If (for some reason) you absolutely hate how profiles look on Twitter for the iPhone, you may want to fire up the App Store and download the latest update. It comes with a brand new design for profiles, which brings your bio front and center (no more swiping needed to see it) and adds separate timelines for your uploaded photos/inevitable GIFs) and favorite tweets. This new profile will show up for both iOS 7 and iOS 8 users, so you can already enjoy it even if you don’t want to delete apps and make room for Apple’s new mobile platform just yet. You do, however, get something extra if you’ve already upgraded: the power to retweet, follow and favorite posts right from the notification center.
While you might own every single release your favourite band has put out, nothing beats going to see them live. If that’s something you do regularly, you know that you’ll not only have to fight it out with any number of like-minded fans to get your ticket, but you’ll also have to run the gauntlet of booking via one of the major ticketing providers, which often includes submitting captchas, paying any number of booking fees or printing fees and running the risk that you won’t come away with what you actually wanted.
Dice wants to change that. Launching today after 18 months of development, Dice is 100 percent mobile, cutting all of the crap that traditional ticket sellers normally try to force upon you. You pay the ticket price, and that’s it. But how does it work? Once you’ve installed either the iOS or Android app, Dice will immediately load a full listing of gigs and concerts (over 100 at the time of launching) it has in its database. Currently, gigs are limited to London, but the company intends to embark on a global expansion in the coming months.
What you see is exactly what you’ll pay, so when you do, you’ll immediately be given an app-based e-ticket that will get you inside the venue with the minimum of fuss. If, for whatever reason, the gig has sold out or you came to the party too late, you can also choose to sit on a waiting list. While that might be the last thing you want to do, Dice has a very unique way of turning this to your advantage.
Firstly, venues and promoters have access to ticket sales (but not personal information), allowing them to gauge whether there’s enough demand to lay on a new tour date. Secondly, and this can’t be understated, it allows anyone who has bought a ticket and suddenly realised they’re not able to make the gig, to sell their ticket back to Dice, which in turn can then sell it to the first person in the waiting line. Those waiting will be alerted via text message or email, depending on their contact preference. It eliminates the need for secondary ticket sales, and it ensures music fans don’t pay over the odds to see their favourite musicians perform.
The app is a joint-venture between Phil Hutcheon, a music industry veteran who’s run record labels for over a decade, and ustwo, the insanely talented creative team behind smash hit puzzle game Monument Valley. Realising that 80 percent of people use a website to book tickets, they sought to create a mobile app that removed the friction from paying to see live acts. This is evident when you buy a ticket and you don’t have to waste time filling in your details, completing captchas or race to complete the purchase within a set amount of time. “It gets the ticket in the hand of the fan as quickly as possible,” says Hutcheon.
At launch, the majority of shows are for indie bands and musicians, but there are some big names there too. Jack White, Little Dragon, alt-j, Basement Jaxx, Bugged Out and Ministry of Sound are all present, filling arenas like the O2 and the Shepherds Bush Empire, but the Dice team also works hard to curate a list of more intimate gigs at local pubs and smaller venues to help users discover music they might never had heard before. It’s an intimate way of working that benefits artists as they’re able to get more people to come to their events, and venues are able to work closely with the team to allocate more tickets.
Because there are no hidden fees or booking charges, Dice offers customers up to 30 percent off the price of a show from a rival service. In fact, the more you use it, the app will begin to learn your musical tastes, delivering more relevant suggestions as time moves on. The idea, after all, isn’t to just sell you tickets for bands or musicians you’ve already seen, but to connect people with upcoming talent that could one day go on to do a global arena tour.
Hutcheon tells me that the Dice app you see today does exactly what it needs to do to launch, but that’s it. With investment and guidance from Google Deepmind, Robbie Williams’ management and many others, the company intends to make good on its promise to launch globally, but also introduce new features that help music fans get more from the app. This includes a new reservation feature that will let a user put aside a number of tickets for friends. The app will then email those people and invite them to pay for their own tickets, ensuring the organiser doesn’t go alone, but also isn’t left out of pocket (which has happened to this author in the past).
Future versions of the app may also include YouTube and Spotify playback, allowing users to get an idea of who they’re looking to see before they buy their ticket. It already has the functionality to handle 70,000 tickets per minute (meaning it could sell out Wembley Stadium in just 60 seconds), ensuring that it can handle significant demand when it needs to. Dice believes it has the potential to become the Uber of the music space, which may mean it moves to a freemium model in the future, but from what we’ve seen, it’s already off to a very good start.
Privacy concerns are probably at an all time high as of late. While it was probably always in the back of your mind that someone, somewhere, was somehow watching, listening and stealing all your stuff, it doesn’t always seem real until it makes the news. The efforts of a number of companies have lead to some great apps and software that keeps your stuff safe, and most importantly, private. BitTorrent is one that is doing its part to help keep you, and your communications, a little further off the radar.
Today BitTorrent has opened up the public release of the alpha version of a new communications, voice and SMS, app called Bleep. The alpha app is available for Windows, Mac and Android in its current state with iOS on the horizon. BitTorrent is utilizing the same principals of BitTorrent technology to connect people directly without any form of centralized connection to a server or a cloud.
Here are the latest options and features in the Bleep Alpha:
- Sign-up with email, mobile number or incognito (no Personally Identifiable Information needed)
- Make voice calls or send text to online contacts only
- The option to import your Google address book contacts
- Invite friends using their email address, SMS, or their public key
- Move an existing desktop account to a mobile device (new)
- Receive inbound messages on all devices (new)
- Messages are sent fully encrypted and stored locally (on your device)
- Easily delete your encrypted message history
- Deleting contacts is now possible on Android and Windows (new)
As with any alpha, you can expect some hiccups, glitches and potential problems. It could still be worth checking out if privacy is a huge concern of yours. If you are an extremely technical person you may want to check out the BitTorrent Engineering blog about how it all works. If you are more interested in getting in on the alpha and trying it out for yourself, then head to the alpha download page. You can grab Bleep for Windows and Mac there. They link to Android as well, but it just directs you to the Play Store to download it.
The post What the ‘Bleep’; Private and secure voice and text app goes to public Alpha from BitTorrent appeared first on AndroidSPIN.
The FTC is eager to crack down on any perceived online privacy violations, especially when they involve children — and we just got a good demonstration of that eagerness today. Both Yelp and mobile app developer TinyCo have settled with the FTC over allegations that they knowingly scooped up kids’ personal information without permission. Yelp is paying a $450,000 penalty because it didn’t have an effective age screen in its apps, letting those under 13 sign up by themselves. TinyCo, meanwhile, is shelling out $300,000 after some of its kid-oriented games asked for email addresses in return for in-game currency. These aren’t the biggest settlements we’ve seen by any stretch, but they’ll hopefully serve as warning to any app creator that wants to collect your little ones’ data.
Philips will soon launch a couple of iPhone- and iPad-controlled devices, but they’re not the company’s usual phone docks or Hue smartlight models — they’re gadgets designed to help suppress persistent pain. The first device (above) called PulseRelief uses Transcutaneous Electronic Nerve Stimulation or TENS technology, which delivers electric pulses straight to your nerves. That’s supposed to prevent pain signals from reaching your brain and to release endorphins, chemicals that make you feel good and happy. There are tons of similar gadgets out there (search for “TENS device” on eBay and Amazon to see what we mean), but Philips’ version lets you choose from 60 intensity levels through its smartphone app.
Philips created PulseRelief to target those suffering from musculoskeletal pain, but its other high-tech pain reliever called BlueTouch was made to relieve muscular back pain, in particular. If BlueTouch (below) looks familiar, it’s because an older version has long been available for sale. The device shines blue LED lights against your skin, which Philips claims can induce the body to release Nitric Oxide that increases blood flow and encourages the natural healing process. Like PulseRelief, this iteration comes with a phone app, where you can choose from various treatments. Both devices will be out in stores later this September and online in November, but make sure to read up on the medical claims behind the devices (the old BlueTouch had its share of doubters) and consult your doctor before getting one.
Facebook’s megaphone-like approach to sharing makes it less than ideal for more private missives. Sharing private images or jokes with select people is something of a test of nerves. One slip of a drop-down menu, and your intimate photo could go global, rather than just to your “mates” privacy group. But, Facebook wants you to share in anyway, and to anyone you like with confidence it seems. According to TechCrunch, the social network’s working on a “Moments” mobile app to help. Once again, Facebook would be taking a single-focused idea out of the main mobile app into a standalone one if sources are correct. The Moments app will reportedly use a visual, tile-based interface for you select the group or sub groups of people you wish to share your — we assume — moment with. If this sounds a lot like Google+’s “circles” mechanism, that’s because it does. There’s no word when Moments could find its way onto phones, so for now, you’ll just have to run the gauntlet with current tools to avoid having your mom comment on bachelor(ette?) party photos.
For the first time in four years, Virgin Media is going to give its TiVo user interface a much-needed facelift. Gone is the rich red that previously adorned menus, replaced with a new “plum” colour (purple to the untrained eye), that’s expected to reach set-top boxes in October. As we noted last week, Virgin is bringing its TV Anywhere apps in line with the new UI, and luckily for iOS users, that rollout begins today. While you’ll first notice the colour change when you update, Virgin Media has also made a couple of tweaks to the interface to fall in line with the iOS 7/iOS 8 aesthetic. Those aging rounded buttons have have swapped gradients for a flat white design and the updated menus help give the app a more modern feel. Unfortunately for Android users, Virgin says the revamped app is still a few months from completion, but the company has released a small update to include support for more Android 4.4 (KitKat) devices.
Source: TV Anywhere (App Store)
Some artists find inspiration in their peers’ artworks and even think it boring to draw alone. If you feel that way and you use FiftyThree’s Paper app (and maybe its Pencil stylus, as well) religiously, you can take advantage of the startup’s new service to collaborate with anyone you want. This new product is called Mix, and it’s an open platform where all users can share their work by uploading it straight from the Paper app. The latest version of Paper comes loaded with the Mix sharing option, as you can see in the video below — after you’ve uploaded your work, other members can finish it or put their own spin on it.
According to a FiftyThree rep, they’ve already seen a bunch of “incredible projects” during the beta testing phase, ranging from fun co-drawn pieces to collaborative inventions. If you want to start collaborating right now, you may want to launch Paper or to go to the Mix portal to sign up for an invitation ASAP — the startup’s sending out thousands of invites per week on a first-come-first-serve basis, letting people in by batches. By the end of October, though, the service will ultimately open its gates to the public, and everyone who signs up will instantly get an account.
It’s not hard to share your whereabouts from your phone, but you usually have to dive into specific apps to do it; what if your friends on a new social network want to know that you’re nearby? That’s when Glympse’s new Keyboard app for Android may come to the rescue. So long as you have the regular Glympse on your phone, the input method lets you share your location through virtually any app. If there’s a text box, you can probably let others know where you are. You don’t have to give up keyboards like SwiftKey or Swype, either, since there’s a Quick Send mode that gets out of your way as soon as you’ve done. Glympse Keyboard isn’t going to be as sophisticated as apps that have position sharing built-in, but its sheer ubiquity could help the next time you’re meeting your friends for a night on the town.
Source: Google Play
What if you didn’t have worry about people seeing that picture or video you post after 24 hours? That’s just what Tiiny, the latest effort from Digg co-founder Kevin Rose, offers: disappearing thumbnail-sized images and vids in a constantly refreshing grid. Snapshots and footage from your pals appear there and they can’t be resized to judge fine details. In theory, this means that you’ll be a lot more forthcoming about your activities since there’s a lack of permanence and reduced pressure to add the proper filters. So, in addition to the ephemeral nature that the likes of Snapchat and others offer, there’s the compact stature, too. There’s also a Popular page, so you can see what’s getting the most love across all Tiiny users. If you’re looking to give it a shot, the iOS app is available now.