How to be ‘money smart’ in a digital world

(BPT) - Modern digital technology has replaced landlines, television antennas, VCRs, CDs and many other things that were once part of our daily lives — and the next thing to go may well be cash.A few years ago, the idea that we would no longer use cash would have seemed outlandish, but it’s happening right before our eyes. A 2016 Gallup poll found only 24 percent of Americans made all or most of their purchases with cash, compared to 36 percent five years ago. Plus, according to a recent U.S. Bank Cash Behavior Survey, more consumers say they prefer the use of digital apps to make payments versus cash.Digital payments, specifically person-to-person (P2P) payment technologies, have made it fast, safe and convenient to send and receive money from a mobile device. Where once people exchanged cash, they are increasingly sending money to one another via P2P technology services like Zelle(R), which connects the nation’s leading financial institutions to enable consumers to send fast payments to friends, family and people they trust.If you haven’t already joined the 100K consumers, on average a day, who are signing up to use P2P payments, the experts at Early Warning Services, the network operator of Zelle(R) — offer three ways to be “Money Smart” in a Digital World:* Speed — When rent is due, or someone’s birthday is coming up, time and money are critical! Don’t send money that will take days to get to someone or could get lost/stolen at the post office. With Zelle you can safely send money, typically within minutes when both parties are already registered.* Simplicity — Using Zelle makes it easy to send money to friends and family with a bank account in the U.S. — whether you’re using your banking app on your phone or the online banking portal on your laptop, you can pay friends back or request money from family wherever you are and without ever looking for an ATM.* Safety — Make sure you Continue Reading

How to Make Money Consistently With Your App Without Annoying Ads

You don't need frustrating, in-app ads to make money. Nathan Resnick Published 12:30 pm, Wednesday, February 28, 2018 Photo: Westend61 | Getty Images Image 1of/1 CaptionClose Image 1 of 1 Photo: Westend61 | Getty Images How to Make Money Consistently With Your App Without Annoying Ads 1 / 1 Back to Gallery Monetizing an app is a tricky business because most people expect to be able to download a new app for their phone without paying. The problem, of course, is that as an app developer, you need to be paid for all your hard work. It doesn't do you much good to invest countless hours creating an app if you aren't going to receive any kind of compensation for it. Because of this, many developers allow ads to be placed within their app as a means of generating revenue. While this is a good practice in theory, it often backfires when the proliferation of ads disrupts the user experience and causes them to delete the app altogether. It's also worth noting that you'll only really earn money from advertisements if a lot of people have downloaded your app -- something that often isn't possible without a big marketing budget to start with. Needless to say, in-app advertising isn't always an effective method of generating predictable app revenue. Thankfully, there's a better way. Recommended Video: Now Playing: Goodbye Android Pay, Hello Google Pay On Tuesday, Google released an update for its Android Pay app as part of new branding. According to Techcrunch, the redesigned app allows users to see stores in their location that accept Google Pay. Users can also see a list of recent purchases and previously visited stores. The Google Wallet app is still separate for now, and it has been renamed Google Pay Send. Users can use it to send requests and receive money, but that function Continue Reading

Bullet journals are the analog way to organize your life in the digital age

Jessica Chung was in the fourth grade when her mother taught her the art of calligraphy. The elegance of the script appealed to her then just as it does now. “I’ve always had a natural tendency toward art and creative things,” says Chung. It was only after finishing her schooling and getting settled in her career, however, that Chung had the time to pick up the calligraphy pen once again. “I needed a hobby,” says Chung, who is now 29. It turns out, that hobby led to a side gig for this Minneapolis millennial: When Chung is not working as a curriculum and instruction coordinator at the University of Minnesota, she is a rising star in the world of the bullet journal — which, for Chung, encompasses not only journaling, but also planning, teaching and lettering. “It’s a way to help myself and others cultivate an intentional and beautiful life,” she says. Have you heard of the bullet journal or the “BuJo”? It’s a list-like system — full of bullet points — created by Ryder Carroll, a digital product designer, as a customized life hack: “When I was young,” Carroll explained during a Ted talk, “I was diagnosed with attention deficit disorder. … The big misconception of ADD is that we can’t focus. In my case, I could focus — I was just focusing on too many things at the same time. So, over the next 25 years, I silently made it my mission to design my own resources. Over time, I actually outgrew my ADD, but I found that the methodology I developed remained relevant.” The world agrees. “It really picked up in 2016, when it was featured on BuzzFeed and Pinterest,” says Chung of the BuJo trend. It’s still picking up. “All of a sudden,” Chung says, “it’s everywhere.” Here’s how Chung explains BuJo: “I tell people that the bullet journal is a system and not a thing. It’s a way of organizing Continue Reading

Steven Soderbergh’s ‘Mosaic’: What’s the Difference Between the App and HBO Show?

The interactive murder mystery debuts Jan. 22 at 8 ET and continues five consecutive nights Brian Welk, provided by Published 2:00 pm, Monday, January 22, 2018 Image 1of/1 CaptionClose Image 1 of 1 Steven Soderbergh’s ‘Mosaic': What’s the Difference Between the App and HBO Show? 1 / 1 Back to Gallery Steven Soderbergh has always been known for experimenting and twisting the story structure of his films and shows. His latest “Mosaic,” an interactive murder mystery, is no exception. “Mosaic” became available back in November via an app on Apple and Android devices. But the “show” is premiering as a six-part miniseries this Monday on HBO. So what exactly is the difference? Do you have to watch both versions to get the full story? Or is there stuff you’ll miss if you only watch one or the other? TheWrap is here to help you unravel the tapestry of “Mosaic.” Latest entertainment videos Now Playing: Now Playing Here’s What the Stars Wore to the 2018 SAG Awards Wibbitz Alison Brie Speaks Out About Brother-in-Law James Franco at the SAG Awards InStyle Megyn Kelly Claps Back at Jane Fonda Over Criticism for a Plastic Surgery Question InStyle Robbie, Kidman, Berry shine at SAGs Associated Press Peter Dinklage: It's the Perfect Time to End 'Game of Thrones' Wibbitz Matt Lauer Reportedly Kicked Out of Hamptons Home By Wife Buzz 60 Portman speaks frm the heart at Women's March Associated Press 'Veep' cast praises Louis-Dreyfus Associated Press Phoenix premieres new Van Sant film at Sundance Associated Press Team USA parade uniforms include touch of American frontier Associated Press “Mosaic” the App Watching “Mosaic” via the app is designed as something of a choose-your-own-adventure all building to a whodunit murder mystery. After watching a first chapter introducing you to wealthy Continue Reading

Financial apps can make it easier to keep your new year’s resolution to save money

New year’s resolutions have a notoriously low success rate — only 8% of people achieve their goals. Losing weight, drinking less, being nicer to the cat — all these aspirations fall away as January wears on. Success spikes, however, when the resolution has to do with money and finance. This trend showed up in research by the goal-setting website StickK. Users create a commitment contract for a personal goal and can have a “referee” (usually a friend) verify their progress. They can also add a financial stake, such as pledging an amount to be automatically sent from their credit card on file with the site to a cause they detest if they fail to meet their goal. When a referee and a financial stake are used, the success rate for financial resolutions is 87% (and a healthy 73% for those wanting to lose weight). The higher rate of successful new year’s resolutions for financial decisions may be tied to a symbiotic relationship between human psychology and financial technology. Specifically, willpower — or the lack thereof — can be taken out of the equation, said Meir Statman, a finance professor at Santa Clara University and author of “Finance for Normal People.” “When it comes to diet or exercise, you have to muster self-control every time you are hungry, face a steak or dessert, and every time you have to get out of a warm bed to go to the gym,” he said. “With financial resolutions, you can set up a 401(k) or IRA and have payments go into it automatically.” Many people underestimate how big a role inertia plays in blocking decision-making, says Dan Egan, director of behavioral finance and investments at New York-based online investment adviser Betterment, which automates many financial tasks for clients. “Automation is a way of making a decision once and having it permanently overcome that inertia,” he said. Across the country, many workplace savings plans are automatically Continue Reading

Jet magazine to no longer print, changing to digital app

NEW YORK — Jet magazine, which first hit newsstands at the dawn of the civil rights era, is ceasing regular print publication and transforming into a digital app. Johnson Publishing Co., which owns Jet along with Ebony magazine, says the switch will occur at the end of June. The Chicago-based company says the move is a proactive effort to adapt to its readers' growing desires for quicker and easier access to information. Desiree Rogers, Johnson Publishing's CEO says the change will take the magazine back to its roots. She notes that Jet, which was founded by John Johnson in November 1951, was originally intended as a newsweekly digest for African-Americans living in an increasingly faster-paced world. At that time, the magazine cost 15 cents and was small enough to be carried in a purse or a pocket, perfect for on-the-go information, just like today's smartphones and tablets. The cover of the first issue of Jet magazine, dated Nov. 1, 1951, is seen left of a 1972 issue featuring Jackie Robinson. "I think if Johnson were here today, I think he would say 'what took you so long?'" Rogers says. The app will launch on June 30 and cost $20 a year. It will contain shorter, more mobile-friendly, articles and return to a weekly publishing format, with breaking news updates on a daily basis. The print magazine currently publishes every three weeks. The format change comes amid an advertising revenue decline at Jet and in the magazine industry overall. According to Publishers Information Bureau data, Jet's total print advertising revenue has fallen in each of the last three years, dropping 24 percent to $10.3 million last year from $13.6 million in 2010. Meanwhile, total advertising revenue at consumer magazines fell about 2 percent to $19.74 billion in 2013 from $20.08 billion in 2010, according to PIB. According to its website, Jet is the No. 3 magazine in the African-American market. The Continue Reading

With new app, it’s Amateur Night at the “App-ollo”

It’s Amateur Night at the "App-ollo." Performers at the legendary "Amateur Night at the Apollo" don't have to contend with just the "boos" of audience in the theater anymore - but also anyone with a smartphone, thanks to a new mobile app. "Amateur Night Digital" gives fans of the 78-year-old show from around the world the chance to watch, comment, and even boo performers from their cell phones and computers. "The audience can make their cheers and boos heard from around the world," said the Apollo's Digital Media Manager Dexter Upshaw. "When they're booing in the seats, people can pull out their phones and chat about the performance." The app is also aimed at the theater's worldwide audience, who can watch and vote for their favorite acts when the videos are posted the following day. Since its launch at the start of the 2012 season on February 1, more than 375,000 fans have visited the Amateur Night Digital page. "With the app, it's all about the audience experience," said Upshaw. "[The performers] are putting themselves on the stage, and now in front of the world." Contestants who didn't win their night's competition but also didn't get booted, now have a second chance to rally votes in the new "Remix Round." While Amateur Night stars like Ella Fitzgerald and Stevie Wonder only had one shot to impress the notoriously tough Apollo crowd, the "Remix Round" gives performers a second chance to rally their virtual fan base and make it through to the final "Show Off" round. "I was kind of feeling down hearing people in the audience trying to boo me on the stage," said Latrell Phoenix, a 23-year-old aspiring singer from Philadelphia who performed in Amateur Night last Wednesday. "Then I looked on the app after the show and realized, 'Oh, people actually like me.' " While Phoenix fell short of winning his night's competition and making it to the next round, he hopes that the digital app will be his ticket to a place in the spotlight. "I was Continue Reading

YouTube’s new Kids app criticized for showing deceiving ads

WASHINGTON — The new YouTube Kids mobile app targets young children with unfair and deceptive advertising and should be investigated, a group of consumer advocates told the Federal Trade Commission in a letter Tuesday. Google introduced the app in February as a "safer" place for kids to explore videos because it was restricted to "family-focused content." But the consumer activists say the app is so stuffed with advertisements and product placements that it's hard to tell the difference between entertainment and commercials. One example is a 7-minute video of Disney's "Frozen" characters who appear as dolls inside a toy McDonald's, eating ice cream and drinking Sprite. The activists say digital media should be subject to the same rules as television, which limits commercial content on kids' programming. "As a consumer, you should have the right to know who is trying to persuade you," said Angela Campbell with the Institute for Public Representation at Georgetown Law, who provided legal counsel to the coalition. In young children especially, "it takes unfair advantage of their trusting nature and lack of experience," she added. In a statement early Tuesday, YouTube said: "We worked with numerous partners and child advocacy groups when developing YouTube Kids. While we are always open to feedback on ways to improve the app, we were not contacted directly by the signers of this letter and strongly disagree with their contentions, including the suggestion that no free, ad-supported experience for kids will ever be acceptable. We disagree and think that great content shouldn't be reserved for only those families who can afford it." Since its inception in 2005, YouTube has become the world's most popular online video site, with more than 1 billion users. For parents, it's become an easy way to find Elmo song clips or full episodes of "Barney & Friends." But when searching for Elmo or Barney, it's easy to pull up other Continue Reading

Where are your kids? Apps, programs let parents track teens’ location and monitor digital lives

Every afternoon, Bronx mom Jayra Paredes checks her phone to track her kids on a map and make sure they’re where they said they’d be. “After school, we’re like. ‘OK, where are they?’ It’s peace of mind for me,” said Paredes, who uses T Mobile’s Family Where. The $9.99-a-month tracking app pinpoints the location of each phone on Paredes’ family account, and will send alerts if someone doesn’t arrive at a certain landmark on time or turns off the device. “It sounds kind of overprotective, but I want to know where my kids are . . . My son is fine with it, my daughter’s like, ‘why are you trying to keep track of me?’ ” said Paredes, 36, a manager at a nonprofit. Paredes' daughter, Raquel Nuñez, 16, said she was initially upset to learn she was being monitored but now she understands where her mom is coming from. “At first there was a concern of trust, but I know that she trusts me,” said the 10th-grader. Parents who want to stay connected to their children during the secretive teen years now have multiple ways to keep tabs on them — through their smartphones. Nearly 40% of U.S. teens have their own smartphone, according to a 2013 Pew Research Center study. Many options for parents go beyond monitoring kids’ whereabouts, to checking for cyber bullying or sexting. The app and Web-based program TeenSafe gives parents a total window into a child’s digital life. An app called MamaBear also monitors cellphone activity and even sends alerts when a kid is speeding, while Ignore No More locks a teen’s Android phone until they call a parent. Tina Sustaeta uses TeenSafe with her two oldest kids and checks it about once a month. She suspected something was up when her 16-year-old son started acting strangely — not eating, moping in his room. “This was very unusual. He’s the one who is the clown Continue Reading

Designer creates unofficial Cards Against Humanity app, allows ‘horrible people’ to play for free

At last! Cards Against Humanity can finally be played online. The self-styled "party game for horrible people" has been given an unofficial digital makeover, reports Gizmodo. The house-party staple can now be played on smartphones, tablets and computers — for free. Canadian designer Dawson Whitfield took the popular game — which sees players matching answers on white cards with a single question on a black card — to the Web. He used its Creative Commons license, which allows people to "use, remix and share the game for free" as they long as they don't sell it without permission. And he came up with the Web-based app "Cards Against Originality." It means participants now don't have to print out their own deck of the game themselves, or pay $25 for an official pack. All five topical expansion packs are also included in the online game. There's been no comment from the original game's makers, however, who some have suggested may be frustrated that their hard word has now been uploaded online for free. Join the Conversation: Continue Reading