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Blackmagic Announces Pocket Cinema Camera 6K.

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Blackmagic Design has revealed its latest compact camera for cinematography, the Pocket Cinema Camera 6K. It looks pretty similar to the 4K camera introduced last year, which is to say that it looks like a Minolta SLR from 1993, but it has a bigger sensor — it shoots in Super 35 format (similar to APS-C) with a resolution of 6144 x 3456.

Resolution aside, the switch to Super 35 will allow for much better low-light performance and control over depth of field. The 6K camera also uses Canon’s EF lens mount, rather than the 4K’s Micro Four Thirds, and Blackmagic is claiming 13 stops of dynamic range with dual native ISO of 400 and 25,600.

The Pocket Cinema Camera 6K has a lot of connectivity: mini XLR, full-size HDMI, USB-C, DC power, mic input, and headphone output. The camera is largely operated by the same five-inch touchscreen as the 4K model. It can shoot up to 50 fps at 6144 x 3456 16:9, 60 fps at 6144 x 2560 2.4:1, or 120 fps at 2.8K 2868 x 1512 17:9.

The Pocket Cinema Camera 6K is available right now, priced at $2,495 — almost twice as much as Blackmagic’s 4K model.

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Motorola One Action Adds A GoPro-like Camera For Active Shots.

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Motorola wants the camera on its latest midrange phone, the One Action, to wow you. Like the just-announced Samsung Galaxy Note 10 and other 2019 phones , the One Action has three rear cameras. But unlike the competition, it ups the ante by giving you one major feature you might find in a GoPro camera -- the ability to film action shots. Think skateboarders, skydivers and back flippers.

Although not the first to try to appeal to active lifestyles (Samsung has a "super steady" feature on its latest phones for this purpose), the One Action is using its physical camera hardware rather than just software for its headline trick. 

Flanked by a main 12-megapixel shooter and 5-megapixel depth camera for better portraits, the middle sensor on the One Action is a 16-megapixel lens with a 117-degree ultra-wide view. Motorola has also positioned it so that the lens will record landscape video even while the phone is being held vertically.

The goal is to give an easier, more natural way to capture wide-screen videos and hold your phone, while partaking in these more adventurous activities.  

The Motorola One Action has three cameras, with the middle rear camera acting as the "action" lens with a 117-degree ultra-wide lens. Lori Grunin/CNET
© Provided by CBS Interactive Inc. The Motorola One Action has three cameras, with the middle rear camera acting as the "action" lens with a 117-degree ultra-wide lens. Lori Grunin/CNET

The action camera also takes advantage of video stabilization and pixel binning (or as Motorola calls it, "Quad Pixel"), combining multiple pixels together for better low-light capture. The end result is a 4-megapixel shot. 

Beyond the cameras, the One Action features an edge-to-edge 6.3-inch full HD+ display with a cutout for the 12-megapixel front camera in the upper left corner. 

Motorola One Action specs

  • 6.3" FHD+ (1080*2520) display with a 21:9 aspect ratio
  • 2.2GHz Samsung Exynos 9609 octa-core processor
  • 128GB of storage (expandable via microSD) with 4GB of RAM
  • 12MP main camera with f/1.8 aperture, 1.25μm, PDAF; 5MP depth sensor; 16MP action camera ultra-wide 117-degree field of view, Quad Pixel pixel binning, 2.0μm and f/2.2 aperture.
  • 3,500mAh battery with 10-watt fast charging
  • 3.5mm headphone jack
  • USB-C
  • Bluetooth 5.0
  • Fingerprint sensor on the back
  • Splash resistance
  • Android 9 Pie (upgradable to Android Q)
a close up of a hand holding a cellphone: The front camera cutout on the Motorola One Action. Lori Grunin/CNET
© Provided by CBS Interactive Inc. The front camera cutout on the Motorola One Action. Lori Grunin/CNET

In briefly using the phone it feels significantly more premium than the company's ultra-budget Moto E6. The glass back and higher-resolution display both look nice, though the cutout for the camera is a bit thicker than ones found on Samsung's Galaxy S10 line. 

I didn't have a good environment to really try out the action camera, but in quick use, it seemed to do its job recording video as promised. While it is nice that it records in wide-screen while held vertically, flipping the phone horizontally will actually make that camera record vertically. So there could be a potential learning curve there.

The One Action will be available Friday in Brazil, Mexico and "various European countries" for €259 (roughly $289 USD) in either "denim blue," "pearl white," or "aqua teal." A US release is slated for October, though it won't include the aqua teal color option and no pricing for the US version has been announced. 

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WhatsApp’s Role In The Nigerian Election.

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There is growing concern about the potential for the message and media sharing platform WhatsApp to undermine democracy in a number of countries across the world including Brazil and India.

Because WhatsApp is encrypted – and so offers users far greater protection from prosecution than Twitter or Facebook – it has become particularly notorious for spreading “fake news”.

This is a major concern in Africa, where WhatsApp is the most popular messaging app in 40 countries. This is due to its low cost and the ability to easily share messages with both individuals and groups.

But is this really how WhatApp is used? And if it is, to what extent does this compromise the quality of elections?

A joint team from the Centre for Democracy and Development (Nigeria) and the University of Birmingham (UK) has spent the last few months researching the impact of WhatsApp on the 2019 Nigerian elections held in May.

Their report comes to conclusions that are both troubling, as well as encouraging.

The research reveals that the platform was used to mislead voters in increasingly sophisticated ways. But it also shows that WhatsApp strengthened democracy in other areas.

Misinformation and disinformation

The term “fake news has become widely used over the past few years. However, it is problematic because it lumps together very different kinds of information and behavior. For example, we need to separate out deliberate attempts to mislead others by creating false stories (disinformation) from the innocent sharing of made up stories by people who believe it to be true (misinformation).

The 2019 Nigerian elections saw both disinformation and misinformation. We studied this by conducting 46 interviews in the states of Abuja, Oyo and Kano, as well as seven focus groups and a survey of 1,005 people.

Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) workers are seen during the Nigeria's governorship and state assembly election at the Gwarinpa ward polling station in Abuja, Nigeria March 9, 2019. REUTERS/Afolabi Sotunde
© Thomson Reuters Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) workers are seen during the Nigeria's governorship and state assembly election at the Gwarinpa ward polling station in Abuja, Nigeria March 9, 2019. REUTERS/Afolabi Sotunde

During the course of conducting the research candidates consistently told us that they predominantly used WhatsApp to share information about their qualities and campaign pledges. But many WhatsApp users said that at a high proportion of the messages they received were designed to undermine a rival leader’s reputation – to “decampaign” them.

There were some high profile examples of disinformation. The most notorious story circulated on social media was that the president had died while undergoing medical treatment outside of the country, and had been replaced by a clone from Sudan.

Other fabricated communications were less outlandish but no less significant. Many ordinary citizens shared these messages, in some cases because they knew they were false and wanted to amplify their impact, but in many cases because they thought they were true.

The most effective decampaigning strategies were those that shared messages that resonated with individuals because they contained an element of the truth, or played on recent experiences.

WhatsApp takes over

The political influence of WhatsApp has expanded rapidly in line with its growing penetration. As a result, it has become part of the fabric of election campaigns and is now a key mechanism through which political leaders seek to communicate with their campaign teams and supporters.

Fully 91 percent of the people we interviewed were active WhatsApp users; as one person put it:

I use WhatsApp more than I use the toilet.

In Nigeria, election candidates were already using the platform to push messages in 2015. But the people we interviewed agreed that the 2019 elections saw a significant step up in terms of how the leading parties organized their social media strategy.

MAIDUGURI, NIGERIA - APRIL 27: A girl looks at her mobile phone while she walks past the political posters that bear the portraits of the Nigerian president, Muhammadu Buhari (top left) and other candidates on April 27, 2019 in Maiduguri, Nigeria. General elections were held in Nigeria on 23 February 2019 to elect the President, Vice President, House of Representatives and the Senate, which the incumbent president Muhammadu Buhari won. In Maiduguri, the capital city of Borno State in northeastern region, saw democracy working by electing the president, governor, and other cabinet members, despite the military tensions with Boko Haram, a Jihadist group which began its military insurgency in 2009. Ten years into the insurgency, the city has become relatively safer than before; however, it still possesses tens of thousands of Internally Displaced Persons of the armed-conflict who could not return their home villages. (Photo by Jean Chung/Getty Images)
© 2019 Jean Chung MAIDUGURI, NIGERIA - APRIL 27: A girl looks at her mobile phone while she walks past the political posters that bear the portraits of the Nigerian president, Muhammadu Buhari (top left) and other candidates on April 27, 2019 in Maiduguri, Nigeria. General elections were held in Nigeria on 23 February 2019 to elect the President, Vice President, House of Representatives and the Senate, which the incumbent president Muhammadu Buhari won. In Maiduguri, the capital city of Borno State in northeastern region, saw democracy working by electing the president, governor, and other cabinet members, despite the military tensions with Boko Haram, a Jihadist group which began its military insurgency in 2009. Ten years into the insurgency, the city has become relatively safer than before; however, it still possesses tens of thousands of Internally Displaced Persons of the armed-conflict who could not return their home villages. (Photo by Jean Chung/Getty Images)

Politically, WhatsApp was used in an increasingly sophisticated way at the presidential level. In 2019, the two main presidential candidates – President Muhammadu Buhari and opposition leader Atiku Abubakar – both had dedicated teams pushing out messages over social media: the Buhari New Media Centre and Atikulated Youth Force. By forming hundreds of Whatsapp groups of 256 members, these organizations could send messages to tens of thousands of people at the touch of a button.

Buhari’s effort was better funded and particularly impressive. It established a network of local and regional representatives connected to a “central command” in Abuja. This enabled the campaign to rapidly send messages from the national to the local level, while also responding to hostile messages and rumors shared by its rivals.

While those in power typically had more money to invest in their campaigns, many opposition leaders pointed out that in important ways WhatsApp had created a more level political playing field. Those who had been involved in politics for some time explained that “fake news” was nothing new in Nigeria, but that in the past it was sometimes impossible to counteract these messages because there was no way to get airtime on government aligned radio.

WhatsApp had changed this situation. Opposition leaders now have a cheap way of fighting back. It has also been used to coordinate anti-corruption campaigns and election observation, strengthening democracy.

Evolution or revolution?

It’s also important not to overstate the significance of WhatsApp. Things look very different below the national level, for example, where campaign structures were less developed and a significant proportion of activity remained informal.

We found that while candidates for Governor and Member of Parliament did set up WhatsApp groups, they were much less organized. In many cases, candidates relied on existing networks and social influencers to get the message out.

Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) worker packs up voting booths after the polls closed during the Nigeria's governorship and state assembly election at the Gwarinpa ward in Abuja, Nigeria March 9, 2019. REUTERS/Afolabi Sotunde
© Thomson Reuters Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) worker packs up voting booths after the polls closed during the Nigeria's governorship and state assembly election at the Gwarinpa ward in Abuja, Nigeria March 9, 2019. REUTERS/Afolabi Sotunde

Candidates were also keen to stress that while they used WhatsApp during their campaigns, they did not rely on it. Voters expect to see their leaders on the ground, and expected them to provide a range of services for the community. Advertising good deeds over WhatsApp could help a leader get credit, but only if they had fulfilled their responsibilities in the first place.

In other words, WhatsApp can amplify and complement a candidate’s ground campaign. But it cannot replace it.

Throwing out the water but keeping the baby

These findings suggest that solutions to the power of social media platforms like WhatsApp isn’t to ban them, or to allow governments to censor them. This would merely exaggerate the vast advantages of incumbency that ruling parties already enjoy.

A better solution would be to promote digital literacy, develop social media codes of conduct around elections, and empower WhatsApp uses to control which groups they are added to, and what information they receive.

(Source: The Conversation)

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“Ban Hands-free Calls In Cars. – MPs

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MPs have demanded that ministers look into bringing in a ban on motorists using hands-free mobile phones while driving.

The controversial measures have been recommended as evidence suggests the use of hands-free mobiles can create the “same risk of a collision” as using hand-held mobiles, the Commons Transport Committee warned.

Driving law only prohibits the use of phones being held by drivers, which MPs believe gives the “misleading impression” that hands-free is safe.

The cross-party committee acknowledged that there would be practical challenges to criminalising hands-free phone use and enforcing the offence, but insisted “this does not mean that we should not do it”.

It recommended that the Government should explore options for extending the current ban on hand-held mobiles and publish a public consultation on the issue by the end of 2019.

In 2017, there were 773 casualties on Britain’s roads – including 43 deaths and 135 serious injuries – in crashes where a driver using a mobile was a contributory factor.

The committee said the number of people killed or seriously injured in such accidents has risen steadily since 2011 but the rate of enforcement regarding phone use has plunged by more than two-thirds since the same year.

It called for the police to make greater use of technology to crack down on drivers using their mobiles while driving, as it admitted that police forces were already under financial strain.

The Labour MP Lilian Greenwood, who chairs the committee, said: “Far too many drivers continue to break the law by using hand-held mobile phones.

There is also a misleading impression that hands-free use is safe. The reality is that any use of a phone distracts from a driver’s ability to pay full attention and the Government should consider extending the ban to reflect this.”

Dr Graham Hole, of the University of Sussex, and Dr Gemma Briggs, at the Open University, said the risks of using a mobile phone hands-free were the same as for hand-held use. The academics said drivers using any kind of phone were four times more likely to be involved in a collision.

The Department for Transport said it would respond to the report in due course, but said dangerous driving was already a crime.

“Being distracted by a mobile phone while driving is dangerous and puts people’s lives at risk,” a spokeswoman said. “The law is clear that anyone driving dangerously is committing a criminal offence.”

Joshua Harris, the director of campaigns for road safety charity, Brake, said: “We welcome the calls from MPs in the Transport Committee to tackle the dangers of phone use behind the wheel.

“Using a phone whilst driving can impair you as much as driving drunk but stronger laws and tougher enforcement are needed to make it as culturally unacceptable as drink driving.

“The Government must clarify the law on using hand-held mobile devices while driving and close loopholes which treat sending or receiving data differently.

“The current law also provides a dangerous false impression that it is safe to use a mobile phone with a hands-free kit - it is not. All phone use behind the wheel is dangerous, and we need the law to reflect this by banning the use of hands-free devices.

“We echo MPs’ call for the Government to work with the police to boost enforcement and ensure there is a true deterrent to the menace of mobile phone use behind the wheel.”

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The 7 Biggest Announcements From The Samsung Note 10 Event.

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Despite some hardware launch delays Samsung had been experiencing this year, the company is pushing forward with its annual Note upgrade. Today, the company announced the new Note 10 that now comes in a few variants: a regular Note 10 and a Note 10 Plus that includes a new S Pen with Bluetooth and a gyroscope. Most notably, it’s the first Note device without a headphone jack — something that had been previously hinted at when Samsung first spoke of the future of its devices with the announcement of the Fold.

Here are some of the highlights from today’s event.

Note 10 and Note 10 Plus

So here we are: two whole new Note 10s. Both phones come with increased batteries, Dynamic AMOLED displays, in-screen fingerprint sensors, wireless charging, and three cameras in the back for regular / wide-angle and telephoto. The regular Note 10 — still bigger than the S10 — is now the smaller device with a 6.3-inch screen, while the Note 10 Plus measures in at 6.8 inches. The Note 10 Plus has an extra DepthVision camera that you can use to 3D scan objects, which you can then manipulate into interactive avatars or print as a 3D file.

a close up of a computer
© Photo by Thomas Ricker / The Verge

The Notes also come in super fun colors, including a special edition that has an iridescent finish, which lots of phone makers have been using in recent years. There’s added gaming capabilities, too. Now in the Game Launcher on the device, users can automatically connect to Discord to chat with friends.

Still, it may be important for some to learn that the Note will not have a headphone jack. USB-C headphones will come included in the box, but the dongle will cost you another $9.99 separately.

Both devices are available for preorder at midnight starting at $949 and $1,099 for the Note 10 and Note 10 Plus, respectively. The devices will ship on August 23rd. For the first time, you can also preorder through the Microsoft store.

The S Pen now has Bluetooth, a gyroscope, and an accelerometer

The S Pen has been redesigned, and it can connect to other devices via Bluetooth so it doesn’t have to be limited for use with a Note device. It can now convert handwritten notes into a Word document, with support for multiple languages. The S Pen now has a gyroscope and an accelerometer, too, which you can use to remotely control a device from afar, such as when it’s on a tripod. You can use the pen and hover over the Note to change camera modes or rewind and fast forward a video on YouTube.

There’s also a fun AR Doodle mode now for the camera that lets you draw and / or write things into a photo. It’s essentially like making a custom filter for each individual photo.

a close up of a device
© Photo by Thomas Ricker / The Verge

Note 10 5G

Technically, there is also a third Galaxy Note 10, for those who want to be prepared to take advantage of 5G when it rolls out to your area. The Note 10 5G edition will start at $1,300 for the 256GB configuration. The 5G edition is basically a modified version of the Note 10 Plus size-wise and spec-wise, and is temporarily exclusive to Verizon; after the exclusivity period ends, Samsung says the 5G model will also come to AT&T, Sprint, and T-Mobile.

DeX for both Mac and Windows

DeX, that platform that lets your Note behave like a computer, now works with laptops by just connecting it through a USB cord. The Note supports both Mac and Windows, and worked with Microsoft directly for a more seamless link. Notifications are mirrored onto the PC, and you can use your computer’s mouse and keyboard or interact by touch if your PC supports it.

Microsoft says its computers will soon also support calls from the PC via DeX, but did not provide a time for when we can expect it.

Galaxy Book S

a close up of a computer
© Provided by Vox Media, Inc.

As a “surprise” device, Samsung announced a new Galaxy-branded laptop. It has a 13.3-inch touchscreen, has Qualcomm Snapdragon 8cx chips, has up to 23 hours of battery, and runs Windows 10. It also comes with LTE connectivity, making it sort of an oversized smartphone with a full keyboard and touchpad. It charges by USB-C and comes in two colors: gray and pink.

We didn’t get a whole lot of other details about specs, but Samsung says to expect it this September for $999.

The collaboration, according to Samsung CEO DJ Koh and Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella, marks a new partnership between the two to enhance productivity and interaction across “all devices.” There’s more to come, so we’ll see what that means over the next 12 months.

Under Armour edition Galaxy Watch Active 2

Earlier this week, Samsung announced a new Galaxy Watch Active 2. At today’s event, it also showed off a new edition branded with Under Armour. For $309, the watch can log runs through the MapMyRun app, and it has standalone phone and audio capability. It has Samsung’s Wireless PowerShare mode, too, that lets you charge a device off the back of a Galaxy phone.

Commitment to the United Nations’ global goals

This year, Samsung pledged to make greener packaging to reduce its carbon footprint. Today, it says it is to deepen that commitment by adding an app to Samsung phones that lets users learn about the Sustainable Development Goals and raise money for the global causes the organization supports (poverty, hunger, internet connectivity, education, etc.).

Samsung says it will also sell branded accessories with proceeds going to support the UN’s initiative. It did not specify how much of the sales go directly to the UN.

(Source: The Verge)

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