We knew Instagram’s effort to nab a bit of Snapchat’s thunder was imminent thanks to leaked promo banners, and now, the app has officially arrived… for some. Bolt, the filter-driven photo app’s own ephemeral messenger has hit iTunes and Google Play for folks in Singapore, South Africa and New Zealand. The software’s claim to fame is speed: instead of having to fiddle through a series of options, tapping a contact’s picture both captures and sends a photo — no further swiping required (tap and hold records video). So long as they’re in your favorites list, of course. There’s also an undo feature that allows you to retrieve a message in the first few seconds by shaking your phone. While Bolt doesn’t require a Facebook or Instagram account, you will have to sign up with your phone number for sorting through your contacts. For now though, most of us have to find solace in just reading about it, since a select few locales are privy to the initial rollout. Instagram’s word on that particular strategy is situated after the break.
“Bolt is the fastest way to share an image or a video — just one tap to capture and send. We decided to start small with Bolt, in just a handful of countries, to make sure we can scale while maintaining a great experience. We expect to roll it out more widely soon.“
If you use Facebook app for chating purposes via Facebook, you’re out of luck. Facebook is going to force you to install Facebook Messenger in order to do that rather soon, in the next few days actually. So, here’s the gist. Facebook didn’t make an official statement, they sent it directly to TechCrunch: In the… Read more »
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Like it or not, school is fast approaching. However, Microsoft thinks it can make the fall semester a little more bearable with big updates to OneNote on both iOS and the Mac. Both apps now let you attach files to your notes; you can include audio recordings from a lecture to add some context to what you wrote, for example. If you add a PDF printout, you can also jot down annotations.
There’s more than just attachment support in this upgrade, as you might expect, and some of the improvements are meant as much for the corporate crowd as students. You can now open and edit OneDrive for Business notebooks, and it’s possible to both lock and unlock password-protected sections if you don’t want everyone peeping your content. Other updates let you shuffle the order of pages in a notebook, and (on the Mac) share them as email. The refinements probably won’t improve your grades if you’re headed to class in the next several weeks, but they may help you make sense of hastily-written notes when you’re studying for a big exam.
Source: OneNote Blog
NPR already has a few options for sorting its range of programming, but now the public radio outfit is looking to get more specific. The latest effort is the NPR One, which offers a local stream along with curated content that’s accessible with one tap — all broken down into short segments. For example, upon launching the app and signing in with a Facebook, Google or NPR account, pressing play begins streaming the latest update from the closest station (WUNC in my case). Swiping to the left of the Now Playing section offers a history of recently broadcast content for a quick recap, while a swipe to the right allows you to scroll through upcoming bits. There’s also controls for skipping back in 15-second increments and jumping from the current story to another. Of course, if you’re after the latest All Songs Considered or Fresh Air episodes, those are easily searchable as well. Both Android and iOS apps are available via their respective repositories.
We know what you’re thinking, but a new app called Selfies is actually kind of fun, considering that it’s a barely-promoted one-off from Automattic (the company responsible for WordPress). It told TechCrunch that Selfies was in development for eight weeks or so as part of the Gravatar universal avatar app before it became a separate thing. Trying the app showed that its basic-ness is part of the kick, since it let us post our own pic right after logging on. (We also found it to be a little rough around the edges with a few crashes.) Right now, there’s just a single public feed showing ever photo, but the company has plans to filter the best content soon. You can try it now for yourself, but only on Android — the company narrowly picked that platform to launch it first thanks to a user poll.
Ever had the urge to peek at your friends’ phone screens, whether it’s to learn about their favorite apps or simply pry into their digital lives? Well, you can now do that without having to either strike up an awkward conversation or get overly nosy. PayPal co-founder Max Levchin and the HVF crew have launched Homer, an iPhone app that lets you share your app picks with fellow users. All you do is take screenshots of your home screens and submit them; Homer scans the pictures and identifies the apps, making it easy to compare them with pals in your contacts or on social networks.
As you’d hope, there’s some privacy features baked in. Besides the voluntary nature of screen captures, you can hide individual apps you’d rather keep a secret — you don’t have to share your Tinder addiction with the rest of the world. There’s no mention of Homer versions for other platforms (or people outside the US, for that matter), but you can try it today if you have both an iPhone and an unquenchable curiosity about your buddies’ mobile habits.
Tinder’s swipe-able interface is such a hit, that a lot of new apps are copying it. One new, notable app among them all is called Weave, which is essentially (there’s no other way to describe it) a more boring Tinder to find fellow professionals instead of Friday-night dates. In fact, it’s so promising that its developers have just raised $630,000 in seed funding. If you’re thinking, “But I already have LinkedIn!”, well, it works a bit differently from the more traditional social network. To use the iOS or Android app, you’ll need to log in using your LinkedIn credentials, after which it’ll pair you with professionals in your area. Just like in Tinder, just swipe left to pass, or right to initiate a chat or express interest in meeting up.
According to co-founder Brian Ma, the more you use Weave to engage with other users, the more you show up in other people’s streams. Obviously, if the app takes off, it’ll be great way to network with like-minded people or find potential local employers and employees.
[Image credit: Geber86/Getty]
When I open my mailbox, I often find Amazon packages that I don’t remember ordering. But today’s surprise was a DVD of Sharknado, a movie I absolutely did not purchase. My first instinct was to contact Amazon and change my password, but then I found a note inside: “For you to test out the new Syfy Sync app with your Philips Hue lights.” Wait, what? A quick web search cleared things up pretty quickly — the latest Syfy Sync app enables full control of a Hue bridge (and connected lights) on the same network. The movie, app and lights work together, in theory, to bring you a more immersive entertainment experience.
So I began a desperate search for a laptop with a DVD drive. I found a decade-old Dell in my closet, but once it finally booted up, I discovered that it couldn’t read the movie. Fortunately, the app works with any version of the film, so I started streaming it from Netflix on my MacBook. After a few iPad reboots and some more fidgeting with the app, it started to change the color of my lights every few seconds. Some pairings made sense, like bright red to match an exploding shark, but there were plenty of missed opportunities, like flashing my lights when an ambulance came on screen. The experience is as cheesy as the film itself — there’s plenty of room for improvement, but if you have Hue and the latest version of Syfy Sync, it’s worth trying once.
You’re lucky if you can sleep easily and wake up feeling refreshed all the time — some people need a bit help to get a good night’s rest from apps and gizmos, like this new device called Sense. The gadget, which looks like a crystal ball with rubber bands, acts as some sort of a bedside sleep guardian that monitors not only your sleeping habits, but also environmental conditions. It comes with a “Sleep Pill” that clips to your pillow, which tracks your tosses and turns, automatically transmitting data to Sense via Bluetooth Low Energy and ANT. The gadget then relays all the info you need, including a sleep number to let you know how well (or how bad) you’ve slept, through the system’s iPhone or Android app.
Sense has other things to offer other than this core feature, such as the ability to record sudden loud sounds that might disrupt your sleep through its built-in microphone. (If you’re wondering, creator James Proud told The Verge that it’s not always recording, and it only ever saves sudden sound spikes.) The device can also detect pollen or dust in the air that might trigger allergies or determine whether you need heavier drapes to block out the light. Even better, the device can wake you up at the end of an REM cycle, so you don’t feel sluggish when you get out of bed.
Sense’s developers, Hello Inc., launched a KickStarter campaign recently to raise $100,000, which the project has now surpassed, as it’s already received $420,000 in pledges, thus far. A SEC filing spotted by StrictlyVC, however, proves that the company already has serious VC backing to the tune of $10.5 million, indicating that its KickStarter campaign is but a PR move. You can use the campaign to your advantage, though, since you can get the device and a Sleep Pill by pledging $99, whereas pre-ordering the system later on will cost you $129. By the way, in case Sense still ends up falling short of your expectations, you can always pair it up with a smart bed when one does hit the market.
Via: The Verge