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4 months ago

Facebook now lets you upload and share 360-degree photos


Facebook is now allowing the many users of its social networking service to upload 360 degree photos to their accounts and to share them with others.

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4 months ago

Uber begins Scheduled Rides rollout in Seattle, more cities coming soon


Uber has started rolling out its new Scheduled Rides feature, starting in Seattle, for its business customers. It will allow those users to schedule a pickup date from the shared ride service from 30 minutes to 30 days in advance.

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4 months ago

This new app uses neural networks to choose the perfect emoji


Choose the right emoji, faster.

A new app from Toronto-based Whirlscape taps into neural networks to choose the best emoji while you're typing. That may not sound like an impressive feat, but a long more goes into predicting which emoji you'll use than you think.

The app is called Dango, and it's a sequel of sorts to an app that many Android users may be familiar with: Minuum. If you cast your mind back a couple of years, you may recall that Minuum made a name for itself as one of the smartest keyboard apps on the Play Store — even when shrunk down to a single line, or what creator Will Walmsley calls a "one-dimensional plane." While the keyboard failed to gain enormous market share, it showcased a predictive text algorithm that derived sense from a jumble of letters.

Dango is quite different: it is a floating app that sits atop any keyboard input, suggesting emoji, stickers and GIFs based on what you're writing. According to Walmsley, Dango doesn't just base its suggestions on the words you string together, but attempts to find context and meaning. The key is a neural net that gets smarter the more people use it.

A neural network is taught by randomly initializing these parameters and then showing the network millions of real-world examples of emoji use taken from across the web, like "Hey how's it going (hand emoji)", "Want to grab a (beer emoji) tonight?", "Ugh (angry face emoji)", and so on. At first the network just guesses randomly, but over time with each new training example, it slightly adjusts its millions of parameters so it performs better on that example. After a few days on a top-of-the-line GPU, the network starts outputting more meaningful suggestions.

Dango appears in any app where you are inputting text, unless you explicitly tell it not to. And because, like Facebook's Chat Heads feature, it disappears once its use is expired, system resources are spared and users don't have to contend with opening a separate app. That is why Dango is so much more useful than merely using the existing emoji selector on your keyboard — even those, like SwiftKey, that predict emoji while you write.

Walmsley predicts that apps like Dango represent the future of language, since the proliferation of smartphones have made language much less reliant on text.

Language is becoming visual. Emoji, stickers, and GIFs are exploding in popularity, despite the fact that it's still labour-intensive to use them in an advanced way. Enthusiasts create personal collections of images for every situation and have memorized every page of the emoji keyboard, but the rest of us rely on using emoji immediately accessible on our "most used" menu and sometimes forward a GIF here and there.

The same way Dango predicts emoji it also suggests GIFs, powered by Giphy, or stickers, from packs that the company is constantly adding to.

Download: Dango (Free)

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4 months ago

YouTube offline now lets you pick a time to download videos


Google rolled out the ability to take YouTube videos offline in India in 2014, and the search giant is now adding a Smart Offline feature that makes it easier than ever to download videos. Cellular networks in the country offer reduced data rates for late night hours (usually between 3AM and 5AM), and you can now take advantage of the savings by scheduling videos for download during off-peak hours.

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4 months ago

Nextbit Robin update now rolling out with June security patch, speaker volume fix


If you happen to be using a Nextbit Robin, it's time to check for a software update. A new update is now rolling out to the smartphone, bringing along the latest Android platform security patch, along with a fix for a speaker volume bug and more.

Here's the full log of what's new, from Nextbit:

  • Speaker volume: We have totally revamped the speaker volume after the audio enhancements last month. The minimum volume is much softer and as you increase the volume, it follows a nice linear progression.
  • Camera: Primarily a fix to improve stability when sharing pictures to the Line app.
  • Custom ringtones: We've included the custom ringtones - Patricia by Lauren Loh Sung and Breeze by Giraffage - in the ringtone pack. You no longer need to sideload them.
  • Security: As a bonus, the Android Security Patch is now updated to June 1.

The just started rolling out, so you should be able to pull it down to your phone in short order. Once you've updated, be sure to let us know what you think in the comments and on our forums!

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4 months ago

Snapchat overhauls Discover and now lets you subscribe to channels


Snapchat has received a bit of a facelift in its latest update — at least for the app's Discovery page.

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4 months ago

Twitter for Android gets easier to navigate with new design and swipe gestures


The official Twitter app for Android has received a bit of a visual refresh that should make navigating the app easier overall.

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4 months ago

Replay: The growing struggle of playback controls via Bluetooth


Music is the most important function of my phone. No, I am not kidding.

It is what I use at work, home, in bed, in the shower and everywhere in between to keep me sane and happy. Music makes me better, and since music is such a large part of my Android experience, there's been a slow decline that I've been painfully aware of over the last few years, and especially the last few months.

Sometimes I turn on my Bluetooth headphones, hit play, and nothing happens. And nothing happens a lot more than it used to.

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4 months ago

AC editors' apps of the week: Giphy, Toolwiz Photos, Sky Force Reloaded, Flipp and more


It's Appday Sunday and that means we're back with more of our favorites to share. Every week we bring a handful of great apps to the table and share them with everyone. Sometimes they are new apps, sometimes old standards, but every time they are apps we love to use.

Give these a look and then take a minute to tell us all about the apps you are using and love so we can give them a try. We all find some of our favorites right in the comments on these posts!

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4 months ago

Flamingo for Twitter beta arrives in Google Play with tons of customization options


Flamingo is the latest Android Twitter client that offers a highly customizable interface, a Material Design and much more. The app is now available on Google Play for 99 cents, which is a great price for the features that are being offered. The developer, Sam Runston, is also known for the great weather app, Weather Timeline.

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4 months ago

Android apps on your Chromebook: Here's the video you've been waiting for


One of the most popular sessions from Google I/O 2016 was also one of the most limited when it came to seats. We're talking about the announcement of Android apps on Chrome OS. It also wasn't available online — until today.

The video does a great job at describing how Android apps will run on your Chromebook, and most everything the layman would want to know about compatibility, security and how the two systems will work together is covered. The presentation was more of a press event than a developer session, which means even we could understand most of it. We're pretty sure Google has more for developers interested in targeting Chromebooks with their Android apps, but this is a good introduction to the idea.

It's one you'll want to see, so give it a look.

More: These are the Chromebooks that can run Android apps from Google Play


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4 months ago

Instagram rolls out its new feed algorithm for all users to put best posts on top


As promised earlier this year, Instagram is now rolling out a new feed algorithm to all of its users. It is supposed to put the posts that users want to see first on the social network on top of their feed.

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4 months ago

Microsoft Translator optimized for Android tablets, launches on Amazon's Fire tablets


Microsoft has released its Translator app for Amazon's line of Fire tablets via the Amazon Underground store. Also, the regular Android version of the app has been optimized for tablet use.

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4 months ago

Hungry Shark World: Tips, tricks, and cheats

 Tips, tricks, and cheats

Our list of tips to help you become the alpha shark!

Hungry Shark World is taking the hungry shark world by storm, sitting in the top 3 games in the Google Play Store. It burst onto the scene to millions of installs and continues to chomp its way onto phones, leaving only sore thumbs (and the occasional frustrated outburst) in its wake.

If you're trying to make your way up the food chain, then sharpen your teeth on our list of tips, tricks, and cheats!

Free – Download now


Keep going!Don't stop!

Our biggest and most important tip is to keep on keepin' on. If you're not one for in-app purchases, then you will have to play Hungry Shark World for hours (probably days) before you unlock bigger and bigger sharks.

Just keep going. Whenever you die of starvation, just get right back in there and eat some more; it all adds up. Luckily, you have quite a variety of things to eat, and you'll be able to eat more and more critters as you progress.

Sally forth! Eyes on the prize!

Buy the map

Buy the mapThe map

Buying the map for the stage you're in will help you find better prey and the letters in HUNGRY. It's always a good idea to know where you are.

Get the drop on aggressive sea life and scuba divers

Get the jump on other sharks!Watch out for scuba divers!

It's bad enough that your Life bar depletes just from swimming around; you don't need grumpy barracudas or stabby scuba divers helping it drop more quickly.

Get the drop on them by either swimming up from behind or boosting toward them in order to catch them off guard. This goes for barracudas, scuba divers, larger crabs, other sharks, and certainly more as you progress.

Use your boost for more than just speed

Use your boost to increase your attack power!Use your boost to jump high and catch birds!

Your boost is one of your greatest assets, especially when it comes to catching some of the more squirrely ocean dwellers. But, your boost is for more than just speed; it increases your attack damage. So, if you're trying to get the drop on a scuba diver, boost toward him so you can take him down more quickly and safely.

You can also use your boost to help you jump out of the water to grab pelicans and letters.

Watch out for jellyfish, pufferfish, lionfish, giant squids, and more

Watch out for jellyfish!Watch out for pufferfish!

There are certain sea creatures that you just won't be able to eat early on. In fact, for some, like the larger jellyfish, you'll need an XL Shark.

Take a look at what you're about to munch, especially in the case of pufferfish, since they may catch you off guard and do you harm Giant squids will mangle you and release ink that'll steal some Life if you swim through it.

Avoid 'em all until you know you have a shark that's formidable enough to choke 'em down.

Don't forget the surface

Catch and eat humans near the surface!Catch pelicans and other birds up at the surface!

There are tasty humans, pelicans, and more that don't exactly inhabit the briny depths. Swim along the surface and even jump, using your boost, to snatch birds right out of the sky and gobble up errant swimmers, who are worth a ton of Life.

As you're collecting all the letters in HUNGRY, you might even find some of them rather high above the surface. Hang out down below with the whales and the depth charges, sure, but check out shallows too!

Complete missions to earn gold

Complete missions to earn gold!Complete missions to earn gold!

Though your appetite may be voracious, take the time to check out your missions before you head off on a fishy binge.

Right before you choose your stage, tap the buttons below the map to view your missions for the day. You can also see them when you're paused, in-game.

Completing these give you gold, because, even though you unlock sharks along the way, you still have to purchase them with your in-game gold. More missions will be added as you complete them.

Don't linger on shore too long

Watch out for cops!Don't get shot!

Yes, you can jump up onto the shore a little bit, so that humans who are thinking about dipping in a toe can be munched before they soil your ocean home.

However, if you're on shore for too long, the police will shoot you; they don't ask questions first nor do they ask them later. It only takes three or four shots to kill you, so after you've had your snack, get back into drink again quickly!

Eat entire schools of fish

Shoal Bonus!Shoal Bonus!

Don't just pick off a few fishies and leave their friends to mourn them. Devour entire schools and you'll earn a Shoal Bonus. This gives you a big Life bonus, so when you're starving your health is critical, boost around and target larger schools. It'll be more than enough of a top-up to keep you going.

Upgrade your shark

Upgrade your shark!Upgrade your shark!

While you're waiting for bigger and badder sharks to be unlocked and you're accumulating gold, upgrade your current predator.

You can increase its speed, bite strength, and boost, which will allow you to munch bigger prey more easily and to slip away from predators that might do you harm.

How do you play?

Do you have any tips or tricks to help other folks become top shark? Share in the comments below!

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4 months ago

The best streaming music services in Canada


The last few years have seen tremendous change and maturation in the streaming music space. Despite streaming overtaking digital downloads as the primary source of revenue for the music industry, low margins have forced the sale or closure of popular options (RIP Rdio!), leaving only a few viable players.

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