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instagram wants to make hashtags great again

you know all those hashtags you’ve been adding to your instagram posts in the hope that more people with similar interests will find your content and you'll turn them into faithful followers? well, hashtags are about to get a lot better and smarter, at least on instagram, as the company wants to make content discovery even easier for the user. the social network will let you follow hashtags going forward, which is a lot better than searching for hashtag content yourself. doesn’t that mean that spammers and marketers will try to abuse the system and make their products reach the top of your explore tab? oh yes, it totally does. but instagram is building tools in the app to try to avoid that. as the verge explains in a post that has way too many hashtags in it, instagram hired matthew ogle to do the job, who worked at spotify as the project manager of discover weekly. “discover weekly wasn’t about teaching an algorithm to understand and then recommend music. we taught an algorithm to look at what the community was already doing with this building block, the playlist, and to take the best of what the community was doing and extend it in a new direction,” ogle said. “hashtags are kind of the same way. you have something that is working organically on the platform, how do we add just enough additional structure so that more people can participate.” so how does it all work? well, you get to follow whatever hashtags you desire without having to search for them actively. your feed will be populated with instagram content from those hashtags. every time you find an image or video you think instagram shouldn’t show it to you, you can downvote the post. and you can heart the ones you like and leave comments to signal your interest in that type of content. that way instagram will know exactly what you expect from each hashtag and update the feed accordingly. the following video shows you exactly how hashtag following will work.





comcast’s new tv remote can also find your lost cellphone

if you're anything like me, you probably use find my iphone (or google's neat trick) to retrieve a phone from the depths of your couch or laundry hamper a few times a month. things like tile do already exist to lighten the burden on the more forgetful among us, but comcast and its new xfinity mobile division are trying something very different with the new x1 voice remote. announced yesterday, the x1 voice remote is a redesigned remote for comcast's set-top box, with most of the emphasis on voice commands to control the box's fancier features. but it also has a voice command function to help you find your phone in the house, provided you're an xfinity mobile customer. if you press the microphone button and say "xfinity mobile, find my phone," the remote will cause your phone to ring and play a pre-recorded message. you can specify different names for different devices, since xfinity mobile assigns a name to every line when it's activated. comcast is also adding smart home commands as well as natural-language methods of controlling the tv, in the hopes that its remote can serve as an alternative to a smart-home speaker like google home or amazon echo. xfinity mobile is an mvno, meaning it buys up access on one of the wireless carriers and then resells that to its customers. in comcast’s case, the network it’s using is verizon, which means you’re hopping on board with the network with the best coverage in the us. the plans are good, and cheaper than verizon’s offerings if you’re not opening up four unlimited lines. there are two plans on offer: the $45-per-month unlimited, which gets you unlimited talk, text, and data, up to a soft cap of 20gb per month; and the per-gb option, which charges $12 per gb per month. however, xfinity mobile service is only available for customers who have one of comcast's other home internet or tv packages, meaning it's also restricted to areas where comcast offers service.





apple’s new imac pro has a chip that’s going to revolutionize mac security

according to a number of early reviews, apple's brand new imac pro is an absolute beast of a machine. hardly a surprise, apple at wwdc this past summer proudly boasted that it's the fastest and most powerful mac ever created. while detailed performance reviews will likely emerge over the next few weeks, it's worth pointing out that apple's next-gen desktop will bring with it some interesting changes compared to currently shipping imacs. most notably, caleb sasser was given a few days to play around with apple's upcoming imac pro and took to twitter to relay a brand new t2 chip. if the nomenclature sounds at all familiar, you might recall that apple first introduced a t-series chip last year when it rolled out the macbook pro with the touch bar and support for touch id. the macbook pro's t1 chipset, therefore, is tasked with handling the notebook's secure enclave along with other encryption oriented duties. with the introduction of the t2 chip now confirmed, sasser shed some light on what the custom designed chip handles. "[the t2 chip] integrates previously discrete components, like the smc, isp for the camera, audio control, ssd control... plus a secure enclave, and a hardware encryption engine," sasser explained via twitter earlier this afternoon. in short, with the t2 bearing more responsibility than its predecessor, the imac pro's primary processor will be able to handle primary computing tasks far more quickly. as far as security is concerned, sasser notes: "this new chip means storage encryption keys pass from the secure enclave to the hardware encryption engine in-chip, your key never leaves the chip. and, they it allows for hardware verification of os, kernel, boot loader, firmware, etc..." the imac pro will be available for pre-orders on december 14 and will start at $4,999.





how the iphone x’s face id is already growing an entire new industry

after 10 years of iphone, it’s still apple’s number-one product, and one that’s at the forefront of smartphone innovation. apple rivals could very well take the lead,  but they consistently fail to set the pace in the industry. and that’s even though the features of the latest iphone may have been available on android first. a new report says that the best iphone to date, the iphone x, will force everyone to copy apple once again. the best iphone x feature is its design. apple reimagined the form factor it first introduced in 2014, equipping the handset with an all-screen display. the removal of the physical button forced it to develop the face id facial recognition system, which uses a complex array of cameras and sensors to measure depth and read the user’s face in 3d. that face id camera, which apple calls a truedepth camera, is what caused all the iphone x shortages at launch. it’s also the component that android makers will copy next. huawei already did it, but other big names in the industry are working on their own 3d facial recognition cameras. facial recognition has been available on android for years. but nobody has a facial recognition system as sophisticated and as secure as apple. in the years to come, this will change, trendforce’s ledinside division revealed in a research note. the analysts say that many smartphone makers have been developing 3d-sensing embedded devices since apple launched the iphone x this fall. as a result, the value of the global infrared laser projector market for mobile 3d sensing will reach $246 million this year, growing to almost $2 billion in 2020. ledinside believes that smartphone makers will use 3d components in both front and back cameras. the front-facing 3d cameras will handle face id-like face recognition features, while the 3d rear cameras should improve augmented reality experiences on smartphones. component makers including lumentum, finisar, princeton optronics, neophotonics, philips photonics, osram os are increasing production. companies including apple's primesense, mantis vision, qualcomm, himax, and intel are working on structured light technology — that’s the kind of technology that powers face id on the iphone x. meanwhile, stmicroelectronics, google, infineon, microvision, orbbec, are developing time of flight (tof) technology for ar purposes. companies including apple, samsung, asus, xiaomi, lenovo, huawei, oppo, and others are expected to release new phones featuring 3d cameras in the coming years. and it’s all thanks to the iphone x’s notch.





uber’s latest honest mistake? charging $14,000 for a $20 ride

imagine going about your day, calling an uber for a short $20 ride only to discover that you’ve been charged more than $14,000. yes, this is one of uber’s latest honest mistakes. the company did refund the money eventually, but not immediately. and this isn’t the first time its system has overcharged customers by thousands of dollars. the whole thing happened in canada, where a user was charged cad$18,518.50, which is about $14,418.69 for a 21-minute ride that should have cost around $20. per slate, the following screenshot was shared on telegram, before a friend of the uber user posted it on twitter: https://twitter.com/emilykennard/status/939534163564253187 the crazy part of that tweet is that tidbit about uber sticking with it. “there was an error here, and it has been resolved. we have provided a full refund to this rider and apologized to him for this experience,” an uber spokeswoman told slate. “we have safeguards in place to help prevent something like this from happening, and we are working to understand how this occurred.” well, obviously, the safeguards do not work if these things keep happening, and if corrections aren’t instantaneous. furthermore, similar mistakes have happened in the past, buseness insider reminds us. in 2016, uber charged a philadelphia resident $30,000 for a ride due to a glitch. a year before that, a woman in manhattan got a $12,000 charge for a $56.40 ride. uber refunded these charges, but it’s still surprising to see them happen. you’d think uber found the time to improve its safeguards. then again, uber may have been working on more pressing matters. like preventing from stealing user data, keeping such hacks secret, or killing its programs that helped it spy on drivers working for competing services.





live streaming tv is going to destroy cable, not save it

streaming tv has had a stellar year. directv now, at&t's cord-cutting cable alternative, has signed up a million people thanks to some aggressive promotions, and a raft of new services have launched. anyone looking for tv sans cable can choose from fubo, youtube tv, hulu live tv, ps vue, directv now, and sling, with healthy competition driving down prices. but one new study suggests that while live streaming is great for people who want an alternative to cable, it's not going to be a like-for-like replacement. on-demand content is still way more popular than live tv, and that's going to be a problem for cable companies and content owners alike. a study by market strategies international interviewed over 3,000 adults nationwide about their streaming habits. the conclusion will make for sad reading if you're a cable exec: although people are cancelling traditional cable packages at speed, the current live-streaming options are "not in high demand as it is currently offered." with the exception of live sports and news, people don't really want to tune in at a specific time every week; they'd rather just watch when convenient. tv providers are failing to recognize that the habits and needs of the viewer have dramatically changed, and the old rules of television no longer apply,” said greg mishkin, vice president of research and consulting at market strategies. “tv providers must evaluate and revise the business model to fit the needs of the consumer, because if they don’t they are setting themselves up to fail.” reading between the lines, what the report is suggesting is that most content is best viewed through a service like netflix, rather than live-streaming. that will favor big content owners like disney -- which is reportedly setting up its own streaming service -- at the expense of cable companies, which have traditionally been the middle-man that delivers content.





costco teamed up with moviepass to get you an absurdly cheap cinema subscription

movie fans who wished for a netflix-like service for going to the cinema have at least one such subscription-based product. launched this summer, moviepass costs $10 per month, and lets you watch as many new movie releases as you want. that’s incredibly affordable, and the price dropped even lower than $10 per month a few weeks ago. and now the company has an even better offer for you. moviepass on tuesday announced that it partnered with fandor and costco to offer buyers a combined yearly subscription for just $89.99. the offer is valid only online at costco.com, and once you purchase it, you’ll be given codes that activate your one-year moviepass and fandor subscriptions. that’s an incredible deal considering that fandor would typically cost $5 per month. fandor is a streaming service for independent movies, documentaries, international features, and shorts, and the flat $89.99 package will give you access to all of fandor’s 5,000+ titles. even if you don’t care about fandor, this deal will get you a year worth of moviepass access for $20 less than what the subscription costs through moviepass. don’t look anywhere else for this deal, as costco is the exclusive seller. furthermore, the offer is valid from december 12th through december 18th, so you’ll have to hurry. finally, if you’re looking to give friends and family moviepass gifts, such an option is available over at moviepass. but you’d still be better activating a moviepass subscription for them through costco.





why apple’s shazam acquisition could be a big deal for the homepod

apple confirmed on monday that it's acquiring shazam, a uk-based music recognition app. the move makes total sense, especially given that apple has nearly $300 billion burning a hole in its pockets, but the big question is why the move came right now. after all, shazam has been around since apps were but a twinkle in steve jobs's eye. the company was founded in 1999, and started as a text-based service in 2002. it was quick to move on third-party apps when apple first opened up the iphone, but it's remained relatively stagnant ever since. so why did apple make its move right now? the acquisition makes perfect sense when you consider shazam's talents, and apple's focus on where to take technology next. at its heart, shazam has experience and assets in a few key areas: music recognition, specifically algorithms to match snippets of songs; video recognition, since shazam can also match clips of tv shows and movies; a considerable and well-indexed database of media to match snippets to; and an incredibly popular app that sends millions of customers a month to streaming services. the most obvious short-term play for apple is to keep the existing shazam service, but make it more apple-focused. that means when you use the app and successfully match a song, you see a link to apple music rather than spotify or pandora. not complicated, but a worthwhile way of keeping apple music subscriptions growing. longer-term, apple could ditch the app altogether, and put shazam's services directly into siri, so that it can extend the platform across all of its different operating systems. that's likely not all that apple is planning, though. shazam has 250 employees who are coming with the acquisition, and apple even mentioned that it's "thrilled that shazam and its talented team will be joining apple" in the statement announcing the acquisition. apple is lagging behind its big rivals when it comes to smart speakers and digital assistants. siri is outclassed in terms of functionality by amazon's alexa and the google assistant, and apple's homepod speaker hasn't hit the market yet, even while google and amazon are onto the second generation of their smart speakers. shazam's employees can provide a much-needed boost to apple's effort to catch up with its rivals, all while providing a short-term bump to apple music. sounds like a win-win to me.





nasa’s juno discovers jupiter’s most colossal storm is even more intense than anyone imagined

jupiter is the largest planet in our solar system, and aside from earth and perhaps saturn it's also the most recognizable. but unlike earth or saturn, jupiter's personality doesn't come from massive oceans or a series of iconic rings; jupiter's rolling clouds and its massive storm, called the great red spot, is what really sets the planet apart from its peers. now, nasa's juno spacecraft has gotten its best look yet at the never-ending storm and discovered that it's even more epic than previously thought. upon observing the storm up close, juno sent back data that scientists have used to make some impressive deductions about the storm's actual size. we've known for some time that the storm is wider than the entirety of earth, but determining how deep it actually extends into the planet's atmosphere has always been debatable. thanks to juno, we now know that the rapidly-moving, swirling clouds stretch 200 miles deep. that's one big storm. "juno found that the great red spot's roots go 50 to 100 times deeper than earth's oceans and are warmer at the base than they are at the top," andy ingersoll, a professor of planetary science at caltech, explains. "winds are associated with differences in temperature, and the warmth of the spot's base explains the ferocious winds we see at the top of the atmosphere." https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uj3lq7gu94y nobody knows for sure how long the great red spot has been raging on jupiter, but most researchers agree that it's been swirling for at least 350 years. more recent observations of the huge storm suggest that it's beginning to wane, if ever so slightly, with its overall size decreasing by around one-third in the past few decades. however, because scientists still understand very little about what drives the storm it's impossible to say whether the spot is indeed sputtering out or simply going through a quiet period from which it will emerge even stronger and larger than before. juno just wrapped up its eighth flyby of jupiter which nasa calls "science passes," meaning that all of its instruments are up and running for observation. its ninth is slated to take place on december 16th. the spacecraft is nearing the end of its initial mission timeframe, but as its hardware appears to still be in great shape, it's likely that it will get a new lease on life with extended mission goals to follow.





early imac pro reviews are in and the machine is an absolute monster

apple earlier today confirmed that the company's long-anticipated imac pro will be available on december 14th, though it remains unclear if that's a pre-order date or if units will be available for pickup by then. either way, the larger takeaway here is that die-hard mac users who have been patiently waiting for a completely revamped imac won't have to wait much longer. originally introduced at wwdc, apple's imac pro is an absolute screamer that can be outfitted with up to 18 core xeon processors. not surprisingly, apple is touting the machine as the most powerful mac ever created. you might also recall some rumblings that the imac pro will come equipped with an a10 coprocessor running its own variant of ios as to support features like 'hey siri.' ahead of the imac pro's impending release, apple last week gave out review units to marques brownlee, jonathan morrison, and others who all shared their thoughts on the machine earlier today. brownlee's review can be seen below, and he notes that he used the new imac pro to create the video with final cut pro. not surprisingly, brownlee notes that the imac pro features a completely sealed enclosure, which is to say that you'll be stuck with the specs you choose to go with when ordering. the imac pro obviously doesn't come cheap as the entry level model starts at $4,999. but given the imac's raw power and impressive specs, brownlee notes that its actually fairly priced relative to what it would cost to build a comparably capable pc. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h-h5mhlt6o0 vincent laforet's glowing review reads in part:
whether you’re editing 8k red video, h.264 4k drone footage, 6k 3d vr content or 50 megapixel raw stills – you can expect a 200-300% increase in performance in almost every industry leading software with the imac pro. i’ve seldom seen a jump this dramatic before on any new generation of macs – 20%-30% speed increases are the norm … not 200%-300% increases. that’s significant. (feel free to jump straight to the test results below if you have a short attention span or are a numbers person..) basically, if you’re debating whether or not to purchase the imac pro you should ask yourself just one question: how much is your time worth to you? would you rather be waiting for images and video to render or export, or do you want to go back out and shoot as quickly as possible? for me the answer is easy: when compared to the previous generation imac or the current top of the line 15” macbook pro, the imacpro tears through footage and images, allowing me to spend less time behind a computer, and more time shooting. after just under a week i can tell you that i won’t be using any other mac anytime soon.
craig a. hunter's review  -- which is the most technical of the bunch -- reads in part:
most of my apps have around 20,000-30,000 lines of code spread out over 80-120 source files (mostly obj-c and c with a teeny amount of swift mixed in). there are so many variables that go into compile performance that it’s hard to come up with a benchmark that is universally relevant, so i’ll simply note that i saw reductions in compile time of between 30-60% while working on apps when i compared the imac pro to my 2016 macbook pro and 2013 imac. if you’re developing for ios you’ll still be subject to the bottleneck of installing and launching an app on the simulator or a device, but when developing for the mac this makes a pretty noticeable improvement in repetitive code-compile-test cycles.
and lastly, jonathan morrison's video review can be seen below. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wl7v4lwkfqe





if you upgraded from an old iphone to an iphone x or 8, get this $13 accessory

for those of us who upgrade our iphones each and every year, the pain of losing the 3.5mm headphone jack is a distant memory that no one even thinks about anymore. for people who are upgrading this year from an iphone 6s or earlier device, however, the wounds are fresh. apple added wireless charging to the iphone x, iphone 8 plus, and iphone 8 this year, and you can also use wireless headphones to listen to music. if you prefer to stay wired in both cases, however, you’ll need a device like the ombrace lightning splitter, which is discounted right now on amazon.

here are some highlights from the product page:

  • ✔charge and play -- with the ombrace iphone 7 adapter you will be able to charge and play music off of your device at the same time. the slim compact and light design easily allows for the adapter to fit in your pocket making it the most ideal in its class
  • ✔supports data sync -- our lightning adapter is designed to be able to sync to your itunes for data sync and transfer. our iphone adapter also supports volume and play/pause controls as well as siri. please note: this product does not support calling.
  • ✔supports ios 10.3 and later -- our adapters are specifically designed to support ios 10.3 and later
  • ✔high fidelity hifi assurance -- accurately restores the 24 bit/48 khz digital audio stream output of the iphone through the lightning port, with no damage to the original high-quality music
  • ✔100% money back guarantee - if for any reason you are not 100% satisfied with your purchase of your ombrace iphone 7 adapter feel free to contact us within 30 days of purchase for a ★★full refund★★add to cart and buy it now!!!★★





researchers find ancient ticks full of dinosaur blood, but don’t dream of jurassic park just yet

researchers working with ancient amber thought to be nearly 100 million years old have discovered something that sounds like the beginning of a new chapter in the jurassic park franchise: a host of ticks which appear to have feasted on dinosaur blood. the ticks, which have been identified as two distinct species, may have offered hope of dinosaur reincarnation if we were living in a sci-fi novel, but unfortunately things are a bit different here in reality. the ticks, one of which the scientists note is swollen over eight times its normal size due to a belly heavy with dinosaur blood, have been trapped in their amber prisons for far too long to yield anything resembling usable dna. however, the discovery is still significant for a number of other reasons, including what was found preserved alongside the ticks themselves. the tiny blood-sucking parasites the researchers came across were found mixed in with feathers, which not only provides science with yet more evidence of feathered dinosaurs, but also helps to draw some very striking parallels between modern wildlife and that which existed 100 million years ago. the new research was published in nature communications. "ticks are infamous blood-sucking, parasitic organisms, having a tremendous impact on the health of humans, livestock, pets, and even wildlife, but until now clear evidence of their role in deep time has been lacking," lead author enrique peñalver explains. this new finding helps cement the presence of feathered dinosaurs in the mid cretaceous period, as researchers are positive that modern birds simply didn't exist at that point in history. past discoveries have revealed that both ground-dwelling dinosaurs as well as flying ones had developed feathers by this point in time, but exactly what species these feathers came from remains unclear. unfortunately for jurassic park fans, these tiny parasites likely won't be any help in resurrecting the ancient beasts due to the degradation of any dna that they once held. unlike it is portrayed in movies, dna doesn't just last forever, even when it's sealed tightly in an amber shell. over time, the molecules break down and because much less friendly to work with. at some point in the future the technology may exist to extra some sort of usable genetic material from preserved remains such as this, but we're simply not there yet.





nintendo insists you’ll be able to buy a switch in time for christmas

the switch has been selling in stores and online for less than 10 months, but that’s enough time to sell more than 10 million units, according to nintendo. the console became an instant hit when it launched in early march, and it has remained a sold-out device throughout the year in some markets. but nintendo says that you should be able to find a switch in a store near you this holiday season, if you still haven’t been able to score one already. "in short, our unique and differentiated proposition with nintendo switch is working," nintendo america’s reggie fils-aimé said. "we're seeing ongoing momentum and strong demand for the system, since our march launch, through the black friday weekend, and now well into the holiday period." nintendo execs say there will be enough supply to meet demand during the holiday season, forbes says. "our supply chain is very robust," fils-aimé said. "product is arriving at stores and to our dot-com retailers literally every day." the nintendo america coo said that “the trick is really to just look around” for switch stock. “do a little bit of homework. there is supply out in the marketplace right now." even so, he also added that buyers should buy the console whenever they’re able to find it. hoping to score one right before christmas might be risky. "if a consumer wants a nintendo switch and they see it on the shelf, they need to buy it then and there, because as we get closer to christmas it's going to become more challenging to find,” fils-aimé said. "i would not advise a consumer who wants a nintendo switch to wait until the 23rd or 24th, because you risk being disappointed."





we need to talk about android’s upgrade problem

android and ios have been doing battle ever since 2008, and in that time, there have been some long-running problems with both operating systems. the iphone's notification system is a mess, android took way too long to put a battery percentage on the status bar -- oh, and android's upgrade system is a complete and utter mess. while most of the problems that blighted both oses at launch have been fixed by now, android's "fragmentation" issue -- the fact that most android phones are running different versions of android, and new updates are incredibly slow to roll out -- has only become worse with time. google released new data monday on the state of the android union, and simply put, it's not pretty. android 8.0, the latest version released on august 21st, is currently installed on 0.5 percent of all android devices. current flagships like the galaxy s8 and note 8 won't be getting android 8.0 until 2018, and the vast majority of android devices currently in circulation won't get the update at all. things get even worse when you look at the rest of the android field. it's not like there's a bunch of devices sitting on android 7.0, waiting to be updated: android 7.0 and 7.1 has a combined share of 23.3 percent, 6.0 has 29.7 percent, and android 5.0 is at 26.3 percent. to put all this in perspective, ios 11 was released on september 19th, nearly a full month after android 8.0. as of december 4th, 59% of all ios devices were running ios 11, 33% are on ios 10, and just 8% of devices are on something older. this isn't for a lack of trying on google's part. google kicks updates out to its own pixel and nexus phones as fast as it can. but for everyone else, there's too many links in the chain: google releases an update, the  the manufacturer has to tweak it and fix all the unique bugs it creates on every single device, and then mobile carriers has to make sure that the new update works on its network. often, manufacturers and carriers won't both to spend the time and money doing all this, because the lack of software support creates a reason for customers to upgrade and get the new features. so, not specifically google's fault, but absolutely google's problem. unfortunately, there's no solution on the horizon, and at least based on the data for android 8.0, things are getting worse, not better.





apple just brought the worst thing about the game industry to the app store

taking a page from the video game industry, apple has now opened app pre-orders to all developers on ios, macos and tv os. you might remember last year when super mario run appeared on the app store weeks before its launch with an option to remind customers when it was available to download. now any app developer can "build excitement" for their app by publishing the product page for an app anywhere from 2 to 90 days before launch. apple shared the news on the itunes connect resources and help page on monday, walking developers through the steps they will need to take if they want to opt-in to pre-orders for their apps. it's a fairly simple process, so expect to see plenty of apps available for pre-order in the coming weeks and months. there are a few interesting elements to the pre-order process that are worth highlighting. first of all, if you pre-order an app, the app will automatically be downloaded to your phone within 24 hours of its release. keeping track of any of the thousands of apps that launch every month is a hassle, so this is a great way to set it and forget it. apple also says that while developers are free to submit new versions of apps and change pricing and availability, customers will be charged the lower price if they decided to pre-order the app. in other words, if a developer initially charges $1.99 for an app during the pre-order phase, but then updates the price to $2.99 before launch, anyone who pre-ordered the app at $1.99 will only be charged that much when the app becomes available. the same is true if the pre-order price ends up being higher than the launch price -- the customer will be charged the lower price. if you want to see how the new pre-order system will work, head to the games section of the app store on ios 11 right now and you should see a "pre-orders" block near the top of the page. bridge constructor portal, life is strange, inside and gorogoa -- four highly-anticipated games -- are all currently featured on the list.





the iphone x case made of body armor that everyone went crazy over is coming back to amazon

there are good things and bad things about the fact that the bgr deals team's coverage has become so popular over the past year. the good thing is obviously that we help so many more people find great deals. but the bad thing is that often times when we cover an exceptionally good deal or a really cool product, it sells out very quickly. that's exactly what happened when we covered our favorite new iphone x case earlier this month — hundreds of people swarmed amazon and it sold out quickly.

well, guess what: the pitaka magcase for apple's iphone x has just been relisted on amazon with an in-stock date of december 15, which is this friday. this case is made out of real aramid body armor material, so it offers fantastic protection and yet it's still insanely thin at just 0.03 inches. it also has a fantastic grippy texture to keep you from dropping your $1,000+ iphone x.

that cat's out of the bag, so you'd better order one asap if you want one anytime soon. here are some key details from the product page:

  • slim and sensuous with "body armor grade" protection and zero compromise, made of 100% aramid fiber. now, your phone is protected with the same material used in body armor, spacecraft, jet engines, and formula 1 race cars. yet, it retains the thinness of your iphone the day you purchased it -- before it was covered up with an thick bulky case.
  • enjoy your "almost naked" iphone with a case that is thinner than a dime. thickness 0.03in. weight 0.49oz. so light that you even will not feel the weight increase to your phone. yet, with unparalleled protection from everyday "real world" drops.
  • unique transit free design with metal plates inside, compatible with pitaka magnetic carbon fiber air vent mount, makes you can use pitaka car mount freely without sticking adhasive metal plate on your device. yet,no interference to your wireless charging,wifi,gps,apple pay or your signals.
  • a soft 3d-grip touch. texture you need to feel to believe. it almost clings to your hand without feeling sticky. extraordinarily scratch resistant and non-slip. a protective three-layer coating and manual polishing is applied to each phone case. now feel confident carrying your phone in purse or pocket along with keys and coins.
  • fits your phone perfectly. our secret process for vacuum forming technology ensures the cases are perfectly formed to the phone size. easily and naturally access all buttons and ports. each opening is not only accurately aligned, but also at natural "surface level". a turnkey solution for protection with premium agc tempered glass screen protector from japan---package includes: 1 x aramid case for iphone x; 1 x agc tempered glass screen protector.





brand new pacific island is a whole lot like mars, and scientists are excited

it's not often that a whole new chunk of land just comes jutting out of the ocean, but that's just what happened with a new island in the south pacific. a large undersea volcano blew its top in late 2014, shooting rock and ash skyward, and once everything calmed down an entirely new island had been formed. now, nasa is looking at the newly formed landmass for possible hints at how the landscape of mars behaved billions of years ago. the new island, which is being referred to by the unofficial name hunga tonga-hunga ha'apai, didn't seem to have a bright future when it first emerged in the wake of the volcano's fury, but researchers now believe it actually might stick around for quite a while. new data suggests it might even last as long as 30 years. "everything we learn about what we see on mars is based on the experience of interpreting earth phenomena," jim garvin of nasa's goddard space flight center explains. "we think there were eruptions on mars at a time when there were areas of persistent surface water. we may be able to use this new tongan island and its evolution as a way of testing whether any of those represented an oceanic environment or ephemeral lake environment." https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hds1obxvg4s heat, liquid water, and a suitable atmosphere are thought to be some of the most crucial ingredients for life as we know it. if mars was once dominated by an ocean, and if that ocean experienced volcanic activity as ours do here on earth, that's very good news for anyone who dreams of one day hearing that life did exist on mars. in its present state, the island is essentially a huge pile of volcanic ash and rock which is slowly eroding into the ocean from which it was born. storms and wave activity have already pushed lots of material back underwater, but a large portion still remains. on mars, despite billions of years of wind erosion and impacts from space rocks and debris, similar volcanic features still remain, and the newly born island is helping to inform astronomers about what the martian surface may have looked like a long time ago.  





the only amazon gadget that puts alexa in the palm of your hand is free right now

there is absolutely no question that the most underappreciated alexa device in amazon's lineup is the amazon dash wand. everyone knows about echo and tap speakers, and everyone loves using alexa to help control the all-new fire tv and fire tv stick. but if you don't already have a dash wand, there is absolutely no excuse to remain in the dark. why? because the amazon dash wand is completely free right now.

amazon has brought back a promotion that was available when the new dash wand was first released. you pay $20 to get the wand, but then you get a $20 amazon credit the first time you use it to scan and purchase anything — the dash wand has alexa and a speaker, but it also has a very cool bar code scanner so you can just scan anything you're running low on to add it to your amazon cart! you'd have to be crazy to pass up this deal.

here are some highlights from the product page:

  • groceries have never been easier. all new amazon dash wand with alexa helps you find recipes, convert cups to ounces, buy and reorder essentials, find nearby restaurants and more.
  • say it or scan a barcode. it’s added to your shopping cart. just say “paper towels.”
  • purchase dash wand for $20 and get $20 off your next purchase after you make your first purchase with the device. *
  • water-resistant, durable design, and magnetic so you can stick it on your fridge. you'll need an iphone or android phone to register the device.





everyone’s favorite airpods rivals are $20 right now, and they might never be this cheap again

remember how we told you that sometimes the best deals of the season are actually found after black friday and cyber monday are over? well, today is serving as a huge reminder. first we saw the sonos play:1 drop to its lowest price ever, and now the best airpods rivals out there have followed suit. clip the on-site amazon coupon and use the promo code hld2adqo at checkout, and you can score a pair of smartomi q5 true wireless earbuds for just $19.99. they typically sell for $40 and their previous all-time low was around $26, so we might never see a sale this good again. the deal is only good while supplies last, so hurry!

here are some highlights from the product page:

  • ✔genuine smartomi q5 true wireless earbuds: feel free to enjoy crisp stereo music without the annoying wire when doing sport. the soft ear tips provide secure fit and avoid falling out during workout, fitness, exercise, running or gym. you may also share music without tangle wire.
  • ✔light weight and better voice quality: unbelievable light-weight with no burden to ears, the 8mm built-in microphone realizes clearer calls for you and the other side.you can mute/unmute your microphone during a call by double pressing mfb of the left earbud once.
  • ✔snap pairing and superior connection stability: the bluetooth version 4.1 offers a hyper-stable connection within 10m/33 feet, compatible with all bluetooth devices such as iphone 7 / 7plus, 8 / 8s plus, x , s8, se, android cellphones, tablets or tv with bluetooth receiver.
  • ✔convenient one-key design: just one-key to handle calls and enjoy music. hands-free calling, last number redialed, third-way calling and incoming calls prompt, all your needs could be satisfied! the music will be auto-replayed to the wireless earbuds after hanging up.
  • ✔quality customer service: 60 days no reason return, 18 month warranty, 24/7 friendly customer service, please don’t hesitate to contact us if you have any question about our product and service.





10 paid iphone apps on sale for free right now

if you thought yesterday's post covering ios apps on sale was good, wait until you see today's roundup. we've got 10 great paid iphone and ipad apps on sale for free today, and they span just about every category you can think of. hurry up and get 'em while they're free!

this post covers paid iphone and ipad apps that have been made available for free for a limited time by their developers. bgr is not affiliated with any developers. there is no way to tell how long they will be free. these sales could end an hour from now or a week from now — obviously, the only thing we can guarantee is that they were free at the time this post was written. if you click on a link and see a price listed next to an app instead of the word “get,” it is no longer free. the sale has ended. if you download the app anyway, you will be charged by apple.

cranky weather - fml reports

normally $1.99.

there's always something to complain about, specially when it comes to weather.
cranky weather gives you hilariously twisted weather reports for every situation!

download cranky weather - fml reports

throwback stories

normally $0.99.

throwback stories helps you create stunning instagram stories from your memories, providing a set of useful tools to enhance and animate your stories. no more 24-hour limit, ugly cropping or rotated landscape stories!

we’ve built throwback stories to help you relive your moments from the past. every day, we’ll come up with a new throwback story for you, sourced from your camera roll and linked instagram account (google photos and facebook coming soon!)

let us know your questions and comments in the reviews! we’re always improving it based on your feedback.

download throwback stories

floof – a rope swing odyssey

in-app purchase to remove ads normally $1.99, currently free.

safely swing through alternate dimensions as you skilfully jump from rope to rope, avoiding the deadly obstacles and
challenges in your way. with minimal graphics, simple one tap controls and relaxing background beats, you’ll lose yourself
in the rope swinging world of floof!

explore different dimensions, each with their own laws of physics and other unique challenges. tap and hold with one
finger to shoot a rope anywhere on the map, hold and release to swing – time your swings carefully and shoot your ropes
accurately to get your hero to the wormhole and progress to the next level. complete each level in the fastest time
possible, in the fewest swings possible to earn a higher rank.

each world has many obstacles standing between you and the wormhole – fiery hot lava will burn you to death, air streams
can blow you off course and the rugged terrain can be tough for even the most experienced inter dimensional rope
swingers!

--------------------------------------------
floof: a rope swinging odyssey – highlights
--------------------------------------------
- swing from rope to rope through 40 different levels, dimensions and worlds
- experience different laws of gravity and unique challenges on your journey
- simple one-tap gameplay, just tap, hold and release to swing
- minimal, beautifully designed graphics and levels
- swing in style with relaxing, retro background music

immerse yourself in the interdimensional rope swinging world of floof wherever you are – you don’t need an internet
connection to play! with new maps being released constantly, we’ll bring you new challenges to put your rope swinging
skills to the ultimate test.

swing through dimensions in style – download floof today!

download floof – a rope swing odyssey

calckey

normally $2.99.

calckey is a calculator imessage app for iphone. calckey allows you to perform calculations right within imessage, without even having to leave the app, so you finally work out exactly how much your friend owes you for dinner more quickly and easily.

with fun bouncing animations, bright, bold colors and speed and simplicity, calculating sums has never been so fun!

download calckey

gloworbx

normally $0.99.

gloworbx is a level based avoidance game. weave your way past various hurdles and obstacles to progress through each level. there are six playable characters and the gloworb behaves differently inside each character. they can all be unlocked by collecting gloworbs throughout the game. can you unlock all six?

checkpoints are placed routinely, allowing for short sessions that can be saved and continued whenever you get a chance. however, if you do get stuck you can use the skip level functionality to move onto the next level. so there is no excuse for giving up!

be sure to invite your friends and challenge each other to see who is the gloworb king amongst your peers.

download gloworbx

fuelly

normally $5.99.

easily track your vehicle’s fuel economy and vehicle maintenance records. set up reminders to keep on top of maintenance tasks such as oil changes and tire rotations. fuelly makes it easy for you to save money with gas mileage calculations (mpg) and service reminders.

the fuelly app seamlessly integrates with fuelly.com, the web’s most used gas mileage tracking website. easily manage the cars in your garage and log each fuel-up. at each fuel-up, just add the miles, gallons and price per gallon and see your mpg data grow. all data is beautifully displayed and perfectly synchronized with your vehicle on fuelly.com

features:
• tracks gas mileage and vehicle maintenance
• attachments to store photos and pdfs
• online sync to fuelly.com
• charts: mpg, stats, gas price, gas expenses, service expenses
• customizable service reminders, with presets like oil changes, tire rotations, and more
• priority support via in app messaging
• supports multiple vehicles
• store vehicle data: vin, license plate, etc.
• excel compatible email reports (csv attachment)
• international units: mpg (us), mpg (canada), mpg (uk), mpg (imperial), l/100km, gal/100mi (us), gal/100mi (imperial), km/l, km/gal (us), km/gal (imperial), and mi/l

"app store pick of the week." —apple

"gas cubby makes its mark not only with its power, but with its flexibility." —kyle baxter - macworld

download fuelly

willing webcam

normally $0.99.

willing webcam is a software that gets video from the built-in cameras and from about 400 ip network cameras to mac video cameras via willing webcam for mac. you can find the mac version in mac app store.

• picture feature. save webcam images to program albums instantly or at preset intervals. see 'f' icon on the camera in the main window.
• instagram picture feature. upload webcam images to instagram instantly or at preset intervals. you can delete instagram images using their copies in album window. see 'f' icon on the camera in the main window.
• albums. open the left panel groups, then album window to see the saved images. tap an image to open image window.

how to start working:

• create a group in the groups section.
• tap + icon to add a built-in or an ip camera to the current group.

if you selected a built-in camera:
• tap the add button.

if you selected an ip camera:
• select a cam manufacturer from the upper horizontal list.
• select your network camera from the model table below the list.
• specify the ip address of your network camera. use the following format if the camera’s port is not 80, ip address:port. otherwise you may use only the ip address without a port, ip address.
• specify the authentication options, if your camera is protected.
• tap the add button.
• if you don’t see a webcam image, enter under the manufacturer’s web settings of your ip camera and change mpeg-4 video format to jpeg or mjpeg. try all the items for your model.

• you may save or/and upload images instantly for all features of a camera in the main window, involved features must have the enable switch with state true. just tap the camera. it's possible to disable all features without their edit using the upper-right corner of a camera in the main window.

the program supports directly the following network cameras:
http://ios.willingwebcam.com
the desktop version from mac app store can provide video for the mobile version using http server feature: http://www.willingwebcam.com

download willing webcam

week calendar pro

normally $1.99.

a different approach to working with calendars. fully customizable week calendar to link all your calendars to. week calendar pro allows you to fully customize what you what to see on your calendar through a nice drop down preset that you can quickly switch between.
add unlimited presets to filter out:
- days (show/hide any day)
- select which calendars to show
- select up to three working weeks (15 days)
- zoom in/out on hours or view 24 hours
- select which day is first day of week
- tap and hold to add new event
- drag existing events to reschdule
- and many more to discover ...

download week calendar pro

orderly - to-do lists, location based reminders

normally $0.99.

--- featured by apple 2017 'new apps we love', and now over a million satisfied users of our apps ---

"orderly is designed based on how the human-mind visualizes to-do lists !" it is a nice and incredibly easy to use to-do list app, that features a breath-taking interface, seamless cloud sync, and comes with "location based reminders", so that the users never miss a to-do task at a particular location.

it is now updated with great features like unlimited categories or folders, and powerful search.

orderly displays the to-dos using the apple's bookshelf metaphor, so that you get a glimpse of your to-do lists without having to open them individually.

the best part of the app is:

* orderly automatically prioritizes your to-do list items by moving around those sticky notes between various priorities *

key features

1. visual interface and layout, provides absolute ease for managing errands and chores.
2. location based reminders, alerts you of a to-do at a particular location.
3. auto prioritizing of to-dos.
4. recurring to-dos.
5. cloud sync across devices
6. unlimited categories for to-dos.
7. powerful search within a category or across all folders.

* * * highlights * * *

* create multiple folders and categorize the todo lists in it.
* location based alerts, reminds you of the to-do or task at the place you are in !
* sync across multiple devices with dropbox sync
* complete to-dos with simple gestures.
* undo a completed item
* automatically prioritizes your todo based on the time and day.
* search through archives of completed to-do lists.
* store in archive for any number of days.
* optional manual prioritization

* * gestures * *

# pinch to zoom out.
# swipe right to mark to-do tasks as completed
# swipe right again to undo a completed task
# swipe left to delete to-do task
# long press to delete or drag and drop to move a to-do list to a different priority
# drag and drop on the "new" icon to create a copy.
# drag and drop on the "flip" icon to move it to another folder.

download orderly - to-do lists, location based reminders

metadata

normally $1.99.

metadata is an image metadata viewer for creative professionals on the go.

simply choose an image from your photo library and view the image metadata in a beautiful card based layout. wether you shoot on your phone, dslr or create images in your favourite photo editing application, metadata will show you your image measurements, dpi, file size, location data and device information.

metadata can display weather data about your photo including temperature, weather conditions, sunrise an sunset times, even if the camera doesn't record weather data.*

you can use drag and drop on your ipad to import images from the photos app, files, safari or any other app that supports image drag and drop.

*weather data is powered by the dark sky api and requires the image to have location data, time and date information and an internet connection.

download metadata