muck up the user experience as they see fit.  It’s too bad, too: I love the idea of Android, but now we’re seeing really stupid stuff (like an Android phone with Bing as its default search engine), and you know it’s because the carriers are making their own deals with third parties for default install favors.  Is this the Windows OEM bloatware carnival all over again?  Too early to tell, but this sort of stuff isn’t promising.

Google released Google Instant this week, claiming that its new instant results technology saves 2-5 seconds per search.  If you haven’t already, try it.  I love it.  (Side note: more and more, I’m liking Google’s sense of design, even though some call it ugly and unpolished.  Why?  If you’re a Google power user, you begin to notice everything is built for speed.  I dig that.)

Monstrous Discrepancies, an unusually poignant web comic.

This has been linked to before, but I don’t care who you are, this is some flat-out amazing driving.  (You can jump to about 1:00 to get right to the good stuff.)  Or maybe it’s just an excuse to link to a 566 WHP STi.  I don’t know.

Apple recently surprised everyone by publishing their App Store Review Guidelines.  I applaud their transparency. I also applaud their sense of humor.  If only all business writing were this clear.

Happy you’re now fitting into your 36” waist jeans?  Sorry, but your pants are lying to you.  This is vanity sizing run amok.

Note to would-be iPhone thieves: Find My iPhone works.

Finally, Kevin Nguyen takes it upon himself to explain some of the obvious domestic tension found in stock photos.

Have a good weekend, everyone.

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MIPRO Consulting is a nationally-recognized consulting firm specializing in PeopleSoft Enterprise (particularly Enterprise Asset Management), Workday and Business Intelligence. You’re reading MIPRO Unfiltered, its blog. If you’d like to contact MIPRO, email is a great place to start, or you can easily jump over to its main website. If you’d like to see what MIPRO offers via Twitter or Facebook, we’d love to have you.

More Linkology posts.

Linkology: The Best of the Internet for 7/30/10

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What’s that?  You don’t have any decent weekend reading?  Here, let me help5dmkii.

Robert Scoble: The idiocy and brilliance of American policy toward entrepreneurs.

Code ninja? Prove it: 10K Apart is a contest to build a web app in less than 10 kilobytes.  As they say, it’s time to get back to optimizing every little byte like your life depends on it.

Salt & Fat with its recipe for all-butter pie dough.

20 great, free iPad comics.

Bradley and Bethany: Dave Wineman with some clever – and quite good – App Store review fanfic.

Bill Murray has never seen Seinfeld.  This and other very interest bits are revealed in this GQ’s very rare interview with the actor.

GM is figuring out how to connect with enthusiasts.  I think this is a brilliant move.

Paul Graham on the acceleration of addictiveness.  The iPhone and iPad are an Internet addict’s hip flask.

Finally, I am borrowing a colleague’s Canon 5D Mark II. It’s amazing and I totally see the allure of full frame dSLRs over their cropped-sensor counterparts.  I am soliciting creative ways in which I can return to him my Nikon D90 and keep his Mark II without him noticing.  Ideas?

Have a good weekend, everyone.

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MIPRO Consulting is a nationally-recognized consulting firm specializing in PeopleSoft Enterprise (particularly Enterprise Asset Management), Workday and Business Intelligence. You’re reading MIPRO Unfiltered, its blog. If you’d like to contact MIPRO, email is a great place to start, or you can easily jump over to its main website. If you’d like to see what MIPRO offers via Twitter or Facebook, we’d love to have you.

More Linkology posts.

Linkology: The Best of the Internet for 11/20/09

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It’s widely known in foodie circles that if you want to get an immediate read on how good a chef is, ask them to make scrambled eggs.  It’s a simple dish very  prone to subtle missteps by chefs of allscrambled eggs calibers, and these missteps – or absence thereof – will be what determines how good the final product is.  The outcome absolutely resides in the details.

As a guy who is slowly learning to cook good food, I can tell you that my scrambled eggs of days past were, in a word, disgusting. I’d routinely overcook them, and you’d wind up looking at a plate of overdone, slightly browned egg mash, usually smashed into approximately eleven thousand separate pieces because I played with them too much.  And, to be polite, you’d douse them with a quart of ketchup or Cholula or Frank’s Red Hot or Tabasco, choke them down, and remind yourself never to accept one of my breakfast invites again.  You could even put a plate of my eggs in front of a starving animal and it’d smell them, look at you with wide eyes, and choose to die instead.

But all of that has changed since discovering The One True Way.

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Linkology: The Best of the Internet for 11/6/09

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I have parsed every single page on the Internet this week and distilled the  highlights, which means you don’t have to, because it takes a very long time.  Iimage selflessly bring this feature to this blog every Friday, primarily out of social altruism, but also because it gives me a legitimate reason to scour weird, primary-colored corners of the Internet while I’m here at work.  Don’t tell anyone.

This week’s top fare, as decided by yours truly:

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Linkology: The Best of the Internet for Friday, 10/9/2009

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Some astonishingly good links for you today. But first I want you to understand that I recently bought a new table and chair set, and everything came packed in a 523 lb. box (yes, 523 lb.) that I had to wrestle to the groundScissors and dissect with a box cutter, after which I settled in to assemble the 3,227 parts over a course of four hours.  The assembly instructions were vague with illustrations drawn by what appeared to be a fourth-grader (like I should talk). And I had to do all of this with a fairly deep laceration on my thumb, because I decided the other night to clean a pair of scissors by wrapping the blade with a wet paper towel and carelessly running my thumb down the blade while I did flash cards with my son.

So yeah. The next time someone says it’s only $79 for delivery and assembly, take it.

Anyway. Moving on:

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