tasteless apps?

  • Girlfriend Tracker Polygamists and cheating boyfriends are presumably the market for this “handy” tool that allows men to calculate the menstruation cycle of their partners so they can “decide how to plan your night”.

    Sound Grenade The bestseller in the “annoyance” genre of apps, it emits a high-pitched sound when opened that is designed to annoy and agitate anyone in your vicinity.

    Baby Shaker Withdrawn after complaints to Apple, the game allowed players to silence a crying virtual baby by shaking their iPhone. If successful, two large red Xs appeared over the baby’s eyes.

    iSnort An unofficial app that, combined with a credit card and a crisp fiver, helps users simulate chopping and snorting cocaine.
    Boom! BOOM! Shotgun Pro The French makers of this virtual handgun claim that it helps in the recreation of “childhood games of playing cops and robbers”.
    Swine Flu Tracker Keep updated on your current threat level with this free app that plots the latest outbreaks and scares.

  • There’s a lot more detail the official Google blog and other sites such as SearchEngineLand and Bits, but I’m going to highlight a few interesting ones that give us a glimpse inside Google’s collective brain – and see what they tell us:

    – Google search options; a way to drill down or organise Google results more effectively, such as ordering results by time, by type (eg only reviews, only forum posts)

    – More information in the snippet of information displayed in the search result, such as showing you the relevant bits of reviews through ‘sentiment analysis’, and pulling out metadata (eg a star rating) thanks to support for RDFa and Microformats

    – The Wonder Wheel; effectively a “related searches” system, but one that’s displayed as an Ajax-driven spider diagram

    – Google Squared; a Labs project that creates on-the-fly research spreadsheets. Type in “small dog” (their example) and it builds a table of breeds, pictures, vital statistics and other information automagically

  • There is huge anxiety among designers and design educators at the encroachment of business, education, health, energy, transportation and other fields into Design. The evolution of Design from an individual working intuitively to shape beautiful things into a collaborative process of discovering what can come next and making it happen is attracting people to Design for new ways to journey through these confusing and uncertain times. The failure of existing modes of delivering services to consumers, students, patients, travelers, etc., is making Design a hugely important system of reframing old problems and creating new answers. Design Strategy, for example, is new—evolving out of simple design.
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