Dumb Smartphones

Amazon Fire Phone: The Solution to None of Your Problems

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At the Standard Hotel in New York City last night, AT&T held an event where a slew of reporters queued up for a momentary, tightly controlled preview of the Amazon Fire Phone. No videography was allowed, but it was enough time to see what sets the Fire Phone apart from the competition. The verdict is dim, even compared to something as dismal as a Windows Phone.

The front of the phone is surrounded by 3D cameras that track the motion of your face to see how your head orients to the phone. On a map of New York City, moving the gadget around in front of our eyes caused us to peek around the buildings. In order to see into the distance, we tilted the phone like we were searching for something hidden inside the edge of the screen, which was a little cool at first, but was more glitzy then convenient. Read More

App for That

You’re Not Popular Enough to Use Facebook’s New App, Nerd

Facebook Mentions user, Austin Mahone. (Photo: iTunes)

Being popular is hard. But being social media popular is really hard.

Facebook released today a new iPhone app called Mentions, but you’re not cool enough to use it. It’s only “verified public figures” — i.e. Katy Perry and others who have a blue check mark next to their names — in an effort by the social network to wean them off competing websites (cough, Twitter, cough) when they feel the urge to overshare. Read More

Rise of the Drones

Congressman Hires Drone to Film Wedding Despite FAA Ban

Mr. Maloney. (Wikipedia)

In what we assume was an attempt to wow his wedding-obsessed Pinterest followers, Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney (D-N.Y.) paid to have his nuptials recorded by a camera mounted on a drone, CBS reports.

The only problem, sadly, is that the Federal Aviation Administration bans the use of drones for commercial purposes — like, say, charging people for aerial wedding videography. The FAA now appears to be investigating the incident, Philly.com reports. Read More

Go Home Science You're Drunk

Biologists Name New Water Mite Species After Jennifer Lopez

J.Lo the human (not the water mite). (Wikipedia)

It’s cool to win a Grammy or go platinum or get a dumb guest role on an episode of Glee, but nowadays the true mark of musical achievement is having a gross-looking bug named after you.

Jennifer Lopez has become the namesake of a new species of water mite found near Puerto Rico, the AP reports. Biologists named the mite Litarachna lopezae not just because Ms. Lopez has Puerto Rican heritage, but also because they rocked out (as biologists do) to her music as they wrote about their discovery. Read More

Lulz

Inside Look: Imgur Reveals Redesign, Announces Plans for a Convention

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Imgur is at a tipping point.

What began as a photo storage site for Reddit users has grown, in just five years, into a thriving community with almost twice as much traffic as its de facto parent site, raking in five billion pageviews a month.

But in tech, a proven model with great results isn’t always enough. The site debuted a redesign this morning. They’re also planning a slew of in-person events and a convention, all thanks to a recent injection of $40 million in VC funding. It’s clear that Imgur is striving to become a social media staple on the level of Instagram or Twitter. Read More