Image via SEEiT
As Twitter moved closer and closer to its big IPO announcement this summer, it made no secret that a big part of its business strategy would focus on TV. What you may not know is that some of those features are already alive and kicking in your stream right now.
A couple of weeks ago Kat Robichaud became the first reality star to be saved by Twitter voters in real time. Twitter’s Instant Save is a five minute voting window that allows users to tweet a contestant’s name with the #VoiceSave hashtag in order to save them from elimination.
Xfinity cable subscribers can even control their set-top boxes now through Twitter. The new SEEiT button in Twitter will allow viewers to set a DVR reminder or even tune directly into a show on their TV or even on their smartphone when available.
How long before we can tweet the winner for the Best Picture Oscar?
Image via Vimeo
If you’ve got kids in your immediate or extended family, you know two things: they’re hard to shop for, and unless you’ve got plenty of iPads to go around, they’re tough to keep entertained. This week I came across something that’s not only a great gift for smaller Upstarters, but could also bring some holiday cheer to the adults around the house.
Circuit Stickers are an aptly-named peel-and-stick electronics that let you simply create little interactive pieces of art that light up. If you can put a sticker on a piece of paper, you can use Circuit Stickers to make functioning electronic circuits that include LED lights, effects, and even sound and light sensors.
If you let the kids in the house open this present early, you’ll have an educational activity for them to occupy themselves with while the big kids enjoy a couple of days away from their inboxes.
Image via Vimeo
One of the not-so-secret great things about Instagram is the hashtags, and the role they’re playing in helping us discover new photo apps. That’s kind of the play these days if you want to stand out on Instagram: take your photo in one app, then post it in Instagram. We’ve all seen you and your friends posing on a boat through the Mayfair lens. Time to step it up.
For example, I was seeing “#vscocam” so often in my feed, I finally googled it. Low and behold, it turns out VSCO is a great iOS camera app that offers more filters, more settings, and generally a couple magnitudes more control over the look and feel of your photos. For example, in Instagram you either use a filter or you don’t. With VSCO you can apply a filter, but at 30% strength. Or 90%. Or just add some grain. They’ve got a whole catalog of add-on filters too. Stat I’d like to know: what percentage of photos on Instagram are actually taken with Instagram these days?
Image via Vimeo
There are less than 40 shopping days left until Christmas, and Hanukkah comes in way early this year on November 27th. It’s not a dream, the holidays are here, which means Smarter Upstarter needs to fire up his gift recommendation engine and make sure you’re stocked with ideas.
I’ve had my idea on this FiftyThree x Moleskine collaboration for awhile now, and this is the perfect time to jump on it. FiftyThree are the makers of the wildly popular iPad sketchbook application, which is sort of like a digital Moleskine book that never runs out of pages. The two companies saw the obvious synergy, and now you can transform your digital Paper notebooks into physical Moleskine books. They make for pretty classy gifts, and though the examples display some impressive drawing chops, the non-designers among us can fill them with silly haikus, recipes, or relationship timelines. Available now for just $40.
Image via Vimeo
Take one look at the waitlist to download last spring’s breakout email app Mailbox, and it’s clear that when it comes to managing their inboxes, people are open to new ideas. Branko Cerny happens to have one, and so last week he sat down with me for a few minutes to talk about his company’s new email app: SquareOne.
“Your email inbox will organize messages in the order they’re received, but it’s up to you to constantly triage those messages. In my case, I felt like that activity was taking up half my brainpower, like all that cognitive switching was really taking a toll on my ability to focus on specific tasks,” says Cerny. SquareOne’s mission, then, is to leverage design and psychological research to transform your inbox into a simple dashboard that triages your incoming messages for you, so that you can focus only on that day’s essential messages.
Something you’ll love about SquareOne is that it’s got a built-in safety net: your traditional inbox with all your messages is just a couple taps away. But if SquareOne’s hunch is right, you may not need to anymore.
Their beta version is live, and WIRED Insider readers can try it here.
Image via Assembly
All of us have one of those friends who’s full of app ideas. “It’s like Instagram meets Runkeeper, but it also prevents you from sending drunk texts!” Perhaps you’re that friend? Look, I’m not hating on your app idea, but let’s face it: a lot of those ideas will never be much more than ideas. But they could be more, with a new concept called Assembly.
Assembly’s philosophy is that there are plenty of good app ideas out there, but we don’t pursue them because, well, it’s kind of a drag. Even if you get it developed, there are often Iegal, financial, and marketing issues your app will face after that. Assembly allows anyone to submit an app idea, and if it gets enough support, their community builds the app and takes care of the “boring stuff”, while you get to keep some of the profits. This full-featured check splitting app is a great example, but you learn more about how Assembly can make your app dreams come true here.
Image via Brooks Bell
Last week I was invited to be interviewed for an on-site user testing session at a medium-sized social media startup. I was so impressed with their methodology that I wanted to share a few highlights here for the rest of us to keep in mind. Here are three things worth borrowing for your own process:
Use Two People: User testing’s a two person job. Have one person ask all the questions, while a second person takes all the notes.
Keep it Short: From the first introductions to the handshakes goodbye, I was in and out of there in 60 minutes.
Make it a Weekly Thing: Instead of trying to cram in 8 to 10 users in one day for your monthly testing session, why not have one day out of the week where you conduct just two interviews.
Bonus Tip! A small token of appreciation like a Starbucks card will encourage people to refer their friends to your testing sessions.
— Smarter Upstarter
Image via WIRED
Regular readers of Smarter Upstarter know that I’m a bit obsessed with Bitcoin. I’m both fascinated and, admittedly, confused by the crypto-currency that seems to have come from… Japan? The government? Nobody really knows. All I know is that I think it’s time to admit it’s not going away.
Cases in point: this week someone bought a million bucks worth of Bitcoin mining hardware. Another investor in Norway just discovered that the $27 worth of Bitcoin he purchased in 2009 is now worth $886K. The world now has its first Bitcoin ATM. And you’ll notice that these links aren’t coming from obscure crypto message boards, but instead from places like the New York Times and the Washington Post. Even the home office at WIRED dove into the fray this week with a great piece about taking Bitcoin mainstream.
Tweet this post if you own Bitcoins! Maybe WIRED Insider should start accepting donations?
— Smarter Upstarter
Image via Flickr
I thought I’d read all the tips and tricks for iOS 7. I mean I did, but it turns out I wasn’t paying close enough attention and missed a couple of key points.
Example 1: The “Universal Search” Box. The other day I was looking for an app and swiped to the right to reveal the Spotlight Search. Nothing happened because now you must swipe downward from the home screen to reveal it. Note: Swiping “top down” from the very top of the screen reveals the Notification Center. Swipe down from the middle of the screen for Search.
Example 2: Message Timestamps. Now you can see exactly when someone wrote you back and when you wrote them back in Messages. Except I’d be looking at Messages and see no timestamps at all. Oh, you have to tap and drag to the left and you’ll see ‘em.
You’ve been using iOS 7 for a few weeks now, what else have you got for us? Tell us below or tweet @WIREDInsider!
Image via Flickr
Of course, Apple makes a lot of cameras—nearly every device they make features one lens, and oftentimes two. But if Jonathan Ive ever set to the task of designing a traditional high-end camera, you know it would be off the hook. WELL GUESS WHAT? He did in conjunction with Leica and Project RED.
Meet the Leica M for (RED), pictured above and here. Co-designed by Sir Ive and Marc Newson (who’s just one Order of the British Empire below Ive), this special project was made in just 85 days, during which “561 models and nearly 1000 prototype parts” were made in order to arrive at the laser-machined, aluminum-bodied beauty you see above. And while it’s not just a mockup—the camera features a fully-functional CMOS sensor and 50mm f/2 lens—it is one of a kind.
This and other custom works go on sale at Sotheby’s on November 23rd, with proceeds benefitting Bono’s RED.