Andrew Thomas joins me every week and we spend an hour talking tech.
Square buying up
-nothing to review this week but still thinking about the Huawei 2999
-this is cool!
You've probably seen Face ID, the cool unlocking feature for smartphones. But now that tech has expanded to mounts in the form of the Picbot! This handy smart mount has built-in facial tracking software and works with a full feature app to greatly enhance the photo capabilities of your smartphone. Whether you're filming a video blog, keeping your eyes on a recipe in the kitchen, or setting up a selfie, Picbot acts as your hands-free assistant.
Successfully funded on Kickstarter
- Built-in facial tracking software follows your face to get the perfect exposure
- Full-featured app lets you employ timelapse, panorama, smile detection, photo filters & more
- Swivels a full 360º allowing you to take panoramas & timelapse photos
- Facial tracking can focus on up to three faces at the same time during filming
- Smooth rotation lets you capture steady recordings in all directions
- Automatically initiates countdown timer to snap a photo when the subject is in the frame & still
- Comes w/ a standard 1/4" thread standard mount for tripods & stands
- Controller lets you spin, adjust the zoom, initiate video & photos
-change your twitter password!
Shopping and paying made easier on insta!
Last year, Instagram revealed an upcoming appointment-booking feature, another step towards the company's larger plans of becoming a shopping service of sorts. Now TechCrunch reports that the photo-sharing service is quietly adding an electronic payment option for some users, something not mentioned with the previous appointments feature.
Instagram confirmed with TechCrunch that payments for booking appointments for restaurants or salons is currently live "for a limited set of partners." The site notes that dinner reservation app Resy has clients whose Instagram Pages offer native payments for booking a table. Instagram also told TechCrunch that users can look forward to buying things like movie tickets in the future. The feature is different from shopping tags, a feature Instagram added in 2016 that pulls up a retailer's website when you tap through a photo of a product you want to purchase. Given Instagram's emphasis on shopping, it's easy to see native payments being used for even more things in the future.
-internal breach of your data, cool idea, maybe???Facebook and people looking at your data
can the social network raise alarm bells if one of its workers accesses private data? The answer appears to be yes -- though you'll currently have to work at Facebook to get a warning. The Wall Street Journal has learned that Facebook has a "Sauron alert" (yes, like Lord of the Rings' oppressive eye) that notifies employees when other staffers access their personal profiles. Everyday users only get notices of unusual login behavior, which could prove worrying if there is a case of abuse. However, Facebook may have a solution in the long run.
A spokesperson told the WSJ that Facebook has talked about offering "something similar" to Sauron for everyone, not just its own workers. The challenge is considering the implications, the company said. It doesn't want to alert "bad actors" or spark "real world harm," such as retaliation from an abusive partner.
The company's internal policies are already designed to curb at least some abuse. Only a handful of employees have access to data without triggering the usual login alert, and those people are "closely monitored," the WSJ's sources said. When they use their powers to access other accounts, they're required to provide a valid reason for looking at a profile (managers inspect those reasons later) and ideally get permission in writing. If a worker ever gets one of those alerts, they can track down the reasoning in a bug report or talk to Facebook's security team. "Multiple" workers have been fired over the years as a result.
Do you use Google News? I do, this could be good, ad heavy though and it is pretty slick on connecting to your Google eco system for likes
Google News is getting a major refresh, pulling in features from YouTube and the Play Newsstand magazine app to modernize the product, according to Ad Age. Google has been in talks with publishers over the update, which is expected to debut at the I/O developer conference next week.
The revamp will consolidate Google's various news services -- Play Newsstand is likely to close as part of the move, with Google News getting a new app. The rework will add YouTube's news section and incorporate the AMP technology Google uses to load pages faster on mobile.
Google is ringing the changes as it places more focus on news. You can already subscribe to some publications using your Google account and it's placing your subscriptions higher in search results. The company is also investing $300 million to combat the menace of fake news, taking measures like refusing to show search results for publishers that mask their country of origin.
All of these efforts, along with the News revamp, point towards Google trying to strengthen its relationships with publishers. News organizations are facing drops in traffic after Facebook adjusted the News Feed to prioritize posts from friends, giving Google more of an opportunity to become a stronger partner for publishers. If Google embraces this chance, new features could usher in a better News experience for all users.
Microsoft Built 2018, this could be interesting!
Say you're at a record store and you come across an album that you'd like to listen to before you buy it. Now there's an app that can help you out with that. It's sort of like Shazam, but for album covers, Pitchfork reports, and once you snap a picture of the album, it will find it for you on Spotify. The image you use -- whether uploaded from your camera roll or taken in the moment -- is sent to the Google Vision API, which will provide a guess as to what the image is. The app then uses that guess to search Spotify and surface the first result for you. The app was built on Glitch, Fog Creek Software's collaborative app-building platform that launched last month.
Love this for in office training!
One of the better sources of Audacity tutorials for beginners is Mike Russell's YouTube channel. Mike is a professional voice-over artist who uses his YouTube channel to teach others how to make their spoken audio sound better. On his channel you can find this playlist of seventeen Audacity tutorials for beginners. The playlist covers everything from downloading and installing Audacity to isolating vocals to removing background noise from your tracks. I've embedded his How to Record In Audacity tutorial below.
Apple is fixing this!
Think I might have to shave my arms for this to work
Privacy policies being updated everywhere
Yahoomail, twitter - whats everyone worried about|?
All for a pillow - epic product description
Instagram - where we all go to waste time
Snap spectacles are back!!
Amazon prime up from $99 to $119
And this is the kind of service you can expect!
1 p20pro and 10 minute interview
-gradient colour finish is awesome
-no headphone jack use the USB3
-no memory slot but can put memory in the 2nd sim slot
-6.1 inch* OLED display, delivering a superior colour gamut for our best screen to date. The edgeless fingerprint sensor with smart navigation instead of the virtual bar can offer an additional informative area.
-The HUAWEI P20 Pro features an astonishing 40 MP RGB camera that delivers unparalleled sharpness, colour accuracy, focus and contrast for every single shot you take.
-* Sensor size is approximately 7.76 mm x 5.82 mm.
-With the Leica zoom lens system, the HUAWEI P20 Pro can achieve 5X Hybrid Zoom. This allows you to zoom in on your subject and produce outstanding results when you want to capture incredible details at a distance.
-HUAWEI AI Image Stabilisation allows you to capture incredible blur-free, handheld shots in low-light using Night Mode. No more tripod. Night Mode also balances high-contrast scenes for effortlessly clear, light-balanced snaps in any setting.
-Make time slow down – right down – to 960 frames per second with 960 fps Super Slow Motion video mode*. Use it to capture and enjoy life’s most precious moments before they zoom past.
-The 24 MP front camera* means every selfie you take will look stunning. No ifs, no buts. It delivers vibrant, sharp, dazzling images, day or night.
-The HUAWEI P20 Pro incorporates a Dolby Atmos® sound system that breaks new ground for smartphone audio. Premier 990 Kbps HWA* supports Hi-res audio files so you can enjoy true Hi-Fi audio quality wirelessly via Bluetooth**. The open HWA ecosystem invites industry advancement in smartphone audio, keeping your audio experience best-in-class.
Now, the platform has rolled out a feature that highlights news links tweeted by the people you Follow right in your Home timeline, according to BuzzFeed News. Underneath the highlighted story, you'll see all the tweets from your network that mention that particular link.
I haven't come across the behavior yet, but Twitter has confirmed its rollout to the publication, which said that it's now out for all users across iOS, Android and the web. We've also reached out to Twitter to clarify whether it's truly a public worldwide rollout or merely a limited test.
Love the Facebook video strategy!
If you think that the internet is really just a repository for cat videos, well. You're not really wrong. Facebook announced today that Nala the Cat, who has 3.5 million followers at @nala_cat on Instagram, will be the star of "The Nala Show" on Facebook's Watch tab. According to Variety, the show's first episode will be posted today, April 27th, at 1 PM ET. New episodes will be released every Friday.
Variety also reports that Facebook will air a reality TV wedding show from Tamera Mowry-Housley called "Help Us Get Married!" The 12-episode show will focus on three different engaged couples and difficult decisions they have to make along the way. Viewers can vote on what the couples should do and the poll results will be revealed the next day. The show will premiere on Thursday, May 3rd.
Facebook has been pouring money into its Watch tab over the last few months. While the metrics for how many people are watching aren't publicly available, it's clear that Facebook will continue to prioritize securing original entertainment of all kinds for its website.
And more on Facebook the messenger sleep mode is a what we all need
Facebook's Messenger for Kids has courted its share of controversy in the short time it's been on the scene. In an effort to clean up the app's reputation, Facebook is adding a feature that parents have been asking for: making it inaccessible during certain timeframes. Specifically, during dinner, when they should be doing homework or at bedtime. Thus, "sleep mode" for the app.
When the feature is activated from a parent's account, the app will be inaccessible by the kids, blocking off access to sending or receiving messages or video calls and the rest of the app's functionality. Facebook says the "off times" can be changed whenever you see fit.
This likely won't quell the voices saying that kids shouldn't have access to such technology in the first place. Or, do anything to assuage the worry that so much digital communication at an early age could have a dire impact on childhood development, of course. But, if you're keen to stick a smart device in your kid's hand, now you'll have a little more control over when they can use one aspect of it.
Facebook has donation tools?
n 2016, Facebook began allowing its users to raise money for 501c3 nonprofits and it expanded that tool last year, giving users the option to create fundraisers for personal needs. Today, the company has announced a few changes to its fundraising platform. First, nonprofit fundraisers will now feature a donation match tool so that the individuals who create the fundraiser can pledge to match donations up to any amount between $5 and $2,500. Currently, this feature is only launching in the US, but it will expand internationally sometime soon.
Secondly, personal cause fundraisers now have more categories. For family categories there are now options like adoption or new baby supplies while faith-focused fundraisers can now be listed under categories such as missions or religious community events. Other new categories include educational trips, travel for medical needs as well as volunteer programs and supplies.
Lastly, Facebook is now removing the platform fee it takes for personal cause fundraisers. At launch, the fee in the US was 6.9 percent plus $0.30, which
Facebook said was for payment processing, fundraiser vetting and fraud prevention. Facebook said that there will still be a small fee for payment processing and applicable taxes.
Next windows update is here!
The update's headline addition is Timeline, which lets you go back in time up to 30 days to find the things you've been working on. It works across devices, as long as you're signed into your Microsoft account, so you could do some research on your phone while you're out and about, then pick it up on your desktop at a later date.
Another key feature is Focus Assist, designed to eliminate the zillions of web-based distractions that get in the way of productivity. Turn it on and it'll block emails, updates and notifications, turn it off and it'll give you a summary of what you missed. It's customizable, though, so if you're waiting on a specific email you can choose which stuff can break through.
Other notable features include tweaks to Microsoft Edge, such as tab muting and autofill on web payment forms, and updates to Dictation. Instead of seeking out the voice input app, you'll now be able to capture spoken word in any text field simply by pressing Win+H. You'll also be able to use voice features to manage your smart home from your PC, if you've got a compatible thermostat.
Other additions include simplified IT management tools for enterprise customers, new photo, 3D and Mixed Reality experiences, safety improvements and gaming enhancements. The update will be available for free as a download on Monday April 30.
Ahead of Tesla’s annual shareholder meeting in June, stockholder Jing Zhao has submitted a proposal to replace the board’s chairman, Elon Musk, with an independent director. Musk, the chief executive officer at Tesla, has been chairman of the board since 2004.
“Although the current leadership structure, in which the positions of Chairman and CEO are held by one person, could provide an effective leadership for Tesla at the early stage, now in this much more highly competitive and rapidly changing technology industry, it is more and more difficult to oversee Tesla’s business and senior management (especially to minimize any potential conflicts) that may result from combining the positions of CEO and Chairman,” Zhao wrote in his proposal.
Zhao, who holds 12 shares of the company’s common stock, also noted Musk’s positions at SolarCity and SpaceX, and how Musk’s involvement could lead to conflicts down the road. But the likelihood of this happening is slim to none.
And the board has already expressed its opposition, recommending a vote against this proposal. In its statement, the board says Tesla’s success would not have been possible without Musk at the helm of both the board and the company itself.
Thoughts on Amazon In car delivery
At a time of heightened concern about user privacy, one of the world's biggest technology companies is seeking access to one of users' most private places: the trunks of their cars.
Amazon Inc. on Tuesday launched what it calls In-Car Delivery, which allows Amazon delivery drivers to open the trunks of certain late-model cars and drop off packages inside.
It's the e-commerce giant's latest attempt to extend its reach into users' lives, having last year debuted a web-connected door lock and camera that lets delivery drivers deposit packages within customers' homes.
Peter Larsen, Amazon's vice president of delivery technology, said customers "love features like keyless guest access" and that "in-car delivery gives customers that same peace of mind and allows them to take the Amazon experience with them."
New Smap Specs!
Snap announced Thursday it's doubling down on its sunglasses experiment, unveiling a second version of its so-called Spectacles that are lighter, more powerful and also water-resistant.
The move comes as Snap has begun taking a far more conventional approach to its software strategy by revamping Snapchat to attract new users and introducing cheaper ads to drum up business. The early results of that strategy will be revealed Tuesday in the Venice company's first-quarter earnings report.
The first iteration of Spectacles was a hit with the tech media but a dud on retail shelves. Introduced in November 2016, Snap sold only 220,000 pairs, well below company estimates. Snap had to write down $40 million in costs associated with excess inventory in 2017.
Despite that, Snap thinks its users will eventually prefer taking pictures and videos with its eyewear over using a phone. Snap, after all, refers to itself as a camera company first and foremost rather than a social media company.
It's the app, though, where Snap must show it can make enough revenue to credibly challenge Facebook's Instagram, which has 2½ times more daily active users than Snapchat at 500 million. Snap has yet to reach profitability and reported losses of $350 million in the fourth quarter.
Under pressure from Wall Street, Snap has made a number of moves the past year to give it more mainstream appeal — even at the risk of alienating the app's most ardent fans.
None was more dramatic than its redesign of Snapchat, which was aimed at making the app more approachable to a wider audience. The new look was met with widespread criticism, including a petition to reverse the change with more than 1.2 million signatories, and a dismissive tweet from reality star Kylie Jenner that sparked a sell-off in company shares.
In another shift, Snap introduced programmatic ad-buying, an automated auction for marketers that lowered the company's ad rates but significantly boosted the number of ads it sold. It was a major reversal for a company that long thumbed its nose at the cheap ads the industry has long relied upon.
Snap is also testing unskippable, six-second ads in some of its Snapchat Shows — short videos produced by big media companies such as NBCUniversal and Viacom. The ads, which the company is simply calling Commercials, were first reported by Digiday.
We might be getting an Instagram mute button and a bunch of other features, I hope. Twitter user @wongmjane posted about various tests Instagram has conducted or is currently testing. Jane Wong is apparently a computer science student who appears to be looking through the app’s code.
Instagram told The Verge it didn’t “have anything to share on this right now,” regarding the apparent tests. While they’re unconfirmed for now, it’s at least fun to imagine that they’re legitimate and that Instagram is thinking about improving its platform with some of these changes.
Let’s run through all the tests Wong has supposedly uncovered.