How are you currently reading this article? Odds are it’s on a computer, tablet, or mobile phone. (And those odds are 100%, unless you’re a time traveller from 1985 who had someone fax this to you.) Here at DFAT, we firmly believe you can’t travel geekly without the proper tools, and that includes all your gadgets and gizmos. Techknowledgy will focus on product announcements, new apps, and anything else technology related that makes me go, “Whoa, cool!” So get ready…and don’t forget your microfiber towel.
Up Your Hipster Cred with Hyperlapse
Instagram has released a new stand-alone app for creating time-lapse videos, called Hyperlapse. There are plenty of time-lapse videos out there now, but most of them require you to prop your phone up somewhere or use a tripod, because just holding the camera will make the video too jittery. Hyperlapse uses built-in image stabilization technology to remove these jitters, making the video as smooth as if you were using an expensive professional video setup. So why hasn’t anyone made video stabilization for phones before? For footage taken with a typical video camera, stabilization requires complex algorithms to analyze the footage and determine how the camera was moving. On a cell phone with a built in gyroscope, the app doesn’t need to compute that data. It can simply collect it from the sensors.
Hyperlapse doesn’t allow for you to pause and resume filming like Vine or Instagram, so you get one shot to take your time-lapse (although that shot can be as long as you like). Once you’re done filming, you can review your time-lapse at different speeds and select the speed you like best. You can even compare your stabilized and unstabilized video by tapping and holding on the screen during playback. There’s no filters, cropping, or any other sort of adjustments; however, once you’ve finished your video, it exports to your camera roll, so there’s nothing stopping you from post-processing it in other apps before sharing it. In fact, when you share it to Instagram, you can add anyone of their standard video filters.
Although it’s made by Instagram, Hyperlapse doesn’t require you log into your account to create videos. The interface is extremely simple and easy to use, although almost to the point of being too simple. For instance, I discovered the ability to compare the original and stabilized video by accident, as there are no on screen indicators of that feature. I tested it out, and the stabilization is very impressive. I have extremely shaky hands, but the video was smoothed out perfectly and looked professionally done. In fact, I’ve started filming all my videos in Hyperlapse and saving them at 1x speed, solely for the image stabilization. Hyperlapse is currently only available for iOS, but hopefully will be out for Android soon.
Nintendo Apparently Didn’t Learn from Apple’s Naming Mistakes
Nintendo held another Nintendo Direct on August 29th, to announce the release of a new 3DS (and XL), called, imaginatively enough, “The New 3DS”. The New 3DS introduces an itty bitty analog joystick above the buttons on the right hand side, which have been colored SNES style. Hey, Nintendo, it’s okay, I hear it’s not the size of the joystick, but how you use it. It also introduces an SD card slot and NFC technology, to communicate with the new Amiibo figurines launching this holiday season. The new devices are physically smaller, but feature a larger screen, better battery life, and faster CPU. Nintendo has announced that some games will only be playable on the New 3DS due to the faster processor, which may ruffle a few feathers in the community. Either way, we won’t see the new hardware in the US or Europe until 2015 at the earliest.
Strange Things Are Afoot at the Apple K
Apple has officially announced September 9th as the date for its (presumed) iPhone launch event, with a cryptic invitation stating “Wish we could say more.” What a tease! Adding to the mystery is the new structure being built at the Flint Center in Cupertino, where the event will be held. The Flint Center has held exactly two Apple events previously: The announcement of the very first Mac 30 years ago, and the announcement of the very first iMac in 1998, after Steve Jobs returned to the company. So, it’s not like the bar is set sky high or anything. According to rumors, Apple is set to unveil a 4.7” (and possible 5.5”) iPhone 6, as well as some form of wearable device to tie into the HealthKit app in iOS 8. Personally, I’m hoping for something completely unpredicted but still amazing and groundbreaking, like the Handoff feature shown at WWDC. Whatever is unveiled, it’s sure to be big, given the grandeur and history surrounding the venue.
A few months ago, I saw on Twitter that someone I follow had reserved their “Emojili” username. I had no idea what they were talking about, but naturally I jumped on board and reserved mine, and then promptly forgot about it until today, when I finally got an email saying the app was ready. Emojili allows you to communicate entirely (and solely) in emoji characters. Nearly everything in the app is emoji based, from the usernames to the menu options. Try to send a message with text, and you get an error message gently reminding you that only emoji messages may be sent. So far, the novelty hasn’t worn off yet for me, but if people are still using Yo, then Emojili may actually catch on. It’s like the textual equivalent of trying to communicate in hand signals at a loud bar.