There’s a new app, iPhone only, called Secret. I love it. I’m addicted to it. We’ve all seen sites such as the Post Secret project and Texts from Last Night, where anonymity is vital. This is the app version of sharing secrets, anonymous and interactive.

Secret_-_Speak_Freely

Basically, you can post what you really think and you’re mostly anonymous. There’s every sort of update in the world appearing on Secret – from potential startup acquisitions to depressed folks in need of a place to not be judged  to comments about someone’s cat. It’s an app filled with words, with fears, feats of daring, love, humor and everything else. You can post anything – no filter – and add a background or upload a photo to go with it.

Your name is not included. You can say what you think. After all, a social media study recently showed that 48% of people will hold back their opinions and feelings on Facebook for fear of judgement or having the unpopular viewpoint. On Secret, you are unfiltered.

I won’t say you’re not judged, because you can’t control what people say in the comments. But I haven’t had an unpleasant experience yet.

Now, the anonymous thing is really mostly anonymous. The app hides the identity of the posters. BUT, it looks at your address book and tells you whether a friend, or friend of a friend, posted something (then listed as in your circle). It also lets you know if the posting was just popular and therefore everyone is seeing it. If it’s a popular secret, outside of your circle, then you also see the location of the poster (ie, San Francisco).  Again, mostly anonymous.

Still, I love the app. In Secret, I can share the things I would never share on Facebook or Twitter. Emotional things, snarky things, random things … but things I don’t necessarily want associated with the image I try to project, but things that are still wholly me.

Join the app. It needs more people, more interaction. It’s brand new this month.

My only complaint is that, in order to run it, I need to use my iPhone in airplane mode on wifi. Hey developers – create an Android version will you? The whole world does not have an active iPhone.

 

Remember when watching the Olympics was limited to just prime-time television? In particular, I remember Lillehammer. I was in college and my roommate and I would watch the Olympics, followed by Letterman (who sent his mom to the Games), and then wrapped up by Bob Costas. We had a crush a Bob Costas. But that was the extent of the Olympics in our world.

Now, everything has changed. You can view the Olympics 24/7 if you want. NBC is streaming 1,000 hours of Olympic coverage in addition to 539 hours of television. That’s a lot of time. If you’re an Olympics junkie, and you think you can look past the rather distasteful politics and practices of the 2014 Games,  you’ve got a lot of options. 

Prime-time TV: No cable required, NBC will be broadcasting the biggest events each night. However, this won’t be live as the time difference between the US and Sochi is extreme. But you can still get your figure-skating fix this way, even if you don’t have cable.

Cable TV: Many of NBC’s 539 hours will actually be broadcast on NBC Sports Network. NBCSN is a cable station and until today, I wasn’t even aware I had it. (In the SF Bay Area, try ch 81.)

Online: Around 1,000 hours of live events will be streaming on NBCOlympics.com. They will tell you this is free, but there is a catch. You need to authenticate your specific cable provider. So yes, you can view it, but you either need cable, or have a friend willing to share their user name/password.

NBC Sports Live Extra App: No pay-for-cable needed here, you can download the app and watch those 1,000 hours live on your mobile device. The app is available for iPhone, iPad, and Android. Additionally, standard news apps from outlets like CNN, MSNBC and others will cover the outcome of the competitions as well as the politics around Sochi. 

Available for Android, iPhone and iPad

Available for Android, iPhone and iPad

Social Media: If you don’t want to watch, but still want to follow along, and your own Facebook feed just won’t fit the bill, you can find the Sochi Olympics all over social media. So far, the hashtags look to be #sochi2014 and of course, #Olympics, although I’m sure others will emerge.

   - Twitter: Follow @NBCOlympics for the NBC version and @USOlympic for tweets from the overall team. Additionally, the team has put together a list of tweeting athletes competing in the games. NBC has put together a list of tweeting commentators and I bet they’ll have their own list of tweeting athletes within the next couple of days.  You can also follow Scott HamiltonBrian Boitano, and Shaun White, all in Sochi for the Games, and Lindsey Vonn, who is commentating state-side for the Today Show.

Shaun White's latest tweet

Shaun White‘s latest tweet

- Instagram: Some basics include TeamUSA,  NBCOlympics, Sochi2014, USsnowboarding, and Olympics.  At the bottom of this CBS post, you can find a list of all of the athletes on Instagram.

- Facebook: Both Sochi and NBC have Pages for the Olympics. I’m sure, with a little searching, you’ll probably find fan pages or follow abilities out there for your favorite athletes.

As for the politics, I hope we show the world that, like Jesse Owens in Berlin, we can stand strong against discrimination.

Know of any other ways to catch your favorite sports during the Olympics? Let us know in the comments.

Screen Shot 2014-02-03 at 9.44.25 AMFor years, I’ve moved between Android and iOS, usually changing operating systems when a new phone grabs my attention. It’s a constant “push and pull” problem: the combination of a phone’s unique features, the operating system, and my desire to have a “perfect mobile experience”. Rarely is that experience as perfect as I want it to be. As an iPhone loyalist, I judge everything against the experience I have with iOS, Apple’s hardware, and the overall platform’s ecosystem. As iPhone has seemingly “shrunk” in form factor, staying at an untenable 4″ screen size in light of other manufacturers’ growing screens, I’ve gravitated toward the larger-screen phones, most recently, the Nexus 5. The Nexus 5, for once, is the perfect phone for me. It’s size and form factor seem the perfect size for my palm, my pants, and my weary eyes. KitKat is the best version of Android to date and, simply put, I’ve never been so satisfied with a smartphone. I’ve kinda cast away the thoughts of going back to iPhone. Yes, there are the nagging rumors of the coming iPhone 6 with a larger screen, but KitKat has a hold on me unlike any that iOS has ever had.

However, Apple’s advantage is their App Store. And, with Facebook’s iPhone-only new app, Paper, being released today, I’ve begun to wonder: can one app make me go back? I hate the feeling of being left out: when an app is only available on “another” platform, I get frustrated. Facebook turns 10 years old today, and there’s new research that shows its users have evolved their expectations of what the Facebook experience means for them. In light of this, Facebook’s Paper app is an attempt to evolve how Facebook interacts with its users and how it expects to provide new types of interaction between you and your Facebook friends. Paper reformats the typical Facebook experience with a more visually stunning approach (similar to what Google Plus did with their app), and turns your Facebook feed into a “Flipboard-like” magazine experience. Development of the app was led by a team that Facebook acquired from Apple in 2011, and represents Facebook’s obvious prioritization of rich visual design. The obvious plus to Paper is it gives you a platform-specific experience optimized for what that platform can best provide. In this sense, it may mean more fragmentation in apps if Facebook determines to release platform-optimized Facebook experiences across the board. However, it also means that Facebook evolves from being a fast-food experience (dumbed down UIs to provide a similar experience across all devices), to a more holistic and optimal experience based on whatever platform you’re on. The Paper app could signal a new frontier in designing and developing app experiences that mold more to its user’s context, and is a step-forward to a more humanistic experience. This means our platform decisions may no longer be made based on just price, carrier subsidies, form factors, and operating systems. We may begin making decisions based on all these plus the type of app experience we prefer based on how we use our phones.

cubicle_farmWe’ve heard all about Millennials for years now, their lifestyles, tech friendliness, and radical collaboration methods. Many experts have been urging companies to start accommodating their lifestyle in the workplace to attract the best, young talent. The real driver behind the need to rethink the workplace, however, is not just generational — it’s really about the elephant in the “room” — mobility. We’re all on the move more than ever before, and we have escalated our use of not one, but several, connected mobile devices throughout our normal day. The idea of working 9-5 in a stuffy cubicle farm with a tethered computer on a desk is seeming more and more like an out-of-date relic.

To get past generational labels, and create another broader label (researchers love labels), there’s a new one out there now: #GenMobile: the people for whom mobile connected devices go beyond personal use — these folks shape their entire lives around mobility and the devices that support their mobility.

In November 2013, Shape the Future and Aruba Networks conducted research to find out how widespread the use of mobile devices have become. They found some interesting trends that back up the idea of rethinking the traditional workplace model:

– 70% of respondents prefer flexible working than working 9 to 5 with an early finish on Fridays.

– Over half of those surveyed said they’d prefer to work from home or remotely two to three days a week than receive a 10% higher salary.

– 37% expect an increase of remote working – just 4.5% foresee a decrease.

– 49% expect to increase the time they spend working remotely in 2014.

– Almost half (45%) bought tablets in the past 12 months.

– And 64% believe in BYOD, and believe their devices make them more productive at work.

– Many employees believe it’s the company’s responsibility to provide mobile devices along with Wi-Fi connections.

These stats may leave a lot of HR Directors shaking their heads, but instead, they should be seeing the opportunities, including:

– Rethink traditional work hours (consider the increased productivity of happier, “always-on” employees)

– Rethink traditional cubicle farm office environments (consider the cost savings inherent in fewer non-eco-friendly offices)

At 8 p.m. on December 31, 2013, 6 year old Sofia Liu was walking in a crosswalk at Polk and Civic Center in San Francisco with her mom and younger brother when she was struck and killed by an Uber driver. Uber is a ride-sharing company that provides “car service on demand” via a smartphone app. Wherever Uber provides service, simply launch an app and Uber will automatically locate you and connect you to the closest driver. Within minutes a driver will pick you up and get you to your destination. There are several ride-sharing companies providing car services on demand, including Lyft and Sidecar. Uber has been growing and innovating beyond typical taxi services by promising quick pick-up and drop-off, as well as delivering Christmas trees and even kittens.

When the driver struck little Sofia, Uber stated he was “not employed by Uber at the time of the accident because he did not have an Uber customer in the car with him”. Since he was “between fares”, Uber claims they are not responsible for the death. However, an attorney representing the family of Sofia is filing a wrongful-death lawsuit against both Uber and the driver alleging that the driver was an Uber contractor using Uber’s app at the time of the accident. Furthermore, the attorney claims that the driver was “texting while driving” using Uber’s app to prepare for his next fare, causing him to be distracted.

Uber is declining comment over the lawsuit, but it seems like the attorney’s strategy is to associate the driver with Uber simply by the fact that the driver was logged into Uber’s app. This will take the discussion about if and how to regulate start-up services like Uber to the next level. Are the Uber drivers too distracted by technology in the car making them unsafe to be on the road? That will be the key question for a judge or jury to answer. In the meantime, San Francisco has one of the highest rates of pedestrian-vehicle collisions in the nation, so watch out for yourself out there! At least one San Francisco Supervisor seems to be “on the case“.

By the way, according to Uber, the driver that struck little Sofia has been “deactivated” as a driver in their system.

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