Tag: gadgets

5 Creativity Apps To Inspire Kids

Unleash your child’s creativity and imagination with these inspiring apps.

From arranging fruit to make faces to blowing an ink spot into a whimsical monster, this list is full of apps that will spark your kids’ creativity.

These apps will tickle your kids’ imaginations and encourage them to think outside the box.




1. Faces iMake – Right Brain Creativity

A fanciful and fun tool for creating faces out of everyday objects including food, toys, tools, and more.

Kids create faces using unusual collage materials, such as candy, toys, fruit, musical instruments, and more to make fanciful art.

2. MoMA Art Lab

Kids learn about modern art by playing with this unique set of art tools.

They can create their own artwork or follow step-by-step projects based on famous pieces of modern art during which they can add their own unique flair.

3. The DAILY MONSTER Monster Maker

Splat! An ink spot jiggles, hoping your creativity will turn it into a world-class monster.

This app provides inspiration to draw monsters by starting with a ink splat on the page. From there, kids add whimsical body parts by selecting and dragging them from a file labeled “Parts.”

4. Toontastic

Ready, Set, Action! With this set of intuitive digital tools, your kids will be creating and directing their own cartoons.

This app provides kids with a set of digital tools to create their own cartoons.

They choose their setting, add characters, move those characters around in the setting to create animation as they provide the voices, add music, and — Voila! they’re done!

5. Petting Zoo – Animal Animations

21 animals await your touching. Their responses to your touch, tap, or swipe are magical, endearing, and hilarious.

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Huawei Says Three Cameras Are Better Than One With P20 Pro Smartphone

Huawei’s latest flagship smartphone is the P20 Pro, which has not one, not two, but three cameras on the back.

The new P20, and the larger, more feature-packed P20 Pro, launched at an event in Paris that indicated the Chinese company is looking to match rivals Apple and Samsung and elevate the third-largest smartphone manufacture’s premium efforts.

The P20 has a 5.8in FHD+ LCD while the larger P20 Pro has a 6.1in FHD+ OLED screen, both with a notch at the top similar to Apple’s iPhone X containing a 24-megapixel selfie camera.

They both have a fingerprint scanner on the front but no headphone socket in the bottom.

The P20 and P20 Plus are also available in pink gold or a blue twilight gradient colour finish that resembles pearlescent paint found on some cars – a first, Huawei says, for a glass-backed smartphone.




The P20 has an improved version of Huawei’s Leica dual camera system, which pairs a traditional 12-megapixel colour camera to a 20-megapixel monochrome one, as used on the recent Mate 10 Pro.

But the P20 Pro also has a third 8-megapixel telephoto camera below the first two, producing up to a 5x hybrid zoom – which Huawei says, enables the phone to “see brighter, further, faster and with richer colour”.

When I first heard that Huawei’s new flagship device was going to have three rear-facing cameras I was sceptical,” said Ben Wood, chief of research at CCS Insight.

But it feels like the company has added meaningful features rather than gimmicks, including the five-times telephoto zoom, excellent low light, long exposure performance and crisp black and white pictures the dedicated monochrome lens offers.

Huawei has also improved its built-in AI system for the camera, which recognises objects and scenes, pre-selecting the best of 19 modes for the subject.

Huawei’s AI will also help people straighten photos and zoom in or out to assist with composing group shots.

The company is also pushing its new AI-powered stablisation for both photos and videos, which Huawei says solves the problem of wobbly hands in long-exposure night shots.

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Top 3 Apps For Learning A Musical Instrument On iOS

You can do just about anything on an iPhone or iPad these days, huh? Why stop at adding snaps to your Snapchat story or solving puzzles in Candy Crush?

You can teach yourself pretty easily how to play various different musical instruments and even play some of them right from your phone. What a world we live in.

Believe it or not, all three of these apps can teach you how to play guitar or piano and all of them are free to download. Perhaps you’re interested in picking up a new hobby or want an easy way to help grow your child’s love of music. There’s no harm in starting off with an app.

1. GARAGEBAND

You might recognize Apple’s $4.99 GarageBand as the go-to app for music creation and edits. Many people use it to mix and match beats, record songs and covers, and add various effects and sound enhancements.

What you probably don’t know is that it actually includes a number of powerful education tools for learning how to play instruments.

The power is in the Touch (software) instruments that come built in, so you don’t have to hook up a piano or guitar, though you can. You can learn the individual keys or strings right through your touchscreen.

2. SIMPLYPIANO

SimplyPiano is an awesome app for learning to play piano on a real instrument. Using your iOS device’s microphone, the app will listen to you play and offer feedback as you go.

You can specify where you are with experience and your goals, whether you want to learn how to play your favorite songs or improve upon your already solid skills.




The app is like a combination of short video tutorials and interactivity as you play. It teaches you the basics of the piano if you’re brand new and over time you can complete lessons, take on challenges and learn along the way. It’s great for kids and adults alike, plus SimplyPiano is free.

3. YOUSICIAN GUITAR

Yousician Guitar works very similarly to SimplyPiano except it’s aptly suited for guitars instead. It too requires that you own a guitar to use with the app. You’ll run through helpful video tutorials and then have to try some training sessions on your own.

The app will listen and report back about proper notes, chords and timing.

It’s organized into missions, songs and challenges. Missions lays out everything you need to succeed in learning guitar from mastering strings and frets all the way to acing your test on chord riffs.

If you subscribe to Yousician Premium starting at $9.99 per month, you can unlock premium songs to play with the app in the Songs section. Lastly, you can participate in challenges to play songs and compare scores with friends and other guitarists around the world.

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Deciphering The Complex Jargon of SD Cards

First, all SD cards are defined by how much data they can hold. This is measured in gigabytes, such as 16, 64, 128 or more gigabytes. Many users purchase the highest capacity cards available, figuring they can never have too much memory.

But more experienced videographers prefer to purchase several lower-capacity cards. Why? Safety in numbers. With a single high-capacity card, the user gambles on the reliability of a single card.

That card can also be easily damaged, lost or even seized by a particularly nasty security guard. You never know what can happen on location.

Lower capacity cards are cheaper to purchase as well. A video shoot using four 32GB cards is safer than one relying on a single 128GB card. Unless you can’t stop rolling video to change the card, go for smaller capacities.




Next comes the choice of SD, SDHC or SDXC cards. These terms designate the filesystem being used to store the data.

Basic SD cards store up to 2GB using FAT 12 and FAT 16 systems. SDHC cards, for “high capacity,” store between 2GB and 32GB using the FAT32 filesystem.

Finally, SDXC cards, for “extended capacity,” hold from 32GB up to 2TB using the exFAT file format. Be sure the camera supports the format chosen.

The next gaggle of jargon comes with the speed of the card. This is how quickly the card can read and write data. This is especially important if you’re capturing video.

Getting good, reliable information here can be tricky. Some vendors cite actual speed — say, 95 MBps.

Others use marketing lingo, like 1000x, without revealing the actual number. It is important to determine the actual speed, which is the maximum theoretical throughput for reading data from the card.

It can be less important than the speed at which data is written to the card.

Next, there is the UHS bus speed, or “ultra-high speed.” This is indicated by the Roman numeral I, II or III on the card’s face and refers to how data is transferred between the card’s pins and the host device’s connector.

UHS I uses just a single row of pins on the back of the card to transfer data up to a theoretical maximum of 104 MBps. UHS II includes a second row of pins to deliver up to 312 MBps in half duplex mode.

UHS II can also operate in full duplex mode, which shuttles data in both directions (simultaneously writing and reading to the card) at 156 MBps.

Next, there’s speed class. In an article in MacWorld, it notes the number inside a partial circle that resembles a C. This indicates the minimum speed, in megabytes per second, that data is written to the card.

Ten is for 10 MBps, 6 for 6 MBps, 4 for 4 MBps and 2 for 2 MBps. Faster SDXC cards get the UHS (ultra-high speed) rating, which is a 1 (10 MBps) or a 3 (30 MBps) inside a U-shaped logo.

Although related, the UHS speed class is not the same as the UHS bus speed.

For videographers, though, focus on the video speed class. Look for a “V” icon and associated number that indicates the transfer rate. Standard definition video will record without dropping frames to V6 (6 MBps) and V10 (10 MBps) cards.

A V30 (30 MBps) card can handle HD video. For 4K video, look for a V60 (60 MBps) card, while 8K video capture performs best on a V90 (90 MBps) card. Video speed class ratings appear only on SDXC cards.

For a product that started out so simple, the little SD card certainly has gained complexity. And now, of course, we have miniSD cards, which start the cycle all over again.

Also, it’s always best to buy known brands and to make sure you are getting the real thing — rather than counterfeit memory cards — which can appear identical to the genuine article.

A flawed SD card can easily ruin your entire production and it’s not worth it to save a few dollars.

Finally, be aware there’s a shakeout going on in the SD card industry. Micron, the manufacturer of Lexar professional SD cards, recently said they will exit the storage business after 20 years.

This will leave Sandisk, Transcend, Kingston and others are the major brands. Be familiar with the vendors you support.

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Megapixels Don’t Matter Anymore. Here’s Why More Isn’t Always Better.

For years, smartphone makers have been caught up in a megapixel spec race to prove that their camera is better than the next guy’s.

But we’ve finally come to a point where even the lower-end camera phones are packing more megapixels than they need, so it’s getting harder to differentiate camera hardware.

Without that megapixel crutch to fall back on, how are we supposed to know which smartphone has the best camera?

Well thankfully, there are several other important specs to look for in a camera, and it’s just a matter of learning which ones matter the most to you.




Why Megapixels Don’t Matter Anymore

The term “megapixel” actually means “one million pixels,” so a 12-megapixel camera captures images that are comprised of 12,000,000 tiny little dots.

A larger number of dots (pixels) in an image means that the image has more definition and clarity, which is also referred to as having a higher resolution.

This might lead you to believe that a camera with more megapixels will take better pictures than a camera with fewer megapixels, but that’s not always the case.

The trouble is, we’ve reached a point where all smartphone cameras have more than enough megapixels.

For instance, a 1080p HD TV has a resolution of 2.1 megapixels, and even the highest-end 4K displays top out at 8.3 megapixels.

Considering that nearly every smartphone camera has a double-digit megapixel rating these days, your photos will be in a higher resolution than most screens can even display.

Simply put, you won’t be able to see any difference in resolution between pictures taken by two different smartphone cameras, because most screens you’ll be viewing them on aren’t capable of displaying that many megapixels.

Really, anything greater than 8.3 megapixels is only helpful for cropping. In other words, if your phone takes 12-megapixel photos, you can crop them by roughly 50%, and the resolution will still be just as high as a 4K TV.

Pixel Size Is the Real Difference Maker

The hot new number to judge your phone’s camera by is the pixel size. You’ll see this spec listed as a micron value, which is a number followed by the symbol “µm.”

A phone with a 1.4µm pixel size will almost always capture better pictures than one with a 1.0µm pixel size, thanks to physics.

If you zoomed in far enough on one of your photos, you could see the individual pixels, right? Well, each of those tiny little dots was captured by microscopic light sensors inside your smartphone’s camera.

These light sensors are referred to as “pixels” because, well, they each capture a pixel’s worth of light. So if you have a 12-megapixel camera, the actual camera sensor has twelve million of these light-sensing pixels.

Each of these pixels measures light particles called photons to determine the color and brightness of the corresponding pixel in your finished photo.

When a bright blue photon hits one of your camera’s light sensors, it tells your phone to make a dot with bright blue coloring.

Put twelve million of these dots together in their various brightness and colors, then you’ll end up with a picture.

A Little Aperture Goes a Long Way

The next key spec to look for is the camera’s aperture, which is represented as f divided by a number (f/2.0, for example).

Because of the “f divided by” setup, this is one of those rare specs where a smaller number is always better than a larger one.

To help you understand aperture, let’s go back to pixel size for a second.

If larger pixels mean your camera can collect more light particles to create more accurate photos, then imagine pixels as a bucket, and photons as falling rain.

The bigger the opening of the bucket (pixel), the more rain (photons) you can collect, right?

Well aperture is like a funnel for that bucket. The bottom of this imaginary funnel has the same diameter as the pixel bucket, but the top is wider—which means you can collect even more photons.

In this analogy, a wider aperture gives the photon bucket a wider opening, so it focuses more light onto your camera’s light-sensing pixels.

Image Stabilization: EIS vs. OIS

With most spec sheets, you’ll see a camera’s image stabilization technology listed as either EIS or OIS. These stand for Electronic Image Stabilization and Optical Image Stabilization, respectively.

OIS is easier to explain, so let’s start with that one. Simply put, this technology makes it to where your camera sensor physically moves to compensate for any shaking while you’re holding your phone.

If you’re walking while you’re recording a video, for instance, each of your steps would normally shake the camera—but OIS ensures that the camera sensor remains relatively steady even while the rest of your phone shakes around it.

In general, though, it’s always better to have a camera with OIS.

For one, the cropping and stretching can reduce quality and create a “Jello effect” in videos, but in addition to that, EIS has little to no effect on reducing blur in still photos.

Now that you’ve got a better understanding about camera specs, have you decided which smartphone you’re going to buy next?

If you’re still undecided, you can use our smartphone-buyer’s flowchart at the following link, and if you have any further questions, just fire away in the comment section below.

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Three Awesome Geeky Kitchen Gadgets For All The Geeky Persons Out There

Darth Vader Lightsaber Spatula

In times of peace, your favorite Star Wars fan can use this Lightsaber Spatula for cooking things up on the dark side. But remember to wield this deadly weapon with care. It’s been known to remove a hand (or two)!

Whether you are making some chocolate cookies for your little Wookies or some dark, sticky cinnamon buns for your warrior princess, this metal spatula is the perfect tool.

The handle is designed after Darth Vader’s personal lightsaber and the spatula features a laser-cut Star Wars logo. Basically it’s flippin’ perfect.

 

 

Medieval Cheese Board

Play the role of executioner at your next wine and cheese feast by slicing up your fromage on this medieval cheese board.

The rubberwood board is shaped like a medieval shield and comes with 3 miniature stainless steel weapons ideal for slicing.

Super Mario Boo Mug

Do you roll out of bed looking like someone scared you? Does your morning cup of coffee make you as virtually indestructible as the Boos from Super Mario Bros.?

Does that shot of caffeine turn you from a shy, bashful guy to someone ready to face the day with enthusiasm?

Pour your magic morning medicine (all 22 ounces of it) into this huge Super Mario Boo Mug and get ready to face your day. This three-dimensional mug is just taunting you, waving its short little arms and sticking its tongue out.

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The Right Tech To Propel Yourself Out Of Bed In Record Time

Earlier this year, China’s Sleepace successfully crowdfunded and shipped a 2 mm thick smart strap that lays on the bed and monitors a user’s sleep time, heart rate and breathing, body movement and sleep cycles.

The RestOn then sends the collected data to a companion app running on a Bluetooth-paired smartphone for analysis.

Now the company has added a smart light to the system called the Nox, which works in conjunction with the RestOn to help monitor, track and improve sleep quality.

The new Nox Smart Sleep System is made up of three parts.




There’s a RestOn smart band that’s slipped between the mattress and top sheet, the Nox light that’s plugged into a wall outlet and placed on a bedside table, and the Sleepace app running on a user’s smartphone.

The RestOn and the Nox both transmit data to the app via Bluetooth. The Nox uses a combination of light and sound to ease a user into a restful sleep.

The light part of the equation makes use of red wavelengths, which the company says can raise the secretion of melatonin, a naturally-occurring hormone that’s used medically in the treatment of some sleep problems.

The Nox also emits soothing sounds to help the would-be dreamer drift into slumber. When the RestOn’s sensors detect the user has fallen asleep, the Nox light is instructed to switch off.

The Nox light hosts built-in sensors that keep track of room temperature, humidity and CO2, as well as ambient light and background noises, and the Sleepace app uses this data – together with information supplied by the RestOn smart strap – to help users understand what’s been going on during the night.

The app then makes suggestions for improving the bedroom environment to help ensure better quality sleep and healthier sleeping habits.

The Nox displays the current time or temperature under the light to the front, and includes a USB port for charging a smartphone or tablet while the user gets some shut-eye.

When it’s time to wake up, the RestOn sensors will let the Nox know when a sleeper is entering the lightest part of the sleep cycle, and the Nox will be instructed to wake up the user 30 minutes before the time set for the alarm.

Sleepace says that this ensures a user is awoken at the right time, feeling refreshed and ready to tackle the day ahead.

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Olympics TV broadcast Camera Lenses Cost As Much As A Lamborghini

TV broadcast cameras that capture every minute of the Olympic Games use massive camera lenses, called box lenses, which cost more than $200,000.

Canon has more than 70 broadcast box lenses on site in PyeongChang, including some of the flagship UHD DIGISUPER 86, which you can buy on the open market for $222,980.

The camera weighs 59.5 pounds and is 10 inches wide and tall and 24 inches long.




The cameras are so heavy and expensive because they are filled with lots of glass lenses called “elements” which are used to refract and focus the light as it travels through the camera.

A DSLR camera on the market today has around 10 elements inside but the Canon broadcast camera has 30-40 elements.

The UHD DIGISUPER 86 can reach 86x zoom range while the typical DSLR reaches only 3x or 4x optical zoom.

Besides the glass, there are also plenty of electronics required to control the zoom and focus within the camera that gives it a price tag equivalent to a Lamborghini.

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Google’s First Mobile Chip Is An Image Processor Hidden In The Pixel 2

One thing that Google left unannounced during its Pixel 2 launch event on October 4th is being revealed today: it’s called the Pixel Visual Core, and it is Google’s first custom system-on-a-chip (SOC) for consumer products.

You can think of it as a very scaled-down and simplified, purpose-built version of Qualcomm’s Snapdragon, Samsung’s Exynos, or Apple’s A series chips. The purpose in this case?

Accelerating the HDR+ camera magic that makes Pixel photos so uniquely superior to everything else on the mobile market.

Google plans to use the Pixel Visual Core to make image processing on its smartphones much smoother and faster, but not only that, the Mountain View also plans to use it to open up HDR+ to third-party camera apps.




The coolest aspects of the Pixel Visual Core might be that it’s already in Google’s devices. The Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL both have it built in, but laying dormant until activation at some point “over the coming months.”

It’s highly likely that Google didn’t have time to finish optimizing the implementation of its brand-new hardware, so instead of yanking it out of the new Pixels, it decided to ship the phones as they are and then flip the Visual Core activation switch when the software becomes ready.

In that way, it’s a rather delightful bonus for new Pixel buyers.

The Pixel 2 devices are already much faster at processing HDR shots than the original Pixel, and when the Pixel Visual Core is live, they’ll be faster and more efficient.

Looking at the layout of Google’s chip, which is dubbed an Image Processing Unit (IPU) for obvious reasons, we see something sort of resembling a regular 8-core SOC.

Technically, there’s a ninth core, in the shape of the power-efficient ARM Cortex-A53 CPU in the top left corner.

But the important thing is that each of those eight processors that Google designed has been tailored to handle HDR+ duties, resulting in HDR+ performance that is “5x faster and [uses] less than 1/10th the energy” of the current implementation, according to Google.

This is the sort of advantage a company can gain when it shifts to purpose-specific hardware rather than general-purpose processing.

Google says that it will enable Pixel Visual Core as a developer option in its preview of Android Oreo 8.1, before updating the Android Camera API to allow access to HDR+ for third-party camera devs.

Obviously, all of this tech is limited strictly to the Pixel 2 generation, ruling out current Pixel owners and other Android users.

As much as Google likes to talk about enriching the entire Android ecosystem, the company is evidently cognizant of how much of a unique selling point its Pixel camera system is, and it’s working hard to develop and expand the lead that it has.

As a final note, Google’s announcement today says that HDR+ is only the first application to run on the programmable Pixel Visual Core, and with time we should expect to see more imaging and machine learning enhancements being added to the Pixel 2.

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Elon Musk’s Flamethrower Has Already Made Well Over $3.5 Million

Hats… and now flamethrowers. Elon Musk’s Boring Company has so far been more of a ‘lifestyle’ brand than a company that, you know, digs massive tunnels through the earth as a going concern. But it’s making bank.

The hats, which retailed for $20, were capped at 50,000, thus netting The Boring Company a cool $1 million.

The flamethrower, which went up for pre-order yesterday, is selling for $500 a pop, and Musk says the total number sold will max out at 20,000.

As of late last night, the total sold was already at 7,000, which amounts to $3.5 million in fire-breathing merch thus far.




Likely, it’s already earned more, since pre-orders have been open through the night, though it’s still available as of this writing and so presumably hasn’t sold out.

All told, 20,000 flamethrowers would bring in $10 million in total, so 10x the hat heist.

Tesla, one of Musk’s other businesses, has made a common practice of taking pre-orders for cars before they ship, including sizable up-front down payments.

The Boring Company can’t exactly pre-sell huge holes in the ground, or at least not as easily, but the merch market for the venture is hot, and clearly Musk intends to ride that Hyperloop all the way into the underground station.

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