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5 fun and innovative smartphone photography tools

(Tech News) Photojojo offers five incredibly innovative iOS smartphone photography tools to make getting professional-quality photography results simple.

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smartphone photography

smartphone photography

Take your smartphone photography to the next level

Thanks to technology, we no longer have to lug around multiple devices to take awesome, professional-looking photos and videos. These days, all you need is your iPhone, iPad, or other smart device and the right accessories. With the right accessories, you can turn these smart devices into full-blown professional photography gear for a fraction of the traditional cost. Here are five of the newest, coolest, Photojojo dream tools:

iOgrapher

iographer-ipad-case-f503_600.0000001402789836iOgrapher for iPad or iPad Mini turns your iPad into the ultimate video rig. The base looks like a regular iPade case, but with handles. The handles are super tough and durable, so you do can focus on what you are filming, rather than worrying about dropping your device. It also has three cold shoe mounts for accessories: tripods, pro-quality microphones, and lights. It comes with a wide angle lens, but will fit any 37mm filter. You can order the iOgraher with the rig and wide angle lens for $85, or go all out and order it with the Rode mic for $320. (If you do not have an iPad, you can purchase the RODE mic separately, see next post).

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Rode VideoMic Pro

rode-videomic-pro-boom-aa68_600.0000001402794845While technology has brought us a long way in terms of photography, the built-in microphones on smartphones and tablets, can leave something to be desired for professionals and avid amateurs alike. The Rode VideoMic Pro plugs directly into the audio jack on your DSLR, iPhone, or iPad for pro-quality recording from up to 20 feet away. It can be used with any hot or cold shoe mount and boasts a suspension system (cutting down on pops and crackles). It is powered by a single 9-volt battery, so it will not drain your device’s battery. Each 9-volt should last you approximately 70 hours. The Rode mic can be paired with the iOgrapher rig, or used alone.  For the creative-minded business entrepreneur this could be a great investment to make your own marketing videos, YouTube tutorials, and virtual tour videos. The Rode VideoMic will run you $229.

The Phantom 2 Photography Drone

phantom-2-photography-drone-9edc_600.0000001401392519Drones are an amazing piece of technology. They can go where humans cannot or should not go. They capture amazing images that would not be possible or economical without their help. Now you can get one for your own use. The Phantom 2 works on 3 axises to hold your camera as steady as possible. You can approximately a half a mile away, or use the built-in GPS assisted hovering feature to film just a few feet away. You also have a simple, intuitive remote control. The Phantom comes in two different setups:  Phantom 2 with vision camera and Phantom 2 with GoPro camera mount. The first option comes with a high definition camera built into the rigging, so when you connect the drone to your phone via the DJI Vision Mobile App, you can see, in real time, what the drone sees as it is flying. The second option is for individual who already own a GoPro camera (any kind). While the price is a bit high; option one with camera included is $1299, option two GoPro mount is $959, there are numerous instances where aerial photography and video would come in handy, not the mention the cool factor.

Nova

nova-wireless-phone-flash-e5fb.0000001402246485Nova is a wallet-sized, wireless flash for iPhone, iPad, and iPod, that uses Bluetooth to talk to your phone from up to 20 feet away, syncing its flash with your shutter, allowing you to take the perfect picture. The Nova has 40 LED lights that are diffused through a white panel for super even light. Nova has three light modes: gentle, effective for removing shadows; warm, giving skin a natural, even look, and bright, to light up large areas or large crowds.  If you find it is too bright, too warm, or too cool, you can adjust the setting of the Nova through the mobile app; even customized a brightness and temperature that works for you. The Nova does not need to be attached to your device, so you can position it wherever and however you need it to get that perfect shot. The Nova device is so slim it will fit actually fit in your wallet and charges via a USB  cable. The Nova is $59 and could come in quite handy since it is so portable.

iPhone Super Suit

iphone-super-suit-ad43_600.0000001398533111iPhone 5 and 5s users will delight in the Super Suit. The Super Suit case is completely sealed and waterproof, as well as sleek. With this case, you can use your camera underwater, up to six feet.  While swimming with your iPhone, all buttons and the touchscreen are 100% protected and accessible. They say you can even use your phone’s camera with the attachable Photojojo lenses. It also protects against drops and bumps from up to six feet high. If you visit their page, there is a water test with the Super Suit and a link to a story about what happened to it when the creators took the Suit camping. The Super Suit is $79; well worth it if you are prone to dropping your phone in the sink, enjoy underwater photography with your phone, or just want to text in the shower without ruining your iPhone.

Jennifer Walpole is a Senior Staff Writer at The American Genius and holds a Master's degree in English from the University of Oklahoma. She is a science fiction fanatic and enjoys writing way more than she should. She dreams of being a screenwriter and seeing her work on the big screen in Hollywood one day.

Tech News

Microsoft’s latest HUGE investment: Self-driving car technologies

(TECH NEWS) Microsoft invests in self-driving car technology by joining other investors in a combined equity investment of $2 billion.

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Cars driving on city highway, including more than one self-driving car in the future.

Microsoft has put its money into self-driving car technology. The tech giant has partnered with General Motors and Cruise, GM’s majority-owned driverless car startup, to “accelerate the
commercialization of self-driving vehicles.”

“Our mission to bring safer, better, and more affordable transportation to everyone isn’t just a tech race – it’s also a trust race,” said Cruise CEO Dan Ammann in a press release. “Microsoft, as the gold standard in the trustworthy democratization of technology, will be a force multiplier for us as we commercialize our fleet of self-driving, all-electric, shared vehicles.”

Along with Honda and other institutional investors, the companies are investing a combined $2 billion into the autonomous car company. This new funding round brings Cruise to a post-money valuation of $30 billion.

The long-term strategic partnership between the companies will be a collaborative one and beneficial for both. To roll out its fleet of self-driving vehicles, Cruise will leverage Microsoft’s cloud and edge computing platform, Azure.

In turn, as GM’s and Cruise’s preferred cloud provider, Microsoft will use the car company’s “industry expertise to enhance its customer-driven product innovation and serve transportation companies across the globe through continued investment in Azure.”

Besides helping bring the self-driving technology out to the market quicker, the companies will also work together on other digitization initiatives. For instance, they will collaborate on artificial intelligence and machine learning capabilities. And, explore opportunities to streamline operations and increase productivity.

“Advances in digital technology are redefining every aspect of our work and life, including how we move people and goods,” said Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella. “As Cruise and GM’s preferred
cloud, we will apply the power of Azure to help them scale and make autonomous transportation mainstream.”

Cruise first announced its self-driving car service a year ago, but when it will be deployed isn’t certain yet. With Microsoft as a partner, deploying those cars will help speed things up.

“Microsoft is a great addition to the team as we drive toward a future world of zero crashes, zero emissions, and zero congestion,” said GM Chairman and CEO Mary Barra. “Microsoft will help us accelerate the commercialization of Cruise’s all-electric, self-driving vehicles and help GM realize even more benefits from cloud computing as we launch 30 new electric vehicles globally by 2025 and create new businesses and services to drive growth.”

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Tech News

Wow! This synthetic cornea gave a legally blind man his vision back!

(TECH NEWS) Another instance of “technology is amazing:” this minimally invasive eye implant has opened new doors for sight restoration surgeries for the legally blind.

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Blurry city with a single glass piece held in the middle with a clear view.

After being the first patient to receive a cutting-edge cornea implant, a legally blind 78-year-old man can see again. Directly after his surgery, the patient was able to recognize his family members and read an eye chart. The KPro implant comes from the company CorNeat.

KPro is the first implant that can be directly integrated into the eye wall, replacing damaged or deformed corneas with no donor tissue. The clear layer that protects the front portion of the eye is called the corona. The corona is susceptible to degeneration or scarring, as well as a number of diseases such as keratopathy, keratoconus and pseudophakia bullous.

While artificial cornea implants already exist, the surgeries are complex and typically only used as a last resort when transplants or cornea ring implants don’t work. That is perhaps what makes the CorNeat transplants so remarkable – it’s a simple procedure that’s minimally invasive.

Additionally, KPro uses a biomimetic material that “stimulates cellular proliferation, leading to progressive tissue integration”. Not only can these implants give you your sight back instantly, but they also can help the natural tissue in your eyes to grow back and integrate. Now, THIS is cool stuff.

CorNeat said that ten more patients in Israel are approved for trials, as well as two in Canada. Six others are in the approval process in France, U.S., and the Netherlands. Professor Irit Bahar of CorNeat stated that he believes this project will ultimately impact millions of people’s lives. Only time will tell.

This advancement in biotech comes at a time where many Americans are uninsured and at a higher risk for health ailments due to the coronavirus pandemic and subsequent effects. At its best, CorNeat’s KPro offers some hope – while COVID has brought many industries to their knees, advancements in medical technology seem to persist.

If the results of the implants continue to stay as promising as they are now, who knows – maybe we’ll all be receiving cornea implants as a normal part of health upkeep in the not-so-distant future. I know I’ll be first in line.

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Tech News

The top 10 languages you can know as a programmer

(TECH NEWS) Considering a career as a developer or programmer? You’re not alone. Here’s top 10 programming languages to enhance or start your career.

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Two female programmers at a laptop working on a programming screen.

The COVID economy has thousands of Americans reconsidering their career paths – with so many jobs dissolving due to various reasons (i.e., automation, a decrease in full-time creative positions), it’s no wonder why scores of professionals are seeking to reskill ASAP.

If this sounds like you, look no further; have you ever considered the lucrative career of computer programming?

Programmers on average make a salary of $89,590 a year. And better yet, coding jobs might never become obsolete. The trick is to know exactly what you want to do – different coding languages best serve specific purposes. So, which one should you learn first?

Top ten languages for new developers:

  1. Python – Learn Python if you’re interested in data analysis, machine learning, scripting, web development and Internet of Things (it’s the future!). Python is also the easiest language to learn, so give it a go!
  2. JavaScript – JavaScript is for you if you want a career in making websites interactive.
  3. The Go Programming Language – You can learn to build simple, reliable, and efficient software.
  4. Java – Want to work on computer programs, games, apps and web applications? What about Internet of Things and robots? Learn Java to tap into these fields. Keep in mind, Java is considered difficult for novice programmers.
  5. C# – C# is great for websites, web applications, games, and apps – especially Windows apps. It’s also perfect for Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence.
  6. PHP – Want to get your hands dirty doing back-end website programming? PHP is the language for you.
  7. C++ – For programming apps, games and web browsers, C++ is the language you’ll need to learn. Though it’s notoriously tough to grasp, knowing this language could be the competitive edge you need to set you apart from the pool of programmers.
  8. C – C will prepare you for operating systems, compilers and databases.
  9. R – The world is always in need of those who conduct data and statistical analyses – check out R to dive in.
  10. Swift – For apps and software for Apple devices, check out Swift.

My advice? Figure out exactly it is you want to do in your new career as a programmer. Set your goal. Then, after you’re sure what direction you want to go in, see which programming language best suits your needs.

Get proficient at one language to start and become top-notch at it. Then, you can expand your rolodex to include multiple languages and grow your abilities as a programmer.

Good luck!

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