Go On Head, Retweet Yourself: Twitter Gets an Update

We bet that quite a few of you are on Twitter. And since there are over 300 million active monthly users, the odds are in our favor. Well, just so ya know, Twitter got a whole lot cooler this week. Here’s our breakdown of what’s new in the Twitter-sphere:

twitter

  1. Say bye-bye to harsh 140 character restrictions
    • You heard us right. Twitter just got a little more lenient with the character count. You’re now able to add pictures, GIFs, quoted tweets, and videos without adding to the total number of characters. Alas!
  2. Go on head, retweet yourself.
    •  Did we stutter? You can retweet yourself. Feel free to share all the glorious comments from your Twitter’s past.
  3. Replies sans @username
    • When you’d reply to a tweet, the tweet would start with @username before your comment. That’s no longer the case. Now there’s a thread line that shows who you’re replying to with your tweet below. So that just means that you have even more characters to share your reply.

So what do you think? Was this update everything you hoped for and more? If so, you can – shameless plug – tweet us @newswatchtv. Or if the update didn’t live up to the hype, you can still tweet us; we’ll be happy to reply.

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Instagram Drops New Features and Kills One

Courtesy of Endgadget.

Courtesy of endgadget.

By: Hazel Lovely Saunders

A couple of weeks ago Instagram released a surprising new feature called Stories, which allows you to share all the moments throughout your day. Similar to rival app Snapchat, stories consists of mini video clips or pictures stay up for 24 hours, appearing as a mini slideshow or video series. Facebook, Instagram’s parent company, attempted to purchase Snapchat a couple of years ago. They couldn’t buy the app, but that doesn’t mean that they couldn’t integrate their ideas in their app.

But Instagram released a feature that Snapchat doesn’t have: zooming. This gives the users the ability to zoom in on other users’ photos and videos by pinching the post. Unfortunately, this feature is only available for iPhone users, but they say it will be released soon on Android.

The new zoom feature allows marketers to get even more creative with content on Instagram. Instead of watching a video in one perspective, users can now zoom around and choose a certain focus to view.

Courtesy of Tech Crunch.

Instagram will also take advantage of the new iPhone 7 plus dual camera. Courtesy of Tech Crunch.

The problem with this new feature is that Instagram images content can look grainy if you zoom in too much. But this isn’t stopping users from using this new feature—there’s even a trending hashtag about Instagram’s latest addition.

These features are here to stay, but the photo map feature is on its way out. This classic feature allowed you to see a map of where a users’ photos were taken (if you allowed it). Instagram said in a statement to Mashable, “Photo Map was not widely used, so we’ve decided to remove the feature and focus on other priorities.”

So what are your thoughts? Are you sad to see the Photo-Map feature go? Or are you happy that you can zoom? Tweet us your thoughts @NewsWatchTV.

Five Entertainment Tech Trends You Should Know

vr1

By Hazel-Lovely Saunders

Creativity is the working body in the entertainment industry. And with recent advances in technology, creatives are finding insane ways to incorporate tech into entertainment. From virtual reality headsets in movie theaters to CGI in Fast 7. You never know what new technology will be up next for the industry.

  1. Virtual Reality (VR)

Virtual reality (VR) is a computer technology that uses software-generate realistic images, sounds, and other sensations to channel a real environment.

The Oculus Rift, a virtual reality headset, accumulated $2.5m in funding on Kickstarter and was available for the blockbuster film “Interstellar” to let audiences interact with the movie’s spacecraft and explore areas in the film. Hopefully we get to watch all movies on VR.

 

VR isn’t only popular in watching movies, but it’s the new trend in gaming. You’ll find VR gaming headsets from all the tech giants. For example, Samsung released their Gear VR while Sony is in the works for a headset for PlayStation 4. Additionally, Valve Software and HTC are working on Vive.

  1. Augmented Reality (AR)

Now augmented reality (AR) is found in the latest addition, Pokémon Go. This technology blurs the line between what’s real and what’s computer generated. Basically a mix of virtual reality, computer-generated environments, and what’s in the real world in real time.

In Pokémon Go players use their mobile device’s GPS capability to capture, battle and train virtual created, who appear on the screen as if they were in the same real world.

aug1

But Pokémon Go isn’t the only one in the AR arena, Microsoft is currently working on a high-profile HoloLens project, and Apple CEO Tim Cook confirmed that the company is working on augmented reality.

  1. High Dynamic Range

High-dynamic range imaging (HDRI) is a high dynamic range (HDR) technique used in imagining and photography to reproduce a greater dynamic range. It’s better visual experience with greater contrast—highlights, brighter colors and a lifelike images.

Viterra_Plant_Edmonton_Alberta_Canada_01

An example of HDRI is 4K TV. This tech is on the rise, but it probably needs to be watched on a huge TV to notice the difference. This tech can also be found in compact cameras like the new Nikon DL series feature 4K video. Although 4K can be very crisp it takes a lot of memory storage and a strong hard drive to import videos.

  1. Real-Time Cloud Rendering

Cloud rendering is a fast process of creating constant-shape clouds for games and flight simulators. Basically rendering of clouds in real-time. This technology can be used to render complex game image son mobile devices. Major studios use this to cut visual effects costs.

Atomic Fiction’s Conductor is in the lead for these visual effects technique and helped the visual effects for the movie, “The Walk”.

  1. Light Field

A light field camera captures information about the light field emanating from a specific scene; that includes, the intensity of light of the scene and the direction that the light rays are traveling in space. This gives the photographer flexibility to shoot first and choose the focus, aperture and settings after.

This is a time-saver for film shoots. Instead of multiple cameras for different focus points, this will capture it all in one shot. You can edit and change the settings after each shot to satisfy which image you want.

Ars Electronica 2013 - Lytro light-field photography

Ars Electronica 2013 – Lytro light-field photography

Companies Otoy and Lytro offer light-field capturing devices. Other companies like nVidia is also researching this field.

Join the conversation and let us know your thoughts and comments below. Don’t forget to follow us on Twitter and like our Facebook page.

The 5 Kickstarter Campaigns You Need To Watch For

Courtesy of Kickstarter.

Courtesy of Kickstarter.

By Hazel-Lovely Saunders

Kickstarter has built a crowdfunding platform focused on creativity. They give creative minds an opportunity to showcase their product on a campaign so people can take a took at what creative products are surfacing. Their mission is to bring creative projects to life. Here is a list of five projects to watch for on Kickstarter.

  1. KeyMAX G5 Titanium Clip-On Key Ring & 22 in 1 Multi-tool EDC

Need something convenient? Ready to go and lightweight? There’s the new Clip-On G5 Titanium Unibody Key Ring & Multi-Tool EDC. With 22 features that is built for anything that comes your way, its like a mini on-the-go tool box and survivor gadget.

KeyMax Dimensions: 3.70” Wide x 1.20” Deep x .140” Thick

22 Features

Uni-Body Key Ring, Bottle opener, 10 Wrench sizes, 2 Spoke Wrenches, ¼” Hex Driver with Built-in Hex bit Holder and added O-Ring, Letter opener, Wire Stripper, Emergency Can Opener, Glass Breaker, Soda can popper, Paint Can Opener, and many more.

Courtesy of Kickstarter.

Courtesy of Kickstarter.

There will also be versions of the classic RocketHEX and MicrosharkHEX with O-Rings.

  1. LIFT

A new innovative levitating system that charges your Apple Watch or Pebble. Life is the only smartwatch charges that levitates your device in midair. The charging base is lightweight and portable. Lift is also a portable battery charger giving you two full charges on your smartwatch. Although it’s the only system to charge and levitate your smartwatch, it can also charge your phone (but it won’t levitate it.)

Courtesy of Kickstarter.

Courtesy of Kickstarter.

What’s it made of?

High quality aluminum and ceramic, and more.

bffaed1ad66e766b0490bc5866fc63fe_original

The Orb

When your smartwatch it’s not being charged, it can also be used as a smart lamp. The Orb is the very first wireless smart lamp in the business. It even magnetically attaches to any metal surface for your convenience.

The best thing about this charging system is that it doesn’t kill your battery life. Once your watch reaches 100% it will intelligently turn off to protect the lifespan of your smartwatch.

  1. ALCHEMA
Courtesy of Kickstarter.

Courtesy of Kickstarter.

ALCHEMA is a new brewing system that enables you to turn your fruits into your own flavor of hard cider in three easy steps. With Alchema you can create your cider within 2 weeks. This new system is great for everyone especially beginners. With just three easy steps you can make your own drinks.

How it works?

Courtesy of Kickstarter.

Courtesy of Kickstarter.

Don’t forget about the Alchema app on iOS and Android devices. The app helps you explore a variety of recipes, monitor your brewing process, and even share a recipe you created.

  1. RoVa4D Full Color Blender 3D Printer
Courtesy of Kickstarter.

Courtesy of Kickstarter.

The RoVa4D works by extruding spate cyan, magenta, yellow, black, and white filaments into a single patent pending hot end where they blend together into a single nozzle. This new printer lets you print unlimited colors in one single print. The RoVa4d has three separate hot ends. One prints in any color, hue, tone, tints, or shade. The second one is dedicated to flexible materials like Ninjaflex, and the third is a dissolvable support material.

How does it work?

With just 5 colors you can produce ANY color in the world, any hue, tint, shade or tone.

  1. WOOLF: Speed Trap Ahead

woolf2
WOOLF is the perfect for bikers and car drivers to be warned about speed traps, red light camera, and school zones. It is made of high quality water-resistant leather and it wraps around your wrist so your eyes are paying attention on the road.

How it works?

woolf1WOOLF pairs with iOS and Android devices. The app measures speed and constantly updates zones around you. The wristband vibrates in different levels so you know when to slow down.

The testing prototype provides 15 days of battery (2 hours per day) while “driving” and recharging takes approximately 3 hours.

Support each campaign and learn more about their products and pre-order information by visiting their sites below:

Tell us what you think about the products above and comment below! What’s your favorite Kickstarter campaign? Tweet us.

Don’t forget to Like us on Facebook and Follow us on Instagram

Save Money on Your Car Insurance

App Review

Okay, quick survey. Raise your hand if you would like to save money on car insurance. Get ‘em up. One, two…okay it looks like everybody is sick of paying an arm and a leg on their car insurance. Well then we have got just the thing for you. Metromile is a pay-per-mile car insurance producer that helps you save money based on the amount you drive.

 

Metromile is the easiest way to save money on your car insurance. By simply attaching a plug-in to your car’s OBD-II port, Metromile can track how much you are driving and bill you accordingly. What is amazing is customers typically save an average of $500 a year using this system. Seriously, think about what you could be doing with all that extra cash. Metromile is a great and cheaper alternative to traditional car insurance. It is especially great if you are someone who does not really rack up many miles on their car as much as someone living in a more rural area might. Metromile also comes with an accompanying app that allows you to check and monitor things like how your speed varies on a trip, how much you spend on gas, how long your drive takes, and where you parked your car. What’s more is you can even check in with a mechanic with questions if something like your check engine light comes on. Pretty cool, right? Currently Metromile is available in seven states: Oregon, Washington, California, Illinois, Virginia, Pennsylvania and New Jersey.

Are you ready to start saving money on car insurance and feeling more protected? The free app is compatible with iOS and Android devices. Go check out metromile.com/insurance for more information and to sign up today.

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Plan Your Perfect Cruise

App Review

Alright, so the summer months are finally upon us. Have you planned your next vacation yet? If you are one of the millions of people who have and are considering a cruise, be sure to be smart and check out the Cruise Commander app first. Cruise Commander is your ultimate companion tool when planning the perfect cruise. It was created specifically to make the entire experience as easy as possible on you.

The process is easy. You first start by researching various ships and cruise lines. The app has information on over 200 cruise ships and 30 cruise lines. With all this information you can be sure you will pick the perfect one for you. After that, you can plan each day of the cruise by checking your arrival and departure dates from over 1,000 ports in over 200 countries. If you are interested you can even research port history, browse photos of the ports and places of interests, get weather forecasts, and even see foreign exchange rates. And that’s just the beginning. This app is literally with you every step of the way- from planning the cruise to the end. Once you set out on your journey make sure to use Cruise Commander to log your experience with photos and notes. And for safe measure you can use the port maps so you don’t get lost when you are at call. What makes this app really great is that they are offline, so there is no need to worry about WiFi.

Ready to have a relaxing time on your cruise without worrying about whether or not you picked the right one? Cruise Commander is available on your iPad for free so head on over to the App Store to download it today.

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Make Your Voice Count

How involved are you in your community? As a citizen of the United States, it is part of our civic duty to stay informed and make the country a better place. Do you know how to do that? Other than watching the news, writing snail mail, or signing petitions, there is really no easy way to to do this. Luckily now there is an app to help. Check out the icitizen app, the hub for your civic life.

icitizen empowers you to level up your community impact. It makes it easy for just about anyone to get involved. Do you know who your local representatives are? It is okay if you don’t. icitizen will help you quickly find out- all you have to do is tap in and you can easily discover who your elected representatives are. This app makes it simple for anyone to get to know where their local government stands on the issues you care about by viewing their legislative priorities. Stay involved wherever you are. From the coffee shop to the waiting room, you can vote on polls to make your voice heard on the issues you that affect you and your community. Best of all, your representatives have direct access to those results so they can make informed decisions based on how you and your neighbors voted. It is your one-stop-shop for making your voice count, anytime, anywhere. Stay informed and easily take part in the political process — even between elections!

Think you are ready to step up and get involved in your government? icitizen is currently available on iOS and Android devices for free with a web-based version coming soon. Head to your app store and download it today.

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