Embracing couple using mobile phone in cafe

What the hell is a sexual consent app anyway?

The recent publicity of prominent sexual assault cases has everyone on edge. It’s a hard thing to read about in the first place, let alone be inundated with day after day on social media or in real life. For assault survivors, it’s a million times worse than that. It’s understandable that the question on the tip of everyone’s tongue is, “How do we fix this?” Many people are talking to their children more seriously about the issue now. Colleges are embracing Title IX, with varying levels of success. And a couple people, in order to fix this pesky, irritatingly nuanced…


I fell in love with a Soviet robot and all I got was hacked

You get a message from an unknown number that doesn’t say much more than “hello,” and after a brief response, those dreaded words: “your device has been compromised.” You splutter and demand answers. The person on the other line is unhelpful; weaves some grand tale of identity theft and infinitely valuable lost codes lingering in hyperspace—then, without further ado, he connects you to another system. The music becomes more ominous; the faux-iPhone messenger turns into a green retro display, and the mysterious and threatening K.O.M.R.A.D. greets you. But you’d be kinda shaken up too if you’d been left alone to…

hillary 2016

Hillary Clinton’s app will make you feel empty inside

In another attempt to reach out to young voters, former Secretary Clinton’s campaign has released a Hillary 2016 app. The concept is pretty simple: login daily to complete challenges, for which you are rewarded stars/points. You can cash in these rewards for items to decorate your Campaign HQ with. Challenges include quizzes such as the “Trump or False” quiz, which, only by taking the quiz, could I understand wanted me to guess whether Trump or someone else had said a quote. You can decorate the HQ with items as varied as starter, modern, or vintage couches, various “X group for…

dangerous writing app

New writing app deletes your work if you don’t concentrate

I’ve never been a writing-within-hours-of-the-deadline type of person. In college, I was probably an anomaly of a student. I’d write my papers in advance, then pop into my professors’ office hours for feedback before turning in a final draft. Some peers called me an overachiever. Others had no idea how I could ever not write a paper the night before it was due, fueled by Five Hour Energy Shots and Totino’s Pizza Rolls. The answer was always simple: I set myself early personal deadlines because I’m easily distracted, and needed the extra time to slowly gnaw away at a project. That’s…


Hyperspektiv, a “modern kaleidoscope” to deform reality

Allan Lavell has broken the fulcrum that holds reality together. Last year he gave us a way to turn any media or camera feed into glitched-out gifs—glitch art as easy as applying Instagram filters. He called it Glitch Wizard. But that was last year. Lavell has moved on since then. Get with the times, people. It’s all about Hyperspektiv now: his newly released “modern kaleidoscope” for iPhone. It’s fucking wild. If Glitch Wizard was a way to distort reality then Hyperspektiv lets you leave it behind entirely. It has a range of FX for you to inject into your phone’s…

true love tinder robot

This GLaDOS-inspired robot brings science to dating apps

As a young twenty-something, a small amount of my young adult life has been spent hovered around the phones of my friends, laughing as we collectively swipe right and left on Tinder. Being in a long-term committed relationship myself, I’ve never personally experienced the whims of Tinder, but its attached lingo and stigma have breezed past me in the conversations of acquaintances and their recurring stories of failed Tinder dates. Thus comes NYU Interactive Telecommunications Program graduate student Nicole He’s “True Love Tinder Robot.” Put your Tinder-armed phone in front of the robotic hand and place your hands onto the…


Stand aside, Waze: Mapkin is a GPS app that gives directions like a local

Mapkin is a free GPS app that gives you directions like a local, tailoring your route with hints and suggestions submitted by drivers who have driven it before. While on the road, drivers can record messages reporting obstacles or landmarks such as, “Take a left at the light onto Main Street, just past the gas station,” or “The road is really curvy up ahead, so take it slow,” as listed by the app’s website.  All driver-submitted tips are then listened to, verified and utilized in the route directions by the Mapkin team. “We use a variety of tools including map…


Let the Monument Valley studio help you meditate with this new app

Would you trust ustwo to help you relax and let out all your stress? In a way, if you’ve played through Monument Valley, you already have. I can’t speak for you but I watched my mum play that game through in one session and she was visibly chilled the hell out. I heard her deep sighs of relief and saw her entire posture deflate in that armchair over the duration. I imagine the game had a similar effect upon me.  But PAUSE isn’t a game. It’s ustwo’s latest app and one that apparently combines Tai Chi techniques with proper science…


You’ll miss Instagram’s squares when they’re gone

Instagram announced on Thursday that its signature 1:1 aspect ratio was no more. An update for Android and iOS clients will allow users to upload full-sized portrait and landscape photos. The square will remain Instagram’s fundamental unit, but its value as a cultural currency has been devaluated. Without the hassle of using third-party apps or aggressive cropping to fit images into a square frame, one can only expect the proportion of oblong images in Instagram feeds—currently estimated at 20%—to increase. As The Verge’s Ariha Setalvad points out, this is good news for tourists at the notoriously tall Eiffel Tower. It…