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Creators of a flirting app called Skout are in hot water after three kids using the service were allegedly raped, leading to the children’s part of the app to shut down. Dan Lyons tells the cautionary tale about such creepy new mobile apps, and says Silicon Valley start-ups are so keen to make a buck that they may not see the risks.
Magazine publishers are still getting their sea legs when it comes to tablet app design, even as the iPad approaches its two-year anniversary and the launching of its third hardware iteration. But a number of publishers (ed: Newsweek is one of them!) )have demonstrated prowess in content and design according to app watcher iMonitor from McPheters & Company. The service, which has cataloged and evaluated over 5,000 tablet apps from print publishers worldwide, issued its top-ranked magazine brands on the tablet platforms. McPheters evaluates app according to design, functionality and use of rich media.
Woo! You hear that?! We’ve “demonstrated prowess” with our iPad app. Aside from the very nice older woman who told us she liked our shoes on the subway this morning, this has to be the best compliment we’ve received all day! Check it out, iPad people.
January was a pretty good month.
For starters, we launched a shiny new iPad app just two mere weeks ago and by all available indications things are going really, really well on that front. And then! 11.8 million monthly uniques at the Beast! Here’s the breakdown.
Newsweek’s app, officially still an infant in its second week of life, is among the top free and top grossing iPad apps in Newsstand, a result of the mere fact the app is free but the subscription, naturally, is not. If you’ve tried it out (and really, you should, here’s a demo), let us know what you think of it with either a message, reblog, or—ideally because these things matter for future app downloaders—a review in the App Store (plus the more stars you give us the more luck you’ll have in 2012—it’s science).
For the website, January brought thedailybeast.com (where we hang our hat too at thedailybeast.com/newsweek) our biggest traffic month in the history of all time forever—a whopping 11.8 million unique visitors stopped by for our mix of 2012 campaign coverage, entertainment scoops, and insatiable obsession with one Blue Ivy Carter. Andrew Sullivan’s monster story on Barry O’s successes didn’t hurt. 10.7 MU’s was our previous high water mark, which came in November of last year.
Here’s Omniture—which if you’re not a media writer nor Internet person let us explain it’s the robots we use to keep us informed how many non-robots are visiting the site.
And last but certainly not least, there’s you guys. Tumblr! Thanks for all the reblogs, likes, and—when we’re doling out faux-advice—messages. It makes us truly happy and we love it. If you’ve ever got any ideas for features or series or random posts you’d like to see on the nwk tumblr, shoot us a note. We love mail. And we love the stuff you keep stickin’ on our dashboards. Stay creative.
We sat down with Melissa Lafsky Wall, Newsweek’s fantastic new(ish) iPad editor now that her awesome app is out of the nursery, to ask her what, exactly, an “ipad editor” does! Also: How did you wind up here, Melissa? And what’s your favorite part of this week’s iPad issue? Do tell the nwk tumblr of your mysterious ways.
nwk tumblr: So what, exactly, is an “iPad editor”?
melissa lafsky wall: [Laughs] It’s a totally new frontier in that you need to have at least a base of familiarity of all the crazy tech terms. I don’t pretend to have any kind of tech expertise when it comes to coding or the logistics of creating the app, but I have to know what is required in order to code — how many hours will it take to produce such and such and what actually needs to be done. There’s also a level of educating people on the edit side, showing them what can be done on an iPad, and demonstrating how it’s a brave new world where there are wonderful enhanced things they can do for a story that give a story deeper context and a whole new layer of meaning. Once you show people that in practice they get really excited about it.
nwk: What advice would you give to someone looking to get into your particular tech-heavy corner of the journalism industry?
mlw: Be in the right place at the right time. Don’t be too tied to any one set of skills. I’ve had no formal training in how to be an iPad editor but it’s really just an amalgam of skills learned as a website editor, as a writer, as a blogger, and as a person working in modern editorial — and tech. I had to update my vocabulary very quickly in order to be taken seriously by the tech side. I didn’t want to look like a total tech moron.
nwk: How’d you do that?
mlw: It helps that my husband is a computer scientist! I just ask him.
nwk: What was your role in the app’s development?
mlw: Well, my role has been everything from editorial overseer to task-master…I was brought in to do everything from make sure the production team has what they need to product the app every week to talking with David Frum about audio extras for his stories.
nwk: Now that it’s actually in the store, what are you most excited about?
mlw: I’m most happy that everyone now gets this amazing new digitally enhanced way to read Newsweek. It’s always been about showcasing the content. Without great content there would be no great app. And honestly this is a biased opinion but magazines are simply more fun and more beautiful to read on an ipad than they are in print.
nwk: What does our editor think of Newsweek on the iPad?
mlw: Tina’s been a huge supporter of the app! She’s had great ideas from the start, and she loves how the Oscars feature turned out. She’s had great comments throughout the whole process.
nwk: What’s your favorite part of this week’s edition?
mlw: The Oscar roundtable, hands down!
mlw: It’s the perfect example of how an iPad can be used to enhance the reading experience and overall enjoyment of a great piece of writing. We have video extras, we have interactive video with the stars, we’ve got George Clooney playing the ukulele in your iPad, and we have this great piece of writing that tells such a great story. When they all come together, it’s really an incredible experience.
[Get the app.]
Meet the Brothers Mueller—design geniuses Kirk and Nate who helped us build our shiny new iPad app—as they take us on a tour of all its bells and whistles. Another video at the link.
[Get the app.]
Our all-new, 100% refreshed iPad app is live in the App Store. These screenshots will give you a taste. Click here to go check it out! We’re all pretty psyched over here. Between this and the last edition, it’s like night and day. Trust us.
Today in the Cover That Just Won’t Go Away: A Bachmann-Eyezed iPhone app.
By popular demand, now you have the power to Bachmann-eyeze anyone you want. Bachmann-eyeze your brother, your boss, your baby, even yourself with the new Bachmann-eyezed app! Developed by the world’s foremost eye handlers, the super-simple app allows you to choose or take a picture using a handy eye-guide overlay. Just tap a button and any picture becomes Bachmann-eyezed!
A new app from Science Photo Library puts images of the world’s creepy crawlers a mere finger swipe away.
Over 550 insects have been photographed but this isn’t being done with typical microscopes. Instead, electron beams are fired at the critters and images are formed from them.
Via Wired UK (Emphasis ours):
Speaking to Wired.co.uk, Gary Evans and Simon Stone from the SPL explained behind the images: “In the past magnified photos have been taken through microscopes. However there have been problems with the light quality and sharpness of these images. With SEM [Scanning Electron Microscope] technology, an electron beam is fired at a subject and what is reflected back off it forms an image. You can get incredible magnifications from this process.”
The insects were dead before being coated in gold to prevent static and then put in a vacuum before undergoing SEM imaging at the hands of electron microscopist Steve Gschmeissner. The resultant photos, for example of a fly’s eye, allow viewers to magnify an image up to 1,000x larger than in reality.
The Mini Monsters Gallery App is available September 12 via iTunes.
They said “electron beams are fired at the critters”! File that in phrases I never expected to read until the year 2057.