google play

ANIMAL FACE: A BOREDOM APP AT ITS FINEST
June 7, 2016 12:11 pm

Well, this app is pretty self explanatory, you put an animal on someone’s face. Seemed pretty stupid at first, but I am pleasantly amused at how much fun it became. It isn’t a life changing app, but if you’re bored or have some animal inside jokes with friends, then it can be a “hoot.”

The menu and user interface is pretty easy to get around. It’s simple enough editing tools are nice and allow for your mayhem for making silly pictures easy. I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t surprised at how many options there are for animals, various faces of the animals, and even things like ears and wings. But, obviously, to get all the faces and frames, you have to pay a few bucks here and there, which you can’t be too mad about for the amount of content that is available for free. The last nice touch is that you can grab pics from your library or just take a picture on the spot, other tools lack choice, therefore Animal Face get some extra kudos.

I am seriously surprised at the number of people that have downloaded it and given it 5 stars. Obviously a lot of people are spending time and money for it to have so many high reviews. Google Play has had over 47,000 downloads and 28,000 of them have given it a 5 star rating. iTunes doesn’t tell us how many have downloaded it, but there are over 2,000 5 star ratings from people who have downloaded it.

For a free app, it’s actually pretty high quality, and I see why people use it, but I would never bother keeping it on my phone for more than a few days. If you want to see your friends with cow heads and roaring lion faces, enjoy. Here are a few I did, so show us your favorite Animal Faces and tweet us at @AtypicalBeasts!

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BEME APP TAKES FRESH APPROACH TO SHARING ONLINE
May 25, 2016 1:01 pm

Most people use at least one form of social media, be it Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or some other platform. Many of us are active on multiple networks. Simply put, the internet has changed the way we interact with others. A byproduct of this interconnectivity is the attention to our online presence. With editing and selection, social media users can create an online identity that may, or may not, accurately represent who we are. 

Bemebemeconcept, a video-sharing application launched as a beta version in July of 2015, is re-envisioning the nature of social media. When sharing on Beme there is no way to edit what you are posting. You don’t even have to look at your phone. 

Created by vlogging icon Casey Neistat and former Tumblr VP of Engineering Matt Hackett, Beme is an attempt to bring authenticity back into social media. In the words of Neistat, “[Beme] is a platform to share your perspectives, to share your world with video, and to see other people’s perspectives via video that you can trust, that’s real.”

Here’s how it works: Beme uses the proximity sensor on your phone’s camera to begin recording videos up to 8 seconds long. By covering your phone’s sensor, Beme records what you are actually seeing and then automatically posts it online.  There are no filters, no hashtags and no way to preview clips. To take a selfie, flip the phone around and repeat the process.

You can also record by tapping and holding a camera icon within the app, but the video recording screen remains black until the clip is posted. This helps to counteract issues when recording with devices without a proximity sensor, or if covering the sensor makes it difficult to capture what you want to record, while maintaining Beme’s unfiltered nature.

Beme users can fill up their personal Beme profiles with clips for people to view and share reactions to other people’s videos. The result is a unique, unaltered insight into the way that people experience the world. When other users view your Beme videos the app even notifies you that, “1 person has spent [insert seconds] as you.” 

Beme has a lot of the same flavor as Casey Neistat’s daily Vlog. The videos of his life make a point to maintain an honest relationship with his audience. Although edited in Final Cut Pro X, all of Neistat’s YouTube videos have a raw and unscripted feel, the same sensation you get when using Beme. 

The app’s interface is intuitive, but may be challenging if using Beme is your first foray into social media. Other than a short introductory video and walkthrough after launching the application, Beme doesn’t give you much direction for navigating the app or posting your videos. That said, figuring out Beme’s nuances can be accomplished by tinkering with the app for a few minutes.

After encountering some issues following the initial launch, the Beme team went back to the drawing board and produced a product that is a fresh and innovative approach to social media. Now out of the beta-version, Beme is on full-release for iOS and Android platforms, and can be downloaded in the App Store and Google Play.

Enjoyable Casey Neistat vlog: breaking up is hard to do 

OPEN GARDEN: THE INTERNET OF US
March 10, 2016 12:10 pm

The next revolution will not conspire in a dingy tavern. The jury’s out on whether or not the next revolution will be televised. More than likely though, the next mass protest will be orchestrated via text message.

Open Garden is an innovative little tech firm based in San Francisco that are tinkering with our very preconceived notions of the internet.

Their flagship product FireChat is a mobile application that allows you to communicate without access to the internet or a mobile network.

FireChat uses the radio inside your phone to connect directly with adjoining phones within a 210 foot radius, otherwise known as an off-the-grid mesh network. The more devices that are connected to the network, the larger the web gets. This makes it easy to build ad hoc networks to get the buzz going at conventions and music festivals like Burning Man and SXSW. But perhaps where FireChat has the most impact are in isolated areas where internet is limited, such as the tropical paradise of Tahiti, or situations in which conversations are being heavily monitored, such as the pro-democracy protests in Honk Kong.

Open Garden was founded by a group of renegade technologists, and ex-engineers of the file-sharing tool BitTorrent. CEO Micha Benoliel was instrumental in creating telecommunications mainstay Skype. The company has been backed by a handful of high-profile investors, including Mark Cuban. In total their investment capital amounts to over $12.8 million.

So you’re the one at the party that likes to share. You know who you are. Give yourself a pat on the back and keep doing you. Now you can share your internet access with outsiders as well. FireChat lets you dictate how much data you are willing to share, and with whom you are sharing it with.

For the most part accessing this app is fairly simple, just find it at the App Store or Google Play and download.

Next it’s time to create a profile: pick a username, add a photo and a short bio, you know the drill. Don’t fret too much over this step–you have the option of keeping your identity anonymous when you join a network. Once you’re up and running it’s time to join a chatroom. Like Twitter and Instagram, FireChat utilizes hashtags to denote various chatroom categories (#AtypicalBeasts). This also makes it a lot easier to share your chatroom or a chatroom you’re participating in with friends online.

Lastly, a few additional features to keep in mind. You can block nuisances or creeps. You can also disperse photos. You can even send private messages if you don’t want to engage the entire surround community into your conversation. it’s a simple tool with a lot of flexibility.

Open Garden has already inspired a host of new internet services. An emerging market abound with buzz on the blogosphere these days is the so-called Internet of Things, commonplace items like light bulbs and thermostats that will soon be part of our internet ecosystem. These items might run more efficiently and more cost-effectively if they could periodically key into a network emitted from a nearby device rather than have to constantly be connected to WiFi.

Another area of interest are emerging markets, such as Africa. Off-the-grid networks could be particularly useful in markets where cellular coverage and internet access is scarce, or where it might be more economical to share a single cellular service. Open Garden wants to help connect the next 1 billion devices to the internet and are actively seeking partners to help them deploy their FireChat MeshKits.

Open Garden is certainly proving to be a force in the telecommunications game and it seems the possibilities are endless.

SPOTLIGHT ON: MUSICOVERY
October 28, 2015 8:55 am

In an internet radio world dominated by big players like Pandora, Sirius XM, Apple Music, Google Play and Spotify, the little guys have a lot to prove just to keep up.

Musicovery is an app that integrates mood-based listening with online radio. It does so in the Songza vein; however, in a much more simplified fashion. While Songza boasts twenty different moods, Musicovery selects the big four: “Energetic,” “Calm,” “Dark,” and “Positive.” The four moods are set up like a grid with the “Energetic” and “Calm” on the North and South poles and “Dark” and “Positive” on the West and East poles. The user selects an area on the grid and the service plays a song based on both where the selected area falls on the mood spectrum and additional genre preferences the user can select.

Sometimes less is more. Other times, less is just less.

While Musicovery’s inclusion of only four moods certainly lightens the workload of the listener, it does not provide the ultimate experience that a more complex service like Songza provides. The few mood choices make the listening experience haphazard and difficult to listen to if you are a listener who has specific taste. Additionally, Musicovery’s lack of activity-based customization reduces the overall efficacy of the platform. If a user isn’t feeling in a particular mood but is doing a particular activity, the user cannot utilize the platform. Finally, the abundant technological setbacks, like not having an app with iPhone compatibility and bugs on the desktop site, make the user experience a frustrating one.

Amidst the more negative analysis, there is a silver lining to Musicovery. I have never seen a more diverse and global approach to the online radio listening experience. Musicovery is a go-to for a listener with a wide range of musical interests spanning every genre and every country of origin. For a World Music lover like me, this app is a great destination for a more globally focused listening experience.

At the end of the day, Musicovery’s globally focused listening experience cannot compensate for its lack of mobile accessibility, glitches on the site, scarce mood options and lack of activity-based listening. While I would love to root for the little guy, I find myself sticking with the big guns like Songza (acquired by Google and integrated into Google Play) and Spotify… at least for now.

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YOUTUBE RED: THE APOCALYPSE?
October 23, 2015 7:01 pm

As our use of the internet evolves, so does the internet’s relationship with its users. Facebook is constantly updating its interface. Twitter went public. Netflix stopped mailing things to and fro (actually they still do that, but you get the idea). It’s inevitable. Meanwhile, streaming services like Spotify and Pandora have established a paradigm for content creators: payment based on number of hits, with advertising the primary source of moola. Users can bypass these ads, of course, by paying a subscription, a portion of which is funneled to the content creators. This is basically the essence of YouTube Red: you can pay to avoid the ads.

“How much money are we talking about here?” Great question, glad you asked. A subscription to YouTube Red costs $9.99/month.

“How much of that do content creators get?” You’re on fire here with these questions, keep it up. On Youtube, creators get 55% of the revenue they create. That hasn’t changed since 2013, and won’t with YouTube Red.

“That seems like a lot!” you say, and I hear ya. We all know about how Spotify and Pandora barely pay anything to their content creators, and that’s true. Ultimately the musicians don’t get much at all. That’s the thing though–they’re musicians. They have teams of representatives to pay: labels, distributors, lawyers and bullshit. Always with “the man” trying to take them down. Youtubers, however, are free from all that. They’re mostly just some jabroni with a webcam. John Q Citizen decides to start a YouTube channel for profit and look, he already has a million followers! That’s good for him, and for his wallet. The exact number varies of course, but full-time YouTube content creators can make upwards of $100k/year. Holy shit!

So that brings us to YouTube Red. Despite heavy scrutiny and much deliberation, I think we can all agree on one thing: what a terrible name. Like, are you kidding me?! You and I can pretend to have never heard of Redtube, one of the most popular porn sites out there (or so I’ve heard), but YouTube obviously knows about it and is okay with the inevitable brand mixup. That’s weak, YouTube. Come on. Furthermore, it’s just a lazy name. “How about we just add a color on the end of our name? It worked for Uber Black!” Yeah, that’s because fancy cars are usually jet black. It’s already a thing, dummy. Red YouTube videos aren’t a thing–oh wait yes they are, they’re porn. Jeez Louize, think before you brand, YouTube.

LEST WE FORGET that YouTube is owned by Google, which already has a content streaming service called Google Play. With that in mind, don’t think about YouTube Red as comparable to Spotify or Pandora–that’s what Google Play is for. Think of Redtu–I mean YouTube Red as Hulu without the ads. Makes it seem like an improvment, right? There, that wasn’t so hard.

The big story here is that content creators are getting snubbed. But has it been as divisive as the internet outrage machine has portrayed it to be? Not really, no. Over 99% of content creators are on board. The user experience has also changed only marginally–the difference now is that we have the option to pay to remove those pesky ads. Ain’t nobody got time for that! Just stay the course, everybody. We’ll survive this all somehow.

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