It has only been a few days since Facebook pulled access from Cambridge Analytica and some of its associates — for allegedly retaining data on millions of accounts that it pulled in via a "personality" app in 2014 — but the scrutiny around both com… Engadget RSS Feed
BuzzFeed news intends to fight a pending lawsuit with the White House by proving the infamous “pee tape” exists. According to a report in Foreign Policy, the website has hired a crack team of investigators led by none other than former White House cybersecurity official Anthony Ferrante, the same man who once oversaw the investigation into possible collusion between Russia and the Trump campaign after the 2016 election. Ferrante left the White House in April 2017 to work with FTI consulting. He’s now tasked with verifying the legitimacy of the dossier compiled by former British spy Christopher Steele, and the…
Nielsen Media Research released its annual Music Year-End Report for 2017. It found that audiences are increasingly turning to on-demand streaming to get their music, while sales in physical media is declining. But some formats are experiencing a boost: sales of cassette tapes have increased, hitting their best year since 2012.
Cassette Tapes are in the midst of a revival: Nielsen reported last year that sales rose 74 percent to 129,000 units sold. That uptick was led by albums such as the Guardians of the Galaxy soundtrack, which featured the classic cassette tape prominently in the 2014 film. This year, those numbers rose further: Nielsen says that retailers sold 174,000 units, up 35 percent from last year’s numbers.
You kids these days, with your augmented reality. Back in MY day we had to fake it the old-fashioned way, like in 2010’s UFO on Tape [Free] from Revolutionary Concepts. This curious little game captured our imagination back then with its clever and wholly unique concept. Basically, you play as a person riding in the back of a car, filming through the window with your smartphone. While doing so you notice a strange object flying in the sky… it’s a real-deal UFO! Your job then turns to keeping the UFO in the frame of your camera for as long as possible by physically moving your device around, with the game using the motion control abilities to spoof that experience. The “game” part is earning a high score by seeing how many seconds you can keep filming the craft before losing sight of it. Here’s the (very old) trailer to give you an idea of what UFO on Tape is like.
It was an incredibly convincing experience as the faux camera UI, the photorealistic environments, the need to actually move your device around, and your girlfriend’s excited (and sometimes pointed) comments made everything feel really authentic. The entire thing probably seems quaint compared to the crazy stuff we can do nowadays with AR, but at that time there was nothing like UFO on Tape on the App Store. The game did really well then too, even topping the charts for a while and receiving various updates well into 2013. With the 32-bit Appocalypse coming there was an update back in March to ensure the game kept living on, but this week Revolutionary Concepts has taken things a step further by updating UFO on Tape with full support for the screen of the iPhone X and they are also offering it for free for the first time ever.
The free-ness comes with a catch: a video ad will play after each completed game session. They’re the type that you can skip after a few seconds so it’s not the end of the world, but I’d sure pay for an IAP that removed them. Heck, I’d even pay again for that IAP despite being a previous owner, UFO on Tape is just that brilliant. Advertisements aside, the game going free is a tremendous opportunity for all those people who have gotten into mobile gaming in the past several years to give one of the platform’s most unique experiences a try without risk. I hadn’t played UFO on Tape for a long time, but picking it up again to check out its new iPhone X support has caused me to fall in love with it all over again. Definitely take this opportunity to give it a look if you haven’t before.
If you’ve caught Stranger Things at all during its first or second season, you’ll have seen how much it relies on the nostalgia factor. Old Ataris, Eggos, Three Musketeer candy bars at Halloween, and plenty of old 80’s music make the show feel like a trip in a time machine. The show also has plenty of VHS tapes, which its characters use to record important memories and re-watch favorite films.
Of all the exciting new features and technologies baked into Apple’s upcoming iOS 11 software update, perhaps the most intriguing (and promising) of them is the company’s newly introduced ARKit. Shown off in extensive detail at WWDC 2017 earlier this month, ARKit is Apple’s first major foray into the burgeoning Augmented Reality (AR)-based app development space, and will enable app developers to seamlessly incorporate a variety of AR experiences into their existing iOS apps. So far we’ve seen a ton of possibilities in terms of what ARKit will be able to bring to certain apps when iOS 11 launches this fall — such as the upcoming IKEA app with built-in AR functionality, which will allow shoppers to place, view, and configure furnishings (“virtually”) in their own home prior to making a purchase. But wait, there’s more.
One of several videos that were recently shared to Twitter, show some savvy developers affiliated with @madewithARKit demonstrating how they were able to harness the power of the iPhone’s camera, processors, and motion sensor array to assist in calculating the size of certain objects in their environment. The video demonstrates how the utility will work on iPhone and iPad – when a user taps on two locations in their imminent environment, ARKit will determine the distance between them, displaying the result as a free-floating variable that appears onscreen.
In another demonstration, app developers with Laan Labs were able to create an ARKit-based virtual tape measuring experience, which they claim is actually comparable to physically using a measuring tape. Users can apply the virtual measuring tape by selecting the point where they want it to begin, and then panning the onscreen area in the room to determine where the alternate end of the tape should be placed. Currently one of several ARKit-based projects in development by Laan Labs, the app even applies the virtual measuring tape technique to a picture frame, and an armoire, for further validation.
ARKit & Mobile Gaming
And the possibilities don’t stop there. Various app developers have already begun experimenting with ARKit in their iOS games. One example that’s already taking shape is a joint project to develop an AR-based Minecraft app, which would allow players to place Minecraft blocks strategically around their imminent environment, while also affording them the pleasure of destroying what’s been made using Minecraft’s traditional arsenal of destruction utilities. Check out the AR-based Minecraft in the video below.
On Friday, June 9th, we’ll be taping a special final episode of Ctrl-Walt-Delete in New York City, with Walt Mossberg, Nilay Patel… and Dieter Bohn. Yes, we’ve finally mentioned Dieter enough times to actually get him on the show.
Tickets are $ 25, and the taping will start at 7:30PM ET. We’re also offering VIP tickets for $ 50 if you’d like to hang out with Walt and The Verge team before the show. Tickets are on sale now. We’ll see you there!