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22
Jan

Noah Camera takes your selfie game to a new level (review)


Overview:

Noah Camera is a camera app designed to enhance your photos and selfies with filters and allow you to easily share them on social media and with friends.

Developer: JP Brothers, Inc.

Cost: Free (with ads)

Impressions:

Noah Camera is a camera app designed to enhance your photos and selfies with filters and allow you to easily share them on social media and with friends.

Noah Camera is a neat app for hardcore selfie takers. While I may not consider myself a part of that crowd, I can certainly see the potential in a solid camera app with a myriad of filters available to make your pictures as good as they can be. Noah offers just that, a simple but solid camera app with dozens of filters to customize your shots and make them stand out. While I probably wouldn’t use this over my stock camera app, it is indeed a solid camera experience standalone.

I’ve taken some shots with my stock Google Pixel camera app, and then with Noah and some filters so you can see some examples of how Noah can change your photos and the quality in which they come out:

Noah Camera

The filter selection is extensive, to say the least. Noah Camera sorts them by type and shows a preview on the viewfinder before you take the picture so you’ll know exactly how it turns out. Many familiar filters from Instagram and other camera apps are present, and some fairly original ones as well that really transform your photos. Selecting the desired filter is easy thanks to the swipe to select feature, as well as a gallery of filters that pops up along the bottom for fast and easy selection. Noah also allows for some personalization of the app itself, with a customizable shutter button and the option to run in silent shutter mode, for the sake of others around you.

Noah Camera also has some strong social sharing options, with the ability to post straight to Instagram and Facebook right after you take your photo in-app. Of course, it also saves to your gallery so you can do whatever you like with the pictures, but the easy sharing options are excellent especially for Instagram junkies.

Admittedly there isn’t much else to go on with Noah Camera, as it’s simply a camera app with some fancy filters and sharing settings, but for how simple it is it works very well and is very user-friendly. I do have some complaints, like the watermark at the bottom right, which is also customizable but is difficult to remove. There is a setting for removing it but it didn’t always work and most of my photos have the “Noah” watermark in the corner. A small complaint but still annoying. Also, a lot of the filters seem the same to me. Many really alter the look of the photo, but there are a bunch that mostly wash it out or make it darker in small increments which I feel would have been better implemented as a slider for saturation or brightness.

Conclusion:

Noah Camera is a useful tool for content creators and selfie enthusiasts of all stripes. It’s simple, straightforward, and has a bunch of useful features to help set it apart from other camera apps on the Play Store. Be sure to give it a try.

Download Noah Camera from the Google Play Store

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22
Jan

Best Android apps for your Chromebook


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An injection of over 1,000,000 Android apps does a great job filling in the holes in Chrome.

A few Chromebooks already have Android apps through Google Play. More are scheduled to get them, and most new Chromebooks will ship with the Play store working from day one. Android app support has also been announced for several Chromeboxes and the Chromebit. It’s a slow process, but it is happening.

Android apps will change how you use your Chromebook. They have already changed things like how much storage is enough or how useful a touchscreen is on a small laptop. They fill a void that many people needed to be filled before they would purchase a Chromebook because they needed support for a particular app or just wanted a bigger selection. Android apps also help when developers who have a Chrome app aren’t offering all the features with it and the Android app has them. They’ll also expose more people to Chrome OS which will make native Chrome apps even better because developers need to pay more attention to it. Android apps on Chrome are good no matter how you look at it.

Of course, some apps fill that void better than others. Here is the best of the best when it comes to Android apps for your Chromebook.

Slack

You might not use Slack, but you probably should be. It’s a cross-platform service where you can chat with friends or co-workers with necessary features like private chats (including private group chats) and voice/video calls. You can even program bots for your channel(s). We use it here at Mobile Nations as our primary way to communicate.

And the Android version of the Slack App is great! It’s far better than the native Chrome offering and runs flawlessly in its own resizable window on your desktop. It’s also integrated perfectly and notifications come in the same way all your Chrome notifications do. Slack is the first icon I click when I open the lid on my Chromebook.

See at Google Play

Pocketcasts

There are ways to manage your podcast feeds via the web or through Chrome, but none of them are half as good as Pocketcasts.

Pocketcasts is one of the best ways to download and listen to the latest episodes from all of your podcasts on Android, and it works the same way on your Chromebook. You can let your list play in the background while you’re doing anything else, and a click in the notification tray brings up media controls if you need to skip ahead or backward. It’s also a good bit cheaper than the web version, though it’s worth just as much.

See at Google Play

Unclouded

Now that you can use the Unclouded app for Android you have a way to access all your stuff in the cloud.

Chromebooks work really well with Google Drive. With a fast connection, it’s just like working in an office where folders are on a central server but integrated into your files, too. If you use Google Drive for all your stuff you’re set. But most of us use other services, too. Unclouded will put Google Drive, Dropbox, OneDrive, Box and Mega into its file explorer and you can open, download, upload and whatever just like you were working on a PC with an app from the company.

Just be careful you don’t download everything if you have a Chromebook with limited storage.

See at Google Play

Firefox

You can’t install another browser built to run on Chrome OS, but you can install one built to run on Android.

You can sync with other devices running Firefox, have the same privacy settings that you have on any other version of Firefox and can use the same extensions across every installation. You can Run the Android version of Firefox full-screen and set things to always serve the desktop page instead of mobile.

Chrome is a great browser. But it’s not the only great browser.

See at Google Play

Microsoft Office

Microsoft may be struggling in mobile, but they rule the roost when it comes to the basic productivity tools we call an office suite.

Google Docs works great for most people. But Microsoft’s offerings for Android do, too. You can install Word, Powerpoint, and Excel for Android on your Chromebook and get the same app you would have on a full-sized Android tablet. Which means they are pretty darn good. In fact, it’s better using them on your Chromebook because you have a keyboard every time you open them. They still backup your documents to the cloud so your files are available from anywhere, and they’re hundreds of dollars less than the versions for Windows or Mac — free.

  • See Microsoft Word on Google Play
  • See Microsoft Excel on Google Play
  • See Microsoft PowerPoint on Google Play

Almost every app in Google Play will run on a Chromebook that has the Play store enabled. Be sure to tell everyone what apps you’re using on your Chromebook that fill your app gap so we all can check them out!

22
Jan

Europe’s space agency plans to launch a space-weather satellite


A few years from now, we might have the power to make more accurate space weather forecasts thanks to an ESA satellite. The European Space Agency plans to launch a solar-monitoring space weather probe in 2023 to keep an eye out for Coronal Mass Ejections (CME), and it’s hoping to send it to a stable orbit called the Lagrange point 5. That location will give the satellite a unique side-on view of the surface of the sun that’s bound to face Earth in four to five days.

CMEs are enormous and powerful eruptions of plasma and magnetic field from the sun’s corona, which can cause widescale blackouts. By getting a glimpse of possible CMEs, astronomers could raise a warning much earlier than we’re used to and help power grid companies prepare. It’s pretty hard to predict them, though, so astronomers still won’t be able to say when exactly one will erupt even with the probe in place.

Juha-Pekka Luntama, ESA space-weather team head, says “it’s a little like a tornado warning in the US — you can’t tell exactly when it’s going to happen or where, but you can give a warning that there’s an increased probability of dangerous conditions.” The data it will generate combined with the data generated by satellites in Lagrange 1, which have a frontal view of the sun, will help scientists better understand solar flares, CMEs and other solar phenomena.

While the ESA still hasn’t decided on Lagrange 5 as the probe’s destination, the ESA is eyeing it more than Lagrange 1 that already plays host to numerous satellites. Hermann Opgenoorth, a space-plasma physicist at the Swedish Institute of Space Physics in Uppsala says “an L5 mission would give something the others don’t have” and that he and his fellow scientists are “excited that it’s finally going ahead.”

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[Image credit: Nature]

Source: Nature, Met Office UK

22
Jan

Ben Heck’s vintage Japanese arcade mod


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The Ben Heck Show team has been approached to repair and enhance a vintage Japanese arcade Pachinko machine! Pachinko machines are common gambling games in Japan, and are still in use today. Most of the modern titles have hidden features, hints and instant-win mechanisms, so it makes sense that the team uses their 3D printing and microcontroller know-how to bring this mechanical wood, plastic and metal version up to electronic standards. Have you built or repaired an arcade machine? What arcade machine would you want to make ? Let the team know over on the element14 Community.

22
Jan

South Korea’s sound barrier-chasing train, and more in the week that was


Tesla’s Gigafactory is spitting out lithium-ion batteries at breakneck pace, but the automaker isn’t stopping there. Elon Musk just announced plans to give the factory a $350 million upgrade so that it can manufacture electric motors and gearboxes for the upcoming Model 3. Meanwhile, South Korea unveiled plans for a new hyper train that can travel nearly as fast as the speed of sound. A German engineer has developed the world’s most compact folding bike, which fits into a carry-on suitcase. And New York City is preparing to roll out Citi Bikes that shoot laser bike lanes to keep cyclists safe.

The next four years are shaping up to be tough for the US renewable energy sector, and this week lawmakers in Wyoming proposed a bill that would ban selling wind and solar power in the state. Meanwhile, China ordered the closure of over 100 coal power plants to improve air quality and reduce fossil fuel use. SolarWindow is working to transform the way we power our buildings, and they just debuted a new kind of flexible glass that generates clean energy. Sierra Nevada installed a massive 1-MWh Tesla Powerpack at its Chico, California brewery, and Snohetta unveiled plans for an office that could produce more energy than it consumes in Norway.

The world’s first floating city is now one step closer to reality, as San Francisco’s Seasteading Institute has signed a memorandum of understanding with French Polynesia. It’s probably a good thing that floating cities are in the works: The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration just announced that global temperatures hit a record high for the third year in a row. In other design and tech news, George Lucas officially selected Los Angeles to host his $1 billion art museum. And in an Inhabitat exclusive we shared one Colorado man’s journey to build the state’s most energy-efficient home.

22
Jan

After Math: Wanna get away?


Welp, It happened. It really happened. The single least qualified person to ever run for public office has somehow landed a gig as leader of the free world. Thanks, Putin. If White Nationalism isn’t your cup of tea, don’t worry, you’re not alone. This week, the US Army, Tesla and Harvard all showed off ways to get us out of wherever you are, in a hurry. Doordash and Postmates are rolling out a new service to bring snacks to wherever you’re hunkering down for the next four years (barring the inevitable impeachment). And Venus showed why it’s a terrible hiding spot — though at this rate, the Earth itself won’t be much better for long. Numbers, because how else are we going to score the upcoming nuclear arms race?

22
Jan

iTunes Documentary ‘Viva Amiga’ Charts History of the Early Macintosh Rival


Earlier this month, a new KickStarter-funded documentary debuted on iTunes covering the intriguing history of the popular Amiga computer. Directed by Zach Weddington, Viva Amiga tells the story of how the Amiga project was started in 1985, and successfully captures the excitement of developers and users for what was considered a game-changing platform at the time.

The documentary features interviews with key Amiga engineers as well as some interviews with Amiga users (some of whom continue to use Amigas today), and charts the tremendous highs and incredible lows of the platform over the ensuing decades.

In 1985, an upstart team of Silicon Valley mavericks created a miracle: the Amiga computer. A machine made for creativity. For games, for art, for expression. Breaking from the mold set by IBM and Apple, this was something new. Something to change what people believed computers could do.

From the creation of the world’s first multimedia digital art powerhouse, to a bankrupt shell sold and resold into obscurity, to a post-punk spark revitalized by determined fans. Viva Amiga is a look at a digital dream and the freaks, geeks and geniuses who brought it to life.

Acquired by Commodore in 1984 for an estimated $30 million, the multimedia Amiga computer created a lot of excitement around Silicon Valley, thanks to its impressive accelerated graphics and audio hardware.

Steve Jobs reportedly became worried about the buzz surrounding the Amiga – the machine used the same Motorola 68000 processor as the Macintosh, but with its 4,096-color display output, 4-channel sampled stereo sound and multi-tasking GUI, it made the year-old Macintosh look seriously outdated.


During an event held at the Computer History Museum, California, where Viva Amiga got its first showing, Amiga Corp. investor Bill Hart confirmed that Steve Jobs took an early interest in the Amiga, and visited the group to watch a demo of what would later become the Amiga 1000. An Apple buyout was even floated, but Jobs reportedly never took the proposition seriously.

Ultimately, little came of the visit, which was later described as a “fishing expedition” for Jobs. Despite being integrated into just three chips, the machine had too much hardware for the Apple CEO’s liking, while its full-bus-access expansion port was anathema to Jobs’ pursuit of a closed architecture system.

Despite some successes – notably, the best-selling Amiga 500 home computer, introduced in 1987 – poor marketing and an inability to reproduce the heights of early innovations led to the Amiga losing market share to game consoles, IBM PCs, and Apple computers, and Commodore ultimately went bankrupt in April 1994.

Viva Amiga is available to buy for $9.99 or rent for $4.99 on iTunes. [Direct Link]
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22
Jan

‘Terminator’ reboot will have James Cameron’s oversight


The last few stabs at The Terminator movies haven’t gone so well, to put it mildly — you’re more likely to have enjoyed the video game tie-ins. And that may well be due to the absence of James Cameron, who sold his rights back in 1984 and hasn’t touched the save-the-future series since Terminator 2 in 1991. However, it might be close to getting the better treatment it deserves. Deadline sources hear that Cameron is in talks with Deadpool director Tim Miller to create a Terminator reboot. While it’s not certain which path the movie will take (is it from scratch, a T2 follow-up, or something else?), it’d be promising to have the series’ originator involved.

While there’s nothing official here, it does make sense for Cameron to come back. He reclaims some of his Terminator rights in 2019, so there wouldn’t be much to stop a new movie even if work were to start today. This may also represent his best chance at restoring the glory of the franchise. We’d add that Tim Miller is promising — Deadpool was his directorial debut and proved to be an unexpected hit. Although there’s no guarantee that Cameron will have a Midas touch (ask Ridley Scott about the perils of revisiting legendary movies), there’s at least the potential for a Terminator movie that early fans would be happy to watch.

Source: Deadline

22
Jan

‘The Division’ upgrade raises the stakes for veteran players


Now that Ubisoft has spent some time improving the fundamentals of The Division, it’s ready to focus on more content. And this time, there’s a lot for seasoned players — even those who’ll never pay for add-ons. The upcoming free 1.6 update will add three new Dark Zone areas, nearly doubling the area of the anyone-can-kill-you environment. These areas also include new “Contamination” events that not only include tougher enemies, but chip away at your health even outside of combat. And did we mention that the Dark Zone now has leaderboards that encourage you to excel in fights against both the AI and rival players?

You won’t have to venture into those wilder areas to face additional challenges, either. Ubi is adding a Legendary skill level for three missions (Napalm Production Site, Times Square and WarrenGate Power Planet) where enemies will use “more advanced tactics” (such as reacting to your skills) to catch you off-guard. It’s explicitly intended for cooperative play, so you could liken this to Destiny’s raids and nightfall strikes.

There are still some under-the-hood improvements on the way. Gear Sets have been tweaked, armor’s role has been downplayed (health and stamina matter more) and the skill system has been reworked to introduce more variety. There’s also a revamped in-game store with a new currency and a wider range of items to buy.

You’ll still get the most perks if you spring for the game’s simultaneous Last Stand expansion (which adds a capture-and-hold mode). However, 1.6 by itself still appears to add a lot. It’s recognition that dedicated fans will quickly run out of things to do in role-playing titles like this, and that they need a steady stream of fresh material if they’re going to keep playing. About the only question is how long Ubisoft can keep this going. There are more expansions and updates in the works, but long-term support for a buy-once game isn’t as easy to justify as it is for a subscription RPG.

Source: Ubisoft

22
Jan

Amazon made a Dash button just for boxes of assorted candy


If you’re a creature of habit who doesn’t mind introducing a little branding into your home, Amazon’s one-touch ordering buttons are useful for re-stocking everything from laundry detergent to Nerf ammo. They can even be programmed to remind you that you have Dash buttons. Now, Amazon wants to help brighten your day with random boxes of small-batch candies.

For Prime members, each press of the Prime Surprise Sweets button will cost $18, which Amazon will reward by sending you a box full of “top-notch artisanal treats from across the nation.” You can, of course, mash the button as much as you’d like. Unfortunately, as our friends at TechCrunch pointed out, the program is still invite-only, but you can pre-order a button and reserve your place in line.

As for the sweet treats themselves, Amazon has a list of some example boxes on the site and it’s safe to say that fans of chocolates, caramels or various forms of sweetened popcorn will find something to indulge their sweet tooth. Each box also comes with a note card that describes “every decadent detail” of the candymaking process, so you can remember that your one-touch candy order also supported a small business somewhere.

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