Why Apple’s Notification Bubbles Are so Stressful

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I have 130 unread messages, which my phone relentlessly reminds me about in the aggressive red badge on my iMessage app. I have 15 missed calls, 99 percent of which are spam; I get to think about that robot voice berating me about my nonexistent car loan every time I see the red badge over my phone app. You don’t even want to know the number screaming at me every time I glance at my email.

These ugly red badges are a reminder of how I’m either a failure (Call your grandparents! Answer that nice text!) or a target (as is the case with the robot spammer hawking auto loans). And because of their hue, they’re difficult to ignore. I am assaulted by my phone every time I unlock it. And I’m not alone.

“They drive me insane,” Paul Sherman, an assistant professor and the program coordinator of the user experience design master’s program at Kent State University, tells me. The red, as he put it, “causes more stress and distress.”

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Airbnb customers are booking photoshoots to #vacation like Instagram influencers

Cherry Blossom tourist

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n LA, one 3.5-hour tour (transportation included for $39!) allows you to hit up all the iconic spots: Hollywood Sign “without spending hours hiking”; the Beverly Hills Sign; that classic view of a street lined with palm trees; a pink wall on Melrose Avenue; and a mural of angel wings to stand in front of. At each location, the guides will take your photo, making sure to get your good side, with your own device.

Location Not Found

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As a digital ghost town, the outdated Yelp pages for Paradise (as seen online) are the equivalent of boarded-up windows in abandoned storefronts with the lights left on. What makes looking at the former version of Paradise online feel transgressive (voyeuristic or recreational) is the fact that it hasn’t been properly updated to reflect its current status. Roland Barthes explains in Mythologies that images which shock are horrifying because we are electively looking at them from a safe distance, looking outward from “inside our freedom.” Street View, of course, is not an “interior view,” yet the images of fire-damaged and gutted abodes feels wholly invasive — semi-permanent and digital fodder for desk-bound looky-loos, “outside” and “in public” and therefore invaded by our view. A ghost town hangs onto traces of life for a distanced but recreational experience, but images of ruins feel more akin to incidental snapshots; Street View and the Cal Fire images let us look with nose pressed to the screen as private voyeurs.

How to Complain at a Restaurant? Just Ask Our Critic

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People who study complaints divide them into two categories, instrumental and expressive. An instrumental complaint is “directed toward a specific target and intended to bring about a specific outcome,” according to Robin Kowalski, a professor of psychology at Clemson University who has studied the social functions of complaining. Calling a restaurant’s owner the next day to say that you waited an hour for dessert and don’t intend to come back is an instrumental complaint. Texting a friend to say the polar vortex is making your skin peel off is an expressive complaint. We call expressive complaints venting, kvetching, griping or a number of other names.

It’s important to know which of the two types of complaint is right for you before opening the first can of invective. Venting has its uses. In one study, Dr. Kowalski and some colleagues showed that when we are asked to put our feelings of dissatisfaction with somebody into writing, our “positive affect” — good feelings, basically — will rise about 15 minutes later, after an initial downswing. In the same way, if a meal lets you down, taking a pair of pliers and a blowtorch to the restaurant on Yelp might give you a brief lift.

But once the rush of having gotten it off your chest is gone, you’d realize nothing has changed. You’re still out the price of dinner, and you won’t find out whether your grievance has reached the right ears unless somebody at the restaurant responds. Some owners make a point of scouring review sites so they can do just that. Others use the review’s date and details to identify and get in touch with the kvetcher. But there are more direct ways to get your gripe acknowledged than scrawling it on the walls of the internet.

“If there’s something that’s really bothering you, the ultimate benefits are going to come from targeted complaining,” Dr. Kowalski said. “Telling the person or restaurant.”

 

Their Street Is Famous on Instagram, and They Can’t Take It Anymore

People stand on Paris's Rue Cremieux

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It’s easy to see why Paris’s Rue Crémieux is such a hit on Instagram.

Filled with small pastel-painted houses, weathered cobblestones, and blooming window boxes, the car-free street near Bastille has become one of Europe’s most popular spots to strike a pose, with the hashtag #ruecremieux now linking to over 31,000 images.

We don’t need to take his word for it. A local resident has hit back with the Instagram and Twitter accounts Club Crémieux—tagline “shit people do Rue Crémieux”—which reveals a street thronged with dance crews, bachelorette parties, and even, for some reason, Japanese municipal mascot Kumamon. Filled with people attracted to a setting that looks idyllic with the right filter, a resident entering their home becomes an unwonted exercise in photobombing.

TikTok Has Created A Whole New Kind Of Cool Girl

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…it’s a perfect encapsulation of egirls — a new kind of cool girl who was born and lives on the platform. She’s funny, she’s cute, she’s totally ’90s, and she knows exactly how to play with expectations…

Egirls have become a very visible demographic on TikTok — and, it appears, only on TikTok — consisting mainly of teenagers. The traits of an egirl are as ironic as they are oddly specific.

The makeup is the most iconic part of the look — thick black eyeliner with wings and cute little shapes drawn with the same eyeliner under the eyes. Usually the shapes are hearts, but sometimes they’re dots or x’s, and they’re drawn with the sure hand of someone who grew up idolizing beauty bloggers. Across the cheeks and nose is a bright sweep of blush, with a touch of highlighter just on the button end, usually sitting above a septum piercing. Lips have either a clear gloss or a dark matte lipstick.

Why Are Bots Unable to Check “I Am Not a Robot” Checkboxes?

iStock.com/Oleksandr Hruts

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So why is all this hard for a bot to beat? Because now you’ve got a ridiculous amount of messy human behaviors to simulate, and they’re almost unknowable, and they keep changing, and you can’t tell when. Your bot might have to sign up for a Google service and use it convincingly on a single computer, which should look different from the computers of other bots, in ways you don’t understand. It might need convincing delays and stumbles between key presses, scrolling and mouse movements. This is all incredibly difficult to crack and teach a computer, and complexity comes at a financial cost for the spammer. They might break it for a while, but if it costs them (say) $1 per successful attempt, it’s usually not worth them bothering