App Testing

08.08.13

Send Me to Heaven App, Which Encourages Phone Throwing, Is a Buzzkill

Winston Ross has been throwing things up high in the air his whole life, so he was thrilled to try the new Android app that encourages users to toss their phones high. But the reality was deflating.

Dear creators of the new app Send Me to Heaven:

When I first heard about this new app for smartphones, I was really excited. Not because I think an app would really get me into heaven—duh!—but because I also heard what the app really does. It’s really about as exciting as getting into heaven. So, yeah, I knew that this thing you guys at CarrotPop designed was basically a game where you throw your phone into the air, and, through some kind of space magic, the app knows how high you threw it. And then I heard that you could share your score not just with your friends but also all over the world. You have no idea how excited I was to find out about all the features of your app.

Video screenshot

Winston Ross tests Send Me to Heaven.

Let me explain. I have been throwing stuff as high up in the air for as long as I can remember. When I was a kid, it was mostly rocks, and also these green hard plums that grew on plum trees in my neighborhood in Berkeley, California. It was so amazing to watch those rocks and plums soar off into space and disappear for a moment, just a moment, and then come rocketing back to earth.

So I immediately rushed to download the app and was crushed to find it was not available in the Apple Store. Apparently the people there decided that it was not a good idea to approve an app that could involve damaging one of their company’s phones or possibly striking and injuring a small child or domesticated animal, depending on where the phone is being thrown.

Fortunately the Google Play store does not seem to share those concerns. But I had a problem: I do not own an Android phone.

So I started asking my friends if I could borrow theirs for a little bit.

“Sure, man. What’s it for?” one of my good buddies texted back.

“Oh, I want to play this game called Send Me to Heaven where I throw your phone up as high as I can in the air. I’m writing a story about it for The Daily Beast.”

I never heard back from that buddy. But I did find another who said it just so happened he was getting a new phone Wednesday and maybe I could use his old one to play Send Me to Heaven because he wouldn’t care if I dropped it. Not that I was going to drop it. I have spent a lifetime throwing things way high up in the air, and I almost always catch the thing after it comes down.

So this buddy totally came through for me and gave me his Android phone. You have no idea how excited I was.

I asked a friend of mine who is really pregnant—she is having contractions right now, but they’re pretty sporadic—if she would videotape me playing Send Me to Heaven. She is a great photographer and also was just sitting around being pregnant so I thought she would have some free time.

She agreed, so I went over to her house on my Vespa and we went into her backyard and I downloaded the app and logged in and read that disclaimer about how it’s not CarrotPop’s fault if I break the phone or anything bad happens. Good thinking with that disclaimer, by the way.

Then came the big moment. I threw the phone way up in the air. Not crazy high, but enough to get a reading. I watched it tumble over and over again up in the air and then, of course, I caught it with no problem.

But something went wrong. The phone said “0 Meters.” I don’t know the conversion from meters to feet off the top of my head, but I am pretty sure I threw that darn phone higher than zero meters. So I threw it again, and again, and again. Zero meters, every stinkin’ time! Argh!

Then I went to the Google Play store and read some reviews. Man, are some people mad about this app you guys designed. One guy said he broke the ceiling and had to pay a bunch of money for the repairs. Another guy said he broke his phone. A lot of guys said the app only really makes sense if you are super rich and can afford to keep buying new phones every time you break one.

They also said they couldn’t get a reading beyond zero meters, just like me. But one guy suggested that if you throw the phone in such a way that it doesn’t flip around a lot when it’s up in the air, it should work.

I don’t know the conversion from meters to feet off the top of my head, but I am pretty sure I threw that darn phone higher than zero meters.

That totally did the trick! I finally got my first reading, 2.9 meters. I think that is about 10 feet. I was pretty stoked to get my first reading, even though I was pretty sure it wouldn’t be a record or anything. But I also felt like I threw the phone way higher than 10 feet even on that first try.

So I threw it again. Zero meters. And again. Zero meters. And maybe like 10 more times. Zero meters. It was really frustrating, and my pregnant friend was starting to complain about how much time she had spent on her feet.

So I asked her to just try getting real low on the ground and getting some shots of me throwing the phone from there, because it would at least look cool. She was cool with that, and she got all low to the ground and I threw it a bunch more times. The first time, I got another reading. It was just 2.7 meters. I think I threw the phone a lot higher than that.

So really I just wanted to write you guys to say even though I think your app is a great idea, it could be way better if it actually worked. Maybe take it offline for a few days and try to test it some more and see if you can make the accuracy better. I would be happy to help be a tester or something, if you need it. I love throwing things up in the air and catching them again.

Your friend,

Winston Kendall Ross