My name is Jamie, and I am not ashamed to say that I enjoy having sex with dogs (and I’ve been doing it since I was 14!), I am totally “normal” in almost all respects: I’m 28 and live in Los Angeles. I have a boyfriend who is pretty good in bed and I have a great job as a graphic artist. But I’ve found that dogs can actually be better and more satisfying lovers than either men or women! I know that sounds weird, and a lot of you will be shocked by this, but thousands of women and girls worldwide agree with me, and, by all indications, more women are discovering this secret every day. Women have been having sex with animals for centuries, and I wholeheartedly recommend it to any woman who wants to experience what is possibly the most intense and electrifying sexual experience there is.
Source: A Girl’s Guide to Sex with Dogs
Macworld | iWorld was last week, and as Apple-watchers expected, the emphasis was on the i-part. The iPhone and iPad are becoming blockbusters, so this must have been an exciting year to be at that show. I wasn’t cool enough to be there, but I’m pretty sure I read the blogs of every single person who was. And there’s one iPhone app they’re all talking about this week: Launch Center.
To a hardcore iPhone user, it seems like it should be relatively easy to explain what Launch Center does. But as the many meditative blog posts show, there’s more here than meets the eye. Launch Center’s creators at App Cubby are still figuring out for themselves what they’re onto here. They’ve broken into something fundamental about iOS that it doesn’t have yet, and they’ve made a $0.99 app we can all use to figure out together exactly what that is.
Launching An Experiment
Launch Center is one app for launching tasks across many apps. It can be a simple speed-dial-Mom or text-my-girlfriend launcher, or it can hook deeply into an app and, for example, go straight to Instagram’s camera screen. You can also link to any Web URL, which it will open in Safari. It also comes loaded with some neat shortcuts like a ‘Flashlight’ button to turn on the phone’s LED. An update last week added scheduled tasks, so you can now associate an in-app action with a timed reminder. This all sounds so useful, but it’s surprisingly hard to figure out how to work it in.
@JonMwords hmm. I have “call girlfriend” and backup website.
— Federico Viticci (@viticci) January 29, 2012
I talked to App Cubby founder David Barnard today, and it sounds like he and developer Justin Youens are still figuring it out, too. Barnard says they only put Launch Center in their iPhone docks themselves in the last week or two. They’re experimenting now with different kinds of interfaces, beyond a simple list of actions, as well as different kinds of tasks to launch.
They’re also working with developers of other apps to create good URL schemes for inclusion in Launch Center. iOS apps have URLs for different screens or actions, just like websites. For example, to launch Instagram straight to the camera screen, the URL is
instagram://camera. Launch Center users can input URLs themselves, and developers often make these publicly available. But it also comes loaded with some easy and common ones for users who don’t want to get their hands too dirty.
But is this something users want? Is the convenience of going straight to a common action, rather than swiping around for the app you need, tapping it and then acting, important enough for most users? Barnard and I discussed that at length, and I think we concluded that there’s no way to know without trying. So they went ahead and launched Launch Center at the unbelievably good price of $0.99, and now we can all try it. Barnard says that they’re getting about 1,000 downloads a day, and they’re especially big in Japan.
A Better Mental Model
Federico Viticci at MacStories wrote a thoughtful post last week about the shortcomings of Apple’s iOS home screen. The problem is that its “badges on a table” metaphor is not quite flexible enough sometimes. It forces users to think about launching an app and then finding a task, even though one or two taps might seem like enough to cut straight to the action. Apple has had to hack its own interface with features like Notification Center to speed things up.
Launch Center started as a way to extend Notification Center, but the first version was rejected by Apple. The Launch Center of today is like a shelf containing its own list of actions chosen by the user. Barnard says they’re considering making an “experimental” version for pro users, letting people choose from a variety of different launcher styles to see what works for them.
Whether or not we’re conscious of them, I believe these kinds of time-savers and mental models are important to everyone with a smartphone. RWW fans almost certainly don’t know this, but I co-host a weekly podcast with my friend Jamie from App Advice about what to do with all these devices. We discussed Launch Center when we first heard of it and again in great detail two days ago, because we’re both frantically searching for ways to work this app into our lives. For now, I think we’ve both decided to just stick it on our docks first and find a way to use it over time.
In my Launch Center right now, I’ve got the Instagram camera launcher, ‘compose tweet’ in Tweetbot (my Twitter client of choice), and a few Web bookmarks I use all the time, like my Kippt inbox. It’s still very much an experiment, but that’s the fun of Launch Center. If you’re looking for ways to get a little more oomph out of your iPhone, check out Launch Center and share what you come up with.
With $5 million in funding from Benchmark Capital, webpage sharing service Bo.lt launches today after about a year in private beta. Like a “Bit.ly on steroids,” the service lets you paste any URL into its copy engine or bookmarklet, creating a duplicate of the page on its servers.
Once copied, Bo.lt lets you quickly edit the page itself. You can change the text, edit and delete images and text and change links — either through the Bo.lt visual editor or its HTML editor. You can then share the page on Twitter or Facebook through its customizable URL and let other people edit or make changes which are tracked.
The page editor tool itself is extremely intuitive to use, and is pretty fun if you’re creatively messing around with web pages and pretty useful if you’re trying to complete actual work like A/B testing site code changes or codelessly trying out different headlines, images and fonts on a content page.
Bo.lt serves up realtime analytics on each page, showing you the amount of traffic from Twitter, Facebook and Google as well as providing more webmaster-friendly data like differences in page load time. The service also lets you see all user Bo.lting activity in a Community feed, and lets you explore other users’ activity visually when you click on their profile page.
As with any content aggregation service, there’s always the looming specter of copyright issues, but co-founder Matthew Roche tells me that the tool is content provider friendly in that Bo.lt still serves up a given page’s ads and analytics systems. “It’s way of preserving the form ad and visibility of the content while increasing the reach,” he says. As a tool enabling sharable webpage changes like this has never existed before, it remains to be seen exactly how content owners will react to their content being altered and shared in this way.
Bo.lt plans on monetizing through premium accounts that give users the ability to create Bo.lt pages under their own domain names as well as other power user features like suppression of the automatic share to the Community feed. Right now partners like Houseplans.com, Second Porch and Smart Destinations are all using Bo.lt to target web pages to customers.
While the simple page-editing aspect of this is pretty awesome, co-founders Matthew and Jamie Roche have a grander vision, “We are building a true page sharing network, you should be able to share webpages the way you share stuff on YouTube and Flickr.”
The service begins rolling out to early signups at 8am PST today, and a hundred interested TechCrunch readers can get priority access here.
Source: The Saturn Fly-By
Source: Why Google Wants Your Kid’s SSN
A day in the life of a famous tech blogger (citation needed): I was pitched a story yesterday, an exclusive no less, on an ‘interesting announcement’ from Grapple Mobile, which provides technology and services for cross-platform mobile app development.
Sure, I said. Share away, I said.
Turns out the story, which was embargoed until ‘first thing tomorrow’ to confuse matters even further, concerns a financing round. Which didn’t occur.
In a press release, Grapple Mobile says it has rejected $10 million venture capital funding offers to bankroll its expansion. To be more specific, the startup says it has received 2 substantial term sheets from VC firms in the United States and the United Kingdom.
But turned them down because they didn’t need to raise money after all.
It’s a funny (and apparently efficient) way of getting attention, but I’m not so sure why there needs to be any ‘exclusives’, let alone embargoes, about this sort of non-news. Grapple Mobile adds that it has exceeded its revenue expectation by 550% from original company forecasts, which is equally meaningless, since we don’t learn what those original company forecasts were.
I mean, they could have projected to make $1 in 2010 for all I know.
And no, they can’t send me the received terms sheets – those are confidential.
Anyway, Grapple says it is looking to acquire technology and mobile operations that will allow it to extend its existing service, and says it’s already in advanced discussions to buy a technology centric recruitment agency. Unfortunately, they’re not sharing which one, for how much and how such an acquisition would fit into their strategy.
Bizarre stuff, I say, further amplified by Grapple Mobile founder Jamie True’s quoted statement on his company not raising funding from any VC firms whatsoever:
â€œGrapple has a unique energy and excess funds are flattering but not what we are looking for right now.â€
Duly noted, Jamie. Thanks for sharing!
Any other companies who haven’t raised VC funding and would like to tell the world?
jamie writes “Our reaction to the music that we love stimulates the flow of dopamine into certain sections of the brain, concludes a new study out of McGill University. The findings ‘help to explain why music is of such high value across all human societies,’ the scientists note.”