Posted on

All The Ways To Get Into 3D Printing

3D printing was supposed to revolutionized consumerism with the ability to make a lot of products you want, right in your home. Even though it hasn’t fully happened, it’s still incredibly useful. It can feel a bit like magic with the ability to create something from nothing. The way 3D printers actually work; a printing machine take a spoil of material (most likely plastic) and heats it up and spits it out quickly. The plastic is layered on top of itself, building something three-dimensional.

Here are some different ways to explore 3D printing and its benefits.

Home 3D printer

The first and most obvious option for getting into 3D printing is to buy a consumer-level printer. You can find 3D printers for a few hundred dollars, but for better quality the price will be closer to $1,500.

The Wirecutter recommends Monoprice’s Maker Select 3D Printer v2 on the low end, which comes in at $299. On the more expensive side, Tiertime UP mini 2 comes in around $600.

These printers can be a fun way to make toys for kids or create random parts at any time.

3D print yourself

For the person that has everything, there’s always the option to have a real person turned into an action figure. Over the years there have been quite a few studios pop-up which will shoot a 360-degree photo and turn it into 3D figure.

There are even options to take a regular photo and turn it into a 3D figure. Most of the options below will cost you a pretty penny, but it’s also likely to be one of the most unique gifts you give someone. Try Doob 3D and Holo Deck Heads, but be warned, they are cheap.

3Doodler 

The 3Doodler is more of a toy than a practical 3D printing option. It works like a hot glue gun and melts plastic as you create a 2D or 3D object. While it comes with a few patterns to trace, actually creating something useful may be a bit of a trick. It is fun to feel like you’re drawing and have that drawing come to life as a multi-dimensional object.

Don’t do it yourself

If you like the idea of 3D printing, but are not ready to invest in the hardware yet, you can still benefit. Shapeways and Thingiverse provide designs that you can buy or download. If you’d like to try your hand at printing yourself, you can download a design from Thingiverse and take it to your local library. Or, if you just need a specialty part, you can buy it from Shapeways and get it printed for you. Either way, people are creating some unique and fascinating objects.

Posted on

Microsoft Goes Smaller And Cheaper With Surface Go

In a move that surprises almost no one, Microsoft introduced a new, cheaper, Surface computer. Called Surface Go, Microsoft’s 10-inch tablet is aiming to get in front of price-aware purchasers and shoves a full-fledged PC into a smaller form factor. The Surface Go starts at $399, but doesn’t include the keyboard, which arguably helps define Surface computers.

Microsoft has been a maker of tablets and personal computers longer than almost any other company. It had Windows running on a tablet before Apple, and yet, it’s Apple’s iPad that comes to mind when people think of a tablet. The Surface Go is Microsoft’s attempt to have a cheaper and more portable offering.

Surface computers has been very popular to-date in the Windows market. It only makes sense then that Microsoft continue to expand that line of devices to offer different sizes and price points. The interesting consideration, however, is that Chromebooks and the basic iPad are not in danger of being cannibalized. The Surface Go is more of a full laptop, just in a smaller size.

The real play for this new addition to the Surface line, I think, is the cheaper introduction price for people who wanted to buy a Surface all along, but couldn’t. Even with the keyboard and upgraded specs, you’re looking at a computer that starts around $650, rather than $800 as the Pro does. It might not seem like a big price difference, but if an office has a $700 cap on new Windows computers to purchase employees, it can make the difference on whether they choose a Surface or not.

After all, the tag line Microsoft is using on its website for the new product is, “Surface Go for business.”

Is this computer tempting for you?

 

 

Posted on

6 Apps You Need To Try This Week

Each week, The Digital Hype takes a look at some of the hottest and trending apps you should know about. This week includes a couple music related apps along with screen sharing and a text utility. Let us know your favorite iOS or Android apps in the comment section.

Find on Apple Music

Not a mobile, Find on Apple Music is a Chrome app (extension) which will simplify your life. Using it from a desktop, you’ll be able to right click, or search a page for an easy link to open a song in Apple Music.

Wandle

Specifically for Android, Wandle will try and help curb notifications during unwanted times. From the website, “Wandle determines when you’re in a meeting, driving or sleeping, and blocks notifications, messages and calls at this time.” It’s like a smarter and more robust Do Not Disturb mode for you to configure.

Text Case

Text Case is a simple, dedicated utility that will change text to different cases–title case for example. It seems a little too simple until you run into a time you need it. Simple apps often become people’s favorite.

Can’t Sleep

Here’s an app to help you get to sleep faster. Can’t Sleep plays music, specifically aimed at helping you fall asleep faster and more easily. If you already can’t sleep, there’s no harm in trying another app.

Gigroad

Gigroad has been described as the AirBnB of live shows. It lets you set up a show nearly anywhere, including a living room, backyard, or other venues that aren’t typically venues.

Droid Cast

iOS has AirPlay which makes screen sharing to an Apple TV very easy. Android devices don’t have the same standard option and so Droid Cast is looking to fill the gap and make it as easy as possible.

Posted on

Elevate 4 Areas Of Your Life With These Top Accessories

Here at The Digital Hype we’re always looking for the best accessories and items to improve the everyday. These rad products have been carefully picked for different areas you might need them–and are some of the best available.

Home

One of the coolest Apple Watch stands available is the computer from Elago. Elago has a few designs available, plus the dock works well, looks great, and is low cost.

In terms of iPhone docks, the Elevation Lab CordDock is great. It functions as a traditional charging dock, which you can use one-handed, but it also lets you keep charging while reading in bed. It’s super clever.

This iPhone X leather case from Xcentz comes in stylish colors and is low cost.

Some of the best sunglasses you can buy for under $30, Knockaround has a huge selection of colors, styles, and themes to keep things interesting.

Office

Baron Fig’s Squire Pen feels so luxurious and fun to use. It’s a great addition to your personal collection.

You should check out Whipping Posts’ hardcover notebook to use the Squire with. It even features a pen or pencil holder. 

Looking for a place to hang your tune, Elevation Lab’s Anchor sticks to nearly any surface. It works well for under a desk or cabinet.

Travel

You need to give the Gravel dopp as it’s one of the best travel cases for toiletries available. It has a pocket for everything, stays slim, and can hang from a door.

The next time you buy a cup or water bottle, make sure it’s insulated. You shouldn’t feel the cold and there shouldn’t be condensation on the outside of a bottle. Hydro Flask and Yeti both provide outstanding options. Yeti’s Tumbler even includes a sliding magnetic lid. 

If you travel and stay in random places, like AirBnBs, you should have a travel set of sheets for sketchy beds. More like a thin sleeping bag than traditional sheets, the ones from Cocoon even include a pillow insert.

Weekend

Need a portable battery? Belkin has a new option which can charge via Lightning which means less cables to bring along.

If you want more productivity accessories, check out The Digital Hype’s round up of pens, notebooks, and more.

Posted on

Fresh Friday: Ant-Man And The Wasp In Theaters, Plus New Music From Years & Years

fresh friday june

Music

Pop sensation Years & Years has a new album. Justin Timberlake is lobbying for song of the summer with the new single, “SoulMate.”

Future released the surprise album BEASTMODE 2.

On the alternative side, We The Kings is still going strong with Six. Arizona put out the single, “Summer Days.”

For lesser known music, discover new releases from Nightly, Kylie Rothfield, St. Paul & The Broken Bones, and Mom Jeans.

Movies

The summer of Marvel continues with Ant-Man and the Wasp. Despite being a second-class super hero, lessen known to most, Paul Rudd killed it in the first film. Here’s hoping this sequel is as hilarious as the last movie.

Other things this week

Posted on

Productivity Overload: Must See Notebooks, Pens, And Organization

These are the best options for people looking for new notebooks, pens, or organizational items to elevate their productivity. You could find a pen anywhere, but after you’ve used a finely crafted writing instrument, it’s hard to go back to any old Bic.

Pens

  • Baron Fig’s Squire Pen is an excellent pen which is perfectly balanced, weighted, and neat looking. There’s also a click-button version of the Squire which runs a little bit cheaper, but doesn’t quite have the same look.
  • Squire may be a classic in the making, but the Fisher Space Pen is already a classic and hard to beat for that study, go-to pen. It even writes upside down (obligatory  Seinfeld reference).

Notebooks

  • Despite Moleskine’s long history, Field Notes has become the first thought in personal carry notebooks. In addition to quality pages, the quarterly themes are a fun way to mix things up. The current space notebooks are especially exciting.
  • Rhodia is constantly heralded as one of the highest quality paper notebooks. Like all the other competitors, Rhodia offers a variety of size and styles, but the classics shine for a reason.
  • For a hardcover, lay-flat option, Baron Fig has the Confidant. Available in multiple size, the Confidant is a great hardcover option for a reasonable price.

Organization 

  • In terms of desk items, Baron Fig’s Mastermind is a neat way to keep your notes in front of you. They also offer an alternative to Sticky Notes with the Nomad. It comes in a graph option as well.
  • Got a lot of cables laying on your desk? Check out Bluelounge’s CableDrop Multi for a sensible solution.
  • Bellroy has a really nice leather notebook case which also fits a tablet, business cards, and a few miscellaneous items. If you’d rather something simpler, Bellroy’s Pencil Case is also handy for collecting your items.

 

Posted on

This Is How Apple And Spotify Should Improve Their Streaming Music Services

There are a lot of things Apple and Spotify can do to improve their streaming music services, but trying to encourage more discovery is the most salient.

The biggest “problem” with both Apple Music and Spotify remains discoverability. How do you take the world’s collection of music, and boil it down so that people don’t feel overwhelmed? After all, people are paying for 30 million+ songs, they want to move beyond just the handful of albums they listen to regularly.

Listen to more music

There’s curated playlists (think Spotify’s Discover Weekly) or dedicated radio (think Beats 1 internet radio station), but still, people need more help finding new music to listen to–especially in certain moments.

The answer is to continually let people know when artists they’ve liked in the past, do new things in the future. From there, you can branch people out to similar artists and bring in music around activities. First, though, you have to create the habit in people to want new music–and look for it.

If you’ve added an artist, album, or song to your library there’s a 99-percent chance you want to know when that artist puts out new music. This should be very obvious to everyone, but it’s not quite yet.

Apple does have this feature buried in the “For You” section of its music app, but it’s still limited. Record Bird is a good example of an app that already does this and do it really well too. Record Bird will let you know when artists you follow put out music videos, do interviews, or release new music.

Advanced options

Beyond some of those simpler items, it would be great to see more sophisticated algorithms as well. Keeping track of artists you’ve listened to more than once, but never included in your library. Or, artists your friends have listened to, which are similar to artists you do have in your library.

Once a streaming music service has covered all the items it can guarantee you’ll like, it can move on to more educated guesses about things it’s not sure about. Since streaming music services make their money from recurring revenue, it’s important to keep providing that recurring value to customers. Increasing discoverability is probably the easiest thing a service can do.

Posted on

The Best Apps To Download This Week

Looking for a few new apps to try? We’ve rounded up some new ones which may be helpful in your day-today use, or just a fun new social network to try. Be the first of your friends to be in the know!

No Twitter ads

Advertised as Twitter without all the junk, Readme is a streamlined Twitter experience that cleans out the ads, the moments, and trends. Readme is for those looking for a limited and more focused Twitter.

Productive links

For the marketers out there, JotURL is packing features into one shareable link. Bit.ly had been the previous king of short and custom links, but JotURL looks to be trying to out do the incumbent with all types of analytics and ways to add value.

Android to-do

There’s no shortage of to-do apps, but it’s always tempting to try a new one, right? Beezee is only for Android right now and aims at cutting all the cruft. It’s designed to be super minimal and focus on the tasks at hand.

Social movie-goer 

MustApp is like Facebook or Twitter, but just focused around movies. Niche social networks are a hard nut to crack, but MustApp is well designed and focuses on tracking movies you want to see, movies you’ve seen, and sharing that information with others.

Safer web browsing

Keepsafe just announced its new browser which it says will block online ad trackers, social networks, and analytic companies. The app will also provide a more private experience than the default browsers will incognito tabs and a security pin to lock it. The new app is available on both iPhone and Android.

Posted on

Cut The Cord: Wireless Portable Batteries That Charge By Touch

Portable batteries are a utility we hope ultimately becomes obsolete. But, for the time being, they’re pretty crucial when we need extra juice, and enable us to do a lot of things that weren’t possible before.

But beyond saving us when we’re in a power pinch, portable batteries are becoming gadgets in their own right–going wireless. Meaning: you don’t need any cables or cords in order to use it.

What’s so cool about a wireless portable battery?

No more cord clutter

These wireless-charging portable batteries mean that you no longer need to carry a lightning cable to charge your iPhone, and a Micro USB cable to charge the portable battery.

Freedom from outlets
– Wireless chargers are neat, but they still need to be plugged into an outlet to get power. These wireless portable batteries mean you can truly charge your phone anywhere.

Meta charging

A wireless portable battery can also be recharged wirelessly. Instead of needing to plug the battery into an outlet to recharge, you can place it on a wireless charging pad.

Multiple charging options

Perhaps the best thing about these new portable batteries is that you can still charge with a cable if you want. Wireless portable batteries are not getting rid of their ports, they’re just adding the wireless charging capability into the mix. They’re becoming super batteries.

It’s not all rainbows and ponies, but don’t worry

Consider these things.

Added size and weight

Right now, wireless portable batteries tend to be a little thicker and heavier than non-wireless batteries because of the extra hardware required inside.

No stow-and-go

With a charging cable, you can tether your phone to the battery and drop it in a purse or backpack. Not so with wireless portable batteries. The phone will slide around and not stay planted on the induction charging point.

Slower charging

Wireless charging can be slower than charging with a cable. iPhones can currently only charge up to 7.5W, which makes it just a tad faster than charging with the (minimum) 5W plug that comes with the phone.

But don’t let these minor sticking points deter you. Wireless portable batteries are still far more useful and interesting than non-wireless ones.

 

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

ios

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

bag

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.

aerdaypack

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.

oneplusbp

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

freshfriday

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?

news

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

sonos1

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.

Beam
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

music

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.

humapp

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.

8tracks

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.

Pros:

  • 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.

Pros:

  • 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

Posted on

LG Pay, Competitor To Samsung Pay, May Be Delayed In U.S.

LG

LG is preparing to launch LG Pay – its competitor to Samsung Pay (and other digital wallets) in the U.S. However, we uncovered some intel that indicates that we might have to wait a lot longer than expected…

It’s been heavily rumored and reported that LG Pay would make its U.S. debut by June, but new job listings for a Manager of Mobile Service Operation and Customer Service position, among others on the digital wallet team seem to indicate the actual launch is still much further out.

lg pay

One of the key nuggets in the Service Operation and Customer Service job posting, which went live on May 29th 2018, is that this person will be responsible for “LG Pay testing and operation before launch.” This person will also need to “Develop, update and manage EULA [end user license agreement]” which does not seem to suggest the launch of LG Pay any time soon.

There are also now listings for a Senior Manager of LG Pay Business Development/Partnerships, and a Marketing Manager. Both of these positions’ descriptions point towards there still being lots of groundwork that needs to be done before LG phones in the U.S. get their own first-party payment system.

While a June launch looks June looks nearly impossible with these key foundational components not yet in place, LG Pay is certainly still coming to the U.S. market. At this point, it’s just a matter of when.

But, if it takes too much longer there’s a big question of whether it will even matter – as many people may have already started using other digital wallets.

LG launched the payment service in South Korea in 2017 and it uses a similar technology to Samsung Pay called Magnetic Secure Transmission, which allows wider compatibility with credit card swiping terminals.

Posted on

How To Listen To Podcasts In 6 Easy Steps

podcasts

Here’s a quick start guide to go from hearing people talk about podcasts to listening to them yourself.

Follow the steps associated with whichever type of device you have.

iOS (iPhone)

  • Open the “Podcasts” app. This is a default app which comes on all new iPhones. If you’re using an older model you can search the App Store and download it for free.
  • Tap the third icon on the bottom titled “Browse.”
  • Tap “Featured” and select something that looks interesting. You can delete this podcast later if need be.
  • Looking at the show’s page, tap “Subscribe.”
  • That show is now in the “Library” section. You can find it by tapping on the icon on the bottom of the screen.
  • In the “Library” section tap “Episodes” to see all the episodes from the show you’re subscribed to. Touch the top one to start listening.

apple podcasts

You are now subscribed to a podcast, meaning, each time that podcast has a new episode, it will show up automatically. You can listen at your convenience in the car, while exercising, or at home; all through your phone.

Android

  • Open “Google Play Music.” This is an app that should come on your phone by default. If not, you can download it in Google Play app store.
  • Tap on the menu icon in the top left corner. It looks like three horizontal lines.
  • Select “Podcasts” from that list.
  • That will bring you to featured podcasts. Find one that looks interesting and tap on it. You can delete this podcast later if need be.
  • Looking at the show’s page, tap “Subscribe.” You will get a pop up with multiple options. Make sure notifications are selected on the pop up so you will know when a new episode comes out.
  • You can find that podcast you subscribed to at the top, under “Your Podcasts.” Tap it to start listening.
google play podcasts
photo via Ars Technica

That’s it. You’re officially a podcast listener. Congrats. Now comes the fun part of sorting through the thousands of shows that might interest you. There are plenty of good ones out there.

If you do want to try a new podcast app on iPhone, you should check out Overcast. It has something super special about it.

Posted on

The Latest Apple Rumors And What New Things You Can Expect From WWDC

apple wwdc

Here comes Apple season. Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) is approaching on June 4th and news from the company will soon dominate the internet.

Why should you care? It’s here that Apple lays out its software plans for the coming year, meaning: we find out about all new features that your current phone will gain in the near future.

But it’s not just fancy new software, Apple has announced new hardware products in the past, and could this year as well. What will we see announced on June 4th? Here are our best predictions…

Likely

  • iOS 12 – There will be a new operating system for iPhones and iPads announced. The focus of this release is thought to be mostly bug fixes–said in a fun marketing way of course. (But that’s big, people don’t like glitches and stuff not working.)

    So far, a lot of the features will revolve around augmented reality, digital wellness, and group FaceTime calls. The latest reports indicate that FaceTime and Face ID will gain new horizontal orientations.

    Google targeted digital wellness at its conference in May and introduced things like App Timer, Wind Down, and an enhanced usage dashboard.
  • AirPods and AirPower – AirPods are everywhere. People love them. A new wireless charging case was teased alongside the AirPower charging mat in 2017, but we still haven’t seen either of those items in the last nine months. We have to see these at WWDC, right?
  • Apple Watch – There’s a new Apple Watch coming this year, the question is whether its in June or later in the fall. Almost certainly, though, we’ll see new software and features for the watch. There’s nearly 100% chance that those new features focus around health and fitness, which is great, but can we get some new watch faces too?

Possible

  • HomePod – The HomePod is fresh off its February launch, so it’s almost impossible that we see a new speaker, but, hopefully, we see new features and capabilities which would show that Apple is serious about competing with Amazon’s Echo. “Hey Siri, can you add add calendar events from HomePod yet?”
  • New Laptops – The latest iterations of Apple’s MacBook Pros have been the best selling, but have not been the best received. There’s a (presumably small) group of people not happy with the build quality of the latest keyboard version. It’s very likely we see a new generation of MacBook Pro laptops make a debut and iterate on the keyboard quality and feel–in addition to general computer speed increases.

No Way

Whenever we do hear, though, it will be exciting. Just imagine being able to use your iPhone apps (appropriately sized and nice looking) on your Mac.

Even if all these items get announced at WWDC, does that make a satisfying keynote event? Are there any other wildcard announcements? The only other plausible thing is brand new, bezel-less, iPhone X-like, iPad Pros, but most likely we won’t see those until the fall.

Posted on

Fresh Friday: Han Solo Star Wars Movie, New Music From Chvrches, Pusha T, And More

palm trees green

This week’s new music

Alternative, electronic-laced band Chvrches have finally dropped a new album and it’s great. It includes an appearance by The National singer on “My Enemy,” if you need another reason to add the album to your library. Basically, don’t hesitate, just give it a listen.

Maggie Rogers impressed Pharrell with her song “Alaska” a few years back, but she now has a new indie-pop song called “Falling Water”. Pusha T has a new album, Daytona, which people are fawning over.

Don’t forget about hit makers from the early 2000s are back this week, led by Snow Patrol with a new album and Weezer with a new song. Sure, these two bands aren’t in the same league as one another, but it’s something new for radio DJs to burn into your ears.

Other new music from: A$SP Rocky, Shawn Mendes, and Jessie J.

New movies in theaters starting today

The big movie this week is Solo: A Star Wars Story. A spin off from the traditional Star Wars movies, Solo centers around Han Solo before we knew him as Luke’s pal. No Spoilers, but it’s pretty good. Not as good as Rogue One, but still intriguing.

Other things that happened this week

  • Hey! You probably didn’t see, but a few companies updated their privacy policies this week. The general data protection regulation (GDPR) goes into effect in Europe 5/25/18. Here are a few simple things you can do to protect your privacy in a few minutes.
  • YouTube Music was officially released. Say goodbye to YouTube Red and hello to YouTube Premium if you want access to YouTube original content.
Posted on

Here Are 9 Fun Ways To Blow $1000

skateboard

Did tax day roll around, and surprise, you got $1,000 more than you were expecting in your refund? While you should put it in savings, you could also blow the extra amount on some ridiculously cool and fun gadgets, like the items below.

The fast and furious and fun

In the transportation category it’s all about finding a last-mile, fun to ride device.

Boosted Boards’ new Boosted Mini S electric skateboard is styled like past manual ones of the past, but incorporates batteries and a motor. The Mini S will set you back $749 for a top speed of 18mph and 7 miles of range.

For a slightly cheaper option, coming in at $599, Riptide’s R1 electric skateboard will get you the same speed and distance with a similar look.

If you want to take an electric ride, but don’t feel comfortable cruising on a skateboard, you might do better with Xiaomi’s scooter. It’s able to navigate more than 18 miles and go up to 15.5 mph.

The frivolous spender

While it’s easy to make a case for electronic transportation, here are a few things no one needs but are tempting to try.

Lightphone 2 is the dumbest of all phones–on purpose. For people who want to disconnect, but just can not think of not having a backup connection for emergencies. Lightphone 2 strips almost everything away, including a screen. There’s nothing to fiddle with, just a glowing dialpad.

lightphone 2

Going the complete opposite way of Lightphone 2, LaMetric Time desk clock adds a bunch of connectivity to something that probably doesn’t need it. But, as with a lot of things, if you add Wi-Fi, you can do some really fun things. LaMetric TIme can show when you get new emails, flip through time zones, show countdowns, show real-time social followers, connect with Slack, connect with IFTTT, and so much more.

lametric time clock

The high-tech homebody

Nest remade the thermostat and now they are remaking the doorbell. The Nest Hello features HD video, wide-angle views, night vision, and can be told not to ring during a “quiet time.” Hello can even recognize family and friends with facial recognition and send a special alert so you know to answer the door without looking.

nest hello doorbell

If you want video surveillance beyond your front door, you might want to try EverCam which is a stick-anywhere, wireless camera with a 1 year battery life. EverCam looks to be a super easy way to quickly add cameras to any location, especially those without access to a power outlet.

evercam security

Outside your house might need security, but inside your house, it should be party time. Nanoleaf can help facilitate that with smart lights to decorate your walls. Of course these lights can be controlled by your phone, but they can also be activated by music or noise which makes dance parties even more memorable.

nano leaf Aurora lights

Also, for the walls of your house, is a Meural frame. Unlike cheesy digital photo frames of the past, Meural is a large, wood framed display which shows pictures and art in a way that might fool people into thinking they’re real prints.

If you’re more about saving instead of spending, check out our tips for saving money on streaming video services like Hulu and Netflix.

Posted on

How To Protect Your Online Privacy In Less Than 5 Minutes

privacy guide

We’re all lazier than we should be when it comes to online privacy, but there are a few things you can do to keep yourself from being taken advantage of by companies collecting data at every turn.

Even if you don’t care about your online privacy–you’re not doing anything illegal, of course–these things could keep embarrassing and annoying ads at bay.

Don’t assume Google is the only search

Instead of searching using Google, use DuckDuckGo–a search engine that doesn’t track you. You can set all computer and phone browsers to do this by default. You should still get the search results you want without using Google, and you won’t be feeding them more information.

duckduckgo

How-to
iPhone: Settings app > Safari > Search Engine > DuckDuckGo

Android: Android phone use various browsers so the quickest and easiest method is to download DuckDuckGo search app.

On a desktop/laptop: Follow the instructions for your specific browser here.

Google collects a lot of user data, but that doesn’t mean you need to feed it everything about you. Switching to a privacy-focused search engine will keep Google in the dark about all the things you’re looking up.

Message responsibly

Use a messaging app that is end-to-end encrypted. These types of apps keep your messages between you and the recipient. That means your words can’t be used to serve you targeted advertising, or in other malicious ways.

How to: download and use a secure messaging app like Signal, WhatsApp, Wire, or use Apple’s iMessage if both people are iPhone users.

Using a secure messaging app will keep your messages private, even if you’re on an unknown network or there’s a security breach.

Say yes to two-factor

When you sign up for a service and the option to use two-factor authentication is available, use it. Logging in through multiple means (something you know like a password and something you have with you like a phone) can keep your accounts safe from security breaches.

How to: say yes to two-factor going forward. To add it to existing accounts, follow these quick links to get started on: Google, Facebook, Amazon, and Apple.

Two-factor authentication is like putting your password on steroids. Any extra time and inconvenience is well worth it for the added protection and peace of mind.

Finally…

Don’t be fooled into thinking you’re now 100% protected from prying eyes or invincible against any attacks, but these few things will mitigate over sharing personal information. It will also make critical accounts harder to be broken into.

While these quick tips will help keep you from oversharing personal information and make your accounts more secure, don’t fool yourself into thinking you’re 100-percent protected or invincible against any attacks.

If you’re curious about what Google knows about you, can see that on CNBC. But, let’s be real, this is the 5-minute guide and those 5-minutes are likely up.

Posted on

The USB Cable Guide: Do You Need Type-C, Micro USB, Or Lightning?

usb cables

Here’s a super quick guide to help figure out which type of USB cable you need to charge your mobile device. The three most common connection types for phones and tablets are USB Type-C, Micro USB, and Lightning.

If you use an Apple iPhone or iPad, you want a Lightning cable. Simple as that.

USB Type-C and Micro USB are a little trickier to determine because, at a glance, they’re both small and look pretty similar. Micro USB had been the default connector type for Android devices and other electronics, but USB Type-C is beginning to slowly take its place to become the new standard.

different cable connectors

One way to tell the two apart is that the Type-C connector doesn’t have a top or bottom. It’s an oval, so it doesn’t matter which orientation way you plug it in. Conversely, the Micro USB connector does have a specific way it needs to be plugged in because it’s flat on the bottom and angled on the top.

Devices with USB Type-C

There’s no hard and fast rule for whether your device will use USB Type-C. It could have been used for a device manufactured from 2015 onward. But, here are a few of the most popular devices that need a USB Type-C charging cable:  

  • Samsung’s Galaxy S8, S9, Note 8, A7, A5, A3
  • Google’s Pixel, Pixel 2, Nexus 5X, Nexus 6P
  • LG’s V20, V30, G6, G7
  • The Essential Phone
  • Nintendo Switch

Motorola, Xiaomi, HTC, Huawei, and OnePlus each have USB Type-C devices as well.

If you don’t see your device listed here AND it’s more than a year or two old, there’s a good chance you need a Micro USB cable.

Posted on

Binge These 2 New Shows If You Love 80’s Nostalgia And Bizarre Murder Mysteries

Cobra Kai and Evil Genius are two very different shows, but two great options for those of you constantly looking for your next streaming show to obsess over.

Evil Genius – a true, mystery-riddled thriller

It’s no secret that Netflix knows how to make a really good true crime documentary–they did it so well, in fact, they actually parodied themselves with American Vandal–and Evil Genius is no exception.

Enter their newest docuseries, Evil Genius, which focuses on the pizza bomber mystery from 2003. This short, four-part show is the most exciting if you go in with as little information as possible. No need to even watch the trailer if you’re inclined to bizarre murder mysteries.

Still not convinced? Here’s a basic summary.

In 2003, a 46-year old Brian Wells walked into a Pennsylvania bank demanding $250,000 with a bomb locked to his neck. But the incident was the tip of the iceberg, as several murders and a much more involved plot unfolded.

If you’re too young to remember this event, or you don’t remember it making national news, hearing this story from start to finish for the first time will likely blow your mind. It’s crazy.

For those of you who did hear about the pizza bomber in real-time, this four-part series should satisfy by taking all the major and minor details over the years and putting them together in an easy to consume way.

Evil Genius is now available exclusively on Netflix.

Cobra Kai – for those of you who experienced The Karate Kid mania in its heyday

Cobra Kai essentially asks the question of whether nostalgia can go home again. In this case, the answer is an emphatic yes.

Beyond reviving old characters and telling their, where-are-they-now, stories, Cobra Kai also flips the tables on protagonists and antagonists. The majority of the story is told from the point of view of the original bully, Johnny, instead of the hero, Daniel.

If The Karate Kid touched your life in anyway, you should love this new ride; and there’s a good chance you give the show more of a pass on some of its cornier moments.

Even if the original 1984 movie didn’t have an impact on you, Cobra Kai might still be able to warm your heart with its theme of redemption and light, dad-esque humor.

Cobra Kai is available exclusively on YouTube Red, though you may be able to watch an episode or two for free if you hurry.

Want to save a few bucks on your streaming services? Check out our guide to all the different options.

Posted on

Fresh Friday: Deadpool 2 In Theaters, Plus New Music From James Bay, Ray LaMontagne, And More

fresh friday 3

Discover this week’s new music

A bunch of artists, all creating music in a similar vein have new releases this week. If you like James Bay’s soulful rock music, then there’s a good chance you’ll also enjoy Ray LaMontagne’s adult contemporary rock, or Matt Costa’s folk-rock jams.

Anderson .Paak released a new song, “Bubblin;” and K-pop sensation, BTS put out Love Yourself [Tear].

Get out of the house this weekend

Marvel’s adult-themed superhero, Deadpool is back with a sequel. There’s not much to say about the movie at this point; either you’ve seen all the parody marketing Deadpool 2 has been doing and want to see it, or you know it’s not for you.

Sure, there are other movies out in theaters today, but Deadpool 2 is the one to see.

Other things that happened this week

If you’d rather watch Fresh Friday, instead of read, that video is below. See you back here next week for Solo: A Star Wars Story and more of the latest releases.

Posted on

A Bunch Of Reasons You Need To Try New Gmail

email gmail

Gmail, the world’s most used and generally loved email service is finally getting a refreshed look and new features. The updated website look will eventually come to all users, but here are five features that should convince you to enable it now.

For the organized: Tasks, Keep, and Calendar in your sidebar

The sidebar in Gmail is finally useful with quick access to Tasks, Keep (notes app from Google), and Calendar. You can keep a to-do list with Tasks–even dragging emails over to it and automatically making the email a task. There’s a new iOS and Android app for Tasks to manage those when you’re not in Gmail.

gmail tasks

For the secret agents: Confidential mode

Confidential mode allows you to send emails which will disappear in a set amount of time. The details aren’t important, but you can email someone information and be confident it isn’t lingering around in their account longer than it needs to.

For the procrastinators: Snooze

Don’t want to deal with a message at the moment? Hit snooze and choose when the message will pop back into your inbox like a new message. The ability to ‘snooze’ a message is not new or ground breaking in the world of email, but it’s great to finally see Gmail add it to its list of features.

For the forgetful: Nudging

Gmail can pick up on key phrases that indicate a message is time sensitive so if you haven’t responded to a message that says something like, please let me know if you need to reorder supplies by friday, it can ‘nudge’ you to do so.

For paranoid: IRM (intellectual rights management)

IRM is another feature in the name of security. It will allow you to remove the ability for people to forward, copy, download or print messages you send them. If disappearing messages with a confidential mode doesn’t make sense, this is another way to cripple people’s ability to use your message in ways you don’t want them to.

How to enable

Click on the settings gear icon on the right side and the first option should be to enable the new look and features. If your Gmail account is part of a work domain, bug your admin to help you enable it.

Don’t worry, if you hate it you can always switch back to the ‘classic’ Gmail.

gmail enable

Posted on

5 Non-Music Apps To Drown Out Annoying Office Noise

sound color

The drone of constant coughing, talking, loud sneezing, squeaking chairs, erratic typing, and various noises from an office can be a lot to handle sometimes. Sure, you could pop on some headphones and listen to music, but music, for a lot of people, can be just as distracting. (It’s also a pain to continually find something to listen to.) Instead, these apps provide a wide array of other sounds to help you stay calm and focus on the task at hand.

Noizio 

Noizio is a straightforward and simple sound machine at heart. The app features a bunch of different sounds listed out which you can enable or disable as needed. You can set the volume for each selected sound. Once you fine-tune a great mix you can save it as a preset for future use.

For example, say you want to you want to mimic summer nights in the Midwest, you can make a soundscape featuring farm animals, wind, and light rain. Noizio keeps adding new sounds such as vinyl cracks, keyboard typing, subway, ghosty, and a bunch more to create unique mixes.

Tide

Tide is designed to keep you moving and productive, even if that means being asleep. It has two different modes, one for focus, to help with work or school, and another for sleep. On the sleep side, Tide can help you go to sleep at night with its soothing sounds, or, you can set a short timer to knock out a quick power-nap. While its sound library isn’t as deep as others, it’s set up to add more in the future.

Nosili

Nosili is probably the simplest app of the bunch with a dozen big pictures and volume controls under each. It functions similarly to Noizio, but does include an all-important fan sound, which a lot of people seem to enjoy.

Coffitivity

Like it sounds, Coffitivity is trying to combine coffee (or coffee shop sounds) and productivity, as lots of people say they work better in the hustle and bustle of a crowded coffee shop. Coffitivity is recreating that– no matter where you are.

Thunderspace, Windy, Sunny

Instead of one sound app, Taptanium (an app creator) made a bunch of separate apps focused on specific sounds.

windy app

Taptanium is like that friend who gets into a hobby innocently enough, but, four weeks later, is up at three in the morning, bidding on eBay Beanie Babies, in need of their next rare collectible fix. Not only did Taptanium put out a bunch of sound apps, but, it began to incorporate stories and give the sounds their own personalities–the female Windy, for example.

Thunderspace is a crazy-good thunder and rain machine app. It’s stereoscopic, so, with headphones on, you feel like the sound is all around you. All the apps are well done; even if you don’t get into the whole story aspect of the app.

windy app 2

Posted on

If You’re Addicted To Your Phone, Try This Gray Hack

gray phone face

You’re addicted to your phone and want to to do something about it, but are still having a hard time disconnecting. Well, there might be a way to trick yourself into not overusing your phone on a daily basis.

The hack is to turn your phone grayscale, and it works simply because it makes your phone less appealing.

According to the New York Times, app makers are actually working with companies to scan “electrical activity of the brain while a consumer is interacting with a phone, such as texting and scrolling Facebook.”

They know that using certain colors can help draw you to tap on their app over a different one, and your attention is extremely valuable to them.

Turning your phone gray effectively makes scrolling through Instagram about as visually appealing as scrolling through your work email.

gray home

Going gray will be a punch to the eyes

When I first said goodbye to color and enabled grayscale, my first reaction was: Wow, this is surprisingly relaxing. It’s awesome to see an iPhone X with bright, vivid colors, but, on the flip side, grey tones can be very calming and pleasant on the eyes.

Additionally, the playing field is leveled. Each of the apps on your homescreen is now equal to the one next to it. In that way, it’s a bit jarring that no one app is luring your eyes more than another.

After activating grayscale, I was constantly reminded that I was using my phone. I felt a lot less compelled to aimlessly browse and poke around with the dull shades, versus a bright and stimulating array of color.

gray map

As relaxing and interesting as the phone is to look at through grayscale eyes, I think it’d take a very long time ignore the lack of color.

Interestingly, Google just announced its focus on digital wellness, which included a bunch of uses of gray to help people disconnect easier. One it will be implementing is  Wind Down which fades your phone screen from color to gray once it reaches a preset bedtime.

I have a feeling we’ll begin to see a new, obvious trend in how companies use color, or a lack thereof; and how they acknowledge the importance of being able to disconnect.

What to give gray a go?

Here’s how:

Settings app > General > Accessibility > Display Accommodations > Color Filters > toggle Color Filters on > select Grayscale from the list underneath

(Should you have a visual disability, this may also serve as a reminder that selecting between the available color filters may help you see your phone better in general.)

Note: this feature is just a filter for what you’re seeing. It does not affect how the phone normally behaves. For example, if you take a send a picture, it’s still taken in color. If you take a screenshot, it’s still in color. You’re not forcing others to live the grayscale lifestyle too.

Posted on

Hot Or Not: First Look At New Snapchat Spectacles Sunglasses

spectacles featured

Here’s our first look and impressions with Snap’s new Spectacles sunglasses. The previous version was released a year ago, but Snap, parent company of Snapchat, is back with the second generation, trying to get people to put cameras on their face.

spectacles gif

All things considered, version 2 is a very cautious update, tweaking the design slightly to be less obvious. The biggest change to the glasses comes in the form of adding water resistance. You can now bring them in the pool, rain, and generally anywhere you’d wear sunglasses. You no longer have to worry about getting them wet.

The sunglasses with a built in camera still work the same as before. Hit the button, record a short video and share it to Snapchat or export it other places.

What’s new?

  • Colors – new colors for the glasses and multiple choices for lens.
  • Water resistant – Don’t call it waterproof! But they should be fine anywhere you’d wear regular sunglasses, i.e. pool, beach, rain.
  • Pictures – Beyond just 10 or 60 second videos, you can now snap pictures with the glasses.

spectacles two gif

Version 2 can store up to 3,000 pictures or 150 hours of video and comes with a battery case (a bit thinner overall) to give the glasses four, full additional charges.

Is it worth it to wear a camera on your face?

After a weekend with the new Spectacles, this new version really does address some of the roadblocks that prevented version 1 from becoming more successful.

No one seemed to notice that my sunglasses had a camera in them. No strange looks or questions. The removal of the yellow ring around the camera lens is likely the most helpful in this regard.

Even my kids were surprised and a bit confused at how I had taken video of us playing kickball at the park because they hadn’t seen me take out my phone at all. The action of tapping a button on your sunglasses is subtle enough to go unnoticed.

These new glasses will be fun to use in water, throughout the summer. The water resistance should open up more opportunities you’d naturally want to capture memories, but usually not have your phone readily available.

One of the phrases printed on the Spectacles container is “Share your perspective” and I think that’s the potential Spectacles have always held. It’s fun to have a video of exactly what you experienced without a visible camera present. Even after just a short time with version 2, I do think Snap is onto something here and smart for updating the original glasses.

V2 on the left, V1 on the right
Posted on

9 Hidden iPhone Settings That Will Change Everything

control center iphone

Want to blow your mind? Open the settings app on your iPhone and be amazed at what helpful features are hiding there that could change how you use your phone every day.

Type better one handed

You can make the keyboard slide over to the left or right hand side of your screen which makes it easier to use with one hand.

Settings->General->Keyboard->One Handed Keyboard

You can also long press on the emoji icon anywhere the keyboard comes up and select the keyboard screen location.

Access more apps from the lock screen

On iOS 11 (the newest version) you can customize which icons and shortcuts you see on Control Center (the screen with brightness and calculator).

Settings->Control Center->Customize Controls

You can make shortcuts to a bunch of fun things, including screen recording.

See your notifications from across the room

Want your phone to light up each time you get a message or notification so you’ll have a visual cue for new notification? This works great at loud venues, but isn’t so bright that it’s annoying at home.

Settings->General->Accessibility->Hearing section->LED Flash for Alerts

Clear out old junk

Even if you’re not stressed over space on your phone, you may want to get rid of large and forgotten pictures, videos, or gifs piling up in your messages.

Settings->General->iPhone Storage->Review Large Attachments

You can also see these under the details of individual messages, but checking this from the settings pools all the attachments together for an easier view.

Know your phone’s battery health

If you think you’re battery isn’t lasting as long as it used to – especially if your phone is more than 2 years old – you can check that. You can also see if your phone is slowing down to keep your battery from shutting off your phone. More battery info available in our other posts.

Settings->Battery->Battery Health (Beta)

Find old passwords

When you enter a password on a website and Safari asks if you want to save it, there’s actually a place they are going. Next time you need to find a password that you haven’t used in a while, check here.

Settings->Accounts & Passwords->App & Website Passwords

Let people know you’ve seen their message

text message

Turn on read receipts so people can see if you’ve read your messages.

Settings->Messages-> Send Read Receipts

You can turn it on individually, for a few significant others you’d never ghost. This isn’t about people ignoring you, but it’s nice to know whether they’re busy and just haven’t seen the message yet.

I mean, it’d be nice to know whether your spouse saw the text about needing deli meat from the grocery store and realize you should give them a call before it’s too late.

On a specific message tap the circled i in the top right corner and then turn on read receipts. (Tell the other person to turn this on for you if you want to see too!)

Locate your parked car

apple parked car

You can turn on and off whether Apple Maps automatically drops a pin on the location of where you parked your car so you can find it later. This is for all the Apple Maps users out there.

Settings->Maps->Show Parked Location

Keep the camera on the last used mode

The default action for the camera app is to go back to “photo” next time you use it (after a few minutes). You can change that so it always opens with the last mode you used, i.e. panorama, video, square, etc…

Settings->Camera->Preserve Settings->Camera Mode

You can also have it default to your last used lighting and filter options under the same settings menu.

Posted on

Fresh Friday: New Music From Selena Gomez, Ty Dolla $ign, Plus New Movies In Theaters

fresh friday 2

Listen to this

Selena Gomez released a new song called “Back to You” which will be featured on the upcoming second season of the Netflix show, 13 Reasons Why.

Charlie Puth dazzles with his new album Voicenotes.

“New Light” is a surprise new song from John Mayer. Ty Dolla $ign released the album Beach House 3, not to be confused with the indie rock band Beach House which also put out a new album today called 7.

If that’s not enough, there’s also new music from pop singer Tove Styrke, rising alternative band Courtship., and crooner Ellie Schmidly–all of which are worth your time.

Movies now in theaters

Life of the party: Melissa McCarthy is in it, need you say more? Even if the movie is a dud, the larger-than-life actress typically provides enough value to justify a movie’s ticket price.

Breaking in: This film looks like an intense scene from a movie or TV show that got expanded into a whole movie. It appears to be trying gain favor with audiences by tapping into most people’s primal fears and instincts around home robberies. Hopefully there’s a little more depth than meets the eye in the trailer.

Other need-to-know things from the week

  • Spotify is removing R. Kelly’s music from its curated playlists because of repeat allegations of sexual abuse; and will presumably be doing this with more artists in the future.
  • Say goodbye to Brooklyn Nine-Nine, Fox decided to cancel the show after five seasons.
  • Early reviews and hype for the new Star Wars movie, Solo is strong. This should help fans breathe a little easier until they can see it for themselves in a few weeks.
Posted on

The Best Podcast App Includes This One Amazing Feature

podcast app

There are a dozen decent apps that you can use to listen to podcasts across Android and iOS; but they’ve become so similar that the biggest difference is how they look.

Podcast apps like Castro and Apple’s default podcast app are fine and provide plenty of functionality, but, after venturing out and trying some new ones, I found it nearly impossible to switch away from the podcast app Overcast, for one simple reason:

Overcast includes a feature called Smart Speed.

overcast podcast app

Smart Speed shortens the silence gaps between people speaking and helps you get through podcast episodes quicker, without having to listen to the whole thing at an unnatural speed.

Typically, if you want to listen to something faster, you play the whole thing at 1.25x or 1.5x the original speed. Speeding the whole thing up doesn’t sound great and can make listening harder. Dynamically shortening the silence between talking, moves things along without making people sound funny.

Smart Speed sounds neat, but is making the short time between people speaking really saving that much time? Yes. After two years, Smart Speed has trimmed 77 hours off the podcasts I’ve listened to inside Overcast.

Put another way, I’ve saved more than 3 days of listening time.

smart speed overcast

In addition to Smart Speed, another feature called Smart Resume now intelligently resumes playing a few seconds earlier than when the episode was paused or stopped (without starting in the middle of a word). A less significant feature, but equally as nice to have.

Overall, Overcast is a fantastic podcast playing app and well worth trying out–especially because it’s the only app to have a Smart Speed type of feature. It’s available for iPhones and iPads in the App Store.

Posted on

Why It’s Okay If You Hated Marvel’s Avengers: Infinity War

marvel avengers

Even if you loved the new Avengers: Infinity War movie, let’s admit that it wasn’t the perfect film and there are reasons that some people might not have liked it.

There were a lot of characters and very few were explained

Featuring all (or most) of the characters from Marvel’s comic book universe is a rad idea and, for every person that saw all of the movies leading up to this point, it paid off in a big way. Unfortunately, those who didn’t hand over hundreds of dollars to Disney for that pleasure could quickly become less in the loop as the movie plays out.

There just isn’t enough time to explain each character’s backstory – that was the purpose of their individual movies. But needing to see each of those is a bit crazy. Seriously though, who is Vision and what other movie was he in?

Two part movies suck, every single time

Infinity War did a fine job handling part one of a long story split into two parts, but, in the end, it means you still need to see two movies instead of one to get the whole thing. There’s a semi-ending, so you shouldn’t be angry over a full-on cliffhanger, but [redacted] sitting [redacted] shouldn’t be fooling anyone.

Even if you discount corporate greed and assume a movie with a big cast and a long narrative needs four plus hours to tell its story, cutting it into two parts means that not every single person who saw part one will see part two. Those people don’t get the whole story and that’s a shame.

Was it a actually a funny movie?

Thor: Ragnarok is a good example of a movie littered with quick, throwaway joke after throwaway joke. There was enough “quick wit” that I thought it was pretty hilarious the first time around, but after a second viewing, those jabs didn’t have the same weight behind them and felt like the movie lacked substance. Infinity War felt similar with the way characters were introduced through thinly veiled wit, instead of genuinely funny parts.

Here’s the deal

In theory, Avengers: Infinity War is less of a traditional summer blockbuster and more of a Hollywood experiment in fan loyalty–one which could have easily backfired, but didn’t.

The premise that you can put a double-digit number of A-list movie stars in a single (two parts, of course) film and have enough time to make their roles more than just cameos, is pretty much impossible; so Infinity War requires that moviegoers invest in all (or most) of the stars’ individual movies proceeding this film.

If you’ve been following along from the beginning, great, this movie was made for you. Enjoy it. If you haven’t followed the super hero scene too closely over the years, however, don’t worry about not liking Infinity War. As an individual movie, it was just fine.

Posted on

Google Just Blew Our Mind With These 4 New Announcements

google conference

Google announced all kinds of cool new things at its annual I/O conference–from robots making our phone calls to a colorless phone screen. Seriously. Read on to have your mind blown about all the new features.

Google Assistant

Google performed some black magic with a demo of a person asking (speaking or typing) Assistant to make them a haircut appointment. Google Assistant then called the salon on its own, used a fake human voice to talk to the person answering the phone, and then let the person know when the task was completed and added to their calendar.

Plus, just for fun, Google Assistant is gaining the ability to speak to you with a few popular celebrities like John Legend.

Google Lens

Google Lens is Google’s visual search which uses the phone’s camera to better and automatically understand the world you’re standing in currently.

New features coming to Google Lens includes the ability to point your phone’s camera at a book, drag your finger across the screen on top of the text, and have that text instantly copied to your phone.

lens copy paste

It will soon be able to do Style Match and look at furniture or clothing and determine other matching items to go with it. You could buy a couch, and then use it to determine what type of end tables best go with it. Google Lens should be able to answer matching question for you, without directly asking, just pointing your camera at it.

Android P (new Android software)

Android P is the new, yearly operating system update for compatible phones. A bunch of the stand out features focus around intelligence, simplicity, digital wellbeing.

Intelligence

  • Adaptive Battery will figure out your usage patterns and make even smarter decisions to preserve battery life longer.
  • Adaptive Brightness will now account for personal preference in addition to auto brightness and be smarter about your screen brightness.
  • App Actions will first predict which app you want to use (based on time of day and patterns) and then predict what you want to do with that app and provide an action without having to go into the app.

Simplicity

  • A simpler home screen design in Android P will use more swipes to move around including swipe up to see your recent apps–think iPhone X and how its gestures work.
  • Android P will also change the side volume buttons to change media volume by default, instead of your ringer, because most people don’t want videos to blast unexpectedly.

Digital wellbeing

  • A new dashboard will show how you’re spending your time on your phone. Including items like, how many times you unlock your phone in a day, detailed app usage, and total YouTube watch time across your phone and other computers.
  • App Timer – you’ll be able to allocate an amount of time you want to use a specific app in a day and once you reach that amount of time the icon will become grayed out.
  • Wind Down – instead of your phone keeping you up in bed, it will try and put you to sleep. Tell it what time you want to go to bed and the screen will fade from color to grayscale when you reach your “bedtime.”

google wind down feature

Google Maps

Google Maps is critical to people getting around, but not without its pain points. The example Google showed was getting off the subway and not knowing how you are oriented and which direction to head in, to continue following the directions.

Google Maps is adding augmented reality to Maps, so when you hold up the phone and it uses the camera, Maps can overlay arrows, street names, and other information on top of the real world you are seeing through the camera.

google maps ar directions

There might even be a cute animated pet which you can follow and will lead you in the right direction in a future update.

Google Maps will also be adding a new section called “For You” with personalized recommendations of businesses and things around you at any given moment. with a “your match” scores comparing your info with what google knows about these places

Posted on

4 Instant Coffee Choices That Don’t Taste Terrible

instant coffee

Imagine being able to bring delicious tasting coffee with you on an airplane, when you go camping, or even just to the office each day, without the aid of a coffee maker or a barista? It could be life changing. Unfortunately, most instant coffees to-date have been instant crap. But that could all change thanks to a few startups who are trying to buck that stereotype.

sudden coffee instant
Sudden Coffee tubes

It can be tough to go against incumbents like Folders, Nescafe, Mount Hagen, or Starbucks so these new small companies are first focusing on making really good coffee; and second, make it happen in an instant.

Sudden Coffee

Sudden Coffee delivers its new blend in unique tubes–which can also double as coffee stirrers. It’s a monthly subscription plan so you’re committing to at least $8/month. Sudden Coffee does offer a free sample so you can try before you buy.

Swift Cup

Swift Cup is ‘single purchase’ packs of 6 cups, which works out to around $2-$3 per cup, depending on the flavor you choose.

Voila Coffee

Throwing it all on the table, Voila Coffee claims to the be the “world’s best instant coffee.” While taste is relative, they back up that claim with testimonials from legit coffee people like the head of quality assurance at Stumptown who says, “… It’s the best in the field I’ve had…”.

Go Cubes

For those times when you’d rather have your coffee delivered as a solid versus liquid. In that case, check out Go Cubes which promise half a cup of coffee in each cube. It looks like a gummy cube, tastes kinda like a gummy cube, and gets the job done in terms of pep.

Posted on

Fresh Friday: New Music And Movies Out Now (May 4th)

friday music movies

May the 4th be with you today? It might be if you check out these fresh media releases.

Music

For those into some soulful folk, Leon Bridges is the latest rising star you need to know. On his new album Good Thing, Bridges also adds pop influences into the mix and the result is an addictive groove.

Be sure to also check out Mat Kearney’s Crazytalk, Shawn Mendes’ new single, “Youth” featuring Khalid. Rae Sremmurd released Sr3mm with a whopping 27 tracks, and if you’re into it, Christina Aguilera is back with the Kanye West produced song “Accelerate.”

What are you listening to today?

Movies

Watch the trailers for Tully and Bad Samarian, both movies in theaters starting today.

Other media items from this past week

  • Fortnite Season 4 launched this week
  • God of War sold more than 3 million copies to become the fastest selling PS4 exclusive release
  • Deadpool 2 release a new music video with Celine Dion called “Ashes”
Posted on

Music Hype: Kid Astray Interview

kid astray photo

Kid Astray is your next need-to-know band dropping fire through your headphones. Their self-described music is “tangy pop with heavy nods towards indie and rock.” They have been steadily releasing killer tracks since 2013, continually whittling away fluff from their songs and replacing it with increasingly addictive melodies. For comparison sake, they say to think Foster The People, a direct and early influence of the band members.

Hear more from Kid Astray about what drives their music and what apps keep them creative.

The Digital Hype: How do you think your music has changed from your first album in ~2013 to this new EP in 2018?

Kid Astray: It’s interesting that you’re asking just that, as one of the main reasons this EP is quite different from ‘Home Before The Dark’ is because our focus and goals were quite different.

Back then we really focused on making it as catchy and fluent as possible, and we worked with a lot of different songwriters and a producer to try and force our sound to progress fast. It was a great experience that we learned a lot from, so it’s not something we regret in any way, but with this EP we’ve sort of done the opposite. Gone back to just writing something that we think is cool, doing everything from production to the artwork ourselves.

TDH: What songs are you seeing people responding to the most so far?

KA: The singles from our debut album have the best streaming numbers, “Back To The Ordinary” in particular. That’s kinda cool, because it was the one track on the album we spent the most time on, and we initially had some serious doubts about it. Right now we’re very excited to see how people like the new tracks.

They’re five pretty different tracks, showcasing different aspects of Kid Astray.

TDH: Are there any political or social issues that have influenced your music?

KA: It’s sort of inevitable to be influenced by politics and social stuff, obviously. We have never actually written an intended political song, and have sort of steered consciously away from that area, as it doesn’t really align with our wishes and visions. But we do voice our opinions  other places.

TDH: As musicians in the digital age, are there any apps you would consider indispensable to your creation process or performances?

KA: Uuuh, cool question!

  • Shazam and Soundhound, definitely. Inspiration can come everywhere, and it really helps to be able to find out what that awesome tune is anywhere anytime.
  • Apple’s own recording app is a must for recording melodies and early demos, and a great tool for songwriting. An idea for a song might present itself at any time, so it is really important to record it before it’s gone, even though it might be a bit awkward to be singing into your phone on a bus or a train. Apple´s note app for writing down lyrics and everything.
  • WhatsApp for keeping all our super secret conversations  and personal jokes… well, secret.

TDH: What social network/platform has been the most beneficial so far and you see being important into the future?

Facebook and Instagram are the boring but truthful answer. They’re both getting increasingly difficult to work with, with posts having little to no impact unless you know the mysterious algorithms or throw some money on it.

I think now Spotify is gradually turning into the single most important arena for promoting music, occupying a lot of the space that social media, and even music press used to occupy. At least in Scandinavia.

If you’re really good with videos, YouTube is really cool and great hub for bands, so we hope to do a lot more there in the future. But it’s really hard to tell, since these things change really fast.

 

Be sure to follow the band on Twitter, Spotify, Apple Music, Instagram, and all other places quality music is found.

Posted on

The Cheapest Way To Stream All Your Favorite Shows And Movies

tv streaming

There are somewhere between one to two billion content streaming services available now. It’s crazy how many companies want you to pay a monthly fee to watch movies and TV shows or listen to music from them.

Let’s “desert island” this topic and see if we can’t narrow the choices down a bit to help you save some money stop subscribing to services just out of knee-jerk reaction.

Selection – it’s all about those originals and exclusives

Netflix has too many originals to list out, but some of its standouts include: Stranger Things, The Crown, Master of None, Jessica Jones, Black Mirror, House of Cards, 13 Reasons Why, and Narcos.

Hulu is newer to the originals game, but they get it and have some along with some exclusives: Handmaid’s Tale, Seinfeld, The Mindy Project, and 11.22.63.

Amazon Prime hasn’t slouched on originals, including: The Grand Tour, Lore, The Lost City of Z, The Big Sick, Electric Dreams, Mozart in the Jungle, and The Man in the High Castle.

While Sling TV does offer any original content, it might provide you an exclusive opportunity to watch things like Sunday Night Baseball on ESPN. The basic, lowest-priced Sling TV package includes channels like: ESPN, AMC, CNN, Comedy Central, Cartoon Network, the Disney Channel,TNT, IFC and A&E.

Spotify, Apple Music, and Tidal are all consistently close to the amount of music each service offers. While they each have gotten exclusive releases in the past, none have been forever and typically don’t last longer than a year at the very most.

YouTube Red has a lock on a bunch of top tier YouTube creators so you want the latest and greatest from Roman Atwood or Rhett & Link you’ll probably be seeing red in your future. YouTube Red’s new show Cobra Kai, however, which is the continuation of The Karate Kid movie looks amazing and almost worth a subscription for it alone.

YouTube Red also includes access to YouTube Music to stream music without ads and with the YouTube app not as the front-most app (which is a big deal).

Availability – what devices can I watch my shows on?

Netflix: Even your toaster can now play Netflix. Seriously though, it would be a shorter to mention devices that can’t play Netflix.

Hulu: iOS, Android, Web, Apple TV, Roku, Fire TV, TiVo, Xbox, Playstation

Amazon Prime: iOS, Android, Web, Apple TV, Roku, Fire TV, TiVo, Xbox, Playstation

Sling TV: iOS, Android, Web, Chromecast, Apple TV, Roku, Fire TV, Xbox One

Spotify: iOS, Android, Mac, Windows, Web, Android Auto, CarPlay, Sonos

Apple Music: iOS, Android, Mac, Windows, Android Auto, CarPlay, Sonos

YouTube Red: iOS, Android, Chromecast, Android TV, Apple TV, Xbox, Wii U, PlayStation, Roku

Price –  OK, how much is all this gonna cost?

Spotify: $9.99/month

Apple Music: $9.99/month or $99/year

Tidal: $9.99/month (standard quality) $19.99 (lossless quality)

Amazon Prime Video: $8.99/month
YouTube Red: $9.99/month

Netflix: $10.99/month (default streaming option)

Hulu: $7.99/month
Sling TV: $20/month (~25 channels) $25/month (~40 channels)

Here’s where things get tricky. While each of these streaming services typically reside between $10-$20/month, there are some ways to combine multiple ones and save a few bucks.

  • Spotify + Hulu = $12.99/month [Savings of $4.99]
  • Amazon Prime Video = free [With the purchase of Prime two-day shipping $99/year]
  • T-Mobile = free MLB TV subscription
  • Prime Video + HBO = same cost [Even though Amazon lets you watch HBO through Prime Video, there’s no cost savings to the bundle. Bummer.]

Choose 3!

To maximize value and variety, I’d go for 1 music service, 1 on-demand video service, and 1 live TV service. Here are the 3 services I’d pick:

Spotify + Hulu = $12.99/month

Sling TV = $20/month

Total = $32.99/month

Gotta have a music service so if I pick Spotify I can save $5/month by also picking Hulu for access to a bunch of rad TV shows and new(er) movies. Sling TV (Orange) gets me ESPN as well as History Channel, TBS, and a bunch of other live broadcast TV channels.

What would you pick?

Posted on

The Everyday Guide To Preserving Your Phone’s Battery

power time

True or false, if you use the wrong app, you could damage your phone’s battery? This is false, but there are still a lot of questions about how you should charge your phone and what things may lessen the longevity of a battery’s life.

Battery questions have long been in the back of people’s minds, but Apple brought this more to light with iOS 11.3 and the addition of its battery-health indicator which measures the long term health of your phone’s battery and tries to maximize its performance and life.

Let’s dig into some of these questions and see if you should change any of your battery behaviors.

Is there anything my phone’s battery can’t handle?

Your battery doesn’t like physical damage, like being tossed into a fire or something else crazy. But in terms of general phone usage, your battery is resilient to refreshing Instagram thousands of times.

Play all the video games you normally would, leave your phone plugged into a charger if you feel like it, and don’t worry about letting your phone hit 0%. Your battery should be fine for years.

How do I get my phone’s battery to last through an entire day?

There are a few things you should watch out for to make sure you aren’t losing unnecessary battery life on a daily basis. One thing you should NOT be doing, though, is force quitting all apps on your phone after each use. That WILL NOT help and could be using more battery life. (What does this mean? Check out why that is…)

If you think your daily battery should be lasting longer than it is, your first visit should be to the battery section in the settings app. Both iOS and Android provide details on how much battery different apps are using.

Warning: be prepared to have your eyes opened if you’re scrolling Instagram for hours a day.

Keep an eye open for unusual activity such as long usage in the background (continued use, while not visible on screen) which could be taking unnecessary battery life.

If everything looks normal in the battery section of the settings app you can tweak a few other settings, such as lowering the brightness of your screen and turning off a notifications (which can light up your screen everytime they come in). [screenshot]

If you’re constantly running out of battery life despite taking these precautions, you may just be a “power user,” in which case, there’s a simple solution: pick up a portable battery to recharge your phone between the early morning and late night. This won’t tie you to an outlet and can provide as much extra battery life as you’re willing to pay for.

Say I want to live the ideal battery lifestyle, how would I do that?

So you want your battery to #liveitsbestlife on a daily basis and prolong the health of your phone’s battery long into the future? More power to you. Here are some of the key points that manufactures like Apple recommend in prolonging the life of their phone’s battery:

  • Keep it comfy – Batteries like to be comfortable and that means keeping your phone (and its battery) between 32-95 degrees fahrenheit. Basically the same temperatures that work for humans. (Don’t leave your phone in a hot car!)
  • Update! – Stop ignoring those reminders and keep your phone’s software up-to-date. Both iOS and Android devices heavily manage the phone’s hardware through its software and having the most up-to-date version means that your phone will have the latest tips and tricks to keep it running smoothly.
  • Disconnect – When you phone doesn’t have a strong connection to a cellular connection (like when it goes back and forth between one bar and “no signal”) it then works the hardest to search for a better signal. Avoid areas with poor connectivity to your provider or turn off cellular in your phone’s settings to avoid a big power drain.
  • Locate – Most people have used GPS to navigate somewhere and understand it is a heavy user of battery life. Just be aware that apps that constantly use your location like maps and Uber are a bit more heavy on the battery and shouldn’t be planned to used for hours without a backup charging plan.
  • Certify – Anything electrical you plug into your phone  should be good quality. For Apple, that means MFI certified (Made for iPhone, iPad, iPod). For others, it should be sold by a reputable reseller–probably not that rando gas station in the middle of nowhere. While modern phones are extremely safe, plugging them into a janky charger could definitely cause explosive issues.
Posted on

5 Reasons To Buy An Apple Watch If You’re On The Fence

fitness watch

Apple Watch went on sale in the U.S. just over three years ago–in April 2015. Considering Apple has dominated the sale of not just smart watches, but all high-end watches, there’s a good chance you’ve considered buying one.

The first question is a typically a variation of: what can it do?

Right now, the Apple Watch is still largely an accessory of the iPhone, used as an extension like the original iPod was an extension of a someone’s personal computer.

Apple Watch is most known for its ability to display notifications and track workout information, but it can do a lot of other cool things. Here’s 5 reasons you might want to add one to your wrist.

Unlock your Mac

Macs with macOS Sierra operating system and later and Apple Watches with the latest software can work together to verify your identity and unlock your computer when you wake it from sleep. It’s usually the small, mundane tasks that create the most irritation, so, being able to sit down, open the lid of your Macbook or wake up your iMac without entering your password (but still keeping your computer secure) is a brilliant thing.

Track your heart rate, minute-by-minute

Going beyond tracking a single workout or taking your pulse once in awhile, continuously tracking your heart rate in the background may prove to be invaluable one day. Your heart rate is a great gauge of overall health and it can be an excellent first indicator if something is wrong or off balance. Apple Watch can track years of data for your doctor, as well as monitor your heart for irregular rhythms.

Quick flashlight

Slide up the control center (quick controls) screen on your Apple Watch and tap the flashlight icon. You’ll see a dim white screen. Rotate your wrist outwards and the light will get brighter to illuminate your way. Rotate your wrist back towards you and the light will get dim again (so it doesn’t blind you when you turn it off).

Gym DJ

The Apple Watch paired with a wireless, Bluetooth, headset can be the only music device you need as your gym-buddy. This has been the case from the beginning, but, in the early days, it was super complicated to use music playback on the watch by itself. Now, updates have  addressed these issues.

Apple Music’s streaming app now comes built in, which means if you’ve got the cellular-connected model of the watch, you can stream your music on the fly (versus having to rely on pre-download songs). Wireless headphones are also easier to pair directly from the watch with the newest software. With these updates, you’re free to throw your phone in your gym locker, shed the extra weight and responsibility, and work out with nothing but your headphones and the watchband.

Help you take better selfies

The camera app on the Apple Watch is not new, but it often gets forgotten and overlooked. Who doesn’t want to take a better selfie without holding the phone? Here’s how it works:

  • Open the app on the watch
  • (the camera app on your phone should open)
  • Set your phone on a tripod or other dock
  • Check the preview on your wrist, then snap your picture
  • Alternatively, you can take a 3-second delayed burst shot with 12 shots in succession