Last week, music curation and streaming service Songza launched an iPad app to join their already-available iPhone, Android, and web apps. And over the course of the last ten days, the company’s iOS apps have been downloaded more than 1.15 million times.
This is a testament to how startups can disrupt crowded spaces as long as the core idea is solving the problem differently. Songza achieves that with some added user delight to boot.
Unlike Pandora’s algorithms or Spotify’s blank canvas approach, Songza offers up playlists that have been curated by music experts, like Rolling Stone writers and DJs. But the way these playlists are delivered is what really makes the app special (and likely abutting threatening to the other companies in the space).
Songza has a feature called Concierge, wherein the app takes bits of information, like your preferences, the day and time, and the fact that you’re on a mobile device, and gives you a list of activities common for that specific moment in time.
So, on a Friday late at night, Songza will give options for a sweaty dance party or getting high, with filters for each like Pop and Hip Hop. Users can then choose from playlists that fit under that umbrella.
On the other hand, you’ll see activities like getting up and working out on a Monday morning like this one. There’s also an Explore feature which lets you select your playlist by Activity, Genre, or Mood.
Songza hasn’t shared numbers from before the release of the iPad app, but founder Elias Roman did say that before this week, the web was their most trafficked platform. But that’s all changed with the release of the iPad app, which is only good news as Roman sees Songza as a mobile-first product.
News.me deserves credit today for some start-up agility and helpfulness. Yesterday, Twitter bought Summify, a service that crunched down links from one’s Twitter feed into a need-to-know email digest, and it will be shut down. Loving users freaked out. News.me, which provides a similar service, heard those cries for help, and it has redesigned its homepage and launched new features to welcome those Summify users in.
News.me got popular with its iPad app, but it also offers an email digest with Summify-like functionality. Today it’s announcing a slew of new features: Facebook support, time zone support, and control over the number of articles and sending time for the email digest. News.me also wants to know what features Summify users want.
News.me general manager Jake Levine says that “Summify users seem universally unhappy with the news” of Twitter’s acquisition. It stinks when a useful service goes away. Twitter might not even use Summify’s technology, but they’re hiring the developers for Twitter’s User Growth team. Twitter needs people who know how to filter the noise of a stream into something useful. That may not look anything like Summify, but Summify’s creators are experts on the problem.
But the News.me team says in its blog post that solving the problem is “not that hard to do (shhh…).” Summify’s users need a place to go now. Fortunately for them, News.me’s business is more well-rounded with the iOS app and subscription plans. Support for links from Facebook expands News.me’s usefulness, and the new email features offer more control over the digests than Summify users had.
But the best part is asking for suggestions. News.me asks Summify users:
What did you like best about the service that you’d love to see us implement?
What did you wish you could have but that Summify never built?
While the once long list of legitimate reasons to jailbreak your iPhone has taken a hit with each new iOS release, that burning desire to “Free your device” and/or “Fight the power” and/or “Just do crazy stuff that other people can’t do” never really goes away.3 months after the release of the iPhone 4S and 10 months after the release of the iPad 2, the ridiculously talented iOS hacking community has finally cracked the ultimate challenge for both devices: the untethered jailbreak.
I know these things can get a bit jargony, so a quick recap: to “jailbreak” means to modify a device to run code and applications not signed or approved by Apple, thereby allowing you to do things with your device far outside of what would normally be possible. “Untethered” means that once it’s jailbroken, it stays jailbroken (whereas a “tethered” jailbreak means the device resets to its normal, un-jailbroken state whenever it is reset)
The team behind this hack, Chronic Dev, is the same group that makes the greenpois0n tool that’s been jailbreaking iOS devices for years. Remember comex, the iOS hacker who went legit with an internship at Apple? He was a key member of this group.
While their server seems to be taking a bit of a pounding right now, you can find the new iPhone 4s/iPad 2 jailbreaking tool (dubbed “Greenpos0n Absinthe”) right over here.
No, your eyes don’t deceive you — Box is offering 50GBs of free storage inside its cloud for iOS users — just like it did for TouchPad owners back in June. Anyone who downloads the latest version of Box’s app for iPad and iPhone will receive their massive lot for data storage after registering a personal account (existing accounts can join in on the fun as well). To make better use of that extra space, Box will also be bumping upload capacity from 25MB to 100MB per file and baking in AirPlay support. Look, Box is obviously skitching on iCloud’s tail, but it sure seems like a crazy good deal considering that space is yours “forever.” The promotion will last for 50 days, officially starting at 12AM on October 14th — although, we’re already seeing the update on our end. Full details in the source link.
Adam Dachis — Photoshop is an amazing tool, but it’s generally used for a specific kind of creative work. In this post we’re going to look at a different kind: easy, evil forgeries that can save you money in your day-to-day life.
Note: The tips you read in this post are at least bordering on illegal, and in most circumstances they are also bad things to do. We’ll offer up situations where making the evil choice might be ethically sound, but because laws vary depending on where you live you need to make sure you’re not breaking them before you try anything you read here.
Just in case you bought an iPad 2 but really needed a netbook, ClamCase is back with a redesigned version of its case / battery powered Bluetooth QWERTY keyboard combo. This one is a hair thinner and a little lighter than the previous version reviewed here, with cutouts for the back camera and speaker grille plus integrated magnets to awake and sleep your tablet when the case is opened or closed. The keyboard has also reportedly been refreshed for an improved feel, but even though the black version is on sale now for $149 white ships next month there’s still a 4-5 week wait for shipping to get a hands-on and find out for yourself. Logitech’s Keyboard Case for iPad 2 is another option for $100, but it will only protect your precious slab on one side — something to consider while you’re checking out specs.
Yes, a Cat-Food Brand Really Has Created Three iPad Games For Cats
Kat Hannaford — All I will say about this is that if you consider lending your iPad to your feline for some browser-based cat-game fun, please oh please wear a screen protector. Won’t someone think of the chiiiiildren! [Games For Cats]
Bendi the Tablet Stand is Like a Mini Flexible Arm For Your ‘Pad
Kat Hannaford — Over on Kickstarter there’s a nifty stand—that fits all sorts of tablets—just crying out for you to invest a dollar or more to put it into production. Apparently it sucks onto the back of the tablet, with the other end clamped to a table like a vice, or with magnets or even with another suction cap if you’d rather stick it to the window.
Unlike a lot of the other ingenious tablet stands we’ve seen before, the Bendi gives the user full control over the angle it’s positioned in, something you can try out for yourself if you commit to investing at least $49, as creator Eric Mann will give you a Bendi as thanks for your help. [Kickstarter via Trendhunter]