From infuriating Kickstarters to rather creepy AR games, we aim to bring you the silliest stuff in digital from the last week.
Some things do not need disrupting. Stop it already.
There are some tools that just elegantly do the job. The toothbrush, for example. Yes, we have electric ones but they need recharging and they can break and are relatively expensive, so their sales will never trouble the traditional toothbrush, which is simply the best tool for the job.
That’s why the Amabrush Kickstarter is a little depressing. A mouthguard-style device that brushes your teeth all at once in only 10 seconds and uses, yes, you’ve guessed it, proprietry toothpaste capsules.
Why can’t we just celebrate the humble toothbrush. Do we really need to save six minutes every day?
Pull out your ‘Pocket Balls’
Last year we asked whether Pokemon Go was a turning point for augmented reality. It seems it has certainly spawned plenty of apps using the same AR technology. Homages or rip-offs, you decide.
The Next Web this week highlighted two of the more bizarre examples – Pocket Boyfriend Go and Pocket Girlfriend Go.
As TNW so entertainingly puts it, “Instead of catching cute fictional creatures as you walk around town, players are expected to hunt for teenage-looking virtual ‘boys’ and ‘girls.’ Much like the real thing, the app features a radar that alerts you anytime there’s a target in your vicinity, so you can react appropriately and pull out your ‘Pocket Balls’ to start enticing virtual boys and girls.”
The Girlfriend app has been installed more than 50,000 times, with the Boyfriend app already at more than 100,000 installs.
Tattoos for SEO?
SEO agency The Hoth saw the conclusion of its tattoo competition this week, a truly masterclass example of SEO PR.
The company asked people to get its mascot tattooed on their body (at least an inch high) in exchange for $3,000 of Hoth Credits (to spend on SEO services from the agency). A winner, who also nabbed a cash prize, was chosen at the end of June. You can see all the runners and riders on The Hoth’s blog.
We’ve seen better tattoos, but rarely such an inspired PR campaign, bringing links, possible repeat business, some cheeky branding and plenty of kudos.
Comic Sans is all growds up
Jonathan Hoefler has designed Inkwell, a typeface that looks like Comic Sans in a more grown-up universe.
Hoefler tells TNW “Comic Sans is shooting for ‘informal’ but hits ‘amateurish’. I wanted Inkwell to be informal, but proficient.”
‘Out-of-home sick burn’ of the week
Via Reddit user GallowBoob.
Would you click through an email from firstname.lastname@example.org?
Valimail has conducted a study of phishing scams and found that ‘there are scammers out there trying to use Hooli.com and PiedPiper.com email addresses in the From fields of their fraudulent messages.’
The two fictional companies are well known to fans of HBO’s Silicon Valley, a comedy that skewers startup and tech culture.
Valimail CTO Peter Goldstein rightly asks the question, ‘..who could resist an offer from Gavin Belson (email@example.com) for free tickets to Hoolicon? Or a free e-book on the Conjoined Triangles of Success from Action Jack Barker (firstname.lastname@example.org)? Wouldn’t you click on a link or sign up for an account, if only to see what happens next?’
Autonomous cars cannot ‘see’ kangaroos
If you live in the outback, you probably don’t fancy a Tesla. Even if you did, it might not be able to dodge the roos. Well, that’s if it’s anything like the autonomous Volvos.
Volvo says its self-driving cars cannot recognize kangaroos and their unique movement. The Verge reports that Volvo Australia’s technical manager David Pickett told ABC Australia, “when [the kangaroo is] in the air it actually looks like it’s further away, then it lands and it looks closer.”
WhatsApp truly a part of popular culture
When John Terry signed for Aston Villa this week, the club confirmed his arrival with the following GIF of an imagined WhatsApp conversation. It’s quite amusing for the soccer fan and a good example of just how far WhatsApp has come in popular culture.
The flying fraudulent bus
Remember this bus designed to ‘fly’ over cars on congested roads in China? Well, it’s a right old mess.
TNW reports that Huaying Kailai, an online financing platform which allowed people to invest in TEB (the company that makes the bus), is under investigation by police. It turns out that the finance platform is run by TEB’s CEO and the fundraising was illegal.
What’s more, the bus didn’t have government support, and with the tracks soon to be pulled up, there are many investors in the $1.3bn project who are set to lose their money. Some are suing.
A horrible end for such a joyous concept. Here’s a now doleful seeming video from New China TV showcasing the bus.
Could AI beat the bookies?
A nice read from The Verge about a UK startup called Stratagem that is using neural networks to enhance the statistical data it provides gamblers. The firm is creating a sports betting fund positioned as an alternative to a hedge fund.
There’s some great detail on what it looks for in soccer matches in order to predict outcomes. At the moment, the automated predictions are only right 50% of the time, but the tech is being used to speed up some of the manual data analysis, such as identifying goal-scoring chances in each game.
Saturday’s £1 accumulator bet may soon seem like even more of a folly.