It isn't my favorite, but Partly Cloudy has a fascinating user interface. Problems include switching between cities (it needs some sort of gesture support), the preferences are out of place and it isn't terribly intuitive until you play around with it for awhile. But the interface is novel and may appeal to you.
For quick checks of the weather my current favorite is Check the Weather which requires another app, Dark Sky, for full functionality. I use RadarScope on my Macs, iPhone and iPad to get a fairly unprocessed doppler radar from NOAA's NEXRAD level 3 realtime data feed.
Dark Sky is very useful by itself if you are interested in what your local weather is likely to be in the next hour and Sky Motion gives similar predictions.
Lightning Finder shows near real time (one minute delay) lightning strikes around the US. You can even set alerts to txt you with warnings that an electrical storm is approaching. Basically an interface to a yearly subscription service, but worth it to me.
I find Seasonality for the Mac and iPad the best for offering detailed information and, of course, I bookmark the NJ climate page for the weather station about 3 km from our home on the Rutger's Climate site. Very detaled and relevant information for our location - although it is focused on the short term history of the weather. I would love to see an app that allows you to easily find such resources for any location on the planet... sort of a "Siri, display the closest weather station..."
All of the other weather apps I've seen tend ot offer similar generic information with varying degrees of user interface sophistication. Those I've listed stand out. None is perfect - a brilliant interface that integrates all of these would be great, but it may not be possible to have it all in something beautiful and simple (NEXRAD radar, for example, requires ou to spend a few hours learning about what each of the feeds means)..
This reminds me a lot of George Gamow's Mr Tompkins in Wonderland series... an early effort to popularize "modern" physics...
A game from MIT to let you play around in a world where the speed of light is seriously slower than in our universe to help you get a better grasp of relativity. OS X and Windows versions available... It should be noted it is a prototype with some rough edges. I tried it for awhile and recommend you use a mouse rather than a trackpad.
A Slower Speed of Light is a first-person game prototype in which players navigate a 3D space while picking up orbs that reduce the speed of light in increments. Custom-built, open-source relativistic graphics code allows the speed of light in the game to approach the player's own maximum walking speed. Visual effects of special relativity gradually become apparent to the player, increasing the challenge of gameplay. These effects, rendered in realtime to vertex accuracy, include the Doppler effect (red- and blue-shifting of visible light, and the shifting of infrared and ultraviolet light into the visible spectrum); the searchlight effect (increased brightness in the direction of travel); time dilation (differences in the perceived passage of time from the player and the outside world); Lorentz transformation (warping of space at near-light speeds); and the runtime effect (the ability to see objects as they were in the past, due to the travel time of light). Players can choose to share their mastery and experience of the game through Twitter. A Slower Speed of Light combines accessible gameplay and a fantasy setting with theoretical and computational physics research to deliver an engaging and pedagogically rich experience.
Accounts are beginning to appear on the massive fail that was Orca - the Republican big data tool for managing their voter effort on election day. If they are to be believed, these guys were novices with a poor understanding of how this is done. That fundamental problem was compounded by a strong belief that they knew what they were doing. For a candidate and campaign that prided themselves on business fundamentals they seemed more than a little clueless.
A basic discussion here and a piece form the apolitical, but technical, Ars Technica.
just amazing naïvety ... it will be fascinating to read deeper post mortems as they emerge. It is ironic to the point of being hilarious (at least if you aren't a Republican) that Team Romney would outsource something so core to their effort. It is really important to deeply undersand such tools. On the other hand a lot of businesses have serious technical cluelessness and jump from trend to trend without understanding much - perhaps they were just a failed business effort in the tend.
What music is optimal for your heart? Music recommendation via bio-feedback and collaboration. Some interesting work by folks at the University of Virginia and Microsoft. A preprint of their paper here
MusicalHeart: A Hearty Way of Listening to Music
Shahriar Nirjon, Robert F. Dickerson, Qiang
Li, Philip Asare, and John A. Stankovic
Department of Computer Science
University of Virginia, USA
Dezhi Hong, Ben Zhang, Xiaofan Jiang,
Guobin Shen, and Feng Zhao
Microsoft Research Asia, Beijing, China
MusicalHeart is a biofeedback-based, context-aware, au-
tomated music recommendation system for smartphones.
We introduce a new wearable sensing platform, Septimu,
which consists of a pair of sensor-equipped earphones that
communicate to the smartphone via the audio jack. The
Septimu platform enables the MusicalHeart application to
continuously monitor the heart rate and activity level of the
user while listening to music. The physiological information
and contextual information are then sent to a remote server,
which provides dynamic music suggestions to help the user
maintain a target heart rate. We provide empirical evidence
that the measured heart rate is 75% − 85% correlated to the
ground truth with an average error of 7.5 BPM. The accu-
racy of the person-specific, 3-class activity level detector is
on average 96.8%, where these activity levels are separated
based on their differing impacts on heart rate. We demon-
strate the practicality of MusicalHeart by deploying it in two
real world scenarios and show that MusicalHeart helps the
user achieve a desired heart rate intensity with an average
error of less than 12.2%, and its quality of recommendation
improves over time.
In the end I don't think this is a huge kerfuffel - it is probably something Apple had to do given the competitive state between Google and Apple and the consumer isn't really hurt due to the presence of alternatives as apps and bookmarkable webpages. Apple's timing and method of announcement were probably botched, but they also had to break the contract this year if there is a two year minimum as has been suggested.
From my point of view the main game is not the relative success and failures of the tactics of individual companies, but the larger issues. One falls under what is often called network neutrality and the other the unusually high prices seem in the US for high speed fixed and wireless access relative to other countries.
Probably too much is being written on the Apple/Samsung verdict, but my guess is Microsoft sent Tim Cook (Apple's CEO who happened to be celebrating his first full year as CEO yesterday) an awfully nice bottle of wine last night.
It may be the total cost to a phone marker for Windows may be comparable to or even less than the "free" Andorid due to licensing fees from Apple and Microsoft - and potentially others. Not to mention the Microsoft UI offering a very nice counterpoint to Apple's.
It may well be that it comes down to Google having to indemnify the phone makers who lose suits if it wants them to continue using Android.
A relevant question for those who value companies and buyouts is how much would Motorola be worth today compared to what Google paid?