Oculus Demos a VR Selfie Stick

April 13, 2016   |   filed under Apps, Community, Conversation, Interaction, Participation, Social Media, Technology, Video

Oculus is now allowing the user to go anywhere in the world instantly, look like yourself while you're there, and take a photo while present.  Each Oculus VR user will have a customized avatar, that actually looks like them.  The life-like avatars are possible through the social test bed's internal drawing tool (via Facebook).  Unfortunately, this technology won't be released just yet, but the news remains exciting.     SOURCE: TECH CRUNCH

These Two Apps Let You Pretend You Actually Handwrote That Greeting Card

April 12, 2016   |   filed under Apps, Community, Conversation, Interaction, Participation, Technology

  When was the last time you received a hand written note in the mail?  Chances are you don't remember, but, that may change. Felt and Punkpost allow the user to send personalized cards from their phone, that look as though they were written by the sender themselves.  Felt lets the user handwrite with a stylus, or their finger! Writing with one's fingers can be tricky, and not everyone has a stylus, so Felt has quite a few fonts for the card to chose from.  In addition to the card being handwritten, the envelope can also be handwritten!  Finally, the app allows the sender to add photos, or confetti to their card, for that extra hand written/ home made touch.  Pricing varies from $3-6 depending on the photo package one may choose.  SOURCE: TECH CRUNCH  

Slidebox brings its photo management app to Android

April 11, 2016   |   filed under Apps, Community, Interaction, Social Media, Technology

A new application called Slidebox aims to help Android users clean up their photo library by swiping to delete unwanted photos, as well as use other tools to more easily organize photos into albums. It’s sort of like a “Tinder for Photos” with a few extra features, in fact. The app is now one of many utilities arriving to address a longtime challenge smartphone users face – that is, our devices make it simple to take unlimited photos, but they don’t offer the same ease of use when it comes to reclaiming free space from our phone’s limited storage. Designed by former Amazon developers who originally built the app because they, too, struggled with having too many photos and no good way to organize them, the idea with Slidebox is to let you quickly move through your many images and make instant decisions on what to do with each one, using gestures. The app is a free download on Google Play, and all the current features are also free. A future release may introduce new, premium features you can buy via in-app purchase. SOURCE: TECHCRUNCH

Facebook adds video search to combat original content sharing decline

April 8, 2016   |   filed under Community, Interaction, Social Media, Technology

Facebook is desperate to get you to watch original videos. They’re all over the feed - yesterday it launched a dedicated video browsing hub, and now it’s announcing a video search engine. It’s also baking Live videos into its Trends in search, and will show when there’s a Live video broadcasting related to one of its Trending Topics on the home page. Over the past few months, Facebook has been subtly prompting Pages to tag their videos with keywords like “robotics” or “recipe”. Now when someone punches these keywords into the new video search, they’ll discover clips tagged with them. Video search could open up an advertising opportunity for Facebook if lets companies pay to show their clips at the top results. While people are sharing plenty of news, they’re posting less photos and status updates about their own lives. Those posts are what make Facebook friendly and irreplaceable, rather than just another channel for discovering generic web content. But the rise of Snapchat may be stealing some of this more personal content. Without more eyes on their videos, Facebook loses ad revenue and only time will tell if this new video search engine will do the trick. SOURCE:TECHCRUNCH

Rapchat Makes Me The Rapper I Always Knew I Was

April 7, 2016   |   filed under Apps, Conversation, Culture, Interaction, Music, Social Media, Technology, Video

  Rapchat, an app that allows the user to pick a beat, rap, and easily share, is taking over.  Once the rap is created,  others may comment, and  "like", which has the potential to send the Rapchat artist to trend on the charts.  The raps can be shared internally on Rapchat, or on other social platforms including SoundCloud and Twitter.  Additionally, the Rapchat link can be sent to anyone, enlarging the artists musical platform, and potentially gaining a following. Source: Tech Crunch

This New App Lets You Express Your Feelings With Video Memes, Not GIFs

April 6, 2016   |   filed under Apps, Community, Conversation, Culture, Interaction, Participation, Social Media, Technology, Video

  "A Video Meme App", allows the user to select a short video clip from over 5,000 clips, and add their own caption, making for more fun, interactive conversation. They can then share their video clips to iMessage, Messenger, Facebook, Twitter, Slack, GroupMe, among many more.  It is available (for free) in the app store. Source: Tech Crunch

5 tough questions about Oculus Rift’s VR headset launch.

April 5, 2016   |   filed under Community, Cross-Platform, Participation, Technology, Video

Oculus Rift has made the future the present by launching it's VR headsets but uncertainty about it's own future looms overhead with HTC and Playstation headsets on the way. Here are the tough questions that will determine what you should buy, the distribution of power between the platforms and VR’s effect on our lives. It is important to note that these questions are not just hypotheticals. They are helping to advance our thoughts about VR beyond the technology and toward the art, business and impact. So here goes! Should people buy Oculus Rift consumer v1, or wait another hardware and content cycle? VR is going to happen. It’s mainly a question of when is right for most people. I wish I’d waited to buy v2 of the Apple Watch. So what's the right decision with Oculus Rift? Touch motion controllers are coming later this year, so should one wait to buy? Will Oculus Rift dominate the tethered VR market and we should commit to the benefits of network effect, or will it fragment amongst HTC Vive and PlayStation VR and we should wait to see what we prefer? The HTC Vive full-body, walk-around-the-holodeck headset will ship soon with bulky motion controllers that unlock the true potential of VR. Oculus may have been smart to get Rift out the door first. But without the Touch controllers, Vive could command more early ooohs and ahhhs and the PlayStation VR’s low price could attract gamers on a budget. Hmmm... Can Oculus secure and maintain a stranglehold on the best VR developers? There are a lot of stakeholders in this game and a fine balance needs to be struck between profit for the platforms, attraction for developers, opportunity for the VR industry and reliability for the customer. For example, we might only buy one, but developers will build wherever there’s the best market. Who sells the most headsets? But also, how much are those audiences willing to spend on content (think iOS versus Android)? How much promotion will third-party devs or indies get versus the platform’s own content and key partners? And how much flexibility around utilizing hardware, graphic content, adult content and approvals will each platform offer? Rift will change much more than gaming, but is the social and cinematic content up to snuff for non-gamers to buy in yet? Communication, film, education, travel and business are poised to be revolutionized by VR much the way they were by smartphones. But that didn’t mean you needed to own an early BlackBerry or even the first iPhone. Rift is deeply gaming-focused right now. If you’re looking to explore a new paradigm for reality more than to shoot down spaceships, it might still be too early. When do we start talking seriously about VR addiction? Hopefully now, because it’s coming. This thing is immersive. You’re not sitting alone in a darkened basement or bedroom staring at a glowing rectangle, acutely aware you’re shrugging off the real world. There are no edges. No way to look away. No reminders to stop. Oculus should be researching this now instead of after the first kid dies of dehydration with a Rift still strapped to their face.   http://techcrunch.com/2016/03/28/smack-to-the-future/

VR as a Social Tool – Not just an Escape

April 4, 2016   |   filed under Community, Conversation, Culture, Interaction, Participation, Technology

ARTEFACT

The world of VR is moving closer to integration into our own everyday, and although it may seem scary to a good deal of us, it's not necessarily something to be afraid of. VR’s immersive potential is, of course, its most compelling feature. However, total immersion can also be isolating—not just for the person in the headset, but for the people standing near him. “There’s a discrepancy between inclusion and immersion” says Markus Wierzoch, a designer at the Seattle studio Artefact. He and his team believe the first generation of virtual reality headsets lack important, human-centered features—features that would afford not only immersive experiences, but also, when necessary, communication with the outside world. Maybe you’re thinking, isn’t escaping reality exactly the point of VR? And you’re not wrong. But the way Artefact’s designers see it, the virtual reality experiences of the future will shift along a spectrum of social to solitary, and the design of the headgear (not to mention gameplay) needs to reflect that. “Even for the most immersive experience, we think there needs to be room for including others,” Wierzoch says. To show you what they mean, Wierzoch and his team created two concept headsets they believe could be possible by 2020...

Continue with the full article from Liz Stinson here.

  SOURCE: WIRED

Integrate Skype into your business’s web and mobile apps with new tools from Microsoft

April 1, 2016   |   filed under Apps, Community, Conversation, Social Media, Technology, Video

Following yesterday’s news about bringing bots to the Skype platform, Microsoft today unveiled two more SDKs (software development kits) for its Skype platform that will allow businesses and application developers a way to integrate Skype’s capabilities into their own applications. On stage at its annual Build conference, the company took the wraps off two new toolkits for developers: the Skype Web SDK and the Skype for Business App SDK. Both have the similar goal of expanding the Skype experience more broadly, by allowing third parties to leverage Skype’s larger network and feature set. With the Skype Web SDK, Microsoft is providing businesses with a set of JavaScript Web APIs and HTML controls that allow developers to build real-time collaboration into their own apps. This includes things like presence, chat, audio and video, for example. The SDK can work within any client application running in a browser, such as Internet Explorer, Chrome, Safari or Firefox. Additionally, Microsoft says that if the company is licensed for Skype for Business Server or Skype for Business Online, then there are no additional costs for the use of the SDKs. It also says that the Skype Web SDK will run in browsers supporting WebRTC. As part of this release it’s also previewing support for plug-in free audio and video calls to and from Skype for Business with Microsoft Edge. SOURCE: TECHCRUNCH

Mission 360 is a VOD platform for Yoga, Meditation, Fitness Classes

March 31, 2016   |   filed under Community, Conversation, Culture, Interaction, Participation, Technology, Video

Mission 360 is a fitness platform, offering video workouts which include fitness courses, yoga, meditation, and pilates.  Additionally, users can set up workouts with virtual, trained coaches/ professionals. The cost varies between $30 - $250, depending on the length of the session and the professional experience of one's coach.  The professionals include crystal healers, nutritionists, life coaches, meditation experts, career coaches, sex/relationship experts, among much more. SOURCE: TECH CRUNCH