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Chad Wingrave is Shooting for #AppStoreDisruption @Instrapption What’s wrong with the appstore’s current model/tech? I used to Love finding new Apps. I’ve been talking to people, and we’re all in the same boat. We just aren’t looking anymore. Apple’s App Store is an amazing creation, but – it’s been around so long it’s become a mess. Organization does not exist that supports the volume and breadth of its Apps. Currently, App Store search is only based on the App’s title (leading to very long titles) and most people download based upon the look of the icon. This is not ideal. I believe Apple is waiting for someone to fix this. And to their credit, they are buying and incorporating any company that offers solutions.

What are you doing to solve it? I’m fixing it. It’s not about Apps, it’s about YOU and what brings YOU Joy in life. InstrApption listens to your interests and finds you Apps that support them. That’s it. If you like weather Apps and need one that provides radar maps and low/high tide information, InstrApption guides you to those Apps. When better Apps come along, it let’s you know. InstrApption also finds Apps to help in ways you didn’t realize. That’s really valuable because great Apps keep being made and changing how you experience life. InstrApption is also about community. The community submits Apps, identifies their features and comments on how appealing and valuable an App is. This information is processed by a back-end recommendation engine that is constantly rehashing new data from multiple sources. A radically different communication interface serves the community. You’ll have to see it for yourself. I didn’t like anything that existed so I merged the best of chat, blogs and forums.

What helpful insight did you gain from you demo night?
The Walnut St Labs audience was insightful – They sliced and diced ideas that I have held and made me rethink and justify each one. I have several new ideas to improve InstrApption, as well as ideas on how to push InstrApption forward as a company.

Night Owls Demo w/ myZyp @myZypInfo @HSamant01 What was the problem your app aims to solve? “Communicating and sharing address and location information, on social media via mobile devices or even verbally, involves the creation and exchange of address information (house #, street, city etc.), sometimes along with landmark based directions, and cryptic links to maps. An even bigger issue in the developing world is that there is no structured addressing scheme, making address location extremely difficult.” How does your app solve this problem? “myZyp wants to change this, and make zyptags (that begin with an &) as easy to create, share, and find, as hashtags. However, unlike hashtags, zyptags also store rich location information (geo-coordinates, postal address, landmark based directions etc.) on the back end, which allows the person looking up the tag on the myZyp app, a quick and easy way to find and get directions to the location. Another cool feature is that the creator of the tag can change the address or location behind the tag, which is great for people or events that relocate or move. For example a food truck that moves around need not update its customers about its location every day – just update the location info at & JoesFoodTruck.” What’s next for your app/ goals/ vision for this year? “While the iOS app and website are now live, we will be releasing on Android and Windows soon. We are also working on a bunch of new features to enhance search, and deeper integration with social media. Our ultimate vision is to make the zyptag as ubiquitous as the hashtag, when it comes to locations.”

Indie Game Night w/ Skyless Game Studios

We asked Chris Bennett from Skyless Game Studios to hang out at Night Owls to play LifeLeap with our community. Skyless Game Studios leverages the power of video games to support and empower social, educational, and philanthropic causes.

What was the problem your game aimed to solve?

“LifeLeap is a casual infinite-runner game aimed at drawing attention to the need for better healthcare in the developing world. A troubling number of young children around the world do not have access to necessary preventative healthcare. As such, many suffer from conditions and illnesses that could easily be prevented.”
–Chris Bennett, Founder @SkylessGames


How did you go about solving it?

“LifeLeap is designed to reflect this issue. The player isn’t only challenged to avoid obstacles, he or she must also battle constantly declining health by picking up medical supplies. The game also ties into the real world; whenever a player makes an in-game purchase, the proceeds will go towards helping children in rural India.”
— Chris Bennett, Founder @SkylessGames


What’s next for LifeLeap?

“Along with Aahana, the non-profit we are developing this game with, we will be launching LifeLeap this summer. From there we hope to expand our network to allow us to provide funds from the game to even more children in developing nations.”
— Chris Bennett, Founder @SkylessGames

Andrew Ervin Reads Excerpts of Burning Down George Orwell’s House

We like to thank Andrew Ervin for sharing passages of his new book, BURNING DOWN GEORGE ORWELL’S HOUSE with us, and once more for putting up with our choice to simultaneously host a prototyping competition! You can pick up Andrew’s debut book at either a hip indie book store, such as Powell’s City of Books and IndieBound, or via Amazon  and Barnes & Noble.

Thanks to Christopher Merkner for his facilitation, as well as his general enthusiasm for herding a bunch of college students anywhere specifically:

“Burning Down George Orwell’s House is really most enjoyable, a witty, original turn on the life and memory of the Sage of Jura, taking place on the island where he wrote Nineteen Eighty-Four. Eric Blair serves as the McGuffin in this story, which is one part black comedy and one part a meditation on modern life. It is well-written and truly original.”
— Robert Stone


“[A]n evocative novel of place that makes pointed commentaries about the ‘wired world’ of the 21st century that 1984 intuited.  As all good comedies do, Ervin’s novel contains a sober question at its core.” Maureen Corrigan, NPR’s “Fresh Air”


“Big Brother might not be watching [Ray Welter] but the island’s eccentric locals sure are and also, possibly, a werewolf. High comedy ensues as Welter tries to find himself, Orwell and the savage beast.”
— Billy Heller, New York Post


“Ervin’s debut novel follows in the tradition of classic comedies where a supposedly cosmopolitan outsider tests his welcome in an insular old-world village. Both come in for some good-natured satire.”
— Newsday


“Wry and engaging… Nineteen Eighty-Four casts a long shadow over countless books—but not this one… Ervin has achieved something uniquely refreshing: a book that shows the taste and restraint to pay knowing, affectionate and humorous tribute to George Orwell without trying to prove him right—or to create some redundant simulacrum of his work.”
— Steve Nathans-Kelly, Paste Magazine


“Burning Down will appeal to those who have wondered what ditching our smart phones and laptops would do to make our lives less complicated. What geographically remote island could we retreat to for some peace of mind and, obviously, some world-class scotch?”
— Melanie J. Cordova, The Santa Fe Writer’s Project Quarterly


“Captures the stark and chill atmosphere of the small island, on which strangers are unwelcome and apparently very good whiskey is consumed in copious quantities.”


Pick up BURNING DOWN GEORGE ORWELL’S HOUSE at Powell’s City of BooksIndieBoundAmazon or Barnes&Noble.

Little Talkers Demo

Little Talkers

Nada Jaksic Pivcevic, Founder of Little Talkers

What was the problem that you aimed to solve with Little Talkers?

“Little Talkers aims to make it easy for parents, caretakers or family members to record, store, view and share their children’s first words and expressions.”
— Nada Jaksic Pivcevic, Founder of Little Talkers


How does little talkers app solve that pain point?

“Little Talkers has a simple interface which makes it easy for anyone to start recording a child within seconds of starting the app. It then stores the word, location, date, and any other information that the user wishes to enter into its database, which can later be viewed in the app’s dictionary view. A phrase can be shared with others, and the entire dictionary can be exported to a file for easy viewing or printing.”
— Nada Jaksic Pivcevic, Founder of Little Talkers


What’s next for little talkers?

“Improved sharing, ability to sync data to cloud and possibly ability to follow friends. I would also like to come up with a convenient way to export and bundle all the data for those users whose kids have grown up and they no longer need to input data through the app.”
— Nada Jaksic Pivcevic, Founder of Little Talkers