Visiting Dignitaries

Sure Why Not: Al Roker Debuts Weather-Themed Game for iPhone

Al Roker poses with fellow app creators Katie Linendoll and Steve Lunny. (Facebook)

Because you’re not officially a celeb these days until you’ve slapped your name on some crappy app, TODAY Show host and noted White House pooper Al Roker now has a weather-themed iPhone game.

The cheesy-looking app, called Al’s Weather Rokies, is based on the fateful day in 2013 when Mr. Roker overslept for the first time in his decades-long career, a press release explains. Here’s the premise of the game, which promises to be both “addictive” and occasionally indicative of actual weather conditions. How nifty: Read More

App for That

This App Will Help You Plan a Fabulous North Korean Vacation

Sign us up for everything! (Screengrab: iTunes)

Few things are more stressful than planning the perfect North Korean vacation. Which Kim Jong Un statues are most fun to visit? Which buildings are tourists strictly forbidden from entering? Which stores are best for purchasing “authentic” North Korean gadgetry?

Thankfully, there’s a new app called North Korea Travel, which aims to help users plan trips to the secretive country — or just learn more about it, without having to trust the country’s highly reliable state-run news site. Read More

Party Time

‘Fever’ Raises $3 Million, Hopes to Heat Up NYC Party Scene

Fever will make you cool, like these guys on the app's Instagram feed. (Instagram)

It’s a good day for Fever, the event discovery app that launched last year in Madrid. The company announced today that their service is now available in NYC, and that they’ve just raised $3 million in funding, to boot.

We made our way down to Tribeca last week, where the Fever team was hosting a launch party at Paul’s Baby Grand, part of the Tribeca Grand Hotel. There, we grabbed a drink with Pep Gomez, Fever’s 21-year-old founder. Read More

Wedding Season

Zola’s New App is Basically Tinder For Wedding Gifts

No, that pot's not going to send you a creepy "hey ;)" message. (Zola)

In the old days — before weddings were all about #tech — you had to go to an actual, physical store to compile the items on your wedding registry. Now, it’s as easy as swiping left or right on an app.

Zola is a service that lets couples create customized online wedding registries. Within one registry, users can ask their guests to buy them items from any number of stores (including Zola’s own collections), as well as intangible gifts like “couple’s massage” or “honeymoon fund.”

They can further customize the registry by adding personalized photos and notes to their guests about why they chose particular gifts. Once the gifts are purchased, couples can even decide exactly when they want the gifts to be delivered. Read More

Delivery From Inconvenience

One-Hour Grocery App Instacart Finally Available To Manhattanites Below 110th Street

You might never have to come here in person again! (Wikimedia Commons)

Last month, we salivated over Instacart, the app that lets you order food from select New York grocery stores and have a personal shopper collect it and deliver it in as small a time frame as a single hour.

Today, Instacart shared good news: it’s finally delivering to Manhattanites below 110th Street. When Instacart first launched in New York, the service was only available below 34th Street, excluding the Financial District. Now a bigger percentage of Manhattan can experience the joys of having a friendly personal shopper bring a bag of fancy Whole Foods trail mix directly to your workplace to curb your 3 p.m. hunger attack. Read More

App for That

Travel App Lets Users Create Their Own Tours — And Get Paid

A sample Stray Boots tour. (Stray Boots)

Stray Boots, the travel app that lets you download interactive tours, is now making room for user-generated content.

Founder Avi Millman started the company back in 2009, after a family trip to Rome.

“We were visiting a bunch of different locations like the Pantheon, the Colosseum — I felt like I was sort of on a scavenger hunt, checking spots off on my list,” he told Betabeat. “It struck me that tour guide experiences are just extremely passive experiences, and not particularly social. If you could turn exploring a city into a game, you could make it a lot more fun, engaging and social.” Read More

App for That

Add Some Tech to Your Seder With New Bronfman Haggadah App

The Bronfman Haggadah, in app form. (Screengrab: iTunes store)

At traditional Passover celebrations, participants read from the Haggadah: a book that tells the story of Passover and outlines the steps of the seder. It’s a time-honored tradition, but with kids these days being into their “technology,” a member of the famed Bronfman clan has decided to turn her family’s Haggadah into an app.

Around this time last year, the Bronfman family (yes, that Bronfman family) celebrated the release of the Bronfman Haggadah, written by the late Edgar M. Bronfman and illustrated by his wife, Jan Aronson. The hardcopy Haggadah was very popular amongst Jews of all different levels of religiousness, Ms. Aronson told Betabeat. Read More

Metro Tech

M.T.A. Still Won’t Let App Developers Access the Good Data

We have this song in our head and now so do you.

The notoriously data prudish M.T.A. may have recanted its cease-and-desist letter to app developers in favor of one of those in vogue app competitions so popular with open governments these days, but that doesn’t mean the agency is giving up the good stuff.

Transit Nation reports that for the M.T.A.’s ongoing App Quest competiton (the public currently voting on 42 apps, which will be rewarded $15,000 in prizes), the M.T.A. did not expose data collected by the subway platform countdown clocks. The clocks, which report the actual time a train arrives, as opposed to the time that they’re scheduled to get there, could make apps much more valuable.  Read More