Not Facebook's baby yet
Good news, developers and fans of virtual reality alike! Oculus has just announced that they’ve just started shipping their second Oculus Rift virtual reality prototype intended for developers, officially named the Oculus Rift Development Kit 2. Oculus expects packages to start arriving on developers’ and enthusiasts doorsteps on July 14th – though later orders probably won’t arrive until closer to the middle to the end of August.
If you’ve yet to pick up your copy, the privilege of owning your very own prototype headset will cost you $350 right now – and of course, that doesn’t automatically give you access to the final product, whenever that arrives – or, well, – if that ever arrives.
No, it's not Poke. Poke was bad.
Facebook has already tried to take on the behemoth that has become Snapchat over the last year or so with an application they called “Poke”, but the app never quite measured up. Today the company is back with a spritely new app that they’re calling Slingshot.
The concept is the same – take a photo or a video, edit it with some fun affects or custom drawing, and send it off to all your friends. Just like Snapchat, photos aren’t permanent, and the twist here is you can only unlock a shot after you agree to “Sling something back.” Because if not, this would just be called Snapchat, right?
Slingshot is available now exclusively on the App Store, which you can get to at the source link below. It’s also been developed by the same team that put together the company’s other newest application, Paper, which is absolutely excellent – so this just might be worth checking out.
Edit 05/09/14 @ 5:41 PM EDT: Whoops, looks like Facebook has jumped the gun – the company has confirmed that the application was published onto the App Store in error and that it will be launching “soon” – just not today soon. Sorry about that!
Source: App Store
Taking another cue from third party clients
Twitter has long had a habit of taking cues from third party clients while looking at how to shape their official products – most notably with the hashtags, @-replies, and retweets in the early days of Twitter, and now that trend is exhibiting itself again as Twitter has officially added the ability to mute users.
Essentially, muting does what it sounds like it is – it allows you to automatically hide tweets from users at any given time under different circumstances without unfollowing or blocking them. Now, finally, you can politely ignore your friends’ inane tweets without the need to complicate your relationships with an awkward unfollow.
Muting is now rolling out on the company’s official iOS and Android applications and will hit all users shortly. Time to celebrate by muting all of your annoying friends!
Protogeo Oy is heading to Facebook
Facebook has been getting their paws on just about anything and everything this days, with one of their most recent – and famous – acquisitions being Oculus, the makers of the Oculus Rift virtual reality headset. But what if I told you Facebook isn’t just interested in the world of virtual reality, but also making sure that you’re healthy in actual reality? That’s exactly what’s happening as Protogeo Oy, developers behind the popular “Moves” mobile application on both iOS and Android, has announced that they have been acquired by Facebook for an unannounced sum of money.
Protogeo Oy has also commented on the future of their Moves application, saying:
Now, we’re joining Facebook’s talented team to work on building and improving their products and services with a shared mission of supporting simple, efficient tools for more than a billion people… for those of you that use the Moves app — the Moves experience will continue to operate as a standalone app, and there are no plans to change that or commingle data with Facebook.
That said, I’m willing to guess Facebook didn’t pay for just the name “Protogeo Oy” alone – though it does have quite a ring to it, doesn’t it?
No laws violated, no problem
The United States Government has today officially given Facebook’s acquisition of Oculus, makers of the insanely promising Oculus Rift Virtual Reality headset, the go ahead after finding that the deal violates no American antitrust laws or otherwise. This was the only significant roadblock in the way of the marriage between the two companies, which means that there’s almost nothing stopping the two companies from holding each others’ hands in front of a witness and marrying each other, becoming one happy company at last.
Of course, like any marriage, there’s still a fair bit of drama going on. For one, the development community is still aghast with anguish and hurt over the deal, with many believing that Oculus is throwing away all the promising tech it’s come up with over the past couple of years in exchange for a few bucks. Minecraft creator “notch” openly called Facebook “creepy” in a now infamous blog post a few weeks back, mere minutes after cancelling the planned Minecraft for Oculus Rift project.
Company removing messaging from Facebook app
If you’re like me and have held out on downloading Messenger for your smartphone considering that messaging functionality built into Facebook’s main app is more than “good enough”, prepare for a bit of a downer. Facebook has just announced that, in the coming weeks, they will be removing the messaging functionality from their primary Facebook application on numerous mobile platforms, including iOS and Android.
A Facebook spokesperson told Recode, “We’ve found that people get replies 20 percent faster on Messenger than on Facebook,” and wants to push those who rely on Facebook’s messaging service over to what they consider to be a better experience. This also means that Facebook will likely have no just one, but two main spots on your smartphone’s home screen – one app to check out your News Feed, and one to cut with your friends.
The changes should be rolling out to users in both Europe and the United States within just a couple of weeks. No word yet on whether or not this will effect users of Facebook’s “Paper” mobile application on iOS, which also contains both the News Feed and messaging. However we have contacted Facebook for more information and will report back as soon as we know more.
Coming to all profiles soon
Remember that big Twitter redesign we uncovered a couple of weeks ago, only to have all news and signs of it wiped off the face of the Earth? Well it’s back, and in a big way – Twitter has not only just announced the Twitter redesign that brings photos in the forefront, but also announced that it’s rolling out the new look to users starting today.
All new users will be signed up with the new look by default starting today, and existing users will get their profiles transferred to the new design within days or weeks. Twitter says the new profile, which has more than just a passing resemblance to Facebook, will make it easier to pick out the best and most engaging tweets, will allow you to pin tweets to the top of the page, and will allow users to filter through different types of tweets based on photos, videos, replies, etc.
So let us know – are you a fan of Twitter’s new direction? Or will you miss the social network’s emphasis on text? How will this translate to mobile? The questions are endless!
Twitter improves image integration
Twitter has just announced that they have significantly improved support for images on Twitter. While images have always been treated pretty basically on the largely text based social network, the company is now rolling out two pretty significant improvements, currently exclusive to Twitter for Mobile.
First, Twitter users will now be able to tag users in images, a feature found in and often used on Facebook and Instagram. It works pretty much the same – just tap on a photo and type in the user that’s represented in it, who will then have their profile linked to on the image. This is available on both Twitter for iOS and Android starting today.
The next big change is users will now be able to upload and embed up to four images in a single tweet, seemingly by integrating the separate images into a single file uploaded to the server in a sort of collage. At the moment this feature is only available to Twitter for iOS starting today, however it will be brought to Twitter for Android at some point in the future.
The popular social network has long been rumored to be focusing on reframing itself as an image based network, even going so far as pushing out a radically redesigned test version of an image-centric version of the site to a select number of users.
Questions the state of technology in the USA
Michael Moore is, as it turns out, a pretty big fan of The Good Wife. That’s why he’s pretty upset about missing last night’s supposedly mind blowing episode (though I’ve never seen the show), which has in turn prompted a rant posted on Facebook that extends from the state of his DVR to questions about the state of all the technology in the United States.
In the post, Michael Moore laments missing 40 minutes of the show “due to the overrun of the NCAA basketball game.” While this might be the end of it for some people, not Mr. Moore. According to him, the DVR system in the United States should work more like that of the the systems in “more advanced countries” than ours, such as “Ireland, the UK, Australia, those Scandinavian ones, etc.” Apparently, in those countries, DVRs are smart enough to record a whole program no matter when (if?) it runs on time or not, as those systems are set to record a program, not a time slot.
Michael Moore then ends his blog post pointing out that China has a bunch of bullet trains – specifically nine – “criss crossing” the country, whereas the United States has a big fat zero, as if this is confirmation that the United States is just super behind the times – both when it comes to the quality of our DVRs, and when it comes to the quality of our trains.
While Mr. Moore might be a little too angry about having the ending of The Good Wife spoiled for him, he’s also kind of got a point – there are many aspects of the United States that are just, well, pretty far behind some other countries. But to call them “more advanced” then us? Might be a bit of a stretch.
Source: Michael Moore (via Facebook)
Flaw's been around since July
Well, whoops. Let’s hope you aren’t paranoid if you are, or have been in the last year, a Tinder user. According to a new report by security firm IncludeSec, Tinder has left a security flaw open for the greater part of a year that gave hackers super easy access to your smartphone’s location services remotely. While the attack, which is reportedly now patched, required that attackers had already intercepted your Tinder identifier number, such information would have been child’s play to obtain for anyone on the same network with a simple packet sniffer.
The flaw has been around since July, and was only recently patched last month on January 1st – however Tinder reportedly refused to communicate with IncludeSec, who reported the issue to the social networking service that’s disturbingly similar to “hot or not” services that have been around the net for forever.
The lesson here? Never trust an application that requires access to your phone’s location services unless you’re absolutely sure that the development team is able to find and fix these sort of flaws in short notice. Such a security flaw could have easily put you, and any other Tinder user, in danger if the data was put in the wrong hands.
Could this be the future of Twitter?
Twitter has never been shy of change, and the company appears to be continuing that tradition as evidence that Twitter is testing a radical new design has begun to surface. Interestingly, Mashable assistant features editor Matt Petronzio logged onto his Twitter profile the other day and noticed not a variant of the Twitter design we’ve all come to know and kind of love – but rather a completely, totally different experience that looks more like a Frankenstein’s Monster version of a combination of Facebook and Google+.
The new design, which is certainly far from final and appears to be simply in the testing phase, puts a heavy emphasis on a user’s photos whereas the current design puts most of that emphasis on text. Typography across the page has been expanded, and the new design features an almost magazine like view that places your tweets from left to right in rows rather than chronologically from the top of the page to the bottom.
Header images also appear to have been greatly enlarged in the photo, as have profile pictures – while both are relatively minor in the grand scope of the current Twitter design, they’re practically the largest things on the entire page in the new Twitter design. While this sort of new Twitter design appears to try to depart from the current Twitter design in many ways, it does appear to have one very clear benefit – larger text and images would be much easier to navigate on a tablet than the current Twitter design, which doesn’t use space in such a smart way on many tablets today.
No word yet on whether or not the general Twitter population will ever see the new design launched as an actual product, it’s interesting to get an insight into where Twitter thinks it may go next. Maybe try something a little more… Twitter-ish next time, Twitter?
Please, show some respect
Ok, we get it, when the mood strikes everyone enjoys taking a good selfie every once and a while. But please, lets remember that this is the twenty-first century and that there are these things called ruled of etiquette. And I don’t have the official etiquette rule book on me, but I’d be willing to bet that it’s probably in pretty bad taste to take a selfie of yourself with an educational cadaver (re: dead body) and post it on Instagram.
Yet that’s exactly what happened yesterday as a high school student somewhere in Alabama visited a biology lab at the University of Alabama at Birmingham for a field trip. Among seeing the cadaver, the unnamed student proceeded to snap a photo (complete with a silly face!) with the body and sent it up to Instagram. The photo has since been removed, but as we well know nothing truly leaves the internet, so of course a copy of the photo managed to leak around the web.
In a comment made by the school, the girl’s actions will be “reviewed’ to assure such an incident, which they assures us is “very disappointing”, never happens again.