Path launches for Windows Phone as a public beta

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Path today quietly launched an app for Windows Phone, but there’s a small catch: it’s a public beta. Nevertheless, the social network has arrived on Microsoft’s mobile platform and you can grab the app now directly from theWindows Phone Store.

While Path doesn’t have an announcement regarding the release, the app’s description emphasizes that this is the same experience Path’s users have come to expect on other platforms: complete control over what you share and who you share it with. Best of all, it’s ad-free.

Update at 12:05PM EST: Path has now posted an official announcement regarding the beta launch, noting that “Windows Phone 8 has been our most requested platform.” It also noted the app was built in collaboration with a joint team from Nokia and Microsoft.

path windows phone beta Path launches for Windows Phone as a public beta

The beta app has the following features:

  • Your personal life – Journal your thoughts, your sleep, and your check-ins.
  • Beautiful sharing – Capture photos and videos, and apply some of the best filters and editing tools to your photos.
  • Feel the love – Friends and family can react with smiles, laughs, gasps, loves, comments and more.
  • Cross-posting – Be everywhere you want to be by posting any Path moment to Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, and Foursquare.
  • Private Sharing – Choose to share any Path moment privately with one or more friends.
  • Create an Inner Circle by selecting a group of friends to easily share moments with. Filter your feed to see only moments from your Inner Circle. And change your settings to only receive notifications from your Inner Circle.

We can thus expect that the first stable release will include at least the above. Path says future versions of the app will include media moments (movies, books & music), the Shop, and Messaging.

The fact Path was coming to Windows Phone was first confirmed back in July. The announcement was made during the Lumia 1020 event in New York, where Vine, Flipboard, and Hipstamatic all revealed they were doing the same.

Vine and Hipstamatic have since arrived (not to mention Instagram), but Flipboard is still on its way, and now Path is halfway there. Until now, Path has only been available as a private beta.

Unfortunately, there’s still no news regarding when Path plans to have a stable release ready for Windows Phone. We’ve contacted the company and will update this post if we learn more.

full story: http://thenextweb.com/apps/2014/01/17/path-launches-windows-phone-public-beta/#!sFTxC

Viddme Brings Anonymous Video Sharing To Web, iPhone & Android

by  (@sarahintampa)

Following the backlash against YouTube’s merging with Google+ for identity, authentication and, most recently,commenting, there’s been a renewed interest in a sort of anonymous video hosting service – something like an “Imgur for video,” for instance. It’s an idea that’s been tried before, but sometimes having good timing helps. That may be the case withViddme, a new video sharing service making the rounds on Reddit, which has seen 140,000 uniques in the one month it’s been live.

The service is one of three projects created by Bit Kitchen, a product lab founded by Alex Benzer, previously founder and CEO at L.A.-based SocialEngine, and Warren Shaeffer, previously COO at SocialEngine, alongside two of SocialEngine’s top engineers.

SocialEngine, a TechStars Boulder 2011 grad that helps businesses build their own social networks, was acquired in December by social media agency Room 214, Benzer tells us. (The acquisition hadn’t been publicly announced until now, as it turns out.) The six-year old, largely bootstrapped company had been profitable for some time, Benzer notes, but they decided to sell because Room 214 had a lot of enterprise customers who could take advantage of the service. Plus, it would allow him and Shaeffer to work on other things. Terms of the deal, mostly cash, are not being disclosed, but the exit gave Benzer and Shaeffer “a nice runway” to work on their new ideas at Bit Kitchen.

At Bit Kitchen, the team has also launched an anonymous group chatting experiment called Masked, and a “digital gratitude journal” called Thankaday, but Viddme is currently their main focus.

viddme-homepage

“We’ve been in building mode for the last month or two, and kind of putting these [three services] out there and seeing what the organic response is, says Benzer. “With Viddme, we’ve been exposing it to Reddit, because I think that it’s really useful for Reddit users, especially as early adopters.” He says that some Reddit users have already messaged him asking if they can help work on Viddme, too.

Viddme, of course, is inspired by Imgur, a service that developed a brand around being a place to anonymously share photos. But Imgur has yet to take the leap into video, despite the demand. “Imgur’s DNA is photos – it’s in their name. They’ve had four years to think about videos, and they haven’t done it,” says Benzer.

With the new service, now available on the web, iOS and Android, you can drag-and-drop videos to upload them, or, on mobile, upload videos from your smartphone or tablet in just a few taps. The idea is to allow you to share your videos quickly, without having to create an account. So far, it’s been used for lightweight sharing of video, like one of a kid taking their first steps, as well as for things where anonymity is the main draw, like the tutorial on how to exploit a server.

viddme-video

After the video is uploaded, you can share it to social networks, post to Reddit, or just grab a link which you can share elsewhere as you choose.

Key to Viddme’s value proposition is that you’ll never be forced to register, though on mobile the company will be able to associate a device with the videos you upload, so you could later quickly pull your videos down, if you chose to do so. They may also later introduce an optional user account feature for those who do want a way to better manage their uploads across devices, but this would not have to be associated with your “real name,” as with Google+/YouTube.

viddme-iphoneCurrently, there aren’t a whole lot of restrictions on video content or length, besides a promise that they’ll “obey the law,” and use their best judgement. (So, yes, there’s going to be some NSFW stuff on there, be warned.)

Like Imgur, Viddme’s potential business model could also one day involve monetization through pro accounts, advertising, or enterprise deals, but for now, the service is free while Bit Kitchen tests the waters.

Benzer says there’s already some investor interest in L.A. for Viddme, and while they have a “significant” runway thanks to SocialEngine’s sale, they’re considering raising in order to speed things up. “We’ve received some offers already, and we’re considering them more so for the network value, and less for the financial value,” he says. “We’re definitely talking about it right now.”

You can try out Viddme yourself, from here.

full story: http://techcrunch.com/2014/01/17/viddme-brings-anonymous-video-sharing-to-web-iphone-android/

Korean report: LG G3 to launch in May, to pack a QHD display?

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According to sources in the Korean media, the flagship LG G3 smartphone will be released sooner than you may have expect- pencil May 17th into your diary LG fans.

The latest news from Korea also reveals a new important detail about the LG G3, the inclusion of a QHD display. QHD is a massive resolution of 1440×2560, that’s four times as many pixels as a 720p display, matching something you might find in a large PC monitor. It seems like overkill for a device that’s speculated to be sized at 5.5 inches, especially when you compare it with the fantastic 1080p screen in the 5.2 inch LG G2. Even so, a QHD G3 seems quite likely, the LG G Pro 2 is also expected to be heading our way a little sooner, possibly as early as February, with an equally high display resolution.

Interestingly, a May release shortens the refresh cycle for LG’s flagship smartphones, the G2 was only released in September of last year. This is probably an attempt to avoid being caught in the dust trail of Samsung’s upcoming Galaxy S5, which is also rumoured to be sporting a QHD display and could be heading our way anytime around April or May.

We should be able to confirm, or deny, these details during February’s MWC, where LG is expected to officially announce the G3 alongside some new wearable technology.

full story: http://www.androidauthority.com/lg-g3-qhd-display-336512/

2014 could be the year web browsers replace Photoshop

By Nick Stockton

What if this looked even better on-screen? Reuters/Andrew Winning

The language that controls the web’s style—CSS, or Cascading Style Sheets—could be getting a new set of features that will make it the new gold standard for graphic design. These features, collectively known as blending modes, are currently under consideration by the World Wide Web Consortium, the group with the largest influence over standardizing features in your browser. If approved, blending modes will let web developers tinker with colors, tones and textures on the web in the same way they can with graphics and image files on programs like Photoshop.

Blending modes control nuances like brightness, hue, contrast and transparency. This might seem of interest only to design wonks, but blending modes are the secret sauce behind the mood of digital photography and film, and would have a big impact on how everyone experiences the web.

For developers, the problem with desktop graphic design programs like Adobe Photoshop is that their images have to be converted from a feature-rich proprietary format to something flatter, with less colors (like a JPEG) that the web can host. This slows developers down and limits what they can create on the web.

By contrast, web-native blending would work with the rest of the web’s bells and whistles. Applied to a web page, blending modes affect the overall mood and feel, similar to how Instagram filters (which are preset combinations of blending modes) can brighten up your selfie or add gravitas to your group photo. This gallery shows extreme examples of what blending modes can do, but most designers use them to create more subtle effects.

Since the web pages are more like collages than seamless images, web designers would be able to fine tune the color blends of individual features (like text, photos, or data visualizations). What’s more, blending modes could control your browsing experience in real time, with subtle or dramatic mood shifts depending on where you scroll, point your mouse, or otherwise interact with the page. This would enhance digital storytelling, beyond what the New York Times has shown with their new experiments in long form (that don’t use blending modes. Yet).

Hardcore developers will point out that blending modes already exist on the internet in the form of the HTML canvas tag. But the inner workings of the canvas tag are clunky, and ill-suited for interactivity.

Blending modes are still under review by the W3C’s working group in charge of CSS standards. But their potential is so powerful that even Photoshop’s publisher, Adobe, wants them added to the web. Moving its business from the desktop to the cloud could be lucrative, as mapping company ESRI proved with itsshift to web-native programs.

The only downside is that graphic designers who use Photoshop for designing in print will have to learn some basic coding if they want to follow their profession’s migration to the web. However, this shouldn’t be overly daunting to anyone who has mastered Adobe’s baffling array of tools and menus.

Animation brings classical paintings to stunning life

Artist and animator Rino Stefano Tagliafierro uses CGI techniques to create an animated love letter to classical art.

(Credit: Video screenshot by Leslie Katz/CNET)

Beauty, asserts Italian artist and animator Rino Stefano Tagliafierro, is fleeting. And although the art of yesteryear certainly captures it, it’s of moments frozen in time, lacking the warmth and humanity of movement.

In his short film “Beauty,” Tagliafierro has taken more than 100 classical paintings, from landscape to romantic to Pre-Raphaelite, and applied his experience in digital animation to bring them to life.

“In this interpretation by Rino Stefano Tagliafierro, this beauty is brought back to the expressive force of gestures that he springs from the immobility of canvas, animating a sentiment lost to the fixedness [of] masterpieces,” Giuliano Corti wrote in the piece’s manifesto.

Animation of “Portrait of a Young Woman,” c. 1665-67, Johannes Vermeer, oil on canvas.
(Credit: Rino Stefano Tagliafierro)

“It’s as though these images which the history of art has consigned to us as frozen movement can today come back to life thanks to the fire of digital invention…They are, from the inception of a romantic sunrise in which big black birds fly to the final sunset beyond gothic ruins that complete the piece, a work of fleeting time.”

To supplement the video (which, it ought to be stated, is rather NSFW, so bear that in mind before clicking “play” during your lunch break; we recommend you save it to watch at home), Tagliafierro has also compiled a massive repository of GIFs for most of the animations. You can check it out here.

(Source: Crave Australia)

full story: http://news.cnet.com/8301-17938_105-57617395-1/animation-brings-classical-paintings-to-stunning-life/

Facebook Is Still Copying Twitter—This Time With Its ‘Trending’ Feature

Maybe a character-length limit is next.

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Today Facebook announced “Trending,” a new feature that puts a list of trending topics in the top right corner of the News Feed. The company began testing this featurelast fall, and is now rolling it out to a larger audience.

Users in the U.S., UK, India and Australia will begin to see the list of trending topics accompanied by a brief explanation of why they are trending. You can then select any headline to see on-topic posts from people or pages, and those you are connected with will rank higher in the feed.

You may already be familiar with the trending topic feature on Twitter. Trending topics appear as links to the left of Twitter timelines on desktop and under the “Discover” tab on mobile, and when clicked, users can view a timeline of tweets containing the trending word or phrase.

Similar to Twitter, Facebook’s trends are reflective of what’s being talked about on the service and are constantly updating. “Trending” is only available on desktop for now.

This update is the latest in a slew of Twitter features Facebook has implemented in the past. The social network also recently introduced hashtags and embeddable posts, two favored features on Twitter.

Apple Reportedly Targeting Late Q3 2014 for 12.9-Inch ‘iPad Pro’ Launch

by Kelly Hodgkins

As outlined in our feature highlighting Apple’s possible product plans for 2014, a number of rumors have suggested Apple may be working on a 12.9-inch iPad model that could launch later this year. The company is allegedly accelerating development on this device in response to Samsung’s introduction of two competing 12.2-inch tablet models, with market sources cited by Digitimes claiming that Apple is now prepping the so-called “iPad Pro” for a late Q3 2014 launch at the earliest.

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Mockup of 12.9-inch iPad next to iPad Air and iPad mini

The claim that Apple’s timeline is motivated by a perceived need to match Samsung’s recent introductions seems doubtful given that Apple has routinely taken its time coming to market even in the face of competitors rushing to beat Apple to its own rumored products, but at a minimum the claimed launch target offers one more data point for those trying to predict a release. Some sources have predicted a launch as soon as early this year but such a timeline seems very unlikely given the absence of part leaks and other substantiating evidence.

Earlier reports suggested the 12.9-inch iPad Pro could be a hybrid device that would appeal to enterprise customers looking for a machine that bridges the gap between tablet and notebook. Based on display panels currently under development in the supply chain, research firm DisplaySearch believes that the iPad Pro could ship with a 12.9-inch Retina display with a resolution of 2732 x 2048 and 265 ppi.

Besides the iPad Pro, Digitimes‘ sources unsurprisingly also claim Apple is working on new 7.9-inch and 9.7-inch models to replace the current Retina iPad mini and iPad Air. These models will likely debut in Q3 2014, keeping with Apple’s current late fall release schedule for the iPad. Demand for the iPad is expected to be strong again in 2014 with the company selling between 80 and 90 million units over the course of the year.

full story: http://www.macrumors.com/2014/01/17/q3-2014-ipad-pro-launch/

HTC Said To Be Planning Larger Screen Version Of HTC One Flagship Smartphone For March

by  (@drizzled)

HTC is said to be readying the next generation of the HTC One, which will keep the same simple moniker but offer up a larger display and a camera with a so-called “twin-sensor” rear-facing camera, according to Bloomberg (via Verge). The screen will be at least 5-inches diagonally, which is slightly larger than the existing 4.7-inch HTC One, but overall the design will resemble that of its predecessor.

I’m feeling conflicted about this new device: On the one hand, the HTC One is easily one of the top three best Android phones of 2013; on the other, it’s clear that the HTC One didn’t do much to turn around HTC’s flagging fortunes, despite the extremely positive reception it had among press and the few people who did buy one.

Still, maybe a year of positive press and hype associated with the HTC One name will help the Taiwanese company move more units this time around, paired with a bigger screen (which seems to be high on customer want lists) as well as this improved camera, which is said to offer better focus performance, improved depth of field and better image quality overall, according to Bloomberg’s source.

As sad is it to say, HTC doesn’t need another smartphone that appeals to the connoisseur crowd: It needs a runaway mass-market success. They did great work with the HTC One, but sticking close to the original design in this case does mean they run the risk of shipping another beloved but mostly ignored device.

full story: http://techcrunch.com/2014/01/17/htc-said-to-be-planning-larger-screen-version-htc-one-flagship-smartphone-for-march/

Hackers? Techies? What To Call San Francisco’s Newcomers

by Geoff Nunberg

Protesters in San Francisco block a Google bus, which shuttles employees from the city to its location in Silicon Valley.

Protesters in San Francisco block a Google bus, which shuttles employees from the city to its location in Silicon Valley.
cjmartin/Flickr

“There goes the neighborhood.” Every so often that cry goes up in San Francisco, announcing a new chapter in American cultural history, as the rest of the country looks on. There were the beats in North Beach, then the hippies in the Haight, then the gays in the Castro. Now it’s the turn of the techies who are pouring into my own Mission neighborhood, among other places. Only this time around, the green stuff that’s perfuming the air is money, not weed.

Locals are agitated over soaring rents and the changing urban landscape, as used bookstores yield to cafes full of people punching out business plans on their laptops. But the most heated protests and discussions have focused on the buses that shuttle 18,000 tech workers from San Francisco to their jobs at Google, Apple, Facebook and other companies. People call them all Google buses, because they’re hard to tell apart — oversized Wi-Fi-equipped luxury coaches, usually gleaming white, which scoop up their passengers at transit stops like something out of Close Encounters of the Third Kind. You couldn’t invent a more compelling visual symbol for the privileged and disconnected lives that the tech workers seem to live, cosseted behind smoke-tinted windows.

The buses aren’t really the problem. They may be intrusive, but they also take thousands of cars off the freeways, and their riders are hardly tech millionaires. But the resentment here has as much to do with culture as economics. It has been fueled by a series of public remarks from tech figures complaining about everything from the “bitchiness” of San Francisco women to the transvestites who make it hard to get a late-night taxi. On Facebook not long ago, the CEO of the startup AngelHack vilified what he called the “dropouts,” “trash” and “degenerates” on the downtown streets, saying that they don’t realize that “it’s a privilege to be in a civilized business district … in one of the wealthiest cities in America.”

That sounds a lot like the things they were saying about the hippies half a century ago. But this is really the post-industrial arrogance of people who have been assured that it was in the natural order of things that their smarts and energy would be rewarded with an eight-figure payout while they were still young enough to be on their parents’ health insurance. And not surprisingly, this has tended to darken the public’s attitude toward the techies, not to mention the word “techie” itself. I still use it as an amiable label for the nerdy guy who comes to my office and rolls his eyes when I ask why my computer won’t talk to the printer down the hall. But these days a lot of people use the word as a disparagement that implies entitlement and self-absorption. “Techie” used to suggest a computer whiz with no social skills, now it suggests one with no social conscience.

Actually, though, the distinctive feature of tech culture isn’t arrogance so much as a chronic obliviousness, which is why some tech people can’t even understand the resentment they engender.The San Francisco Chronicle quoted the founder of one online retailer who compared the word “techie” to the slurs for other immigrant groups, like the Mexicans in the Mission. That prompted Sam Biddle of the Gawker site ValleyWag to suggest referring to the newcomers as “Software Americans.”

There’s a sign of that disconnectedness in “hackers,” the name a lot of tech people prefer to go by. That accords with the original meaning of the word as an honorific for an ingenious programmer, and can be extended to other things — startups describe their marketing people as “growth hackers.” But to the rest of the world “hacker” is only a pejorative for people who break into computer systems. Programmers insist that that’s a misuse of the word. But once a word goes bad, you can get away with using it positively only within a closed group that’s in on the game. Within tech culture, “hacker” has become a shibboleth that identifies one as a member of the tribe. It suggests a distinct subculture, and an indifference to what other people think — the private language of the nerds’ table in the high-school cafeteria, where the kids cared more about being smart than being popular.

That hermetic subculture seemed to find its natural home in Silicon Valley, where it could flourish in industrious seclusion from the rest of the world. You could get lunch, a workout and a massage without leaving the corporate campus, then drive home at one in the morning without ever encountering anybody so different from you that they didn’t also know that “hacker” could be a positive term.

Yet even so, more and more tech workers prefer to live in San Francisco. Hence the buses, and the new offices that companies like Twitter and Dropbox have opened downtown with city tax incentives.

This is where the clash of cultures begins in earnest. Right now the fear is that the city will become another Silicon Valley, only with better restaurants, higher rents and worse parking. There are signs of that already — the Mission is well on its way to becoming a techie theme park. But in its stubborn complexity, the city can also undermine cultural borders. It resists the reduction to algorithms, insists that you take it on its own terms. That’s the source of its infuriating allure. As a former student of mine who takes the bus to his job at Google told me, “Why would I want to live in the Silicon Valley wasteland when I can live here?” I can’t disagree with him. I lived in Palo Alto myself for a while. It’s a nice place to raise a car.

full story: http://www.npr.org/blogs/alltechconsidered/2014/01/16/263088398/hackers-techies-what-to-call-san-franciscos-newcomers

Facebook Backdoor Gives Clues To Private Email Addresses

by Adam Tanner, Contributor

If you forget your Facebook profile name, you can enter your name, email or phone number into a page called Find Your Account to find your Facebook profile and some alternative email addresses, which are partially obscured such as j*******s@yahoo.com.

The same technique works if you type in other people’s details. Then Facebook can act as a Caller ID and produce a photo, name or clues about a private email. That could help if someone telephones but does not leave a message, or if you want to find a private email address from a company email.

As a test I looked up Gary King, one of two dozen who hold Harvard’s prestigious title of University Professor. His email address is listed on his public webpage. A search of Find Your Account leads to his Facebook profile photo and revealing clues to his alternative email addresses.

I repeated the process for several other people. It did not find everyone– perhaps the telephone numbers or email addresses were not linked with Facebook — but in many cases it did, including for a well-known private detective in Las Vegas whose photo I was able to see.

“This is an interesting case where a feature aimed at giving users a better service actually exposes their private data,” said Michael Bar-Sinai, a software engineer at Harvard’s Institute for Quantitative Social Science where King serves as director.

He pointed out his privacy settings allowed only friends of friends – not everyone – to look him up with his email address or his phone number. Yet a search finds his photo, name and partial email addresses.

In many cases, “Find Your Address” would not reveal any startling information. However, often a little bit of personal information here and there allows outsiders to gain a far 

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more intimate portrait of us than we imagine. One chapter in my upcoming book tries to find a woman whose thumbnail-size image is posted on a Yelppage. Tiny clues in obscure places help reveal her double life on the steamier side of the Internet.

Asked about the information shown by Find Your Account, a Facebook spokesman who did not want to be named said: “Certain information on Facebook—such as your name, profile photo, and networks (if you choose to add any)—is treated as public because it plays a crucial role in helping your friends and family connect with you. In this case, showing a profile photo helps people avoid accidentally initiating a password reset for the wrong account.”

This page describes what Facebook considers public information. Users can adjust their privacy settings with details given here to mask the name and photo from being visible in the password recovery process.

“If you use the password recovery feature to search for someone who has modified these settings such that you can’t look them up using this information, you will see only ‘Facebook User’ and will not be able to view their name, profile photo, or networks,” the spokesman said.

Still, the partial email address remains visible. So using his phone number, I looked up the spokesman via Find Your Account. His name and photo were not given, but I could easily guess what his private Gmail address is from the partially masked information. It showed the first letter of his first name, stars, and the last letter of his uncommon surname followed by @gmail.com.

“We show obscured email addresses in the password reset flow because our experience with helping many people recover their accounts over the years suggests that this information is important for helping people find the account recovery message we send,” he said. “Many people have multiple email addresses and don’t always remember which one is registered with Facebook.”

In the case of Professor King, his photo is available elsewhere and he posts his university email on his web page. His private email addresses – for which Facebook provided some clues — would be harder to locate. But he is relaxed about this information being visible.

King cited outgoing Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer as someone who has made his email address public and referred to that fact in interviews. Ballmer “said he does the same and has no problems.  I get a lot of email, but just like he said, people tend to be respectful,” King said. “I sign out of every automated mailing, which cuts things down some.”

full story: http://www.forbes.com/sites/adamtanner/2014/01/17/facebook-backdoor-gives-clues-to-private-email-addresses/