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:

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  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.

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.

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

Netgear’s Multi-Unit Wi-Fi Solution

Courtesy of Engadget.

Courtesy of Engadget.

By Hazel-Lovely Saunders

The worst part of Wi-Fi connection is not getting a connection if you’re too far away from the router. This is definitely a first world problem people hate, especially for those tech savvy humans. Wi-Fi routers can be set up in any area in your home, but a majority of people loose connection in certain areas of their home. After all, who likes using their data in order to use the internet or play Pokémon Go?

Netgear is an American global networking company that delivers products to consumers, businesses and service providers. The company’s products are built on a variety of proven technologies such as wireless (Wi-Fi and LTE), Ethernet and powerline.

Netgear is introducing a multi-unit router called Orbi. It is a “Wi-Fi system” that is a combination of a router and a range extender. This single router is capable of covering 4,000 square feet of space to provide strong but fast Wi-Fi signal. Something we all want of course.

Courtesy of Engadget.

Courtesy of Engadget.

Orbi consists of two units. The main router, which you plug into the modem has a blue top and the secondary unit that should be placed somewhere in the “central” of your home (the satellite, has a white top). Although the Orbi is bigger it is faster. It’s standout feature is its tri-band mesh system that dedicates one channel to extending the internet from the router to the satellite while keeping the other two free for your other device’ connections. Netgear has two competitors, Ero and Luma, both of which already have multi-unit routers, but have a three-piece system. They are less noticeable being smaller than the Orbi.

Netgear’s vice president, David Henry, says, “Today we can’t sell a Wi-Fi router less than $99 because the products less than $99 are no better than what you have in your home.”

Courtesy of TechCrunch.

Courtesy of TechCrunch.

The Orbi will go on sale in early September, with the two-pack selling for $399.99. The single add-on units will eventually be on sale for $249.99.

What do you guys think of this new multi-unit router? Let us know in your comments below. Don’t forget to Like us on Facebook and Twitter.

Fun from the Past: Top 5 Childhood Fads Making A Comeback

P2

By Hazel-Lovely Saunders

“Gotta catch ‘em all!” A slogan that has been sung or said multiple times since the wake of Pokémon Go.

Pokémon Go, A location-based augmented reality game that lets you capture, battle and train fictional monsters called “Pokémon.”

The world is heavily focused on the game due to it bringing a classic childhood fad back. Since Pokémon Go a lot of other games and toys have either never left so kids now can enjoy them now or resurfaced just like Pokémon.

But is Pokémon go just merely just a passing trend? Are people just wanting to capture all the creatures forget about the “hype” once the fad is over? Already a Pokémon Go player has caught all the Pokémon available in the U.S. and is traveling to other countries to capture region-specific creatures and the infamous Ditto.

Let’s walk down memory lane shall we? Read below about some throwback games and toys that should be back.

1. BeybladesP3

 

The toys that were released in the early 2000’s which came with a ‘launcher’-a device to spin the tops in a plastic arena called Beystadium. It is also the name of a Japanese manga and soon became a not so successful TV show. These spinning tops gave kids the opportunity to battle in real life unlike Pokémon or Digimon.

2. Digimon

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

 

Digimon short for “Digital Monsters” soon came out after Pokémon in the early 2000’s, but with their concept focused on digital monsters living in a “Digital World,” a parallel universe. Just like Pokémon, the franchise had a TV show, movies, manga, toys and video games.

With the Digimon device you had to take care of your digimon, made sure it ate, stay healthy, clean up after it and battle. Seems like Digimon may be better than Pokémon.

3. Beanie BabiesP6

 

The popularity of these “beans” stuffed animal became a worldwide phenomenon when it launched the nine original Beanie Babies. The franchise was made by Ty Warner Inc., which he only created a limited number of each Beanie Baby.

You can see on eBay that some Beanie Babies are being sold for thousands of dollars. For example, the 1997 Princess Diana Beanie Baby is listed for $428,400 on eBay with 132 buyers watching the product before making an offer.

4. FurbyP5

 

The Furby toys that resemble an owl-like creature are still trending but took it up a notch by having LCD eyes. Back in 1998 people went crazy collecting the different kinds of Furbies that launched during that holiday season. The sale price went from $35 to about $100 on limited edition Furbies.

They did make a revival in 2005 and 2012. The latest Furby was Furby Connect, which uses Bluetooth Smart Technology to sync with compatible devices to command phrases, music and videos. Also to be updated with technology there Furbies can be synced with the Furby app on smartphone devices to play other games. Retail value: $99.

5. RazorP8

 

The fun yet can be dangerous compact folding kick scooter made its way in 2000. The original Razor scooter launched  and sold more than 5 million within six months. Razor scooters are still in style for kids with new upgrades like the new electric scooters and different versions of the original A Razor scooter.

Make sure to always wear a helmet and any additional safety guards.

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