Myfridgefood: Find Recipes With Ingredients You Have

MyFridgeFood is an interesting and definitely quite useful tool. It presents you with two options – quick find and detailed kitchen. Both these pages have check boxes representing various food items. Just check the ones which you’ve got in your kitchen and it’ll show a list of recipes you can make with some or all of them. Click on the recipe and get the cooking details. Hence a nice tool to quickly check what food you can prepare with the items you’ve have at hand. If you sign up, you can submit a recipe.

find recipes with ingredients you have

find recipe by listing ingredients

Features

  • Quickly find recipe by listing ingredients.
  • Two pages to choose from – quick find and detailed kitchen
  • Click on the recipe to know how it is cooked
  • Sign up and submit a recipe.
  • Similar sites: RecipePuppy, CookThink, Foodista and Cookstr.

Check out MyFridgeFood @ www.myfridgefood.com

The Best Apps And Tips For Taking Raw Photos On Your Iphone

The feature that most iPhone photographers have wanted for forever is now here. With the right apps, device, and iOS 10, you can capture images in the RAW image format. These files capture and retain much more data than lossy JPEGs, allowing for better recovery of shadows and highlights, and more effective edits overall.

The feature will only work on the iPhone 6s and above (including Plus models). These files are also considerably bigger than their JPEG counterparts, and you’ll need a third-party app to actually capture photos in RAW.

So here’s why you should (and how to) shoot RAW on your iPhone, and a few tips for doing so.

What Is RAW and Why Should You Care?

RAW files aren’t necessarily “image files” in the same way that JPEGs are. Instead they’re a burst of raw data, hence RAW, which your editing program has to piece together. By changing various variables (like exposure, white balance, and so on) you will alter the outcome of the resulting image.

When you want to use your image elsewhere, like share it online or send it to a friend, lossy JPEGs are still the way to go. Even when you’ve edited your image and decided to share it elsewhere, you’ll still be compressing the image. So by choosing RAW, you’re not shunning JPEGs, you’re just opening up more possibilities before you get to the sharing stage.

We’ve written at length before about why you should be shooting in RAW format. The versatility on offer comes at the cost of space: in one comparison, a JPEG from my iPhone 7 Plus weighed in at 3.6 MB while a RAW cost me 11.3 MB. For that reason, you won’t want to leave your RAW files hanging around on your device, whether they’re kept in app storage or on your Camera Roll.

raw file size

iOS 10 uses the iPhone 6s, 7, and Plus model camera sensors to capture an uncompressed image in the Digital Negative (DNG) format. This standard was created by Adobe as a patented, open, but non-free image format for RAW photography. It costs nothing to implement, but it’s ultimately closed source with Adobe in the driver’s seat.

And if you’re sitting there with a Samsung or Sony smartphone, it’ll delight you to know that Android users with compatible devices have been able to shoot RAW for a while now. Apple is playing catch up here.

Free RAW Cameras

These free options are generally limited in scope, but they provide a good introduction to the medium without having to spend a penny.

VSCO (Free)

VSCO is probably the best free RAW camera I came across during my tests, but I’m not too fond of it as an editing environment. The camera itself offers a great deal of manual control over the things that matter: exposure value, white balance, ISO, shutter speed, and of course, full manual focus. You also get two-finger control to set exposure and focus zones independently, a grid for better composition, and a fast toggle between RAW and JPEG.

vsco raw

The VSCO approach to editing isn’t everyone’s cup of tea. It’s not as instantly usable as other editors, and all the settings are hidden behind icons. There’s a good selection of ready-to-go filters, and all the usual editing settings are there if you look hard enough: temperature, exposure, and the ability to “save” shadows and highlights.

The best part of VSCO is the ability to save your DNG files straight to the iOS Camera Roll (tap on the Profile tab, then hit Settings > Preferences and enable automatic saving). This allows you to export your RAWs using AirDrop, the cloud, or any other way you like to make edits using a desktop app of your choice.

Verdict: Despite mandatory registration and a style-over-substance UI, this is my favourite free RAW camera for iOS. Good manual controls in the camera and a fast editor make it worth your time.

RAW by 500px (Free)

Just like VSCO camera, RAW by 500px is a completely free app that allows you to capture DNG files on your iPhone. And just like VSCO, you can save these images to your Camera Roll — but you’ll have to shoot first, and then choose Save Original to Camera Roll from the library screen, to do so.

Unfortunately, RAW by 500px isn’t as strong as VSCO in either the camera or editing departments, but you can use it without signing up for anything, which is a bonus.

raw 500px

The camera features two modes: simple, and not-quite-so-simple. In simple mode, you can only tap to focus and expose, with both functions locked to the area you designate. Tap the slider next to the shutter button and you’ll get a few more options: a slider for full manual control over focus, and a slider for exposure value. There’s also a timer, flash control, and a grid to help you better compose your shots. The app is lacking control for ISO, shutter speed, and white balance.

Editing isn’t much better: everything is laid out in a decent enough fashion, but edits are slow and take a while to show up. It’s not a nice way to edit your photos. The app is strongly geared towards 500px, and makes the “shoot, upload, sell” workflow easier for those who need it, but as a camera and editor it’s not great.

Verdict: A mediocre camera and editor that provides full freedom over the DNGs that you’ve captured. May be worth checking out if you’re a 500px user, otherwise VSCO or a premium app would be better.

Adobe Lightroom Mobile (Free)

Lightroom is a flawed free choice for those wanting to dip their toes into RAW photography without spending any money on third-party apps. Despite providing a free RAW camera and editing environment, the only way to get your DNG files out of Lightroom is using the company’s own cloud service and a copy of Lightroom for Mac or PC. Check out the comments on this Adobe blog to see how well that decision went down.

lightroom iphone

Anything you shoot in RAW within Lightroom must be edited and exported from within the app (you can get maximum quality JPEGs out, no problem) unless you want to cough up for a Creative Cloud subscription. There’s the inclusion of a decent editing environment if you’re happy to use it, and a camera with two modes: automatic and professional. You get full manual control over focus, ISO, shutter speed, white balance; a handy exposure lock button; and the ability to adjust exposure value too.

The editor is rich with the sort of options you’d expect from Lightroom on a computer, complete with a few mobile-friendly presets for quick colorization. If you want to make selective edits using radial and linear selections, or get your photos out of the app, then you’ll have to sign up for Adobe CC. Free users can only export JPEGs to Camera Roll, other apps, or share directly to social platforms.

Verdict: A free manual RAW camera and editing environment, with the deal-breaking drawback of having your RAW files stuck within the Adobe ecosystem. Probably worth keeping around for its editing abilities.

Premium RAW Apps

Want to take your photography to the next level? Spend a few dollars on one of these for unprecedented control over your smartphone’s camera.

Manual ($3.99)

Manual is probably my new favorite third-party camera app, and certainly my favorite premium RAW camera. The app takes a wonderfully simple approach to taking photos, with all of the important settings just a slide away. You can either shoot in assisted mode, which gives you control over exposure value, or use fully manual mode to set your own ISO, shutter speed, white balance, and focus.

manual app

The touch-friendly interface invites you to scroll horizontally across the bottom of the frame to set the focus, complete with a zoomed-in preview of the focus area so you can get things just right. RAW photos are saved straight to your Camera Roll, while a handy grid, level, and real-time histogram make taking pictures a breeze.

Finally, an adaptive theme finishes off the sleek look, switching between light and dark depending on your environment. There’s also a handy widget for quickly opening the app from the lock screen or home screen.

Verdict: Pure simplicity meets RAW power, with all the controls you need and DNG files that go straight to your Camera Roll. No editing capabilities included.

ProCam 4 ($4.99)

Like Manual, but with many more features. If you want an app with a sleek and simple interface but don’t want to sacrifice on features, then ProCam might be the app for you. It includes all the usual controls over ISO and shutter speed as well as the same “zoomed” manual focusing slider as the previous app, and it sends your RAW files straight to the Camera Roll.

procam 4

It also includes a bunch of extra modes, including Slow Shutter (pair with a tripod for best effect), Burst Mode, 3D Photos, Night Mode, and the ability to take videos. Crop your images to square or widescreen, overlay guides and grids, and configure the app just how you want it from the exhaustive preferences.

My favorite feature is focus peaking, which highlights in-focus edges with a red outline. The app includes a Today screen widget too.

Verdict: A strong app that packs in the features while trying to remain uncluttered and approachable. If you need a little more than what Manual offers, try ProCam.

645 PRO mk III ($3.99)

The original “everything including the kitchen sink” iPhone camera, 645 PRO wants to turn your iPhone into a mirrorless camera, complete with all the dials and menu options the developer could cram in. It would be easy to be overwhelmed if you’re not looking for a professional level of control, but if you want to push your iPhone camera to the absolute limit, then this is the app for you.

645 pro

It’s not the most usable app on the list: there’s little in the way of sliders for changing on-camera parameters, and it will take some practice before you know what everything does. But the app is uncompromising in terms of features and supports a long list of third-party photo accessories (like the HiLO Lens, snappgrip, and iblazr). Some other notable features include focus peaking and the ability to capture both unprocessed RAW and JPEG files.

One drawback is that the slowest shutter speed has been reduced to 1/3 second.

Verdict: Overwhelming for newbies, but it’ll bring a smile to your face if you want to push your iPhone camera to the limit.

See also: PureShot ($2.99) from the same developer. It’s basically the same app with a slightly simplified UI for $1 less.

Tips for RAW Shooting

Your iOS Photos app doesn’t render RAW photos, so instead many apps will embed a JPEG into the DNG and Photos will display that instead. It’s also not possible to tell what file type an image is from the app, which can be problematic if you want to delete your massive RAW files after transferring them. If you’re a Mac user, you can use the Image Capture app included with macOS to choose your iPhone, list files by type, then save and delete the DNG files.

image capture iphone

One other telltale sign of a RAW file is a low-quality JPEG embed. Many RAW apps include a small JPEG to keep the file size down, which can be a giveaway when browsing your files.

It’s generally best to transfer your images to a computer and edit them there. Many photo editors on the iPhone have awkward interfaces that get in the way, and the small screen isn’t conducive to accurate editing. For Mac users we recommend one of these image editors with RAW capability.

Do you shoot RAW on your iPhone? How do you find it? Which is your favorite app? Let us know in the comments.

Smart Defrag 3 Introduces Defragmentation Support For Windows 8 Apps

Smart Defrag 3 just introduced the feature to defrag Windows 8/8.1 Metro Apps. The Windows defragmentation freeware is a popular choice for many and the latest release matches it with the requirements of the current Windows operating system. IObit calls it “the first Disk Defragmenter that fully supports Windows 8/8.1 Metro Apps”. The new defrag engine is clothed in a dual skinnable (Classic and White) Windows 8 themed UI – some small alterations to the layout, and it now sports a flatter modern design.

The Windows 8 Metro Apps defragging option isn’t the only change to the updated version. A new intelligent Prioritize Defrag feature promises to optimize drive data by defragmenting high priority files. Frequently accessed files are placed on the faster part of the drive, thus speeding up their access. This “intelligent” option is the slowest, but the most thorough. With Deep Analyze & Disk Clean, the defrag process itself has been sped up by improving disk cleanup before the defragmentation starts.

Smart Defrag 3

IObit claims the new disk defrag engine improves defragmentation speed by up to 50%. When it’s all done, if you are someone who checks the log files, Smart Defrag now automatically saves log files for Defrag and Analyze. IObit rounds up the update with a lesser memory footprint, bug fixes, and enhanced stability for the software.

Improved defragmentation subtly makes its impact felt when you are handling big data (e.g. games) that source bits and pieces from all corners of the hard drive. With Smart Defrag 3, you can keep your Windows 8/8.1 hard drive in peak performing health.

Source: Ghacks

Are You A Multiscreen User?

We live in a multiscreen world. What’s a multiscreen world, you ask? Have you ever browsed Facebook or Twitter on your smartphone while watching television? Perhaps you’ve used a tablet and laptop at the same time? If so, you’re a multiscreen user.

Should it shock you that more than two in three people use their smartphones while watching TV? Maybe not, and if you’re one of those people, don’t forget to look up Your Gadgets Don’t Control You: The Problem With “Look Up” [Opinion] Smartphones aren’t making us dumb; social networks aren’t making us antisocial. Technology is a tool, and it’s time we stopped blaming it for our problems and took responsibility for our digital habits. Read More .

Click to enlarge.

Are You A Multiscreen User? multidisplay user small

via Gryffin Media

7 Reasons The Lenovo Yoga A12 Laptop Sucks And 7 Superior Alternatives

The Lenovo Yoga A12 laptop looks like technology from the future. A few troubling aspects of the futuristic device should give prospective buyers pause, though. The advertising may not live up to the device’s performance.

To illustrate, watch a video highlighting the primary features of the A12:

If you were to judge a book by its cover, the Yoga A12 looks like one of the best devices ever made. It boasts a razor thin profile of 11mm and 13 hours of battery life. On top of that, it offers superior build quality, incorporating magnesium and aluminum into its chassis. However, don’t let appearances fool you. The A12 won’t fit the needs of anyone interested in productivity.

1. Touch Keyboards (Halo Keyboard) Suck

A touch keyboard dispenses with physical keys and relies on the same touch technology in a smartphone for registering key presses. To date, few manufacturers employ touch keyboard panels. Other than allowing for an impossibly slim profile, touch keyboards offer spill resistance, touchpad capabilities, and mechanical reliability. But that’s where the advantages end and the problem start. In brief, they suck at the one thing they promise to do: typing.

Lauren Goode, of the Verge, reviewed a similar touch keyboard-equipped laptop: the Yoga Book.

While one of the most impressive looking devices ever produced, the Yoga Book suffered from a truckload of shortcomings. Namely, its touch keyboard makes typing difficult.

But if you’re dying to try the underlying technology, check out the Yoga Book. It may not offer the state-of-art in hardware, but it does double as a functional Wacom for designers.

2. It’s Actually a Downgraded Yoga Book

The Yoga A12 offers similar specs to last year’s Yoga Book. Like the Yoga Book, the A12 features a 360-degree keyboard. Users can flip the keyboard back, turning the device into a tablet. We refer to these devices as 2-in-1 convertible laptops because they can transform from a laptop into a tablet.

If you aren’t familiar with 2-in-1 devices (what’s a 2-in-1?), better options abound. For example, the Asus Chromebook Flip uses a similar rotatable hinge. But instead of Android, the Flip uses ChromeOS — and that means it also runs Android apps.

The biggest difference between the Yoga Book and the A12: its operating system. The A12 comes with Android, instead of Windows 10. And that can prove problematic for those interested in productivity.

7 Reasons the Lenovo Yoga A12 Laptop Sucks and 7 Superior Alternatives asus flip chromebook

3. Android Isn’t a Complete Desktop Operating System

While the Yoga Book offers both Windows and Android, the Yoga A12 includes just Android. Unfortunately, that leaves out many Windows desktop applications. On top of that, Android’s user interface doesn’t scale properly on anything larger than a 5-inch smartphone. To Lenovo’s credit, they included the ability to run some apps in tablet mode. The result? You get a somewhat awkward-to-use, oversized Android tablet.

7 Reasons the Lenovo Yoga A12 Laptop Sucks and 7 Superior Alternatives dell 15 3000 inspiron amazon link

For productivity, a superior alternative is the Windows 10-equipped Dell Inspiron 15 i3558. It comes with double the RAM, 31-times the storage, and a far more powerful Intel Core i3 processor for $313. It does not include a touchscreen or a rotatable hinge, though.

4. It’s Probably Never Getting a System Update

There are two reasons why the A12 won’t get a system update (or firmware update): first, Lenovo ranks near the bottom of manufacturers in how often it updates the software of its Android devices, and second, Intel discontinued future Atom processors for mobile, which means a probable end to device updates.

Lenovo’s own Android firmware update table leaves out last year’s Yoga Book — meaning, it never received a firmware update. If Lenovo can’t even update a $500 product, it almost certainly isn’t going to update a $300 device.

7 Reasons the Lenovo Yoga A12 Laptop Sucks and 7 Superior Alternatives lenovo firmware update android matrix

On top of that, the Atom processor suffers from compatibility issues with many Android games. Unless a game provides specific compatibility with x86 processors, there’s a good chance it won’t work. For those interested in running Android apps on a 2-in-1, look no further than a Chromebook. Because ChromeOS uses an emulation technique for running games, it suffers from almost none of the compatibility issues associated with x86 hardware on Android. A great example is the Acer Chromebook 14, which employs an Atom-based Celeron N3160 processor.

5. The Specifications Are Woefully Overpriced

Perhaps the clearest indicators of its horribleness are the A12’s specifications. Take a quick look:

  • Intel Atom x5 system-on-a-chip
  • 12.2-inch 1200 x 800 touchscreen
  • 2 GB of RAM
  • 32 GB of storage
  • Touch keyboard

These specifications approximately equal the impulse-buy $100 laptops sold at Walmart.

7 Reasons the Lenovo Yoga A12 Laptop Sucks and 7 Superior Alternatives chuwi hi10 2 in 1 amazon

On the other hand, for slightly less money, you can pick up the Chuwi Hi10. The Hi10 features double the storage and RAM, a Full High Definition (FHD) 1080p IPS display, and the ability to dual-boot Android and Windows 10. On top of that, the Hi10 includes a tablet-optimized version of Android, known as Remix OS. While the keyboard sells separately, all together, the cost comes out to less than the Yoga A12.

On the other hand, some might argue that the Lenovo Yoga A12 offers a larger 12.2-inch screen. Even so, you can find cheaper 11.5-inch (only an inch smaller) tablets for around $100.

6. Its Screen Won’t Impress Anyone

If you prefer large screens, the A12 comes up short again. The 1200 x 800 resolution on a large 12.2-inch display won’t impress anyone in the $300 price range. You can find similar or larger screens for much less. For example, the RCA 11.5-inch Galileo Pro offers comparable specifications but at $220 cheaper.

7 Reasons the Lenovo Yoga A12 Laptop Sucks and 7 Superior Alternatives rca galileo tablet walmart

If you love HD-resolution screens, you can find a much better deal in the Acer Chromebook R11. The R11 offers a slightly better screen, along with overall superior specifications to the A12. Most important, it can also run Android apps on ChromeOS, which completely obviates the need for an Android-based laptop.

7. Lenovo Has a Sordid History With Spyware

Lenovo beats all competitors at spying on their customers. In 2015, users found three different malware suites preinstalled on low-end Lenovo laptops. The worst of these, the Superfish malware client, allows Lenovo to intercept and decrypt its users’ internet traffic. It also injects ads into browsers. While Lenovo offers a tool for removing its malware, some manufacturers don’t include any unwanted software. For example, Olimex.

7 Reasons the Lenovo Yoga A12 Laptop Sucks and 7 Superior Alternatives TERES I OLIMEX product link image

For those concerned about security, Olimex announced a mostly open-source, build-it-yourself laptop for around $250. It offers substantially weaker specs than the A12, but with a better screen. Unfortunately, the laptop kit went out of stock immediately after its announcement — but a restock should be imminent.

Who Should Buy a Lenovo Yoga A12?

No one should purchase a Yoga A12. The A12 is best seen as an aesthetic triumph and perhaps a portent of things to come. Unfortunately, its design won’t accommodate the vast majority of users’ needs. On top of that, even at $300, the price falls dramatically short of its competition.

In 2017, $300 buys a lot of machine. The A12 offers little in the way of specifications, value, and functionality. Had it included ChromeOS instead of Android, it might have been salvageable — but as it stands, you are likely to find a better device by throwing a dart inside a used electronics store, blindfolded, and heavily medicated.

How To Remove Windows Activation So You Can Install It On A Different Computer

windows activation removeWith piracy a constant concern for computer software companies, methods of registering and validating software are now the norm. Operating systems are no different. Microsoft Windows has long used a product key that validates the operating system.

The complexity of the validation used, however, has increased over time. Today, Microsoft has online activation servers that must validate your installation key, and your installation key is often tied to your computer. Installing a copy of Windows with the same key on a different computer can cause issues, but it’s possible to get around them.

Understanding Different Versions of Windows

windows activation remove

The conditions under which you might need to hassle with Windows activation vary depending on the version of Windows that you own. Microsoft sells its operating systems with different licenses attached, and those licenses impact how validation works when you try to remove Windows activation from one computer and install it on another.

If you go to the store and buy a copy of Microsoft Windows you’re likely buying a standard retail license. A retail license lets you install Windows on one computer. If you try to install it twice, Windows activation can tell (so long the computers have a connection to the Internet) and will call foul.

how to remove windows activation

However, it’s likely you instead have an OEM copy of Windows. OEM stands for Original Equipment Manufacturer, and this label is slapped onto software that comes pre-installed or packaged with a computer. OEM copies of Windows come with a license that only allows Windows to be installed on the machine the manufacturer shipped. You can’t take the OEM copy and install it on any other computer – if you try, Windows activation will notice.

Finally, you may end up with a volume license which makes it possible to install Windows on multiple machines at once. The Windows 7 family pack is a good example of this; the activation keys that come with the family pack can be used on three computers simultaneously.

Removing Windows Activation

Unfortunately, there is no Microsoft tool that lets you remove your Windows activation from a computer once you have installed the operating system. This is not surprising when you think about it; if you could simply remove your activation, there would be no point to the OEM license. There are cracks, of course, but these are not difficult for Microsoft to counter over time by releasing new updates. If you want your copy of Windows 7 to work reliably you need to legitimately install Windows with an activation key.

So What Do I Do?

how to remove windows activation

Pick up the phone!

Oddly, Microsoft is not strict about making sure you obey the terms of their software license. They are often happy to help you activate a copy of Windows on a new or upgraded computer even if you have an OEM license. They just want to talk to you about it in person.

The process is simple. Install Windows on a computer and insert the activation key as normal. When Windows starts and you connect to the Internet you will receive an error message letting you know that your copy of Windows is not genuine. Click on the text link that lets you solve the problem online and try to activate the key again. When it fails once more, you are given the chance to call into Microsoft support.

windows activation remove

Do this. You will end up speaking to a representative who will ask you the circumstances of your installation. While these representatives are likely to let you activate even if you’re blatantly moving an OEM license, a simple white lie can help smooth the gears. Just let them know that you’ve upgraded your computer, causing the activation to flag. They’ll press a few buttons on their end and presto! You’ve just activated your Windows key on a different computer, and since it’s 100% legit, you don’t need to worry about a new Windows update messing with your PC.

Conclusion

This is effectively a method of removing your Windows activation from the computer that your copy of Windows was originally installed on, because the key will no longer work on the original PC. If you do boot up the original PC and allow it to connect to the Internet you will soon be hit with an error message letting you know your copy of Windows is no longer genuine. Which is correct, because your activation has been transferred.

To be absolutely clear; this DOES NOT duplicate your Windows activation.

Also, be warned that Microsoft does keep track of how your activation key is used. They will take notice if you’re calling into their hotline once a week to transfer an activation key. Microsoft could be more strict about this process than they currently are. Don’t give Redmond a reason to change its policy.

How Will Ai Impact Your Life In The Next Ten Years?

We live in a world of “smart” objects; Smart phones, watches, cars are increasingly becoming the norm. But while the term “smart” originally referred more to the additional features in these devices than their cognitive abilities, that’s beginning to change.

Before we get started, what is Artificial Intelligence (AI)? In its most broad definition, AI refers to computer programs designed to perform complex tasks that have historically required human intelligence. This could be anything from speech recognition and decision-making to visual perception.  While the grand dream of AI that meets or exceeds human capabilities in every area, companies like Google and Facebook are working to assure the present and future of AI will be very practical.

A Smarter Mobile Experience

Even with status updates and selfies, texting is still the dominant usage for cell phones. And yet, up until now, messaging apps have remained relatively basic. But a new messaging app called Emu seeks to make texting more effective. Essentially, the app comes with a built in assistant that feeds you relevant information based on the conversations you’re having. This is meant to save you from always copying and pasting information, or constantly switching back and forth between other apps to perform basic tasks.

Windows Cortana

By now, most of us are familiar with Apple’s mobile assistant, Siri, built into the most recent models of the iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch. The groundbreaking service allows users to ask questions, search the web and set reminders all by asking Siri to do it for them. Now, Microsoft is looking to challenge Apple with an assistant of its own. Cortana, named after the AI in the popular videogame Halo, was specifically designed to get smarter the more people use it. Microsoft is hoping that speaking with Cortana will be almost like speaking with a real person. Users will be able to have follow-up conversations and if Cortana makes a mistake, it’ll learn and adapt, offering more specific and accurate services later on. And Cortana is hardly the endgame for Microsoft in terms of artificial intelligence, as you’ll see below.

Advanced Photo Recognition

Whether your grandparents like it or not, social media is here to stay. And while new platforms are constantly being rolled out to appeal to niche markets, the older, more established titans are looking for innovative ways to make their services even better.

Facebook isn’t just in the business of “likes” and “shares.” It employs a surprisingly large number of AI researchers, some of whom are working on creating a facial recognition software even more accurate at matching people’s faces than humans are. Facebook’s face-processing software, called DeepFace, performs a process called facial verification. It doesn’t match names to faces, but rather, recognizes when two images show the same face. Soon, you’ll quickly be able to upload a photo, and have Facebook realize who needs to be tagged.

Google Photo Recognition

At the same time (though with a slightly different end goal,) Google is working on a similar project. Instead of face-processing, Google is working on a software that accurately describes in complete sentences the scenes in photos.

For example, if you take a few pictures at the zoo, the software will differentiate between the lions, tigers and bears. The descriptions would read something like “A bear sleeps on its back” and “two lions are playing under a tree.”  This represents a revolutionary fusion of natural language and machine vision capabilities, and is a potent sign of things to come.  Machines that can truly understand the contents of images and video and speak naturally about them are powerful tools to make the world accessible to machine intelligence via our smartphone cameras. It’s an incredible step forward for artificial intelligence, and one that could prove fundamental for future AI efforts.

Machine Learning in Computer Search and Beyond

But artificial intelligence doesn’t end with mobile and social media. There are endless opportunities for AI to make our devices smarter and our lives easier. These include safer robots that provide unbiased security for humans and advanced programs that offer smarter, better network security for businesses. It can even be more basic, like improving search results.

Again we turn to Google, who is looking to advance their search function with AI software. For years, Google has been using machine learning to understand queries and provide better results. Now, Google is looking to incorporate deep learning to usher in the next era of search.

While all of these advancements show tremendous potential, there are still those with concerns. Perhaps the most vocal among them is Elon Musk, whose concern over the future of AI has been well documented. He recently donated $10 million to support research aimed at keeping AI beneficial to humanity, fearing that unchecked advancements artificial intelligence could be likened to summoning the devil.

“I’m increasingly inclined to think there should be some regulatory oversight maybe at the national and international level, just to make sure that we don’t do something very foolish.” -Elon Musk

Despite these risks, Musk and several high profile executives from Google, Microsoft, Facebook have added their names to the list of those still committed to future of AI.  The benefits, in other words, outweigh the long-term risks. These people are passionate about building programs and machines that will further technology and enhance our lives like never before. And though we don’t know exactly when the future of AI will arrive in earnest, humanity is taking steps in that direction each and every day.

Image Credit: iphone 6 Plus Elon Musk Wallpaper by Bill Brooks via Flickr, Brand Recognition by Mike Knell via Flickr, Nokia Lumia 635 Cortana Helping by Bhupinder Nayyar via Flickr

Poweradd Apollo Pro 23,000mah Solar Battery And Charger Review And Giveaway

Despite all the advances in technology of the last decade, batteries are still shockingly bad – taking up the bulk of most modern devices and rarely lasting a full day of use. Which is where whopping great external battery packs like the Poweradd Apollo Pro come in, with automatic solar charging and 23,000mAh of power – or about 3.5 iPads worth. I’ve been putting one to the test. And today, we’ll be offering it in our giveaway!

The Poweradd Apollo Pro costs $110. If your interests lie solely with solar charging ability and not a battery pack, the Anker 14W foldable USB charger will perform better, at only $70. Poweradd also offer a smaller form-facter, 10,000mAh model for $45, more suited to small devices like an iPhone. EC Tech offer a similarly sized battery pack (22,400 mAh) for $50, though without any solar charging abilities.

Poweradd Apollo Pro 23,000mAh Solar Battery and Charger Review and Giveaway poweradd apollo pro 23000 solar battery pack review 1

First Impressions

Our purchase was supplied with a free carry case separate to the main package. This thing is heavy at just over 1.3 kilograms in the box, and not much lighter when out of it.

Poweradd Apollo Pro 23,000mAh Solar Battery and Charger Review and Giveaway poweradd apollo pro 23000 solar battery pack review 2

Orange accents seem to be the accepted colour scheme for anything ruggedised, like these hard drives, though the bare unit would scratch easily outdoors. Inside the heavy pleather case it’s even bulkier, but resistant to scratches. The ports are left easily accessible and there’s no screen protector, so thats left exposed to possible damage. It seem like a basic plastic screen cover built into the case would increase the durability outdoors significantly without detracting too much from the solar charging.

Poweradd Apollo Pro 23,000mAh Solar Battery and Charger Review and Giveaway poweradd apollo pro 23000 solar battery pack review 3

What’s in the box?

A ridiculously large number of power adapters is supplied for every DC power jack known to humanity; these are used for laptops, or generic 12V input like an Arduino. On the other side is a USB port, with an extendable cable supplied and adapters for mini-USB, micro-USB, and an old style Apple 30 pin connector – yet curiously not the new Lightning connector. Since it’s a standard USB port, you can just plug your own adapter straight in – the supplied mini cable is just for convenience.

Poweradd Apollo Pro 23,000mAh Solar Battery and Charger Review and Giveaway poweradd apollo pro 23000 solar battery pack review 4

An AC power adaptor is also supplied for charging the battery from a wall plug, in case you live somewhere like the UK where the sun rarely shines and all solar devices are essentially rendered useless.

  • 10 DC barrel jack charging heads
  • 50 centimeter extension cable for DC charging
  • Coiled USB charging cable
  • Micro USB, Mini USB, Apple 30 pin, and minuscule 1mm wide jack (I have no idea what it’s for) USB charging heads
  • User manual

Poweradd Apollo Pro 23,000mAh Solar Battery and Charger Review and Giveaway poweradd apollo pro 23000 solar battery pack review 5

The USB charger heads and cables aren’t interchangeable with the DC jack – which is a good thing, because you’d fry your mobile devices if you pumped 12V into them, which is what the DC power is designed for. A simple slide switch changes between 12C, 16C, and 19C, for charging larger devices like laptops. No AC power socket is available. Here’s the full list of the more obscure DC plugs supplied.

  • A – 6.00×4.25 – Sony VAIO
  • B – 6.25×3.00 – Toshiba Satellite A105, M35
  • C – 5.50×2.10 – Toshiba T1950, T4700 / Acer Aspire 1200
  • D – 4.75×1.70 – ASUS Eee 900, 1000
  • E – 5.50×1.70 – Acer Aspire One AO722 AO725
  • H – 5.00×3.25 – Samsung N130, N310
  • I – Dell 3Pin – Any Dell Laptop use a 3 Pin adapter
  • J – 7.40×5.00 – HP Pavilion DV6 / HP G60, G61/ HP Compaq CQ60, CQ61 / HP 550 / Dell inspiron 1525, E1505
  • K – 7.90×5.40 – ThinkPad T60, X60, R6

Poweradd Apollo Pro 23,000mAh Solar Battery and Charger Review and Giveaway poweradd apollo pro 23000 solar battery pack review 6

Although it’s rare you’d need anything other than a single adapter, it would have been nice if the supplied carry case had room for all the adapters and cables too; this seems a common feature on the foldable solar panels.

A single click of the bright orange button displays the current charge level – it’s supplied fully charged. Hold down for a longer time on the button and the front super-bright white LED is activated – not that I can see anyone wanting to use this hulking beast as a wieldy flashlight, but it’s useful for emergencies.

Charging Time

A full charge of my third-generation iPad took just about 6 hours; the Nexus 7 took about 4 hours; my iPhone 5s took about 2 hours. After charging both the iPad and Nexus, the battery was showing a 25% charge left, which works out roughly with stated battery capacities of 11,560 mAh for the iPad, 4,235 mAh for 2012 model Nexus 7, from a total 23,000 mAh in the Poweradd Apollo Pro.

Poweradd Apollo Pro 23,000mAh Solar Battery and Charger Review and Giveaway poweradd apollo pro 23000 solar battery pack review 7

The unit can be charged either from a wall plug, with the full battery replenished overnight; or can be trickle charged from solar. The problem with the solar charging is that it doesn’t appear capable of charging the device once the battery has dropped to 50% or less. I suspect this is because the small solar panel just doesn’t have enough oomph (that’s a technical term) to kickstart the battery charging process, even in bright sunlight – so relying upon this for an emergency situation where there’s no wall outlets available probably isn’t a good idea. Batteries requires a large voltage for the initial stages of charging; later, a smaller charge is all that’s needed, at which point the solar cell can handle. As far as I can tell, this isn’t confirmed in the product literature, so it may be the case that our British springtime sun just isn’t strong enough.

In theory, a full charge of the battery will take 24 hours of optimal sun (15V 230mAh solar cell, for a 23000mAh/85Wh battery capacity)

Living with the Apollo Pro

Here’s where I hit a snafu: I own a MacBook air, which can’t be charged with the Apollo Pro due to the lack of MagSafe adapter. In fairness, this is Apple’s fault and not Poweradd’s — they make non-standard power cables with tiny micro-circuits in them to prevent third party devices from working without a licence. It’s a part of the Apple tax, but it does somewhat limit the usage of these niche power solutions. Regular laptops and anything that charges from USB will work fine.

In practice, I was able to use the solar panel to keep my iPhone charged for a week without requiring any external input. Once I tried to charge a tablet as well, the battery depleted to 50% and solar no longer seemed to replenish any charge.

Poweradd Apollo Pro 23,000mAh Solar Battery and Charger Review and Giveaway poweradd apollo pro 23000 solar battery pack review 8

In terms of usability, I was expecting to have to switch modes between charging or discharging – that’s not the case. Solar charging occurs automatically when placed into sunlight. Charging a device requires a single push of the button; and solar charging/battery discharging can be done simultaneously. The only real setup you need to do is ensuring the correct DC voltage is set for your laptop.

Poweradd Apollo Pro 23,000mAh Solar Battery and Charger Review and Giveaway poweradd apollo pro 23000 solar battery pack review 9

Should you buy the Poweradd Apollo Pro?

I’m in two minds about the Apollo Pro. On the one hand, my dreams of running away to live off grid or survive the zombie apocalypse have been thoroughly dashed; this battery will need a wall socket to fully charge – the solar is just an added extra that will prolong its life as long as you don’t use it too much at a time.

Poweradd Apollo Pro 23,000mAh Solar Battery and Charger Review and Giveaway poweradd apollo pro 23000 solar battery pack review 10

On the other hand, 23,000mAh is a truly monstrous capacity that, in practice, will provide a full charge for an iPad, a Nexus 7, and a mobile phone – which could make all the difference if you’re stranded in your car or otherwise; and the ability to run other DC devices that require higher power is a great addition.

MakeUseOf recommends: As long as solar charging isn’t your priority, the Poweradd Apollo Pro is great external battery pack. For purely solar charging, look elsewhere.

How do I win the Poweradd Apollo Pro?

You may enter by submitting your name and email address. You’ll receive one entry simply by doing so.

After that, you’ll also be offered various methods to earn additional entries. They range from sharing a link to this giveaway on social networks; to commenting or visiting a specific page. The more you participate, the higher your chances of winning! You will receive 5 additional entries into the giveaway for every successful referral via your shared links.

This giveaway begins now and ends Friday, May 9. The winner will be selected at random and informed via email. View the list of winners here.

The Winner

Congratulations, Gareth Howe! You would have received an email from jackson@makeuseof.com. Please respond before May 22 to claim your prize. Enquires beyond this date will not be entertained.

Send your products to be reviewed. Contact Jackson Chung for further details.

5 Best Android Keyboards For Emojis, GIFs, And More

For a long time, Android’s use of third-party keyboards made it a better deal than iPhone. Alternative Android keyboard apps like Swype and Swiftkey are fantastic. But there’s more to keyboards than just text.

Recently, more alternative iPhone keyboards have started supporting GIFs, emojis, and other cool features. So if you’re an Android user, what should you turn to? Don’t worry, there are still some cool keyboards that you probably haven’t heard of.

Swiftmoji (Free): Suggests and Searches for Emojis

Emojis can be difficult to understand, which is why we have an emoji to English dictionary. You know what’s much more difficult? Finding the right emoji when you most need it.

SwiftKey recognized this problem and came up with a whole new app to solve it. Meet Swiftmoji, an emoji keyboard that smartly suggests emojis based on what you just typed. It’s kind of like a search engine for emojis.

Type what you want, using the features that make SwiftKey awesome. A row under what you typed will show emoji suggestions from Swiftmoji. Tap the plus icon to see more suggestions, or just dive into the regular emoji view of all apps. If you like using emojis as you type, this is what you need.

Download: Swiftmoji for Android (Free)

Tenor GIF keyboard (Free): Find the Perfect GIF

If you spend some time on the Internet, you know that GIFs are the language of the web. But when the opportunity strikes, you need to be quick. It takes too much time and effort to exit the app, search for GIFs on Giphy, and then copy-paste back into the original app.

Tenor GIF keyboard is the quick way to get the GIF you need. Tenor is another GIF search engine like Giphy, and it features a huge repository of reactions. The best part about the app is that it works much, much faster than any other GIF keyboard on the Play Store. I compared it with Fleksy, Kika, How You Doin?, and GIMO, and Tenor was so visibly faster that any statistical test wasn’t necessary.

useful-android-keyboard-tenor-gif-keyboard

Just search for a GIF and it’ll load almost instantly, without you ever having to leave the app you’re in. It’s all a part of the keyboard, where you can see trending GIFs, most popular GIFs, and even search for them. And did I mention Tenor is super fast in loading GIFs?

The only issue is that you’ll need to fire up Tenor GIF keyboard each time you want to use it. It doesn’t have its own alphabet keyboard to actually type with, so it reverts to your default choice once you’re done inserting GIFs.

Download: Tenor GIF Keyboard for Android (Free)

CopyPasta (Free): Collection of Complex Text-Based Emoticons

Before GIFs and emojis, the Internet made do with simple and complex text-based emoticons like this:

sunglasses

Another popular Internet phenomenon is a copypasta, which is kind of like the text version of an Internet meme.

5 Best Android Keyboards for Emojis, GIFs, and More android keyboards copypasta 1

The Copypasta keyboard combines these two phenomena into one app, so you can quickly add a “shruggie” or any emoticon. From the above cool sunglasses to flipping tables, everything is a couple of taps away.

And yeah, there are a bunch of popular Internet copypastas too, but you’d need to really be deep into web culture to understand or use those.

Download: Copypasta for Android (Free)

Kika Keyboard (Free): Everything In One Keyboard

Kika isn’t as fast as Tenor in loading GIFs or finding the right one, and Kika won’t auto-suggest emojis based on what you just typed — it’s not that smart. Kika’s collection of emoticon faces is much smaller. But Kika will handle everything without bringing your phone to a crawl.

useful-android-keyboards-kika-keyboard

Kika is for someone who doesn’t want to have separate apps for emojis, GIFs and copypastas. It’s also a decent GIF keyboard for anyone who hates Tenor’s lack of an alphabet keyboard.

By itself, Kika is a decent app and is actually pretty quick at loading GIFs too. Its emoji database is quite large and should satisfy most people. It even adds stickers, face emoticons, and ASCII art for you to insert in a couple of taps.

Download: Kika Keyboard for Android (Free)

Hub Keyboard (Free): Web Search, Clipboard, Translations, Synonyms, Recent Documents, and Contact Info

No one expected it when Google made the best iPhone keyboard, Gboard. It was baffling when Google didn’t launch that on Android. Well guess what, Google, Microsoft just beat you to it. The Hub Keyboard is like Gboard for Android.

useful-android-keyboards-microsoft-hub

The Hub Keyboard performs a basic search if you type in it. It has a built-in clipboard for multiple entries to improve copy-paste on Android. You can insert a phonebook contact’s info without leaving the screen. It will translate text from one language to another, and you can choose the languages. It’ll look up synonyms for you. And if you are using Microsoft Office for Android with OneDrive, it will also find your recent Word, PowerPoint, or Excel files.

The Hub Keyboard is an absolute marvel, but there are still a few flaws. It lacks some features, like swipe-to-type. The translation feature is buggy. The search feature doesn’t show you previews of the page. But these are small complaints for an app that is still in beta. It gets more things right than wrong. Notch up another entry in Microsoft’s collection of awesome Android apps.

Download: Hub Keyboard for Android (Free)

Pro Tip: Get Quick Keyboard Switch

If you plan to use one or more of these apps, do yourself a favor and download Quick Keyboard Switch. The default mechanism to switch keyboards in Android is unnecessarily complicated, and this makes it easy.

useful-android-keyboard-quick-keyboard-switch

Quick Keyboard Switch sits in your notification bar. A few taps and you’ll have switched from the best Android keyboard for you to one of the above. And in another few taps, you can switch back.

Download: Quick Keyboard Switch for Android (Free)

What’s Your Favorite Android Keyboard?

Most of these aren’t going to replace your favorite Android keyboard. But we’re curious to know which keyboard you use every day.

Are you in the Swiftkey camp or team Swype? Has one feature made you switch to Google Keyboard? Do you stray away from the crowd and use Fleksy or Minuum or some other keyboard altogether? Tell us what you use, and which of the above you liked.

5 Unique Alternative Youtube Apps For Ios Devices

When iOS 6 took the original YouTube Hack YouTube: Kill the Annoyances, Improve Your Viewing YouTube is a revolutionary service, but that doesn’t mean that it’s without its flaws. There are many features on the site that are designed for convenience, other features that are meant to satiate legal requirements,… Read More app away, many developers scrambled to create their own versions of the video app. Of course, we now have the official Google YouTube app, but this doesn’t mean its return after a brief absence has stopped these creative minds. Since that portion of the app market opened up, it never really has closed.

Below are five unique alternative YouTube apps for iOS devices. While you may find the official YouTube app to be top-shelf (as many of us probably do), the other guys aren’t so bad either. Each one has its own unique spice that adds to the YouTube recipe, so the individual apps will likely suit all of your different tastes.

Jasmine

jasmine

Jasmine’s sleek and clean no-nonsense interface allows you to browse videos, look at your playlists, check out your subs, and view recently played clips straight from the dashboard menu. The app also offers both nighttime and daytime viewing modes – perfect for showing a video at the office with coworkers or watching one right before you go off to dreamland. Jasmine does not incorporate in-app ads, but obviously, ones from YouTube itself still exist.

The developer offers a $1.99 Pro version to make at least some sort of income from it, and the upgrade simply includes intensive parental controls that allow users to curate content and limit video discovery. The app also supports Airplay for those of you who enjoy watching things on the big screen, and basic commenting and social features are usable as well.

As a note, for those of you who use Alien Blue The 5 Best Free Reddit Apps for iOS Reddit is one of the most interesting websites on the Internet, and with such a mixed bag of users, it offers a massive variety of content. However, because each user is quite unique, their Reddit… Read More , you’ll be happy to know that the same developer is behind Jasmine. This app is a quality piece of work.

Vodio

Vodio goes beyond YouTube and aggregates popular videos from various sources across the web to generate a type of “video magazine” that is consistently updated and completely automated. By placing videos into categories and channels, users can view videos that are of interest to them. If you are a Reddit user, Vodio’s end-usage will seem familiar but without the voting system and a much, much prettier interface.

The app also incorporates an “intuitive engine” which bases video options on your taste using Facebook, Twitter, and other social media outlets for reference. Speaking of social media outlets, Vodio lets you share clips with your friends right from the app.

iTube

itube

iTube is the perfect YouTube app for music lovers because of its playlist creation features. Built for the musician at heart, iTube lets users play music videos as they would play any song on their iPhone or iPod. Best of all, it plays in the background – something that the YouTube app doesn’t do. This means you can go to your favorite song using the app (Tiny Tim’s “Tiptoe Through The Tulips”, anyone?), let it play, and go about your business whether it be Facebook, iMessage, or Mail.

iTube also lets users control the music using typical iPhone playback and headphone controls. In short, the app’s usage is akin to Spotify or even the standard iTunes app. However, unlike Spotify, you do not need to purchase a subscription to play individual songs, and unlike iTunes, you are not limited to just the songs that are on your device.

YouTube Capture

Launched late last year, YouTube Capture is the ultimate YouTube app that offers a feature the base app doesn’t (but honestly, really should). Developed by Google itself, YouTube Capture lets users record videos and upload them right from their phone a la Vine and Instagram. While YouTube Capture does not serve as a YouTube client which lets you view and browse videos, it’s an excellent on-the-go video recorder.

The app lets users make use of YouTube’s stabilization, trimming, and automatic color correction features – something that other video upload apps don’t. Another perk is the time limit which isn’t just a few seconds. In fact, you can record as long as your typical YouTube video would last, so all you really need to worry about is your Internet speed. Furthermore, you can upload and simultaneously share your videos with nearly all social media services as you go.

Squrl

squrl

Personally, I think Squrl is the best app name in the entire world, but that’s just me. Besides its clever nomenclature, it’s actually a very useful app that presents itself as more of a “video search engine” rather than just a YouTube client. Pulling video from resources such as YouTube, Netflix, Hulu, TED, Vimeo, AOL, Blip.tv, Facebook, and Twitter, Squrl can help you put all of the Internet’s most interesting video content in one place.

This is beneficial to users, for they can watch YouTube videos in the same place where they watch their paid subscriptions like Netflix and Hulu. It’s also a bit like a social media aggregator, bringing the best videos from your feeds to you.

Conclusion

YouTube remains the dominant force in the online video sharing space, and the above apps are sure to enhance your viewing experience. If you are interested in a few more YouTube apps for iOS, we have a few designed for iPad and iPhone here The Top 3 YouTube Apps For The iPhone & iPad Google and Apple have been butting heads in the competition over the mobile and tablet market for a long time, and now that the temperature keeps on rising, the effects of this face-off have become… Read More .

What other apps do you use to watch YouTube on iOS? Have you ever made use of the apps already mentioned here?

Image Credits: Via PlaceIt