All Articles Tagged "mobile apps"
What does it take to get a start and run a tech company? Tony Morris, the man behind Red LeeMor’s, Field Tabs Kickstarter campaign had a passionate response: “Entrepreneurship isn’t for everyone. …You really have to believe in what you want to do and it takes endless hours because there is just so much to do and you want to get it done in a timely fashion. You also can’t be focused on profit in the beginning at all, because what you want to do is, put your idea out, refine it, and drum up a following first and foremost.”
The hardest thing about starting a tech company, Morris says, is “unfortunately, most people talk themselves out of pursuing a good idea and it never even gets off the ground.”
Field Tabs is the latest mobile productivity app designed by Red LeeMor Mobile that aims to simplify project teamwork. “We are trying to provide people with the tools to bring their dreams to life. We want to empower people, that’s what we believe in,” Morris says. Features and benefits of the tool include real-time instant messaging to aid team communication, a way to easily insert a signature on to PDF documents that require them, and easy ways to send documents over the cloud.
If all of the Kickstarter funding is raised (the campaign ends on December 8), Red LeeMor has a tentative release date of Spring 2014 for the new app. In the interim they will be working on coding and allot a two- or three-month testing period where it will be sent to college students, chosen because they are “early adopters” of technology. Households that can use the app to keep DIY projects in order, and, of course, business people will also be included in the test.The general marketplace will pay $4.99 for the app. Field Tabs will be available for iPhone and iPad, with the Android app will follow the IOS release.
Kickstarter is serving a dual purpose. First, of course, to gain funding. But it’s also a promotional tool. “Crowdfunding is the new way for entrepreneurs to raise funds,” Morris says. “It also helps [companies] find the people and groups who are most interested in your type of project. So although it’s had its challenges we’ve also gotten a lot of positive feedback as well.”
The success of Red LeeMor’s first app, Field Scribe, launched in 2012, has set the tone for the company’s expectations for Field Tabs. Three years ago, when the company was founded by three brothers Philip, Christopher and Tony Morris and longtime friend Kevin Lee, it was Christopher, who, through his work as an architect, identified a need in the industry for these sorts of apps. Field Scribe was developed to target architects and contractors who need help keeping track of their various development projects.
“It’s done extremely well,” Tony Morris told MN Business. “Field Scribe is not only a success here in the U.S. but abroad as well, from England to Saudi Arabia.” Although Christopher brought his idea to his brothers and their friend in 2008 it took a while to develop the app to its current level of simplicity and efficiency.
It wasn’t just Christopher’s background in architecture that was a resource for the company. Philip Morris’ background in engineering, video production, and software development was important. Tony Morris’ has a PR, marketing and sales background. And Kevin Lee started in IT, design and programming. Although all four partners work in different locations, with two being in California and two in Texas, they make it a point to meet electronically twice a week and to meet face-to-face at least twice a year.
Up next from Red LeeMor is an app titled, Amber Lense, that will help people stay in touch with family members, friends, and co-workers in the unfortunate event of a disaster or emergency situation.
During the past five years, I’ve tried my fair share of organization methods in an effort to find something that could act as both a calendar and a to-do list. My ideal tool would be a hybrid of prioritization that told me not only what needed to be done, but could also illustrate my commitments and provide me with an overview of my schedule so I could plan accordingly.
I’ve tried it all — from old school, ring-bound academic planners with color-coded assignments and meetings, to Post-it memos, to scrawling reminders on the bathroom mirror. Everything works for a while, but when you’re constantly updating your life on the go, a mobile solution eventually has to come into play. Google Calendar and iCal never seemed to suffice. Apps such as Out of Milk function better as shopping lists than reminders.
Finally, I discovered the planner that worked best for my desire to remember who I was meeting for dinner as I checked who I needed to call back and what I needed to buy before heading to the airport. The color-blocked, fill-in-the-date diary is great for my personal reminders when I’m home (or out carrying a large enough bag), but when dealing with operations for a small team, it’s no good.
Enter Asana. It’s an all-purpose, hyper-productivity task managing platform with thoughtful functionality. A quick rundown of why it works for me:
Workspaces for every need
The app automatically creates segmented workspaces for personal projects and any company associated with your email address. Manual workspaces are another option, and team members can join by invitation.
Projects and tasks galore
Create projects for any and everything that needs to be done and assign team members tasks within that project. Include details in the description field and even create subtasks. The entire team can alter the workspace, so if the social media manager needs a file before he starts a new Instagram campaign, he can follow the editor’s task and be notified when it’s completed.
No snooze buttons
Due dates and comments make it easy to monitor progress on all assignments. Asana sends alerts notifying assignees of overdue tasks to the associated inbox and primary email account. And though due dates can be changed, a little birdie will leave a system message telling the slacker’s business to anyone curious enough to check.
Real-time updates everywhere
No more sending dozens of emails to remind everyone what’s planned, that mostly just flood already crowded inboxes. Web and mobile apps give on-the-go access to my team — a perfect solution for a start-up crew scattered across the city.
Since my team began using Asana, we’ve seen a noticeable decrease in “Are you done, yet?” group messages and we don’t have to set aside time at meetings or send follow-up emails of chores for the week. As soon as someone brings it up, we add it to the appropriate project and assign it to the responsible party.
I have to say, it works a lot better than a Post-it.
Things are in hyperdrive over at Snapchat. It has been reported that the self-destructing messaging app is aggressively recruiting sales people from Stanford as well as USC for the impending debut of a monetization plan, reports TechCrunch. All this while it is raising $100 million and has a valuation as high as $1 billion according to some. “We’ve also heard the company may be in talks with its $13.5 million Series A round leader Benchmark Capital about joining the Series B. We’ve also heard that this round has already closed, but can’t confirm that yet,” reports TechCrunch. So salaries could be decent? The company is looking hire additional sales talent.
The valuation may be high according to come observers, but the app is rapidly growing in popularity. Snapchat has attracted young people (high school and college age) in particular. In fact, Kleiner Perkins partner Mary Meeker’s latest Internet Trends report found that Snapchat has surpassed Instagram in volume of photos shared. But as the app is now being used by other age groups, the use has spiked. Users now send 150 million images per day.
Snapchat users can privately send photo after photo while continuing to carry on multiple conversations with friends. “These photos (and videos) delete themselves less than 10-seconds after being viewed, encouraging users to create and send more ‘Snaps’” explains TechCrunch.
Due to the usage boost, Stanford-schooled co-founders of the Los Angeles-based startup have been recruiting at their alma mater, and the University Of Southern California, reports TechCrunch. Right now the staff is just 12, but the company is moving to a larger office soon.
But before the company does a huge sales push, they might have to deal with an issue. It was discovered that expired photos can actually be recovered. According to Digital Trends, an investigation by Decipher Forensics found that metadata from your expired Snapchats is still on your Android. You’ll need certain tools to pull these pictures back. Conveniently, Decipher Forensics has those tools — for a price. “As a digital forensics firm, we offer for anyone wanting to retrieve their Snapchats for an affordable price of $300-$600. Parents and law enforcement can mail us phones, and we will extract the Snapchat data, and send the phone and data back in a readable format,” researcher Richard Hickman told Digital Trends.
And given the young age of some Snapchat users, it’s disturbing that there are pages where nude Snapchats are being posted. Parents and young people: Be careful out there. The worldwide Web is like the Wild West sometimes.
Springtime is here and with it comes flowers, sunshine… and technology? While you might not automatically associate technology with the outdoors, there are several ways that tech innovations, gadgets, and websites can help us make the most of spring. Read on for 10 ways you can enhance this season with tech!
As we slowly crawl toward spring, you can turn to technology to help you get in shape, get organized, clean the house, and more. Half of all African-American cell phone owners have downloaded a mobile phone app, according to the Pew Internet and American Life Project, and as far back as November 2011, mobile app usage surpassed mobile browser usage. So here are nine apps and websites that can help you do a bit of self-improvement this spring.
Research In Motion today unveiled its long-awaited BlackBerry 10 operating system and BlackBerry Z10 device , a launch that the company hopes will bring the company back to the forefront of the smartphone market.
With promoted tweets (the image above came from one) and a big event, the company has also announced that it will be known as BlackBerry forever more (RIP RIM) and Alicia Keys will serve as global creative director for the company. The new name comes with new tickers on the NASDAQ (BBRY) and the Toronto Stock Exchange (BB).
The BlackBerry Z10 will run the new operating system, which, ABC News says, will be available in the US in March starting at $199 with a contract (available at AT&T and other carriers). The price will be $599 It does away with the now-iconic BlackBerry keyboard. ABC says, “It’s not a beautiful or elegant phone, but it’s well-made and comfortable to hold.”
There’s also a Blackberry Q10 model that hangs on to the QWERTY keyboard. It will be available around the world starting in April, according to The Chicago Tribune.
“BlackBerry 10 devices are absolutely the best typing experience in the industry. Period,” Mashable quotes Thorsten Heins, CEO of Mashable.
Like bestselling Android and iPhones before it, the key to this phone are the apps. The company just recently announced that it has changed the name of its app store to BlackBerry World, which the company has said will emphasize music and video content.
The article goes on to say that the phone requires some guidance to figure out how to use it (not good) and doesn’t take pictures quite as well as the competition (also not good). Mashable also goes into some detail about all the features and benefits. And you can get more detail about that from the press release announcing the new phone.
Also not positive, Forbes reports that shares of the company dropped on news that people will have to wait for the phone to be available. (The phone will be available sooner in the UK, Canada, and the United Arab Emirates.)
“In the case of BlackBerry, the early commenters have mostly good things to say about the software and the phones, but there also remains widespread skepticism that the phones are revolutionary enough to stop the erosion of the company’s user base, let alone lure current users of Apple and Samsung phones,” writes Forbes’ Eric Savitz.
So folks… will you be converted by this new BlackBerry?
Jason Young has a mission. The founder and CEO of Mindblown Labs, an Oakland, CA-based education technology startup, wanted to find a way to help young adults, especially young African Americans, become financially literate. So he came up with a way to entice teens to learn about money by creating a mobile app.
The Mindblown Life app is a social game that combines life-simulation elements and humor. Its aim is to help young adults develop money management and financial literacy skills. According to Blackweb 2.0, Mindblown Life “uses Facebook integration and push notifications to create a rich, in-game life filled with meaningful social experiences.” Similar to “The Sims” game, in Mindblown Life users can attend friends’ concerts, take them on dinner dates, or play mini-games with them. Users also select a career and perform reflex-based mini-games at work to earn “Money,” “Skill,” and “Reputation” points.
“Millions of students are leaving high school and college without gaining a basic level of financial literacy,” Young told the website. Social media is the perfect way to reach this demographic,, he added. “These same young adults are hyper-connected, constantly interacting with friends, and using the Internet and smart-phones to discover new things. Mindblown Life enables us to reach people where they are.”
In efforts to officially launch Mindblown Life the company launched a Kickstarter campaign at the beginning of the month with hopes of reaching $60,000. With a week left Mindblown Labs has come extremely close to their goal having raised $54,661 to date.
Currently, Mindblown Life is in private beta and will launch on iOS in the beginning of 2013. After the jump, you can check out a video about the app/game. Do you think young people would actually use it?
Do you find yourself checking out online reviews via your smartphone when you are in a store? Well, nearly 70 percent of blacks used a mobile connection for shopping research. According to the “African-American Consumers: Still Vital, Still Growing 2012 Report“ from Nielsen, 64 percent checked out a retailer’s app or mobile site; 61 percent read the product reviews; and 57 percent looked up prices to compare. And 50 percent liked to consult shopping sites or app.
So a set of shopping apps will come in handy this Black Friday.
The BuyOrNot iPhone App is now available at iTunes for free for a limited time. The app allows shoppers to quickly see how an item is rated by other shoppers while they’re in-store and without opening a Web browser. Scan the barcode of a product you’re considering, and BuyOrNot automatically searches for rating scores (e.g. 4 stars out of 5) and the number of ratings at each store that carries the item. The search is conducted across more than 100 online merchants.
Dealnews goes beyond the doorbusters by letting you browse leaked ads and track bargains that might be better-than-Black-Friday discounts. If you’re on a tight budget, Mint might be the app for you. It tracks purchases and helps users see what they’ve spent in the past. Users can check bank account balances and credit cards, and set up alerts when funds run low.
Just like frequent flier miles, ShopKick gives you points for spending that you can put toward new purchases, anything from a Starbucks latte to designer jeans. Okay, so now you have bags full of goodies and a ton of receipts. Paperphobic app lets you snap an photo of your receipts and email, archive and organize them by expense type.
That is everything soup to nuts. Get ready, set, shop!
There are lots of online tools out there intended to help you keep your personal finances in order. Even your bank is helping out with lots of Web-based programs and apps for managing your accounts. But plugging lots of personal information into an app can lead to trouble.
Business Insider suggests users take precautions, like being mindful of what you’re accessing in mobile hotspots and keeping an eye out for fake apps.
Separately but related, they also remind readers that an app is not the equivalent of financial planning. Good advice alert! Crunching the numbers in order to plan for the long-term or a big purchase is totally different from managing everyday or regular expenses.
Fidelity Investments, the country’s most popular 401(K) administrator, said this week that the contributions from its 12 million account holders continued to be strong during the second quarter. However, the value of the accounts themselves are down 2.4 percent from March, averaging $72,800. Fluctuations in the stock market, for example, have to be taken into account.
So personal finance apps are a good thing, but as with all things online, proceed with caution. While we’re on that topic, here’s a story outlining some common online scams to be wary of, a couple of which appeared on our own recent list of top scams.
The lack of support networks has been identified as a critical aspect to involving more African Americans in the fields of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM). While I agree that this is very important, I do not agree that African Americans lack technology support groups. I assert that the problem is that the African American community at large is not aware of the networks that do exist.
There are three that I have worked with over the years. I am sure there are others and I am even more certain that most of our people, particularly our young people are not aware of these groups. I know this because I do quite a bit of public speaking around the country. When I ask students if they are familiar with The Black Data Processing Associates (BDPA), BiTWiSE, or Blacks In Technology the answer is invariably no.
In all fairness, BiTWiSE and Blacks in Technology are recent developments. But BDPA has been around since 1975. I have been a professional software developer since 1986 and I only recently became aware of BDPA. We must do a better job of making our folks aware of these organizations.
This is not an indictment against BDPA as I personally know that they make every effort to ensure that our people know about their good work. The charge is ours. Any time I speak to a young person who has demonstrated an interest in technology, the first question I ask is ‘where do you live’ and if BDPA has a chapter in that city, I direct him or her to contact the chapter in their area.
The abundance of knowledge, experiences and social capital that exists within BDPA must be leveraged if our community is to become a player in the global technology game. As a speaker and blogger I am constantly receiving questions related to technology and how to get involved in the technology arena.
I am happy to answer these questions but how much better would it be for the learner to not only pose the question to a larger group but possibly someone who has experienced the same circumstance. This is a common occurrence on the web community, Blacks In Technology (BIT). BIT is a wonderful online community of Black technologists who are ready to share their stories, knowledge, wisdom and encouragement not only to those who are looking for others like themselves who are already involved in technology careers but also technology aspirants.
Without these kinds of support groups, African Americans in technology may began to deal with feelings of isolation. I can attest to this circumstance personally. Since I graduated from college with my undergraduate degree in computer science in 1986 I have rarely had the pleasure of working in an IT department with another African American.
This issue of isolation occurs in high school, the workplace as well as on college campuses. It is also one of the main reasons that African Americans do not persist in STEM careers.
Many scholars studying this issue from S. Craig Watkins in his book The Young and the Digital as well as Jane Margolis in the book Stuck in the Shallow End have reported on the importance of support groups or networks to combat the issue of isolation.
I would have loved being a part of either of these groups when I first became a software engineer. Why? Because it is great to be able to speak with someone who can relate to your circumstance. Someone who can understand what you may be going through.
I can remember having to explain to members of my family and friends what exactly it was that I did as a computer programmer. The people in my community simply did not understand that I was CREATING software, not using it! I also never had anyone to talk shop with for the early years of my career.
This is why I am so excited about this third group, BiTWiSE, which is a networking group dedicated to the African American software engineer and is sponsored by Microsoft. You can find BiTWiSE on LinkedIn under LinkedIn Groups. You can simply search Groups and enter ‘BiTWiSE’.
Technology support groups do indeed exist in the African American community. However they become less effective if they are unknown to the people who can benefit from them the most. We must do a better job of promoting the efforts of these groups in order to remove yet another obstacle to the inclusion of African-Americans participation in the digital society.
Kai Dupé is a doctoral student at Pepperdine University where he is conducting research on Why African American Males Are Underrepresented in Computing. Kai can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by visiting his website at www.