A beautiful coffeemaker that scraps all the metal, replacing it with porcelain and wood.
Filed under: Design
"Articles about web development & design...."
A beautiful coffeemaker that scraps all the metal, replacing it with porcelain and wood.
Filed under: Design
Foursquare just made what it called "a little announcement", but it's really not little at all. It's switching away from the Google Maps API to OpenStreetMap. For the map images, it hired MapBox, a start-up that makes pretty maps out of OpenStreetMap data. Starting with foursquare.com, foursquare's maps now use MapBox Streets.
Foursquare cites Google's decision to start charging for access to the Google Maps API in October as the reason it started looking for alternatives. But it sounds like it just made more sense to the team philosophically, too. "We love the idea of open data," the announcement says, "and were happy to try it out."
Lots of businesses built on top of Google Maps have been switching providers lately. Foursquare's blog post points to StreetEasy, Nestoria and Fubra, all of whom went with open data. We also covered the decision by AllTrails, a network for outdoors enthusiasts, to start backing away from Google before its launch.
Google's decision to charge for API access could not have been made lightly, especially considering the importance of Foursquare. But it may have been inevitable. "Overall it's healthy for the ecosystem," John Musser of Programmable Web told us when Google announced the change. "Services need to be sustainable with business models that work for both sides."
It's also hard to ignore Google's efforts to compete with foursquare directly. Its mobile Hotpot app, Google Places recommendations and Google Latitude check-ins all seem like ways to crowd out Foursquare, although why there are so many overlapping Google apps for this is hard to understand. There are also Google+ check-ins, which will be the social glue that ties them all together.
Foursquare's iPhone and Android apps won't be affected, because they use the mapping components integrated with those operating systems, both of which use Google Maps. But Foursquare's data are now independent of Google, and that's no "little announcement."Discuss
Filed under: Reviews
The software world is becoming an interconnected Web of services tied together within the cloud. Applications used to be stand-alone objects that did not communicate with each other and were designed to do one thing and do it well.
Then came the mobile revolution. And the cloud.
More than anything Microsoft has ever produced, Windows 8 is informed by the lessons of the mobile generation. It is app centric, gesture based and tied to the cloud. Apps are no longer static beings and user identity becomes an important aspect of the experience. Many people have been waiting for Microsoft to "get it" when it comes to mobile development. With Windows 8, Microsoft may have finally figured it out.
From a consumer perspective there is a lot to like about Windows 8. The platform is a marriage of PC and mobile operating systems and has a sleek new user interface that is more reminiscent of mobile operating systems than of the traditional Windows interface. Will Microsoft be able to make a dent in the tablet market with Windows 8? How will it fare with traditional PC users and enterprises? These are questions that remain to be answered. Microsoft took its time in rolling out Windows 8 and the full launch is not expected until later in the summer. Will it be too late for Microsoft to make a dent in the tablet market? Can it maintain its hold on the PC industry with this new mobile centric approach?
From a tablet perspective, it is hard to gauge how successful Microsoft will be with Windows 8. By the time the first Windows 8 slate arrives in stores, there will be already have been three different versions of the iPad released with another one likely right around the corner. If Windows 8 tablets do not come until the end of the third quarter beginning of the fourth this year, Google and Android have a lot of time to make up ground against Apple and cement its position in the market.
As far as the PC industry goes, the main capability of Windows 8 will be to seamlessly integrate into the Windows ecosystem. Some users are still working with Vista or XP. Will apps that come from those older platforms be able to transfer to Windows 8 if a consumer or enterprise decides to upgrade? Some of the major PC manufacturers are tied so closely to Microsoft that they will not have a choice but to make whatever Redmond tells them. A mobile-centric platform may not be an ideal environment for a PC and users may revolt. Yet, unless Windows 8 is too confusing for users to figure out, Microsoft's lead in the PC market is safe from the likes of Apple and Linux.
When Microsoft released its Windows 7 marketing blitz, the message was, "to the cloud!" Whether the average user understood what that meant or not is up for debate but the lessons learned in Windows 7 have been optimized in Windows 8. Everything associated with Windows 8 starts with the cloud and how it creates connections between applications, people and services.
The cloud experience starts when the device is turned on. Users can connect their Microsoft accounts to cloud and access almost anything found on the Web or locally. That includes games, photos, files, apps as well as social services like Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. The cloud cuts across boundaries and devices. For instance, I can save a document on one computer and pick it up and use it from another or on a Windows 8 tablet.
This is not a new concept. By necessity, mobile devices have most of their functionality tied to the cloud as opposed to local processors and storage. What is different is that Microsoft is now tying that basic mobile concept to the PC. To a certain extent it is a play out of Google's Android and Chrome playbook. Outside of search, Google long ago figured that its future would be in mobile, Web-based solutions tied to a third-the cloud. This is especially prevalent in Google's enterprise apps services. As the enterprise is Microsoft's bread and butter, it recognizes that business must be fully ready to be mobile and connected to the same material at any time.
The cloud allows Windows 8 to start faster, run longer and be more connected because much of the processor intensive computing has been taken off the device itself. Microsoft also claims that the cloud makes the experience (and your data) more secure but that is a different discussion that carries much debate within the developer ecosystem.
Microsoft touts its cloud connectivity through its new mail, calendar, photos, people and messaging apps. That includes Microsoft Skydrive that connects a Microsoft account from any device.
For the first time, Windows is an app centric model. That may seem like a weird statement but consider that much of what Windows did before was built on suites and services. Yes, there were applications involved but it was more about being platform-centric, "this is what you can do with Windows." The shift towards a mobile-like app ecosystem makes the approach, "these are the apps that can make your life better with Windows."
Applications no longer come in CD form. The Windows Store is a cloud-based repository of apps that can be downloaded on demand. The app store model is inherent with the mobile and cloud revolutions and Microsoft is finally moving to it as the de facto avenue for software dissemination.
Windows 8 is fully gesture based, trying to replicate the PC mouse and click world with swipes and taps. For instance, a tap on Windows 8 is the equivalent of a left mouse click on a PC, slide to drag is the same as click, hold and move. Application commands can be made from the top and bottom corners of the device.
There are several Android task launcher applications that allow users to tap or slide from the edge of a device to start a specific application. The BlackBerry PlayBook was one of the first devices to initiate actions and apps by being tapping on the fringes of a device.
As for input, a keyboard can be set up to a Windows 8 device with Bluetooth or USB or it can be fully touch based. For larger devices, Microsoft has split the keyboard into right and left hand functions. Users will understand the gesture-based commands from the time they have spent with capacitive screen smartphones and tablets.Discuss
Filed under: Reviews
The social media sphere, friends, followers and fans were sitting today on pins and needles – awaiting Facebook’s announcements on “What will be changing? What will be new for users and business?” when using this 800 million pound (users) Gorilla as primary form to stay connected and engaged with followers.
Filed under: Social Media
Foursquare has embraced the open maps movement. Russia’s biggest search engine integrates with the Topsy API. Plus: Disqus comments available in Gnip, Microsoft launches its own Webmaster Tools API and 21 new APIs.
Foursquare explains its OpenStreetMap-powered site:
We’ve been using the Google Maps API since the early days of foursquare. In the last six months, though, we’ve seen an increasing number of companies migrating to other options. So, during our January hackathon, one of our intrepid engineers wondered what the world would look like if we made our own maps. To do that, he used data from OpenStreetMap. (It’s a crowd-sourced global atlas, and it’s kind of amazing! It’s like Wikipedia for geography.) We love the idea of open data, and were happy to try it out.
When we initially began looking around for other map providers, we found some incredibly strong alternatives. And while the new Google Maps API pricing was the reason we initially started looking into other solutions, we ultimately ended up switching because, after all our research and testing, OpenStreetMap and MapBox was simply the best fit for us.
The press release quotes Yandex’s Ilya Segalovich:
“With the continued explosive growth of data from the social web, the ability to integrate fresh relevant results from the social web into search is critical. Topsy is one of a few technology companies capable of indexing and ranking the massive amount of real-time information being generated from the social web.”
Though not yet a household name outside of Russia, we list 10 Yandex APIs.
Today we had 21 new APIs added to our API directory including a business intelligence reporting service, Houston electricity usage data service, Chicago transit status and event reporting service, Russian business project management service, online marketplace for live events, postcard and photo printing application and order fulfillment and shipping service. Below is more details on each of these new APIs.
BIRT onDemand API: The service provides an open-source, web-hosted business activity reporting tool. It is intended to render graphs and reports on business performance based on complex data with a simple user experience. The reporting tools integrate analytical dashboards and interactive reports into a comprehensive web interface.
API methods support management of user accounts including creation of and user assignment to role groups and event notification groups. Methods also support configuring and implementing the reporting services.
Center for Biological Sequence Analysis API: The Center for Biological Sequence Analysis offers a collection of SOAP-based APIs for working with nucleotide sequences, amino acid sequences, and small molecules. The nucleotide sequence APIs visualize and analyze genomes, as well as find specific genes and splice sites within a genome. The amino acid APIs assess post-translational modifications to proteins, identify immunological features of proteins, and determine protein structure and function. The small molecule API helps determine the cardiotoxicology of drug molecules. Each of these APIs has its own WSDL endpoint.
CenterPoint Energy Usage History Inquiry API: The Houston, Texas energy utility provides electricity service to more than 2 million customers. Its usage history service gives automated access to customer billing history and electricity usage as measured by interval data recorder (IDR). It is intended to encourage involvement by third-party information providers who have customer permission to access electricity usage information.
API methods support contact and validation of the third-party system's information access, along with provider account management. Methods also allow retrieval of usage history for the account specified in the request by the validated application.
CTA Alerts API: The service, a companion to the CTA Bus Tracker, gives access to alerts from transitchicago.com highlighting service disruptions and other events that might affect transit service in Chicago. Alerts distribute information about system status, route changes, and news from RSS feeds, ranked by potential to affect transit services and categorized by routes and stations affected.
API methods support submission of requests by service category (bus, train, systemwide, etc.), route, and station. Responses include a time-date stamp, route status message and color-coded indicator, plus specific alert content for notifications matching the request parameters. Detailed alert content specifies affect on handicap-accessible service, if appropriate, and whether the system affect results from planned maintenance.
DegreeDays API: The service provides weather reports from thousands of weather stations drawn from Weather Underground but emphasizing likely effects on energy consumption. Data can be obtained by station or by location for a range of time periods — daily, weekly, monthly, and annual — with averages over time. Concurrent processing allows rapid access to comprehensive data.
API methods support retrieval of weather data by reporting station or by location, specified as postal code or latitude/longitude. Complex calculations allow the API to return accurate degree days estimates based on sometimes-incomplete raw input data.
Duplicated Genes Database API: The Duplicated Genes Database (DGD) provides a list of co-located and duplicated genes. These genes may be either tandem repeats or members of the same multigene family. Lists of duplicated genes can be used to analyze the expression of genes from microarray profiling experiments, to characterize the genomic content of a specific chromosomal region, or to study the duplication status of a specific gene or group of genes.
The SOAP-based DGD API can only use Ensembl gene IDs as input data and does not allow the retrieval of cross-references in the output file.
EnergyStar ABS API: The free web service from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) promotes sharing of data on energy use and facility energy-consumption information. It interacts with EPA's Portfolio Manager software tool to help applications provide energy and building data as part of the Energy Star energy performance rating. This benchmarking supports development of environmental performance metrics.
API methods support management of Energy Star rating status, updating of building and energy meter information, and retrieval of benchmarking data for local comparisons. Methods also support management of ABS program user account information.
iRefIndex API: The iRefIndex APIs – PSICQUIC and PSISCORE – provide programmatic access to iRefIndex data on protein interactions as well as many other interaction databases. These APIs allow users to query one database website and then have that query replicated at all other databases that have implemented the APIs. The user then receives a compiled list of results matching their query regardless of the database that contains the information. The iRefIndex APIs are available via SOAP or REST protocols.
National Renewable Energy Lab API: The service provides access to authoritative information on uses of alternative energy technologies from the U.S. National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL). It provides energy usage and rate data to enable development of renewable energy installations and use of alternative fuels. Resources emphasize electricity generation, solar-power installations in general, and transportation solutions.
API methods support access to utilities serving specific locations and electricity rates charged, energy generation and cost savings from photovoltaic (PV) energy systems, and locations of alternative fuel stations.
OppsPlace API: The service provides job-seeking and networking resources targeted to members of minority groups and minority-owned businesses looking for expanded opportunities working with U.S. corporations. It aggregates rich content like advice columns and background information with employment listings and request for bid announcements.
API methods support direct creation and editing of job postings by corporate affiliates. Methods also support additions and updates to contract opportunities listed. Request data can specify job title and description, location, industry, functional category, compensation range, travel requirements, language skills required, and extensive additional detail.
Product Life Cycle Support API: Product Life Cycle Support (PLCS) is a standard for creating and managing an Assured set of Product and Support Information (APSI), which can be used to specify and control required support activities throughout the life of a complex product. PLCS provides an application-specific, but flexible, information model, which can be tailored through the use of Reference Data Libraries. The Product Life Cycle Support API provides SOAP-based, programmatic access to PLCS functions.
PROMOpark API: PROMOpark is a Russian service for business process facilitation. It helps manage projects, automate routine processes, and extract important information from data sets. The PROMOpark API provides SOAP-based access to PROMOpark's project management functions.
The website and all documentation is in Russian. However, the SOAP methods are given in English.
Seatwave API: Seatwave is an online platform to buy and sell tickets for live events, such as concerts, sports, and theater.
The Seatwave API is available in two profiles: Discovery API and Purchase API.
The Seatwave Discovery API works for affiliate partners who are looking to build integrated applications, sites and widgets to present tickets to their users.
The Seatwave Purchase API works for e-commerce, travel, and ticketing companies that have a development team and are looking to add white label ticketing functionality to their sites.
Sincerely API: Sincerely provides applications for users to send other people postcards, photos, and greeting cards in a physical product from their mobile phone.
The Sincerely API allows developers to access and integrate the functionality behind Sincerely with other applications. With Sincerely integration, developers can add photo printing and postcard functionality to their applications. Public documentation is not available; interested developers should sign up here http://dev.sincerely.com/signup.
SLiMFinder API: SLiMFinder is a tool for finding shared motifs in proteins with common attributes such as sub-cellular location or interaction partner. A motif is a pattern found in biological sequences that is believed to have special significance. Thus, SLiMFinder may be used to help identify the amino acid patterns responsible for certain protein behaviors or interactions. The SLiMFinder API provides access to this function via SOAP protocols.
SmartEnergy API: The service works with a SEGmeter sensor connected to an electrical panel to detect the energy flow. It then compiles readings into summarized information, supported by graphical visualizations. The information inputs enable control of utility use and cost, potentially lowering electrical bills and encouraging conservation.
API methods support collecting and managing streams of energy flow data by source of demand between start and end dates. Methods deliver cost and carbon footprint by day and at a point in time.
SolvingMaze API: The service supports management of collections of products for a warehouse to support efficient shipping and fulfill customer orders. It is designed to work in concert with an e-commerce shopping cart in a way that streamlines packing and shipping, collects shipments into economical flat-rate loads, and accurately forecasts shipping rates.
API methods upload products to a catalog for a specific warehouse and calculate shipping rates. Products are described by item number, name, price, weight and dimensions, and stocking status such as perishability and ability to combine into bulk shipments.
The SEED API: The SEED is a database for annotated genomic information. It was started in 2003 by the Fellowship for Interpretation of Genomes. Other institutions, such as Argonne National Laboratory and the University of Chicago, have since joined the project. The cooperative effort focuses on the development of a comparative genomics environment and, more importantly, on the development of curated genomic data. The SEED API provides users with SOAP-based access to the contents of the SEED database.
USGS Waterservices API: The service provides instantaneous, daily, and summary data for water supply and water quality. Data provided are collected from a network of U.S. Geological Service reporting stations and provided in aggregate or at a point in time. A notification system distributes alerts based on data collected.
API methods support designation of reporting station location by state and county as well as location type. Results are defined by highly detailed characteristics such as watershed size and location, aquifer type, sampling methods, and well characteristics.
Webservice-Energy API: The service, developed through the EU-funded MESoR project, provides data and applications to encourage uses and management of renewable energy resources. It provides information about applications of solar and wind energy, along with forecasts of effectiveness over a system's life cycle. Its goal is to link users to information and encourage sharing and interaction around energy conservation.
API methods support estimation by location of solar irradience and shadow effects from several different sources. Methods also forecast availability of hydro power resources and weather events with likely effects on renewable energy use.
Zipmark API: Zipmark is an online and mobile application that allows users to pay for things out of their accounts automatically. Users can pay for things such as rent, other bills, and other Zipmark users.
The Zipmark API allows developers to access and integrate the functionality of Zipmark with other applications and to create new applications. Public documentation is not available; interested developers should sign up here http://dev.zipmark.com/ for more information.
Each week (more or less), Jon, Robyn and other ReadWriteWeb team members hold a Hangout On Air on our Google+ page to take a break from the grind of reading and writing and talk face to face about the tech stories of the moment. We post prompts for what we plan to talk about, and we invite anyone in our audience to join in. The conversation streams live on Wednesdays from 11:00 to 11:30 a.m. Pacific (click here for your time zone.
This week, after a few minutes amongst themselves, Jon, Robyn and Dan were joined by Fraser Cain, publisher of the space news site Universe Today, to talk about search. How well is search working today? What's changing? Where's it heading? It's an issue that affects Web readers and writers alike, and we had fun discussing it. In case you missed it live, here's the full video.
Make sure to follow +ReadWriteWeb on Google+ to find out when our next live Hangout On Air takes place. If you want to participate, let us know
Also, watch out for our new video show, Invalid Argument, a talk show for developers, designers and pixel-pushers of all kinds. Those tape on Thursdays, also from 11:00-11:30. There's a new episode tomorrow. Stay tuned!Discuss
Filed under: Reviews
Last year, I was slated to attend the first O'Reilly Strata Conference, but the 2011 Snowpocalypse intervened and said "no flights for you, St. Louis." Not only did I miss the inaugural Strata Conference, but it seems like I missed out on all the hype and irrational exuberance for big data as well.
The first day of the 2012 conference was dedicated to half-day tutorials and the all-day Strata Jumpstart. The Jumpstart sessions were geared for business leaders looking to see "how information can transform the enterprise."
The over-arching theme for the Jumpstart sessions? As Rob May said on Twitter "be wary of the religion of data." That's not quite the message one might have been expecting in attending Strata, but it's a good one.
To be clear, nobody was saying "big data is over" or that it's useless. But the message from most of the speakers was that it's deeply important to know what data can do for you, and what it can't before you decide you've got to get you some Hadoop.
Avinash Kaushik, co-founder of Market Motive, says that we have enormous data, but very little insight.
Kaushik says that if you have a budget for data, spend 90% of it on people who can work with the tools and derive insight from the data, rather than spending the bulk of the budget on technology to gather data.
He also questions the need for real-time data. If you don't have the ability to act on real-time data, then don't try to gather real-time data. Instead, Kaushik argued for "right-time" that is available when decisions need to be made.
The exception? When "you can get rid of humans" in the decision-making process. If you can make decisions algorithmically based on real-time data, then it might be worth it. But, Kaushik says, "if humans are involved, you're screwed."
Continuing the theme of cautiously adopting big data, J.C. Herz spoke on "Ammunition for the CFO: How to be a Hard-Nosed Business Customer for Analytics." Herz, in particular, played devil's advocate to the question of whether companies need big data and analytics.
Herz is CEO of analytics company Batchtags. At the last Strata, says Herz, everyone came out saying "we've gotta get us some Hadoop" after being pumped up by the sessions extolling the virtues of big data without really understanding what they wanted. "Hold on cowboy," she says, "let's figure out what you want to accomplish before we 'get us some Hadoop.'"
One step companies need to undertake is a data audit. Companies may think they have "big data" but "sometimes it's not as big as you think it is." One company Herz worked with had bought into infrastructure to support "massive flows of data" but after spending millions of dollars "they had something like 2TB of data."
Companies need to know how much data they're working with, how fast it's being generated, and how many places the data is coming from.
Next question? Who owns the data? Who's taking responsibility for cleaning the data and making sure it's accurate? Who's in the position of saying 'no, you can't have it?" Herz described a few horror stories about companies that thought they had rich data sources, but when they really dug in they found that human laziness meant that the data was missing or inaccurate.
By the same token, companies need to ask who's going to do analysis on data. When you're deciding on a big data strategy, Herz says that companies need to decide exactly who is going to be doing the analysis, by name, and who they'll be reporting to.
Another question, are you using the data to make a decision – or avoid one? Herz says that analytics are good when management wants to make a decision, but it's a waste of money when companies are gathering data so that decisions can be put off.
Time is a resource, says Herz. One of the worst scenarios is when management gets the "big data religion" and throws "obscene" amounts of money at it, wants results yesterday. It doesn't work like that.
Companies also need to realize that data decisions "have consequences" says Herz. If you're embarking on a data strategy, Herz warns that companies need to understand that it might piss off a few people when the results come in, and you need to be OK with that. As Kaushik says, when humans are involved...
That doesn't mean that Herz is against companies embracing analytics, just that they need to be thoughtful when doing it.
When working with vendors about big data and analytics platforms, Herz says that companies should ask for three cost scenarios that factor in the "data iron triangle." The triangle is storage, cycles, and performance. Ask vendors to come up with three cost scenarios that minimize one corner of the triangle each. Most of the time you can make sacrifices in one area and get the results you want.
It's interesting to see just how fast big data is moving out of the hype cycle. If you're following along with Gartner's technology life cycle, we should be hitting the "trough of disillusionment" shortly. However, I think that's likely we're going to be skipping that or seeing a very abbreviated trough. It seems that a lot of companies are hitting "enlightenment" already and moving towards productivity very quickly.Discuss
Filed under: Reviews
Earlier this month Podio added Google Docs support. Now the collaboration platform has added another line to its file upload dialog. As we pointed out earlier, there’s plenty of room for further file integrations. There is also an opportunity for Podio to expand its Podio API to allow developers to do the work for them.
Podio chose the Box.net API as its first cloud storage partner. The decision is likely not accidental, as Box has become the choice for the enterprise because the company has chosen to focus on the areas that enterprises care about, like security and giving IT some control. This is the same audience Podio would like to find.
The video (embedded above) shows the many areas of Podio where Box files can now be used. And the announcement post has a survey that hints where the company might be headed with its next integration.
Podio appears aware of the elephant in the room when announcing a cloud storage integration. We’d guess that the Dropbox API may be next on its list.
From a developer standpoint, it might make more sense for Podio to update its Podio API to include methods to get content into Podio, in addition to getting it out. Then any of the 80 storage APIs could integrate with Podio themselves. This would also open up the potential for non-storage companies to integrate. For example, photo storing applications, flow chart software and others that can export files used commonly in everyday work.
Opening up its platform in this new way could crowd that file dialog. But, of course, having too many developers interested in your platform isn’t a problem for anyone except perhaps the Pinterest API.
It's your best friend from 5th grade's birthday, and you almost missed it because you were stalking your 7th grade best friend on Facebook. The time is now 9pm, in your time zone. In a moment of freedom, you return to Facebook.com and notice the tiny birthday notifications in the upper-righthand corner. Is it too late to wish your 5th grade best friend a happy Facebook birthday? You race over to his page and try to say something witty. "Happy birthday bro-dude!" you write, crouched over your keyboard. You were on Facebook this morning but were way too busy trying to just catch up on the newsfeed-filtered news of the day and forgot to pay attention to birthdays. And now, you just feel sad.
In our information-overload culture that lives as excited, exclamation-point riddled posts on Facebook and dies as wish-I-hadn't-said-that status updates that you later delete when, hopefully, no one is watching (but who knows who is watching, really), it is easy to miss the moments that actually matter, truly mean something.
So now to the point of my story: There's an app for that, and it attempts to address some of the "too-many-friends" syndrome that some Facebook users know quite well.
Launched yesterday, TapJoy's Karma for iPhone app connects with your Facebook account and attempts to identify and highlight your most meaningful connections and their important moments. These milestones/moments include birthdays, new jobs, important events (moving day, birthday, art shows on my Karma app screen), other celebrations (engagements) and "tough days" (a friend's dog died, a cat died, a fellow journalist died). The app implies that important events call for spontaneous gifts.
"We wanted to be able to connect to friends in those moments," CEO Ben Linden tells Co.Design. "So this is an in-the-moment gift service." To that point, he adds: "We grew tired of missing important moments like a baby or a graduation,"
For people who mix various communities on Facebook, this means that there's an impulsive moment available anytime, anywhere, to buy gifts for your Facebook friends. There is a nice variety of potential gifts to give, including Vosges chocolate, whisky stones, a Morse code necklace or handmade gourmet candies. If you don't like the gift, you can exchange it for something else in the Karma app store.
Today, the beloved Leap Day, happens to be my Facebook friend David Ford's birthday. David is a Kansas City-based artist who I had the pleasure of meeting a few years ago. I explored the inner workings of his mind through a studio visit. (I also reviewed one of his shows for the magazine Art Papers.) In his work, David discusses his love/hate kinda relationship with this country, evidenced through the passionate, at times fervent brush strokes that slide across his paintings. His work juxtaposes classic American symbols with faux luxury moments to paint a provocative, oft-times paradoxical view of the American cultural landscape.
Your Face Here, 2008 (courtesy of DavidFordArt.com)
Karma app suggests Whisky Stones (™) as one of the gifts I could send to David on his Leap Day birthday. To do this, all I have to do is click through and select the gift and David as the recipient. Karma sends a text, email or Facebook message to him so that he will get it and open the (virtual) gift immediately. Then I have to ask David where he wants the (real) gift shipped. Instantaneous delivery! Karma achieved, momentarily!
But there is one caveat: The act of gift-giving through this means provides a temporary fix, not long-lasting satisfaction. The Karma app creators understand.
"We found ourselves relegated to a Facebook post or making a note to buy them a card at CVS and then we'd forget," Linden said in an interview. "We'd feel really terrible about that."
What this app also does is contribute to the strange cultural phenomenon of over-friending, which has essentially cluttered news feeds and caused bizarre overlap amongst Facebook users' normally neatly segmented lives. It's like the Seinfeld "Independent George/Worlds Collide" episode. It's yet another reason Facebook birthdays are so weird. Not even Facebook lists can help truly manage the menagerie of friends one has. At the end of the day, sometimes defriending is the best option.
So what of the Karma app for iPhone? Yes, I implore you to try it, see how it feels. Tell me a story about it in the comments section. Like Facebook, it's pretty good at identifying users you interact with often and are thus deemed important to you. Of course, it cannot read into the intricacies of human relationships. That's something you'll have to do offline.Discuss
Filed under: Reviews