YouTube will soon let you crowdfund projects directly on the site
Plenty of users weren’t happy when YouTube ditched its commenting system in favor of Google+, and following that backlash the video-sharing service has been working hard to prove it’s listening. Its latest effort is a “Creator Preview” video teasing upcoming features inspired by the feedback of channel owners. These include a standalone mobile app with more useful tools and a new crowd-funding option that lets you contribute money directly through YouTube.
The ability to donate to projects without having to hit up Kickstarter or Indiegogo is probably the most interesting tidbit, but a new app tailor-made for creators is also pretty interesting — especially for those who want to manage their accounts on the go. Finally, captions and subtitles will soon be crowd-sourced for 60-plus languages, as YouTube says more than 80 percent of its traffic comes from outside the US. No word on when these new features will show up, but for now you can check out the video below.
Filed under: Internet
Source: YouTube Creator Blog
New Windows 8.1 version is cheaper for device makers, with a catch
Microsoft has just announced Windows 8.1 with Bing, confirming rumors about a lower-cost Windows version for OEM manufacturers only. As suspected, Redmond is attempting to recoup the lost revenue with ads by forcing suppliers to keep Internet Explorer with Bing search as the default browser. However, end-users will be able to change those settings so that Microsoft won’t arouse the wrath of European regulators (again). Rumblings about a discounted version of Windows 8.1 began cropping up earlier in the year, and Microsoft recently announced that Windows Phone 8.1 would be free for 9-inch or smaller devices. Other than the Bing and IE defaults, the new OS is reportedly identical to the standard version of Windows 8.1. However, the OEM cost will reportedly drop from $50 to $15, so don’t be surprised to see a new crop of cheaper Windows devices arriving soon.
Filed under: Desktops, Laptops, Microsoft
AT&T offers $50 OFF Fitbit products with HTC One M8
HTC, Fitbit and AT&T on Friday announced a special promotion which sees discounts on a couple of wearable health trackers. Available immediately, anyone who purchases an HTC One M8 can also score $50 OFF a Fitbit One or Fitbit Flex.
Fitbit Flex is a stylish activity and sleep-tracking wristband that’s available in black and slate through AT&T. Flex tracks steps taken, distances traveled and calories burned throughout the day, as well as sleep quality at night.
Fitbit knows that one size does not fit all in fitness so there’s also Fitbit One (available in black and burgundy), which easily clips to any piece of clothing or can go in a pocket, and tracks all the same stats as Flex with the addition of floors climbed.
It’s not clear how long the deal will last or if it’s an ongoing relationship between the three. AT&T offers the HTC One M8 for $199 with a two-year service agreement in Gunmetal Gray and Glacial Silver.
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Samsung expected to unveil a call-making smartwatch in June
Unlike cellphone-tethered models like the Pebble or Galaxy Gear 2, “Dick Tracy” watches that make calls haven’t set the world on fire — probably because they’re still clunky as hell. The WSJ, though, has added fuel to a previous rumor that Samsung will try to crack that market soon with its own watchphone. The Tizen-based device will reportedly make calls, send messages and take photos, while packing a GPS, heart-rate monitor and other whiz-bang tech. The Korean company is said to have spoken to US and Asian carriers about such a device, and may announce it in June or July. We’re quite sure Samsung has the technical chops to pull it off, but such a device would need a very appealing design — and its savvy there is questionable.
Filed under: Cellphones, Wearables, Samsung
Wikileaks: US government recording every call from Afghanistan
When The Intercept revealed mass NSA “full-take” call recording in the Bahamas and other nations, it declined to name another, sensitive country, citing US concerns about violence. Now Wikileaks has claimed that the nation in question is Afghanistan and said the NSA is bluffing about any possible danger to folks there. In the Wikileaks blog, Julian Assange said that the US has made such statements before and it has never seen any evidence of increased violence following leaks. On the other hand, it’s easy to see why the US government wouldn’t want such information public, given its war against terrorists in Afghanistan. But Assange countered that the press has no obligation to protect a country like the US if it engages in “ongoing crimes” against an entire nation. He added that’s especially true when such calls are sometimes used to target drone strikes, which often kill innocent civilians. The US government has yet to comment on the matter.
Filed under: Misc
Note-taking platform Springpad shutting down on June 25th
Springpad, the online and app-based platform for saving and sharing web content, managing notes and collaborating on projects with others, has announced that it’ll be shutting up shop come June 25th. Despite ongoing development of the service, it’s evidently struggled to compete with the likes of Evernote and others, despite attracting over 5 million users during its six-year lifespan. Come the tail end of June, you’ll need to find a new home for anything that lives on Springpad, and the company’s said it’s working on an export tool that’ll allow you to save your data and/or move it elsewhere, although we don’t currently know which similar services the tool will support. Little consolation to Springpad loyalists, no doubt, but at least moving over to a more successful alternative means it’ll probably be the last time you have to.
Filed under: Cellphones, Tablets, Internet, Software, Mobile
Apple Offering Free Shipping on All Online Orders Placed Through May 29 [Mac Blog]
Apple kicked off a new promotion in time for Father’s Day that offers free shipping on all online purchases placed through May 29. This limited time offer waives the $50 minimum purchase Apple usually requires for free shipping.
Besides the Father’s Day branding and shipping promotion, Apple also updated its website with a gift guide that showcases the top gifts this year for Dads. Items highlighted on the list include the iGrill mini Smart Grilling Thermometer, Beats by Dr. Dre Studio Over-Ear Headphones and the Nike+ FuelBand SE.
Apple’s retail and online sales experiences may change now that Angela Ahrendts is at the helm of Apple’s retail operations. She reportedly shook up the in-house retail team and started reaching out to Apple Store employees in her first few weeks on the job. She is expected to focus on increasing Apple’s presence in China, improving mobile payment options and redesigning the “end-to-end Apple Store sales experience.”
Alleged iPhone 6 Backlight Panel Depicted in New Photos
While there have been a multitude of iPhone 6 mockups and case leaks, actual parts said to be from the iPhone 6 have thus far been in short supply. We’ve seen what might be the front panel of the device along with possible batteries and a manufacturing mold used for creating the phone’s chassis.
What is said to be a backlight panel for the 4.7-inch iPhone 6 has now appeared on Chinese Twitter-like site Weibo (via Nowhereelse.fr) [Google Translation]. There is no way to verify the legitimacy of the images, but the backlight design does appear similar to the backlight panel of the iPhone 5s and the 5c, with a few small differences — the connector has been relocated and the pins themselves have a different design.
Little new information about the iPhone 6 can be gleaned from the images, legitimate or not, but previous rumors have suggested that Apple will take advantage of advancements in LED backlighting technology to shift to thinner components for the iPhone 6, shrinking the thickness of the device considerably. Current rumors and design schematics have suggested the iPhone 6 might be between 6 and 7mm thick, considerably thinner than the existing 7.6mm iPhone 5s.
While today’s part appears to be for the 4.7-inch iPhone, Apple is expected to release the iPhone in two sizes: the aforementioned 4.7-inch version and a larger 5.5-inch version. While the 4.7-inch iPhone is expected to launch in the fall, possibly as early as September, the 5.5-inch version has reportedly experienced production issues that may push its launch back several months.
Along with new backlighting technology that may result in a thinner design, the iPhone 6 is also expected to feature an A8 processor, camera improvements, and 802.11ac WiFi.
LG G3 will feature laser-based autofocus and new selfie feature, report says
The upcoming LG G3 will feature laser autofocus capabilities for the rear camera, reports The Verge. Allegedly, the laser will be able to determine the depth of the subject and more quickly adjust the focus, leading to quicker snapping of images. Around front, the selfie game figures to improve as well with details of an automatic picture taking feature. All that is required, says The Verge, is that the user simply make a fist in view of the camera.
Hearing these things, the teaser video for the device now makes more sense. The full picture comes into focus next week when LG unveils the G3 at its May 27 event.
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Samsung kills of Music Hub and ebook service
Samsung on Friday confirmed that its Music Hub and ebook service will be closed effective July 1. Designed as a place to sell music, videos, games, books, and other media, the apps were pre-loaded on a number of Samsung devices. If it sounds like a replication of the Google Play Store experience you’d be correct. In fact, that’s likely a reason for today’s news. Samsung, for its part was tight-lipped, adding only that it is “striving for service differentiation and customer value enhancement.” Looking ahead, Samsung plans to keep the services alive as individual apps instead of one, single bundled storefront.
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