Coming a month after the launch of Duo, Google’s latest attempt at messaging is now available. The Google Assistant-infused Allo is rolling out on Android and iOS starting today with a full worldwide availability in the next few days.
Google “designed Allo to help you express yourself and keep the conversation going.” Besides stickers from independent artists, the app allows messages, including emoji, to be sent in small (Whisper) or large text (Shout). Users can simply slide up and down on the send button to determine the size. A built-in drawing tool allows you to doodle on images before sending them.
Like in Inbox, Allo can suggest context appropriate Smart Reply for both text and images. They appear just under the last received message and can include emoji. Over time, the replies improve through machine learning and mimic how you normally express yourself in conversations.
The Google Assistant — available as a preview — is the marquee feature of Allo and can be brought up directly in any thread by typing “@google.” It automatically suggest things like restaurant recommendations and bring up cards for both parties to browse. Additionally, there is an Assistant-specific thread that is essentially “Ok Google” with questions typed out and answers delivered through text.
Privacy and security-wise, there is an Incognito mode that encrypts chats end-to-end, uses discreet notifications, and has messages expire after a set time. Google notes that regular Allo chats are still encrypted.
Like Duo, Allo requires a phone number to register. The app is available on the iOS App Store and still rolling out on the Play Store.
Whether you’re hiking on the Olympic Peninsula or attending your cousin’s wedding, go beyond the flat photo or selfie. With Cardboard Camera—now available on iOS as well as Android—you can capture 3D 360-degree virtual reality photos. Just like Google Cardboard, it works with the phone you already have with you.
VR photos taken with Cardboard Camera are three-dimensional panoramas that can transport you right back to the moment. Near things look near and far things look far. You can look around to explore the image in all directions, and even hear sound recorded while you took the photo to hear the moment exactly as it happened. To capture a VR photo, hold your phone vertically, tap record, then turn around as though you’re taking a panorama.
Starting today, you can also share your VR photos with friends and family on both iPhone and Android devices. Select multiple photos to create a virtual photo album, tap the share icon, and Cardboard Camera will generate a link (like this) that can be emailed, messaged, or posted in apps and on the web. With a VR viewer like Google Cardboard, your friends can relive those moments as if they were there.
Microsoft Pix is a smart camera app that automatically helps you take better photos without extra effort. It’s built with serious intelligence behind the lens, so it’s a bit like having a professional photographer tweaking your settings between each shot. This ensures that people and scenes look their best, so you can focus on enjoying the moment instead of struggling to capture it.
Microsoft Pix is a bit like having a pro photographer in your phone—always tweaking settings, selecting your best shots, and enhancing each one. It also captures frames before you even tap on the shutter, so you won’t miss the best moment.
People are our most important photo subjects, so when a face is detected, Microsoft Pix automatically adjusts settings and after-shot enhancements. It also lets you compare the before and after, to ensure everyone looks their best.
Microsoft Pix helps you have more fun with photos. When interesting motion is sensed in your shot, it automatically creates a short, looping video called a Live Image. It also helps you stabilize and time lapse new or existing videos.
Microsoft Pix uses proprietary multi-frame de-noise technology, which helps your photos look as clear and lifelike as possible. Check out the difference in detail on people’s facial features and clothing, including noise reduction in lower light, and greater clarity in the detail of the distinct blacks of her hair and vest.
Microsoft Pix uses multiple technologies to provide true, accurate color for skin tones, food, and foliage, as well as accurate exposure and detail in both the shadow and the highlight areas of the photo. Compare the differences in the shadows on people’s faces, or the color and crispness of the greens in the salad bowl.
The key feature of PiBakery is the ability to create a customised version of Raspbian that you write directly to your Raspberry Pi. This works by creating a set of scripts that run when the Raspberry Pi has been powered on, meaning that your Pi can automatically perform setup tasks, and you don’t need to configure anything.
The scripts are created using a block based interface that is very similar to Scratch. If you’ve used Scratch before, you already know how to use PiBakery. Simply drag and drop the different tasks that you want your Raspberry Pi to perform, and they’ll be turned into scripts and written to your SD card. As soon as the Pi boots up, the scripts will be run.
Always Be Up To Date
With a new Raspbian image published by the Raspberry Pi Foundation every few months, it can be hard keeping up to date with the latest version.
When a new version of Raspbian is released, all PiBakery users will be asked if they would like to update to this version to use for all future installs.
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Early in the morning of Sept. 1, 2016, NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory, or SDO, caught both Earth and the moon crossing in front of the sun. SDO keeps a constant eye on the sun, but during SDO’s semiannual eclipse seasons, Earth briefly blocks SDO’s line of sight each day – a consequence of SDO’s geosynchronous orbit. On Sept. 1, Earth completely eclipsed the sun from SDO’s perspective just as the moon began its journey across the face of the sun. The end of the Earth eclipse happened just in time for SDO to catch the final stages of the lunar transit.
In the SDO data, you can tell Earth and the moon’s shadows apart by their edges: Earth’s is fuzzy, while the moon’s is sharp and distinct. This is because Earth’s atmosphere absorbs some of the sun’s light, creating an ill-defined edge. On the other hand, the moon has no atmosphere, producing a crisp horizon.
This particular geometry of Earth, the moon and the sun had effects on viewing down on the ground as well: It resulted in a simultaneous eclipse visible from southern Africa. The eclipse was what’s known as a ring of fire, or annular, eclipse, which is similar to a total solar eclipse, except it happens when the moon is at a point in its orbit farther from Earth than average. The increased distance causes the moon’s apparent size to be smaller, so it doesn’t block the entire face of the sun. This leaves a bright, narrow ring of the solar surface visible, looking much like a ring of fire.
“Samsung is committed to producing the highest quality products and we take every incident report from our valued customers very seriously. In response to recently reported cases of the new Galaxy Note 7, we conducted a thorough investigation and found a battery cell issue.
“To date (as of September 1) there have been 35 cases that have been reported globally and we are currently conducting a thorough inspection with our suppliers to identify possible affected batteries in the market. However, because our customers’ safety is an absolute priority at Samsung, we have stopped sales of the Galaxy Note 7.
“For customers who already have Galaxy Note 7 devices, we will voluntarily replace their current device with a new one over the coming weeks.
“We acknowledge the inconvenience this may cause in the market but this is to ensure that Samsung continues to deliver the highest quality products to our customers. We are working closely with our partners to ensure the replacement experience is as convenient and efficient as possible.”
Samsung had previously issued a statement saying it will take two weeks to prepare replacements, but now it’s confirmed that all phones will be going back to source for battery changing.
“The problem can be simply resolved by changing the battery, but we’ll come up with convincing measures for our consumers.”
So what happens now? Samsung has halted the sales of the device worldwide, and is preparing replacements. It says it’ll take around two weeks to get the pieces in place, and it’ll exchange devices like-for-like. Most carriers around the world had already halted sales, and any that hadn’t will now, to ensure the faulty devices don’t spread any further. The precise details of how the recall will work are likely to be announced on a regional basis.
Apple has just published a list of App Store improvements that will begin to go into effect next Wednesday, September 7th. The changes seek to remove broken and forgotten apps from the App Store, apps that are currently breaking App Store review guidelines, and that are just no longer functional.
The notice to developers today indicates that Apple will begin reviewing and removing non-functional apps on September 7th within all categories from the App Store. Apps that automatically crash on launch will be immediately removed from the App Store, but other apps will have 30 days to submit an update to keep the app within the store. Apple makes it clear that apps that are removed won’t lose functionality for users who currently have it installed, but future customers will no longer be able to search for it.
In preparation for the coming culling, Apple suggests developers read the latest App Store Review Guidelines and confirm that all current apps follow them. Apple recommends that developers continue to address overall functionality issues within the app and to update it regularly. Most interestingly, they explicitly state that if an app is no longer being updated, developers should consider removing it from the App Store.
App Store developers today also received emails re-iterating the upcoming changes, alongside an additional indication that shorter app names will also be a focus. Generously used with apps that look to spam search keywords and overtake similar apps, Apple is now discouraging the use of lengthy names. Apps submitted to iTunes Connect will now be limited to 50 characters. As of now these spammy names usually include descriptions and terms not relevant to the applications or user. Developers looking for some help in this area can read the App Store Product Page for more information.
These changes should help curb some of the spam and abandoned applications that currently resides in the App Store. It isn’t uncommon now to download an app and see that it still hasn’t been updated to support the new iPhone 6 (or even iPhone SE) resolution, or that it just crashes within its main functionality. The new naming limitations will also hopefully hamper development farms that create keyword-related app titles looking to copy the success other top-grossing applications. Unfortunately, Apple’s update today doesn’t indicate that it will retroactively adjust apps with absurdly long titles.