A Summer Story Told in Songs Thanks to Shazam

Rich Partheymuller II

“You know, I’ve got this theory; there are two kinds of people in the world. There are lyric people and music people. You know, the lyrics people tend to be more analytical. You know, all about the meaning of the song. They’re the ones you see with the CD insert out like five minutes after buying it, pouring over the lyrics, interpreting the lyrics, interpreting the hell out of everything. Then there’s the music people…who could care less for the lyrics as long as it’s just got, like, a good beat and you could dance to it. I don’t know, sometimes it might be easier to be a music girl and not a lyric girl. But since I’m not, let me just say this: sometimes things find you when you need them to find you. I believe that. And for me, it’s usually song lyrics,” Peyton Sawyer, from One Tree Hill.

Even if you’re not a One Tree Hill fan, perhaps you can relate to Peyton Sawyer. Whether you’re in a band or just a passionate music-enthusiast, the best language you know is your music. When you’re in love the music you live by, it makes all the more a difference to find ways to share it. Some lyrics are better kept to yourself, for some songs have meanings that only you can understand, while other songs serve as your communication to other people. They say the words that we can’t find on our own. They serve the masters known as our minds and our imagination. Our minds get trapped in the time machine that hurls us back to when we needed the song the most. Maybe we need it even more now. Who knows? You see the world through new eyes when you live by the rhythm of our favorite melodies.

Well, for me, music should tell a story. It usually does too. Even I the most bizarre manners, a song can remind you of who you are. Over the summer, I found that I could find a story in the songs that I played, as well as the ones that came on randomly. By using the technology of  Shazam, which analyzes and lets a user find the name of a song instantly, I was able to make my passion for music into a story of a summer gone by way too fast. Once I Shazamed a song on Snapchat, the feature instantly pulled up lyrics to whatever song I was listening to. As a singer, it greatly helped in learning new songs, but another beautiful aspect is how I can use what Shazam pulled up for each song as a way to share this passion.

Below is a chronological timeline of songs I Shazamed over the summer. Each time a song is Shazamed, the technology displays an image with the name of the song, the artist, and a colorful image behind it. We’ll start with June…




August/Early September


Students Helping Students: Stunited App Creator Prepares for Launch Next Month

By: Richard Partheymuller II

“Here’s to the crazy ones, the misfits, the rebels, the troublemakers, the round pegs in the square holes… The ones who see things differently — they’re not fond of rules… You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify them, but the only thing you can’t do is ignore them because they change things… They push the human race forward, and while some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius, because the ones who are crazy enough to think that they can change the world, are the ones who do.”

Steve Jobs certainly lived a fruitful life. Many consider the Apple Inc. founder to be the epitome of the American dream. A man who came to be successful after continually driving himself toward the ideas that are now synonymous with his name. The merit was gathered through all of the hard work and planning of one man. When Jobs passed away in 2011, Apple Inc. found trouble in the fact that they just simply could not replace their founder. The intelligence and the ambition that Jobs exhibited are also synonymous with him, because there was only one person who defied the odds to effectively live his dreams. That ambition and drive are what bring people from the planning stages, right passed the naysayers, and straight over the expectations of others.

Big goals come from determined people, for sure.

One young man from Wayne, New Jersey, has set out to put his goal into the hands of every college student in America. John Rondi, 21, has been working hard to prepare his tutoring app, “Stunited” for its maiden launch on August 10, 2017.

Rondi plans on hosting a celebration for the launch that night, where all in attendance will download the app once it becomes available on the App Store at 10pm. For those who know Rondi, and those who know what kind of app Stunited is, this is certainly a cause for celebration.

The app is built around the concept of “students helping students” in which student users can come into contact with other students who are in need of academic help. A user can open up the app and tailor their profile to display what areas and subjects they need tutoring assistance with. In a bartering-style fashion, the user can also display their strengths as well on their profiles. This information in profiles will help students determine if they would be willing to strike a partnership with them. After deciding, users can then contact each other directly to work out arrangements. Through these means, Rondi hopes to help students struggling with course material to find help a lot easier.

Rondi knows from experience that getting ahold of that help is easier said than done. A senior finance major at Rowan University in Glassboro, N.J., Rondi has a mind geared toward logical and mathematical thinking. On the other hand, Rondi has experienced trouble with writing essays, particularly one that was due for his English class during his sophomore year of college. He recalls staying up late to work on the paper, and deciding that it would be in his best interest to get help. He had no luck finding help online or locating a tutor.

“I reached out to one of my friends from across the hall, who I knew she was pretty good with writing. I explained to her the situation, I said “listen, I’m really struggling right now, I could really use your help. Would you mind helping me out?” She said “John, I’d really love to help, but the problem is I’m up now doing my calc homework,”” Rondi said.

Rondi then came up with a means to ease both of their pain.

“I said “well you know, I’m pretty good with math. Maybe we could solve assignments. I could help you with your math and you could help me with my writing,” Rondi said. “We went on for several weeks and we continued to do this whole kind of bartering and exchanging of information skills, and I liked the idea so much that I kind of did it with other students as well.”

Spring-boarding from these experiences, Rondi began morphing the concept into a business. Before he knew it, Rondi was tweaking out ideas for what a student-generated academic app would physically look like. Rondi said that computer and app coding are not skills that are particularly prominent for him. So, he set out to find people who could help put the skeleton of the app together. In late-August of last year, Rondi hired the Brooklyn app agency, App Partner, to help him with developing the app. From there, the agency worked with Rondi to create the internal layout and overall presentation of the app, as well as its logo.

When it was done with basic design and functionality, Rondi was ready to bring his bona fide app to the public’s attention. He did this by entering into Rowan’s Rohrer Business Model Competition on April 8, 2017, where he would go on to bring home a competition win, as well as a $2,000 prize. This victory gave Rondi even more fuel for his ambition to make Stunited into an app that would help more students.

Rondi accepting a $2,000 award for Stunited at the Rowan Business Model Competition Photo/videos used as per Rondi’s persmission

As far as the business end of the app goes, Rondi looks to other social-matching apps for inspiration, such as Tinder and Bumble. According to Rondi, the app is completely free, and he plans on keeping it that way. The plan as of now is to bring in as many students as possible to download and use the app. Looking down the road, Rondi said that he wants to steer clear of a model that relies on advertisements to make money. Rondi hopes that he could possibly partner with a larger app/technology company such as Chegg to sponsor Stunited.

That isn’t Rondi’s main goal, of course. Rondi has big ambitions for his creation. Since winning the competition, Rondi has enlisted the help of friends to serve as ambassadors and sales representatives for Stunited. Outreach and bringing more attention to the app are huge priorities for Rondi. The effort Rondi has put into this venture go to show just how passionate he is about his app and the effects it could have.

“I saw a need for this and I decided to go “why not?” Why not go through with this and make it into something that I could truly believe can be successful. You know, I don’t see this as being just a quick way to make money or anything like that. I truly believe that this is going to be an app that’s going to be used by every college student in America. Once I decided that, I was like “I’m going to pursue this,” Rondi said.

Rondi’s enthusiasm doesn’t go ignored, that is certain. Rondi’s friends have been aiding and supporting him through this venture. Sebastian Hull, 20, also from Wayne, N.J., is a finance major at Rowan University just like Rondi. Hull and Rondi have been close friends since high school, having been teammates for football and wrestling. Hull has respect for Rondi’s ambition.

“John is hungry, you know, and he has this great idea here and I know he’s a smart guy and he’s got a good mentality. He wants to succeed and I think that’s a pretty good idea to help him out along the way. He’s definitely one of the few people I know that could get this done, in my opinion. So, I think it’s a good fit,” Hull said.

With that fire in his belly, Rondi has set his sails for August 10. He’s hungry, eager, and thrilled to finally see the launch of Stunited…

….And beyond that, of course.


Somebody’s Watching Me: New Snapchat Map Feature Causes Concern

By: Richard Partheymuller

Privacy is a lie, they say. As matter of fact, in the world of legalese, privacy is a relatively fresh subject for regulation. When it comes to the Internet and the vast umbrella of social media, trying to keep private information away from unwanted eyes becomes an even hairier predicament. Of course, some people would say that it’s simply the times that we live in now. The world is digitized and most of the time, the only person who can squeal about what you had for lunch or the new car you bought, is you. Even with that said, some social media outlets are walking the border between innovative and intrusive.

The popular photo and video app, Snapchat, released a new feature on June 21, 2017, that allows users to use an in-app map to know the exact whereabouts of their followers. The feature vaguely resembles Niantic’s Pokemon GO game, in how the “Snap Map” overlays the real-time locations of anybody in the user’s contact list. The map goes in-depth with details, and will even display street names and images of homes and buildings. Users can pinpoint specific friends on the map by searching for that person’s “Bitmoji,” a cartoon-avatar that usually resembles the user. The map will tell if that person searched is driving, or sleeping, or even if they are listening to music.

Sullivan Leiby, a 19-year-old from Mount Laurel, New Jersey, studies biology at Rowan University, and said that she has some mixed feelings about the feature so far.

“It’s cool, looking at everybody’s Bitmojis and all of your friends and where they are. That just said, at the same time, like the bad thing is it’s a little weird how people can see where you are and I think that some people might abuse that,” Leiby said.

The map does not only show the basic vicinity of the user, but of the entire world as well. Going in-line with the social media motif of making the world a smaller place, Snapchat utilizes “snaps” from across the globe. Using glowing spots on the map, a user can zero-in on any snaps being uploaded to the “Our Story” snaps, where the user voluntarily lets anybody in the world view his or her snaps. This effectively allows for any user to “travel” to see raving parties in Nigeria, bakeries in Beirut, Eid celebrations in the U.A.E., teens playing basketball on Samoa, or even country music concerts in Alaska. Even if a user is not fluent in any of these languages, the feature may be useful in educating people worldwide of each other’s cultures, customs, and may even show how similar we all really are.

Snapchat Map Screenshot Decorated with Bitmoji icons; personal Bitmoji’s are covered in consideration. Photo/Partheymuller


As beneficial as this feature is in that perspective, it has received backlash for allowing a person’s location to be available to anybody they follow. Especially in regards to users under 18 and women. Although the app has been under fire for that aspect, it also troubleshoots the dilemma by using a setting called “Ghost Mode,” where a user can hide their location. On the flip side, this allows users to scope out their friends without being noticed. If users feel inclined, they can manually select which friends can see them as well.

Matt Crispe, 20, of Jackson, N.J., and said the feature is “an invasion of privacy.” The athletic training major at East Stroudsburg University, said he feels uncomfortable with the feature’s ability to zero-in on a person’s exact house and/or location.

“I was driving through Belmar the other day, and one kid texted me like “yo, what’re you doing in Belmar?” I was like “how do you even know that?” and sent me a screenshot of like my Snapchat character in Belmar, and I was just like “this is weird,”” Crispe said.

A major cause for concern has been children under 18 who are users of the app. Statistics from 2016 showed that 22 percent of Snapchat users in the U.S. are between the ages of 13 and 17, according to a survey by statista.com. With limited knowledge of whom their children are following, parents have every right to be concerned. On the other hand, the feature does have a way of helping children in this sense as well, according to Crispe.

“It’s just good, like God forbid, a kid gets kidnapped, and they have Snapchat on their phone, and it’s kind of like Locate My iPhone but a little bit easier,” Crispe said.

For every positive, there’s a negative though, of course.

“The downfall to that is that it only updates your position if you open Snapchat,” Crispe said, “It’s definitely good to track someone, like just in case they’re in trouble, but it’s not the most-guaranteed solution.”

Along with parents, law officials are going to be on the lookout for any disturbances involving the feature. John Locasio, 23, of Belvidere, N.J., graduated from Rowan University this past May with a degree in criminal justice. He understands that regulations and protocol are going to be easier said than done. Locasio said that regulation and oversight for these concerns would have to come via Snapchat itself, as law officials “have no jurisdiction over social media.”

Locasio does take a tough stance on the workings of the feature though.

“There needs to be more safeguard for it, you know? There needs to be more checks on it, checks and balances, so that people aren’t being exposed for where they are,” Locasio said.

As Snapchat becomes increasingly more prominent in the US and around the world, users such as Locasio have come to grips with the apparent nature of the times we live in.

“There is nothing private about social media anymore,” Locasio said. “There’s nothing safe about having a live-GPS on you all of the time.”

For more information on the Snap Map, visit the app’s website by clicking here.

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