Instagram Is Working On How It Organizes Feeds

Instagram Is Working On How It Organizes Feeds

Instagram is now planning to make users’ feeds arrange a little differently than they have been. Instagram announced in a blog post that they’ll be changing a couple different aspects of peoples’ feeds.

The social media and photo app has made quite a few changes to their service over the past months. One major change that Instagram implemented back in December focused on what kinds of posts would be shown in feeds. As I wrote in my article, recommended posts were added to Instagram. These recommended posts are displayed in feeds based on whether a user’s friend has liked them. This was a pretty huge change for some people, since it allowed unfamiliar content to show up in feeds.

Now Instagram is working on changing feeds to improve them and address other user concerns. In their blog post, these upcoming changes are explained. One major change to Instagram feeds will be the emphasis on newer posts. Right now, posts are fairly mixed up. Older posts (from days ago) can be mixed in with posts from just minutes earlier. With Instagram’s planned change, though, newer posts would be more likely to show up at the top of someone’s feed. Though Instagram isn’t announcing a completely chronological feed, this change will be a welcome step to having posts feel more current.

They also note another change to feeds: no more forced automatic refreshing. Currently, users might open the app and have the page suddenly refresh without any way to stop it. So if you see a post you’re interested in, you might suddenly be taken away from it. Instagram is going to address this by adding a “New Posts” button. This will give users the option to refresh if they want to. If you use the button you’ll jump up to the top of your feed.

The “New Posts” button is testing now, according to Instagram, and they currently plan to continue to improve how feeds work.

Snapchat Adding New ‘Map Explore’ Feature

Snapchat Adding New ‘Map Explore’ Feature

Snapchat is adding a feature to its app. The new feature being added to Snapchat, called Map Explore, brings an interesting new way to keep up with (and locate) your friends.

The Verge is reporting that Map Explore has now been introduced. Map Explore, according to The Verge, lets users find out where their friends are, see where some breaking news is happening, and more.

Snap Map, the maps feature on Snapchat, was introduced last summer. With Snap Map, people could move around and see Snaps that were being posted in various locations. This included being able to see your friends’ Snaps on the map. Though Snap Map is a popular feature, it’s important to point out that users can choose to hide their location. So if you’re someone with privacy concerns (and who might not have gotten around to noticing Snap Map yet), no worries—location sharing is optional with Snapchat’s map feature.

If you don’t mind sharing your location and checking out where other people are, Map Explore could improve your Snapchat experience. With Map Explore, The Verge explains, you can be alerted to what’s happening on the Snap Map. Snap is quoted as saying that this update was introduced because users previously had to search around to find things. This update will make it easier to find interesting Snaps instead of wondering where to look. Alerts about updates will be based on your friends doing something (posting a Snap or a Story, for instance) with location turned on. After 8 hours of inactivity, their location won’t be shown on the map anymore.

Breaking news and other interesting happenings will also be easier to find. Users will be able to get updates about Our Story content. This means you’ll be able to find out quickly when interesting things are happening anywhere in the world (as long as someone is Snapping it).

The Verge mentions that the new update will be arriving for people through the coming weeks. So if you don’t have the update yet, don’t panic—it will be coming soon.

Instagram Post Sharing Is Coming

Instagram Post Sharing Is Coming

Instagram users may soon be able to do something they’ve long wanted: share other peoples’ posts.

Instagram Stories have gone through some changes recently, including making changes to their ads, as well as letting users post text updates and add stickers. Now Instagram is testing a feature that will change how Stories work even more. Users testing this feature can add other peoples’ posts to their own Stories.

Users wanting to share other peoples’ posts have, in the past, had to look to other apps for help. One popular app has been Regram, which lets people download and share other posts while still giving credit to the actual owner. Other apps and sites have also offered a similar service. Unfortunately, this does mean people have had to connect with a third-party app or website that isn’t associated with Instagram. Doing this can be risky, and it’s just not ideal.

Instagram’s official “regram”-style feature is currently only being tested with a small number of people, according to TechCrunch. When sharing the public post to your Story, notes The Verge, you can make certain changes to the post. For instance, you can make basic changes, like resizing and rotating, plus you can choose between two display formats.

It’s not clear when this feature will roll out to everyone, but it’s an interesting change to Instagram’s format. Instagram has built its app around the idea of sharing original photos and videos from a user’s own life. This helps promote more creation. But this new sharing option is, at least, just a small change, since it will only share to Stories and won’t share posts to a user’s Instagram feed.

Also, users can choose to keep their posts a little more private by not allowing other users to share to their Stories. If your account is public, you can go to your Instagram Settings and turn off the option that allows resharing. So if you don’t want other people adding your content to their Stories, you just have to switch off one option.

To see how the resharing feature works, check out TechCrunch’s video of the process. Or just wait and see what you think once it rolls out to more users.

Tech Spotlight

Tech Spotlight

Welcome to this week’s Tech Spotlight! Each week, I’m sharing some fun and cool tech-related products you can find on Amazon. This week’s Spotlight features a wireless controller, a smartphone camera kit, and a photo printer. Take a look at what I’ve found this week, then go on over to Amazon to add some new tech to your cart!

Myo Gesture Control Armband

The Myo Gesture Control Armband is a wireless controller that makes it easy to control your tech. While wearing the armband, you can make gestures and motions to perform certain tasks with your devices. The armband works by reading muscle activity and through the use of downloadable apps in Myo’s store (the Myo Market).

Using this armband, you can control many different things. Its product description mentions its use for gaming, as well as for things like controlling presentation slides and even flying your drone. You can also use the Keyboard Mapper to connect the armband to your keyboard. There are more than a hundred apps in the Myo Market, so there’s quite a bit you can play around with.

The Myo armband is designed to be convenient. It won’t weigh your arm down—it’s light (the description says it’s lighter than most watches). The battery is rechargeable and works throughout the day. And it’s compatible with many devices, including those using Windows 7 and up, as well as many Android, Mac, and iOS devices.

The Myo Gesture Control Armband is a convenient way to control your devices from a distance with just the motion of your arm. Head over to Amazon to find out more about what it can do!

Telephoto lens kit, 4 in 1 Cell Phone Camera Lens

This camera photo kit from ARORY offers a way to take photos from your phone in a new, fun way. Though many phone cameras do offer a lot more customization and options on their own, this telephoto lens kit gives smartphone photographers more choices for their shots.

The telephoto lens kit comes with 10 items designed to make photographing with your smartphone easier and a little more engaging. It does, of course, come with several attachable camera lenses. There’s a telephoto lens that offers 12x optical magnification, meaning photos can be zoomed in 12x further without the photos suffering from a loss of quality. There’s also a macro lens for close-up shots, a wide-angle lens for larger shots, and a fisheye lens for curved shots.

These are not the only items that come with this kit. There’s also a mini tripod with an attachable phone holder, so you can place your phone in the holder and take photos without worrying about a shaky hand or take a photo of yourself that’s not a selfie. To make this even easier, there’s also a Bluetooth remote shutter. Using this small device, you can take photos from a distance without having to touch your phone. There are also clips to hold the different lenses in place, and there’s a cleaning cloth to help keep the lenses clear of any dust or specks.

Many current smartphone cameras offer reasonably high-quality images, and many people rely solely on their phones to take pictures. This kit can improve the smartphone photo-taking experience!

Prynt Pocket, Instant Photo Printer for iPhone

The Prynt Pocket is a small, portable photo printer for use with iPhone. While you’re on the go, you can print previously taken photos or take new ones to print right away. All you have to do is place your iPhone in the printer and you’re on your way to printing photos anywhere.

The Prynt Pocket works with many different iPhones, from the iPhone 5 to the iPhone X. It uses ZINK Sticker Paper, which is an ink-free paper with a sticker backing (so you can also stick your photos anywhere). The photos print within 30 seconds, so there’s not a long wait for your photos. Oh, and if you like your tech to be pretty, there are several colors to choose from—graphite and white both look fairly clean and standard, but there’s also lavender and mint green.

The Prynt app also allows you to do some fun things with your photos. For instance, after you take a photo with the Prynt app, you can also record a short video to go with it. Then when others point their Prynt app at the photo, they can watch the matching video! You can also use the app to tweak your photos with things like filters and text.

If you take many photos with your iPhone (and if you have an iPhone, I’m confident you do), the Prynt Pocket will make a nice new addition to your accessories!

Tech Spotlight

Tech Spotlight

Tech Spotlight is back this week with even more fun and interesting tech! As usual, I’m sharing three tech products you can find on Amazon right now. This week, take a look at tech for entertainment, convenience, and learning!

Victrola Vintage 3-Speed Bluetooth Suitcase Turntable with Speakers

This turntable from Innovative Technology makes it easier to listen to a variety of different music sources on the go or at home. Not only is it a turntable, it also lets you play music from your device using Bluetooth.

In addition to using Bluetooth, you can also plug other devices in, like speakers or headphones. Of course, it has its own speakers, so it’s not really necessary to plug in different ones. And since it comes in a suitcase with a handle, it’s easy to take anywhere.

Another interesting aspect of this turntable is its design. There are many different colors and patterns to choose from. If you like visually-pleasing tech, you’ll like this product. There are classic-looking colors, but there’s also a tie dye pattern and even a galaxy pattern.

Check out Innovative Technology’s turntable and Bluetooth music player if you’re looking for a fun, useful, and interesting way to play your music!

GNARBOX – Portable Backup & Editing System for Any Camera, 128GB

GNARBOX is a device for anyone who is serious about photography and carries a camera with them wherever they go. This device is one way to make sure you don’t lose any of your photos while you’re traveling, and it even lets you tweak and share your photos on the go.

Using GNARBOX, you can plug your camera’s card in and back up all your photos while you’re out. You can then use GNARBOX’s wi-fi to connect with your phone, allowing you to work on and share your photos. The app even lets you edit videos, not just photos.

The device is designed to be very portable and avoid wearing down. Its battery life is 4 to 6 hours, and it’s resistant to shock, dust, and water, which is helpful if you’re traveling out in the elements.

If you have a camera and want to be able to save, access, edit, and share your photos on the go, take a look at GNARBOX!

Learning Resources Code & Go Robot Mouse Activity Set

This Activity Set from Learning Resources is another offering in the fun-but-educational tech toys category. This set helps kids practice coding by giving them something fun to do and getting them involved. Many aspects of coding may appear less than fun at first, but this toy teaches while making it entertaining.

The Code & Go Robot Mouse has kids build mazes using brightly colored maze pieces. Then kids think it through and code the mouse to make it go around the roadblocks, moving through the maze to get to the toy cheese at the end. The mouse itself is also bright and fun-looking, and it also makes sounds, has lights, and moves at two different speeds.

The product description notes that this toy works on several important areas of learning. Kids can learn about critical thinking, as well as problem-solving. And of course, it introduces kids to basic concepts of coding. It does all this while keeping kids’ attention by being visually appealing and “hands-on.”

Head over to Amazon and read more about Learning Resources’ toys and how they might fit with the kids in your life!

Which Photo Editing App Should You Use?

Which Photo Editing App Should You Use?

Our cameras are a hugely important feature on our devices these days, but have you figured out which app can best help you edit the photos you take?

There are a lot of photo editing apps out there, and some social media platforms (like Facebook and, obviously, Instagram) have some editing features already built in. But these apps might not do everything you want. Since you’ve likely already seen what Facebook and Instagram have to offer, I’ll skip them for this article—but make sure to consider whether you’re getting all you need from those apps already.

If you’re looking for an app to make it easier to work with your photos, take a look at the following apps to see which is best for you!

Adobe Photoshop Express (Android or iOS)

Cost: Free
What it offers: Adobe’s mobile version of their staple program, Photoshop, can do a lot. It’s suggested that it’s mostly for professional use, as opposed to being just for casual, fun photo editing. You can use it to do things like create collages, make basic tweaks (crop, rotate, etc.), fix blemishes, add filters, make corrections, add a watermark, and much more. There’s a lot you can do with this app.

AirBrush (Android or iOS)

Cost: Free
What it offers: This app is intended to be used by those who enjoy taking selfies and pictures with their friends. It’s specifically designed to let users make cosmetic edits. You can do things like hide blemishes, whiten teeth, make skin glow, add filters, and more.

Photo Editor Pro (Android)

Cost: Free
What it offers: You can use this app to make a wide variety of fun edits. You can add things like stickers and text, make collages, add filters and frames, make basic edits (crop, rotate, etc.), and more. They also specify that it’s a useful app for making memes.

PhotoDirector Photo Editor App (Android or iOS)

Cost: Free
What it offers: This app claims you can use it to make your smartphone photos look as though they were taken “on a Canon or Nikon.” You can do things like make collages, remove unwanted objects in photos, add photo effects, make basic tweaks, and more. You can even use the in-app camera to add effects while you’re taking a photo.

PicsArt Photo Studio (Android and iOS)

Cost: Free
What it offers: Using PicsArt, you can make a wide variety of fun edits to your photos. You can make collages using free templates, make basic edits, add filters and frames, add stickers and clipart, make your own stickers, draw on your photos, take photos with the in-app camera, and more.

Pixlr (Android or iOS)

Cost: Free
What it offers: This app can help you make useful edits, and it can also let you make fun changes to your photos. You can create collages using customizable templates, combine photos, fix color and add filters, retouch photos, make basic edits, add cartoons and text, add borders, and much more.

Snapseed (Android or iOS)

Cost: Free
What it offers: Snapseed, Google’s mobile photo editor, lets you make “professional” edits to your photos. You can do things like add filters, retouch photos, adjust color, make basic edits, add text, add glow to portraits, change the photo’s style, add frames, and more.

9 Subreddits That Prove You Should Be on Reddit

9 Subreddits That Prove You Should Be on Reddit

In the past, Reddit has seemed to some people like a confusing or inaccessible place on the web. There’s a little bit of an impression that it’s not really for everyone. But the truth is, Reddit is filled with all different kinds of content.

What is Reddit?

Reddit is a website that has multitudes of different online communities for people to join or follow. The different sections on Reddit are called subreddits. There are subreddits for all sorts of different things, like nature, music, television, film. You can follow more adult subreddits, or you can keep it PG—you have many options.

Redditors (people with a free Reddit account) can subscribe to whichever subreddits they’re interested in. Then when they come back to the site, they can either visit those subreddits individually, or they can scroll through their home feed that compiles posts from all the different subreddits they’ve chosen.

When you see a post, you can, of course, leave a comment on the post. You can also reply to other Redditors’ comments, and you can upvote or downvote a post or a comment. Upvoting means you liked it, while downvoting means you didn’t. If a comment is downvoted enough, it will likely be removed.

Subreddits to get you started

If you want to find interesting content on the web, Reddit is the place to be. There’s really something for everybody. And on that note, in this article, I’m going to go over 9 popular and/or interesting subreddits you might want to start out with!

Keep in mind, reddit metrics shows that there are currently over 1.2 million subreddits. That’s a lot to choose from. If you don’t see anything here that gets your attention, just search for your favorite topics!

AskScience

What it’s about: AskScience focuses on answering science-related questions. You can use this subreddit to ask a question, look through previously answered questions, or answer a question yourself (if you have sources and research to back up your answer).
Activity: AskScience has 15,020,978 readers right now. There are quite a few posts every single day. Some of the posts have hundreds of comments on them.
Some popular and recent post titles:

  • “Are the shadows of other planets cast onto earth, similar to that of an eclipse?”
  • “Which fundamental force does dark energy use?”

EarthPorn

What it’s about: EarthPorn is, despite its name, a completely safe-for-work subreddit that centers on landscape photography. Only photos are allowed—not other artwork. Also, it must be only of a landscape. There can’t be people or man-made objects in the pictures.
Activity: EarthPorn has 14,688,608 subscribers at the time of writing this article. There are plenty of posts on a daily basis. Posts might have a couple comments or even more than a thousand.
Some popular and recent post titles:

  • “A beautifully clear piece of ice on Iceland’s Diamond Beach”
  • “Solitude in snowy woodland in Norway”

InternetIsBeautiful

What it’s about: InternetIsBeautiful is built around sharing and appreciating websites that are unique, interesting, or downright pretty. Redditors are not allowed to post about websites everyone will likely already know or websites that might be malicious. Only websites that offer something cool or unique or that are beautifully designed can be shared.
Activity: InternetIsBeautiful has 12,797,499 subscribers at the moment. Posts are more sporadic; there are not usually daily posts. However, when something is posted, it might receive hundreds of comments, sometimes even getting more than a thousand comments.
Some popular and recent post titles:

  • “Find all the quirky places along your road trip”
  • “A website that lets you control robots LIVE with cameras!”

ListenToThis

What it’s about: ListenToThis is all about finding new music that you probably haven’t ever heard before. Mainstream artists, or artists that people post about often, aren’t allowed to be posted about. Instead, Redditors are invited to share music by artists that aren’t as well known or appreciated as they maybe should be.
Activity: ListenToThis has 12,625,636 subscribers right now. There are a lot of posts every day. In fact, as I write this article, I tried to count how many posts had been made in the past 24 hours, and I stopped after a few dozen. Most posts typically seem to get just a few comments, but some get hundreds of responses.
Some popular and recent post titles: Post titles might not be helpful in describing this subreddit. Instead, here are some of the genres listed in recent titles!

  • “Space Rock / Alternative”
  • “Jazz Funk”
  • “Gothic Country/Folk”
  • “Electro Swing”

MildlyInteresting

What it’s about: MildlyInteresting encourages posts with content that is, as you might guess, mildly interesting. This subreddit doesn’t intend to go for shock value or insanely interesting facts. Instead, Redditors share things that are…kinda interesting. It has more laid-back, chill content that isn’t relying on clickbait.
Activity: MildlyInteresting has 13,708,595 as I write this article. There are usually numerous posts every day. Some posts have a few responses, some have hundreds, and some have thousands.
Some popular and recent post titles:

  • “The Chicago river melted and refroze to create this mosaic”
  • “These crayon candles all have different coloured flames.”

NotTheOnion

What it’s about: NotTheOnion is all about sharing news articles that sound fake but that are actually real. They might sound like titles from a satire site, but they’re not. Fair warning: some of the posts are about news articles with serious or adult content. However, most of the posts are simply weird or eyebrow-raising. If you don’t mind some slightly not-safe-for-work article titles showing up in your home feed, and if you want to read some strange or out-of-the-ordinary news, this subreddit is for you.
Activity: NotTheOnion has 12,927,090 subscribers at the moment. A good number of articles are posted each day. Some posts just have a handful of comments, but posts can gain in popularity quickly if the article is strange or entertaining enough—in fact, a very recent post has already received over seven thousand comments.
Some popular and recent post titles:

  • “Dude, you’ve got a snake in your car: Note left for driver”
  • “Pennsylvanians asked to eat roadkill 3,300 times in 2017”

OldSchoolCool

What it’s about: OldSchoolCool is all about photos and videos of cool folks from the past. Old-school images or videos are posted, with people looking vintage and awesome.
Activity: OldSchoolCool has 12,457,327 subscribers right now. There are multiple posts to check out every day. Posts have a chance of receiving hundreds or even thousands of comments, though most receive much fewer.
Some popular and recent post titles:

  • “Mark Twain holding his pet kitten (1909)”
  • “A portrait of my grandpa (1950s)”

TalesFromRetail

What it’s about: TalesFromRetail is a place to write, read, and respond to posts about life working in retail. You can find posts about co-workers or customers. Some posts are very brief, while some are extended encounters or discussions. If you have a story from retail or want to read other peoples’, this is the place for it.
Activity: TalesFromRetail has 402,660 subscribers right now. Redditors post here every day. Depending on how wild or relatable the story is, a post could get hundreds of comments.
Some popular and recent post titles:

  • “Lady, we don’t sell that here!”
  • “I run a store, not a daycare”

WritingPrompts

What it’s about: WritingPrompts is a subreddit for writers and readers. People are encouraged to post writing prompts. Then Redditors respond with their own short stories that meet the prompt. This is a great subreddit for people looking to keep active with their writing, but it’s also fun to read peoples’ responses to the prompts.
Activity: WritingPrompts has 11,954,383 subscribers at the moment. There are plenty of prompts to choose from each day. A lot of prompts get a handful or maybe a few dozen comments. But if the prompt is inspiring enough, it could get hundreds of responses.
Some popular and recent post titles:

  • “Your dog is secretly a high ranking member of the canine mafia. Their rival, the feline triads, have put a price on your head.”
  • “You buy an old saw from a pawn shop. You discover instead of cutting wood, it cuts reality.”

(Featured image: Reddit on Facebook)