App Tells You How Many Times You Check Your Phone

It’s called Moment, and it’s:

an iOS app that automatically tracks how much you use your iPhone and iPad each day. If you’re using your phone too much, you can set daily limits on yourself and be notified when you go over. You can even force yourself off your device when you’re over your limit.

I’m not going that far. But it’s interesting to see how many times I check my phone. (For the record: less than the average but still a lot.)

Apparently boredom is actually good for creativity, which makes sense—I rarely come up with a novel solution to a problem while actively thinking about it. It all happens in the magic of the subconscious.

And the research backs this up:

“You come up with really great stuff when you don’t have that easy lazy junk food diet of the phone to scroll all the time,” says Sandi Mann.

Mann’s research finds that idle minds lead to reflective, often creative thoughts (we discuss her projects in depth in this week’s show). Minds need to wander to reach their full potential.

Heard about it from the New Tech City podcast, which cites the following statistics:

58% of American adults have a smartphone today. The average mobile consumer checks their device 150 times a day, and 67% of the time, that’s not because it rang or vibrated. 44% of Americans have slept with their phone next to their beds.

Listen to the episode to find out more about the research, including a really cool experiment that had its subjects read the phone book.

Friday Link List

1. Now That’s Not Playing Very Nice, Uber {The Verge}

This is such a good illustration of the disconnect between the “we’re changing the world through algorithms and better business models” rhetoric of Silicon Valley and the reality.

Lofty means-nothing stuff like this:
Uber Screenshot

Most of these companies are run by people who think no one will notice the contradiction. And that it’s OK to play a little dirty to get more market share.

Uber is arming teams of independent contractors with burner phones and credit cards as part of its sophisticated effort to undermine Lyft and other competitors. Interviews with current and former contractors, along with internal documents obtained by The Verge, outline the company’s evolving methods. Using contractors it calls “brand ambassadors,” Uber requests rides from Lyft and other competitors, recruits their drivers, and takes multiple precautions to avoid detection. The effort, which Uber appears to be rolling out nationally, has already resulted in thousands of canceled Lyft rides and made it more difficult for its rival to gain a foothold in new markets. Uber calls the program “SLOG,” and it’s a previously unreported aspect of the company’s ruthless efforts to undermine its competitors.

 2. Mining Your Voice for Hidden Feelings & Company Products {new tech city/wnyc}

…Emodi’s company, called Beyond Verbal, is applying 20 years of “emotion analytics” to help us understand ourselves better. These products claim to be able to determine true emotions just from listening to you speak for 20 seconds. It could also determine if a salesperson is using the “perfect sales intonation” or if a given customer calling up is ‘exasperated and furious’ or ‘exasperated and ready to listen’.

[photo credit: uber homepage on 8.28. used without permission. if that’s not OK sorry let me know.]

 

Be Careful What You Comment On

This podcast episode touches on one of the most important frontiers of free speech in the Internet age, and I’m not exaggerating or being hyperbolic.

When speech about one topic/company/product is chilled, its affects are wider than that single act of speech.

From the New Tech City episode about free speech in the comment section:

This week on New Tech City we bring you a cautionary tale of e-commerce, fine print, and the drastic measures some online retailers will take to protect their reputations, even at the expense of consumers. In part two of our podcast, we explore how a court case over bad Yelp reviews might affect much wider online free speech. It gets extreme. It gets ugly. And it’s going to keep happening as the reputation economy keeps growing.

The issue is this: Retailers get nailed by a bad review. Sometimes it’s honest, sometimes it’s exaggerated, and sometimes the bad review is flat out false and defamatory. But either way, it hurts business. So retailers are trying various ways to stop the reviews from happening: from unfounded financial fees, to extreme copyright claims about the very right to post a review about an experience, to totally justifiable defamation lawsuits.

The one thing this episode doesn’t touch on that is extremely relevant is Strategic Lawsuits Against Public Participation—or SLAPP suits {on the media}.