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7
May

YouTube takes control of Vevo music video ads


Vevo has struck a deal with YouTube that will significantly change the ads you see played on your favorite artist’s music videos, ReCode has reported. Rather than ads for other Vevo videos, as you mostly see now, you’re likely to see the same ads that Google puts on videos from its “preferred” channels. That’s because YouTube will be able to sell Vevo clips directly to its own advertisers, taking a cut of the revenue and passing the rest on to Vevo.

Vevo is owned by music labels Sony Music Entertainment, Universal Music Group and Warner Music Group. It was formed in the first place to capitalize on the extreme popularity of YouTube music videos from the likes of Taylor Swift, Justin Bieber and Katy Perry. Until now, Vevo sold its own ads for music videos, effectively cutting YouTube out of much of the action.

At YouTube’s Brandcast event, however, Google told advertisers that Vevo videos are now fair game for advertisers. “This gives you the unprecedented opportunity to advertise against virtually all music in the world,” said YouTube’s chief business officer Robert Kyncl.

YouTube recently changed the way you see artist videos, creating Official Artist Channels that put all of an artists work — from concert footage, album cuts, song lyrics and official music videos — all in one place. That had the effect of stripping Vevo’s branding from many artists’ channels.

The new move, as ReCode notes, also reduces Vevo’s role, letting labels interact more directly with YouTube. From a consumer standpoint, it doesn’t seem like a benefit, as you’re more likely to see ads from brands rather than promos for other videos you might want to see.

Source: ReCode

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7
May

iPhone With Triple-Lens Rear Camera Will ‘Likely’ Launch Next Year Says Analyst


Apple is likely to launch at least one new iPhone model with a triple-lens rear camera in the second half of next year, according to the Taipei Times, citing a research note from Yuanta Securities analyst Jeff Pu.

A triple-lens iPhone X mockup by Martin Hajek via iDrop News
The report does not provide any additional details, but a Chinese report from the Economic Daily News last month suggested the camera system will have a 6P lens design with up to 5x zoom and at least one 12-megapixel lens.

The addition of a third lens would likely enable 3x optical zoom on an iPhone for the first time, enabling users to magnify the image in the viewfinder by up to 3x without a blurry reduction in quality like digital zoom. iPhone 7 Plus, iPhone 8 Plus, and iPhone X models feature 2x optical zoom for comparison.

A triple-lens rear camera would likely be a feature reserved for Apple’s highest-end iPhones, so if accurate, this rumor probably applies to a third-generation iPhone X and/or iPhone X Plus launching around September 2019.

Huawei P20 Pro
Huawei’s new P20 Pro smartphone is the first with a triple-lens rear camera system, including a 40-megapixel lens, a 20-megapixel monochrome lens, and an 8-megapixel telephoto lens with 3x optical zoom. The Verge’s Vlad Savov said he prefers the P20 Pro’s camera over those on the iPhone X and Galaxy S9.

For anyone hoping this might be a 2018 move instead, former KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo has previously ruled out any significant changes occurring to the iPhone X’s current dual-lens rear camera system this year.

Tag: 2019 iPhones
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7
May

Don’t hold your breath for Vine 2 — it’s on hold indefinitely, co-founder says


If you’re waiting for the second iteration of Vine, the short-form video app, don’t hold your breath. As per a recent announcement from the social media app’s co-founder Dom Hofmann, Vine 2 (aka V2) has been placed on hold for “an indefinite amount of time.” As it turns out, when you’re the new social network on the block, it’s tough to give the established players in the space a run for their money, especially when you have very little of your own.

As Hofmann wrote of his “very difficult decision,” there were several contributing factors to the postponement. The most significant, however, seem to be related to “financial and legal hurdles.” As Hofmann further explained on the community forum he’d built specifically for Vine 2, “legal fees have been overwhelming,” and taking on a rebuild of the product would also require “sizable external funding, probably from investors.” Unfortunately for the Vine team, this simply isn’t something that they have for the time being. In fact, V2 has been an entirely bootstrapped enterprise — something that Hofmann decided to do late last year after Twitter pulled the plug on Vine.

The idea behind the new app was to allow users to record or upload two to six-second looping videos (much like the original app), but with far superior anti-harassment safety features. When Hofmann first announced that he would be seeking to launch V2 in 2018, he said that he “underestimated the amount of enthusiasm and attention the announcement would generate.” As it turns out, it was in fact the public’s desire for Vine that proved problematic.

The original version of Vine was acquired by Twitter before it even launched in 2012, and eventually, claimed a whopping 200 million users. However, the popularity of the app slowly petered out, and by 2016, Twitter had announced that it would no longer be supporting the app. And now it looks like we’re going to have to go a while longer without a new and improved version.

“I’m very, very sorry for the disappointment. If it’s any consolation, I think it would have been more disappointing if this service had been developed and released incorrectly, which is where we were headed. I’d like for us to get it right,” Hofmann wrote. “We take a step back. The code and ideas still exist, but until everything else comes together, we can’t move forward. Again, this is indefinite, which means that it could take a long time. But it’s necessary.”

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7
May

Top 5 things I learned traveling with the Huawei P20 Pro


Huawei’s P20 Pro offers an incredible camera and all-day battery life.

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Starting last year, I decided not to take a dedicated camera with me when going on vacation. I relied on compact shooters like the Sony RX100 in the past, but with smartphone cameras getting significantly better over the course of the last two years, I decided to use my phone primarily for taking photos while traveling.

The Galaxy Note 8 served me very well in Thailand last year, and over the last week I’ve been using the Huawei P20 Pro in Dubai. The city has plenty of sights to offer, from the soaring Burj Khalifa to the towering dunes of the Arabian Desert.

I decided to go with the P20 Pro in lieu of the Galaxy S9+ as the former has much better battery life, and I was also keen on trying out the 40MP primary camera and the new night mode. Here’s what I learned traveling with the Huawei P20 Pro.

The camera is fantastic

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The Huawei P20 Pro is the first phone to feature three imaging sensors, totaling 68MP: the 40MP primary camera is joined by a 20MP monochrome sensor, and an 8MP telephoto lens with 3x lossless zoom.

As you’d imagine, the phone offers one of the best smartphone camera experiences available today, with the primary camera consistently able to produce outstanding images.

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The phone’s party trick is its night mode, which uses pixel binning and Huawei’s AI wizardry to layer shots with varying exposures taken over four seconds into a single image. The result is that the low-light shots from the P20 Pro are the best you’ll find on a phone today.

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Shooting with the P20 Pro isn’t as effortless as the Pixel 2 as there are several modes available, but for the most part the AI does a decent job of picking out the right mode for the scene. The upside is that you get much better images — particularly in low-light conditions with night mode — than the likes of the Pixel 2 or the Galaxy S9.

… But the AI is still finicky at times

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One of the core tenets of the camera experience on the P20 Pro is an AI feature that automatically changes the shooting mode based on the subject in focus. If you’re trying to take a photo at night, it automatically switches to night mode. Similarly, if you’re trying to take a photo of a person, it switches to portrait mode to create a background blur effect.

While the AI worked incredibly well most of the time, there were a few scenarios where it failed to accurately register a scene. There were also issues with oversaturation in a few shooting modes like Blue Sky, where the algorithm just rendered a blue hue over most parts of the image.

You’ll easily get all-day battery life

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Nothing takes a toll on a phone’s battery more than travel, but I consistently got a day’s worth of usage from the P20 Pro, averaging over three hours of screen-on-time spread out across 19 hours or more. I took around 300 photos on average daily, and had data roaming enabled throughout the journey.

I never had to worry about the phone running out of charge, but I enabled power-saving mode on one occasion to limit background data usage. Huawei’s fast charging standard is great as well, with the phone charging up to 60% in just under an hour.

The display holds up under harsh sunlight

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The Arabian Desert turned out to be the ideal proving ground for testing the P20 Pro’s screen, and thankfully I had no issues reading the contents on the display under intense heat. The screen offers vibrant colors and excellent contrast levels, and in general posed zero issues.

That said, I’m still not sold on the idea of the notch. It’s irritating, and I don’t really understand the reasoning for its existence on the P20 Pro, particularly considering the phone has a sizeable bezel at the bottom that houses the fingerprint sensor.

It takes a while to get used to the fingerprint sensor

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Most phones have switched to rear-mounted fingerprint sensors, but the P20 Pro still has a home button up front with an embedded sensor. The sensor itself is one of the fastest I’ve used on a phone, but I still prefer a rear fingerprint module — and that would’ve freed up real estate at the front.

Furthermore, I got used to swiping down on the fingerprint sensor to pull down the notification shade, which isn’t possible on the P20 Pro. It’s a minor quibble, but a rear fingerprint sensor would have made more sense on this particular device.

Overall, I’m glad I went with the P20 Pro: the camera is outstanding, the 4000mAh battery easily delivers a day’s worth of charge, and the AMOLED panel is one of the best available today.

Huawei P20 + P20 Pro review: Camera kings

7
May

How to pair Bluetooth headphones with an Android phone


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Whether your Bluetooth headphones are $5 or $500, they should all work with your phone the same way.

Phones are slowly ditching headphones jacks in the name of courage or cost-cutting or space, and while you could buy USB-C headphones or use a USB-C to 3.5mm adapter, the easiest solution is to just kiss your wired headphones goodbye and switch to Bluetooth headphones. Wired headphones always seem to get tangled anyways, and going wireless means you can get further away from your phone while you listen.

Bluetooth headphones come in a lot of styles, sizes, colors, and most importantly price points. There are $35 headphones and $350 headphones, and while they will have some differences in sound quality, build quality, and battery life, they all pair, connect, and disconnect the same way.

Need help picking out a pair of headphones? Let us help!

  • How to turn on Bluetooth on your phone
  • How to pair Bluetooth headphones through Settings
  • How to pair Bluetooth headphones via NFC
  • How to unpair Bluetooth headphones from your phone

How to turn on Bluetooth on your phone

Before your can use Bluetooth to pair and connect your headphones, you have to turn the Bluetooth on your Android phone on. Thankfully, it’s easy to do.

On your phone, swipe down the Notification shade from the top of your screen.
Swipe down the Quick settings panel from the top of the Notification shade.
If the Bluetooth icon is not illuminated, tap it to turn Bluetooth on.

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If you want to turn off Bluetooth when you’re not using it, you can easily toggle it off again from Quick Settings at any time.

How to pair Bluetooth headphones through Settings

If you just purchased your Bluetooth headphones, you might want to charge them first before attempting to pair them. When you’re ready to pair, turn your Bluetooth headphones on and set them to pairing mode according to the user guide that came with your headphones.

On your phone, swipe down the Notification shade from the top of your screen.
Swipe down the Quick settings panel from the top of the Notification shade.

Press and hold Bluetooth to open Bluetooth settings.

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Tap Pair new device. On some devices, Android will begin scanning for devices to pair upon entering Bluetooth settings, and on others, you’ll need to tap Scanning.
Tap the Bluetooth headphones you wish to pair to your phone. If see a series of letter and numbers, some phones will list unpaired devices by their MAC addresses rather than traditional names.

Note: some Bluetooth devices will have a PIN passcode for pairing. This is mostly for stereo head units, but if your Bluetooth headphones require a PIN, it will be printed in the user guide that came with them. If you don’t have the guide, try 1234 or 1111.

The phone and headphones will connect and attempt to pair. If the pairing is successful, the device will remain connected. A headphone icon may appear next to the newly connected headphones, a battery indicator may appear if your headphones have that capability. Now, each time your Bluetooth headphones turn on, they should automatically connect to your phone.

How to pair Bluetooth headphones via NFC

Now, some headphones come equipped with a nifty little feature to help simplify pairing using NFC — Near-Field Communication, which is also used for things like Google Pay. Bluetooth headset makers implant an NFC tag inside the Bluetooth headphones that stores the device’s device name and initiates a pairing request without having to open your Settings and manually scan.

Pairing NFC-enabled Bluetooth headphones is actually a ridiculously simple process so long as you have NFC turned on:

Open Settings.
Tap Connected Devices. If your Settings down have, tap Connections or search NFC if your Settings has a search bar at the top.
Tap **NFC ** if the toggle is not already switched to on.

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If you do not see NFC in your device’s Settings anywhere, your phone does not have NFC. My apologies, you’ll just have to do it the old-fashioned way

Once NFC is on and Bluetooth is on, pairing NFC-enabled headphones goes like this:

Tap the back of your phone to the NFC icon on your headphones.

On your phone, tap Yes to agree to pairing your phone to the headphones.

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Pretty easy, right? It’s an amazing thing when it works. Coincidentally, NFC has a range of only a few inches, so if you tap your phone to the NFC icon and it doesn’t work, slide your phone around over the target. The NFC sensor is usually near the middle or top of the back of the phone. Thick cases can sometimes block the signal, too.

How to unpair Bluetooth headphones from your phone

Say you have a pair of Bluetooth headphones that you want to give to a family member, or that you want to use with a different device? While Bluetooth headphones can be paired to several devices, they can usually only be actively connected to one phone at a time. If you need to unpair your headphones from your phone, whether to use with another device or to go away, here’s how to remove the headphones from your Bluetooth connections list:

On your phone, swipe down the Notification shade from the top of your screen.
Swipe down the Quick settings panel from the top of the Notification shade.

Press and hold Bluetooth to open Bluetooth settings.

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Tap the settings gear next to the headphones you want to unpair.
Tap Unpair or Forget.

A popup will appear asking you to confirm your decision to unpair. Tap Forget device, unpair, or Yes.

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Your Android phone will forget the pairing and you will have to re-pair the phone before using it to listen to music again.

Updated May 2018: This article has been completely rewritten to reflect new methods of pairing and include the unpairing process.

7
May

What we’re hoping to see from Android P at Google I/O


Google I/O 2018 will officially begin tomorrow, May 8.

This yearly developer conference is home to a heap of announcements regarding a variety of Google’s products/services, but one of the main talking points during the opening keynote is always Android.

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Android P is this year’s big update for the platform, and while we were first introduced to it in March, we’re anticipating Google to elaborate on what we already know and announce even more goodies that haven’t been shown off quite yet.

Without further ado, here’s what we can expect to see from Android P at I/O.

Developer Preview 2 & first open beta

Shortly after the release of Developer Preview 1, Google published a timeline showcasing the release track for Android P. The next milestone, Developer Preview 2, is currently set to be launched in early May.

android-p-release-timeline.png?itok=VHdn Developer Preview 2 is right around the corner.

Based on this and events from past I/O conferences, it’s very likely that tomorrow is when Google will release this next version of Android P.

Along with new features and bug fixes compared to DP1, this should also be when Android P’s public beta goes live. The second developer preview won’t be as polished as the final build we’ll get in August, but it will allow users to rock the new software without having to worry about game-breaking bugs.

Google says that its Android Beta Program website will be updated when the next beta begins, so be sure to keep an eye on it following the opening keynote for all the details on how to try Android P for yourself ahead of its official release.

Closer look at new UI elements and features

Google’s been making little design tweaks to Android for the past few releases, and the first developer preview shows that trend is continuing.

The notifications/quick settings panel has received a fresh coat of paint, the settings menu is now much more colorful than before, and the home screen dock now has a transparent white box over it.

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Many of these visual updates will only be found with Google’s Pixel phones, and at I/O, we’ll get a better idea of how these will work and why Google decided to make some of the changes it did.

Furthermore, there’s a chance Google will unveil all-new UI elements that we still haven’t seen. Developer Preview 1 for Android Oreo featured a gray background for the quick settings tray, but Developer Preview 2 introduced the white background we’ve now become familiar with. Similarly, it wasn’t until Oreo’s second dev preview that we saw Android’s new emoji style and picture-in-picture.

Lots can change between different developer previews, meaning the Android P we know today could be very different in just a few short hours.

Material Design 2

There’s been a fair bit of chatter regarding Material Design 2, and I expect we’ll learn more about it at I/O.

Google first revealed Material Design in 2014 alongside Android Lolipop, and while it still looks and feels great, is due for some sort of refresh.

The current developer preview for Android P and newer apps such as Google Tasks offer a glimpse as to what this new design language holds, but the overall picture is still incomplete. We know that Google’s moving towards rounded corners and lots of white space, but what else is new? At I/O, that question will (hopefully) be answered.

Surprises!

And, of course, what would a Google I/O be without a few welcome surprises?

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There have been rumors that Android P will move away from traditional navigation in favor of a gesture-based system similar to the iPhone X, and if this is something Google’s really working on, I’d venture to say we get a closer look at how exactly this works.

It was also reported in early April that Google was building a mid-range Pixel phone. Although we haven’t seen a hardware unveiling in some time, past I/Os have been used to announce things like the Chromecast and LG G Watch.

Anything could happen tomorrow, and that’s part of what makes I/O so exciting.

What are you hoping for?

That’s what I’m expecting to see from I/O 2018, but what about you? What announcements are you the most excited for? Drop a comment below and let me know!

Android P: The best new features so far

7
May

The Morning After: Elon Musk’s candy dreams


It’s a busy week coming up. Microsoft’s Build conference kicks off today, then, with no time for a break, it’s Google I/O. What to expect from Microsoft? This. What does Google have planned? Something like this. Oh, and then there’s all the things from the weekend.

To celebrate the MMO’s anniversary, a tale from its past.
‘Eve Online’ turned 15, and its history is epic

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Yesterday was the 15th anniversary of the legendarily fascinating virtual world EVE Online, a massively multiplayer spaceship game that has become famous for the incredible stories that sometimes emerge from the community about heists and wars between thousands of players.

EVE is so interesting that it even has its own historian, Andrew Groen, a video game writer formerly of Wired who studies the politics and sociology at work in EVE’s virtual community over its 15-year run. Take a glimpse into its complicated, fascinating history.

Its effects can be felt on computers to this day.
Apple’s influential, iconic iMac turns 20

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There are few individual computer models that have left a lasting mark on the industry, but you can definitely put the iMac on that list. Apple introduced its signature all-in-one desktop at a special event on May 6th, 1998, and while it makes me shudder to realize that was 20 years ago, the iMac (and personal computing as a whole) has come a very long way.

It’s the first state where the renewable energy is mandatory.
California to require solar panels on most new homes

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Solar power is increasingly mainstream, but California is about to give it a giant boost. The state’s Energy Commission is expected to approve new energy standards that would require solar panels on the roofs of nearly all new homes, condos and apartment buildings from 2020 onward.

But why?
Elon Musk’s next project might be a candy company

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The man behind Tesla and SpaceX might be going full Willy Wonka.

But wait, there’s more…

  • BMW M550i review: Equal parts luxury and power
  • MIT’s self-driving car can navigate unmapped country roads
  • YouTube pulls hundreds of videos over essay cheating ads
  • After Math: Robot revolutionaries

The Morning After is a new daily newsletter from Engadget designed to help you fight off FOMO. Who knows what you’ll miss if you don’t Subscribe.

Craving even more? Like us on Facebook or Follow us on Twitter.

Have a suggestion on how we can improve The Morning After? Send us a note.

7
May

A VR quest to make you care about endangered species


Most of us don’t think about rhinos on a daily basis. We’re too consumed with maintaining inbox-zero or making sure our cat is healthy. When the last male white northern rhino died in March, the impact on most of us was minimal because the now-extinct 2-ton mammal wasn’t lumbering around our living rooms. We’re gravely concerned the moment Mr. Whiskers starts acting funky, though. That’s because he’s a part of our everyday environment and, as such, we’re emotionally attached to him.

This theory is called environmental amnesia. Basically, it’s the belief that we don’t consider what’s going on outside of our immediate surroundings. We think that whatever is happening around us is normal. It’s something that Fountain Digital CEO Svetlana Dragayeva thinks virtual reality can help address by showing people how wondrous our planet’s creatures can be in an intimate setting — their homes.

“This is where technology can really help us shape new types of [emotional] relationships so that we actually become curious about what’s going on in the offline world, and become more involved in saving [it],” she said.

Dragayeva believes that by exposing people to wildlife on a regular basis and leveraging VR’s ability to put us in foreign situations, her BAFTA-winning Virry VR projects can, in a small way, help change the world. Typically, people’s only exposure to wild animals is in a zoo or, for the well-heeled, on a safari. Neither get you close to the animals, however.

Rather than experiencing the horrors of nuclear war or a Syrian air raid in first person, Virry’s interactive experiences let you go face-to-face with some of Earth’s most vulnerable creatures. The latest episode, “Wild Encounters,” was filmed at Lewa Wildlife Conservancy in Kenya. Fountain Digital placed 360-degree cameras around the park to get you close to the animals and put you in unique situations with them, with Dragaeva hoping the work will build an intimate relationship between you, baboons, rhinos and other creatures.

From the app’s main menu, you can choose from a handful of prerecorded environments including woodlands, a jungle river and savanna. Make a choice and you’re transported there. In the case of the savanna, you look out onto the horizon to pick from a trio of encounters. Gaze to the left and you’ll see an elephant icon. Front and center, you’ll spot one for lions, and to the right is another for hyenas. Each experience lasts five or six minutes.

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Fountain Digital

Initially, Dragayeva’s team thought all it would need to do was drop food in front of its cameras and the animals would be drawn to them and more or less ham it up. Dragayeva and her team spent months in preproduction working on scripts for Virry only to discover that animals don’t follow any schedule but their own. “In our scripts, you could see what every animal was supposed to be doing as if they were actors,” she said. “On the first day [of shooting], we discovered that animals really don’t care what we think.”

When you shake the PS4’s controller and drop a bundle of acacia branches for the elephants to eat, an adorable juvenile cautiously trudges over to inspect the noise. It gets spooked and awkwardly runs back to its herd. Time shifts forward, and when the mother comes over, though, things are different. She’s hungry and starts grabbing the branches off the ground with her trunk.

“On the first day [of shooting], we discovered that animals really don’t care what we think.”

A soothing female voice with a British accent explains that acacia branches are an elephant’s favorite food and that the massive mammals use their tusks as a sort of helping hand while eating. Then she asks you to pick which tusk is used most, hinting that the length of each should be a clue. There isn’t a penalty for getting the questions wrong. Instead, the voiceover will nudge you in the right direction. When you finally answer correctly, the disembodied voice explains that the pachyderms may have evolved shorter tusks as a means of being less attractive to poachers. All the while, the gargantuan creature is chowing down, peeing and not even paying attention to the camera.

Predators like lions and hyenas aren’t so easy to fool, however, and mostly ignore it when you shake the controller to drop fresh meat. After filming was completed, Dragayeva had to alter the script to reflect what actually happened. Now, the voiceover explains that because the meat wasn’t a fresh kill, the big cat ignored it.

On the other hand, one of the baboons was so interested in the camera that it licked it, broke the mount, knocked it to the ground and batted it around. Dragayeva said the animal ran off with it, but that section was cut out to avoid giving people motion sickness. Before exiting the scene, you’re quizzed again, this time about the conservation status for olive baboons. The voice-over cheerfully explains that they’re very abundant.

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An olive baboon.

Education Images via Getty Images

Dragayeva said it’s important to make people feel happy when they’re using Virry because otherwise it wouldn’t be nearly as effective. If you sit at the menu too long, a voice-over even cheesily suggests you “think about using Virry as an everyday tool to help relax and achieve a happier life.”

“I want you to have fun,” Dragayeva said “I want you to laugh, to smile. I want your mood to become better because I think that if your mood is better, you’ll want to share your happiness.” If you’re happier afterward, she suggested, maybe on the way home you’ll buy flowers for your significant other, and perhaps they’ll pick up a piece of litter off the ground. Admittedly this butterfly-effect conservation is a bit of a stretch. It relies on people being inherently good and the notion that your good deeds can inspire others to do the same.

In addition to the prerecorded vignettes, Virry also offers live-feeds from Lewa as a way to support the Conservancy via an in-app subscription. It’s a direct, actionable item that, like the interactivity of Virry itself, helps the app stand apart from traditional nature documentaries. For $2 each month (there’s a free trial as well) you’ll get access to live cameras at the nonprofit. There are a lot of empty fields, but if you’re patient enough, you might spot a zebra or giraffe.

Dragaveya has big plans for Virry. There’s another safari installment in the works, and she’s also planning two art-focused apps, including one for meditation. A version of Virry is also available for mobile devices, and the company has a close relationship with Oculus, which is helping fund development of the additional projects.

“Just because I watched a documentary on children dying in Africa, children will not stop dying.”

Dragayeva knows that even with Facebook’s money, her projects aren’t going to have the same impact as tougher laws against poachers or deforestation. At the end of the day, she’s making documentaries, not saving the northern white rhino from extinction.

“Just because I watched a documentary on children dying in Africa, children will not stop dying,” Dragayeva said. She realizes art can only do so much to make an impact and that her dreams of changing the world via VR are lofty. However, she won’t stop trying.

7
May

Latest WhatsApp Update Touts Instagram and Facebook Video Support


WhatsApp for iOS has been updated to support inline Instagram and Facebook video playback, according to the messaging platform’s latest release notes.

YouTube videos have been playable for some time in WhatsApp, which also offers a Picture-in-Picture mode for continuing to watch while switching between chat threads. However, clicking on an Instagram or Facebook video link kicks users out of the app and into the respective hosting platform.

The WhatsApp changelog for version 2.18.51 indicates support for Facebook and Instagram videos has now been greenlighted by the developers, although our tests suggest the feature is still being rolled out.

The group administrator functions have also been tweaked in the latest version of the app, so that group admins can now revoke admin rights from other participants. To remove an admin, select the user in “Group Info” and select “Dismiss As Admin”.

In addition, group admins can now choose who can change a group’s subject, icon, and description. These options can also be found in Group Info under the “Group Settings” section.

At the recent Facebook F8 developers conference, CEO Mark Zuckerberg revealed WhatsApp will soon support group video calling, although he offered no timeline for the feature’s introduction. The messaging platform is also set to support stickers “soon”, including third-party ones made by developers.

Tags: Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp
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7
May

Sophisticated Android malware tracks all your phone activities


An advanced type of malware can spy on nearly every Android smartphone function and steal passwords, photos, video, screenshots and data from WhatsApp, Telegram and other apps. “ZooPark” targets subjects in the Middle East and was likely developed by a state actor, according to Kaspersky Lab, which first spotted and identified it.

ZooPark has evolved over four generations, having started as simple malware that could “only” steal device account details and address book contacts. The last generation, however, can monitor and exfiltrate keylogs, clipboard data, browser data including searching history, photos and video from the memory card, call records and audio, and data from secure apps like Telegram. It can also capture photos, video, audio and screenshots on its own, without the subject knowing. To get the data out, it can silently make calls, send texts and execute shell commands.

Kaspersky — a company with its own spotty security history that has been banned by the US government — said that it has seen less than 100 targets in the wild. “This and other clues indicates that the targets are specifically selected,” Kasperky Lab’s Alexey Firsh told ZDNet. It also implies that the campaign is backed by a nation state, though the security firm didn’t say which.

At the same time, Kaspersky suggested that the malware might not have been built in-house. “The latest version may have been bought from vendors of surveillance tools,” it wrote. “That wouldn’t be surprising, as the market for those espionage tools is growing, becoming popular among governments, with several known cases in the Middle East.”

As is now known, a lot of those tools came from the US government itself. A group called Shadow Brokers famously stole exploits from the NSA — some of the zero day, unpatched variety — and eventually released them to the public. In other words, a hacking group was able to obtain malware from what should be the most secure agency in the world. That’s one of the reasons that security experts and companies like Apple don’t trust the US government with device backdoors.

Via: ZDNet

Source: Kaspersky

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