Walmart Competes with the Kings of Online Shopping

In efforts to compete with major online merchants such as Amazon, Walmart steps its game up by offering free 2-day shipping on orders of $35 or more and with NO membership necessary.

walmart 2 day shipping

Whether you’re a regular Walmart customer or not, you’re not exempt from the benefits of this expedited shipping service.

Read more on the article here.

Airbus Promises Flying Car Prototype by End of 2017

This could be the answer to several stop-and-go traffic prayers. Airbus has not only announced, but promised to release their flying car prototype by the end of 2017.

flying cars

Read more on the main NewsWatch Page.

CES History Lessons on Chris’ Coffee Corner and Latest Episode of NewsWatch

On the latest episode of NewsWatch, Chris tested Guy’s knowledge on CES. See if Guy had what it took to be a CES expert. Catch the full segment below.

And also be sure to catch Chris on the next episode of NewsWatch (this Friday at 7 AM) as he covers footage at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.

Also be sure to subscribe to our YouTube channel so you don’t miss a thing!

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.

Sustainable Agriculture Is Gaining Momentum

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By: Megan Nichols

The non-GMO movement and protests against Monsanto garner most of the media’s attention in the agricultural news, but there’s much more happening. Many of the nation’s farmers are quietly switching to sustainable methods, and the cumulative impact on the environment is positive. It’s not only small farmers getting involved: Many Midwestern farmers with vast tracts of traditional row-crop land are also changing, which means sustainability is trickling up the chain to big brands like Kellogg’s and Unilever.

Courtesy of GreenBiz.

Courtesy of GreenBiz.

Common Environmental Problems With Big Ag

Corporate agriculture has much to answer for, and many of their practices caused severe damage to ecosystems across the country. For example, the use of chemical fertilizers to increase crop yields has harmed wildlife, and run-off is responsible for the dead zone in the Gulf of Mexico, where no aquatic species can survive.

sediment_in_the_gulf_of_mexico

Pesticides are similarly harmful, and they’re especially dangerous for bees and other pollinators. Reliance on chemical techniques for improving yields has made a royal mess of the land, but sustainable methods promise to help heal the wounds while maintaining a robust food supply for the country.

Preventing Erosion and Protecting the Chesapeake

One major cause for concern with corporate agriculture is its tendency toward monoculture; that is, growing only one single crop in a large area. While monoculture is well known for depleting the soil of nutrients and allowing certain pests to thrive, another side effect is it leaves barren soil for periods of time between growing seasons. After harvesting an entire field at once, the empty land left behind is far more susceptible to erosion by wind or water.

Such erosion is particularly harmful to bodies of water like the Chesapeake Bay. Farmers on the Delmarva Peninsula are working hard to plant more acres of cover crops to reduce erosion. Planting cover crops, like winter rye and clover, on a plot of land after harvesting the main crop is important. This helps prevent erosion, which in turn reduces chemical run-off and contamination of the bay. Composting vegetal waste instead of throwing it away also allows for future soil enhancement. However, this is only one example of a local sustainable farming effort that’s making a significant difference.

Sustainability Takes on Many Forms

There are many ways that agricultural businesses embrace sustainability. Large companies have the leverage to affect change by creating a market for organic products and rewarding farmers for using sustainable methods. They can also be great spokespeople to laud the importance of sustainable agricultural.

Stoneyfield Farms, for example, connects consumers to the farms where their yogurt ingredients are sourced to promote a keen interest in sound environmental practices and local farming.

Courtesy of Tree Hugger.

Courtesy of Tree Hugger.

Individual farmers also play a role in sustainability. In addition to amending their practices to include cover crops and less chemical fertilizer, they can also participate in carbon markets to offset their fuel usage. Small farmers can also keep a close eye on their supplies and practice the old “reduce, reuse, recycle” protocol in much of their work.

Many people don’t realize how current agriculture practices depend on plastic. The term “plasticulture” exists because farmers rely on plastics for many reasons. This includes soil fumigation film, irrigation drip-tape, and bulk seed supply.  However, some farmers are taking action to reduce their dependence. Some farmers make the eco-friendly choice to recycle their bulk bags and plastic films. With sustainable agriculture gaining momentum, it’s only a matter of time before more recycling options are available.

The Bottom Line: Sustainability Is Good for Business

Farmers large and small are making great strides toward increased sustainability in agriculture, and the results are truly working. There’s little doubt that people are becoming more concerned about the plight of the planet. As they continue to do so, they’ll seek sustainable products, and farmers will practice methods that do right by the land and bring in enough money to allow them to sustain their families — and that’s a win-win for all inhabitants of planet earth.

Jon Favreau Creates a Virtual Reality World with ‘Gnomes & Goblins’

Courtesy of The Hollywood Reporter.

Courtesy of The Hollywood Reporter.

By: Hazel-Lovely Saunders

Technology and entertainment are merging faster than ever with the latest tool—virtual reality. Filmmakers and other creators are taking on this tool to create videos, games, news and more. Created by director Jon Favreau, known for Chef and The Jungle Book, is the latest fusion of entertainment and tech. It’s called Gnomes & Goblins.

A preview of the project is being released on Thursday, Sept. 8 for free on the HTC Vive VR headset. The preview of the project is set in an enchanted forest, a similar setting to The Jungle Book, where you act as the lead in the film. During the preview you meet a tiny goblin and befriend him. The way you interact with the goblin determines your path in where your story goes. As the main character you will be free to wander and explore at your own pace.

Cpurtesy of Road to VR.

Courtesy of Road to VR.

“There’s people who come from a gaming background who see the gaming potential [of VR], and there’s people who come from a cinema background that see how they expand it,” Favreau says. “But to me everything in between is the Oklahoma land grab. You can stake out a little piece of land in the middle of this that’s unique.”

The preview of Gnomes & Goblins takes about 10 minutes to play but eventually the idea is what Favreau describes as “Like Disneyland. Where you build more and more out.” If the preview launch becomes successful, he plans to release a more built-out version of the project. Check out the preview below:

Let us know what you think about this new Favreau project. What other films would you like to see become part of a VR world? Tweet us, like us on Facebook, and don’t forget to stay updated with weekly articles here.

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.

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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.

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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.

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