TIME Gadgets

First Smartphone Turns 20: Fun Facts About Simon

Simon Smartphone
An original IBM Simon Personal Communicator is placed next to an Apple iPhone 4S at the Science Museum on August 15, 2014 in London, England Rob Stothard / Getty Images

A tip of the hat to Simon, long referenced as the first smartphone. It went on sale to the public on August 16, 1994 and packed a touchscreen, email capability and more, paving the way for our modern-day wondergadgets.

Here’s a look at some of Simon’s history.

IBM and BellSouth first showed Simon off in late 1992.

It was code-named “Angler” and was unveiled at the fall COMDEX convention in Vegas, but wouldn’t be available to purchase by consumers until August 16, 1994. In 1995, the great Computer Chronicles TV show led its “Year of the Portable” episode with Simon.

Here’s the brief segment:

“I am totally computer-functional!”

The phone had no web browser — heck, computers were just getting decent browsers back then — but email access was a big selling point. It could send faxes, too, which is a technology people haven’t been able to completely kill off yet despite decades of trying.

It was big and expensive, but not insanely so.

By today’s standards, of course, Simon was clunky and outrageously priced. But for a do-it-all gizmo in the mid-’90s, its $1,100 price tag should elicit a mere shrug from most of us nowadays. And if you signed a two-year contract with BellSouth, you could get it for $900; that subsidized price eventually dropped to $600.

The phone itself measured 8 inches long by 2.5 inches wide by 1.5 inches thick, and weighed two ounces north of a pound. That’d be pretty clunky today, but we’re talking about the ’90s here. Everyone was wearing Hammer pants and Zubaz, so pocket space wasn’t much of an issue, right? As you can see in the above photo — where it’s placed next to an iPhone 4S — it’s big but not monstrous.

It had a touchscreen and apps.

Touchscreens weren’t exactly nonexistent back in the early ’90s, but they weren’t super common, either. Simon is believed to be the first commercially available phone with a touchscreen, though earlier PDA devices had showcased various portable touchscreen technologies. Simon’s interface could be navigated with an included stylus, and somewhat less easily with a finger.

These were the early days of mobile touchscreens, mind you. Take a look at Simon’s interface in this fascinating TekGadg video from 2011:

Best line: “I don’t think it does multi-touch, Winston.” That parting jab at Android was uncalled for, fellas.

There was no app store, of course, but the phone came preloaded with several apps. You can take a look at Simon’s user manual, which is not only chock full of wonderfully nostalgic technobabble from back in the day, but also lists the following apps:

  • Address Book
  • Calculator
  • Calendar
  • Fax
  • Filer
  • Mail
  • Note Pad
  • Sketch Pad
  • Time
  • To Do

These things weren’t called “apps” back then. They were generally referred to as “features” found in the “Mobile Office” section of the phone. Here’s a look at the alarm clock:

Email was no picnic to set up, either. It used Lotus’ cc:Mail offering, which required you to dial in to a computer running cc:Mail software that housed all your messages — the “post office,” as it were. How would you set up this post office? You wouldn’t: According to Simon’s manual, “You don’t have to worry about how to set up a post office, because your E-mail administrator or service does that.”

It had predictive typing.

The feature was called the “PredictaKey” keyboard and, according to the user manual, “always shows the six most-likely letters that you need, depending on the characters you’ve just typed.

BellSouth had apparently also been working with Apple to develop a cellular connection for the Newton PDA at the time.

An early profile of Simon alludes to a BellSouth-Apple partnership for Apple’s Newton PDA wherein BellSouth was “working with Apple to integrate cellular into the device.” The piece quoted BellSouth’s then-product-manager Rich Guidotti assuaging concerns that the two devices would compete:

BellSouth’s work with Apple is not affected by the new Simon, Guidotti said. Referring to the Newton as an electronic organizer and the Simon as a personal communicator, Guidotti added: “No one product fits everyone’s needs.”

A cellular connection for the Newton wouldn’t materialize from the BellSouth-Apple partnership, however. Built-in cellular features for the Newton were apparently nixed altogether.

Simon made an appearance in The Net.

The movie, according to Frank Costanza, is “called The Net, with that girl from The Bus.”

You could plug it into a regular phone jack.

Though Simon was targeted at deep-pocketed business people, cell service was still spotty and expensive back in the mid-’90s. An optional cable allowed Simon’s owner to plug it into a standard phone jack (remember those?) to make calls via more reliable and less expensive land-line systems.

Simon lived fast and died young.

Despite its features, IBM and BellSouth didn’t exactly have a hit on their hands. Simon spent a mere six months on the market, with around 50,000 units sold. Businessweek’s profile of the device cites Simon’s weak battery — it lasted around an hour — and the cool factor of svelter and svelter flip phones as contributing to Simon’s demise. It sounds like IBM and BellSouth kind of lost interest in the project as well, with IBM in the middle of downsizing endeavors and BellSouth pumping resources into bolstering its cell network.

Simon, we hardly knew ye. But your ghost lingers on in our modern-day communicators.

Further Reading

Microsoft’s Bill Buxton has a great info page with links to a bunch of old Simon-related material. Check out Businessweek and Wikipedia for related material as well.

TIME Gadgets

Paycheck Friday! 7 Worthy Splurges Based On Your Income Tax Bracket

It's Friday. Maybe you just got paid! You could sock that money away like a sucker, or you could act like a rational human being and blow it on something totally unnecessary and awesome. Here are some ideas for your perusal.

$0 to $9,075: Giant Beer Glass (Price: $10)

beer glass
Amazon

The economy, man. It’s rough! (It’s still rough, right?) You might not be pulling in a handsome chunk of change yet, but that doesn’t mean you should have to make four separate trips to the fridge every time you want to sedate yourself.

This giant 53-ounce beer glass costs a mere 10 bones and holds four 12-ounce bottles of suds with five ounces left over for a nice, frothy head. Or maybe dump some tequila in there instead.

$9,076 to $36,900: Wine Bottle Combo Lock (Price: $22)

wine lock
Franmara

At your salary, sharing wine with people is a luxury you just can’t afford. Wine should be like gas money for you: If someone wants to kick in a finski, then grab another glass. If not, hit the bricks. This $22 combo lock corks your wine with a four-digit passcode to keep freeloaders from wheezing the juice.

“You can afford a wine-bottle lock but you can’t afford to share?” your guests will ask. “I can afford a wine-bottle lock because I don’t share,” you’ll respond. They’ll ironically call you Fun Terry from that point on, by the way.

$36,901 to $89,350: Lawn Chair with Tablet Holder (Price: $60)

iPad Chair
Hammacher Schlemmer

You work hard all day. Okay, most of the day. Okay, you work? “Eh.” You manage to make it into work most days? Yes? Okay. Then why, when you get home at night, should you have to choose between going outside on a beautiful summer night or sitting comfortably inside playing Kim Kardashian: Hollywood on your iPad?

Merge your love of outdoor living and the emptiness of worshiping celebrities with this $60 tablet lawn chair. It’s got a 12-inch steel gooseneck that accommodates 7- to 10-inch tablets. There’s a drink holder, too! And a pouch for snacks and stuff. Go easy on the snacks, though: The chair only supports up to 250 pounds and you don’t want to get your tablet all greasy.

$89,351 to $186,350: Ear-Cleaning Whatsit That Connects to Your Computer (Price: $201)

ear scope
Japan Trend Shop

There’s finally a way to see the gunk in your ears as you’re cleaning them out! The $201 Sugoi Mimikaki Ear Pick connects to your Windows PC or tablet via USB, working as a sort of in-home endoscope.

According to the product description, cleaning your ears out this way is “safer, better and, well, just more interesting!” If I had one complaint about cleaning my ears, it’s that I’ve never really been all that passionate about the entire endeavor. My brain realizes that what I’m doing should be extremely interesting, but I just don’t feel it in my heart. This could change everything!

$186,351 to $405,100: Desktop Jellyfish Tank (Price: $366)

jellyfish tank
ThinkGeek

Listen: I’m in no position to tell a person of your stature what to do, but I can advise you that someone with your many resources should at least think about portraying a certain persona. Not weird, mind you, but eccentric.

The teeming masses are all ordering well drinks? You order top-shelf vodka with coconut water. They take simple smartphone photos? You’ll settle for nothing less than a panorama. Every photo, a panorama! They’re buying goldfish from the pet store? You, my friend, have a jellyfish. Eccentric! This $366 desktop jellyfish kit will set you up with everything you need to get started: The bowl arrives first, and then the jellyfish is overnighted to you once you’re ready to become a proud pet owner.

$405,101 to 406,750: Bulletproof Suit (Price: If you have to ask, you can’t afford it)

bulletproof suit
Garrison

Look at this weird tax bracket. Is this a political thing? It seems political.

Anyway, if you’re important enough to somehow slide into this very narrow bracket, you’re clearly important enough that your life could be in constant danger. Be careful! But that doesn’t mean you need to be walking around in a lumpy bulletproof vest all day.

“Hey, is that guy fat or what?”

“Actually, I think he’s just wealthy.”

Why not try this bulletproof suit instead? It leverages the magic of carbon nanotubes to stave off death at an undisclosed price. It’s worth it, though, right? I mean, how much could a nice suit cost? Like $200? “Try thousands and thousands.” What?! But I buy one and I still get three free, right?

$406,751+: Flying Bicycle (Price: $45,000)

flying bike
Hammacher Schlemmer

“Bike-flying? You’ve nevah beeeen?” Imagine being able to add that phrase to your arsenal.

All it’ll set you back is a cool $45,000 for what Hammacher Schlemmer is calling the “first” flying bike. You have many, many cars in your expansive garage, yes? You probably have a bike or nine as well, no? Why not add this miracle of human ingenuity: “the world’s first bicycle that doubles as a flying ultralight para-trike aircraft,” according to the product description. It cruises at low altitude for up to 75 miles at up to 25 miles per hour, for cracked ice. What are you waiting for?!

TIME Innovation

Origami-like Robot Folds Itself Into Shape and Walks Away

+ READ ARTICLE

As a writer, the path of least resistance would be to frame this piece along the lines of small robots assembling themselves, then building bigger robots, then taking over the world. The old robot-overlord routine.

But these MIT- and Harvard-developed self-folding robots — cool as they are — don’t look all that menacing quite yet. For starters, one of the key ingredients is polystyrene, which is the same stuff used in Shrinky Dinks. That’s adorable. Second, it takes around four minutes for the things to assemble and start walking away. And third, the assembly has to be pre-programmed, so there’s still some human intervention.

Thirty years from now? That might be a different story. I’ll be retired (or homeless) on a beach somewhere, though, so I’ll just head for the water if these things start getting uppity. They can’t swim, can they? Can they?!!

In the interim, the researchers envision self-assembling structures that could be used in dangerous places like space or battlefields.

[ExtremeTech]

TIME Innovation

Microsoft Fixes Shaky Time-lapse Videos with Hyperlapse Technology

Not unlike the elderly, time-lapse videos can be boring and shaky.

Microsoft has cobbled together technology that can smooth out the jittery, choppy first-person video footage you’d normally see captured and sped up from the likes of a wearable GoPro camera.

The feature is called Hyperlapse and it’s being demonstrated at the SIGGRAPH media conference in Vancouver on Tuesday. I could sit here and try to explain in words how it all works and how the end result looks, but you and I both know that I’m going to drop a video into the middle of this post riiight… abooout… here:

Couple thoughts: A) It looks pretty great and B) I need to do more outdoor activities. These guys are rock climbing and riding bikes in their spare time. I just binge-watched a bunch of Love It or List It Too episodes that I’ve already seen before.

There’s a great money-quote from Microsoft’s blog post on the project as well:

Standard video stabilization crops out the pixels on the periphery to create consistent frame-to-frame smoothness. But when applied to greatly sped up video, it fails to compensate for the wildly shaking motion.

Hyperlapse reconstructs how a camera moves throughout a video, as well as its distance and angle in relation to what’s happening in each frame. Then it plots out a smoother camera path and stitches pixels from multiple video frames to rebuild the scene and expand the field of view.

Put another way, it’s akin to the human brain’s ability to fill in blind spots by “hallucinating” on the person’s behalf.

See? You learn about the technology and then you’re rewarded with some hallucination.

As for when people like you and me might be able to get our hands on this Hyperlapse technology in order to cut together our own sweet time-lapse videos — imagine watching me watch 10 hours of Love It or List It Too in amazing Hyperlapse — the researchers say they’ve managed to streamline the rendering process so that it can be done on a single computer. There’s no hard-and-fast timeframe for its release, though the researchers say the goal is to “eventually” release it to the public.

[TechCrunch]

TIME Gadgets

Navdy Projects Apps Onto Your Car’s Windshield

My car’s in-dash navigation system did me wrong a few months back, sending me on a wild goose chase around the greater Boston area.

In a fit of despair, tears and anger-sweat, I finally relented, pulled over and used an ever-updated GPS app on my phone, which pointed me in the right direction in less than a minute.

Not long after, my car was due for one of its 10,000-mile checkups, at which point I asked the dealership to update the GPS software with the newest routes. Should be free, right? It’s not. They wanted $200. Give me an hour and I can make you a list of 100 things I’d rather spend $200 on.

What I could do is spend a measly $20 or less on a smartphone mount for my car, but that solution feels equal parts inelegant and unsafe, with all the docking and unlocking and app poking and whatnot.

I’ll admit to being intrigued by upcoming efforts from Apple and Google to more deeply integrate my phone into my car’s infotainment system, but this Navdy doodad looks pretty interesting as well. It’s basically a projection system that sits on your dash and beams a transparent interface onto your windshield.

 GPS system
Navdy

It’s compatible with Apple and Android phones, and taps into Google’s Maps app to display turn-by-turn directions near your line of sight. You can also make and take calls and respond to notifications — tweets, text messages and the like — with simple gestures (thumbs up to answer a call, left and right swipes to navigate) and voice commands. It lets you control music apps as well, and there are no monthly fees to use any of the features. The GPS system is always updated, in other words.

It’ll be available early next year, with pre-order pricing set at $299 until early September of this year. The regular price will be $499. That’s expensive, yes, but I like the idea of being able to take it quickly from car to car (I have 13 cars*). And just a quick note that the company is using a Kickstarter-like pre-funding system wherein it collects the money from pre-orders to help fund the production of the product. The whole “early next year” thing could be a moving target.

Here’s a demonstration video of the Navdy in action:

*We actually only have one family car, and my wife drives it most often. But imagine if we had 13!

MONEY Tech

3 Sporty Gadgets That Will Make You Better, Faster, Stronger

Feeling athletic this summer? These affordable devices will help you take your performance to the next level.

 

Wahoo Tickr Heart Rate Monitor

Wahoo Tickr Heart Rate Monitor, $60

 

Why it’s great: Love using data to track your progress? This device, which monitors your workout stats in real time, is compatible with more than 50 popular fitness apps.

How it works: Strap the Wahoo to your chest to send your heart rate and calorie count to an iOS or Android device or a GPS sports watch. The monitor comes with its own app, which includes an eight-week training program.

Sony 4GB Walkman Sports MP3 Player

Sony 4GB Walkman Sports MP3 Player, $100

 

Why it’s great: These waterproof headphones plus built-in MP3 player can stand up to sweat, rain, and even laps in the pool.

How it works: The Sony weighs just over an ounce, holds nearly 1,000 songs, and is waterproof down to six feet. The player also features a quick-charging battery: Plug the device in for a few minutes to get an hour of playback, or juice it all the way for up to eight hours.

Golf Buddy Voice

Golf Buddy Voice, $107

 

Why it’s great: When you’re not sure which club to grab, tap the bitty Golf Buddy to hear the distance to the front, middle, and back of the green.

How it works: The two-inch-by-two-inch range finder clips easily to your hat or pocket and comes pre­loaded with tens of thousands of ­courses. The Golf Buddy requires no annual or new-course download fees. Don’t like a ­gabby device? You can mute it and read the distances on the LCD screen.

Not ready to commit to a new device? These three apps will help you up step up your fitness—for $3 or less.

Performance Stretching: Don’t hurt yourself! This $3 app matches your exercise routine with appropriate pre-workout stretches. iOS only.

Hundred Pushups: Yes, you can do 100 consecutive pushups, even if you’re not a gym rat. This $1 to $2 app will get you there in six weeks. iOS and Android.

5K Runner: Ease into running with a three-day-a-week program from this $3 app. In eight weeks you’ll be able to jog your way to a full 5K. iOS only.

TIME Internet

50 Best Websites 2014

TIME's annual salute to great sites and services

  • 10 Minute Mail

    In case its name didn’t give it away, 10 Minute Mail sets you up with a self-destructing email address that expires in — you guessed it — 10 minutes. Your temporary inbox works just like regular email, allowing you to forward and respond to messages, and you can add extra time if 10 minutes isn’t quite long enough. Once you’re done, light a match and walk away.

    10 Minute Mail

  • Any.do

    Any.do is already one of the best task managers for smartphones, and the website is especially useful when you need a big-picture view of your plans. With its grid-based layout, you can easily see everything in Any.do’s four distinct categories (“Today,” “Tomorrow,” “Upcoming” and “Someday”) and drag and drop between them. It’s better than trying to manage your life from a claustrophobic smartphone screen.

    Any.do

  • Background Burner

    For those without serious Photoshop skills, Background Burner does a surprisingly good job of removing background images from photos. You just pick the image you want, and the site automatically figures out what’s in the foreground, presenting a few different levels of background removal to choose from. It’s great for joining the latest Photoshop battle even if you can’t wield a lasso tool.

    Background Burner

  • But Does It Float

    This endlessly scrolling art site’s been around for at least five years, but it’s still going strong as a way to let your mind melt for a while. But Does It Float is mindful enough to get out of the way, with short descriptions (“In one way or another, we’re all anchored to the book”) preceding works that often stretch beyond the length of the screen. Whether you like the art or not, you’ve got to appreciate the gallery.

    But Does It Float

  • Calm.com

    You’re already five slides into this list with 45 more to go. Time for a break! Calm.com lets you toggle through peaceful backgrounds and ambient music, with the ability to set a timer for up to 20 minutes. Chill out on your own, or choose a “guided calm” peppered with soothing spoken instructions.

    Calm.com

  • CamelCamelCamel

    Amazon’s a one-stop shop for many people, but its prices tend to fluctuate on a fairly regular basis. CamelCamelCamel can set you up with email- and Twitter-based price alerts that let you know when a particular item goes on sale. You can also see a particular item’s 18-month price history to decide whether you should buy it now or wait until it gets even cheaper.

    CamelCamelCamel

  • Can I Stream.It?

    In a perfect world, the answer to this question would always be “yes.” But we live in a world of timed release windows, exclusive streaming deals and overly cautious movie studios, so finding what you want to watch can be complicated. Can I Stream.It? makes sense of this confusion with a single search engine that works across Netflix, Amazon, iTunes and other providers, telling you whether you’ll need to subscribe, rent, buy or wait.

    Can I Stream.It?

  • ClickHole

    No, the irony of using a listicle to celebrate a site that satirizes clickbait isn’t lost on us. But ClickHole is more than just a one-off joke at the expense of obnoxious headlines. It’s an ongoing subversion of every site’s attempt to go viral, frequently veering into non-sequiturs and dark humor to make its point. That’s enough to keep us interested, even if major media organizations are in the crosshairs.

    ClickHole

  • CrimeReports

    Keep an eagle-eyed view on your neighborhood with CrimeReports. The site blends Google Maps with local police data, pinpointing where crimes have recently occurred and which types of crimes they were. Each crime features a send-to-a-friend link so you can let your neighbors know what’s going on, and you can create email alerts to stay informed on a daily, weekly or monthly basis.

    CrimeReports

  • FileThis

    Connect FileThis to the various services you use each month — banking, credit cards, utilities and the like — and it’ll automatically pull in your statements and paperwork from each one, storing it all for you online, on your computer or in one of several popular cloud-based storage services. There’s a free plan that connects to six services, with 12- and 30-connection plans running between $2 and $5 per month.

    FileThis

  • Fitocracy

    Billing itself as a “health and fitness social network,” Fitocracy turns working out into a game, letting you unlock achievements, take on “quests,” duel other Fitocracy members and level up along the way. You can join a team of other Fitocracy users based on which goals you’re trying to accomplish, facilitating discussion and encouragement between your team and your online coach.

    Fitocracy

  • FlapMMO

    The Flappy Bird craze hit its peak around February of this year, but you’ll still find a fair amount of people playing FlapMMO — arguably the game’s cleverest spin-off. It’s just like the original game, requiring you to tap a button to flap between vertical pipes, except there are dozens of other people controlling their own birds, trying to survive for longer. It’s funny to see all these birds engaged in this hopeless struggle — and kind of sad when you get good enough to leave them behind.

    FlapMMO

  • Forgotify

    Streaming music service Spotify proudly boasts more than 20 million songs in its catalog, but truth is that no one’s listened to nearly a quarter of those tracks. Forgotify finds those unheard songs and gives them an ear. Even if you don’t end up with great stuff, just think how happy Mustafa Chaushev will be that some hipster in the United States finally listened to his masterwork.

    Forgotify

  • Genius

    Once known as RapGenius, the site is in the midst of reinventing itself as a place where news, historical documents and cultural artifacts can all be annotated by the crowds. (You might even see some creators swing by to mark up their own work.) But it’s still at its best as a place to dissect the meaning of your favorite song, down to every line.

    Genius

  • Glyde

    When it comes to selling your gadgets and video games, Glyde looks to split the difference between auction sites and trade-in sites. The result is that you’ll generally make more money than you would from a trade-in site, with less of a hassle than going through the listing process at auction sites. Once someone commits to buying your stuff, Glyde will ship you a pre-labeled box to fill up and send out.

    Glyde

  • Haiku Deck

    While Microsoft PowerPoint is still the standard for presentations, using its cluttered interface kind of feels like being trapped in a cubicle. Haiku Deck, by comparison, is actually kind of fun, and doesn’t demand much know-how in order to start creating sharp-looking slideshows. Keep in mind the next time you need to make a presentation outside your nine-to-five.

    Haiku Deck

  • Have I Been Pwned?

    Have I Been Pwned? collects the email addresses and usernames exposed by various high-profile hacks to let you know if your personal data has been compromised. Simply enter an email address or username you commonly use and the site will cross-check it against recent data breaches, telling you which companies leaked your data and which types of data have been leaked.

    Have I Been Pwned?

  • Hotel WiFi Test

    Torture is staying in a hotel with slow wireless access. Hotel WiFi Test relies on travelers to report speed tests back to the service, compiling the data to return average speeds based on each hotel. The site features speeds for hotels in many major cities, and if a hotel hasn’t undergone speed tests, Hotel WiFi Test provides an average expected speed instead.

    Hotel WiFi Test

  • Humble Bundle

    Humble Bundle got its start a few years ago as pay-what-you-want clearinghouse for indie games. It’s greatly expanded its scope over the last year, with weekly deals, flash sales, book deals and the occasional charity-driven sale from a major publisher. It’s basically a good place to go if you need some geeky entertainment on the cheap.

    Humble Bundle

  • Imgur

    Imgur should be easier to describe than it is. People go there to upload images and animated GIFs, which are then ranked by popularity. Many of the images are funny. Some give you “the feels,” as Imgurians like to say. There are lots of cats, dogs and other cute animals. At the end of the day, it’s a pure, simple form of storytelling: Without too much reading, you can get a highly entertaining grasp of what’s going on in the world.

    Imgur

  • Just Delete Me

    If you’re like most people, you’re probably signed up for a zillion online services — whether you use them or not. Just Delete Me features cancellation information for oodles of popular sites and services, letting you know which sites are easy, medium, hard or impossible to quit and how to go about removing yourself from each one.

    Just Delete Me

  • Medium

    On its face, Medium is just another blogging platform. But its minimalist layout and dead-simple writing tools have quickly turned it into the de facto standard for smart writers who want to say something and don’t have a home for it. And for those who are publishing elsewhere, Medium’s no-clutter interface is still a great place to draft your next story.

    Medium

  • Milo

    Want to know where to find the nearest iPad? Milo scours local stores for a plethora of products, mapping out which stores have what you’re looking for in stock and how much it’ll set you back. You can filter your searches by minimum and maximum price, along with minimum star-ratings for the stores in your neck of the woods.

    Milo

  • My 80’s TV

    Who needs elaborate channel guides and on-demand video when you have big hair and cheesy commercials? My 80’s TV puts you in front of an old-fashioned tube television — complete with knobs for changing channels — and provides a steady stream of ’80s programming. You can even pick the exact year and filter out the kind of shows you want to see.

    My 80’s TV

  • mySupermarket

    Imagine creating a mammoth online superstore stocked with products from Amazon, Walmart, Target, Costco, Walgreens, Diapers.com, SOAP and Drugstore.com. That’s the promise of mySupermarket. Cruise through the site and add the items you need to your cart — you’ll see the lowest-priced items available — and when you’re ready to check out, you pay mySupermarket directly, which then facilitates delivery from the aforementioned stores.

    mySupermarket

  • Nick Reboot

    We have no idea what Nickelodeon is like now, but Nick Reboot is an exact copy of how the children’s TV channel existed in the late ’80s and early ’90s, right down to the commercials and the station ID messages. The only thing that’s changed is the chat bar on the right side, which lets ’80s babies enjoy the nostalgia trip together. (Nick isn’t involved, but the creator claims it’s legal under fair use.)

    Nick Reboot

  • Noisli

    Noisli helps you tackle busywork by letting you layer background noises on top of one another. Choose from rain, thunder, wind, lapping waves and several other options while the site’s background color slowly fades from one hue to the next. There’s even a distraction-free text editor that lets you peck out your thoughts without a bunch of buttons and menus getting in the way.

    Noisli

  • Peek

    If you can’t seem to sit still while you’re on vacation, Peek serves up a nearly endless list of activities for more than 20 cities around the world. Activities are sorted into groups like “What to do when it rains” or “Under $50,” and there’s a “Perfect Day” section that features hand-picked activities by high-profile experts from each locale.

    Peek

  • Persona

    Persona scours your Facebook, Twitter and Google+ accounts for content you might not want other people — prospective employers, parents, law enforcement — seeing. It’ll reach all the way back to your earliest posts, digging up profanity, drug and alcohol references, adult content and more that you might want to delete. It’ll also monitor your accounts in real time, alerting you to new questionable content as it shows up.

    Persona

  • Pleated Jeans

    There’s just too much funny viral content to keep track of every day. It’s like a job! Over at Pleated Jeans, Jeff Wysaski rounds up the best of the best, presenting it all with very little commentary. Don’t miss the daily “Funny Pic Dump,” a hodge-podge of amusing images that have popped up across various sites.

    Pleated Jeans

  • Pocket

    Just like Pocket’s phone and tablet apps, the website lets you save online articles and read them later in a clutter-free format. The only thing that’s missing is offline support, but you can get that as well by installing the Pocket web app in Google Chrome.

    Pocket

  • Quip

    Though it doesn’t have all the trimmings of Microsoft Word, Quip specializes in helping you get words to paper with minimal effort. It provides just enough editing tools to make your documents look sharp, and an easy way to add comments if you’re looking to collaborate. Your documents also sync automatically to Quip’s phone and tablet apps, and you can export them as PDF or Word files when you’re ready to share your work.

    Quip

  • Quirky

    Quirky gleans ideas from designers around the world and turns them into actual products for the home. The result is something like a Sharper Image catalog for the Internet age, with products like a curved surge protector that keeps large AC adapters from blocking their neighboring outlets, and a wine stopper with a stand for laying bottles flat in the fridge. You probably won’t find anything you need, but you might discover something you want.

    Quirky

  • Quotacle

    It’s early days for this site, which lets you search for classic movie quotes along with the relevant video clip. But we’re hoping it quickly expands beyond its current catalog of 143 movies — and that Hollywood doesn’t get antsy and try to shut it down.

    Quotacle

  • Rdio

    If you haven’t tried Rdio before, you have no excuse not to check it out now that it’s completely free on laptops and desktops. Like Spotify, it’s an on-demand service with millions of songs, but its design is top-notch and it’s much better in the browser, as it doesn’t constantly try to force you into a desktop app. Once you get going, be sure to turn on the “You FM” station, which plays a mix based on your past listening behavior.

    Rdio

  • ReadyForZero

    Feed all of your financial accounts into ReadyForZero and the site will spit back out a customized plan that’ll let you decide which debts to pay down first and see how long it’ll take you to dig out of that soul-crushing hole you’ve gotten yourself into. You can get notifications when bills are due; premium access lets you pay bills directly from the site and features credit-score monitoring as well.

    ReadyForZero

  • RetailMeNot

    Before you buy anything from an online retailer, RetailMeNot should be your first stop. The site rounds up coupon codes from more than 50,000 stores, so even if you’re shopping at an obscure site, it’s always a good idea to double-check to see if RetailMeNot can keep a few extra bucks in your pocket.

    RetailMeNot

  • Roadtrippers

    While there’s no shortage of ways to plan a long trip by car, Roadtrippers makes it easy. You plug in your route, and the site will point out what you should do and see along the way. Roadtrippers caters to lots of interests, from sightseeing to eating, and includes curated descriptions of your path’s hidden gems. When you’re done planning, you can load the app on your phone for quick access from the road.

    Roadtrippers

  • Scribd

    In the ebook world, there’s a small battle brewing to see who can be the Netflix of ebooks. We have three major contenders so far: Scribd, Oyster and Amazon, which promise 400,000+, 500,000+ and 600,000+ titles, respectively. They’re all fine options, but Scribd gets the nod for its $9-per-month subscription fee; Oyster and Amazon each charge a buck more.

    Scribd

  • Sunrise Calendar

    For basic scheduling and reminders, Sunrise isn’t much different from other online calendars. But what makes it stand out is its ability to plug into other web-based services. Use TripIt? Sunrise gives you an easy to way schedule around your next flight. Using Google to sync your calendars? Now you can have the Facebook birthday and event reminders that Google Calendar doesn’t include on its own. If you already use Sunrise on your phone, bookmarking the website is a no-brainer.

    Sunrise Calendar

  • Supercook

    Your cupboards and fridge are full of various items, yet you have no idea how to combine them into something that tastes halfway decent. Luckily, Supercook can do the hard work for you. Tell it what you have on hand, and it’ll show you a bunch of recipes culled from popular cooking sites such as Food.com and Epicurious.

    Supercook

  • TaskRabbit

    Time is money. If you have one but not the other, TaskRabbit could be your answer. For the monied among you, the site can set you up with people to help you get organized, clean your house or courier packages around the city. For those of you with time who need money, you can sign up to become one of the TaskRabbits, picking up odd jobs for extra cash.

    TaskRabbit

  • The Nostalgia Machine

    Nothing fancy here; just plug in the year you want to get nostalgic about, and the Machine spits back a grid of music videos — songs plucked from the Billboard Year-End Hot 100 singles list for that year — that you’ll probably realize time forgot for a reason.

    The Nostalgia Machine

  • This Is Why I’m Broke

    If it’s wonderfully weird, over-the-top and available for purchase, it’s probably on This Is Why I’m Broke. At last check, there’s a hamburger bed, an iPhone-controlled paper airplane, pencils engraved with Anchorman quotes and a glider that pulls you along underwater behind a boat like a manta ray. Prices range from cheap to not-in-your-lifetime.

    This Is Why I’m Broke

  • Treat

    Treat drags greeting cards into the 21 century, allowing you to personalize messages across a broad range of how-do-you-dos. You can add your own writing and photos, and the service will mail the card directly to your recipient. You can even schedule cards to be mailed on specific days. Might as well take care of every anniversary and birthday for the next five years at once, huh?

    Treat

  • TrueCar

    As much as everyone loves being pressure-sold for hours on end at car dealerships, TrueCar cuts through the nonsense by showing you the average price other people in your area paid for the vehicle you’re thinking of buying. Dealerships that partner with TrueCar — there are close to 8,000 — can then lop a few extra bucks off and let you pick up the car without a bunch of unnecessary haggling.

    TrueCar

  • Twitch

    Whether it’s worth a billion dollars to Google or not, you’ve got to appreciate Twitch’s ascent over the last couple of years, and its impact on gaming culture. To call it a site for watching other people play video games would be dismissive, as it’s really a way for people to hang out around a common interest — a virtual version of the way we’d hang out around a single television as kids.

    Twitch

  • Vine

    Even if you have no followers and don’t care to share your own six-second videos, Vine’s website is still a fun way to soak up some short bursts of creativity. The curated home pages offers a taste of everything from cute animals to comedy, and you can turn on TV mode for a stream of big-screen videos if you’re feeling lucky.

    Vine

  • Vox

    As part of a new wave of “explainer” websites, Vox is at its best when it’s providing deep background on the biggest news stories. It’s a great starting point if you’re lost on topics like the Israel-Palestine conflict or the battle over net neutrality, giving you just enough know-how to confidently dive into editorials and breaking news pieces elsewhere.

    Vox

  • XKCD

    Randall Munroe’s nine-year-old web comic has been on a roll lately, branching beyond geek humor with ambitious projects like a massive drawing to explore, a 3,099-panel comic that panned out over several months and a deep dive into common Google searches. He’s even helped make sense of the news, with a clear, illustrated explanation of the Heartbleed bug that compromised so many websites earlier this year. You may not need to stop in every day, but XKCD should be on your radar.

    XKCD

TIME Software

Photo App Makes You Wait an Hour for Your Snaps to ‘Develop’

1-hour photo
The 1-Hour Photo app makes you wait to see your photos Nevercenter Labs

Free for iPhone, this 1-Hour Photo app aims to whisk us all away to simpler times.

The premise is straightforward: You can use the app to snap photos, but you have to wait an hour for photos to virtually “develop” before you can see them. And just to add an extra old-timey touch, your photos are converted to black and white.

The interface is even more straightforward: just a big button, flanked by the number of photos processing on the left and the number of minutes until the processing’s done on the right.

The idea is that you shouldn’t get so caught up in reviewing, sharing or deleting photos right after you take them that you miss out on whatever’s actually happening around you. As a super bonus (for the rest of us — maybe not you, though), the front-facing camera is disabled, meaning no selfies.

[Uncrate]

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