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Skype launches Skype Qik: a disappearing video-message app

Published by on Oct 15th, 2014, No Comments

Skype Qik

With the rise of video messaging services and disappearing photo messaging services, it was only a matter of time before some company decided to jump on the bandwagon and release an app that combines the two. 

Today, that company is Skype, who just released Skype Qik – a disappearing video messaging app. 

Skype Qik is based on ‘asynchronous video messaging’ as the company likes to call it, which basically means that you can create and send video messages to your friends – even if they are not online.

Qik will allow for your friends to watch your video once they log on to the service. 

The app is obviously mobile focused and is part of Skype’s overall plan to accommodate more for their mobile users. It comes as no surprise that the company – who’s roots are on desktop – is making mobile use better for users. 

Many of Skype’s users now use the service on mobile – as much as half, according to the company. Qik is a way to tap into the  video messaging market, as well as providing users with a cool new mobile feature.  (more…)

Google used a camel to capture the Liwa Desert for Street View

Published by on Oct 9th, 2014, No Comments

Google Camel Liwa Desert

What better way to showcase the beautiful, desolate Liwa desert in Abu Dhabi than by capturing it on the back of a camel.

Google has done just that, and has brought us stunning images form the most beautiful desert in United Arab Emirates in the most authentic way possible – on the back of a Arabian camel.

To bring us the most detailed Street View of the Liwa Desert, the team at Google strapped the Google Street View Trekker to the back of the camel while it walked across the desert, accompanied by its handler.

The Trekker is image capturing contraption, that is specially designed to capture images of places around the world that can not be accessed by Google’s Street View cars, trolleys or snowmobiles – you’ll be surprised at how many different vehicles Google has to capture street view images!

The Trekker is basically a backpack that is fitted with a special, intricate camera system on top. The camera is able to capture 360-degree images and is especially portable.  (more…)

Apple’s intense iPhone testing centre revealed in light of ‘Bendgate’

Published by on Sep 29th, 2014, No Comments

iPhone testing

With every new phone released there is a whole lot of praise, but it is almost always accompanied by a whole lot of scandal. And for Apple and their new iPhone 6 and 6 Plus, the past week was rather rough when it comes to scandal.

Besides the fact that iOS 8 and it’s first update, 8.0.1, caused some serious problems for certain users, Apple had to deal with yet another scandal that rocked the pristine world in Apple-land – the so-called ‘Bendgate’ scandal.

If you have been following any tyoe of tech news as of late, you would of most certainly have heard of Bendgate – the alleged report that some iPhone 6 and 6 Plus devices bends when in users’ pockets. Naturally, this is not  good look for Apple.

A mere 20 days after the iPhone 6 and it’s bigger brother the 6 Plus was released, people began reporting that the phone literally bends in their pockets. How much of this is true (or how many devices it has affected) is still unknown, but enough people made a hoo-ha about the bending scandal for it to attract a lot of media attention. And it also caught the attention of Apple.

In light of ‘Bendgate’ Apple did something that they rarely do. They let a reported from The Verge into their enclosed iPhone testing centre, to show us just how much new iPhones have to endure before they can be labeled consumer ready. (more…)

New Cirque du Soleil short film shows magical dancing drones

Published by on Sep 25th, 2014, No Comments

Sparked

We all know that entertainment company/fancy circus, Cirque du Soleil, have done some amazing acts in the past. The Canadian-based company has always pushed the envelope in terms of performance and their latest offering is no different.

‘Sparked’ is a beautiful short film made by Cirque du Soleil in association with the ETH University in Zurich. And why is it of interest for us, you may ask? Well, it’s because it involves the use of quad copter drones that move, beautifully, in sync with the human dancer.

Now drones and dancing is not an entirely new concept. A few months ago we reported on a Japanese dance troupe that also did a performance in synchronization with drones.

However, this group had actual humans control the drones in their performance – which is a great feat considering the timing must be perfect, leaving no space for human error.

In the case of ‘Sparked’, the drones were controlled by a ‘digital choreographer’. This digital choreographer is actually computer that controls the quad copters through an algorithm developed by the producers.

The computer tracked the drones’ positions at 200 times per second. The people behind the scenes then developed an algorithm that can ‘dynamically control a number of flying machines’.  (more…)

This is what happens when you drop the new iPhone 6, 6 Plus

Published by on Sep 22nd, 2014, No Comments

New iPhones

We all have that fear of dropping our brand new phones when we get them. At first, we treat our new toys like a newborn baby; cautiously and gentle and heaven forbid we drop them!

However, dropping your phone is an inevitable scenario that will play out sooner or later.

With the spotlight firmly on the new iPhone 6 and 6 Plus, it is only natural that testers around the world couldn’t wait to get their hands on them – purely to see how much of a beating Apple’s new devices can take.

The first is a drop test video by Android Authority (yes, it is strange that an Android channel will do an iPhone drop test) that tests the strength and resistance of the two new iPhones.

It’s important to remember that while the new iPhones are larger – 4.7 inches for the iPhone 6 and 5.5 inches for the iPhone 6 Plus – and they are much thinner, too. As for their weight, the iPhone 6 weighs in at 129 grams and the 6 Plus 172 grams. For comparison, the iPhone 5S weighs 112 grams.

The Android Authority video delivers some surprising results. While it is almost cringeworthy watching this young man dropping the phones (on purpose!), the results made us breathe a sigh of relief.

Surprisingly, both iPhones successfully pass the drop test with just a few minor scrapes and scuff marks.  (more…)

New Samsung ads mock Apple’s new iPhone, watch and event

Published by on Sep 11th, 2014, 1 Comment

New Samsung ad

Less than 48-hours after Apple introduced the world to the new iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus, Samsung has released a series of ads that, once again, mocks the competition.

Staying true to their advertising form, Samsung’s new ads unashamedly bashes almost everything that happened at Apple’s event on Tuesday. From the new iPhones to the watch and even the event itself – Samsung shows no signs of diverting from their mocking advertising formula.

The ads, which were released as a playlist entitled ‘It Doesn’t Take a Genius’ on YouTube yesterday, feature two guys in blue shirts – seemingly portraying Apple Store employees. It also has an accompanying hashtag; #NoteTheDifference.

The two guys are shown discussing Apple’s new devices as well as the keynote address.  (more…)

Aerial shots of first stages of Apple’s spaceship campus

Published by on Sep 9th, 2014, No Comments

Apple Spaceship Campus

Almost a year ago, we reported on Apple’s extensive plans for their new, spaceship-like campus in Cupertino, California. And while we know that the project has been on track for quite some time, one YouTuber filmed some sneaky ‘spy shots’ of the campus from high up above.

The spaceship campus, which gets its name from it’s circular design looking very much like a mothership, started construction at the start of the year.

Now still in its first stage of construction, the campus looks set to be the biggest Apple campus as of yet. The building will sit on a mammoth 2.8 million square-feet and will house up to 14 000 employees.

It is four stories high, with a 4-story ‘ring of glass’ surrounding the entire building. It is designed to be a ‘green’ building with the roof made up entirely of solar panels.

Although it doesn’t look like it now, the building will be surrounded by acres of green space. For now, however, it wouldn’t be strange if you confused the construction sight for some weird, alien-like crop circle. (more…)

Instagram’s Hyperlapse app allows you to shoot time lapse videos

Published by on Aug 27th, 2014, 1 Comment

Hyperlapse by Instagram

If you are at all into videography or photography for that matter, then you will definitely be excited about Instagram’s latest app – and no, it’s got nothing to do with vintage filters.

Hyperlapse is one of Instagram’s first ever stand alone apps, meaning it functions outside of Instagram. However, that doesn’t make it any less cooler, in fact, Hyperlapse will almost certainly take off.

Hyperlapse is a video recording app that allows you to record time lapse videos. It essentially also allows you to stabilize and smooth out a video – a handy tool that any videographer will appreciate.

What is so cool about Hyperlapse, is that it makes taking time lapse videos and stabilizing videos easier and more accessible to everyone. Previously, this was only possible with expensive equipment and software.

Hyperlapse is also super easy to use. The entire app is very simple and straightforward and doesn’t fuss around with unnecessary functions. Some may complain that it doesn’t really offer you any video editing options, but personally I feel that is unnecessary anyway.

With the app, you simply record a video then choose what speed you want it to playback. You can choose to make the video up to 12 times faster than normal.

Should you choose to make your video just 1x faster, it will simply stabilize that video. However, choosing 12x faster will result in a more traditional looking time lapse video that you know.

To stabilize the videos, Hyprlapse makes use of Instagram’s own image stabilization algorithms – a very clever initiative if you keep in mind how expensive stabilization software and rigs are. (more…)

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