An upcoming bracelet and app called the Pavlok will help you change your habits by giving you an electric shock when you fail at them. You get to choose the habit you’d like to work on, like spending too much time on the internet, going to the gym, losing hard-earned cash, or getting up at a certain time in the morning. Then you get to set a consequence to hold yourself accountable, which can range from Pavlok posting embarrassing stuff on your on Facebook wall, vibrations from your bracelet, losing hard-earned cash, or even a 340V electric shock. As the Pavlok’s promotional video says, there are so many self-improvement devices on the market that don’t really work, so “what if we get a device that changes behavior?”
Spoiler alert: the other products didn’t work because people change their own behavior. Keep reading »
It’s a special day. Pikinis, an app that syncs with your Facebook friends list and allows you to search exclusively for bikini pics, is now available for download.
According to the app’s creator, Ted Kramer, Pikinis is for both men and women who want to see those they desire is a state of partial undress. But that’s very clearly bullshit — this app is for looking at girls. It even has a fun “pineapple” feature that allows you to “pineapple” a pic for later — that is, to save it. So you can look at it, um, you know … later. When you’re alone. Keep reading »
[Said in the voice of a petulant teenager:] ”Thanks, Starbucks, for taking over my life EVEN MORE.”
The ‘bux announced last week that it’s making your fast food coffee experience even easier: you will soon be able to preorder your drinks and pay via an app, according to the tech blog Recode. Just like hailing a cab with Uber or ordering sushi over Seamless, coffee jerks can save time by paying for a coffee ahead of time and avoiding lines. The company is testing the process at an “undisclosed location” and will eventually bring it nationwide. I could see myself downloading the app, but use it only when I’m in a rush. (And I’m not that important to ever really be in a rush.) Part of what I like about Starbucks is it being a “third place” in addition to work and home. It’s a reason to get out of the office for a 10-minute break in the afternoon and stretch my legs. It’s about the short walk, the music, the socializing. The app sounds useful for, say, personal assistants in a rush to please their boss, but for me, I’m happy to take my time. Within reason, of course. [Recode]
My first real game, the one I remember best, was Zork — good, old-fashioned white text on a black background. I was obsessed with it, the challenges intrinsic in playing it, and the mythology attached. I read the books that came with the series obsessively, and even did a school report (sadly not preserved for posterity) on the Underground Empire for a class in school. Infocom ruled my childhood, inspired my imagination, and got me interested in storytelling. Part of what I loved so much about Zork was the lack of a player description. You were an adventurer, and that was that: no gender, no race, none of that mattered. All that mattered was exploration, creativity, and a willingness to accept that sometimes, if you planned poorly, you’d be eaten by a grue. I didn’t even really think about my character, because it was just me, wandering through the map. There was no default. Keep reading »
I have a love/hate relationship with every single Apple product I own. I am what you might call an Apple Truther, someone who believes that Apple products are designed to break right after your warranty is up, either through “normal” wear and tear or the installation of “critical” updates that are actually critical because they put your damn iPhone/iPad/laptop/whatever on life support. And yet, despite my belief in this conspiracy, like a good sheep with an addiction to shiny, new things, I keep buying Apple’s products year after year because they are kind of amazing and wonderful for the majority of the two years (length of the warranty!) and one day (first day without a warranty!) that they actually last. Which is why I will no doubt be buying the iPhone 6 when it comes out — but this time, Apple may have actually made a design update that improves upon the phone’s hardware. The iPhone 6 will reportedly come with a bigger, scratch-resistant sapphire glass screen that, if the video above from YouTuber Marques Brownlee is to be believed, puts its current screen to shame. Keep reading »
The more time I spend staring at my iPhone when I don’t really need to, the more choppy and unfocused my thoughts are. When I’m staring at the thing too often, my mind is more likely to veer toward mopey thoughts, time moves faster, and a low-grade anxiety hums in the back of my mind. It’s not realistic for me to ditch it altogether (nor do I want to), but I’m constantly trying to build better boundaries between myself and my phone. When I choose a better option in the moments when I’m compelled to check the phone for no real reason, I feel less like the news cycle, or my emails, or whoever is waiting on me to text them back is dictating the pace of my life.
I think Louis C.K. describes it best when he says ”you need to build an ability to just be yourself and not be doing something” instead of whipping out your phone whenever fleeting thoughts of sadness or emptiness show up. It’s surprisingly tough! Most of us play with our phones all the time because it’s so much easier to find that distraction instead of getting real with ourselves about whatever we’re feeling that day. Here are some itty bitty tips that, while they may seem small, have helped me feel a bit more independent from my phone. Keep reading »