The AirPnP is based on AirBnB, which helps people rent property to tourists. It is an app where people can advertise their private toilets for use by the public. No longer will you have to buy a beer in a pub just to have a slash. A method which just delays the inevitable. You can go into a complete strangers house to do the deed, whatever it may be.
The landlords must add details such as cleanliness and toilet paper thickness, whereas strangely the users give no details of what they plan.
Obviously because there is a charge, unless the owner is a scatologist, I can't see people, well men at least, parting with their hard earned cash when there is a perfectly efficient low tech solution.
However there are lots of other uses for a toilet. Have the app makers really thought this through?
The app was designed to address a toilet shortage at the Mardi Gras festival in New Orleans. Apparently if you get caught urinating in the street it's a night in the Orleans Parish Prison. Whereas if you get caught shooting up in a strangers bathroom it just costs you $3.
This is hard work for many. So one company has developed an App for that. Well for automating the sending of lovey dovey messages anyway.
The BroApp, from Australian developers Factorial Products is available in the Android Play Store, allows users to send a series of automated message to girlfriends. Despite the sexist marketing I am sure the App is interoperable for both sexes.
So if you are busy with the neighbours wife/husband, or even taking things into your own hands in private, you will still appear to your partner to be thinking about them at least. The company describes the app it as a way of maximising your relationship. But with who?
Everyone is at panic stations since the revelations of Edward Snowden and the sneaky spying by governments on our communications.
But the industry that has been providing the data to the state are cunning chaps and have turned this into an opportunity to sell us the most private, secure, impenetrable devices known to man!
The latest firm to leap on the fear cycle is Boeing, which used this week's Mobile World Congress to launch its own super smartphone and followed advice from Hollywood movies to prove its safety.
The Boeing Black device encrypts all calls but also has a 'self-destruct' mode where any tampering with the case means all data is deleted and the handset becomes a useless block of plastic.
No doubt, government employees will be attracted to the smartphone, but we think there will be a market for it for the Hollywood stars too. No doubt Jude Law, Sienna Miller and Hugh Grant will be the first ones on the list. Somebody better let Lord Leveson know...
Canterbury Cathedral. View from the north west circa 1890-1900 (retouched from a black & white photograph). (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
However, there is a growing trend of seeking out the explicit on mobile phones. Maybe you are on a train, at a bar, in a hotel room or bored during a church service...
Yes, it turns out more and more mobile users are passing the time in the house of God by checking out naughty websites on their smartphones.
But Canterbury Cathedral has said no to such salacious activity and installed a porn blocker on its Wi-Fi network to stop horny parishioners from committing this sin of the (digital) flesh.
"Family-friendly access and legal compliance are very high on our list of priorities," said the Cathedral's IT manager, David Tunbridge.
And rightly so! I mean, who would have ever heard of a man of the cloth taking pleasure in questionable sexual activity...
We all know political parties and their politicians are some of the most frustrating characters we will come across in our lives. They rarely say what they mean, shout like school children in their workplace and happily expense every cup of tea - or glass of Dom Perignon - out of the taxpayer's pocket.
The other most frustrating thing is a slow internet connection or, getting that most hated of webpages, the 404 error.
Who would have thought by bringing the 404 error and politicians together, all hatred could subside for both?
The Liberal Democrats may have wound us up since the forming of the Coalition, but the 404 error on its homepage means all is forgiven. If you are a fan of satire, take a look here: http://www.libdems.org.uk/blahdsfdsfohsds.
At least you might work out the political leanings of your colleagues the next time you hear them shout 'Balls!' at their computer screen...
Birds Eye is hoping its newest product will be a viral hit. Potato Mashtags are set to feature shapes including one of the most popular key symbols of the social media age - the hashtag.
A pack of Mashtags will actually offer multiples of five different shapes including hashtags [#], at signs [@] and emoticons [:-)] - surely shaking up the frozen food aisle next to McCain's smiley faces.
Imagine the fun you could have teaming up your hashtags with your potato alphabet shapes? Then you could take a photo on your smartphone and share your meal with your friends over social media.
It's sure to be a smash hit with Tweeters and Instagrammers everywhere.
Walk into any coffee shop today and you will be surrounded by mustached hipsters, sipping their extra shot lattés and tapping away on their tablet of choice.
Coffee cup (Photo credit: @Doug88888)
Ideum and 3M have joined forces to create an Android-powered coffee table with multi-touch technology, enabling a user to play Angry Birds at excessive sizes whilst getting their morning fix of caffeine and perhaps Twitter.
Costing over $6,000, these may be the play toys of the few rather than the daily routine of the many, but expect pop up coffee shops in Shoreditch any day now kitted out with the new techy furniture. Just try not to spill - you break, you buy...
It is hard to be polite to people that can afford to throw away their money on luxuries such as first class travel. Or for that matter scrounging journalists that beg for upgrades.
So Virgin Atlantic has given them all Google Glass. The business case was that it will help them provide customers with the best possible services, having all their personal information at hand, well at eye anyway.
But downtime knows the real reason. The Google Glass being adopted links to the workers heart rate. If the heart rate raises when a customer is being particularly annoying, a rose coloured tint appears in the glass. Smack in the face averted as well as huge legal bill. Better business case if you ask me.
London Underground wants to get rid of nearly 1000 staff as technology replaces the need for staff in stations. The London Underground is not exactly a service in decline. If anything it should get more staff. Humans can go that extra yard. Machines don't care if you miss your train.
Humans with a good service mentality will solve problems and make a commuter's journey better.
I mean why didn't London Underground bosses plan "vital engineering works" (which ruin many a weekend) while the strikes are on rather than leaving it until a sunny weekend or something equally inconvenient. The answer is simple these bosses have become machines themselves and can't think beyond the balance sheet.
Channel 4's recent "Psychopath Night" gave some chilling insights into the inner workings of the psychopathic mentality. Put simply, a psychopathic personality is one whose levels of empathy, conscience and remorse are low or barely exist. Such people are able to operate unburdened by normal human compassion, often leaving a trail of broken relationships and hurt in their wake. Psychopathy is also thought to be untreatable.
It's reckoned by experts that approximately one in 100 people is a psychopath, but they are notoriously hard to spot by other humans. That's where technology comes in. Research on known psychopaths has revealed under-active brain responses while viewing visually traumatic images in an MRI scanner - the technology providing a strong indicator of a lack of empathy.
The US Department of Homeland Security has developed a technology called FAST or Future Attribute Screening Technology. Originally named Project Hostile Intent, the system screens for psychological and physiological factors. It might be useful in the right and proper context as an assessment tool for psychopathic behaviours, such as helping to categorise and segregate prisoners.
Software for psychometric testing has been available for a long time. Responses can also be assessed for psychopathic traits. Maybe human-resources departments will make more use of such technology. According to a 2011 story in The Independent there is anecdotal evidence that some sectors recruit social psychopaths on purpose. Remember the banking crisis?
So how can technology help you go psychopath spotting and avoiding? Research from Cornell University in a paper entitled Psychopathic Killers: Computerised text analysis uncovers the word patterns of a predator, says it all. The paper reveals many interesting findings, like that psychopaths use twice as many words relating to money, sex and food compared to non-psychopaths. Psychopaths also tend to use more filler-words in their speech, words and sounds like "um" and "err"; it's surmised because they are struggling to make the right impression.
Another study conducted by Florida Atlantic University analysed Twitter feeds with an algorithm that searched for words associated with the "dark triad" of personality traits: psychopathy, narcissism and Machiavellianism. The results confirmed a reasonably high degree of accuracy. Those having their tweets analysed were also asked supplementary questions, such as "payback should be quick and nasty (agree/disagree)" - you can bet on a psychopath's response.
So at the moment there isn't some portable device or app that's going to realistically help you spot and avoid psychopaths. You have the technology already, an arsenal of detection-tools that no computer does - your human senses and feelings. Well, hopefully you do.
Armed Predator drone firing Hellfire missile (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
But, yet again, the Americans have shown us the way forward... use drones to stop your cows from getting nicked!
A stand-off between farmers in North Dakota, where one neighbour refused to return cows that had started grazing on his land, was getting rather heated. In fact, it got so hot it soon turned into an armed stand-off, with the farmer Rodney Brossart and his three sons taking on a US SWAT team in defiance to returning the cows to their rightful owner.
Enter the aptly named Predator drone. The police borrowed it from the Customs and Border Patrol to locate where on the farm Brossart was hiding out and get its teams in there to carry out their arrests.
Brossart tried to get the case thrown out saying there was no warrant issued for drone surveillance of his property but unsurprisingly the court decided to ignore him.
Perhaps this could be the answer to public services cuts in the UK. You could have a drone for each surburb, delivering post for the newly privatised Post Office, collecting rubbish more than once a month and even delivering library books as, well, there is nowhere to go to to read them any more.
And, if the government still isn't keen on the idea, you could even train them to seek out those pesky benefit claimants, all at the fraction of the cost of a full scale army intervention.
Get on it Prime Minister!
We all know datacentre servers are shrinking, but could they really be colonised by the humble Raspberry Pi? New UK colocation firm Colocker says they can. The company offers a novel service where customers rent out lockers rather than racks, which they can then use to house kit of any non-standard shape or size. Partner and co-founder Neil McCabe says he already has several customers using the facility to operate remote Raspberry Pi mail servers. "Obviously, you can fit quite a lot of Pis into a single locker, so for small enterprises it's a very economical way to take advantage of the benefits of colocation."
Whether any major corporates will consider the option remains to be seen, but everyone's looking to cut IT costs, after all. And it would mean they could outsource server software maintenance to primary school children, who will happily work for a handful of Haribos.
Smell (Photo credit: Dennis Wong)
Well, for those with a passion for the nasal, your prayers have been answered! A Parisian scientist by the name of David Edwards has been working with a bunch of enthusiastic students from Harvard to create the Ophone - a device that allows smells to be transmitted using mobile phones.
The Ophone comes equipped with numerous cartridges that are capable of creating a long list of weird and wonderful smells, so eventually users will be able to text an odour to their buddies over the airwaves.
Just think, you could send the smell of roses to your loved ones, the smell of bacon and eggs to your teenagers to get them out of bed, or, well, we will leave your imagination to think of which smell you would send the annoying chap you sit next to at work on his commute home...
Quit Your Job (Photo credit: Kevin Krebs)
One of the most common, of course, is finding a new job and unsurprisingly the hunt for the mythical perfect employer is on from 2nd January.
However, if you are one of the lucky ones who find that perfct position at another company, you need to let your current masters know you are on the move. Don't want to look them in eye? Don't know what to say? Scaaaaared?
Well fear not yellow belly. A new mobile app has been created by New York employment firm TheLadders to do it for you.
The Quit Your Job app asks users a number of questions to find out why they are leaving and uses the information to form a text message, which is then sent their boss. After the final blow is dealt, it then takes you onto their job search app, in case you have been a tad gung ho and quit before you found a job somewhere else...
The app was jointly developed by the makers of BreakupText, a 99p programme to dump your significant other from the safety of your iPhone.
These apps may be clever ways to sell to the nervous and timid but we are considering our own app over here at Downtime. It is called MAN UP!
The research revealed that 68% of 1132 people interviewed said they would feel too embarrassed to wear it in public.
While Downtime is reluctant to label this type of market intelligence pointless its relevance is unclear, I mean they said the same thing about jodhpurs. That's fashion for you.
It will probably only take a month before the 68% are the ones that are embarrassed for not being able to browse their email while cycling on a busy London road.
-- Advertisement --
-- Advertisement --