This sounds really, really cool. Done right, it could be a huge boon for Android (though it could easily be terrible). Fingers crossed.
You can build just about any app you can imagine with App Inventor. Often people begin by building games like WhackAMole or games that let you draw funny pictures on your friend’s faces. You can even make use of the phone’s sensors to move a ball through a maze based on tilting the phone.
But app building is not limited to simple games. You can also build apps that inform and educate. You can create a quiz app to help you and your classmates study for a test. With Android’s text-to-speech capabilities, you can even have the phone ask the questions aloud.
To use App Inventor, you do not need to be a developer. App Inventor requires NO programming knowledge. This is because instead of writing code, you visually design the way the app looks and use blocks to specify the app’s behavior.
Writing for an audience of millions has some great perks, like having people I haven’t spoken to since high school ask me to troubleshoot their Facebook accounts. But it also comes with some unforeseen side effects, not the least of which is the realization that I have been saying some idioms wrong my entire life. Dunce hat, please.
Case in point: the other day I wrote a post that mentioned that my friends were “chomping at the bit” to get the iPhone 4.
I’m sure some of you are rolling your eyes — the saying obviously refers to the tendency some horses have to champ (def: to bite upon or grind) their metal bits. One commenter was kind enough to correct me, I fixed the error, and the proper authorities revoked my false sense of superiority.
Thing is, I’m hardly alone in getting that particular idiom wrong. As soon as I made the change, I started getting emails from people “correcting” me by saying I should change the word to chomping. According to Google, people use the incorrect chomping version twenty times more often than they use champing. Of course, most people are stupid, so this does little to assuage my bruised ego.
Sidenote: I thought that the word “combat” was spelled with a K until the third grade because I was an avid fan of the classic video game Mortal Kombat. This actually cost me a point on a spelling test. Over fifteen years later, I’m apparently still bitter about it.
Yeah, it’s been a while since my last amazing song choice. I’ll try to grace you all with my superior taste a bit more often from now on, but no promises.
My next selection is The Gambler (no, not the Kenny Rogers song). It’s by a band called fun. The singer is that skinny guy from The Format, which I think had one popular song five years ago and promptly fell off the face of the Earth. Cocaine was probably involved. In any case, he’s started a new band and is still hitting notes that most females can’t.
I’m taking a risk here, because this song is sappy as shit. Flower shops and tugged heartstrings and all that. But it’s been stuck in my head for nearly a year now, so I’m trusting my instincts.
Bonus song: Fun has another great track called Be Calm, which is from the same album. It is less sappy.
This guy is my hero. Seriously.
When I asked if this was legal, the man pointed at the ferret and said “He’s not. I am.”
Here’s a blast from the past, recently rediscovered in the aftermath of a Memorial Day BBQ.
Years ago — I’m thinking ’06, maybe ’07 — one of my good friends decided to hold a party themed around the amazing TV show Arrested Development. There were a lot of cut-offs involved.
I felt obligated to do something to help liven up the festivities, so I threw this ‘song’ together in GarageBand. It’s a combination of some stock loops, snippets of AD dialog, and my brilliance. Unfortunately it can be a bit difficult to hear some of the voices in this mix, but I can’t find the original files so this will have to do.
To be clear, I know this is terrible. It’s 43 seconds you’ll never get back, and the words ‘Daddy Horny Michael’ may start haunting your dreams. Enjoy.
Sidenote: If you haven’t seen AD, you’re missing out. If you’ve seen one episode and didn’t like it, go buy the DVDs and watch from the start. If you have seen multiple episodes and didn’t like it, you’re probably an idiot.
In the last few weeks I’ve had four people tell me they’d read this blog. Initially this surprised me — last time I checked this site doesn’t show up anywhere in Google search results, and I don’t think I’ve tweeted about it in around six months (nor have I updated it, obviously). But a little sleuthing revealed that it is linked to from my Google Profile, and I guess part of the PR game is to cyberstalk your not-so-friendly neighborhood reporter before you reach out to them. You know who you are.
In any case, if people are finding this blog, then I suppose it would be a good idea to put even more amazing content on it. This probably means that I’ll post once tomorrow and promptly forget that this site exists, so don’t get your hopes up.
It probably doesn’t come through on TechCrunch, but I occasionally have strong opinions about various things. One of these things is music. I judge people based on their music taste, and fully expect them to judge me based on mine. So, in the interest of making the world a slightly better place, I’m going to regularly share some of my favorite songs.
First up, for no particular reason, I give you Sweet Jane by The Velvet Underground.
I’m not going to pretend I’m a longtime Lou Reed fan — he didn’t really come onto my radar until I saw Adventureland, in which he’s mentioned frequently (great movie by the way). I don’t even know if this song is in the movie, but I found it some time shortly thereafter and think it’s fantastic.
Pogue calls out Verizon for charging nearly every user a frivolous $1.99 charge.
“Here’s how it works. They configure the phones to have multiple easily hit keystrokes to launch ‘Get it now’ or ‘Mobile Web’—usually a single key like an arrow key. Often we have no idea what key we hit, but up pops one of these screens. The instant you call the function, they charge you the data fee. We cancel these unintended requests as fast as we can hit the End key, but it doesn’t matter; they’ve told me that ANY data–even one kilobyte–is billed as 1MB. The damage is done.
Sounds totally believable and incredibly lame. But apparently it isn’t just Verizon who does this. Pogue later updated his post:
(UPDATE: A reader notes that his AT&T phone has exactly the same buttons and he gets charged exactly the same $2 for an accidental press. The $350 termination fee is a Verizon-only element, but the $2 accidental-data charges may actually be industry-wide. Readers: Can you confirm that it’s the same deal on Sprint and T-Mobile?)
A bit weak given the print version of the story targets Verizon alone. AT&T should get its ass handed to it as well (as should other offenders).