Ancient Rush 2 Review

“Old legends surround the long forgotten kingdom of Ozolan. They tell stories about Chulua, the former Ruler of Ozolan, who is said to have buried himself in his treasury, using only his bare hands. But after Ozolans fall, no one ever heard of the kingdom or its king again. Only the legends survived the time and remain until today.

To learn the truth about Ozolan and Chulua you embark on an epic journey into the midst of a mythical nordic dwarven world. Are you ready to follow the legend of Ozolan and reveal the secret surrounding Chuluas treasure?”

After reading that intro, I have to admit, I was intrigued. “Well yea, I want to find this treasure!” I said. So I dove right into the game and got started.

The starting screen is nice and simple, the graphics are impressive and the soundtrack fits very well with the game. At times the feel reminds me very much of the original Amnesia games.

 

Initially I was confused by how the game mechanics worked (I still have no idea exactly how the spells work but they seem to help). You’re essentially playing a one-sided game of Pong and you are given one ball to clear the entire board. If you miss the ball with your paddle, the level resets on you. If you clear the level and knock everything down, you can power up your hero and move on to the next stage.

This game has the addicting feel of Angry Birds and after I started to get the hang of it I kept yelling at the ball to bounce the other way or yell at myself for not moving the paddle over fast enough. You’ll have fun, so long as you don’t throw your computer out the window in a rage-induced fit.

Coming out on Steam on May 4th, Ancient Rush 2 has all the potential to be another fun indie-game so be sure to check it out and let us know your thoughts!

 

 

Photography : Tips to Make it Better

Making Your Photography Better

Making your photography better means you must not rely on its automatic mode. This is despite the common belief that your camera’s auto mode will let you take pictures without all the fuss with its settings. If you want pictures with better quality, spend time to fuss over your camera’s settings. To make your pictures better, here are some tips.

Hold Steady

Movement blurs your pictures. To avoid or minimize blurring of your pictures, here are some options:

• Use a tripod. A tripod keeps a camera steady. But not everybody has a tripod. And sometimes tripods are in inconvenience if have to bring them with you always. But there are still ways to take better pictures. Find a steady, level surface to put your camera on. The kitchen counter, a stack of books, or a table, may take the place of a tripod.

• Do not move. Keep still before, during, and after pressing the shutter button down. This will help minimize image blur. Digital cameras process images even after you press the shutter button. So it is advised that you keep still for several seconds after pushing the shutter button.

• Use the camera’s self-timer. This can be done if you are using a tripod or a level surface. You do not have to trouble yourself with pushing the shutter button since it might make you move. This will result to picture blur then if you move.

• Bring the camera closer to your body. Hold the camera with both hands and bring it as close to your eyes as possible. Do this if you are using the camera’s LCD screen to frame a picture. Tuck your elbows and your hands all the way in. You can minimize body movement this way.

• Focus on your subject. Before pressing the shutter button, you have to focus on the subject. Almost all digital cameras have an auto-focus feature. This is effective if you know how to use it properly.

• To zoom or not to zoom. It is not advisable to use your camera’s zoom feature. Why? Pictures taken using zoom is always pixelated. This is not a guarantee of a better quality image.

• Make a scene. This means using the camera’s scene mode. This will tell the camera what kind of an environment you are shooting. The camera then will adjust its settings to produce a better image.

• Flash yourself. Using a flash on a dark environment may make your image appear too intense. But low light or lack of it makes your pictures darker. There is a trick to it. Deactivate the flash and use the available light in the room. Then hold the camera steady for a few second after pressing the shutter button. You may not believe it, but flashes work better on bright conditions. Shadows on faces caused by sunlight may be eliminated by the flash. Use the “forced flash” mode to do this.

May these tips help you when you take photographs. These tips will make your images clearer and better.

iOS Or Android, Which Do You Prefer?

 iOS Or Android, What Is Your Preference?

iOS or Android?  Which of these do you prefer?  If you are not that familiar with either of them, let us first get to know them. You can base your choice on the information you may learn along the way.

What Is iOS

iOs is an operating system created and developed by Apple.  This is exclusively for Apple,s hardware.  It powers most of the company,s mobile devices, including iPhone, iPad, and iPad Touch.

iOS was first released on June 29, 2007, together with the launch of the first iPhone.  iOS was initially released without a name, but was later called “OS X”.  It was later changed to “iPhone OS” a year later.  Then finally came to its present name, the “iOS”.Designed for use with Apple’s multi-touch devices, the OS supports input through direct manipulation.

iOS Features

The Apple iOs has the following features: 1) Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, and cellular connectivity along with VPN support; 2) Integrated search support (Which enables simultaneous search through files, media, applications, and email); 3) Gesture recognition support (example shaking the device to undo most recent action); 4) Push email; 5) Safari mobile browser; 6) Integrated front and rear cameras with video capabilities; 7) Direct access to Apple App Store and iTunes catalogs; 8) compatibility with iCloud; 9) Siri personal assistant; and 10) cross-platform communication.

What Is Android

Android is a mobile operating system developed by Google.  Initially released September 23,2008, it was based on the modified version of the Linux kernel and other open source software.  Google basically designed the android for touchscreen mobile devices, including smartphones and tablets.

History Of Android

Google bought Android from its developer Android Inc.  The first Android device was launched in 2008, following Android’s unveiling in 2007.  Since its development, there have been many versions of Android.

More About Android

Android is a powerful operating system and it supports a large number of applications in Smartphones.  These applications are more advanced and comfortable for the users.  The android is an open source operating system.  This means anybody is free to use it.

Conclusion

Deciding over which operating system to use depends on where you will use it.  Getting the most out of the device you choose depends on the operating system that device has.

April 25, 2018: What Will you Choose? Avengers: Infinity War Or Harry Potter: Hogwart’s Mystery

What To Choose On April 25, 2018: Avengers: Infinity War Or Harry Potter: Hogwart’s Mystery

Fans must choose between Avengers: Infinity War and Harry Potter: Hogwart’s Mystery on April 25, 2018.  This will be a big day for fans who have waited for these to be released.  But wait!  It might not be that hard to choose if you are fans of both The Avengers and Harry Potter.

 

Avengers: Infinity War is a movie while Harry Potter: Hogwart’s Mystery is game for iOS and Android.

Avengers: Infinity War

This movie is the latest from Marvel.  Avid Marvel fans have long been waiting for this to come out in the big screen.  But the long wait is over.  The movie will finally be out on April 25, 2018.

Marvel held the red carpet premier on Monday, April 23rd.  This the public an early look at what the biggest film in Marvel Cinematic Universe History has to offer.  Those who have watched the premier should have kept mum about it, but excitement took over.

According to those who have watched it, the movie is an epic.  Imagine cramming 237 superheroes in one film and getting them to fight one another!  The action was very good, according to the lucky few who have been to the premier.  The movie is full of world building and character development, and crisp, inventive action sequences.  Its ending will make your jaw drop to the floor.  Now this is what you call exciting!

Harry Potter: Hogwart’s Mystery

This is an app for iOS and Android.  Harry Potter: Hogwart’s Mystery is the first game in which players can create their own character.  Players will be able to experience life as a Hogwart’s student.

The game will launch under Portkey Games.  This is a new label dedicated to creating experiences inspired by the the magic and adventures of J.K. Rowling’s Wizardling World.

This game will put you in the shoes of Hogwart’s students.  You will do what they do in the movie where this game was based.  So Harry Potter fans, prepare to enjoy the game and experience the world of magic.

What Will It Be Then:  Avengers: Infinity War Or Harry Potter: Hogwart’s Mystery

No need to make a decision and choose between the two if you are fans of both.  Avengers being a movie and Harry Potter being a game, you can choose both.  You can go watch the new Avengers movie and play the new Harry Potter game afterwards.  And you can do these all on the same day, on April 25, 2018.

 

Use It or Lose It: Technology and AI Making You Obsolete?

The sooner we come to terms that we can’t compete with machines over high volume, high-frequency tasks, and repetitive jobs, the sooner we can prepare for, wage, and win a guerilla-waged war over disruptive technology that threatens jobs – yours and mine, included. Unlike in the Industrial age where machines took over blue-collar workers performing automated tasks, today’s technology, far advanced than anyone could have ever imagined has exploded to an extent where even white collar jobs are encroached upon.

Already, many niches are feeling the pinch, even as the likes of Elon Musk, Bill Gates, and Warren Buffet have the supreme faith that humans will prevail. Even though the fictional “Skynet” is still far away, it is an undeniable fact that AI and robots have progressed so much over the last ten years changing the picture of work in the near future. We think nothing of talking to Siri or Alexa, give chatbots privileged information, and allow self-driving cars to bring us safely to our destination. Currently, IBM’s Watson Explorer is equipped with “technology that can think like a human…it can analyze and interpret all data including unstructured text, images, audio, and video.”

The jobs of tomorrow where as much as 45% of current jobs could disappear in the next ten years should be seen in the light of current trends that force corporations to work differently like:

  • AI, Big Data, IoT, VR, Collaboration Platforms, Cloud Computing, Machine-Learning, Mobile Teams
  • exponential organizations that require less but better-skilled, tech-savvy employees
  • changing skillsets like coding, testing, and technical marketing
  • globalization and mobility allowing diverse and geographically separated teams to work together in real time
  • the rise of start-ups that leverage technology manned by digital natives: the Millennials and
  • changing business behavior as far as researching, data-mining, communicating and collaborating are concerned.

“In 1990 GM and Chrysler, brought in $36B in revenue and hired over a million workers. Now the Big Three are Apple, Facebook and Google and they bring in over a Trillion dollars in revenue but they have only 137,000 workers.”  — Kim Komando

But there is an aspect where humans excel over machines. While machines have to learn from volumes of data, humans do not require that for higher-order thinking – even in novel situations. To predict whether a job can eventually be automated rests on whether the tasks performed or problems solved can be reduced to repetitive ones. That being said, we see jobs involving transcription, encoding, customer service, paralegal services, translation, retail services pretty much on the brink of extinction. In fact, when you go online to chat regarding customer issues, it’s pretty hard to tell if you are talking to a chatbot or to a live person. To be fair, even writers and editors are also technology-assisted but not at the precipice, at least not yet – saved perhaps by the value of quick ferreting of information, integrating data, and drawing conclusions from the perspective of human mind and emotions. We still see humans mapping out strategies, running campaigns, diagnosing rare diseases and interpreting complex taxation or legalities.
Technology has indeed enabled us to work differently – more engaged and productive. For as long as we stay ahead, we get to rule machines. It is perhaps the very same scenario that has not made bank workers obsolete despite the ubiquity of ATMs. In fact, Elon Musk has turned to humans to meet the production demands of Tesla 3. With the ongoing war for talent, you get the upper hand if you continuously train and evolve to stay relevant. What are the must-have “know-how” for the imminent future? Talking tech is not just savvy; it also assures your job survival. Embrace change by training to be functional (as opposed to just a kibitzer) in coding, API, behavioral psychology, user experience and the like. You don’t have to be a millennial to compete in their turf; you just need to be in tune with anything and everything digital.  In today’s jungle, curiosity doesn’t kill the cat – it makes him the Lion King!

A Second Coming: Oath of Verizon Takes Over Yahoo

Yesterday, Yahoo shocked millions of users who could not believe their eyes when confronted with the advisory that it is transitioning to Oath, a subsidiary of telecommunications giant, Verizon. Although the acquisition was announced two years ago, the abrupt change, close at the heels of the Facebook data breach scandal was considered ill-timed by most netizens, including myself. Here we are, reeling from thoughts of our privacy being compromised to then being practically forced to read the fine print on the consequences of getting to your email. We had gotten so used to “trial or beta versions” of Skype, Yahoo Mail and others that allowed users to test drive the new version prior to committing. This time, if you don’t “agree” you won’t be able to read your Yahoo email – feeling like a hostage with an “I’ll do this later” button that freezes leaves a bad taste in the mouth.

We cringe at mail getting derailed or losing contacts and cross our fingers that the changes will be for the better and not the death knell of the once-happy giant. With hordes migrating to other social media, one can’t help but think, of “what ifs” – if Yahoo 360, Blog and Video were not discontinued,  we would have a viable option in case we were upset enough to delete our Facebook account. Then again, it may not be the most secure option as it was hacked in 2014; a cyber attack so massive that it affected over 500M users worldwide.  Before we move on to its merger with AOL (the search leader before the rise of Google) to become Oath, here’s a brief review of Yahoo:

Purchased at only 4.8B or roughly 10% of the original Microsoft offer, Yahoo is in bed with once rival AOL. Last year, Tim Armstrong, CEO of AOL tweeted about the merged company’s strength and predicted competitive advantage. Followers disparaged the choice of Oath as the brand name of the union. The recent volatile reaction to Yahoo’s apparent email-hostaging does not augur well for the future of Oath. It seems as if it wasn’t a marriage made in Internet heaven, after all.

“Oath strives to create a passionate and engaged community of users by building content and products that inspire and entertain the world.”

Even with its advantages for branding and having prestigious names like Huffington Post and TechCrunch as part of the family, there is a universal aversion to the security clause that implicitly tells you that to continue using your Yahoo mail, you must allow access to private information, location, interests, and media and allow Oath to link it to their other subsidiary accounts “to integrate and improve our services, and to provide more customised advertising & content, as well as for other analytics purposes”.

In short, consensual hacking that is made sadder for those who’ve had their very first email account in 1998. Even with its numerous statements about protecting privacy, it does boil down to “take it or leave it”. Allow it to scan your mail for targetted advertising or it politely gives you instructions on how to delete your account should you not allow sharing of information with Oath and the Verizon family.

 

Coating Which Repels All Liquid Made by Science

Coating That Is Self-Cleaning And Repels All Liquid

A self-cleaning coating that repels all kinds of liquid has been developed. This was invented by scientist Anish Tuteja. According to him, his team is developing new materials.

How To Keep Your Screen Clean

The best way to keep your screen clean is to keep your hands clean. Make sure that your hands are free from any kind of grime. But there is another option: self-cleaning coatings created by materials scientists.

The Inventor And His Invention

Anish Tuteja is a materials researcher at the University of Michigan. He developed a clear, smooth coating that repels all liquids and can be applied any surface. Other repellent coatings are available, but with limited abilities. Tuteja cites Teflon as an example. “If you put a drop of water on it, it beads up. But if you put cooking oil, it will spread.”, says Tuteja. “That is what happens on most surfaces.” Tuteja and his team is developing a more versatile material. And he hopes it will be available in the next couple of years.

Surface Science And Its Potential Applications

Surface science deals with working primarily on different types of surfaces that may either repel or attract different kinds of liquids. There is this very unique surface that doesn’t quite exist in nature. But it has a lot of fundamental applications. You can find an application on almost all surfaces around you. From screen displays to tables and chairs and carpets. There is a lot of use for self-cleaning materials and stain-resistant surfaces.

What Is An “Omniphobic” Coating

An “omniphobic” coating means liquid that will not spread. So different types of liquid like water, oils, and alcohol will not spread on the surface. Droplets of water can just slide off the side of the surface easily. Thus making cleaning of the surface easy. So if you have a camera with water on the lens, just tilt it to one side. The water will just slide off easily.

What Is The Coating Like And How Long It Will Last

The coating is fairly thin. But it is hard. It is based on urethane which is a rubbery material. So it feels like a stiff rubber coating. How long it would last depends on the exact formulation. But they are still developing it to make it last for at least a year.

Availability In The Market

They are still working on this aspect. It will probably start-up with Hygratek, a company co-founded by Tuteja. They are working for it to be in the market within the next two years.

Facebook Alternatives: Ello and Vero Does the Shoe Fit?

Let’s face it, whether we like it or not, and despite its shortcomings, Facebook is a real game-changer. People probably have forgotten that Friendster, Myspace, and Yahoo video were amazing, back in the day, but practically no one (except those inclined to live off-the-grid) can consider Faceback easy to ignore or replace. You either love it for making it easy to connect, and consequently find anything, any place, and anyone. Or hate it because it makes you vulnerable to privacy hackers – and an easy mark to slew of relentless advertisers and marketers.

Some people who don’t care much about Facebook’s extensive network and it’s recent innovations like the Snapchat-like lenses and effects, AR, games and streaming capabilities, may be able to crossover to alternative social media without any separation anxiety. Personally, while not a rabid user, I’m not about to delete my FB account because I still find it useful when keeping tabs on people and posts. TechNewsGadget focused on two worthy contenders to the social media throne for those who are currently disenchanted with Facebook. But be warned – for every person who welcomes other options, there will be another who will find it pointless.

To be honest, it’s easier to replace Facebook Messenger with Telegram rather than find a social media platform that has the features you had gotten used to. If you are a diehard fan of FB and looking for exactly the same kind of gratification, then these alternative sites will disappoint. Eventually, its viability depends on how it matches our needs and interests after the novelty wears off.

  1. Ello

Ello is not a new kid on the block. Since 2014, it’s been quietly building a reputation among artists. Initially, it was in monochrome but since then, looks more like a leveled-up Pinterest. Currently, you don’t need to get invited to be able to sign up. Signing up is a breeze and you get to choose whether you joined as an artist or a fan.

Be part of what’s next in art, design, fashion, web culture & more.

There are a lot of categories to choose from such as digital art, writing, 3D, photography, music, travel and more. Some categories are sort of “in-your-face” like Cannabis and Modernism Sucks but there’s plenty of latitude in the 27 choices. But here’s where it gets interesting and sort-of morphs into LinkedIn and Upwork. Once you click on any of the boxes, a page opens up and gives you two options (Get Hired or Collaborate) before you can proceed. I sort of asked myself, “where’s the social media here?” but Ello got good reviews and has been around for 4 years so I clicked on collaborate and the page opens up to a fantastic array of choices. You either instantly realize that you are one of them or feel that you are the ugly duckling among swans or vice-versa. And yes, there are no ads and for those who find affirmation gratifying, Ello now features comments, like/love and repost buttons.

On a lucky day, you might encounter someone is your digital soulmate! Or join the “Art Giveaway Program” where you don’t buy anything but simply comment to get a chance to win a lithograph, T-shirt, bag, or other artworks that is worthy to be worn or displayed in your home or office. If you are willing to ignore the limited reach but enjoy high-quality content while having the option to remain anonymous, then, say hello to Ello!

2.  Vero

It’s easy to love a rising social media app that touts they have “more of what’s great and less of what makes it suck”. Unlike Facebook that started as a garage project of Mark Zuckerberg, Vero which stands for truth was started three years ago by billionaire Ayman Hariri. Vero has several ambitious social media goals aside from going ads-free. One of the most obvious pluses about Vero is that it wants to enhance life – not promote digital addiction. It does this by having a timer that sorts of helps you manage your time. With it having 3 Million users, there’s a buzz that it could be the next Instagram and darling of influencers. In fact, it’s now among the ten top free apps and last February was ranked “#3 on the U.S. iTunes Social Networking charts” from a distant #19.

 “less social media, more social life,” —VERO

While it is seen as an ad-free, multi-faceted site like Facebook, it may not be free to use in the future. To keep afloat sans ads, CNBC reported that Vero is considering collecting nominal annual membership fees in the future. Something that Vero has delayed implementing – so download the app and see why it’s the best new app in over 100 countries. Is it really the smarter app for sharing, searching, connecting, engaging, and creating? Try it for a spin and be the judge.

 

Best and Lamest Pranks for April Fool’s Day

The Best And The Lamest Pranks For April Fool’s Day

April Fool’s Day always brings us the best and the lamest pranks each year. This has been around for centuries now. It has brought us a deluge of terrible jokes, ill-advised pranks, and the occasional product concept. Different companies have been imposing their jokes on us for a long time now. Here are some of them:

501St Legion

The 501st legion is an international Star Wars costuming group. It focuses on the screen-accurate costumes for the franchise’s bad guys. It introduced costuming standard foe a topless Kylo Ren costume, which has become a meme called Swolo. The requirements include that the shredded arms and chest match the costumer’s natural skin tone.

23AndMe + Lexus

23AndMe teamed up with Lexus to use your DNA to figure out which Lexus is right for you. This will develop a customized vehicle just for you. You can start this vehicle by licking the steering wheel. Funny, right?

BritBox

BritBox is a British VOD service. It announced “interp-brit”, a feature for American users. This will allow users to toggle between the American and British accent. Its results are prettily quite amusing.

Courses.com.au

This is the largest international course directory in Australia. They have launched a course called “Diploma of Human Survival (AI) (SKYN37)”. This is to prepare humans for the coming of the dark times that Elon Musk has been warning us about. The clever bits here is that you can subscribe to the course for either 6.5 bitcoin or 12 “untainted potatoes”. And there are individual course units like SCAV101 ( Scavenging Food, AVDE101 (Avoid Detection), INRU101 ( Identifying Intruders), and SHELT 1010 (Shelter). It also says that these courses will help you get a job as “Bunker Security Specialist” a “Gasoline Boy”. Or a “BOT Detection Specialist”.

Funko

Funko is a novelty toy company. They “announced” a nano-tech spray that collectors can use protect their Funko Pop toys boxes from ripping, crushing, and lightsabers.

These are some of the few best pranks and lamest pranks which you must have encountered on April Fool’s Day. Remember though, they just pranks. Let is not take them seriously.

Facebook Amidst Privacy Crisis: Delete or Not?

Facebook may be facing its biggest challenge yet as the Cambridge Analytica data scandal continues to cast a spell of doubt over the site’s security despite public reassurance from CEO Mark Zuckerberg. As in the recent fake news epidemic, Facebook claims to take all steps necessary to protect the public but the big fish aren’t biting. Already, there seems to be an exodus of big companies (who like Tesla deleted their Facebook page) after it was revealed that the personal data of around 50 million Facebook users were collected without their knowledge or consent. Although the general public is more forgiving, it’s perplexing how this could be an “innocent mistake” from a tech giant in a world where the option for two-factor authentication has become prevalent. Surprisingly even WhatsApp co-founder Brian Acton, whose company was bought for a whopping $19B by Facebook tweeted about supporting the #deletefacebook movement!

As expected, the leading social media platform’s popularity plummeted when it was revealed that Facebook was used to steal private information during the Trump campaign. One recent study showed that 48% of users no longer had a favorable view in contrast to only 30% who did. That being said, it was also a big surprise why most U.S. users have not yet changed log-in credentials – knowing fully well that there is no sanctity of data. According to Reuter’s 86% have not changed their log-in credentials in social media including Facebook and an appalling 78% have not switched to private mode on their browser. Going incognito can be done on the fly but it takes a little more effort to physically cover your device or laptop camera. Something that can’t be shrugged off because half of the adult users admit to logging on daily.

This breach of trust is something that could have been expected if we were more discerning when downloading the app. In a statement to the Guardian, it said, “Contact uploading is optional. People are expressly asked if they want to give permission to upload their contacts from their phone—it’s explained right there in the apps when you get started.” Surreptitious or not, the amount of call or SMS data is astounding and when you realize that it is free to use, then it looks like our collective data becomes part of the product for data miners – but is it a fair trade-off?

“It’s also our responsibility to tell you how we collect and use your data in language that’s detailed, but also easy to understand. In the coming weeks, we’ll be proposing updates to Facebook’s terms of service that include our commitments to people.”          Erin Egan, Facebook

If you think Facebook is indispensable because you are too attached to your social friends and had gotten used to the noise and trivia, you don’t have to delete your account. In a move to regain trust, Facebook itself has taken additional steps so users have better control of their security settings:

  1. Data settings and controls have been streamlined and easier to find – and accessible from one location.
  2. What can be shared with apps are now more explicit.
  3. Outdated settings have been removed or revised.
  4. New Privacy Shortcuts menu was introduced; one that is simpler, more visual, and gives you better control of ads, personal information, and who sees your profile, posts and information.

5. Two-factor authentication,

6. Tools for downloading and deleting Facebook data including contacts, photos, posts, pages, apps, comments and the like. You can also download and/or delete data about friends, followers, and who you are following.

 

“We’ll also update our data policy to better spell out what data we collect and how we use it. These updates are about transparency – not about gaining new rights to collect, use, or share data.”

Photo from https://newsroom.fb.com/news/2018/03/privacy-shortcuts/