Star Apps: Blancmange's Neil Arthur

If the goal of UK card game Happy Families was to unite clans based on similar professions, then the objective of Blancmange's "Happy Families" album was to join seemingly disparate elements of Western electronics and Eastern sounds. Thirty-two years later, the breakthrough album continues to inspire electronic artists like La Roux, Hot Chip, and Metronomy. Blancmange recently re-recorded the classic album as "Happy Families Too," adding new track "Running Thin" and remixes from Depeche Mode, Yaz, and Erasure founder Vince Clarke, as well as legendary UK DJs Greg Wilson and Derek Kaye. I … Read more

Facebook crowdsourcing gives lonely boy 1.4 million friends

Being 10-years-old is hard enough -- and add in an isolating syndrome like Asperger's and making friends can be even more difficult.

Such is the case of Colin. He is a 10-year-old boy who lives in Michigan and is on the lower end of the autism spectrum. Despite his efforts to make friends, he is usually made fun of and eats his lunch in the school office because other kids won't let him sit at their tables, according to his mother.

When Colin's mother, Jennifer Cunningham, asked him if he wanted a birthday party, he responded that there wasn't any point because he didn't have friends. That's when she decided to surprise him by creating a "Happy Birthday Colin" Facebook page. … Read more

Intoxicating watches tell you when it's Happy Hour

Nothing is sadder than a cold bottle of beer that stays unopened because there's no bottle opener in sight. That's exactly the type of tragedy that Dominic Chenelia, founder of Happy Hour Timepieces, wants to prevent with his line of watches. They're equipped with subtle bottle openers and a very visible 5 o'clock indicator.

"The idea was to always have a bottle opener on you," Chenelia told Crave. "There were so many times when I would be at a tailgate, on a boat, or at the beach when no one had a bottle opener. We also wanted to design the timepieces in a way where it wasn't apparent that you were wearing a bottle opener on your wrist. The goal was to create a stylish design that could be worn every day, which also contained a bottle opener for those 5 o'clock moments." … Read more

Review: Happy Fish Dream Aquarium is a fun fish raising game

Happy Fish Dream Aquarium is very similar to farming, city building, and other simulation games for iOS but in a massive aquarium setting. The result is cute, free flowing, and loaded with charming options for how to feed, raise, and grow your fish. There are some small issues with the setup, but nothing that keeps it from being generally enjoyable.

The first thing you must deal with is setup time. After downloading the app, a series of two updates were required to start it, the first of which took more than 10 minutes. Between downloading the app and starting play, … Read more

The more you use Facebook, the more miserable you get -- study

I have always found people from the University of Michigan to be rather full of themselves and devoid of wit and dress sense.

I don't pretend for a moment that this discovery holds any universal truth. I might have encountered only two or three of these people at the most.

However, I wonder how you will respond to a piece of research from that same university that suggests Facebook and happiness may be virtual opposites.

I am miserably indebted to CBS Philadelphia for noticing this study and its implications.

The study has a portentous title: "Facebook Use Predicts Declines in Subjective Well-Being in Young Adults.&… Read more

Review: Boulder Happy Hours alerts users to happy hours across the college town

Boulder Happy Hours is a very useful--though fairly rudimentary--app that alerts users to happy hours in their fair city. If you live anywhere near Boulder, it is definitely worth a download.

The Boulder Happy Hours app is designed to show the happy hour information for every bar and restaurant in the Boulder area. When you open it, you'll find three menus: one for featured happy hours (usually showing only one), one for every location in the database, and one to call a cab, which is a very nice addition for any app focused on drinking. For each location, you … Read more

New Web site measures global happiness

There are many measurable quantities in the universe, but we would not have called "happiness" one of them.

Since 2008, however, a team of scientists from the University of Vermont and the Mitre Corporation, led by mathematicians Chris Danforth and Peter Dodds, have been figuring out a way to try.

Together, they've been working on a piece of software called the Hedonometer that measures -- and graphs -- data pulled from Twitter Garden Hose, a random sample of 10 percent of all tweets, to gauge how happy the world is on any given day.

A paid team … Read more

Tweets study says Hawaii happiest, Louisiana not so much

Being a long-suffering admirer of research, I am always delighted when a new piece of academic thought comes along to subvert my idiosyncratic suspicions.

This is not one of those times.

For my excitement is slightly muted on hearing that people in Hawaii are happier than those anywhere else in the U.S.

This quite astounding conclusion comes from an analysis of 10 million geotagged tweets from 2011, pored over by squinting eyes and expanded brains at the University of Vermont.

As CNN reports it, Hawaii is a ha-ha-happy place, while the greatest volume of the most miserable people in America is to be found in Louisiana. … Read more

How to stand out among birthday well-wishers on Facebook

"Happy birthday! Have a great day!"

Perhaps you're a bit more creative than the above greeting, but even the most clever among us have probably run out of ways to wish friends a happy birthday on Facebook.

Thankfully, an enterprising Reddit user whose handle I do not wish to repeat in this space offered a handy and simple tip: search YouTube for "happy birthday" and your friend's name. You will be surprised by the volume and variety of videos available.

Sure, your friend will be sung happy birthday wishes by a random stranger or … Read more