The Winston Show

You’ve heard of the show Dora the Explorer, right?  It’s a TV show that teaches Spanish and encourages kids to talk to the characters.

A company called ToyTalk, started by a former Pixar software developer named Oren Jacob, came out with a new iPad app called The Winston Show that does the same thing, but with a twist.  The character has an actual conversation with you!

The app uses the camera and microphone (through voice recognition), allowing kids to:

  • Chat with Winston

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  • Answer his game show questions, and

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  • Decide how his stories end.

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It’s an ingenious way to create an interactive entertainment that’s fun, but also a learning experience.

I downloaded the app to try it out and Winston is hilarious!

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Ugly bracelets on fit people

I had dinner the other night with my friend Emily and she was wearing her new Nike Fuel Band.  Duh, everybody’s doin it.  It’s a bracelet that motivates the wearer to stay active by tracking steps each day using an accelerometer.

She said it was fun, but that it was hard to remember to wear and that it looked pretty ugly for a wear-every-single-day accessory:

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Then I saw this article on TechCrunch about an app called Moves.

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It’s a FREE activity tracker that does the same thing as the fuel band, but using something with an accelerometer that you already carry around every single day — your phone!

Accelerometer demo

Accelerometer demo

What do you think is the future of activity tracking?  Sensors built directly in to your clothes?

Crowdsourcing the Weather

I’m no weather forecaster.  I can’t count the number of times I’ve gotten caught in flip flops, sans umbrella during a downpour.

My next purchase.

My next purchase.

This week core 77 published the article, Forget the Weatherman. Armed with Smartphones, We Will Become the Weathercrowd.  The article describes a project from London-based company WeatherSignal that consolidates meteorological data from smartphones to crowdsource weather information worldwide.

Their goal is to help make the weather more predictable.  But haven’t professional meteorologists been tracking and sharing global temperatures for hundreds of years?  And isn’t there already an app for that?

A couple of weeks ago, I downloaded a new weather app for my phone called Dark Sky that I learned about on Inc, which can predict rain down to the minute, an hour at a time.  Now that’s useful!  And I was sure not to get rained out during my Labor Day weekend barbeque.

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