Tag Archives: apps

Sharing Economy Apps

The new sharing economy that took rise in the mid 2000’s has introduced people to the concept of gaining goods, housing, and services through exchange instead of spending money.

According to a 2014 study conducted by PWC, 44 percent of the participants surveyed said they are familiar with the sharing economy. After taking the survey, 72 percent of the participants said that they would become involved in the sharing economy within the next two years.

Today the sharing economy is partnering with the tech industry to create different sharing communities that anyone can access on the web or on their smart phone. One of the leading sharing environment companies is Airbnb, a site that allows people around the globe to offer their homes for tourists to stay in at a chosen price. According to the PWC survey, Airbnb averages 425,000 guests per night.

With the nation’s growing interest in the sharing economy, below are five sharing apps and websites that will save you money, and serve as a gateway to the new economy that claims to be built upon community.

Bay Area Community Time Bank

Founded in the ‘80s, 2013 Humanitarian Award winner Dr. Edgar S. Cahn created the Time Banking system during his stay at a hospital while recovering from a heart attack, according to the MI Alliance of Time Banks. The Time Bank system was initially conceived as a solution to the current government spending on social welfare. In 1987 at the London School of Economics, Cahn reasoned that this new currency could be sustainable, and he later began Time Banking in America.

Today there are over 461 Time Bank communities around the globe. People create online accounts to their local Time Bank, and can then socialize with other members and choose from a wide array of different services that each member offers. The Bay Area’s Time Bank, Bay Area Community Exchange (BACE), has over 600 members.

BACE member AZ Zaidi says that Time Banking has not only saved him money, but also introduced him to a world of different people.

“It was mind-blowing to see that I could connect with a totally new demographic of people on types of services or offers or requests,” says Zaidi.

BACE holds meetings on the first Wednesday of each month at the Omni Collective.

Leftover Swap

If you ordered too much takeout and can’t finish your whole meal, instead of throwing it in the trash one can now give their leftovers to a hungry person in the neighborhood.
 Two college roommates, Bryan Summersett and Dan Newman, invented the app Leftover Swap, which launched in 2013 in response to food waste .
 With this app, people no longer have to toss out their extra chow mein. Now they can take a photo of whatever leftover food they have, and post it for other account members to see. People within the same geographical vicinity can offer to trade food or give food for free.

Barterquest

The goal of this website is stated in the name. Barterquest is a website where users can post from their computer or phone any unwanted items, real estate, or services that they want to trade in exchange for points or needed items. Founders Dr. Paul Bocheck and Michael Satz created the website in 2009 as a way for people to save money in the struggling economy and build communities within their cities that can financially support each other.

Couchsurfing

Founded in 2004 by a group of traveling students who were looking for a place to crash in Iceland, Couchsurfing is a website and app that travelers around the world can use to connect with locals and spend a couple days in their home.

Unlike Airbnb, Couchsurfing focuses on pairing foreign 
travelers with people who know their town like the back of their hand, and can guide visitors to local hotspots and gems. In addition to connecting visitors, Couchsurfing also hosts weekly meet ups at local bars and coffee shops for other Couchsurfing members in the area to connect. Today there are an estimated 10 million members and couches are opened up in over 200,000 cities.

Poshmark

Beginning in 2011, Poshmark is an app and online site that gives women around the world a platform and market to swap and sell used clothing. Founder Manish Chandra was given inspiration for this idea after hearing his wife constantly complain about having nothing to wear when she had a closet stocked with new clothes. Poshmark representative Bita Khalenghi says that the amount of Poshmark users has rapidly grown.

“Over the past three years, Poshmark has become the largest peer-to-peer fashion marketplace with millions of users and over 700,000 closets open for sale,” Khalenghi says.

Today Poshmark is one of the largest sharing companies in the world.

“Over $2 million worth of fashion inventory is uploaded onto the marketplace every day, and over 10 million items are for sale from over 5,000 fashion brands,” Khalenghi says.

So if you’re in need for some extra cash, or just want a change in your wardrobe, Poshmark can hook one up with other fashionistas in your town and across the globe.

 

Y Generation: Afraid of dating?

Artwork by Alec Fernandes/Xpress Magazine

Comments that Judah passengers left online at "We Met On the N"
Comments that Judah passengers left online at “We Met On the N”

The comments above are just some of the many posts on the new matchmaking website, “We Met on the N” , created by Alex Lee at the beginning of February. Similar to Craigslist’s “Missed Connection” page, “We Met on the N” is an online site where Judah passengers can write secret admirer notes to people on the Muni train in a passive effort to set up a date. This new online dating site is just one of the many websites and mobile apps that is used by people to find the perfect match.

Online dating has been an option for the single and ready to mingle since the birth of the notorious Match.com in 1995.  According to The Pew Research Center Online Dating & Relationships report, 38 percent of current single U.S. adults have used an online dating site or dating app. Now with a plethora of smart phone dating apps on the market, like Tinder, Hinge, The League, OK Cupid and Grindr, the dating world is an oyster for people who don’t have a relationship status listed on their Facebook.

Big Data Seeks Online Love states that one in 10 Americans have used a dating site or mobile app. The Pew report states that 22 percent of online dating sites and app users are in their mid twenties.

Dating apps and online sites are helpful for someone with a busy lifestyle who simply doesn’t have time to go out to new bars and scan the room for that special someone. But are apps like Coffee Meets Bagel simply used as a cop-out for someone who doesn’t have the confidence to go up to that cute guy at Philz and ask him on a date? Does our generation prefer to hide behind a screen and accept rejection in the privacy of our room, instead of taking the risk of being publicly denied?

Lee said watching a passenger ask a girl out on a date was his inspiration for creating the site.

“It was maybe a Thursday or Friday evening [when] I saw a guy sit down and introduce himself to a girl. Bold move,” Lee says. “And that just made me think there must be a lot of people who want to introduce themselves to someone they find interesting or attractive, but it’s just too painfully awkward.”

Do people in their 20’s now turn to using apps and online sites to find a date because we don’t want to risk a painfully awkward moment? Watch the video below to hear what SF State students have to say about their experiences on dating apps.

Faceless Opinions

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Do you ever get the feeling that your friends aren’t telling you the truth? Do you consistently chastise your significant other for their vacuous responses to existential questions such as, “do you like my new haircut?” Do the opinions of others affect your sense of self? Does this type of acute paranoia have a detrimental effect on your ability to maintain relationships with family and friends?

Kander is a new app, released last month, fashioned as a mix between Instagram and Tinder, wherein users receive anonymous votes on their photos from their followers or the public. The interface allows two options for voting: either a single photo is posted (LoneShots), which users then swipe right to like or left to dislike; or, two photos are aligned together vertically (DuelPics), giving voters an either-or choice. Comments can also be posted anonymously until a given expiration time when usernames are then made public.

“My vision for Kander is to create a social media platform that allows users to get honest opinions from friends in a fun and engaging manner,” writes CEO, co-founder and creator Anthony Alcazar.

This anonymous voting interface differentiates Kander from other social media. Twitter and Facebook have likes, Tinder has matches, and Tumblr has reblogs—information that, while virtual, is still tied to the real-life you. Kander, however, offers faceless interaction—an ability to tell your friends what you really think. This approach raises a few questions. Does a lack of anonymity vitiate our ability to be honest? And, more importantly, what are the effects of rooting self-confidence in the opinions of others?

A 2006 study, published by CyberPsychology & Behavior, found that adolescents ages 10 to 19 who received positive feedback on a Dutch friend-networking site displayed increased social self-esteem and well-being; conversely, those who received negative feedback displayed the opposite effects. While this information may seem patently obvious, it illustrates that, for some, internet feedback has a symbiotic relationship with real-life well-being.

The ability for people to communicate anonymously on the internet is certainly not new. Tumblr allows for users to anonymously communicate, while numerous websites from Yelp to Amazon utilize commenting platforms wherein users can voice their opinions under the faceless guise of anonymity.

The launch of Kander signifies another step in this direction for social media users. The company’s assertion that the app will “capture the opinions of those who matter most to you,” takes a certain premise for granted: that without anonymity, we are unable to be honest with each other. For some, this may be a frightening prospect, a prospect that the potential future success of Kander may vindicate.

Mix music with Crossfader

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Blare two songs at the same time and chances are it will sound like trash being dumped into a garbage truck. But sometimes it creates a pleasant surprise, like late at night in a Castro bar where Rihanna’s “Rude Boy” mixes perfectly with Iyaz’s song “Replay.”

It takes a well-trained ear to match two independent tracks into something audible, but there is now an app to make the process easier. Bay Area entrepreneur Seth Goldstein’s latest project involves a group of fourteen developers and audiophiles creating an interactive DJ platform for smartphones.

The app is called Crossfader, and it might sound intimidating, but it is not really — all it takes is tilting your phone to achieve the perfect remix.

The app divides a smartphone screen into two audio tracks. Leaning it one way increases the volume of the song on that side. DJs have categorized the music into packs of complementary beats that are played on a loop.

Each pack contains a dozen of these loops for the user to mix into rhythmic perfection. A quick scroll through two packs will blend artists like Lil’ Wayne and The Clash into an unexpectedly catchy remix. Lean the phone one way for a heavier rock vibe, or tilt it the other way for more rap.

The developers went to Amsterdam on October 14th to test Crossfader Live. This latest version of the app broadcasts users’ live remix sessions, which can be organized into sets for future playback.

One of the team members, Hannah Fouasnon, says she is pleased with how the app has done since its launch a year ago.

“The curation of the music has been very well received,” Fouasnon says. “A lot of people use the app for music discovery.”

While the app contains mostly remixes of electronic dance music, or EDM, there are also packs for other genres such as reggae, metal, and funk. Users have the freedom to match up Bob Marley against Slayer, but just because they can does not mean they should.

The app is most popular among males ages sixteen to twenty-four years old, and of these, the vast majority are EDM lovers.

“We’re trying to create a DJ community,” Fouasnon says.

If, however, Crossfader wants to expand its demographic, it will have to start promoting its other genres. Hailey Ackermann, a twenty-three-year-old student, felt she could not relate to the app.

“It’s fun, but I don’t know if I would ever actually use it,” Ackermann says. “I guess because it’s not the music I typically listen to.”

Crossfader has also had some glitches on the iPhone’s new operating system, iOS 8. Some users have tried opening it only to find it closes immediately. But for those who genuinely appreciate electronic remixes and want more control of the beat, this free app is still worth a try.

Apps to get you moving in the morning

Photo under  Creative Commons by Steven Lilley
Photo under Creative Commons by Steven Lilley

With summer officially over, fun late nights turn into study sessions and mornings become a challenge of how many times you can successfully hit the snooze button before being late.

The bad habit of hitting the snooze button can get some of us in trouble though, causing us to be late for whatever we originally set the alarm for in the first place. So what can we do to become more of a morning person and less of a late person?

There is an easy solution for that or a better way of saying it, there is an app for that. Companies are now creating apps that literally force you to put some work into turning your alarm off, virtually making it impossible to go back to sleep after the task is completed, honestly if you can go back to sleep after these, please YouTube it.

iPhone:

BetterMe

 

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Better Me is a free app that publicly shames you every time you hit the snooze button by posting a status to your Facebook saying you were too weak to get up. So if you don’t want to look like a weak, lazy person, the goal is to not hit the snooze.

Walk Up is an alarm that makes you literally get out of bed and walk a certain number of steps before the alarm will shut off. The worse part about this app is the alarm, which is a screaming male or female voice. You can program the app with how many steps you want to take and cost ninety-nine cents. This app is also available for Android but it is called Walk Me Up!.

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FreakyAlarm is the evil of all evil alarm clock apps. This baby has 30 different alarms that can go off and the snooze button will not work. The only way to turn your alarm off is to do a series of tasks which  include solving math, taking pictures of items around your house or scanning barcodes. It costs one dollar and ninety-nine cents in the app store.

Android

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Morning Routine which is also free, is even worse. In order to get your alarm to turn off you must walk around your house and scan the bar codes of items that are incorporated into your morning routine, like your toothpaste. Another app similar to Morning Routine is Alarmy also known as Sleep If You Can which is essentially the same except you take pictures instead of scanning a bar code. Yes, go ahead and selfie with your milk carton.

Alarm Clock Xtreme makes you do basic math questions and gets that brain working before the alarm will turn off. You can program the app yourself by designing how many math problems you want to complete and the difficulty of the math problem. This app would never work for me, I fail at math and would destroy my phone trying to turn the alarm off.

Alarm Clock Plus is the same thing as FreakAlarm but for the Android. It has a combination of task you much complete before your alarm will shut off. It has a cool nap feature on it, and who doesn’t like awesome naps but also can be displayed as a normal beside clock.

These apps would definitely help me wake up and in the morning and never be late to a class again. What about you? Would you consider using one of these apps to prevent being late?

Lulu: Whether You Like It or Not

LULU
Written by Rhys Robinson
Photo by Philip Houston

Let’s be honest for a moment, fellas. At one point or another, we’ve all been stood up. Maybe the smoking hot blonde you chatted up in history class bailed on you at the last-minute. Or the Latin cutie you danced the night away with never returned your calls.

The reasons behind these tragic tales of puppy-dog-heartbreak vary. But what if I told you that one of the reasons you’re striking out could be due to your reputation on Lulu. What is Lulu you ask?

Lulu is a new female-friendly and controversial mobile app that allows women to anonymously rate their male Facebook friends on a number of attributes, including their appearance and sexual prowess.

Synched via Facebook, a man’s appearance on Lulu is completely involuntary. Women can log in and declare whether they were in a relationship with the man, a hook-up, a crush or just a friend. Thereafter, they rate the guy’s humor, attractiveness, ability to commit, manners and ambition on a scale from one to ten. The ratings are averaged out to produce an overall score that appears below the man’s profile photo.

In addition, women can apply a number of hash tags on a man’s profile to paint a more descriptive picture. Such hashtags include #Big.Feet #WeirdDirtyTalk, #ChangesSheetsRegularly, #LovesLoveActually, #BragsAboutAlcoholConsumption, #F—-dMeAndChuckedMe, #WouldVoteForAFemalePresident and #TotalF—ingDickhead.

“I think some of those hashtags are pretty hurtful,” says San Francisco resident Sander Idelson. “I for one would not like to be called a total fucking dickhead.”

Co-founder and CEO Alexandra Chong created the app to give women a safe zone to conduct extensive girl talk. Launched on Android and iOS in June of 2012, the app has been quite successful, as over 80 million profiles have been reviewed since mid-January.

To the guys receiving positive reviews, the app’s emergence has been a pleasant experience.

“I would be really excited to see what an ex would have to say about me,” says San Francisco State student Ryan Kinlock. ”Even if the review was negative, I think it is an easy thing to blow off.”

Additionally, some women are thrilled to have an app that provides insight on prospective boyfriends. The ability to see what their fellow sistren have said is a somewhat useful (even if unreliable) dating tool.

“I like the app because I think it empowers women,” says Elyse Guzman, an Otis College student. “It allows them to be in control of what rank these guys fall in. To be honest, it’s nice watching guys squirm over what their ratings are.”

On the other hand, some women are a bit turned off to the idea, classifying the app as creepy and classless. Whereas some men are none too happy about the creation of a potential social-media monster.

“I find it to be an unreasonable invasion of privacy and trust within a relationship,” says San Francisco State student Ryan Thorp. “If an ex rated me I’d be nervous, because I don’t believe all users would be impartial and fair. I find the whole idea to be crass.”

Conversely, other men don’t care about the potential threat Lulu imposes on their dating reputation, viewing the app as just a silly gadget girls use for gossip.

“It’s a good way for girls to blow off steam,” says Kinlock. “I’m not sure how helpful it is for girls to compare guys to one another but I thought it was a good way for them to vent.”

Earlier this year, Chong was quoted in the Huffington Post saying, “Should a guy not do well in a particular category, then they can change their behavior.” However, guys are unable to view their profile, as Lulu processes their gender status through Facebook and blocks them if they’re not female. Therefore, even if a guy grades out poorly in a category, he’s unable to find out unless he lurks from a female friend’s account.

Some men and women alike believe Lulu users are employing a double standard, as the app is blatantly sexist during an era when such sexism would be frowned upon if the app were targeted toward male users.

For instance, if a man’s version of Lulu was developed that included such hashtags as #Waxed, #OnlyWearsGrannyPanties and #DoesntGiveBJs, what would the public reaction be?

“It would scream misogyny,” says Idelson. “But the difference between men and women is that when men hear something misogynistic, they typically shrug it off.  Whereas women start a feminist movement to publicly shame the offender.”

On top of that, some believe Lulu is inherently flawed as the users are naturally biased. If a woman had a pleasant relationship with an ex-boyfriend, would she really take time out of her day to boost his stock with a glowing Lulu review?

“Posts are anonymous,” says SF State graduate Ariel Urlik. “It is tempting to see what other people are saying about you. It can either be an ego boost or a blow. But again take it all with a grain of salt. Remember these ratings can be written in a moment of anger or passion.”

If a relationship is successful, then there isn’t much incentive for a woman to provide positive feedback. As such, reviewers are mostly limited to those engaged in a platonic relationship, hookups, or bitter ex-girlfriends with a vengeful agenda.

Furthermore, according to the app’s terms and conditions, men who don’t want to have a profile on Lulu must send in an email with their Facebook username attached demanding to be deleted.

Subsequently, any man whose name has been publicly defamed must go through an annoying process to eradicate himself from a mess he did nothing to get himself into.

A Technological Pursuit

Words: Jennifer Sandoval

East of San Francisco past Pleasanton lies the small city of Livermore. The city is normally quiet and quaint, but at two in the morning it holds an urban legend. Just behind the Safeway supermarket, a pair of railroad tracks stretch onward, inviting those who enjoy ghostly encounters to drive along the desolate and dark street beside it. The lights that kept the daring safe from their own fears slowly becomes less frequent until there is nothing left but a row of warehouses, a cement wall splattered with graffiti that divides the street and railroad tracks, and a dim florescent bulb coming from one of the warehouses. This is the destination for those who want to meet Rock Boy.

Although there are many versions of this tale, one story says that long ago a young boy often walked along the railroad tracks as a shortcut to get home. One day, the boy got caught in the tracks and threw rocks at the cement wall as a plea for help. No one was there to hear the clack of the rocks hitting the cement wall.

Clack. Clack.

It is said that if anyone dares to roll down their windows and turn off their car and call Rock Boy three times, he will try once again to get the attention of those who are looking for him.

Clack! Continue reading A Technological Pursuit