App, app, on the phone...
With two recent movies spawned by the Snow White fairy tale (for those living in a cave: Mirror, Mirror with Julia Roberts and Snow White and the Huntsman with Kristen Stewart and Charlize Theron, not to mention hunk-o-the-month Chris Hemsworth), we do indeed seem to be living in a "who's the fairest of them all" era. For those of us who lack magic talking mirrors, there's an app that's ready to help us answer that timeless question. Or at least figure out how ugly we are.
Ugly Meter app
The Ugly Meter is advertised thusly on iTunes: "Do you ever wonder if you're ugly and your friends just don't tell you? Do you have an ugly friend, and you just don't know how to tell them?
The Ugly Meter takes your photo and scans the details of your face to give you a rating of 1-10 on the Ugly Scale. If you rate a 10, you probably have a face that only a mother could love. Depending on how bad your rating is, the Ugly Meter will comment on your looks!"
Brad Pitt through the Ugly Meter Pro
You snap a picture of you (or your victim). The app scans the photo and evaluates it based on things such as facial symmetry, proportions and shape. It then spits out a score from 10 to 0. Unlike the Dudley Moore/Bo Derek movie romp, in this case, a 10 signifies the ugliest and a zero means you're hot. Then, depending on your score, it will insult you with a clever put-down, such as "any similarity between you and a human is purely coincidental." All this for 99 cents! Or $4.99 for the PRO upgrade, where the scale goes to 100. (Why not 11?!?!?)
Of course, the Ugly Meter is a complete joke. A user can submit the same photo half a dozen times and receive different results every time. And the app creators, the Dapper Gentlemen, go so far as to poke fun at all the press they have received about this app, including featured stories on CBS and MSNBC, the Today Show, the Tonight Show, the Huffington Post, the Daily Mail and Howard Stern, many of whom don't seem to get the joke.
But maybe the problem is that our whole social milieu has become an Ugly Meter. Back in 1999, there was the attractiveness rating website called Rate My Face, which then was superseded by Hot or Not, which was apparently an inspiration for Mark Zuckerberg's first foray into social media creation, Facemash, which used hacked images of his Harvard classmates' ID photos to create a "who's the fairest of them all" smackdown. The next-gen spawn, Facebook, allows us do that in a "kinder, gentler" fashion as we scroll through all those photos of fabulous vacations and remodeled kitchens and pretty babies and that "friend" who always posts a shot of herself posing with her leg jutting forward in classic model style, as if looking for affirmation that she's still hot after all these years.
It's all about the ranking and the rating... from reality television shows that are competitions in which the audience votes to eliminate the "less fair" (singer, dancer, etc., etc.) to best seller lists and box office returns and the ceaseless political polls.
When did we forget how to judge for ourselves?
Hey, just look in the mirror...
Okay, so I admit to feeling a little retro with my entry of the other day. After all, does anyone “surf” the Internet anymore? The little tech devil/angel that perches on my shoulder was chiding me, “That entry was so 2002. Get with it, babe, it’s almost 2012. Today it’s all apps, apps, apps!!”
Hey, I referenced Angry Birds, didn’t I?
Little tech devil
Tech Devil says that doesn’t count. So, in an effort to redeem myself and be the hip, futuristic library media specialist that I sometimes am, I herewith present a selection of apps that we may see somewhere down the road, later or sooner. The catch? These apps were envisioned by students in Kindergarten through 12th Grade in response to a question asked by Speak Up -- Project Tomorrow’s annual survey of educators, parents and kids. Project Tomorrow is a national education nonprofit group based in Irvine, California which supports the innovative uses of science, math and technology resources in schools and communities.
The question they asked? “If you could create the ideal mobile app for learning, what would it look like?” Here are some of the most intriguing responses:
My Teacher Match: “This program scrutinizes how each student learns best through a test that measures their interests, hobbies and special skills. Teachers are quizzed separately on the same criteria and matched up with compatible students.” Submitted by a high school student.
An interesting idea, but what happens to those students and teachers who don’t match up well with anyone? Do they get thrown in together in the “Reject” class, like the kids who are always picked last for team sports and dodgeball?
Perhaps in the future, there will actually be jobs to dream about.
When I Grow Up: “I would create an online career app with career paths, each with easy-to-read information. For example, a student could select a column called Animals, and choose a career path, like equine vet. Students could browse images and vocabulary terms and even take a short quiz.” Submitted by a middle schooler
I like this idea, although there are websites out there that have plenty of good information already available on this topic for students, such as this one from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Still a favorite after all these years...
Race Against Time: “My game would have kids going through a virtual world using a time machine. The students would learn about history through simulations. Students would create an avatar, which advances with them as they move through each level.” Submitted by an elementary student.
Love this idea! I have often wished for more interactive learning games with historical simulations. The Oregon Trail game is still as popular as ever with students and they really do learn through playing it! Including the joys of dysentery, as noted above.
Puzzle Crazy: “My app shows students how to complete a Rube Goldberg puzzle. Students would have to use their imagination to complete a puzzle by using trash to make something.” Submitted by an elementary student.
Perhaps this student does not have a well-informed library media specialist at his school. If he did, he would already be familiar with this website, and this one too, which let kids do NOW what he envisions in his future app.
The Lab: “In my game you can choose different chemicals or substances to mix together. When you click the ‘See the Reaction’ button, you’ll find out what happens.” Submitted by an elementary student.
Well, this would probably be a lot safer than letting fifth graders run amok with chemicals during their “Mixtures and Solutions” Unit!
To find out more about me, click on the Not Your Average Jo tab.