Twitter is making it easier for you to share a particular moment from a live video stream by introducing a YouTube-style timestamp feature in its iOS and Android apps …
Moment is back on Kickstarter with their latest round of new products, this time targeting aspiring (and professional) filmmakers.
“Moment launches new Filmmaker Collection on Kickstarter with new lens, wireless charging battery case, more” is an article by iDownloadBlog.com.
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It’s moved beyond tradition and into the realm of meme that Apple manages to dominate the news cycle around major industry events, all while not actually participating in said events. CES rolls around and every story is about HomeKit or its competitors; another tech giant has a conference and the news is that Apple updated some random subsystem of its ever-larger ecosystem of devices and software .
This is, undoubtedly, planned by Apple in many instances. And why not? Why shouldn’t it own the cycle when it can — it’s only strategically sound.
This week, the 2018 Game Developers Conference is going on and there’s a bunch of news coverage about various aspects of the show. There are all of the pre-written embargo bits about big titles and high-profile indies, there are the trend pieces and, of course, there’s the traditional ennui-laden “who is this event even for” post that accompanies any industry event that achieves critical mass.
But the absolute biggest story of the event wasn’t even at the event. It was the launch of Fortnite and, shortly thereafter, PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds on mobile devices. Specifically, both were launched on iOS, and PUBG hit Android simultaneously.
The launch of Fortnite, especially, resonates across the larger gaming spectrum in several unique ways. It’s the full and complete game as present on consoles, it’s iOS-first and it supports cross-platform play with console and PC players.
This has, essentially, never happened before. There have been stabs at one or more of those conditions on experimental levels, but it really marks a watershed in the games industry that could serve to change the psychology around the platform discussion in major ways.
For one, though the shape of GDC has changed over the years as it relates to mobile gaming, it’s only recently that the conference has become dominated by indie titles that are mobile centric. The big players and triple-A console titles still take up a lot of air, but the long tail is very long and mobile is not synonymous with “casual gamers” as it once was.
“I remember the GDC before we launched Monument Valley,” says Dan Gray of Monument Valley 2 studio ustwo. “We were fortunate enough that Unity offered us a place on their stand. Nobody had heard of us or our game and we were begging journalists to come say hello, it’s crazy how things have changed in four years. We’ve now got three speakers at the conference this year, people stop you in the street (within a two-block radius) and we’re asked to be part of interviews like this about the future of mobile.”
Zach Gage, the creator of SpellTower, and my wife’s favorite game of all time, Flipflop Solitaire, says that things feel like they have calmed down a bit. “It seems like that might be boring, but actually I think it’s quite exciting, because a consequence of it is that playing games has become just a normal thing that everyone does… which frankly, is wild. Games have never had the cultural reach that they do now, and it’s largely because of the App Store and these magical devices that are in everyone’s pockets.”
Alto’s Odyssey is the followup to Snowman’s 2015 endless boarder Alto’s Adventure. If you look at these two titles, three years apart, you can see the encapsulation of the growth and maturity of gaming on iOS. The original game was fun, but the newer title is beyond fun and into a realm where you can see the form being elevated into art. And it’s happening blazingly fast.
“There’s a real and continually growing sense that mobile is a platform to launch compelling, artful experiences,” says Snowman’s Ryan Cash. “This has always been the sentiment among the really amazing community of developers we’ve been lucky enough to meet. What’s most exciting to me, now, though, is hearing this acknowledged by representatives of major console platforms. Having conversations with people about their favorite games from the past year, and seeing that many of them are titles tailor-made for mobile platforms, is really gratifying. I definitely don’t want to paint the picture that mobile gaming has ever been some sort of pariah, but there’s a definite sense that more people are realizing how unique an experience it is to play games on these deeply personal devices.”
Mobile gaming as a whole has fought since the beginning against the depiction that it was for wasting time only, not making “true art,” which was reserved for consoles or dedicated gaming platforms. Aside from the “casual” versus “hardcore” debate, which is more about mechanics, there was a general stigma that mobile gaming was a sidecar bet to the main functions of these devices, and that their depth would always reflect that. But the narratives and themes being tackled on the platform beyond just clever mechanics are really incredible.
Playing Monument Valley 2 together with my daughter really just blew my doors off, and I think it changed a lot of people’s minds in this regard. The interplay between the characters and environment and a surprisingly emotional undercurrent for a puzzle game made it a breakout that was also a breakthrough of sorts.
“There’s so many things about games that are so awesome that the average person on the street doesn’t even know about,” says Gray. “As small developers right now we have the chance to make somebody feel a range of emotions about a video game for the first time, it’s not often you’re in the right place at the right time for this and to do it with the most personal device that sits in your pocket is the perfect opportunity.”
The fact that so many of the highest-profile titles are launching on iOS first is a constant source of consternation for Android users, but it’s largely a function of addressable audience.
I spoke to Apple VP Greg Joswiak about Apple’s place in the industry. “Gaming has always been one of the most popular categories on the App Store,” he says. A recent relaunch of the App Store put gaming into its own section and introduced a Today tab that tells stories about the games and about their developers.
That redesign, he says, has been effective. “Traffic to the App Store is up significantly, and with higher traffic, of course, comes higher sales.”
“One thing I think smaller developers appreciate from this is the ability to show the people behind the games,” says ustwo’s Gray about the new gaming and Today sections in the App Store. “Previously customers would just see an icon and assume a corporation of 200 made the game, but now it’s great we can show this really is a labor of love for a small group of people who’re trying to make something special. Hopefully this leads to players seeing the value in paying up front for games in the future once they can see the craft that goes into something.”
Snowman’s Cash agrees. “It’s often hard to communicate the why behind the games you’re making — not just what your game is and does, but how much went into making it, and what it could mean to your players. The stories that now sit on the Today tab are a really exciting way to do this; as an example, when Alto’s Odyssey released for pre-order, we saw a really positive player response to the discussion of the game’s development. I think the variety that the new App Store encourages as well, through rotational stories and regularly refreshed sections, infuses a sense of variety that’s great for both players and developers. There’s a real sense I’m hearing that this setup is equipped to help apps and games surface, and stayed surfaced, in a longer term and more sustainable way.”
In addition, there are some technical advantages that keep Apple ahead of Android in this arena. Plenty of Android devices are very performant and capable in individual ways, but Apple has a deep holistic grasp of its hardware that allows it to push platform advantages in introducing new frameworks like ARKit. Google’s efforts in the area with ARCore are just getting started with the first batch of 1.0 apps coming online now, but Google will always be hamstrung by the platform fragmentation that forces developers to target a huge array of possible software and hardware limitations that their apps and games will run up against.
This makes shipping technically ambitious projects like Fortnite on Android as well as iOS a daunting task. “There’s a very wide range of Android devices that we want to support,” Epic Games’ Nick Chester told Forbes. “We want to make sure Android players have a great experience, so we’re taking more time to get it right.“
That wide range of devices includes an insane differential in GPU capability, processing power, Android version and update status.
“We bring a very homogenous customer base to developers where 90 percent of [devices] are on the current versions of iOS,” says Joswiak. Apple’s customers embrace those changes and updates quickly, he says, and this allows developers to target new features and the full capabilities of the devices more quickly.
Ryan Cash sees these launches on iOS of “full games” as they exist elsewhere as a touchstone of sorts that could legitimize the idea of mobile as a parity platform.
“We have a few die-hard Fortnite players on the team, and the mobile version has them extremely excited,” says Cash. “I think more than the completeness of these games (which is in and of itself a technical feat worth celebrating!), things like Epic’s dedication to cross-platform play are massive. Creating these linked ecosystems where players who prefer gaming on their iPhones can enjoy huge cultural touchstone titles like Fortnite alongside console players is massive. That brings us one step closer to an industry attitude which focuses more on accessibility, and less on siloing off experiences and separating them into tiers of perceived quality.”
“I think what is happening is people are starting to recognize that iOS devices are everywhere, and they are the primary computers of many people,” says Zach Gage. “When people watch a game on Twitch, they take their iPhone out of their pocket and download it. Not because they want to know if there’s a mobile version, but because they just want the game. It’s natural to assume that these games available for a computer or a PlayStation, and it’s now natural to assume that it would be available for your phone.”
Ustwo’s Gray says that it’s great that the big games are transitioning, but also cautions that there needs to be a sustainable environment for mid-priced games on iOS that specifically use the new capabilities of these devices.
“It’s great that such huge games are transitioning this way, but for me I’d really like to see more $ 30+ titles designed and developed specifically for iPhone and iPad as new IP, really taking advantage of how these devices are used,” he says. “It’s definitely going to benefit the App Store as a whole, but It does need to be acknowledged, however, that the way players interact with console/PC platforms and mobile are inherently different and should be designed accordingly. Session lengths and the interaction vocabulary of players are two of the main things to consider, but if a game manages to somehow satisfy the benefits of all those platforms then great, but I think it’s hard.”
Apple may not be an official sponsor of GDC, but it is hosting two sessions at the show, including an introduction to Metal 2, its rendering pipeline, and ARKit, its hope for the future of gaming on mobile. This presence is exciting for a number of reasons, as it shows a greater willingness by Apple to engage the community that has grown around its platforms, but also that the industry is becoming truly integrated, with mobile taking its rightful place alongside console and portable gaming as a viable target for the industry’s most capable and interesting talent.
“They’re bringing the current generation of console games to iOS,” Joswiak says, of launches like Fortnite and PUBG, and notes that he believes we’re at a tipping point when it comes to mobile gaming, because mobile platforms like the iPhone and iOS offer completely unique combinations of hardware and software features that are iterated on quickly.
“Every year we are able to amp up the tech that we bring to developers,” he says, comparing it to the 4-5 year cycle in console gaming hardware. “Before the industry knew it, we were blowing people away [with the tech]. The full gameplay of these titles has woken a lot of people up.”
Niantic, the company behind Pokémon GO, has recently announced that they’re working on a follow-up to their monumentally successful Augmented Reality (AR) game. Pokéballs and Pocket Monsters move aside; and wands and wizardry will take their place as next AR craze will be J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter being brought to life. And my kids — and millions of kids just like them — will be eagerly awaiting the day they can hit download and start casting spells from their smartphones. This announcement is a clear indication that AR is an industry gathering pace, but where does it leave the major…
With podcasts enjoying a surge in revenue and VC investment and collectively surpassing 65 million monthly listeners for the first time, VentureBeat’s Paul Sawers makes a good case for why 2017 was the year of the podcast. A closer look at the shows unveiled in the past few months reveals a trend in podcasts that are the stuff of a history nerd’s dreams.
Shows like Dan Carlin’s Hardcore History and Stuff You Missed in History Class have been popular among podcast listeners for some time now, but in recent weeks names like American History Tellers and Atlanta Monster have debuted and shot to the top of the charts on Apple’s Podcast app — used by the majority of podcasts listeners — as well as popular apps like TuneIn and Google Play Music.
These newcomers aren’t alone, as others like More Perfect (about the U.S. Supreme Court), Uncivil (about the Civil War), and Revisionist History from author Malcolm Gladwell, also launched history-themed podcasts in recent months.
Regardless whether you’re a podcast fan — one of those people quick to ask “What are you listening to?” — a sharp dive into past events reveals some fantastic, timely storytelling. Many of the recent batch of podcasts come from some of the best podcast networks around, including Radiolab, Panoply Media, WNYC, Gimlet Media, and How Stuff Works.
The true crime genre of podcasts is not only wed to the travails of tragedy and human relationships. To put you in the time and place, to understand the context, these podcasts often include a heavy dose of history too. That’s what you get with Atlanta Monster, a podcast that made its debut on January 5. The show is only two episodes in and is already ranked No. 1 in both Apple’s podcast app and TuneIn.
Atlanta Monster tells the story of missing and murdered children in Atlanta. Virtually all of the children featured were poor African-American boys. As the killings terrorized a community, the events would draw the attention of national press, the FBI, and public figures like Sammy Davis Jr. and Frank Sinatra.
In its first two episodes, Atlanta Monster examines the cases of missing children alongside the story of an evolving city roughly a decade after the height of the Civil Rights movement.
Interviews with investigators, community members, and people who were kids at the time and remember being afraid give the podcast an air of oral history.
The Atlanta Monster story is told by host Payne Lindsey and is produced by the How Stuff Works crew based in Atlanta. How Stuff Works is also host of the podcasts Revisionist History and Stuff You Missed in History Class.
Slow Burn is a Slate podcast about the Watergate scandal that led to the resignation of President Richard Nixon. The purpose of the show, host Leon Neyfakh said, isn’t to draw parallels between the Watergate investigation in the 1970s and the Mueller investigation into Russian collusion with the Trump campaign today. Rather, Neyfakh interviews lawmakers, journalists, and others involved in the scandal to talk about what it was like to live through a scandal that took down a president.
The show is a blend of the major events and little-known details about the Watergate scandal.
I’m a self-proclaimed history nerd, but I’m 32, so there’s a whole lot I don’t know about that period of time. I was unaware of the stories of people like Martha Mitchell, wife of Nixon re-election committee chair John Mitchell. She would tell reporters she was tranquilized, held against her will, and lambasted by Nixon loyalists to prevent her revealing details about the break-in at the Watergate hotel.
I also didn’t know that Bob Woodward and Leslie Stahl from 60 Minutes used to date back in the day, and I had forgotten that before Woodward and Bernstein were enshrined as legends in the history of American journalism, Nixon got re-elected in one of the most lopsided Electoral College landslides ever.
Slow Burn is currently ranked fifth among TuneIn’s Top 25 Podcasts and 14th in the Top Charts section of the iTunes Podcast app.
American History Tellers
American History Tellers made its debut January 3 with the release of the first three episodes in a six-part series about the Cold War. The show attempts to combine commentary from researchers with reenactments that capture what living through specific moments in U.S. history was like for everyday people.
For example, the first episode walks you through what a meeting with someone from the FBI may have been like if they’d come over to ask you a few questions about a neighbor with alleged Communist ties.
At the time of publishing, American History Tellers was #2 in the Top 25 podcasts on TuneIn and #3 in the Top Charts portion of the iTunes Podcast app.
American History Tellers is made by Wonderly, creator of the Tides of History podcast.
From Gimlet Media, Uncivil debuted in the fall of 2017 with stories about the Civil War. It often digs into misconceptions and mistruths told about that period, and it looks at ways the impact of the war is still felt today. Like many of the shows here, Uncivil tells a lot of little-known stories.
The first episode details the liberation of plantations by the 2nd South Carolina infantry in Combahee, South Carolina, aided by intelligence from Harriet Tubman.
The banter between hosts Jack Hitt and Chenjerai Kumanyika helps infuse a certain amount of levity into a dense, sometimes complicated, sometimes painful subject.
As host Lillian Cunningham points out in season one, there have been more than 10,000 attempts to amend the U.S. Constitution, and fewer than 30 have actually received the requisite approval from three-fourths of all states.
From the Washington Post, Constitutional tells stories about the U.S. Constitution. The focus of the second season — the exploration of the 27 amendments to the Constitution — was suggested by a listener who had heard Cunningham’s Presidential podcast, recorded in 2016 about U.S. presidents.
I really enjoyed the hour-long look at the road traveled to reach consensus across the nation for a collection of the laws that have made the most fundamental shifts in U.S. history — like the 19th amendment that gave women the right to vote or the right to a fair trial enshrined in the 6th amendment.
The latest episode looks at privacy protections in the Constitution and how the Supreme Court has grappled with the definition of privacy as new technologies like cameras and cell phones have emerged.
This podcast comes from author Malcolm Gladwell. In each episode, Gladwell argues that a key moment in history has been misinterpreted or misunderstood. Episode subjects are as broad as golf courses in Los Angeles, McDonald’s french fries, or Winston Churchill’s friendship with a physicist.
A large portion of season two of Revisionist History focuses on the Civil Rights movement.
In these episodes, the show takes a closer look at an iconic photograph of a child being bitten by a police dog, and explores how the Brown vs. Board of Education decision led to the decimation of the ranks of African-American teachers in the United States.
I listened to the first season, but I found the second season much more engaging and personal because alongside the history it offers glimpses of Gladwell’s own story. I didn’t know he’s Canadian or part of his family is originally from the West Indies. His father passed away during the recording of one episode and that tragedy indirectly shaped how the story was told. Overall, I felt like I got to know Gladwell better, not just as the author of popular books like Tipping Point, but as someone with an interesting story of his own.
More Perfect examines issues and major cases that have been argued before the U.S. Supreme Court. Season two, which wrapped up last month, explored issues such as recent Second Amendment challenges and the theft of Justice Felix Frankfurter’s papers, one of the largest thefts in the history of the Library of Congress. There’s a lot more laughter in this episode than you might imagine.
My favorite recent episode was an analysis of the way legal counsels address female Supreme Court justices.
Women have only been on the U.S. Supreme Court since Sandra Day O’Conner was appointed by President Ronald Reagan in 1981. Of the four women who have ever served, three are on the bench today, and the episode reveals that they are interrupted more frequently than their male counterparts in the highest court in the land.
Billed as “the year of virtual reality,” 2017’s Consumer Electronics Show did little to build confidence in the industry. Aisles of exhibitors seemed almost reluctant at times, each displaying products ranging from half-finished to complete vaporware in an effort to capitalize on the crescendo of hype surrounding everything virtual or augmented. The reality each woke up to was different than the one they’d dreamed up weeks earlier. This year’s event told a different story. While some manufacturers still attempted to reinvent the wheel, the majority instead turned their attention to some of the segment’s biggest shortcomings. Companies are content to let…
Protons’ Magnetic Moment
An international team of scientists employed highly precise methods to uncover the most exact measurement of the magnetic moment of protons. They found it to be 2.79284734462, plus-or-minus 0.00000000082 nuclear magnetons (the typical unit for measuring this property).
The magnetic moment is a property of particles that is a prerequisite for magnetism, and applied to protons, it embodies a fundamental property of atomic structure. The team included scientists from RIKEN’s Ulmer Fundamental Symmetries Laboratory (FSL), Johannes Gutenberg-Universität Mainz, Max Planck Institute for Nuclear Physics, Heidelberg, and GSI Darmstadt.
The level of precision for the first-of-a-kind measurements was better than one part per billion.
In order to achieve this kind of specificity, researchers needed to isolate a single proton. Not a microscopic handful or an iota of particles; just one, caught in a Penning trap. They detected the thermal signal of ions (atoms or molecules with an uneven ratio of electrons to protons) and used an electric field to eliminate protons until there was only one left.
Achieving the high level of specificity for the experiment required both extremely difficult engineering and moving the proton between two types of traps.
Methodology and Purpose
A proton inside a Penning trap will sync its spin with the magnetic field inside the trap. The detector measured two frequencies: the the cyclotron frequency of the proton in a magnetic field and the Larmor (spin-procession) frequency. Together, these help determine the magnetic moment. After the proton goes through all that in the first trap, it moves to a second trap, where its spin state is obtained with a magnetic bottle.
Georg Schneider, first author of the study, says the work will “allow us to get a better understanding of, for example, atomic structure.” Andreas Mooser, member of RIKEN FSL and second author of the study, said, “Looking forward, using this technique, we will be able to make similarly precise measurements of the antiproton at the BASE experiment in CERN, and this will allow us to look for further hints for why there is no antimatter in the universe today.”
The post Physicists Made the Most Precise Measurement of Protons’ “Magic Moment” appeared first on Futurism.
Moment, the company known for its cases and detachable lenses for mobile phones, is releasing two of its costly yet beloved cases for the iPhone X. The Photo Case and Battery Photo Case both contain mounts that allow Moment’s lenses to be attached. The Battery Photo Case can juice your phone up to 90 percent and also features a shutter button that connects to your phone via the Moment app or the default camera app.
The company is also releasing four updated lenses: wide; tele, which takes photos 2x closer; superfish, which the company claims gives the widest possible shot on a phone; and macro, for capturing close-ups and smaller details. “Moment for iPhone X will be the most advanced gear we’ve ever made for mobile photography,” said…