New Tingo Family UI

Written by on December 20, 2010, 4:41 pm

Tingo Family 1.2 got approved by Apple today. We did a lot of work taking user feedback and improving the UI. I am really happy with the results, so I made a new promo video for the app. Hope you like it:

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Phonics Deck

Written by on December 16, 2010, 1:14 am

Phonics Deck is a deck of 42 phonic audio cards to help your child learn to read.

Each card has simple word on one side. Tap the card to 'flip it', hear the word read and see a hand drawn picture. Underneath the picture, the word is broken down into individual phonics or sounds. Tap each phonic to hear the sound read aloud.

Phonics Deck is a universal app, it will work natively on your iPhone, iPad or iPod Touch.

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Tingo Family on This Week in Mobile

Written by on December 13, 2010, 4:30 pm

I did an interview with Ashley Esqueda and Mike Hobbs on This Week in Mobile. Here is the clip:

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Phonics Deck Artwork

Written by on December 10, 2010, 12:16 am

I have spent a lot of time over the last few months working on my next iOS app. From a development perspective, it went pretty quickly. I built a universal app (iPhone & iPad) with arbitrary orientation from the start and that was pretty satisfying. I had failed to do that with Monster Memory and I think the final product suffered as a result.

So the app itself was built in a few weeks. The bulk of the time was doing the artwork for the 42 cards that are managed by the application. In hindsight, it was an insane project to embark upon and I am very glad to be finished. Here is the full set of cards in the app:

Ok ... I was scraping the bottom of the creative barrel when I got to truck.

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How Life360 gets it wrong

Written by on November 25, 2010, 10:52 am

Full Disclosure I am a developer on Tingo Family a location based family safety app that is a direct competitor to Life360. These opinions are my own and do not necessarily reflect those of my employer.

Life360 has a fundamental premise that parents want (and need) to know where sex offenders live in their area. When I log into the Life360 web interface I get the following rather alarming message:

I have issues with this premise:

You know the Offenders in your neighbourhood...

Really?! First of all the data that is being used to populate their maps is extremely suspect. Clicking on the map button underneath the dangerous looking mug shot, I get the following screen:

So this guy, who may well be a sex offender registered in Holmes Drive Colorado, doesn't live in General Holmes Drive in Sydney. Ok, this is a US service and I can forgive techincal issues that Life360 might not have seen for non US locations, but it certainly doesn't fill me with confidence. My real issue is why this data, assuming it is accurate in the US, is relevant in the first place? It is based on the assumpation that if you check this map and your child is arbitarily distant from a certain set of known sex offenders they are ok and if not, sound the alarm!

Protect Your Kids From These Offenders

This is a false assumption. There is data that indicates 60% of boys and 80% of girls, who are assaulted, are sexually abused by someone known to the child or the child's family (Lieb, Quinsey, and Berliner, 1998). It is also sadly true that only a tiny fraction of sexual offenders are apprehended and convicted for their crimes. So the conclusion, that knowledge of the address of registered sex offenders is useful, is misguided at best and potentially dangerous. I believe this kind of functionality is capitalizing on people's fear and rather than helping families protect their children, by creating a false sense of security, puts them at risk.

Perhaps an analogy will help illustrate my point. Imagine an iPhone application that indicates where 5% (and I am being generous here) of cars are parked. These locations are mapped alongside the current location of your children. Does this application help you protect your kids from being hit by a motor vehicle? I don't think so.

If someone from Life360 would like to comment, I would love to hear your point of view.

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