Saturday , June 23, 2018

Masbad: Goodbyes and hellos

THIS past week has been quite the whirlwind ride in the tech industry. For this week, I have here are some of the significant updates.

Goodbye BlackBerry phones

On a recent post by the New York Times website, it’s reported there that BlackBerry will no longer make smartphones. Quite the shocker if you ask me because BlackBerry, for me, defined the smartphone when it first offered them back in the day. It was what everybody was dreaming of -- a marriage between the Palm Pilot and the mobile phone. According to their announcement, “the company plans to end all internal hardware development and will outsource that function to partners.”

RIP Meerkat app

More sad news is that a star of SXSW last year, Meerkat, is now officially out of the game. Permanently. Ben Rubin, Life on Air co-founder (Life on Air is the company behind Meerkat) tweeted:

In place of Meerkat, there’s a new guy in town though. Still from the same company.

It’s called Houseparty.

Houseparty: Party on your phone/b>

I only found out about Houseparty while I was browsing through my Flipboard feeds. Interestingly, Houseparty has already been out in the wild for quite a while and it already has about a million users. In a news article posted by The Verge, the story as to how Houseparty came to be and how it became the second most popular downloads on the App Store is almost like a short clip from a spy movie script. Because they didn’t want the new app to be associated with Meerkat, Life on Air basically staged a hoax.

What is Houseparty? It’s still a video chatting app. The difference here is that it’s not the usual “one-to-many” live broadcasting scheme like Periscope or Facebook Live. Houseparty is, according to the company, is a “synchronous social network.” Synchronous because you and, a max of seven more friends, can video broadcast to each other all at the same time. To be overly simplistic about it, it’s video conferencing.

Fotr: Digital mobile photography with the cost of film

Hold up. Don’t go rushing out the door yet. A lot of photo apps released these days have always been in the direction of combining the best of both world of digital and film. The convenience of digital photography where you can take photos and see the result right away without having to go to the photo house first. And the magic of film where there are a myriad of film treatment choices. VSCO is a good example that comes to mind.

Enter Fotr. It’s both but it’s also not. It’s an app you download to your smartphone. Yes, it’s still digital photography. The big difference now is that you have to “buy” film rolls from the makers of the app. Yes, film. Not the physical, real world film though. There are no filters in the app like the ones you see on the VSCO app. The film you purchase becomes the filter itself. How? Because each type of film behaves differently when it renders color or black and white. Canon film is different from Fuji film as they are both different from Agfa films.

The kicker with this app is that every photo you take gets printed. No excuses. No deletes. No reshoots. Every single frame is printed. It won’t matter if the photo is blurred, out of focus, or you framed it wrong. It. Doesn’t. Matter.

In a news article by Techcrunch, Ondrej Loudil explains:

“Today people take near-infinite numbers of photos. They end up stored on a hard drives and nobody has enough time to go through all of them. We wanted to make them tangible,” Ondrej Loudil, Fotr’s founder explains. “You can forget about the tons of unseen photos with Fotr: the app will print all the pictures you take. No exceptions.”

One thing I like most about this is that they ship the prints worldwide. I’m going to give this a try for my coming trip.