Posted on

Listen To Drake’s Scorpion, Florence + the Machine, Plus Sicario 2 In Theaters

friday music movies

Music out today

Drake dropped his new album Scorpion today, which features JAY-Z and Michael Jackson, among others.

Florence + the machine‘s new album is also out today which features an evolved sound.

For some new, undiscovered music check out the latest from Saints of Valory, NONONO, MxPx, and The Asteroids Galaxy Tour.

Movies out today

A movie about drug trafficking which gets pretty crazy, pretty quick, the Sicario sequel is hitting at an interesting time in U.S. politics in which border talk is very intense.

Other things this week



Posted on

Listen To These Podcasts If You Have No Clue Where To Start

In case you thought podcasts only meant This American Life, think again. Here are some brand new podcasts, as well as a few that you may have never heard of, to fresh up your listening list or help you break into that podcast game. Go to the search box of whatever podcast listening app you use and search these shows.

apple podcasts

Start here

  • NPR’s Up First – a daily 10-15 minute show which covers the 2-3 most pressing news items that day. 
  • Revisionist History – Malcolm Gladwell explores different topics and events, but always from an unexpected angle. The show is conducted in “seasons” and season 3 was just released. 
  • Converge – Gamify everything they said, so Casey Newton, writer at The Verge is making interviews with tech people into a gameshow. It works and it’s fun. 
  • The Indicator from Planet Money – a bunch of money related topics and ideas, but in super short chunks. Get smarter in the time it takes you to wait through a long traffic light. 
  • Westworld: The Recappables – Westworld is back in 2018 (and just conclucuded) and while you can find a podcast about any TV show, Westworld is one of the few that needs an accompanying discussion just to keep up with what’s going on. This podcast from The Ringer site does recaps and theories and mostly stays on topic.

  • Balanced Bites – this one is all about natural health, wellness, and eating, from a primal/paleo perspective. 
  • NPR’s How I Built This – if your a fan of the soothing voice of Guy Raz and you love inspiring documentaries that make you want to quit your day job and join that #sidehustle life, then this is the podcast for you. It features the stories of how powerhouse companies like Airbnb, Five Guys, and Cliff Bar started from the bottom and made billions. 
  • You Can Make This Up – of course Netflix has a podcast about the behind-the-scenes dealings of its shows. This show is the chaser to the binge.

Interested but have no idea how to actually listen to a podcast? Check out The Digital Hype’s guide to getting started in just six steps.

Posted on

These Frustrating iPhone Experiences Are Being Improved With iOS 12


There are some huge improvements coming to iOS 12, when it’s released in the the fall,  like FaceTime getting 32 people group calling. But it’s not just the big and new things you should be excited for though.

There are minor improvements that will address huge pain points.

Grouped notifications

Instead of dozens of text messages mixed with a dozen Facebook notifications, notifications on the lock screen will be grouped by category and app, which should make it much easier to take in after being gone for a bit.

Photos inside iMessage

Photos will become more integrated into Messages. So you’ll get suggestions to share photos based on who you’re messaging with, what you’re talking about, and where you’ve taken photos together.

2FA codes auto populated

If you have 2factor authentication turned on for different websites, like Amazon, you’ll typically receive a code over text message to verify yourself. In iOS 12, the system will automatically detect this and copy the code so you don’t have to switch to the messages app. Just paste the code.

Alternative Face ID

In iOS 12 you’ll be able to set up an alternate face for Face ID. This means if you wear a mask for work or have a head dressings part of the time, the system will be able to authenticate based on multiple appearances.

Notifications delivered quietly

When a notification arrives on your lock screen, you’ll be able to 3D Touch (press hard on it) to see additional options. One of which is to have these notifications delivered silently to Notification Center. You won’t be interrupted, but still receive the notifications.

New Apple Music artist profiles

It’s a small tweak, for sure, but artist profiles in Apple Music will gain a play button so you can quickly start playing songs from an artist. When someone tells you to listen to a band, now you’ll have a place to start. Just press play.

Siri with food knowledge

Siri will now know about food and be able to tap into the USDA database, to find these about calories, vitamins, and how healthy a food is overall.

English thesaurus added

iOS has had a built in dictionary for a long long time, but it’s getting a thesaurus. Highlight a word, nearly anywhere on your phone and get synonyms and related concepts for words.

Longer Animoji

In iOS 11, Animoji clips could be 10 seconds. Now you can record clips of up to 30 seconds and send those as a video to other people.

Multiple keyword search in Photos

Searching photos is tough, but it should get a least a little easier with the ability to combine keywords in searches, like “surfing” and “vacation,” for even better results. The system is automatically detecting items in the photos, so there’s no additional work for you.

Posted on

5 Totally Unexpected Ways To Use A Portable Battery

Usually when people think of a portable battery (also called power bank) they think about charging phones. That’s great, but portable batteries are compatible with nearly any device that uses USB for power.

If you don’t own a portable battery yet, it essentially moves the wall outlet into your pocket or bag and enables more things not possible before.

Electrify your couch

Getting comfy on a couch typically requires being too far from an outlet to plug in and watch TV at the same time. Take a portable battery and stick it between your couch cushions to enable a completely charged Saturday of binge watching.

Pedal power

Have you ever noticed the bike icon on Google Maps while your getting driving directions? There’s more ways to get somewhere besides driving and walking. If you do spend a few hours riding a bike with GPS navigation on (and probably playing music too) you’ll want to be plugged in.

Strap a portable battery to your bike frame and make sure your phone is full when you reach your destination.

Gaming the gaming headphones

Wireless headphones let you sit comfortably on the couch while playing Xbox or PlayStation, but, unfortunately, most don’t have great battery life. Don’t wait for them to die before charging. Connect a portable battery and you can sit where you like, for as long as you want.

Separately (but still on video games), Nintendo’s Switch console uses USB Type-C for power, and hooking it up to a portable battery will keep it going for more than the few hours delivered by its internal battery.

Don’t let the music stop

When you go camping, hit the beach all day, or spend a weekend in your own backyard, you can easily extend the life of your Bluetooth speaker by adding a portable battery.

Sit anywhere at Starbucks

Did you know that if your laptop has a USB Type-C port you can most likely charge your laptop from a portable battery? There are a few requirements to consider, but carrying a portable battery for your laptop instead of needing to be parked in that one seat in Starbucks can be a lifesaver (or work-saver).

If your laptop doesn’t have USB Type-C, there are also a few portable batteries which will have an AC plug for more general use like this one from Jackery. Warning: these batteries with AC outlets aren’t cheap.

If you’re unsure of the different USB connectors and cable types, check out our super simple guide.

Posted on

6 Apps That Solve Your Small But Super Annoying Problems

Ever have a small, but important need and wish there was an app to address it without a bunch of extra bells and whistles? Here are 6 single purpose, dead simple apps that address those small but super annoying issues.

Shades: Selfie reflections in your sunglasses be gone

The problem: taking a sun glasses selfie without a reflection. Shades removes the reflection and all is right again. This is a single function app, with no tricks, just super useful.

Dreams: Mobile TV for the easily bored

The problem: TV on my phone quickly. Dreams is trying out Snapchat with a new vision of mobile TV. Open the app, and swipe through the “channels.” Some of the channels even include just clouds floating by with music. But maybe this is what you need to fill six minutes of your day.

Sticky: Auto crop people in photos

The problem: how do I crop the background out of this picture and keep the people? Sticky uses AI to automatically crop people from the picture they are in. You don’t have to do anything. You can then add a solid colored background or delete the background completely. Hint: this is great for creating GIFs  and stickers.

Fast: Check your internet connection speed

The problem: web pages or videos are loading slow and you don’t know why. Fast will tell you what speed the cell or Wi-Fi connection is coming to your device.  Simple as that. It’s an app and a website.

Tailor: Stitch mobile screenshots together

The problem: taking a screenshot of a long page on your phone. Tailor takes a bunch of screenshots and will stitch them together automatically using, of course, AI, to figure where they line up.

Background: New wallpaper for your phone

The problem: the wallpaper on your phone gets stale. Background is an app full of wallpapers for your phone. No ads, no pop ups, no annoying junk. If you want to save one, hold on the picture and it saves to your photo library. If you want to search or bookmark favorites, you can upgrade to the paid version, otherwise it’s a curated flow of nice looking photos to choose from.

Posted on

New Music From Death Cab For Cutie, Alessia Cara, Plus Movies In Theaters Today

Track down this new music

Time tested indie rock band, Death Cab For Cutie are showing the first signs of life in a while with the new single “Gold Rush.” Based on the song, it looks like the new album out in August should be business as usual.

Pop star Alessia Cara has a new single called “Growing Pain.”

Looking for under the radar new music? You need to listen to Novo Amor’s “Birthplace,” Sigrid’s “Focus” and Katelyn Tarver’s “Labels.”

Other new music today comes from from Mayday Parade, Christina Aguilera, Chromeo, and DNCEFamous for “Hey Jealousy,” the Gin Blossoms are still around and have a new album, Mixed Reality.


Sneak away to the theater to see these movies this weekend

The Incredible family is back in a sequel after 14 years. It’s pretty crazy to think it’s been that long, but here we are. Rave reviews are in so as long as animated features are your thing, the Incredibles 2 should be a satisfying watch.

Other things from the week

Posted on

Phone Cases And Wireless Charging: What You Need To Know

Now that Apple and Samsung (among others) are using the same wireless charging standard in their phones, more people are ready to join in on the wireless power fun. (That’s probably why you’re reading!) Setting a phone down on a charging pad is straightforward enough, the more important question: which phone cases will block wireless charging?

The need-to-know basics

  • Qi is the most popular wireless charging standard being used.
  • You want to look for chargers that are Qi-certified, rather than chargers that might use tricky language like compatible with Qi charging.
  • Sticking to Qi-certified chargers will provide the best performance and safest wireless charging experience.
  • Having a case on your phone will not block wireless charging–by default.

A quick debrief on wireless chargers

Wireless, inductive, charging works by connecting the coil built into compatible phones and a electromagnetic coil in the charging pad.

  • More coils = a larger target area to set the phone down
  • More coils ≠ stronger charging
  • Inductive (wireless) charging works with cases less than 7mm thick.
  • Wireless charging can work through different materials–silicon, leather, plastic, wood, etc.

Will my case work with wireless charging?

There are too many cases out there to name specifics, but, with the above info about charging area and materials for Qi wireless chargers, you can make some safe assumptions about why your phone case might or might not work.

  • Those “unbreakable,” cases may be too thick.
  • Fancy gold-plated or metal cases could block the signal.
  • Adding a metal plate on the back of a basic case for a magnetic car mount will also probably block the signal.
  • Putting Popsockets or ring holders on the back of the phone could make the distance too far.
  • Wallet cases with cards on the back may make the case too thick.

Pro Tip 1: Wireless charging won’t automatically damage credit cards in wallet cases, but it can. You should remove the cards to avoid issues.

Pro Tip 2: Foreign object detection is used in Qi chargers to avoid heating up accidentally. Chips in credit cards and other parts of cases can trigger this FOD.

Posted on

A Crash Course In Need-To-Know YouTubers Of 2018

Here’s your crash course in 12 YouTubers you should know. Whether they’ve been making waves in 2018 or are positioned to make this year their break out moment, you’ll want to take note.

Established players

Roman Atwood: Initially known for YouTube prank videos, but turned into a family vlogger. In addition to the more mundane daily vlogs, Atwood tends to have a bunch of big and elaborate videos throughout the year. Last year he borrowed an actual monster truck and smashed another car with it.

2018: Roman proposed to his longtime girlfriend, which is a huge milestone in his story publicly playing out in videos.

Jake/Logan Paul: We’ll group these two together, even if they’re not officially making videos as a pair. Both live in crazy big LA homes and have come to define the crazy Gen Z, dabbing, doing it for the views, lifestyle.

2018: Logan Paul keeps finding ways to be insensitive. His video with a suicide victim also rocked YouTube’s grasp on allowable content. Jake Paul’s Team 10 is faltering and quickly changing.

Casey Neistat: Casey has been one of the most prolific YouTubers and one of the first to really kickstart the daily vlogging craze and give it a level of professionalism. Beyond YouTube, he’s had a HBO show, done commercials for Samsung, and sold an app to CNN.

2018: After leaving CNN, he restarted his famous daily vlogs in a series called 368 which is centered around his new building on 368 Broadway in New York.

The new class of well-known names

Tyler Blevins (Ninja): He’s a Twitch/YouTuber gamer and essentially the face of Fortnite Battle Royale. He may have a staggering 12 million subscribers as of May 2018, but part of the craze has been his sudden explosion since mid 2017.

2018: His popularity gained a huge boost from playing Fornite with Drake. Since then there’s been even more collaborations.

Poppy: If you aren’t familiar with Poppy, her music or her persona, you should take a quick look because it speaks clearer than descriptive words. That said, the unique music and style has resonated with a large audience.

2018: As concisely as possible, Poppy and her boyfriend, Titanic Sinclair are being sued by former collaborator Mars Argo for copyright infringement. It gets more complicated because there’s also an element of abuse which both side are claiming.

Collins Key: From performing magic on America’s Got Talent to YouTuber, Collins has a fun story. A lot of his recent videos are geared towards younger fans and focus around DIY and challenges.

2018: Collins is opening the Vidcon main stage along with Marshmallow and Liza Koshy. If you didn’t know his name before Vidcon, there’s a good chance you will afterwards. Collins really bridges the gap between upcoming and established names. How many up-and-coming creators also have 11 million+ subscribers?

Up and coming creators in 2018

DSharp: DSharp’s channel is straightforward, yet very unique. How many DJ violinists do you know? His covers give each familiar song a different twist and sets him apart from other musicians out there. His recent cover of Post Malone’s “Rockstar” took off with nearly 4 million views. He’s being rewarded as well, just hitting that million subscribers milestone.

Dan Mace: Originally from South Africa, Dan moved to New York to help Casey Neistat shoot his new daily vlog series but is now releasing his own videos. You can see the cross of styles between the two in his new videos.

Slice and Rice: The couple’s tagline is, “He got the slice, she got the rice” which says a lot about what to expect from their channel. The power couple often use their experiences growing up to introduce the other one to new things. The hilarious duo have grown nearly 100k subscribers in the last year and are growing rapidly, continuing to up the relationship goals.

Peter Mckinnon: Sure, Peter has 2 million subscribers, but he’s done it in less than three years. You’ve probably come across his videos naturally if you’re into photography and cinematography at all. If that’s not the crowd you follow, don’t worry, this channel could still teach you some new shooting techniques and potentially help you get some crazy good pictures yourself.

Rahmel Dockery: Rahmel makes videos for his channel based on motivating people to chase their football dreams. He also is bringing people on his own journey as he tries to  play in the NFL.

Posted on

Super Smash Bros Ultimate Characters, Fortnite Available Now, And More From Nintendo E3

Nintendo is the king of casual gaming, but that doesn’t mean they don’t take it very seriously. The company just unleashed a ton of new information about new stuff coming to the Switch. This is the latest news and announcements from E3.

The big news

It leaked before the announcement, but it’s official that Fortnite is available to download on the Nintendo Switch eShop, right now, for free!

Confirmed that Super Smash Bros Ultimate will feature every previous fighter in the game’s history. Including Daisy, Peach, and all the princesses. The game comes out December 7th, 2018.

Other items from Nintendo

Dragonball FighterZ coming to Nintendo Switch.

Super Mario Party will be released October 5, 2018. Players will be able to create their own levels.

Overcooked 2 is coming August 7th, 2018.

Posted on

4 Backpacks For the Stylish Yet Functional Man


There are a million decent backpacks out there, but few that can transition from workweek to weekend without being a visual distraction in either setting. Here are four, good looking backpacks I’ve found that satisfy all my functional requirements.

I think any general-use, everyday backpack should be slim and portable, but have enough room for the essentials. It should be able to carry a 13”-15” laptop, water bottle, over-the-ear headphones, a light jacket, and an array of accessories like USB cables, chargers, a notebook, and keys.

Aer Day Pack: prioritizes slimness and organization

The nice thing about Aer’s Day Pack is that not only is the bag minimal in size and design. There are no straps flapping around (the ones it does have are removable) or anything too distinct about it. It’s plain, but in a good way.

The water bottle holder is internal, and, because of the overall minimalism, you won’t be able to get more than a windbreaker or small sweater in the main compartment. That said, there should still be enough room for all the essentials. Organization pockets are designated to the front opening, while the back is for your computer, water bottle, and over-the-ear headphones.


Topo Designs Core Pack: prioritizes versatility and space

The main draw of the Core Pack is its substantial main compartment. That section fully unzips and is big enough for a few pieces of clothes, shoes, or other bulky items–while the entire pack stays small enough for day-to-day use.

The backpack has an outer pocket for keys, change, and miscellaneous items; as well as an outer water bottle pocket that is pulled shut with an elastic band when not being used so it doesn’t catch on anything.

topo core backpack

Dsptch Daypack: prioritizes expansion

The Dsptch Daypack is modern looking enough, but does prioritize expansion to shrink and grow as needed. The two side compression straps can shrink the pack down when it’s not packed full.

There are top adjustments on each strap to conform to different people’s sizes. The bag also features things like water resistant ballistic nylon and an internal cord management system for routing headphones or a USB cable from one section to another.

OnePlus Travel Backpack: prioritizes comfort and padding

Beyond two diverse colorway options, the first thing you’ll likely notice about OnePlus’s Travel Backpack is how comfortable and padded it looks. The bottom, the back, and the shoulder straps all exude an air of fluffiness.

Like the Aer Day Pack, the Travel Backpack is slim and minimalist, but big enough for your daily needs. On the outside of the pack, there’s a water bottle pocket on the side and two front pockets.

Each of the outer compartments and zippers are discrete and don’t beg for attention. The bag also utilizes a side laptop compartment, instead of from the top, which tends to be quicker and easier to get to while on the move.


For additional bag recommendations, we rounded up some of the best travel cases for electronics for under $50.

Posted on

Fresh Friday: Ocean’s 8 In Theaters, Plus New Music From Khalid And Sugarland


Here’s some new stuff to listen to

Khalid has a new single, “This Way,” which appears on the Superfly movie soundtrack.

Hardcore rock fans will enjoy a new track from Thrice called “The Grey.” The same people might also appreciate that The Get Up Kids have a new, four song EP out today.

Country fans can look forward to new Sugarland and Dierks Bentley.

R&B artist Jorja Smith is getting some love from those in the know and could be one of this year’s need-to-know artists.

Plus, new stuff from Dave Matthews Band, Smashing Pumpkins, and Ne-Yo, all for a blast from the past.

Movies now out in theaters

Solo: A Star Wars Story may have officially kicked off the summer movie blockbuster season,  but I think it’s safe to say Ocean’s 8 may be the more interesting film to start summer with. Ocean’s 11-13 were silly capers and hopefully Ocean’s 8 can be the same. These movies don’t need to take themselves too seriously, just provide a cohesive and fun story.

Sure, Won’t You Be My Neighbor is a documentary, opening in theaters this week, but don’t discount it. The movie has gotten rave initial reviews and, from the trailer, looks like a real tearjerker.

Other things from the week

Posted on

Apple News vs Google News: Which Is The Better App?


How do you get your news currently? Because both Apple and Google are coming for you with their revamped news reading apps.

Apple News and Google News are going head-to-head in the news category trying to become dominant players before apps from China like Toutiao make their way to the U.S. market. It’s not just news though, each will also be serving up your favorite blog posts and salacious gossip stories as well.

Let’s lay out the differences between the two apps and name our favorite of the two.

The foundation is similar

Apple News is only available on iOS devices (iPhones, iPads, and Apple Watch), but Google News is available on Android and iOS.

While both of the apps have their unique taste and flair for how news is gathered and presented, each follows a similar pattern. You tell it what publications and topics you like and the app will learn what stories it should show you.

The name of the game isn’t just random stories with these apps. Each wants to personalize the reading experience to keep you coming back often, throughout the day.

Apple News – a practical approach to news

Apple News is broken into five sections along the bottom: For You, Spotlight, Following, Search, and Saved.

The app always opens to the news for you. It refreshes automatically in the background so each time you open it, throughout the day, it’s ready with the latest information. First with the most important and slowly fading to the more benign, grouping articles by publication or topic.

The Spotlight section changes depending on the time of day, so, if you open it in the late afternoon it could say, evening digest, or something else. This section spotlights one story at the top, curated by humans. This section is meant to be the most important or best story of the day, unlike the For You section which dumps an endless list of stories around your interests.

Since everything is personalized, the Digest story also won’t necessarily be the same one for everyone.

Under Following it will show the channels and topics you’re following as well as new suggestions it gets from your web browsing and stories you’ve previously read.

Search and Saved are both obvious and straightforward. It’s a little peculiar that there’s a dedicated search button when you can search in the Following section as well. Saved will show both stories you wanted to read later as well as read history for quick access to past stories.

Swiping left on a story throughout the app will give you the options to save, share, or love it, while swiping right will let you dislike or report it.

There’s not much about Apple News that can be classified as bad because it gets to the heart of what you’re there for and strips the rest away. However, some may count its default notification settings – which can be a little aggressive – as bothersome.

Beyond those few extra sliding controls, Apple News is, pretty much, what you see is what you get. It has plenty of polish, but it’s on the minimal side, getting out of the way for the content you’re interested in consuming.

Google News – a news app with layers

On the flipside, Google News is a little more clever and comprehensive about the news and stories it provides to the reader. It has a more depth, but shouldn’t be overwhelming.

Google News also starts with a For You section on the bottom left, but as part of that section it also shows the current weather in the top right of the screen and breaks down what it thinks are the five most important stories for you.

Under the five defined stories, it continues to break out more stories it thinks you’d like and groups multiple publications around one story. When there’s something noteworthy you can swipe left to see how other publications are telling the same story.

The other three sections across the bottom are: Headlines, Favorites, and Newstand. There is a persistent search icon in the top left if you do need that function.

Headlines will give you more freedom in the stories you see as it breaks out different sections like business, technology, and entertainment, among others.

Favorites not only holds your saved stories, but will show locations, sources, and topics that you can follow, or that it has found for you.

One thing about Google News that gives it a little more depth is the use of moving imagery and videos. Google is trying to pull in more multimedia than Apple is by default and it likely will lead to more consumption.

Newsstand breaks out possible topics, categories, and publications you may be interested in, but aren’t currently following.

In the settings you can have Google News email you the daily news once in the morning. You can also change the push notifications you are seeing, similar to Apple News.

And the winner is…

Apple News is a good app, and may be convenient with its prominent place on iPhones, but I’ve seen Google News surface more relevant content, more often, after living with both for several weeks. And, ultimately, isn’t that what you want out of a news app?

It helps that Google News works on a wide range of devices and that it delights with little touches like the current weather when you open the app. Neither is a slouch, but Google News edges out Apple News just slightly as of now.

Posted on

Use Your Voice To Control This New Home Speaker From Sonos


At an event today, Sonos announced its new compact TV sound bar, called Sonos Beam, which will be available in July for $399.

Sonos Beam is the company’s cheapest home theater sound bar to-date, but the biggest feature is that Amazon’s Alexa voice assistant comes built in.

Not only will the sound bar connect to your TV for better sound with movies, it also works as a standalone internet connected speaker, and use Alexa to request music on demand—just like Google Home and Apple’s HomePod.

Image via Wired

Because Sonos Beam will be connected to your TV, you’ll also be able to ask Alexa to turn the TV on or off and the volume up or down, without fumbling for the remote.

Part of the Sonos Beam event was the announcement that AirPlay 2 support is coming both to Beam and some of its newer speakers in July. That feature will let you use Siri for play music to Sonos’ speakers. Those speakers will also gain additonal support for connecting with iOS devices updated to iOS 11.4.

What’s special about Sonos?

Sonos speakers are internet connected. They are made to replace home stereos and connect to Wi-Fi which will let them play any song, directly available from most streaming services like Apple Music, Spotify, Pandora, and 80 more.

Unlike Bluetooth speakers, however, which connect directly to your phone and can be interrupted if you watch a video or go out of range, Sonos’ Wi-Fi speakers are initiated from your phone, computer, and now voice, but aren’t tied to the device controlling them.

Sonos Beam is interesting for several reasons. It puts a voice-controlled, high fidelity speaker potentially at the center of your home by making it part of your home theater setup. It’s one of the first speakers to support multiple voice assistants as well, like Alexa, Siri, and Google Assistant in the future.

At first blush, $399 may seem a bit steep for a speaker, but killing two birds with one stone and getting good TV sound along with a smart speaker starts to look pretty attractive.

Posted on

The Top 6 Apps Every Music Lover Needs To Download


Whether you’re a musician or just a lover of music, here are six apps that you can use to create music, move around playlists, or just keep track of bands you like, all on your phone.

Record Bird – never miss a new song

Record Bird lets you know anytime an artist you like puts out new music. How? The app scans your music library, your Spotify account, or another music service you use and then creates a personalized list of new music releases. Beyond new music, Record Bird can keep you informed when bands from your library do interviews, release new music videos, and even when they put out vinyl records.

Hum – capture those song ideas

Charlie Puth has been talking about his new album Voicenotes and how a lot of the songs started as little ideas he recorded on his phone to remember later. Hum is like the default Voice Memos app on iPhone, but designed with musicians in mind. You can tag entries with the song key, tempo, and add lyrics alongside the audio recording. Think of Hum as a digital napkin to capture those song ideas.


Music Memos – record a demo on-the-go

Music Memos is similar to Hum, but more involved. Not only will the app record song ideas from, but it will analyze the music it hears to you the key the song is in, and can automatically add accompanying instrumentation based on the that key and tempo. Music Memos falls somewhere between Voice Memos being able to record audio, and Garageband which is a full recording studio app.

Songshift – transfer playlists between music services

Songshift helps cuts the chains of various music streaming services. If you want to try Apple Music, but have dozens of playlists already created in Spotify, for example, this app will help you move all those over to the new service.

The pro version of Songshift can also do some cool things like automatically keep playlists across different services in sync. That means that you could keep a YouTube music playlist updated whenever you add music to your Spotify playlist.

song shift

Figure – play an instrument, even if you don’t know how

Figure will let anyone make music. Seriously, anyone. Whether you’ve never touched a musical instrument in you life, or not, you can use the Figure app. Figure features bass, percussion, and synth sounds which can all be mixed with each other. This is the type of app that could even be used in a band setting, playing along with other people. Match the key and everything you play will sound great.

You should try it; it’s super fun.

figure app

8Tracks – radio-like playlists for every occasion  

Pandora is fine, but it’s all automated by computers and the music choices it selects can get stale. 8Tracks music can solve that problem.

Instead of computer suggested songs, 8Tracks is playlists created exclusively by humans. Because of this, you’ll find a playlist and music for your situation. Want chill music for a rainy day to do homework to? You’ll probably find a radio-like playlist someone made for it. 8Tracks is a community of music lovers, making music more social than even Spotify.


If you like music, be sure to check back each Friday for our Fresh Friday coverage of new music and movie releases each week.

Posted on

When You Should And Should NOT Install Your Own Screen Protector

Installing a screen protector on your phone is a cheap and simple way to keep the screen from being scratched to death or potentially shattering. But how hard are they to actually put on yourself?

The material of screen protector will likely determine whether you should attempt to install it yourself or have a store do it for you “professionally.”

TPU – plastic film (more like a clear sticker)

TPU is an incredibly durable plastic film which can protect against scratches. It’s usually advertised as “self healing” because of its ability to absorb minor abrasions. Just because you scratch the screen protector doesn’t mean it will continually look scratched up.


  • Can wrap around curved screens (like Samsung’s Galaxy S line)
  • Can fit more generic phones which don’t have screen protectors specifically made for
  • Generally less expensive

Tempered glass – rigid compounded glass (like a second screen)

Tempered glass is quickly becoming the most popular option for protecting screens because it not only keeps scratches away, but, in a lot of situations, it can absorb a small impact better than TPU and save you from a cracked screen.


  • Can protect from screen shattering
  • Easier to install
  • Looks and feels better

Can I install one myself?

Screen protectors are made for consumers to be able to install themselves, but, that doesn’t mean everyone should. TPU protectors, ones that are a plastic, flexible film and involve a wet application are, for example, an exercise in frustration.

The trick with TPU and the wet application process isn’t necessarily skill, it’s regular practice. Someone at a store like Best Buy who does this regularly will be familiar with what causes application problems.

Frankly, a lot of people are nervous to take their new phone out of the box and spray it with liquid to get that screen protector on. The sales person doesn’t have the same attachment and can leave emotion out of it.

As far as installing tempered glass protectors, they don’t succumb to the same hardships of the sticker-like ones–with ugly air bubbles. In that case, they instantly become easier for more people to attempt the installation. I.e.: You can probably install a tempered glass protector yourself.

Lining up the top portion still requires a certain amount of skill and patience, but tempered glass protectors make this much simpler.

Pro tip

Even if you’re not lazy, there are plenty of reasons to pay someone to install a screen protector for you. Don’t sweat it. But, if you do have a store install a screen protector for you, just make sure you ask this question before proceeding:

Can you approve the installation before you pay, OR, if you do pay prior, will they keep installing a new one until you’re satisfied?

Making sure you get the final say essentially guarantees you get a perfect looking screen protector, which makes the small fee well worth it.

Posted on

All The Things Apple Just Announced At WWDC 2018

wwdc 2018

Apple just announced a bunch of new software features for iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch, and the Mac. There was no new iPads or laptops, just a bunch of coming software features. While there was quite a few items Apple talked about, a lot of it can be skipped over. Here’s what you need-to-know, along with all the rest if you’re curious.

Here’s what’s new and cool

iOS 12

  • Group FaceTime – talk and see to up to 32 people in a single group video call, working across iPhone, iPad, and Mac. You can also put a live-moving emoji over your face during the video call.
  • Siri Shortcuts app – a new way to easily automate multiple tasks. For example, you can say “heading home,” and it will pull up directions, send a ETA text message to someone, play a radio station, and turn on a Homekit connected fan or home device, all with a single voice phrase.
  • Animoji/Memojitongue’s will be detected in Animoji, so it will track more of your face. Plus, there will be new Memoji which you can make personalized emoji that track your face–think Bitmoji from Apple.


Apple Watch

  • Walkie-Talkie app – connect with a specific person, tap and hold to talk, let go and the audio message is sent to them. It’s a mix of audio and text messaging, made super quick directly from the watch.

Apple TV

  • Screensavers – although minor, aerial screensavers have long been a loved part of Apple TV. They soon will gain titles so you know the location, and there will be photos taken directly from the International Space Station. 

Mac computers

  • macOS Mojave – there will be a dark mode which will ight mode

Here’s what’s boring

As a quick disclaimer, these things may still be neat, useful, or crucially important for cool things in the future, but as of right now, we’re counting them as snoozers compared to the other announcements.

iOS 12

  • Photos improvements – new search suggestions, a new For You section with smarter recommendations for sharing, as well as surfacing old photos. 
  • Siri improvements  – new shortcuts with quick actions to Siri, from your custom phrases.
  • Updated old apps – Apple News refreshed, Stocks refreshed, Voice Memos coming to iPad, and iBooks becoming Books with both audio books and ebooks.
  • Do Not Disturb improvements – it can be turned on based on location or calendar event so your phone will be muted just during a meeting.
  • App limits – set a usage limit for a certain app and then once the limit is reached, it deters you from using the app.
  • ARKit 2.0 – more ways to use augmented reality, like being able to see the same thing through your phone that other people see through theirs.
  • Performance – iOS 12 will focus on making older phones and iPads feel faster and work better.

Apple Watch

  • Workouts – more functionality for workouts, including tracking Yoga.
  • Better notification – enhanced notifications, including web content formatted for your wrist.

Apple TV

  • *crickets* – there wasn’t a whole lot new here…. Did we mention screensavers?

Mac computers

  • Camera continuity – just like you can click over to bring up web pages or messages on your Mac that you’re currently browsing on your phone, you’ll be able to use your phone’s camera to instantly capture photos for your computer–like adding photos to a presentation, for example.
  • iPhone and iPad apps coming to the Mac in 2019 – this was a sneak peek, but developers will be able to more easily bring their phone apps to macOS, which means you’ll have more app choices in the next few years.
  • New apps – Apple News, Stocks, Voice Memos, and Home, are all coming to the Mac

When is this stuff coming?

Most of these new features will be coming in the fall when iOS and macOS are released to the pubic. In a few months you’ll be able to take advantage of all these things mentioned here.

Posted on

Fresh Friday: Adrift In Theaters, New Music From Kanye West, The 1975, And More

fresh friday june

New music for your ears

We knew it was coming, but Kanye West’s Ye is finally here. Is there anything else to say about it?

Charli XCX released “5 in the morning” which she says is the tip of the iceberg of new music she has coming out.

Indie rock band, The 1975 are back with, “Give Yourself a Try.”

The always head turning duo of Scarlett Johansson and Pete Yorn is as good as ever and worth a listen.

When will the Pusha T and Drake feud end? The only thing clear is that it is bringing a lot of new music each and every day.

There’s also new music today from Owl City, Future, Father John Misty, and Kitten, among others.

Get out and see these movies in theaters

Adrift is the true story from 1983 of two people fighting for their lives to survive a crazy storm alone in the middle of the ocean. Sure there’s been other crazy storm films before, but this one has heart. Plus, fun facts: the two actors performed all the stunts themselves and almost all the shots at sea were actually filmed in the open ocean.

If you have time after Adrift, also check out Action Point, a movie loosely based on Action Park, a crazy amusement park which is likely the reason for stricter ride regulations today. 

Other things that happened this week

nba finals