HOW TECH HELPS GHOST HUNTERS FIND WHAT GOES BUMP IN THE NIGHT

Ghost hunting is serious business.

Just ask any of the major cable networks that willingly dedicate hour-long time slots to black T-shirt wearing professionals every week. Once a hobby for curious teenagers and bored housewives, tracking down specters has become a spectator sport, spawning multiple TV shows, including Ghost Adventures and Ghost Hunters. Now, we’re finally seeing what happens when ordinary folks get a chance to hunt in front of millions.

Part of the paranormal industry’s success can be attributed to the public’s belief in the otherworldly beings. A Harris Poll issued in 2013 found that 42% of Americans believe in ghosts, but why are people putting faith in the existence of things they cannot see?

We may have technology to thank for that.

“Each day there are more and more advances in technology allowing us to answer questions that just a few years ago baffled us,” says Michael Rohr, co-founder of Elgin Paranormal Investigators.

Since 2007, Rohr and his team have been investigating local accounts of hauntings in Illinois and Wisconsin.

“We utilize infrared cameras, digital voice recorders, and electro-magnetic field and temperature detectors as the ‘go to’ equipment on all investigations,” Rohr continued.

But in order to understand why any of this technology needs to be used, we need to take a step back and examine the underlying art of ghost hunting.

Believing in the unbelievable

In the paranormal world, most investigators believe that ghosts – humans who have passed away but whose spirits have hung around – can make a physical impact on our environment.

One common assumption is that ghosts can sap the energy out of a space and use it to manifest in different ways. Investigators believe this can result in a change in temperature and electromagnetic energy levels.

In other words, you might start to feel goosebumps or a cold breeze if a ghost has stepped into the room. Some investigators also believe that high electromagnetic levels can contribute to dizziness and anxiety. While electronics can also be affected by these waves of energy, the waves effect ranges from little to none to interfering with small devices such as pacemakers and quartz watches.

However, electromagnetic fields (EMF) are around us every day, stemming from devices such as microwaves, power lines and televisions. While monitoring tools haven’t always been associated with detecting the paranormal, a number of these devices have quietly seeped into the field of ghost hunting.

“The EMF meter was originally made to diagnose problems with electrical wiring, power lines and to get readings on appliances,” says Betty Dupont with Paranormal Investigators of New England. “The ghost hunting community quickly latched on to these as the go-to item as the theory [that] spirits could cause electrical disturbances in the environment evolved.”

“During the investigation, it can also be used as a response tool for question and answer sessions,” she added.

Talking to the dead might seem impossible, but detecting any electromagnetic changes in the atmosphere and temperature fluctuations could be inferred as a response from ghosts.

In some cases, investigators tweak existing technology to help them with their research.

“The SB-7 Spirit Box is just a radio scanner and speaker that generates white noise so the spirits can use it to speak,” says Jeff Young, a member of Arkansas Paranormal Investigations. “We have talked to several different spirits this way.”

Communication is a big part of paranormal investigations, and there are many basic pieces of technology that can capture the voices of lost souls. These days, digital recorders are the go-to for investigators, but in the past, it wasn’t uncommon to pull out a tape recorder.

“You can purchase these recorders at any Wal-Mart, and they are very affordable,” Young notes. “We just turn them on and carry them around or set them down on a table and just let them record. Later, when we are reviewing the evidence, we discover that we caught whispers or voices that didn’t come from our teammates.”

Sometimes, the simple approach is best, and investigators have the evidence to prove it.

“We have caught an out-of-breath soldier running up to our team, as well as names, phrases, and answers to questions we’ve asked,” says Young. “These voices are classified as EVPs, or electronic voice phenomena, meaning you can only hear them through the recording device. If you are able to audibly hear a voice, it falls under the classification of disembodied voices.”

Tools of the trade

When paranormal investigators aren’t trying to listen for the exact causes of cold chills and creepy feelings, they tap into technology to capture visual evidence as well.

In order to photograph spirits, ghost hunters turn to infrared and ultraviolet light.

“‘Ghosts’ may only be visible in those wavelengths, which most humans cannot see but unfiltered digital sensors and some photographic films are able to record,” explains New England Investigator Anthony Duda.

Duda, who has been investigating the paranormal for more than 25 years, is all about getting to the bottom of paranormal activity for his clients. In his line of work, he uses both still cameras and video camcorders.

Tune in to any of the ghost hunting programs on television and you’ll see investigators using simple recording equipment, too. You may even be inspired to whip out your digital camera the next time you’re walking through an old building. However, you might need to splurge a little if you’re as serious as the professionals.

“The basic and affordable components of a ghost hunter’s toolbox in order of use and importance are the digital camera, audio recorder, EMF detector, and remote temperature sensor,” says Tom Elliott of Boston Paranormal Investigators.

“The total price tag for these would be less than $250. Beyond that, there are all sorts of sophisticated tools such as thermal cameras ($3,000 and up). Generally, new technologies are coming on the market yearly, but limited funding puts them beyond the reach of most groups.”

The evolution of the hunt

To give spooked homeowners some peace of mind, it takes a lot of technology to hone in on the cause of the paranormal activity, and most investigators can agree that it’s come a long way. Furthermore, technology is still evolving.

“I have seen new gadgets, like the ‘Paranormal Puck’ and the ‘Ghost Light,’ come and go,” says Mike Palmer, founder of the Paranormal Investigators of Northern Kentucky. “Each year there seems to be ‘the next big thing.'”

In some cases, investigators are just as skeptical about new technology as they are about paranormal activity at a new location. Just ask Michael Cardinuto, the founder of Long Island Paranormal Investigators.

“I have seen more and more tech equipment emerge, but in my opinion, new technology isn’t necessarily better for the field,” says Cardinuto. “For instance, 35mm cameras are becoming obsolete and digital cameras seem to be taking over. With a digital camera photo anyone can take that photo and alter it using various different programs.”

Perhaps that’s what using technology for ghost hunting is all about: building credibility and proving that maybe there is more to than the living world. However, most investigators know they shouldn’t rely on their gadgets to figure out what goes bump in the night.

“Some paranormal investigators rely too heavily on technology, often missing the physical, organic evidence,” says Barbara Wright of Cranberry Coast Paranormal. “They are too busy staring at the numbers on their temperature guns and EMF meters to see the apparition that just floated by them.”

As investigators work hard to figure out the paranormal, they have a mountain of technology to confront as well. Luckily, the five basic human senses are affordable resources they can use along the way.

[See more on Tech Radar]

 


10 REASONS WINDOWS 10 IS BETTER THAN CHROME OS AND MAC OS X

[As seen on TechRadar]

Windows 10 will be the latest edition of Microsoft’s operating system, so it’s no wonder that the tech giant has gone all out to make it the best OS to date. Microsoft has already revealed features, such as a smarter Cortana and Xbox integration, that may appeal to existing Windows users and lure those on other operating systems. Here are 10 reasons why Windows 10 could effortlessly pull you away from your Mac or Chrome operating system when it debuts for PCs and tablets on July 29.

1. CORTANA IS BACK AND BETTER THAN EVER.

Forget Siri and all of the other personal assistant bots out there. Cortana is back from her greatly exaggerated death in Halo 4, and she’s better than ever. AMicrosoft blog post that outlined the features of Windows 10, Cortana was branded as the “world’s first truly personal digital assistant.” The tool can even learn your preferences to provide relevant content as you watch media or set reminders. If you once envisioned a world operated by intelligent robots, the future is now.

2. MICROSOFT EDGE MAY BE THE NEXT BEST BROWSER.

If you’re suspicious of Google stealing your information through Chrome or tired of Safari’s inefficiencies, get ready for Microsoft Edge. The new browser, set to debut with Windows 10, is integrated with Cortana. This means you’ll receive streamlined content based on your preferences and browsing habits. Edge may just outdo Google when it comes to guessing your next move on the Internet, which is a good thing – right?

On top of one-upping Google’s search engine, Microsoft promises Edge has been built as a safer browser. A new Passport feature, for example, will add a layer of authentication to ensure you are actually you when visiting secure sites. Edge also incorporates a browser and Windows Shell SmartScreen, which will flag users of malicious software installs.

3. IT’S HEAVEN FOR XBOX GAMERS.

With Windows 10, Microsoft very obviously made an attempt to please gamers. For the first time, Xbox will officially be integrated with the operating system when it debuts, which means that everything from gameplay recording to streaming can be done in sync with any Windows 10 device. It’s a neat feature that will help reduce the number of family feuds and fights with friends over who gets to use the big-screen TV.

4. ONEDRIVE MAKES LIFE OH-SO-MUCH EASIER.

Microsoft has pushed OneDrive hard with its promotion of Windows 10, and for good reason. OneDrive has a lot of features worth acknowledging, aside from its basic storage capabilities. Windows users are able to begin a project on one device, then carry it over to another Windows, Android or iOS device, thanks to OneDrive’s synchronization over the cloud.

Microsoft also gives 15GB of storage to Windows users for free, and unlimited storage to Office 365 subscribers. To be fair, Google also offers 15GB of free Drive space, but either way it’s better than the measly 5GB that comes with Apple’s iCloud.

5. HELLO MICROSOFT SECURITY

Windows Hello is a new security feature that focuses on making sure you are you. It greets users and allows them to log into their device with their face, iris or finger.

It’s the latest HAL 9000-like software from Microsoft that could get tech geeks squealing in delight. Not to mention it’s also a pretty advanced security measure compared to old school passwords.

6. THE WINDOWS STORE HAS GOTTEN BETTER. REALLY.

The Windows Store didn’t always have the latest and greatest apps, even if you were just looking for something basic to use for daily productivity or socialization. However, it’s come a long way since the beginning with new additions such as Drawboard PDF and GoToMeeting. Now, Microsoft has promised that its apps will be ready to wow you come Windows 10.

There have been upgrades to the Mail, Calendar, Music and Photos apps, for starters. Additionally, Microsoft says app installation and uninstallation is easier than ever. There’s also a wider range of payment methods available to users around the world.

7. THE RISE OF 2-IN-1 DEVICES.

It’s no secret that 2-in-1 devices are on the rise. Shipment of these products isexpected to rise from 235 million in 2015 to 269 million by 2019. With that in mind, Microsoft is preparing for it with the development of Continuum.

Continuum will allow 2-in-1 devices to smoothly transition from tablet-to-PC mode (and vice versa), allowing you to work in any circumstance.

8. OFFICE APPS ARE A CHA–CHA-CHANGING

Microsoft has confirmed that Windows 10 users will have access to new universal Windows applications for Word, Excel and PowerPoint. Additionally, it’s worth noting that the apps will all be available for purchase separately, meaning you don’t need to invest in the whole Microsoft Office suite if you only want one program.

For Windows 10, these apps were designed with touch controls from the ground up. There are now touch-first controls in Excel on Windows 10 for editing without a mouse or keyboard. As more devices come with touchscreens, this may become a must-have feature for consumers.

9. SELECTIVE BUSINESS UPDATES MAKE IT LIFE EASIER.

With Windows 10, Microsoft will roll out the Windows Update for Business. This update will come with distribution rings, where IT professionals can choose which devices receive updates. Additionally, IT will be able to decide when updates should – and should not – occur, according to specific time frames.

Peer-to-peer delivery will enable IT to roll out updates in line with the various bandwidths of company branches. Finally, the Enterprise Mobility Suite and System Center can be integrated seamlessly with the update as well. Overall, Microsoft aims to reduce management costs with the Windows Update for Business.

10. WINDOWS 10 TACKLES CYBER SECURITY CONCERNS.

Like Windows 8 and 8.1 before it, Windows 10 will come with Windows Defender, the company’s free anti-malware protection. Microsoft has also stressed its commitment to provide ongoing security updates for the supported lifetime of its devices. It’s a far cry of the built-in security that comes on Macs and Chrome OS, which is to say none really.


BREAKAWAY, AN ONLINE SOCCER GAME, IS CHANGING THE WAY PEOPLE THINK ABOUT VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN

Violence against women and girls can be difficult to talk about, which is why one interactive game is trying to do so in a more universal language: soccer. Breakaway, as it’s been named, originally debuted in 2010.

The free video game was created with help from more than 60 students, teachers and staff members at Champlain College in Vermont to raise awareness of this all-too-common type of violence.

The game is easy enough — users are asked to create an account and practice their virtual soccer skills. However, dialogue within the game brings up sensitive issues, such as how to react to violent situations. It also presses the players to think about the equality of men and women.

Since the game’s debut, it has been played in 180 countries and translated in four different languages. It comes with a facilitator’s guide for educators who want to give students a little extra activity to jog their minds after playing the game.

In 2012, an educational camp model surrounding the game was developed and launched in Hebron, Palestine. The goal was to combine the facilitator’s guides with the video game in an effort to effectively address violence issues on a local level. This model was eventually rolled out in El Salvador in 2013 and 2014.

In 2013, researchers from SUNY Buffalo were finally able to show the impact of these camps with study data. On a five-star rating scale, participants at the El Salvador camp ranked their experience at a 4.92, while facilitators gave it a 4.66.

“Despite the social norms against gender equality in El Salvador, our participants obtained useful knowledge about violence against women and girls, strategies against bullying, favorable attitude and behavioral tendencies toward women’s rights at the end of a 5-day camp,” the study authors wrote in their report. “Our findings demonstrated how the media and social networks complement each other and produce desirable social change outcomes.”

In an effort to extend upon the success seen with the camps, Champlain College’s Breakaway developers are looking to raise money to create a Mandarin translation of the game. As of May 16, it has raised $4,000 of its $18,500 goal.

The United Nations Population Fund sponsors Breakaway, and Emergent Media Center and Population Media Center helped developed the game.

[As seen in: Tech Times]


LINE, THE MESSAGING APP, HAS LAUNCHED A DELIVERY SERVICE APP IN THAILAND

In an effort to start monetizing its delivery service concept, Line has launched a new segment called Line Man in partnership with Lalamove, a logistics startup.

After previewing it for weeks, the chat app finally pushed Line Man live last week for Android and iOS. App shoppers can have products delivered to them by a driver on a motorbike, like a personal butler.

Ariya Banomyong, the managing director of Line Thailand, spoke about the launch with Post and Parcel in an interview on May 16. He stated that the goal of Line Man is to help more local businesses leverage digital tools to provide on-demand delivery services to Thai residents.

Santit Jirawongkraisorn, co-founder and managing director of Lalamove Thailand, added that small- and medium-sized businesses will be the primary targets this year for Line Man.

Line Man, which will initially stay in Thailand for its pilot run, gives locals the opportunity to order food from restaurants in the database app, Wongnai. Then, products are delivered through Lalamove’s fleet of motorcycles. As of now, cash payments are being accepted for the service.

However, Line Man isn’t limited to just restaurants — it’s marketed as a delivery service for parcel transport and grocery orders, too. The drivers who hop on the motorcycles for delivery are decked out in bright green jackets with Line’s emoji characters on their backs.

On average, about 215 million of Line’s registered users are active each month. Line’s executives claim that the company reeled in $1.1 billion in sales in 2015.

In the U.S., Line may not be one of the most talked-about or used apps. However, the Tokyo-based app is booming across Asia. Despite just launching five years ago, Line has more than one billion global registered users.

On May 13, new research showed that Line has beaten its rivals in sales of applications available in the Google Play Store for the fourth year in a row. In terms of downloads, Facebook still ranked number one, followed by WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger and Instagram.

Line also announced in April that it would be looking to launch its own smartphone call center using an artificial intelligence bot later in 2016.

[As seen on: Tech Times]


RASPBERRY PI DEBUTS A CAMERA CONNECTOR FOR THE RASPBERRY PI ZERO

On May 16, Raspberry Pi Founder Eben Upton announced that the company would be launching a camera connector for Raspberry Pi Zero, which debuted back in November 2015. Upton specified that the company discovered that the same fine-pitch FPC connector that is used on its Compute Module Development Kit fits perfectly onto the right side of the Zero’s board.

To connect a camera to Zero, Raspberry Pi is offering a custom six-inch adapter cable. This will allow for the conversion of the fine-pitch connector format to the coarser pitch utilized by the camera board.

Though some may feel like the camera connector was delayed for a bit too long, Upton notes that the organization has been swamped since the launch of Zero.

“We immediately sold every copy of MagPi issue 40 and every Zero in stock at our distributors; and every time a new batch of Zeros came through from the factory they’d sell out in minutes,” he wrote on the Raspberry Pi blog. “To complicate matters, Zero then had to compete for factory space with Raspberry Pi 3, which was ramping for launch at the end of February.”

Today, there are approximately 30,000 Zeros out there in the world, according to Upton. Additionally, he says the organization will continue producing more Zeros — in the thousands — until all of the demand is met.

The camera connector itself looks like two small microchips and a yellow ribbon. The company has since posted images of the connector on its Twitter account.

Raspberry Pi Zero, developed in Wales, debuted at a price of $5, which may be partially responsible for the high demand. It includes a Broadcom BCM2835 application processor, 512 MB of SD RAM, and a microSD card slot. It also features a mini-HDMI socket for video output. Out of all of the Raspberry Pi models, it has the smallest form size at 65 mm by 30 mm by 5 mm. In honor of its launch, the December 2015 edition of The MagPi included a free Raspberry Pi Zero.

Since Raspberry Pi began marketing its “mini computers” back in 2012, millions of people have been utilizing the device to learn more about programming at an affordable price.

[As seen on: Tech Times]


HOW THE SNIPS APP USES ITS AI TO ACT AS MORE THAN A ‘DIGITAL BUTLER’

To make it a bit easier to stay organized, Snips launched a free iOS app on May 17 that is being marketed as a way to “extend your memory.”

Based on artificial intelligence, Snips can memorize your contacts, calendar and location, conveniently storing them in one place. The app also guarantees to keep all of this personal data private, meaning no one except you will see it.

In the most basic sense, Snips works off of Artificial Memory, which is meant to gain a “deep understanding” of your life. The idea is to give it enough personal data to complete large-scale complex tasks. Snips is designed to act as “an extension” of yourself over time.

“It could become ubiquitous, learning to imitate how we use technology in different contexts,” Snips writes on its website. “Technology could disappear into the background, giving us the sensation of being unplugged.”

Rand Hindi, Mael Primet and Michael Fester are the co-founders of Snips. It initially started as a research lab in 2013 that was focused on machine-learning and building new interfaces between computers and people. The Snips AI was built out of the realization that new bots, apps and devices continue to add complexity to our daily lives.

“Our goal is to build an AI that can take care of technology for us,” reads the App Store description. “We want Snips to be able to answer any question we might have, do anything we ask it to, and automate our connected devices.”

Eventually, improvements will be made to Snips to allow it to act more like a digital butler. For example, the app will eventually allow users to use their natural voice to direct Snips (think Cortana or Siri). As more devices become connected, Snips may one day be able to pick up on how users utilize their tech and automate them for convenience.

If you’re the type of person who likes to have ultimate control over multiple gadgets, Snips may not be for you. For everyone else, this could be the app we’ve been waiting for to simplify the world we live in, dominated by the Internet of Things.

[As seen on: Tech Times]


GARMIN LAUNCHES THE VÍVOSMART HR+ WITH GPS FOR MORE ACCURATE ACTIVITY TRACKING

The Vívosmart HR+ is designed to keep track of users’ heart rates and movement while simultaneously using GPS. This makes it ideal for everything from tracking runs to monitoring step-climbing throughout the day.

The device is shower-safe with a water rating of 5 ATM, and it has a sunlight-readable display. Its battery lasts up to five days while in watch/activity-tracking mode (with 24/7 heart rate monitoring, no GPS). If users have GPS capabilities turned on, the battery lasts up to eight hours.

The device is available for shipping today starting at $219.99. It comes in colors including black, gray, purple and blue.

“With a compelling combination of GPS, wrist-based heart rate, long battery life and water resistance, the Vívosmart HR+ was designed to keep up with users’ active lifestyles,” said Dan Bartel, Garmin vice president of worldwide sales. “Wherever your day takes you the Vívosmart HR+ is made to help motivate and track all your active moments.”

The idea behind integrating GPS capabilities is to allow users to track distance with more accuracy. This especially comes in handy for runners who prefer to run outside or change up their routes. The Vívosmart HR+ also includes Garmin’s Move IQ technology, which automatically detects activity for more accurate tracking throughout the day. It’s designed to automatically detect types of motion such as elliptical work or swimming.

Finally, the Vívosmart HR+ picks up where many of Garmin’s other devices left off with its Bluetooth connectivity. The device can connect to compatible smartphones with Bluetooth to stream notifications directly onto the wearable from afar. Everything from text message alerts to email notifications can be picked up by the Vívosmart HR+.

Garmin Connect, the company’s app for its wearable gadgets, provides a sense of community to Garmin users as well. Here, device owners can connect with friends and family who also use Garmin products to view fitness stats and participate in challenges. Users can earn “badges” for their fitness accomplishments as well, just like Fitbit owners on their virtual community.

Garmin, which is known for its activity trackers, also develops products for the automotive, aviation, marine and outdoor industries.

[As seen on: Tech Times]


THE WINDOWS 10 ANNIVERSARY UPDATE WILL COME WITH MORE PROMOTED APPS, ADVERTISING

At Microsoft’s Build conference, the company announced a free update to Windows 10 to be released this summer.

The Windows Anniversary Update, as it’s being called, will come with features including facial recognition security options and an improved Cortana. However, reports began circulating last week that it will also deliver twice the amount of promoted ads and apps that show up in the Start Menu.

In a slideshow organized by Microsoft Principal Program Manager Jessie Labayen, it appears that MS static apps will decrease from 17 to 12. Promoted apps will increase from five to 10, and select Windows Inbox Apps will be distributed via Promoted Apps. Supposedly, the goal is to “reduce OEM image complexity and creation,” as well as maintenance and deployment time. Users will be “in control” and have the ability to remove what they want to save disk space.

These apps and ads are being installed to “introduce users and expose them to the Windows store,” according to the slideshow. Microsoft also wants users to “discover and engage with high quality and locally relevant apps.”

It’s worth noting that, much of what is listed on the slides are “TBD,” and the Anniversary Update is likely still evolving ahead of its launch. Neowin specifies that what comes to fruition from the slideshow will only apply to fresh installs of the Windows 10 Anniversary Update.

This isn’t the first time that Microsoft has made a splash with promoted apps. Back in May 2015, the company announced that it would automatically install Candy Crush Saga to users’ computers upon downloading Windows 10.

Earlier this year, Microsoft showed that it was working hard to help app developers gain more revenue. During Build, Satya Nadella and Terry Myerson revealed a new Microsoft Store Engagement and Monetization software development kit for developers. It included Microsoft’s existing advertising SDK, as well as new services.

Microsoft has also launched an affiliate program, which now comes with four developer tools: a link builder, an enterprise data feed, a top content data feed and a group of pre-generated banners. The goal is to help developers hone in on areas where they could improve their apps and marketing to generate more revenue.

[As seen on: Tech Times]


5 OF THE BEST SMARTPHONE CAMERA LENSES MONEY CAN BUY

Smartphones have come a long way since their humble beginnings, and so have their cameras. That being said, Instagram filters and native editing tools aren’t always enough to transform mobile photos into true works of art. For this, you might need a smartphone camera lens.

Smartphone camera lenses can go beyond what you get with a traditional phone camera. For example, they can capture shots in fisheye, or hone in on the tiny details of a subject — some which may be naked to the eye (and a standard smartphone camera lens). They come in all shapes and sizes, and many companies manufacture them. Here are the five best smartphone camera lenses money can buy, if you’re willing to splurge in the name of mobiography.

1. Mpow Clip-On 180 Degree Supreme Fisheye Lens
For a retail price of about $16, you can get one of the best fisheye lens on the market. This clip-on lens is designed to fit virtually any camera (or tablet), and it doesn’t give you the dark circle that shows up in photos taken with other fish eye lenses. You can see a range of 180 degrees with the product, and it works with any device’s lens, as long as it’s no larger than 13 millimeter in diameter.

2. Olloclip 4-in-1 Lens
It’s only compatible with the iPhone and iPod Touch (5th and 6th Generation), but if you have one of these devices, it’s well worth the $69.99. The lens can capture images in four different settings: Fisheye, Macro 10x, Macro 15x, and Wide Angle. It’s also extremely lightweight and designed to fit into the palm of your hand.

3. Moment Macro Lens
If capturing the fine details is important to you, you’ll want to consider this lens from Moment, selling for $99.99. The money is well worth it when you consider the low distortion and shadow elimination it provides. Additionally, its diffuser is designed to maximize ambient light.

4. Photojojo Magnetic iPhone and Android Lens
These lenses start at $20, and they can do wonders for your smartphone’s camera. Each lens is crafted out of thick, high-clarity glass. You can get a lens for everything from wide angle photography to fisheye shots, and because they’re magnetic, they instantly attach to your phone. Additionally, they can be used on tablets for more versatility. The lens range from 16mm to 25mm in diameter.

5. Mobi-Lens Wide + Macro Smart Lenses
For $19.99 on the Mobi-Lens website, you can get two lenses that provide you with the option to snap images in macro or fisheye. Its silicone grip is made to hold tight to the mobile device, and its filters cut out glare. Mobi-Lens claims it can be used on all mobile devices that have a camera lens within half an inch of the edge. Each lens can be easily clipped on, and they can be used in video mode as well.

As you look to buy a lens for your smartphone, don’t forget about compatibility. While some lenses work universally with multiple devices, others are only functional with certain smartphones. Also keep in mind what type of lens you’re looking for, whether it’s fisheye or macro. Most lenses are not multifunctional, but come with pieces that can be switched out to achieve the shot you desire.

[As seen on: Enlight]

 


NEW CTL EDUCATION CHROMEBOOK HAS A 180-DEGREE HINGE, BUT NO TOUCHSCREEN

Laptops with 180-degree hinges are all the rage these days, and CTL has unveiled a new one designed for educational applications. The CTL NL6 Education Chromebook has a 180-degree hinge that allows its screen to lie completely flat, according to liliputing.com. However, it does not have a touchscreen or the tablet-like capabilities that are reminiscent of a 2-in-1 computer.

Its 180-degree hinge is meant more for those who are looking for a little versatility. For instance, the hinge allows the laptop to fold back and be held like an eReader. You could also lay it completely flat on a table and view the screen from above.

CTL is known for creating laptops for educational settings. This means that the potential for wear and tear is high, and its computers are made to handle heavy use. The CTL NL6 Education Chromebook has a rugged case and a water-resistant keyboard. It also has reinforced ports and can support a drop of 5.5 feet (not that you should try).

The product has a fanless design, which means less noise for its users. Its screen is 11.6 inches and features a 1,366-by-768 pixel display. The CTL NL6 comes with 4GB of RAM, 16GB of storage, and a quad core processor. In terms of ports, it comes with a USB 2.0, USB 3.0, HDMI port, and an SD card slot.

You also don’t have to worry about this laptop dying on you in the course of the school day, as it boasts up to 9.5 hours of battery life. Connectivity-wise, it has Bluetooth 4.0 and 802.11a/b/g/n Wi-Fi. The laptop weighs approximately three pounds, making it a lot easier to transport to and from school than a backpack full of books.

The regular retail price of the CTL NL6 Education Chromebook is $330, but the website is currently selling it at a special price of $259. The product is being marketed to teachers and students alike.

Read more: http://www.digitaltrends.com/computing/new-ctl-education-chromebook-has-a-180-degree-hinge-but-no-touchscreen/


TAP THIS GLASS WITH YOUR PHONE TO RELIVE YOUR FAVORITE PHOTOS

What if the glass you’re using to enjoy a delicious beverage could show off photos and videos you take with your smartphone? The future is here, thanks to SipSup, the glass that pairs deliciously with your happy memories.

Aside from its SipSup decal, the product itself looks like an ordinary glass cup but has the ability to preserve your digital media. The Android edition of the SipSup has a specialized NFC chip, while the iOS version has a visual ID. The chip is embedded within the SipSup logo on the front of the glass. All you need to do is “drop” your smartphone toward SipSup to upload media into its database.

Your videos and photos are stored within the SipSup app. Here, you can favorite photos and videos in personal or shared folders. The app also has a featured called Post-It, which allows other users to leave private messages for you on your photos. To view your media, you can tap your smartphone on SipSup. The app will then pull up a random video or photo so you can relive your memories all over again. So, yes, you’ll need your phone to unlock the photos. It can also function the high-tech version of wine charms, letting you know whose glass you’re about to sip from.

SipSup can hold both cold and warm beverages, ranging from coffee to mojitos. It’s slightly contoured to comfortably fit the shape of your hand, and it can be washed up to 3,000 times in the dishwasher (in water up to 302 degrees Fahrenheit). The creators of SipSup have worked with Slovenian glassworks, Steklarna Hrastnik, to ensure that it’s made free of heavy metals and highly scratch resistant.

The creators seem to want SipSup to function like Timehop: The next time you’re at a party with your friends, you can go around, tapping glasses to see photos of previous bashes.

To get your hands on a SipSup by November 2015, you can pledge $22 or more on the product’s Kickstarter campaign page. However, it may be worth investing $90, otherwise you’re just going to be pulling up solo selfies.

Read more: http://www.digitaltrends.com/home/sipsup-is-a-glass-that-reminds-you-of-your-favorite-photos/

 


THE FBI IS STILL HUNTING FOR CALIFORNIA’S FIBER-OPTIC CABLE CUTTER

The Federal Bureau of Investigation is currently attempting to determine who has been severing fiber-optic cables around the Bay Area, according to Ars Technica. One of the most recent incidents took place in Walnut Creek, a suburb of Oakland, Calif., on June 9. The vandalism rendered landline and wireless AT&T customers without service until repairs could be made. AT&T is now offering a $1,000 reward for anyone with tips on who the cable-snipper may be.

 

There have been 10 incidents reported thus far. The cable-cutting began last July in Berkeley, Calif., and since then services have been knocked out around the state. Other towns and cities that have been impacted include Fremont, San Jose, and Alamo. While most of the events occurred in the middle of the night, the most recent one happened at 1:38 p.m.

Back in 2013, the San Jose Pacific Gas & Electric substation was sabotaged. While some have speculated that the acts are related, the FBI does not currently think that the most recent power knockouts are linked. At the substation, 17 transformers were destroyed with sniper fire.

 

Federal analysis has shown that the destruction of nine key substations in the U.S. could result in a nationwide power outage, according to the Wall Street Journal. Since the release of this information in 2014, there has been heightened concern surrounding the vulnerability of the country’s power grids.

Greg Wuthrich, an FBI special agent, is urging the public to report any suspicious activity that could be linked to the San Fran cable cutting. He also specified that the suspects might appear to be average telecommunications maintenance workers, and might be holding cable-cutting tools.

Any information pertaining to the crime or to other cable-cutting incidents in the area can be reported to the FBI on their site, tips.fbi.gov.

Read more: www.digitaltrends.com/computing/fbi-is-still-hunting-for-californias-fiber-optic-cable-cutter/


VIDEO, SCREENSHOTS AND LEAKS OF WINDOWS BUILD 10036 HIT THE INTERNET

As Microsoft enthusiasts await the release of Windows 10, a few hungry fans have been hunting for supposed evidence of the latest build. A new leaked video of what is rumored to be version number 10036 hit YouTube on March 12, and the Russian blog WZor.net has posted alleged screenshots of it, too.

The video shows a new Task View feature that lets users drag-and-drop applications to open desktops. Such a feature would be useful for users who want to be able to easily move open apps between separate desktop environments.

A supposed screenshot of 10036 also shows a new Wi-Fi selection window. In current builds, users need to click on the “Wi-Fi” option in the Actions center to make any changes. Version 10036 appears to quicken the process by allowing users to simply open a small window to make alterations.

There have also been leaks showing a semi-transparent Start menu. This appears to be a simple aesthetic change, and one that seems a bit odd. Transparency has never been a major element of Metro, but instead was a mainstay of the old Aero style popularized by Windows Vista and 7.

Microsoft has not released a new build as of late, which may be why people have become desperate for Windows 10 updates.

Windows 10 has two public release channels, according to Ars Technica. One is for regular updates where features can be accessed sooner, but only by Microsoft testers, while the other is for slower updates, designed to be thoroughly tested and released to the public. Microsoft Operating Systems Group General Manager Gabe Aul tweeted on March 12 that the fast channel is going to speed up in the near future.

Aul also stated on the Windows blog earlier this week that not having a set release date for an upcoming build is helping the Microsoft team finish the projects faster. He cited the last build released in January as an example.

“It paid off,” he wrote. “We got a much fresher build out, with more features and fixes, and we were able to ship on 1/23 as we’d aspired.”

And with that, it seems that the public will need a bit more patience.

Read more: http://www.digitaltrends.com/computing/alleged-screenshots-new-windows-10-build-begin-circulating/#ixzz3Uw0i8WuN

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