A list of the apps on my phone that can make calls

Doesn’t require phone number:

  • FaceTime
  • Phone
  • Contacts
  • Facebook Messenger
  • Snapchat
  • Google Hangouts
  • Messages
  • Whatsapp
Can/does use your phone number:
  • Phone
  • FaceTime
  • Messages
  • Chrome
  • Safari
  • Mail
  • Notes
Announced, but hasn’t shown up yet:
  • Slack
As it turns out, pretty much every remotely social company has a way that people can talk to one another in a phone call-type manner. Many of these apps also let you use video chat, but people have no idea. For instance, you’ve been able to make phone calls (and recently, video chats) with any of your Facebook contacts on your phone, for such a long time. But I can routinely blow people’s minds by telling them that, because approximately nobody* knows about this feature.
Snapchat updated their app yesterday to revamp chat, and added the ability to send video clips or make voice calls to any of your Snapchat contacts who’ve added you back. But none of the features in the update are actually new capabilities your phone didn’t have before, and I’m betting people aren’t going to be making use of this feature any more than they did, no matter how good it is. 
If I were a gambling man, I’d put money on Snapchat continuing to grow at a rapid pace for quite some time. But people who already have a predefined way of communicating, like my generation and those older than me, won’t use Snapchat for voice calls because to us, the way you make a phone call is by calling a phone number.
But the kids, they don’t obey these rules. They do whatever their friends are doing, and their friends don’t make phone calls to a phone number. That’s not cool anymore, at least not until their parents stop doing it.

Podcasts Like ‘Serial’ Are Encouraging Literacy

[L]istening, unlike looking at a written page, is more active, since the brain has to process the information at the pace it is played.” My student Roberto offered similar insight: “I think it helps me out with my reading since I have to keep a pace up.”

Huh, turns out the best ways for kids to learn aren’t determined by a group of adults telling them what’s best, kids (like everybody) are going to learn best when given options and a choice. And just like I always say, podcasts are a great way to learn and take in new information, and listening isn’t nearly as much work as reading.

And if learning is work, you’re much less likely to want to keep doing it.

> Why Podcasts Like ‘Serial’ Are Helping English Teachers Encourage Literacy – The Atlantic

Driverless Cars Are Going To Be Here So Fast

[T]he ongoing conversation is good for those who wish to see self-driving cars enter use, a careful analysis of the facts, coupled with an understanding of how similar transitions have played out through history, indicates that the majority of the discussion occurring right now vastly underestimates the speed with which self-driving cars will become the norm and ignores the tectonic shifts the transition will bring to all corners of American life.

Self-driving cars will not only impact transportation, they will change how people feel about their homes, how cities are built, how families stay in touch, where we work and other facets of American life far removed from transportation.

Yes. A lot of people are seriously looking at how we can get self-driving technology into the hands of the masses. Once that starts happening, it’s going to accelerate at an unbelievable pace. Think about smart phones. The iPhone was released in 2007, with Android coming soon after. That was less than 10 years ago and almost everybody in the first world has a smartphone now.

With the massive infrastructure changes that can be made with transportation overhauls that are enabled by self-driving vehicles, the entire world is going to change so quickly. I’m not entirely convinced its all for the best, but we’ll be smack dab in the middle of it before you can honk your horn.

This whole TechCrunch piece is great and really detailed, and I’d strongly recommend reading it if you’re looking for some hardcore data about how driving really drives our modern world.

> Driving the new American century | TechCrunch