Opinion

Anthony De Rosa

Will mainstream mobile users “check in” to location based services?

Anthony De Rosa
Feb 18, 2011 17:44 UTC

It’s easy to get a skewed sense of reality in the media centric world that is New York City. It’s even easier when you work and live around folks enamored with shiny new gadgets and the apps that run on them. The app that most of my friends are using is Foursquare, but I would venture to guess the greater majority of folks outside the metropolitan area are not.

Foursquare recently reached 6 million users, an impressive number. An even more impressive number, they were adding users at a rate of 100,000 a week last summer. Foursquare grew to 1 million users in six months, something it took Twitter two years to accomplish. Although it took Foursquare two years to reach 2 million users, while it took Facebook Places two months to reach thirty million users. (It would be interesting to know how many of those thirty million actively decided to join Facebook Places or were unwittingly “checked-in” by their friends.)

Instagram, which allows users to post photos from their phone and attach them to Foursquare “check ins,” reached the magic 1 million user number in three months and then doubled that number just six weeks later. A real-time stream of photos from this year’s Grammys was powered by Instagram. There are roughly 5 billion cell phone subscriptions in the world, putting Foursquare’s penetration of the market at .12%

So which apps are mobile users actually downloading?

iOS, the operating system that iPhone runs on, represents 28% of the smartphone market. In January, Apple revealed the top free iOS apps, led by Facebook and followed by Pandora, Google Mobile, Shazam, and Flixster while games dominate the top paid iOS apps. Location based apps like Gowalla, Foursquare, Loopt, and Brightkite failed to make the top 10.

On the Android platform, which has a 27% share of the smartphone market, the Kindle app leads the pack. There are two location based apps in the Android top ten. Layar Reality Browser is an augmented reality app that lets you point your phone’s camera at the world around you and then returns information about it. Places Directory gives you a list of restaurants and other places in the area around you. Neither have the option to “check-in” to places.

The economics of internships

Anthony De Rosa
Feb 17, 2011 19:40 UTC

USA-HEALTHCARE/

The haves and the have nots are delineated in multiple ways through our polite society here in America. That separation is apparent to a significant degree when it comes to the opportunities available to the folks we are counting on to pull us out of the ditch we’ve found ourselves in after the nuclear winter of sub-prime mortgages and the supposed near collapse of our financial system. They are, of course, our interns.

Internships are seemingly thankless jobs, but they are often a rare golden ticket to a path to highly sought after positions. The issue is that most of these jobs are non-paying, making them unaffordable for those who don’t come from a privileged background. When one must toil through 12-hour days, with tasks ranging from the banal (fetching coffee) to somewhat skilled (fetching data,) it doesn’t leave time to take a second job to support their dream. This creates a very real societal structure that locks out those on the lower rungs of society from pulling themselves up. The American Dream requires more than a little help from friends and a well established and generous family.

Aside from the fact that this practice only allows children of upper middle to upper class families the opportunity to take these coveted jobs, it may even be illegal. In a New York Times article back in April of last year, it was noted that number of unpaid internships had seen a significant rise in recent years, leading the New York labor commissioner to launch an investigation into several firms.

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