A calendar is a tool created many millennia ago, a tool that is vital to our very functionality as intelligent beings. Yet, when technology has ventured far beyond a simple grid of numbers, the Calendar applications we use haven’t seemed to evolve beyond that.
Sunrise, a new application built by ex-foursquare engineers, finds a way to turn a traditionally consumptive tool (the calendar) into a to-do list of sorts, not unlike the way Mailbox turns the inbox into a to-do list. In this episode of Fly or Die, John and I both agree that the beautiful yet simple UI is clearly superior to the standard iOS Calendar app.
The upper portion of the home display, showing two weeks at a time, easily expands into a full calendar view when pulled down, while a streamed list of events scrolls along below. And our approval isn’t all about surface appearances, either. The app pulls in information from Facebook, Google and LinkedIn to ensure you have directions to any appointments, access to communications with other attendees, and even displays the weather in case you need help choosing an outfit.
It takes the calendar, an often isolated application, and loops it in with all of the apps that it would need to be useful on its own, such as social, weather, etc.
The one caveat (and it’s a big one) is that Sunrise surprisingly does not integrate with iOS or OS X Calendar directly. Calendar enthusiasts will have to export all their data into Google in order to sync with Sunrise, but in the app’s defense, the team describes Sunrise as a Calendar app for Google Calendar users.
If that sounds like you, the iOS only app should be a nice addition to your homescreen. Otherwise, you may want to wait until Sunrise hooks into Apple’s Calendar offerings.
View original post here: Fly Or Die: Sunrise Calendar
It’s a little ironic that adrenalin-fuelled, sometimes dangerous extreme sports like windsurfing, kiteboarding and skiing also have a very pedestrian angle to them: it’s hard to do them when the weather isn’t quite right. There have been apps developed to try to meet that challenge by tapping into weather data providers, but sometimes these don’t actually give a personal feel of how the wind or water in a particular place can be, so two extreme sport enthusiasts, Katerina Stroponiati and Yiannis Varelas, who also happen to be techie-minded, decided to take matters into their own hands.
The result is Weendy: an extreme sports weather app that mixes weather observations from more traditional sources — such as weather stations — with crowdsourced observations generated by Weendy users.
Launched first to cover watersports like windsurfing and kiteboarding (since this is what the two Greek founders love to do most themselves), the founders have picked up an angel round of $240,000 led by Archimedes, and they are now in the process of raising another round, both of which they plan to use to continue to expand the app to cover more sports and more parts of the world, with ever more ways of depicting how good (or bad) conditions may be.
One of the unique elements in Weendy is how it turns extreme sports — already a clubbable pursuit — into something of a social network in itself. Those who sign up to the app, which is free to download, can use Facebook to sign in and then find and follow their friends on the app, or they can use Weendy itself to find and follow people based on sports or current location.
These all become weather data points. ”Kiteboarders have to search in several websites, Facebook pages, and more in order to find the info they are looking for,” says Stroponiati. “In Weendy they are connected with people like them who can actually help them.”
People use the app to write updates on particular locations, and post photos and videos as corroborating evidence. That makes it something that people are likely to do anyway, as they would with Facebook or any other social network that compels people to share their experiences. Then, triangulated with traditional weather data — which the pair say can be up to 50% inaccurate because of microclimates and the lack of scale of weather stations – Stroponiati (a user experience designer, who previously had trained as an architect) and Varelas (an engineer, who has worked on projects as diverse as voice recognition services prior to this) believe that this gives the most accurate and most relevant kind of weather assessment for people just like them.
And, as befitting a pair who are from Greece but both spent time in Silicon Valley, the idea is for Weendy to be a global community — another point that sets them apart from many of the other extreme sports weather apps, which often focus on specific locations.
There is another trend that Weendy underscores. With app stores like Apple’s and Google Play pushing 1 million apps in total each, we have long passed a point at which it is very hard for most general interest apps — for example, weather apps — to make it big, let alone pick up much traction at all. In that regard, turning to specific, niche interests, like extreme sports, makes sense.
This makes sense in another way, too: Varelas believes that crowdsourcing weather only really works when you have a targeted group contributing. “Others who who are trying to create crowdsourced weather services are not delivering, and the main reason is because they are not targeting who is getting the information, and who is providing it.” In other words, my view of the rain is not necessarily going to be the same as yours, if I’m going out hoping for a tan and you were hoping to get out of watering your flowers.
Since launching Weendy at the end of last year, Stroponiati says that user numbers have seen 20% growth week to week. Their aim is to have 1 million users by the end of this year.
The pair plan to launch an update to the app during the MaiTai Utah snowkite surfing-meets-tech-entrepreneurs-event — so expect there to be snow-specific tweaks worked into the product. “We then intend to replicate the strategy to other verticals,” she says.
As for how the app will monetize, it looks like it will go the way of sports themselves: sponsorship. There are equipment makers and sports drinks companies already in discussion with Milkybay (the name of Stroponiati and Varelas’ company), in which they will either sponsor sports on the app, or be promoted in other ways. And the pair are also talking to famous pros to act as “ambassadors” for the app and interact on it as well.
On Wednesday, Google updated Google Now with a myriad of new features that will be especially useful for those who like to, or at least need to, travel. You can download the latest update of Google Search for Android now from the official Google Play Store (Android 4.1+ required).
As you can see in the first sreeenshot below, Google Now has gained the ability to tell you what the weather will be like at your destination, before you leave your house. The second screenshot meanwhile shows it will also automatically pull up your boarding pass when you’re at the airport (United Airlines only for now, but Google says more will be added soon).
Furthermore, Google Now can also give you a list of events happening around you when you arrive at your destination. The last one includes suggestions of websites for you to explore as you research things to do as well as learning more about specific pieces while you’re out and about (using Google Goggles).
All of these are part of Google Now’s card features designed for travel. Already-existing cards include currency conversion, translation, and flight status cards.
Google has also tweaked Voice Search so you can find out the name of the song that’s playing by saying “What’s this song?” as well as quickly find product info by saying “Scan this barcode.” The former will be very useful for anyone who uses Shazam or Soundhound, while the latter is of course aimed at shoppers.
On top of that, there’s the usual Google+ integration: you can now post to the social network just by using just your voice. As you can see in the third screenshot above, this is mainly geared at status updates.
The full changelog is as follows:
Image credit: Nina Chantrasmi
View original post here: Google Now adds travel destination weather, local events, song ID by voice, and more
What’s better than checking the weather and finding out it’s going to be a beautiful day? Checking the weather with adorable puppies on it, of course. A Miami based startup has just launched Weather Puppy, a brand new weather app that may just be my favorite app this year.
The app has two free themes, an outdoorsy theme and glamour theme, with themes like Fall Colors and Halloween available for $0.99. There is also a customizable “Add Your Own Doggy” theme, which lets you upload up to seven pictures of your own pup. The thing that really hooked me on this app though was not just the pictures of dogs, but that it enables dog-related charities to fundraise using the platform.
Weather Puppy has partnered with 13 different charities. Paws4You Animal Rescue in Miami, which is the organization the founder currently fosters with. They have since added the Pennsylvania SPCA, San Diego Humane Society (CA), San Antonio Humane Society (TX), Austin Humane Society (TX), Tampa SPCA (FL), The Anti-Cruelty Society (Chicago), Broward Humane Society (Ft. Lauderdale), Animal Humane New Mexico, Humane Society of Utah, Detroit Dog Rescue, Animal Haven Shelter (NYC) and Mohawk Humane Society (NY).
“In addition to other support, the big game changer for the charities is that most are going to sell their own branded themes within the app – giving them a way to fundraise by selling digital content. Most already fundraise by selling physical calendars so this is an easy progression for them and one that opens them up to donors across the country,” says Suraj Hemnani, founder of Weather Puppy.
Another fun thing about this app, as you can see above, is how the dogs change based on the weather. If it’s sunny outside, the featured puppy may be wearing shades. Dark out? Perhaps the pup is sleeping. Cold? They may be hiding under a blanket.
Users also have the ability to share their screen on Facebook or Twitter with a short message. Users can do this once to share to both networks simultaneously as well.
The weather app gives you current conditions (even sunrise & sunset), plus forecasts for the next three days. The data is provided by Weather Underground.
Weather Puppy is available for iOS only at the moment, but the team tells me they are looking to expand soon. Weather puppy is available for download here. Interested charities can contact Weather Puppy here.
Before the hot-selling iPhone 5 launched into existence, most of the surprise had already been ruined. We saw parts, heard about launch dates, and even saw full-fledged photos of the device. So if that disappointed you as much as it did me, you might want to look away.
These leaked pictures certainly appear to be of a legitimate iPad mini. The design matches up well with what we’ve heard (and seen) so far — thinner bezels along the side, aluminum back plate, and some strange hole in the top center of the tablet’s backside.
You’ll notice an unfamiliar weather icon on the homescreen, which also appears on the images in this article, out of France. It’s a Chinese Weather app, which leads us to believe that this may indeed be a legitimate leak out of a Chinese factory.
A quick search for iPad mini cases on Alibaba brings up dozens of cases matching this design, including the mysterious hole in the back.
Oddly, there is no Clock app as we’ve seen on iOS 6. Google Maps and YouTube apps also seem to be on the homescreen of the tablet. Perhaps the owners got the device to run iOS 5, and have installed some third-party or prototype Weather app. Or, more likely, the screen isn’t live yet, and that’s just a mockup display.
You’ll also notice what appears to be a Lightning dock on the bottom, alongside dual speakers.
If real, the iPad mini must be right around the corner. We’ve posited, along with known Apple psychics like John Gruber and Jim Dalrymple, that Apple wouldn’t crowd the iPhone 5 and iPad mini into the same launch event. They deserve their own moments in the sun.
Considering that the company announced a bevy of music products at the iPhone 5 event (new iPods and a revamped iTunes), the usual October music event will be quite boring without a new product.
Here is the original post: Alleged Leaked iPad Mini Pics Show Lightning Port, Odd Hole On The Back