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I like Amazon’s Fire Phone, but I won’t buy one
Amazon’s Fire Phone is a pretty cool piece of tech. It’s the right size, has a very respectable spec sheet, and the price is fair (not great). All that adds up to enough reason most people would want to snatch one up when it becomes available. In theory, I’d love to as well; here’s why I wont.
The Fire Phone itself is a neat concept. The screen has a pretty cool dynamic perspective that looks 3D-ish, even though it’s not. You can twist the device around to see past corners in games and such, which is a neat concept. It also supports a cool list of gestures, where flipping the phone around while still holding it scrolls through menus and allows for webpages to scroll by.
Firefly, too — pretty amazing stuff. Snap a picture of an item, and it takes you to the Amazon listing straight away. If you’re not ready to buy, it will save the item for later. Snap a picture of a scribbled-down phone number, and it will save it in a readable format for you. Amazon’s Mayday service, introduced last year with the Kindle, also comes with the Fire Phone.
It also works really well with Fire TV, where you can send a movie you find on Amazon right over, kind of like a proprietary Chromecast. It also serves as a second screen to your Fire TV viewing, which is great for those moments you can’t quite place an actor’s face to their name. Prime Music? Yeah, you get that, too.
So, great phone, right? Yup — it is. Why not get it if it’s so good, though? For all the things that make it special, those are the same things that make it uniquely concerning.
The Fire Phone ties directly into Amazon, almost all the time. I’m not talking about some sort of security risk, where big brother is spying on me. I’m talking about the utility of the phone. Fire Phone comes with a full year of Prime straight away, but after that, it gets sticky. After the year is up, I am left paying for Prime on my own.
To be fair, I pay for Prime now (and I love it). The problem with the Fire Phone is that should there come a day where I don’t want (or can’t afford) Prime, my phone just lost a lot of utility. No more flinging movies to the TV because I don’t even get streaming movies, and no more Mayday calls. No more Prime music, either.
The Fire Phone sets out to lasso you into the Amazon ecosystem further than you might already be — and that’s okay if you’re sure you want to be there long term. If you don’t, though, and get out at some point — the Fire Phone will let you down. The Amazon App Store is inferior to its Play Store and iOS App Store counterparts in almost every way.
Sans Amazon, you have a device that is adequate, but full of features that won’t work. It’s also an AT&T exclusive, and the standard smartphone pricing won’t help things along. Unless I were to ensconce myself in Prime, there’s not much reason to get this device. I like the Fire Phone, but attaching myself to Amazon so closely isn’t a decision I’m willing to make.
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When you think of a zeppelin, you probably don’t picture a large, cartilaginous fish with rows of pointed teeth. But perhaps you should. There are similarities between the two that you’ve almost certainly never considered—and these shared aerodynamic properties have given us insight into how sharks evolved their buoyancy.
The thing about living underwater is that your body has to be approximately the same density as the liquid surrounding it. Too dense, and you spend all your energy trying not to sink. Too airy, and you just float right on up to the top. Land animals don’t have this problem, since we’re all more dense than air. But sea creatures have to evolve a way to balance their buoyancy and their ability to swim, or else they’d never survive in the ocean.
Fish do this with a swim bladder, which sounds like an old-timey swimming cap, but is actually an organ filled with gas that allows some swimmers to adjust their buoyancy at will. It looks rather like a fleshy, inflated balloon. Bony fish (that is, non-cartilaginous ones) can change how much gas is inside their swim bladder to float at any depth they’d like, without having to expend energy when they’d rather stay in one place.
Sharks don’t have that. Instead, they’ve evolved very fatty livers. Fat, in addition to being delicious, is much less dense than water. This is why (generally speaking) humans with more body fat tend to be more buoyant. It’s the same basic principle, except that we carry our fat on the outside and sharks store theirs in the liver.
But not all shark livers are created equal. Buoyancy is a delicate balance, and each species of shark has evolved a specific level of floatiness. Biologists from the U.S. and Australia set out to study how 32 shark species vary in density, size, and swimming habits to figure out how this balance actually evolved. They recently published their results in the journal Proceedings of the Royal Society B.
Some sharks, like Greenland or bramble varieties, swim exceptionally slowly at intense ocean depths, where the water is more dense. They need to be less buoyant at those sea levels—but also swim exceptionally slowly to conserve energy—so they need to have enough upward lift from their livers to allow steady motion. These are the blimp sharks; they’re perfectly adapted to constant motion at moderate speeds.
Other, faster species have different priorities. Blacktip and silky sharks live in relatively shallow waters, where they need to be able to catch lightning quick small prey. Having a less buoyant body allows them to maneuver more nimbly (as anyone who’s ever tried to swim in a life vest will understand), and more energy-efficiently. These plane-like sharks have smaller livers, often so small that the fish would sink if they weren’t moving forward. As a result, their fins are shaped like wings to provide upward lift in lieu of internal flotation support. The trade-off is that they’re poorly suited to slow, constant movement.
Your intuition probably tells you that bigger sharks tend to swim more slowly, and based on all this new information, that they probably have higher buoyancies. And you’d be right. Large sharks tend to have large livers, though that wasn’t necessarily a given. The researchers weren’t sure that the livers would scale in proportion to overall body size, or whether some species would have inordinately large or small flotation devices in their guts. But it turns out that the greater the liver volume, the larger the rest of the body needs to be to accommodate it—the additional liver doesn’t replace lean muscle tissue.
The humble cow shark Peter Southwood
Of course, none of this means that blimpy sharks can’t also be terrifying, toothy, speedy predators. Sharks are still extremely efficient swimmers—it’s just that bulky, buoyant species are more energy efficient at slower speeds. The blimp-esque bluntnose sixgill shark is roughly 12-foot-long, fat-headed, and so sluggish it’s earned the noble nicknamed of “cow shark.” They are, however, distinctly un-blimp-like in their capacity to rip an animal to shreds with their six rows of teeth. Even large sharks typically rely on their speed, agility (and, let’s be honest, their toothiness) to catch food.
Sharks may be really good at hunting down their food, but these are killing machines that deserve more respect than fear. Even in the death trap colloquially known as Australia, sharks have only killed 16 people since 2000, and that’s the country with the most shark-related fatalities in the world. You’re more likely to die by cow attack or, for that matter, by deer—and that’s not counting how many people die in car crashes caused by deers. A literal deer just being a deer is more likely to kill you than is a shark is. Fear the deer—not the great white.
Case maker Olixar created quite a stir yesterday when it started selling screen covers based on what it believes is the design of the next-generation iPhone SE.
It illustrated this with a render that shows a classic iPhone SE casing updated with a full-screen display and iPhone X style notch. It’s not the first time we’ve seen the concept, of course, but Olixar was sufficiently convinced to throw some money at it …
As we noted yesterday, there are a number of reasons to view the idea with considerable skepticism. For me, there are three reasons in particular.
First, there’s the idea of a full-screen display in a model designed to be more affordable than the flagship models. Near-bezel-free displays, whether OLED or a new generation of LCD technology, are expensive.
Second, Face ID is also relatively expensive tech, so it’s again hard to imagine this making it into the next generation of a model that currently sells for $349. And yet it would have to be included if the render is accurate as there’s nowhere for a Touch ID/Home button – and Apple isn’t dumb enough to put it on the rear of the case.
Third, Apple appears to have a clear strategy for this year’s anticipated iPhone lineup: a successor to the iPhone X, a larger version for those who want a bigger screen, and an LCD model with a similar design to the X but pitched at a more traditional $700-$800 price point. Adding an iPhone SE with a similar design would seem to compete too much with the more expensive LCD model.
So I really don’t expect to see this model, but I’d really love it to be true.
I’ve written in the past about how much I love the classic design of the SE. So much so that I downgraded from an iPhone 6s.
I still prefer the look of the SE to that of the iPhone 6/6s/7/8. The comparison with the iPhone X is a tougher one. That ‘single slab of glass’ look is fantastic. It’s a great-looking phone.
But a huge part of what makes the iPhone X look so great is the all-screen design, complete with the notch that I find invisible most of the time and cute when it is seen. If that were carried over to the iPhone SE, then I think I’d actually prefer the aesthetics of that.
Yes, the slimness of the iPhone X is incredibly impressive. But I still consider protruding cameras a crime, and I still prefer the slab-sided look of the SE to the rounded one of the X. So, in truth, on aesthetics alone, I’d choose that SE 2 render.
Then there’s size. Again, yes, I love how large a screen Apple has squeezed into a reasonably pocketable iPhone X. I have found myself using my iPhone a bit more and my iPad a bit less, and that’s as a direct result of the screen size.
But even so, I still carry my iPad with me almost every time I leave the apartment. I’ll use my iPhone for a quick skim through Twitter or a Facebook post, but for most things I’ll use the iPad instead. So the extra screen size of the iPhone X doesn’t make that much difference to my real-life use.
And I do find the size of the X a bit unwieldy in jeans pockets. We’ve been having some unseasonably warm weather here in London of late, so I’ve been going out in the evening without a jacket, my iPhone in a trouser pocket. Often when I sit down, I find myself adjusting the position of the phone in my pocket for greater comfort. And cycling, it feels a little too much like it could slip out.
The trade-off has definitely been worth it. In particular, I’m a huge fan of Face ID. I love glancing at the Lock screen when a message arrives, and seeing the content unlock as I do so. I love being able to logon to online banking just by looking at my phone; indeed, I now do most of my banking transactions on the phone simply because it’s so much easier than logging-on with 2FA on iPad or Mac.
But give me iPhone X tech in the SE form factor, and I’m in. And from our poll, I’m not the only one – more than 60% of you say the same. Of course, that’s very much a self-selecting poll: the people most likely to read an SE post are people who like the SE. But it does indicate that the interest is there.
In a perfect world, Apple would offer two versions of the SE: the classic, low-cost one, and a full-screen version for those who choose the SE on size and design rather than price. That’s never going to happen, but it’s nice to dream …
Concept images: Concept Creator
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Take Your Snap Game to the Next Level: Transform Ordinary Moments into Extraordinary Stories with Proven Snapchat Tips, Tricks, and Hacks!
Get ready to tap, swipe, and send snaps like a pro. And guess what? We’ve got a little secret for you: How to view someone’s Snapchat story without them knowing. Curious? Keep reading and unlock the full potential of this vibrant platform!My Favorite Snapchat Tips in 2023
Do you want to know who has replayed your snaps? Or maybe you want to customize your chat screen with your favorite colors and fonts? If so, you need to check out Snapchat+. This subscription service gives you access to exclusive features that will make your Snapchat experience even better.
● Open the Snapchat app.
● Tap on your profile icon in the top left corner.
● Toggle on the “Story Rewatch Count” setting.
Here’s how to customize your chat screen:
● Open the Snapchat app.
● Tap on the “Chat” icon in the bottom left corner.
● Tap on the three dots in the top right corner.
● Tap on “Chat Settings”.
● Tap on “Chat Theme”.
● Choose your favorite colors and fonts.
Snapchat+ costs $3.99 per month, but I think it’s worth it for the extra features. You can try it out for free for seven days, so there’s no risk in giving it a try.Snapchat Tips, Tricks & Hacks You Probably Didn’t Know About (2023)
Try these Snapchat hacks and tricks that will blow your mind:
Here are some other exclusive features that are available with Snapchat+:
The ability to pin a friend as your BFF.
The ability to see who has viewed your Snapchat Story multiple times.
The ability to see a list of your top 8 friends.
The ability to customize your Bitmoji avatar.
The ability to use custom chat colors.
Ready to take your Snapchat game to the next level? But wait, there’s more! Dive into our guide on Snapchat Location Sharing: Your Guide to Sharing Location With Friends
Using Snapchat’s Shared Stories (previously known as Custom Stories) feature, you can easily create and share stories with a selected group of friends. This is a great way to share more personal content with your closest friends without broadcasting it to everyone.
Here’s how to use the Custom Stories feature on Snapchat:
STEP 1: Open the Snapchat app.
STEP 2: Create a story like you usually do.
STEP 3: Hit the “Next” or “Send to” button.
STEP 4: On the next screen, tap on the option “New Story” & you will see the options – New Private Story & New Custom Story at the bottom of the screen.
STEP 5: Select the latter option and hit the “Done” button. A prompt will appear asking for your confirmation to proceed further!
STEP 6: Select the friends you want to share your story with.
STEP 7: Tap on the “Create Story” button and share your exclusive stories with selected Snapchatter.
Use Ghost Mode to prank someone by making it look like you’re online when you’re not.
Use Ghost Mode to avoid seeing snaps from people you don’t want to see.
My AI is a new chatbot feature that is available with the latest version of Snapchat. It is powered by Open AI ChatGPT technology, and it is capable of answering your questions, generating text, and even helping you with a variety of creative tasks. Remember, the feature is still under development. If you’re looking for a new way to interact with Snapchat, I encourage you to try out My AI.
Follow the instructions & learn how to initiate a conversation with a virtual assistant:
STEP 1: Launch the Snapchat app and swipe right from the Camera screen to open the Chat screen.
STEP 2: Tap on the My AI icon at the top of the screen.
STEP 3: You can ask My AI anything you want, and it will try its best to answer your question.
You could ask My AI to help you write a poem.
If you’re stuck on a creative project, ask My AI for some ideas. It can help you come up with new story ideas, song lyrics, or even just funny jokes.
Ask it silly questions, or just chat with it for a while. You might be surprised at what you learn.
Looking for more ways to make the most of your pocket AI companion? Don’t forget to read our guide on how To Use ChatGPT On iOS/Android.
Here’s another Snapchat hack you can try using in 2023. The social media app has a built-in scanning feature that allows you to scan objects and QR codes in the real world. It can be used to do a variety of things, such as: Identifying objects, products, landmarks, and plants, accessing websites, coupons, and other information.
Learn how to scan with Snapchat:
STEP 1: Launch the Snapchat app it will automatically detect the QR code.
In case, it is not able to detect it, you can hit the Scan icon below the (+) icon.
STEP 2: Then, point your camera at the object or QR code that you want to scan.
STEP 3: If he scanning feature is able to identify the object or QR code, it will display a notification.
You can then tap on the notification to learn more about the object or to access the information that is associated with the QR code.
If you’re in a store and you’re not sure what a product is, you can scan it with the scanning feature to find out more about it.
Many businesses use QR codes to offer coupons and discounts to their customers. You can scan these QR codes with the scanning feature to save money.
There are a variety of AR lenses that can be activated by scanning objects in the real world. These lenses can be used to play games, learn about the world around you, or just have some fun.
Curious to learn more? Discover how to Scan a QR Code on Android or iPhone in our insightful guide.
Snapchat is a powerful platform for creating and exploring augmented reality experiences. With Lens Studio, you can create your own lenses that can be shared with other Snapchat users. And with the available lenses, you can explore the world around you in new and exciting ways.
Follow the step-by-step instructions to use Lens Studio:
STEP 3: Simply add digital objects, animations, and effects to your lens by using the tools in the Lens Studio interface.
You can use Lens Studio to create a lens that changes your appearance, such as giving you a different hairstyle or adding a beard. This can be a fun way to experiment with different looks and to have some fun with your friends.
Create a lens that interacts with the real world. For instance, explore with a lens that changes color when you point it at a specific object. This can be a fun way to learn about the world around you and create some interactive experiences.
Create a lens that teaches you about different plants or animals. This can be a fun way to learn about the world around you and to share your knowledge with others.
Ready to dive deeper into visual intelligence? Discover how Google Lens speaks out the text you just copied
Using Snapchat’s “Spotlight” feature, users can share short-form videos (up to 60 seconds long) with the wider Snapchat community. Spotlight videos are curated by Snapchat’s algorithm and are displayed in a dedicated tab in the app. The feature is quite similar to other video-sharing platforms like TikTok and Instagram Reels. However, there’s a difference – Spotlight videos are not public by default. Only users who have opted in to see Spotlight videos will see them.
Here’s how to explore more with the Spotlight feature:
STEP 1: Capture a Snap or select from the Camera roll.
STEP 2: Tap on the ‘Send To’ button & on the next screen’s top menu select the “Spotlight” option.
STEP 3: Submit the snap!
Upload a funny or creative snap to Spotlight and see if it goes viral.
Ghost Mode is a privacy feature on Snapchat that allows you to control who can see your location on Snap Map. When you enable Ghost Mode, your place will not be visible to anyone, not even your friends. You can also set a timer for Ghost Mode. This means that your location will be hidden for a certain amount of time, and then it will automatically be turned back on.
Here’re the step-by-step instructions to activate Ghost Mode on your smartphone:
STEP 1: Launch the Snapchat app.
STEP 2: Tap on the Map icon, located at the bottom left corner of the screen.
STEP 3: Tap on the “Settings” menu. (Hit the gear icon.)
STEP 4: Toggle on the “Ghost Mode”. Set the timer from 3 hours, to 24 hours & Until Turned off and you’re all set!
Use Ghost Mode to prank someone by making it look like you’re online when you’re not.
Use Ghost Mode to avoid seeing snaps from people you don’t want to see.How To Be A Snapchat Pro In 2023?
In conclusion, Snapchat is a powerful social media platform that can be used for a variety of purposes. By following the tips and tricks in this blog post, you can learn how to use Snapchat more effectively and have more fun with it.
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The AM4 socket had a good run. Too good a run, some could (and do) argue. We’ve seen it host some of the best processors and components AMD has ever released, design-wise, and seen AMD arguably retake the crown of upper-echelon processing power for mainstream consumers with the 5000 series.
Should You Wait for the AM5 Socket?
The question of whether or not you should wait for the AM5 socket boils down to a few key factors. First, what it is you’re planning on buying now, and second what you expect to get by waiting for the AM5. Down below we will take a look at what you can expect to gain from the AM5 socket in terms of an upgrade path and the argument against waiting for the next best thing.
Nobody really knows when AM5 is coming out.
There is, as of yet, no official word on an AM5 release date, with AMD having remained conspicuously mum on the subject and more than willing to let the rumor pot stir (almost as if only to further provide evidence of a rumor mill’s worth). With many guesses in 2023 and early 2023 that the 5000 series would debut on the AM5, and seeing how that turned out, it’s important to remember that it’s all just speculation best ingested with a healthy tablespoon of salt.
That said, the current estimate is that the AM5 is likely to release sometime between late 2023 and early 2023. Remember this is nothing more than a general consensus achieved through estimates based on AMD’s previous track record of release schedules. The only certainty in the conversation surrounding the AM5’s release date is that it won’t be soon. So if you are waiting, you could be waiting up to a year or more.
What Gains Will the AM5 Provide?
The next question is: why wait?
AM5 is just a socket, but the tantalizing carrot it dangles before the consumer is the prospect of a virgin upgrade path that can last for generations to come like the AM4 did. If you are consternated, unable to decide whether you should build now on an AM4 or wait for the AM5 to come out and get in on the ground floor of a brand new upgrade path, there are a few subordinate factors worth your consideration. Firstly, what are the new components coming out, when will they be coming out, and what will their capabilities be relative to current-gen counterparts.
There are conflicting reports regarding whether or not PCIe5 will be included with the upcoming Zen 4 architecture; Unlike DDR5, PCIe5 is not expected to make its debut under the AMD umbrella anytime in 2023 but may accompany Zen 4 in early 2023. This notion bodes well for individuals and organizations engaged with machine-learning and cloud-computing services who require, more than anyone else, increased bandwidth and transfer rates. However, if you’re just an individual gamer looking for a bump in FPS, PCIe5 shouldn’t be much of a consideration anyway and definitely won’t factor into a decision to hold off for AM5 — so you can scratch this off your list.
With the AM5 we should expect USB4 support, bringing with it an immense upgrade in transfer speed (double that of USB 3’s latest iteration) at 40GBps speed. On top of the increased capacity, the new USB4 will show enhanced data splitting, allocating bandwidth according to use when transmitting both video and data rather than simply splitting it 50/50 like USB 3– vastly improving speed and transfer efficiency.
4. Zen 4
The most exciting feature lying in wait for consumers has to be the Zen 4 microarchitecture, roughly expected sometime in 2023, but currently inhabiting only the nightly dreams of tech enthusiasts everywhere. Little is known for certain about AMD’s upcoming evolution in microarchitecture, but the rumor mill is currently overclocking like there’s no tomorrow to produce all sorts of promises; many predictions are suggesting a performance boost as magnificent as 40% over Zen 3, with a 29% uptick in IPC. So, all things considered, Zen 4 is one hell of a honeypot for those considering playing the waiting game and the one worth thinking about most.
To Build or Not to Build
We say get building.
Don’t waste your time waiting on the next best thing because there will always be a next best thing. If you do shell out for the current lineup of beasts on the AM4, you can rest assured they will remain beastly for some time to come. The 5000 series is the one last hurrah of the AM4 but it will easily last for a few years to come. Not only will most of the 5000 series be comfortable with whatever you can throw at them for some time, but you will also save a lot of money making purchases on current tech rather than freshly released next-gen components.
There will always be something around the corner that feels worth waiting for, including several years from now when you are in the market for another motherboard again.
Like what we’ve seen with other Q1 platform analysis, Amazon’s pattern was similar: a strong Q1 that hit a wall right at the end.
However, unlike the other platforms, Amazon showed meteoric growth year over year, muscling its way to a seat at the table that’s predominantly owned by Google and Facebook.
Amazon announced a cutback on fulfillment of non-essential and third party fulfillment at the start of the pandemic. Commonly referred to as “FBA,” Fulfillment By Amazon acts as the warehouse and shipper for ecommerce brands that elect to use them for order fulfillment.
This created an interesting situation for sellers who were hoping to capitalize on the inevitable increase of online ordering – now they couldn’t get their items fulfilled.
While some categories were exempt if they were deemed “essential,” there was speculation about what this could mean for their overall ad revenue for Q1.Ad Revenue Gains & Losses
Q1 started off with major gains year-over-year for Amazon Ads, with 44% growth to $3.9b.
This collided with a reduction in conversion rates, an average decline of 10% as reported by Tinuiti.
All of this added up to cheaper ad rates, but in an environment where demand couldn’t be met by suppliers.
Merkle saw impressive gains year over year, something analysts are believing will continue as the gears of ecommerce start to turn more freely again. Year over year, Merkle saw growth in the following ways:The Dichotomy of Demand vs. Ability to Supply
The challenges faced by ecommerce sellers aren’t solely due to Amazon’s temporary fulfillment cutbacks. Most production of items takes place in China, the epicenter of the COVID-19 pandemic.
This rendered “business as usual” out the window, with reduced staffing and shelter-at-home mandates disrupting the labor force. As production rate slowed in China, this created a gap in fulfillment for sellers who typically rely on predictable system.
China has recovered and started to produce again, but then there was a new issue:
Coronavirus had moved to the United States, affecting everything from worker staffing in warehouses, to staffing at shipping docks.
Combine that with Amazon cutting back on fulfillment, and it’s been a challenging time for logistics with physical inventory.
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