Can You Build The World’s Best New Phone App?

“There’s an app for that,” must be the expression of the century — after all, it’s true. You can spy on your partner, keep track of the places you’ve taken a dump, and seek cuddle buddies. Some apps demonstrate explosive popularity but only remain on the hot list for weeks, if not days (looking at you, Pokemon Go). So how exactly do you craft the next best phone app and remain trending?

Think about what people want. What is everyone’s latest obsession? Which apps have endured the test of time? Games such as Candy Crush maintain a steady amount of users and rake in a lot of credit. Consider how and why. You’ll soon figure that the answer is simple. Anyone can play it. Its features are addicting. It’s free but also tricks you into spending an occasional buck for that extra life. Here is where market research may come in handy.

But before getting your hands dirty, consider your audience. Do you want to build an app that caters primarily to millennials? Or do you want a few Gen X heads to turn? Making an “app for everyone” may seem like the way to go, but it isn’t always the easiest.

When brainstorming, play to your strengths. Sure, you can make an app for pretty much anything. But why not create something you are already well-versed in? After all, a physical therapist working on an app for 15-minute exercises does make a lot of sense.

Once you’ve established a general sense of what your app is going to be, it’s time for the nitty gritty. Give your app multiple functions. But focus, of course, is important. You can’t throw together a photo editing app that also allows you to order a pizza. Figure out what makes the most sense and deliver real value.

An app that can do a lot of things may seem the way to go, but not with a complex design. Make your app user-friendly. Windows loyalists may often tease Mac users for being technological dummies. But the truth of the matter is, Mac will almost always remain on top for the simple fact that it is easy to use.

A seamless beginning doesn’t always make for smooth-sailing in the long run. Keep track of bugs and when the going gets tough, communicate with your users. Just because something seems like a good idea, doesn’t mean that it is. Take customer feedback seriously. What might make sense to you may be someone else’s worst nightmare. Troubleshoot with grace, like a virtual ballerina.

Most importantly, stay current. In order to remain relevant, keep up with the times. Upgrade your app to suit prevailing trends. Mermaid hair and rompers for men may eventually go out of style, but you don’t have to. Adjust to change, even when it means taking risks. Nothing ever comes easy to those who play it safe.

App-making is treacherous business, even for experienced entrepreneurs. But with consistent batting practice, any smartphone user could hit a home run.

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Former White Supremacist Removes Swastika Tattoos

Just as these El Segundo cops are evidence that not everyone in the force is corrupt, this former Neo-Nazi is proof that people can change. After reintegrating himself into society, the father of two had his swastika tattoos removed.

[Former neo-Nazi Michael] Kent recently made his turn-around official by beginning the process of getting his swastika tattoos covered up through Redemption Ink, a non-profit that removes hate-based tats for free. The entire tat removal is expected to take 15 hours. Additionally, the former neo-Nazi has removed his Nazi flags from his home and replaced them with smiley faces.

Kent claims he owes his transformation to his parole officer Tiffany Whittier, who is African American. The two had developed a friendship that moved not only Kent, but the entire population of Twitter and Facebook. Kent now works at a chicken farm, whose employees are predominantly Hispanic.

“Before all this, I wouldn’t work for anybody or with anybody that wasn’t white,” said Kent. “[Now] we have company parties, or they have quinceañeras, I’m the only white guy there!”

In a society bleeding with hate, it’s people like Kent who have the potential to inspire many to turn around.

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Cop Buys Clothes For Remorseful Shoplifter

Some people boast unbelievable generosity and an incredible sense of compassion for others in need. While the likes of Bill Gates have donated billions to charity, others do what they can, such as this mom who provided breastmilk for struggling parents. However, it takes a special kind of patience to demonstrate kindness towards delinquents — especially law-breaking ones. This Toronto cop did just that, purchasing clothes for a pentinent shoplifter.

The would-be thief had attempted to steal a long-sleeved shirt, a tie and a pair of socks, [said officer Jeyanesan], adding such items are not common targets for shoplifters.

Jeyanesan said the teen had secured a job interview for a “service industry position,” but did not have professional-looking clothes to wear.

The 18-year-old claimed he needed to support his family financially after his father had fallen ill. Jeyanesan then decided to cover the $40 purchase and the teen was released without any charges.

“He understood the importance of what happened, that this could easily be seen as a crossroads in this young man’s life, and took the very commendable decision to assist in the way he did,”

Personally nowhere near as forgiving, I’m certainly glad that people like Jeyanesan exist!

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Disney Commits $100 Million To Kids’ Hospitals

When it comes to health, hospitals are necessary but hardly ever enjoyable. Despite the rise of surgical robots, many prefer to self-diagnose. Still, Google remains a breeding ground for hypochondriacs, in spite of Apple’s efforts to create health-centered mobiles. To make pediatric wards a little less daunting, Disney is donating $100 million to institutes around the globe.

“Disney’s timeless stories have touched hearts and lifted spirits for generations, and we believe they can bring comfort to children and families going through a very difficult time,” [said] Robert A. Iger, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, The Walt Disney Company.

Disney will be bringing games, entertainment, and movie magic into infirmaries. Familiar characters will likely put children at greater ease and perhaps even pull some laughs. Patient rooms will be laden with murals (Disney-themed, of course), and staff will undergo extra training.

“The renowned Disney Institute, a part of The Walt Disney Company that provides professional development training focused on leadership, employee engagement and high quality service, will create a customized program for healthcare professionals designed to foster a less stressful, patient and family-centric hospital experience,”

Truth be told, I’d be slightly less nervous getting my blood drawn by Mickey Mouse. Or, if not, who doesn’t love Pluto?

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New Delhi To Sell Biodegradable Sanitary Pads

If people won’t stop tossing ’em, make ’em biodegradable. Since car tires, cooking grills, and six-pack beer holders went green, engineers are treading even deeper waters. In honor of International Women’s Day (and Mother Nature, of course) New Delhi is introducing biodegradable sanitary napkins for only Rs. 2.50 a pad. That’s hardly half a dollar!

The sanitary napkins will be available in a pack of four pads for Rs 10 across over 3,200 Pradhan Mantri Bhartiya Janaushadhi Pariyojana (PMBJP) Kendras by May 28, 2018, Minister of Chemicals and Fertilisers Ananth Kumar said.

Currently, a pack of four napkins sells at Rs 32 ($0.49) — a ridiculous price for an easily perishable necessity.  Even worse, they are hardly accessible in rural communities.

According to the National Family Health Survey 2015-16, about 58 per cent of women aged between 15 to 24 years use locally prepared napkins, sanitary napkins and tampons.

What’s better than to make an essential affordable and eco-friendly? Power to you, India!

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Diu Is First Fully Solar-Powered Territory

With climate change ascending into an all-time high, communities are making the most out of the searing heat. In fact, 800,000 homes in the U.K. are running entirely on the sun’s rays. However, Diu in India recently beat them to the punch, becoming the first Union territory to run completely solar-powered.

“The population of Diu is only 56,000. For water and electricity, the Union territory was solely dependent on the Gujarat government. To overcome this limitation, the administration of the Union territory decided to set up solar power plants in Diu.” [said executive engineer Milind Ingle.]

The city generates 13 megawatts a day, covering 42 square kilometers. Even so, manufacturers have installed plants over some 50 acres. Bill charges have since dropped by 12%, a great relief to locals.

“Diu’s peak-time demand for electricity goes up to 7 MW and we generate about 10.5 MW of electricity from solar energy daily. This is way more than the consumption demand requirement.”

Now that I think about it, an Indian summer may be worth your while.

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Shelter Dogs Gifted Comfy Armchairs

Three months in, 2018 has truly been proving itself the year of the dog. While blockbuster hit Black Panther has drained shelters of its midnight cats, dog advocates are getting downright creative. On account of Tinder and the magic of Harry Potter, more and more pups are striking gold with forever homes. Still, not every shelter tenant gets lucky. Looking to keep their waitlisted canines comfortable, the Knox County Humane Society is taking in donated armchairs.

“Our purpose is to keep the shelter pups off the cold floor,” [said] animal control officer Tanner Smith.

Naturally, kennels aren’t the most happening of places, but comfy couches tend to ease stress. Volunteers first disinfect the chairs before one of 80 pups calls dibs.

“It has made the shelter pups feel more at home,” he explained. “We have noticed a huge drop in stress here as well as quieter kennels.”

I’m all about adopting, but shopping may not be out of the picture — for armchairs anyway.

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China To Set Up Enormous Panda Sanctuary

If not the Great Wall, it seems China’s main attraction is its everlasting devotion to the giant panda. The home of the Forbidden City has even built a solar farm inspired by the peaceful bamboo-munchers. Now hoping to increase populations, China is funding a national park dedicated to the slow-reproducing bears.

Plans for the park – which would cover 27,134 sq km – were first put forward early last year by the ruling Communist Party and the State Council, China’s cabinet.

If the 10 billion yuan ($1.6 billion) proves enough, the Giant Panda National Park will dwarf Yellowstone by three times. With over 80% of the world’s pandas situated in Sichuan, 2018 is the perfect year for a get-together. Getting them to breed? We’ll leave it up to luck.

Giant pandas have a notoriously low reproductive rate, a key factor – along with habitat loss – in their status as “vulnerable” on the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s (IUCN) Red List of threatened species.

We get it, guys. Dating around can be unsettling — but perhaps not for the greater good.

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Dutch Group Builds Furniture With Canal Garbage

Nowadays, “fancy” isn’t about luxury materials and extravagant designs. Instead, lavish design is more so sustainable than it is expensive. Alternative to landfills, trash is making its way back into homes as furniture. Alongside startup Pentatonic, Dutch company Plastic Whale is turning plastic waste into chic furniture pieces.

Plastic Whale recently announced a circular furniture collection, composed of a conference room table, chairs, lamps, and acoustic panels that are all made out of PET bottles from Amsterdam’s canals.

A thousand bottles make a single high-end felt and foam-paneled table, while 50 to 60 make a chair. Considering the amount of plastic polluting bodies of water, furniture selections have ridiculous amounts of potential to grow. Even better, Plastic Whale models its furniture after marine life.

Ten percent of the profits… will be invested in local projects in other parts of the world that aim to use a similar economic model to turn plastic waste into something valuable. The resources generated from the furniture will go into more plastic fishing expeditions.

In an industry constantly on the hunt for the best textiles and constituents, trash is certainly their treasure.

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3D-Printed House Is Affordable And Easy To Build

Who needs retail therapy when you have 3D printing? From furniture to electronics, the process has surpassed its own limits in just a few years. Now that brain tissue and functioning ears are part of 3D-printing catalogues, why not up the grandeur? Thanks to startup ICON, it’s totally possible to zap a 650 square foot home into existence in just under 24 hours.

“We have been building homes for communities in Haiti, El Salvador, and Bolivia,” [says] Alexandria Lafci, co-founder of New Story.

“It’s much cheaper than the typical American home,” [founder Jason] Ballard says.

ICON spends a modest $10,000 printing a single home, and aims to lower costs down to $4,000. The Austin-based group will initially bring houses into El Salvador and eventually the Americas. The modern huts will slash labor costs and produce minimal waste.

“(ICON) believes, as do I, that 3D printing is going to be a method for all kinds of housing,” [co-founder Alexandria Lafci] says.

If ICON can come up with affordable space habitats, I’d be the first off the planet.

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