Hello, Ello

By now you surely have heard all the buzz about Ello. Lately the newest social media site has been the main topic of the interwebs, and everyone seems to have their own predictions about its fate.

Whenever a new social media site is introduced, the same question arises: “but will it replace Facebook?” And the answer usually is, “probably not.” There are a few reasons why this is true.

The biggest draw to Ello is that they do not use advertisers, which in turn means they do not sell your information to advertisers. In a world where people get thousands of ads shoved in their faces daily, this is an attractive feature.

Ello is “invite only” meaning that you need to be invited by a current member in order to join and create a profile. For some reason this is an attractive feature to people. I guess it makes some people feel accepted into some sort of club. This tactic was used by Google + a few years back. Although Google + is still around, it never got anywhere near being as popular as Facebook.

One thing that is surprising about Ello is that it was launched while still incomplete. They list about ten things being worked on currently. One would think that they would implement these fixes before launching their site. People are also surprised that a mobile version of the site is not available as of yet.

Ello has picked a black and white minimalist format that looks clean and uncluttered. Your connection’s profiles are little circles, and they are separated into two categories, “friends” for the people you know personally, and “noise” for the people you don’t. The site looks modern and fresh, and navigation is user-friendly.

One of the most worrisome insights is that it seems like Ello might become a bit of a hipster haven. For example, their “learn more about us” page is listed under “WTF.” The irony is lost on some. The “favored user profiles” are littered with pictures of guys with gentleman haircuts, and a bunch of them are wearing 3D glasses. It’s still a little early to tell though.

If you want to join Ello, go to their homepage and “request an invite.” The site will comb through your email and see if any of your contacts are active members. If not, you gotta wait till someone you know joins. Until then, remember that patience is a virtue. 🙂

Forget Me Not

Have you ever Googled yourself and cringed at the assortment of old pictures that pop up under your name? Those pictures from the good old MySpace days that will haunt you forever. The ones that have circulated around for years, and have been given an extended shelf-life on the Google “images” page. Not only photos, but Google is where you can find your outdated addresses and a bunch of other random outdated information.

Some folks don’t mind this; to them it’s just the price you pay for living in the 21st century. Others have more to hide, or have some sort of negative information about them online. In the recent past people had few options about having personal information removed off the Internet. You have the option of contacting Google in hopes that they will scrub some of your information off their servers. But there is no guarantee that your request will be seen. Speed ahead to present day, where a website has been created to do the dirty work for you.

www.Forget.Me is a new website that allows you to enter grievances about things you find about yourself online. The website’s motto is “you have the right to be forgotten.” You can submit requests for the removal of photos, videos and outdated information in general. The website has worked with a team of lawyers to come up with a few standardized request reasons so that you just have to pick one from a drop-down box. This also makes it easy for search engines to sift through. The reasons have all been technically approved of already, so that cuts down on wait time.

The website is only offered in Europe as of right now, but we all have our fingers crossed that it will cross over to the states soon enough. There will be enough demand for it, no question about it.

Charge me up, DeLorean

Remember the flux capacitor that powered the time-traveling DeLorean from Back to the Future? Now you can own your own mini-version that is small enough to fit in your own car. Back to the Future was released back in 1985 and gained a cult following soon after. It featured a time-traveling sports car that was powered by this flux capacitor, although how it worked was never fully explained. But it looked pretty cool.

ThinkGeek has just released a car charger that’s a mini version of the flux capacitor which was modeled after the prop from the movie. This charger features 2.1 amps, two USB ports and yes, even the flashing lights just like the full-size flux capacitor. All the little details of the movie’s flux capacitor have been captured. The charger is priced at $25

iPhone 6- Game Over

So the iPhone has officially been introduced to the world. Apple’s big announcement was yesterday, so let’s do a re-cap. Was it everything we thought it would be cracked up to be? Was it worth it to the folks that camped out in the streets of Cupertino; including the ones who braved the elements for over a week? How many rumors were correct? Let’s see.

So it was true that two sizes of the phone are being offered. Apple is releasing the regular sized iPhone 6 in a 4.7” model and an iPhone 6 “Plus” version with a 5.5” chassis. Both models are being offered in silver, gold and “space gray.” The carriers will be AT&T, Verizon and Sprint. Pre-orders start September 12th. With a two-year contract, the 4.7” model will start at $199 for 16gb, and the bigger 5.5” starting at $299 for the 16gb. Both phones are thinned out; the 4.7” is about 6.9mm and the 5.5” at 7.1mm, both with rounded edges.

As for what’s going on internally, perhaps the biggest news is Apple Pay, which may start taking the place of the wallet for iPhone users. Basically you can store all of your credit information in the phone on your passport app, and just swipe your phone to pay. All the major credit cards and a bunch of popular retailers are already on board. The card information is encrypted in your phone, which is putting to rest some security concerns. This is especially important on the heels of the big iCloud hack last week which resulted in a bunch of nude celebrity photos becoming not-so-private. Time will tell if this feature will become popular; people still get nervous putting their credit card information online, let alone on their smartphone.

Battery life is longer; you get a few extra hours of standby and talk time. Thank goodness. These phones will be quicker too; when connected to Wi-Fi the speed should be three times faster than the iPhone 5s. The Touch ID is standard with this phone, requiring a thumbprint to open your phone, as well as making purchases through iTunes.

The camera has been improved, as expected. It has a higher resolution, and there is more storage offered for storing both photos and videos. Now instead of keeping just 2,000 pictures on your phone, you can keep 3,000. Ain’t life grand? Optical visual stabilization has been put into place, which should help shoot photos that are a little less blurry. Images will also be sharper thanks to the new feature called “focus pixels” which determines the phone’s distance to its subject, allowing the camera to adjust accordingly. The front-facing FaceTime camera has been improved as well, allowing in over 80% more light. This is either a good thing or a bad thing for some, as some faces prefer require images.

So in the end, the new iPhone and iPhone plus are bigger, faster and have a lot of cool new options, and the rumors are laid to rest.





Up all Night

On the eve of Apple’s big iPhone 6 reveal, Amazon has decided to drop the price of their new smartphone to 99 cents. Amazon’s Fire Phone was released about two months back, and while the price drop is an obvious publicity stunt, others may see this as a desperate move on Amazon’s part. Fanfare about the Fire Phone fizzled out quickly after the phone’s big debut. Not like the Fire Phone can hold a candle to the iPhone 6, which has been one of Apple’s most anticipated releases since the iPhone first debuted.

Even with the ninety nine cent price tag, the offer of a one-year subscription to Amazon Prime is still offered. Just keep in mind that a two-year contract through AT&T is part of the purchase, and that this is a limited-time offer, so if you want to take advantage of it, do it soon!

Finding Tinder not so Tender? Meet Hinge

Looks like Tinder finally has some competition. The next big thing is called Hinge, and the buzz is that it’s set to blow up bigger than the uber-popular Tinder any day now. If you haven’t heard about it yet, Tinder is the free dating app that plays like a card game; you swipe right on people’s profiles that you are interested in, and swipe left for those that don’t make the cut. Once you swipe right, if the other person swipes right on you, it’s a match. Once you are matched up, the app allows you to direct message each other. What happens from there is up to you.

Hinge is similar to Tinder in the fact that they are both free apps that work in conjunction with your Facebook page, and allow you to browse through the pictures of potential matches. The difference is that Tinder allows users to solely see pictures, mutual interests and mutual Facebook friends whereas Hinge asks you for more details. Right under your picture you can include vital information like your age, what city you live in, what college you attended and where you work. If you find it important, you can even state your religious views.

Hinge uses your information from Facebook to create your profile, and it matches you through friends of your Facebook friends. This is a good way to authenticate that someone is who they say they are; however this may inspire you to clean up your Facebook pages before starting with the app. Currently the app will run the past 25 profile pictures. So you may not want that bad haircut from 2009 popping up on your Hinge. You have control over all of that though. The only drawbacks may be if you keep ex-boyfriends/ex-girlfriends or other “frien-emies” on your Facebook. Being matched up with their friends may be awkward, so you may look twice at your friends list before signing up.

Hinge also listens to you in terms and pays attention to who you are swiping left. The app tracks what you are not looking for and what you are interested in, so that it can send you more of the matches that you want. Hinge just launched in San Francisco back in January, so it is still very new but so far its future looks bright. This app is currently available for both Android and iOS.