This post will be meaningless to all of you on iOS. But for those of us on Android, read on.
At some point last fall I was prompted to and agreed to make the Hangouts app the default SMS app on my phone. That replaced the default Android SMS app which then also somehow disappeared from my phone, probably in some Android OS update.
From day one of using Hangouts as my default SMS app on Android, I have been unhappy. Hangouts is a slow and clunky mobile app. That’s the antithesis of what an SMS app should be. Its unclear how to do all sorts of things in Hangouts like find a contact and send a message. And I’m always finding myself being pushed to do a Hangout when all I want to do is send a text.
In general, mobile apps should not try to do multiple things. Less is more on mobile. Google made a big mistake trying to merge two fairly different and important features into a single app.
But the biggest problem is the load time on launch. It often takes a minute or more to launch the Hangouts app on my phone. Maybe there is something wrong with my phone (memory, storage?) but I know I am not the only one with this problem so I think the Hangouts app is a problem for many.
This morning I finally hit the tipping point. I was in a cab to LaGuardia and I saw that my daughter had sent me a text last night. I clicked on the notification and waited and waited and waited to see her message. In the midtown tunnel, I went to the play store, searched for SMS apps, picked Chomp, downloaded and installed it, and then made Chomp my default SMS app in settings.
I think its possible that I did all of that faster than Hangouts could show me my daughter’s text. But once Chomp was installed and set as default, I was shown her text instantly.
The Chomp experience is so much better than Hangouts that I quickly sent out an email to a few friends who are on Android and have told me about their frustration with Hangouts. And after flying to Boston and finding a comfortable coffee shop, I am now telling all of you.
If you are using Hangouts as your default SMS app and aren’t happy, take a few seconds to download a free alternative. Chomp is great but I am sure there are others that are also great. I promise you that you will be happier. I certainly am.
Home beer brewing is already a popular activity for hobbyists and ale lovers, but many people might think that wine-making is preserved for the vineyards of France. Hoping to change that, The Miracle Machine is a device for the home that makes a bottle of fine wine from simple ingredients in a couple of days.
Created by wine experts in Napa Valley, California, the device uses accelerated fermentation technology to speed up the process without greatly affecting the quality. Using an array of electrical sensors, transducers, heaters and pumps, the chamber creates an optimized environment for the wine to quickly mature without any action from the user. The machine simply takes a sachet of ingredients, grape concentrate, yeast and water and produces a bottle of wine in a few days. The device comes with a smartphone app that owners can use to select the type of wine they want — there are currently 6 different options, ranging from Napa Valley Chardonnay and an aged Tuscan blend from Italy, to Sonoma-based Sauvignon Blanc and red and white wine from Burgundy. The app can also be used to track the progress of the fermentation and be notified when it’s ready. The video below offers more information about the machine:
Ingredients kits will cost around USD 2, which will make a bottle of wine at a quality equivalent to those available for more than USD 20 in stores, while the device itself will be USD 499. The company also hopes to add more options to its wine list in the near future, as well as launch a Kickstarter campaign. Are there other complex products that could be made in the home through smart tech such as this?
Most people are uneasy about companies making money from the personal data they make available online, but are happy to turn a blind eye if it means they can continue using services such as Facebook for free. Aiming to give web users more control over what they share, Datacoup is a marketplace that lets anyone sell their personal information direct to advertisers.
The data we create on platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Amazon and Google are worth billions of dollars to advertisers, data brokers and businesses. Through Datacoup, users pick and choose basic information, real time social feeds and even credit and debit card purchases if they’re happy to share them with advertisers, as well deciding which brands can buy their information. Datacoup stores the data — which is all anonymous — under bank-level encryption and acts as a broker to sell it to businesses who want it. It then hands a portion of the sale — typically around USD 8 — back to users on a monthly basis.
Datacoup may be just another company looking to make money from data, but the startup recognizes businesses’ drive to scrape information often leaves consumers’ privacy ignored, and what is a cash cow for brands is taken from web users for free. The service lets users maintain greater control over their information and also pays them for handing it over. Are there other ways to get consumers more actively involved in the management of their own data?
In 2014, South & Central American consumers are refusing to face daily pain points alone. Instead, they’re turning to brands that provide relief in the form of flexible (& imaginative) pricing and discounts. Check out the 'painkillers' from Coffee Lab, PlayArte, Coca-Cola Chile, Opticolor and more.
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One way to aid increasingly busy, stressful (and toxic) lifestyles in Asia's cities? A rediscovery (and 2014 reimagining) of traditional herbal products and practices to promote health, wellness and balance. Featuring Herborist, Hyatt on the Bund, Habu and more.
Driven by ability, curiosity or necessity, Africans are busy inventing and reinventing almost everything. Organizations that fuel this endless rush towards – and participate in – SEED FUN will attract love and attention from all consumers, not just the individuals and startups they help.
Why Not Replace People With Technology?
In the second half of the 90s I was involved in consulting in the area of shared services. Being a sidekick I got to witness the sales pitch. What was the sales pitch? No human beings. Everything in the back office was subject to business rules. The business rules could be codified, programmed and back office work could be automated. No human necessary. Nirvana: 24/7/365 nirvana of efficiency guaranteed to deliver the same outcome each and every time.Tags: technologycustomer servicehuman resourcesMaz Iqbal