Tech Blog: Review of the New York Post iPad App

November 22, 2010 by · Comments Off 

Posted by Kassi Schmitt

iPad app review: New York Post

  • Immediacy/Urgency:
  • Non-linear news presentation:
  • Multimedia:
  • Interactivity:
    I chose to review the New York Post’s new iPad app.  Both the newspaper and website have really been pushing users to subscribe to the app as it is one of the first publications to offer a digital publication of the daily newspaper. 

    For $1.99, a user can get a 30-day introductory subscription to the newspaper. An in-app purchase of $6.99 or $79.99 will get a user a subscription for a month or year, respectively.  Basically, the New York Post has done what not many other newspapers have done before- they’ve put their entire daily newspaper into an app on digital technology while still finding a way to profit off of it. But just as every newly launched program has its pros and cons, so does the New York Post app.

    Because the app pretty much just puts the daily newspaper into an iPad app format, there are no continual updates throughout the day.  The daily newspaper goes up in the morning and the stories on the app are not updated until 24 hours later when the next day’s newspaper is released. So, if a user wants continual updates on a breaking news story, the app is not the place to go. Head to the website which is great at providing updates.

    In terms on non-linear presentation, the app has a scroll bar at the bottom that allows the user to quickly move from reading a story about sports to the business section.  There is also an icon in the top left corner that allows the user to quickly choose a story and easily navigate their way through the issue.  But when it comes to linking out and other multimedia options, there were NO links and I only found about one or two photo slideshows a day…

    Interactivity and multimedia content were very minimal (huge bummer). There were very few photo slideshows and I found no videos or polls/comment sections through the app. The app said it was going to eventually allow users to share what they read through social media but I could not find that addition yet…  But one of the most unique and creative features of the app allows the user to “Make Your Own Cover.” One can choose a picture and write a headline that they think should be the cover of the iPad app and submit it to a gallery where others can view it. I thought this was the one truly unique and fun feature the app had going for it!

    Overall, this app was just like taking the newspaper and putting it in an app form while making it easy for a user to scroll through and navigate from story to story.  I think the New York Post is headed in the right direction with this app, but they need to figure out how to incorporate more multimedia and updates throughout the day to really take it to the next level.  Although the headlines are a bit more fun and creative because they don’t have to be SEO friendly, the website would be a better alternative for news updates and has a better variety of interactivity and multimedia content.

    The Daily Update: Thursday, Nov. 18

    November 18, 2010 by · Comments Off 

    It’s a big day for news! New York representative charlie rangel awaits his sanctions for federal corruption charges, bird flu flys back into China, and the SMU Student Senate passes new legistaltion supporting undocumented students. Learn about all this and more on today’s Daily Update.

    The Daily Update: Thursday, Nov. 18 from on Vimeo.

    Arts Blog: What Secrets are Airline Pilots Keeping from You?

    November 11, 2010 by · Comments Off 

    Posted by Kassi Schmitt

    We entrust them with our lives every time we board a flight expecting them to get us safely into the air and back down.  We hear their voices come over the speaker informing us that we will be arriving in 20 minutes or to stay seated with our seat belts on. But a lot of the time, they remain the mysterious men and women behind the locked door.

    In this month’s Reader’s Digest, airline pilots have come out to talk about the secrets that most pilots don’t want you to know. Some are a lot more shocking than others but the word is finally out!

    • Fuel- One airline captain said that he was constantly under pressure to carry less fuel than he was comfortable with. So if he was in a thunderstorm or faced a delay, he could easily run out of gas and have to go to an alternate airport.
    • Delays- It’s not always the mother with four crying children or the rushed businessman that cause the flight delays. One pilot said that sometimes the airline won’t give the pilots a lunch break or even time to eat so they have to delay the flight just to get food. I guess there’s no such thing as grab and go for pilots?
    • Turbulence- Most pilots just avoid turbulence because it’s annoying versus dangerous.  You shouldn’t worry too much when the pilots put on the seat belt sign for passengers, but as soon as they tell the flight attendants to buckle up, it means things are getting pretty bad.
    • Compliments- Pilots take pride in their work just like everyone else.  So they say they appreciate an ego boost every once and a while when passengers compliment them on smooth landings.
    • Nicknames- Pilots have nicknames for a lot of their gear and things on the plane. Here are a few examples: 
                      Blue juice: The water in the lavatory toilet
                      Crumb Crunchers- Kids
                      Gate Lice- The people who line up right by the gate before boarding begins
                      George- Autopilot

    Oh, and the pilots say there is no such thing as a water landing. That’s just called crashing into the ocean…

    Arts Blog: 2010 Thanksgiving Airfare Travel Sees a Spike from 2009

    November 4, 2010 by · Comments Off 

    Posted by Kassi Schmitt

    Thanksgiving break is officially less than three weeks away.  And for many SMU students, that means they’ll be packing their bags and heading to the airports to return home to visit family and friends.

     The holiday season is bouncing back this year from a rough 2009 when people cut back on airline tickets to save money in the tough economy.  For 2010, the Air Transport Association (ATA) expects over 24 million people to be traveling during a 12 day window around the holiday.  That would be a 3.5 percent year-over-year increase in terms of passengers from last year.

     But although this is good news for airlines, it brings some not-so-good news for passengers. Why?

    • With an average of 1.3 to 2.5 million people flying everyday there are going to be some pretty crowded airports.  (Airlines are encouraging fliers to get there extra early)
    • Planes are also going to be running close to capacity, with load factors approaching 90 percent. They will be holding about 10 percent less than in 2008 so get ready for some majorly minimal leg space.
    • Fares are increasing.  In addition to airlines rising prices for round trip tickets (the average ticket is going at $385 this year!), they are tacking on extra fees for travel goods and checked bags.

     In order to reduce the cost of flights, airline experts say that it would be best to fly out on Thanksgiving Day and return the Tuesday or Wednesday after.  It’s also better to order your tickets as soon as you can. The later you wait, the more expensive fares will be!

     I would also suggest using FareCompare’s Thanksgiving Flight Finder.  Just type in where you’re flying to and from and it will give you the cheapest option of which days to travel and which flights to book.  

    Happy traveling!

    Election Blog: University Park to Vote on Alcohol Proposals Today

    November 2, 2010 by · Comments Off 

    Video Posted By Kassi Schmitt

    University Park will be participating in the biggest wet/dry election in U.S. history since the end of Prohibition. If they decide to loosen the sale of alcohol, local stores will be able to sell beer and wine, and restaurants will be able to serve mixed drinks without having members belong to a private club. Check our Election Blog throughout the day and tonight for election updates.

    University Park to Vote on Alcohol Proposals Today from on Vimeo.


    Arts Blog: New Cruise Ship to Provide the Ultimate Experience at Sea

    October 28, 2010 by · Comments Off 

    Posted by Kassi Schmitt

    Who’s up for crusin’ the Caribbean over winter break? On Dec. 1, Royal Caribbean will launch their newest cruise ship-Allure of the Seas.  And this big boat is promising passengers the unthinkable.

    The 225,282-ton ship is 1,187 feet long and 208 feet wide, making it the same size as Royal Caribbean’s Oasis of the Seas. The ship will be able to hold 5,400 passengers in its 28 ultra-modern loft suites and 2,700 staterooms across its 16 decks.

    Allure of the Seas plans to take innovation and imagination to the next level by bringing the DreamWorks Experience onboard with ice and aqua shows. The outdoor AquaTheater will feature fountains and orchestral music on their stage overlooking the ocean. 

    In addition to the movies playing in the 3D theater, Chicago: The Musical will become the second Tony Award-winning musical to debut at seas. Guests will also enjoy a new cultural experience onboard as well by offering the first Britto Store at Sea, revealing the masterpieces of pop icon Romero Britto.  

    Oh yeah, and they just booked Taylor Swift to come onboard and play a concert for the passengers on Jan. 21.

    Can’t live without your coffee fix? Allure of the Seas has got that too. Starbucks just recently announced that it will be putting in its first “sea location.” The Starbucks will be open from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. and will offer the complete line of Starbucks VIA Ready Brew products as well as signature and seasonal beverages and food.

    But don’t worry- there’s more. The ship will have a central park, boardwalk, royal promenade, shops, pool and sports Zone, zipline and mini golf course, Vitality at Sea Spa and Fitness Center, Entertainment Place and Youth Zone. Seriously, is there anything this ship doesn’t have?

    Arts Blog: One Size Does Not Fit All

    October 21, 2010 by · Comments Off 

    Posted by Kassi Schmitt

    On the long list of things that no one wants to deal with in life:  the dreaded middle seat on the airplane. Somebody has to take it. But should that somebody be you if you’re over six feet tall?

    Plane seats are already uncomfortable enough for small travelers traveling in the economy class (I’m only 5’3 and even I feel like I never have any leg space). And as the debate continues to rage on about what airlines should do for overweight passengers, tall passengers are beginning to speak out about their plight as well.

    According to an article on CNN, there are no Federal Aviation Administration regulations or guidelines accommodating tall passengers. So for tall passengers flying economy class, it can be challenging feat to shove your legs into the small amount of space allotted and get situated in a comfortable position.  As soon as the person in front of them leans their seat back, it’s all over from there.

    There are only so many emergency exit rows and first-class seats which allow extra space, so what are airlines doing to accommodate all of their customers?

    Some airlines, such as United, have an “Economy Plus” program which charges extra for extra room.  For a passenger flying from San Francisco to Las Vegas, the passenger would pay $24 extra dollars each way for up to five extra inches of legroom.  And in some cases, those extra five inches could be well worth the money.

    But until all the airlines find a solution for their taller-than-normal travelers, I guess we will have to abide by the fact that one size must fit all when it comes to airplane seats.

    Campus News Blog: Southwest Merger with AirTran May Benefit You

    September 30, 2010 by · Comments Off 

    Posted By Kassi Schmitt

    Dallas-based Southwest Airlines announced Monday that it is buying AirTran for $1.4 billion. The merger of these two airlines will become the nation’s fourth-largest carrier, but what does that mean for you?  

    1). Better service! We all know Southwest employees ensure great service, whether you’re on the ground or thousands of miles in the air.

    2). The new airline would expand its locations and operate from more than 100 airports and serve more than 100 million customers according to an article from The Dallas Morning News. (However, the deal would remove AirTran from DFW, currently one of the cheapest carriers because of a deal with Southwest at Love Field.)

    3). It’s great news for your wallets as Southwest and AirTran don’t have much flight overlap, so the merger won’t lead to higher fares.

    4). Who’s in for some fun in the sun? Southwest would become an international airline if it keeps AirTran’s flights to Aruba, the Bahamas, etc. 

    5). Because it’s only inevitable, if your flight is delayed or canceled you can now be re-routed thanks to a much larger route structure.

    6). Unfortunately, it’s goodbye to AirTran’s business class cabin seats as Southwest will most likely move the airline to its one-cabin model and open-seat boarding process.

    6). This also means that AirTran will lose its brand and will operate entirely under Southwest’s logo and colors.

    The merger will NOT take affect right away. Southwest and AirTran hope to combine their operations within 24 months of the closing deal, according to Southwest chief Gary Kelly.

    But if this new merger is really as good as it sounds- better service, more flights around the world at no increased cost- what’s your next vacation destination going to be?

    NOLA Now: Stay Tuned for Zeitoun

    August 29, 2010 by · 2 Comments 

    Video and editing by Josh Parr, Nicolette Schleisman and Kassi Schmitt

    Zeitoun takes us on a tour of the events in the first year common reading book: Zeitoun.

    NOLA Now: Stay Tuned for Zeitoun from on Vimeo.

    NOLA Now: A Helping Hand

    August 29, 2010 by · Comments Off 

    Posted by Nicolette Schleisman

    We ran into some volunteers from Red Cross who were handing out emergency kits to the residents in the area and decided to tag along with them for awhile. They explained how they were trying to advise residents of what to do if this situation were ever to occur again. We also got the opportunity to speak to a few of the residents and see how their lives had changed since the storm.

    NOLA Now: Red Cross Volunteers from on Vimeo.

    NOLA Now: 9th Ward from on Vimeo.

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