Welcome To myStaples

Many schools prohibit cell phones.  Administrators fear they’ll be used for games, texting, even cheating.

Staples allows cell phones (though not in class).  They’re a ubiquitous part of life, after all.  A ban won’t eliminate their use; students will simply devise ways around it.

Plus — go figure — they’re plenty helpful.

Senior Eric Lubin took that idea, and made iPhones exponentially more useful.

Eric Lubin, his iPhone and his myStaples app

An experienced app developer — he already has 3 in the iPhone App Store — he spent this summer powering up one of his previous creations, iSHS.

Rechristened myStaples, it’s as versatile as a Swiss Army knife, as easy to use as a doorbell.

And when it’s available on the App Store — hopefully this week — it could become as popular as Flight Control.

A key feature allows students to see their personal daily schedule.  (It’s different each day — not easy to memorize.)   Because the app works off the Staples TV system — which adjusts for special schedules, half days, etc. — it’s always accurate.

A bar at the bottom indicates how much time is left in each period — like for a song or video.  Users can set one-time or permanent reminders (hopefully via vibrate) based on “time remaining.”  For example, students may remind themselves “there’s 30 minutes left in my free period — time to start studying,” while teachers can let themselves know “there are 3 minutes left — time to wrap things up.”

The lunch schedule — always a source of confusion, because it changes based on department and month — is another key feature.

The homework feature is very impressive.  Students simply tap a class, add an assignment, then set a due date.  They can sort their homework by course or due date.  If they check it when it’s done, it’s automatically deleted.

Eric included shortcuts to Blackboard — the school’s course management software — and SnapGrades, a web-based gradebook.

The app is tied to Staples’ TV screens, so the daily announcements are displayed in table view.  That eliminates the need to stand in front of a TV monitor, waiting to see whether there’s a notice that a sports practice is canceled due to bad weather.

Eric tweaked myStaples for iPads, to take advantage of that device’s increased space.  There’s also an iPod version.

Eric considered a social component — the ability to see every other student who shares the same free period, say, or all those taking any section of AP Statistics — but did not have time to include it.

Not that he was slacking — or trying to make money off his app.  Friends have said they’d pay $10 for myStaples — but he’s offering it free.

Perhaps he’ll adapt it for other schools.  After all, Mark Zuckerberg started Facebook for his Harvard college classmates.  Look at him now.

Then again, don’t.

Eric Lubin is a much nicer guy.

(To download Eric’s app, search for “myStaples” in Apple’s App Store, or click on eric.lubin.us/mystaples)

37 responses to “Welcome To myStaples

  1. Richard Lawrence Stein

    Another amazing KID!!! This young man is gonna do something…. Despite a lousy mediocre at best school that I’m sure held him and his creative imaginative ways back!!! What a great example of getting ahead despite a school that should of said no to allowing to interface with their system….. I know to much sarcasm and byte pun intended at this early hour

    • Poor Richard can’t tell the difference between a great student and a great school. How typical of the sheeple of Westport.

  2. Richard Lawrence Stein

    Actually Jeff I did say what an amazing kid!!! That was am encompassing reference to genius…

  3. As a parent of a Staples kid, I pledge not to download this app.

  4. Congratulations Eric,
    Your thoughtfulness and productive creativity is something for which we can all be proud and grateful.

  5. The Dude Abides

    Kudos to the creativity of this young gentleman but to me, it is not my MyStaples and I fear the technological dependency and inclinations of this generation is not necessarily a good thing. From my experience, many can’t even have an adult conversation face to face.

    • Dude – where do you interact with these kids? I’m trying to remember the last time I ran into a high school kid who couldn’t talk about most things at a fairly high level of both intellect and maturity. Just as Facebook eases the transition into college (who expected that?), other social communication tools usually improve day-to-day life (though not without side-affects). Remember that we adults no longer let the kids ride their bikes to each other’s homes any more, or loiter after school (middle school). Online interaction is all we’ve left for them.
      Also, there is a theory that civilization develops at the speed of communication.

      • Good point, Laz. I see high school students every day. Time and again I’m impressed with their ease around adults, and their ability to communicate with us. They’re insightful, articulate and mature. Are there downsides to technology? Absolutely. But the communication skills of Westport teenagers are not among them.

        • The Dude Abides

          I am never going to win any argument involving Staples. It has always been perfect when I attended and it will continue to be. My only rebuttal to you, Dan, is that you see these kids within their comfort environment and your coach-student relationship. Until this fall, I had five Staples kids on our block who would come over to play tennis every day. To talk with them was like pulling teeth and with little intelligence or social etiquette displayed. They are good kids too. But they retreat into their technogical world instead of social interaction. I also live across the street from a psychiatrist who specializes in child disorders and practices out of her home. Our street is packed every afternoon with patients. So before you paint the broad brush of generality, check under the carpet. All is never perfect.

      • The Dude Abides

        Every day. I interact with them at the store or on my street. Usually holding an IPOD, texting when we are attemtping to ask them questions. I am not sure I approve of “they are going to do it any way” so a solid disciplinary action either. My kids were taught manners and the ability to have the social graces that I see very lacking in this generation. You ever see a teenager stand when an adult approaches their table at a restaurant??? Instead, they were ball caps backwards and dress like slobs to class. I find their appearance at high school deplorable.

        • Richard Lawrence Stein

          Dude if you knew my younger brother who could be classified a genius … I would bet that he would say school and Stalpes were far from a waste of time. And in response to your generational dislikes… That’s exactly it you don’t get their current way… But you are an adult or older you are not suppose too. Now go turn down your victrola or transistor radio

          • Glad you didn’t say hearing aid. That was very respectful.

          • The Dude Abides

            Well, Mr.Stein, I have spoken to Bill Gates who found such a waste of time although there was a main frame computer sitting in front of him as he walked into his 8th grade science class. But I think you have be pegged wrong: I don’t diminish or degrade the kids as much as I do the system or parents that place such high expectations on them. And I have mentored students as well as taught youngsters. I have no problem relating or equating to their needs. What upsets me more is the blind sense of unrealistic environment set forth by persons such as you. That is why there are five kids waiting in their cars for the shrink across the street. Most can’t meet those high goals. And I am doing 20 miles this Sunday getting ready for the New York City Marathon, care to join me there Dick Larry????? I got your condescending generational snub and you can stick it.

          • Richard Lawrence Stein

            Ok super dude who is generalizing or assuming the issues of the kids across the way…. And sorry not interested in a long run I do half marathons…. And kids will be kids in so many ways… But it’s who you know or the ones you come across

          • To The Dude Abides:

            I like your typos.

  6. Nice job, Eric!!!!!

    BUT … now we need a similar app for the Android market.

    • Mr. Incredible

      When there’s no limit to what droid gets, there’s no limit to what droid does. Please help us, eric!!!

      • Sorry, but myStaples is going to stay on only iDevices as it is a HUGE project to port an iPhone app to android, in some ways more difficult than what I have already done as it would involve learning an entirely different programming language.

        For the rest of us there’s always iSHS: http://m.stapleshigh.net

  7. Max Stampa-Brown

    can we add a Staples “Librarian Taser” feature to the application?

  8. I think this may be the first time I have ever agreed with someone Jeffsx has said, but he has a point. One thing I learned at Staples is to never generalize people. Not every high school student walks around dressed like a slob, unable to communicate without the help of a cell phone or iPod. In fact, I’d say the majority of Westport students dress pretty nicely, and “The Dude,” who stands for anyone at dinner tables these days? Welcome to the 21st century, but things are not what they used to be. Try reading or listening to some interviews of Staples athletes and students; they speak with ease and comfortability. And too say that “you’re” generation is not the same would be blasphemy. Which adults in this town don’t have blackberry’s or iPhones? I see my own dad sucked to his computer and his phone texting or emailing away. Its unfortunate that the comments have come to this–each comment should really be praising Eric for his creativity and skill. Great job Eric.

  9. The Dude Abides

    From the naysayers of all naysayers comes the ever present criticism. I note you began the assault on Staples yourself. And my kids grew up in Texas, thank God, where they did learn such attributes. How many times have we heard your kids went to private school? Gawd, man, you are a postal child for contradiction. I stand by my contention that technology, as depicted in this blog entry, does not enhance the social skills of this generation.

    • To The Dude Abides:

      Man up and tell us who you really are

      • The Dude Abides

        Man up? I don’t see your name there. And my immediate family was involved in the Enron prosecution. We still get death threats. No thank you.
        Funny, the last time criticism was made of the Sacred Staples, the same nonsensical morons came out of the woodwork. Master Lupin is a bright young man with a creative mind. No one is taking that away from him. The conversation was diverted, as it often does, to advancement of technology and its affect on the social skills of students. I spoke my piece and I stand by it. You don’t like it fine. Say so. But don’t “call me out” or impersonate others on this blog. It is only strengthens my point. As for “Staples”: Who stands when adults approach a table?? My kids and I do as do most gentlemen I know. I am sorry your father is entrenched in his technological wasteland. I practiced law for 30 years and never got a call that couldn’t wait until I returned to the office/home. Perhaps you should be asking WHY instead of accepting the norm so easily. They used to teach that at Staples when I was there.

    • The site has become contaminated. Posts that are not mine have been attributed to me. I told Dan of the problem

  10. To The Dude Abides:

    What’s your problem, honestly? Do you enjoy going onto articles about innocent subjects and completely terrorizing the rest of us? Do you have to find a problem in everything?

    • The Dude Abides

      I have a huge problem with the phoneys at Staples. Terrorized? I can tell you have never been in the service. You just don’t like what I am saying but if you think I am alone, you are naive. I have a problem with idiots like you asking if I have a problem with everything and think they are so cute pointing out “typos” and similar insignificant aspects of what could be a serious discussion.

  11. I think it would be beneficial if comments were turned off for a while.

  12. Dan, would you be good enough to remove posts by people who have way too much time on their hands?

    • I don’t think I can judge who has too much time on their hands, and who has just enough or not enough. What’s next: a request to remove posts by people who use dead people’s names instead of their own?

  13. I can’t stand when threads on this blog are destroyed by posters who stray from the topic. Dan, I understand why you will not delete posts, but I do encourage users to avoid responding to incendiary posts.

  14. Barbara Wiederecht

    Congratulations Eric! My daughter has your app downloaded and ready to go. It looks very functional and I think she will use it a lot. From an organizational point of view, an app like this might have more appeal then a traditional book type planner. I especially like the test reminder part:)

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