Gov't Shutdown Got You Down? Kindr for iPhone Could Help

A new iPhone app delivers good news and lets you send compliments via text or email to friends and earn points. Though the app's intentions are good, CIO.com blogger James A. Martin's message to one friend wasn't received, and the software is very basic.

Maybe it’s me, but I’ve seen a lot of grumpy people lately out and about.

Just yesterday a pedestrian called me a "yuppie pig" at a stop light. Seriously. I hadn’t nudged my car into the pedestrian crosswalk, nor was I anywhere close to mowing her down. The day before, a guy tried to cut in line in front of me at Trader Joe’s, then barked at me. This was just after I witnessed a motorcyclist get into a bird-flipping altercation with the driver of an SUV.

I suspect the ongoing government shutdown, Washington gridlock and the potential for economic catastrophe have made some people, shall we say, less than pleased. I know it's a complicated situation, without any simple solution, but I found an app that could put you in a better mood. At least, that’s the intent behind Kindr, a new, free iOS app.

Kindr iOS app

Kindr connects to your iPhone’s address book and suggests compliments you can send to friends. When you send a compliment, you earn Kindr points. Earn 300 points, for instance, and you unlock the ability to write custom compliments.

Before then, you must rely on the app’s prepared compliments, in the form of questions. Here are some examples:

* "If YOLO were a person instead of a saying, who would it be?" (YOLO stands for "You Only Live Once.")

* "Who do you admire for the way they make family a priority in their life?"

* "Who’s tough enough to be friends with Chuck Norris?"

* "Who’s such a good influence they would have stopped Goldilocks from breaking into that house?"

The message recipient doesn’t need the Kindr app, according to Matt Ivester, Kindr Inc.’s CEO. If the recipient does have an app, they receive a push notification, and the message appears in their in-app inbox. If your friend doesn’t have Kindr, they receive a text message (if you have a mobile phone number in their contact info) or email with a link to view the message on the Web.

I sent messages to two friends using Kindr and one to myself. One friend received the message; the other didn’t. I recieved mine, as well.

Kindr's Ivester isn’t sure why my friend didn’t receive his message. He added that it’s possible my friend didn’t pay any attention to it in his text messages because my Kindr note would have come from a Kindr phone number, not mine, due to restrictions by Apple. "We are working on ways around this in the future," he says.

Kindr also includes a "good news" feed from The Huffington Post, in which you can read upbeat stories, many of which are about dogs.

I don’t want to sound unkind about an app that promotes kindness. So I’ll just say I’d love to see Kindr develop a few more features to keep users engaged. For example, the app would be even more compelling with a philanthropy component, similar to Google’s One Today Android app.

Just a thought. In the meantime, my fellow Americans, how about a little more Rodney King ("Why can’t we all just get along?") and a little less Rambo? 

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