A Shift In Search

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Photo by: Gethiredfast.com

I don’t remember trends changing so much, so fast, when I was young. Today, in the world of the Internet, you really can’t count on anything being dominant for too long. I was a little surprised to learn that Google, Yahoo, and Bing are getting some serious competition from smartphone apps. It is becoming increasingly popular to search for information on apps that focus on the specific interests you are investigating.. I am quickly learning that more and more of my friends are really becoming quite dependent on the apps they like. I guess it only makes sense that they would seek counsel from information sources they trust.

Tech Crunch, a tech site, recently noted that most of our research is being done on our smartphones as compared to desktops, To quote them “Google is all search for everything but can’t necessarily tell us in a click the best restaurant or what the price is on a coveted item. We use niche travel apps such as Kayak to look up travel info, Trulia to search for homes and local business search company Yelp to look up local businesses.”

Tech Crunch pointed out that a Nielsen consumer report says we’re “spending an average of 34 hours using the Internet on our mobile phones every month compared to 27 hours using the Internet on our desktop.”

There’s lots of interesting information on this. Click here to read more.

Appy Times

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I probably have more apps on my iPhone than 10 other people combined. Every time I hear about a new application, I have to have it. I have so many apps that I can’t find most of them. I could be called an app hoarder.

This week alone I downloaded People Celebrity Watch, Khan Academy, Trip Advisor, and Klooff. I should be embarrassed to say this but I love my apps. I am amazed at what they can accomplish and I’m hopeful that the innovation will continue.

I have filled all the pages on my cell phone with apps, and the rest are stored behind the scenes. I have to use the search box to retrieve any given app because I would never be able to find it on my own.

I am not alone. About 102 billion mobile apps will be downloaded in 2013, according to a Gartner Group study. Those will generate $26 billion in revenues.

Ninety-one percent of the apps downloaded this year will be free. That percentage will climb to 94.5 in 2017.

We waited a long time for these appy times. Enjoy them. Explore!

Appy News

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If you watched the video I posted yesterday from Mashable, the tech blog, about International CES, you would know that smartphone apps are going to have a much stronger presence at the show. I am thrilled because apps make our lives so much easier.

There is even going to be a “appy hour” for everyone to meet each other. How cute is that?

The world of apps is amazing. What did we do before them? Some of them were available in hand-held devices. Now we carry one small unit that does it all.

A few days ago I saw a former client at the Miami International Airport when I was about to board my flight back to New York. Shane Samole, CEO of Excalibur Electronics, used to produce hand-held gadgets that did a lot of what we get now right on our smartphones apps, like word and sports games, dictionaries, mind teasers, and children’s activities. We never thought back then that all these little devices would be replaced by software on our cells.

Samole is now involved in the next evolution of consumer products but he wouldn’t reveal any details. Once an entrepreneur, always an entrepreneur.

Meanwhile, thanks to Mashable, here is a preview of some of the apps we are going to see at International CES. Read the list and then click here to find out more about each app. Some of these are mindblowers. Most of them are available on all mobile phone formats.

1. Match Paint Colors

2. Use Your Phone as a Level

3. Start Your Car

4. Measure Stuff Using Your Camera Lens

5. Create Blueprints (or Design Your Dream Room)

6. Visualize Your Home Using Augmented Reality

7. Monitor Your Heart Rate

8. Use Your Phone as a Remote Control

9. Change the Color of Your Lightbulbs

10. Program Your DVR Remotely

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Is There an App for my Heartburn?

Did you see the story in the New York Times this morning about how difficult it is for software App developers to make a living? Here is the link. When I read this story I just wanted to weep. The technology business moves so fast that one day you’re a hero, the next day you’re an unknown. You go from the highest of the high, to the lowest of low.

It is sort of like the entertainment business. I am fascinated by people who have such a passion for the arts that they are willing to starve their entire life for the one chance of making it big. The same thing happens in the App business. Everyone who felt that they had the million dollar idea left their day jobs, cashed in their investments to float them for awhile, and begged others to chip in as well.

Before I go any further, I am not saying this is the scenario for every developer, but it certainly is for the majority of the 600,000 apps that are available today. Most of the app creators started out with an idea, immediately developed it and never really researched the market potential. They also have no money for marketing, so it just resides in the App Store with little to no exposure.

The part that hurts the most, is that developing Apps today has become the so-called excuse for not doing something more substantial or more productive. I can’t begin to tell you how many people I meet at cocktail parties or other events who tell me they are busy developing an App, when I know they are basically using that line instead of saying they are out of work. I know too many friends who are still supporting their adult children because they supposedly got stung by the entrepreneur bug and want to develop an App. That really is a euphemism for “I am taking some time off from the real working world to screw around.”

I don’t know how it happens, but I often get asked to review the App concept by the grandparents, parents, friends or lovers. More times than not, the idea person can’t even articulate what the App is all about. They talk in circles and never get to the point. Then when you ask to see the business plan, they look at you like you’re asking them to recite the Gettysburg address. They don’t want to bother putting a document together because the “smart” investors will recognize their genius and just hand over the money.

I stopped taking meetings because I found out that I was putting in more time than the developer. I am not an authority on the true merits of an app, but I can spot a “slacker” from miles away. I really want to urge others who want to develop an app to do it at night or on weekends, the returns are just not there.

>>
Lois Whitman-Hess

>> Founder

>> HWH PR

>> 928 Broadway Suite 1105

>> New York, NY 10010

>> (917) 822-2591
>> Loisw@hwhpr.c

>>

The Mole Detective

OMG there is an app for this too!

I know that I have your attention. You would be crazy not to read on.

We are all worried about Melanoma. There is no secret what happens if a Melanoma is discovered late. However, if it is caught early, there is a 95 per cent survival rate.

This app is what I call, “Miracle of miracles.” It takes a picture of your mole and gives you a diagnosis immediately.

That is why I love the tech business so much. Just when you think you have heard of everything, along comes another awesome invention.

The Mole Detective uses the universal ABCDE analysis combined with shape recognition software. The acronym means Asymmetry, Borders, Color, Diameter and Evolution. The basic idea is that you keep track of your moles at home and watch for changes. The Mole Detective is the first app to calculate symptoms of melanoma right on your phone. The app analyzes potentially cancerous skin moles, records and catalogs the mole evolution, and reminds you to recheck your moles at a pre-determined time.

I was going to write a lot of copy about my challenges with Basal Cell Carcinomas, but that is a harmless skin cancer that is easily removed. The fact that my legs look like rail road tracks is another story. I am grateful that I have a dermatologist who screens me carefully and knows when to dig deep. No pain, just a healing process.

Click here to visit The Mole Detective website.

Please watch the video. You will get an excellent demo of how the app works. I know that many of my readers rarely click on the videos. This is the one time that you absolutely should. This app is not intended to take the place of regular visits to your skin doctor. It is a supplement.

The “Highlight” Of My Day

I was having dinner the other night at ABC Kitchen in New York City, when all of a sudden I received an alert from an application on my iPhone called “Highlight.” “Highlight” is an app that alerts you when someone you know is nearby. I have been using it for over a year and I get beeped all day long in my office if contacts of mine are somewhere within a few square blocks. Most of the time, I quickly glance at my iPhone screen just to see who is in the vicinity and then go right back to work.

Not this time. I received a notice that a long lost friend was sitting somewhere near me. I haven’t seen this guy since I was 18 (you figure out the math). Two years ago we met up on Facebook. I was looking for him for years because at one time we were very close. There was a group of us that used to go dancing twice a week. He was one of them. He dated a few of my friends but we were the ones who stayed in touch for a few years. There were nights that we would talk on the phone for an hour or two when we supposed to be doing homework. Our lives went in different directions and that was the end of that.

When I found him on Facebook I was so excited. I sent him a message and heard nothing back. I did that a few times and I finally got a message back saying that my name sounded familiar but he couldn’t place me. He asked me to tell him more. The more I told him the fuzzier he became. I was shocked and rather upset that someone I was so curious about didn’t even remember me. I couldn’t believe that someone who came to my “Sweet 16″ (the night JFK was killed) and who I saw on a frequent basis for over two years, had no recollection of who I was.

He now lives in Los Angeles. Once or twice a year he sends me a message that he is going to be in New York and we should get together. I ignore his messages because I don’t want to meet a stranger and continue to play 20 questions. I have this character on my email list, Facebook friends, Linkedin contacts and yes, “Highlight” pals. By now you must have guessed that when I received my “Highlight” alert the other night, it was to tell me that that he was just a few feet away.

I didn’t say anything to anyone at my table, but quickly looked around. It took me five seconds to spot him. He was still attractive for a man in his 60s but he did age. I got to stare at him for an hour. I have no idea why he didn’t receive an alert that I was there too, but remember this is a guy who had no clue who I was. Then I did the unthinkable. I don’t know how I had the nerve. I went over to his table to ask him if he had the time. He and his male friend promptly said “10PM.” He asked me if I knew how late the restaurant stayed opened and I said “I didn’t know.”

I don’t want to tell you his name because there is a good chance he reads my blog. If I hear from him I will let you know. For those of you who are interested in expanding your radar screen, download the app called “Highlight.” It is so easy to use. If someone near you also has “Highlight,” his or her profile will show up on your phone. You can see their name, photos of them, mutual friends, and anything else they have chosen to share. When you meet someone, “Highlight” helps you see what you have in common. And when you forget that person’s name at a party a week later, “Highlight” can help you remember it.

Just To Be Clear, You Can Watch Your TV Programs On Other Screens

The future is here now so take advantage of it. Many of the network and cable channels are providing apps (some you have to pay for) on your iPad, iPhone, and Android so you can stream your favorite programs on-the-go and watch them from remote locations. All you need is a wi-fi connection. You don’t know how liberating it is until you have tried it.

Planning outside activities around our TV schedule has always been a challenge for us. We just get a lot of enjoyment from many of the TV programs we watch. Call us couch potatoes, Ma and Pa Kettle, anti-social, and non-sophisticates, we don’t care. The truth is we enjoy a lot of sports, HGTV House Hunters/International, Discovery, Bravo, and networking programs better than a $100 a person meal. Our DVR is maxed out.

If a certain network or TV show is not available on an app now, I guarantee it will be shortly. In order for you to better understand what is going on, ESPN just did an instructional video (very short) on how to watch ESPN on the web. I really recommend that you watch it so you will understand how to secure your other channels.

ESPN is a class act when it comes to doing it right.

I Want My Drafts Whenever, Wherever

Let me be the first to tell you the problem with certain applications. Unless you use them a lot you wouldn’t know this.

Your work in “draft form” does not transfer from app to app. For example, I was writing this post on the WordPress app on my iPad.

The iPad’s battery was running low so I switched to WordPress on my iPhone.

I couldn’t finish the post I was working on because it was saved in draft form on my iPad. Drafts only reside where you create them. If I had posted it, I would be able to view it from any of my devices: iPhone, iPad, iPod, and even my laptop.

This is going to be true for any app that allows you to create. A draft is a draft and it stays on the unit you are working on.

If you understand technology you would understand why this all makes sense. I am not a true techie. All I can say is that I want my drafts to transfer this way so I can work in stages from any device.

A girl can only dream.

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