Author Archives: Adam Westlake


WhatsApp tops 900 million monthly active users

WhatsApp tops 900 million monthly active users

While other mobile messaging apps continue to grow in popularity, it seems none can push the Facebook-owned WhatsApp from its throne. Founder Jan Koum revealed that the app now has an incredible 900 million monthly active users. The news was shared by Koum in a Facebook post, and means that WhatsApp has gained an additional 100 million new users in just under five months, and achieved a 50% growth rate over the last year.

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Facebook education project brings free student progress tracking to schools

Facebook education project brings free student progress tracking to schools

Facebook has just revealed a new project its been working on with an education app for teachers that helps track students' progress and makes it easier to create custom learning plans. The software is a result of partnering with Summit Public Schools, a nonprofit organization with some of the best ranked schools California. A Facebook stepped in to help the organization rebuild its Personalized Learning Plan (PLP) software, which wasn't proving very useful.

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OSVR’s latest “hacker development” headset begins preorders October 1

OSVR’s latest “hacker development” headset begins preorders October 1

OSVR (Open Source Virtual Reality), an open source platform for virtual reality software and hardware, has announced that next month it will begin shipping its latest public prototype version. The headset, which they are calling a "hacker development kit," will see release as HDK 1.3, with pre-orders starting October 1st and shipping to follow shortly after. The new headset is said to improve optics and display, along with offering a larger view box for those with glasses.

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Uber unleashes Stormtrooper rides for Force Friday

Uber unleashes Stormtrooper rides for Force Friday

As Force Friday begins, seeing the release of new Star Wars toys in celebration of The Force Awakens, even Uber is getting in on the marketing extravaganza. As Hot Wheels are unveiling a number of new toy cars inspired by Star Wars characters, the company has partnered with the ride-hailing service to unleash a fleet of life-size First Order Stormtrooper vehicles on New York City. The white Dodge Chargers feature special black decals to help with the Stormtrooper look, and are complete with Hot Wheels logos.

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Runtastic Moment is an analog activity-tracking watch

Runtastic Moment is an analog activity-tracking watch

Runtastic, the makers of the fitness app of the same name that was just acquired by Adidas, has just launched an analog fitness tracking watch called Moment. Aimed at competing with the likes of Withings' Activite, the Runtastic Moment tracks just about all the activities you'd expect, including steps, distance, calories burned, minutes of activity, and sleep cycles, all while maintaining the form of a traditional, simple analog watch. It may not be a smartwatch, but it's definitely a watch with smarts.

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Parrot Zik 3 headphones add wireless charging to touch control, Bluetooth

Parrot Zik 3 headphones add wireless charging to touch control, Bluetooth

At IFA 2015 in Berlin, Parrot has announced the latest iteration of their upscale, high-tech headphones, the Zik 3. While the new model looks almost identical to last year's Zik 2, right down to the bright orange color option, the Zik 3 adds wireless charging to features list. Also sticking around are the impressive touch panel controls on the right side, noise cancellation, and wireless audio playback via Bluetooth. New colors and overstitch designs are introduced, adding to the headphones' premium look and feel.

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Mega Man movie in the works from Fox and Capcom

Mega Man movie in the works from Fox and Capcom

It looks like The Blue Bomber himself is gearing up to hit the big screen. It's been revealed that game developer Capcom is working with 20th Century Fox and Chernin Entertainment to develop a Mega Man movie. While gamers should long know by now to be cautiously optimistic at best when it comes to video games being adapted into movies, the fact that the owners of the Mega Man franchise are involved could be interpreted as a positive sign.

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Destiny’s new multiplayer features go free to try for one week

Destiny’s new multiplayer features go free to try for one week

On September 15th, the next big expansion to Destiny will see release. Titled The Taken King, it will of course feature a number of new player-vs-enemy (PVE) activities, including story missions, a raid, and lots of gear like weapons and armor. But it will also include new multiplayer content, like player-vs-player (PVP) maps and game modes. Destiny's developer Bungie has announced that starting September 8th, the week before The Taken King's release will see the new PVP content available for everyone to try for free.

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Olloclip Macro Pro Lens for iPhone 6 gets close-up crazy

Olloclip Macro Pro Lens for iPhone 6 gets close-up crazy

iPhone photography enthusiasts are likely already familiar with Olloclip and their range of general-use lens accessories, but now there's a version aimed at those interested in getting incredibly close-up, detailed images. The new Macro Pro Lens for the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus comes with three different lenses, each offering greater depth of field and less distortion than standard photos. The included macro lenses offer 7x, 14x, and 21x magnification.

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Wacom Bamboo Spark turns ink on paper into digital notes

Wacom Bamboo Spark turns ink on paper into digital notes

Wacom has just announced the Bamboo Spark, a pen and notepad solution that turns handwritten notes into digital files. Users that prefer a physical writing experience on real paper can take notes or doodle just like they're used to, but don't need to worry about keeping and organizing the paper afterwords. Bamboo Spark features a real ink pen that communicates with a "smart folio" with an Electro-Magnetic Resonance board, tracking pen strokes and sending them to an iOS or Android device via Bluetooth.

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Yale study estimates 3 trillion trees on Earth

Yale study estimates 3 trillion trees on Earth

A new study led by Yale's School of Forestry & Environmental Studies has revealed that the Earth is estimated to have over 3 trillion trees. The significance of this is that the figure is over 7.5 times more than previous calculations. However, it is still believed that there has been a 46% decline in the planet's number of trees since the beginning of human civilization. This study, which was recently published in the journal Nature, is said to offer one of the most detailed assessments of the Earth's tree populations.

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Samsung Ultra HD Blu-ray player supports 4K streaming, HDR video

Samsung Ultra HD Blu-ray player supports 4K streaming, HDR video

At IFA 2015 in Berlin today, Samsung unveiled its first Ultra HD Blu-ray player. The player sees Samsung bringing its support for Ultra HD media beyond just streaming and to physical discs as well, which offer four times the resolution of standard Blu-ray and 64 times the number of colors. Even more impressive is that the new player is capable of upscaling content to "UHD resolution for any disc," and even supports streaming 4K video content and high dynamic range (HDR) video playback.

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