Amazon Patents Selfie-Pose Authentication Technology

Amazon is known for their increased use of technology. Keen to use drones in their delivery process and even leasing out a new set of jets in order to speed up their delivery processes, the company seems to be stopping at nothing to control the delivery market. The next step may be something a little closer to home though with the pay-by-selfie technique to introduce selfie-pose authentication.

The new patent filed by the company reveals a process in which shoppers would be able to forgo the use of their password to instead have them take a photo or video of themselves. The technology would use a similar system to the MasterCard selfie system which means that you would be prompted to perform an action, such as blink or pose in order to confirm that it isn’t just a photo being held up by someone else.

Can you see yourself buying a product and then paying by blinking at the camera on your phone? While it stops you from having to remember your password or getting your phone and laptop from saving them, am I the only one who suddenly see people in public winking at their phone every five minutes in order to purchase that new DVD you’ve wanted to see for so long?

Selfie Death Statistics Revealed

Most of us laugh at the selfie addicts, but there is no doubt that there are enough of them out there. In fact, the word selfie is mentioned in 365,000 facebook posts and 150,000 tweets each week alone and Instagram has over 50 million results when searching for the hashtag. That’s quite impressive, but there’s also a sad statistic when it comes to selfies and that is the one on selfie-related deaths.

With so many selfies taken every day, people are looking for that special one that will set them apart from the rest. They hang from cliffs, pose next to wild animals, and play chicken with oncoming trains. Sometimes they sadly don’t survive the attempts and become a statistical number. There hasn’t really been any general collection of these deaths up until now  and Priceonomics set out to change that. They went through three years of news archives and compiled every reported instance of a selfie-related death into a new report.

So let us get right to the numbers, at least those known to us. There can be a lot of selfie-related deaths that haven’t been reported as such. In short, 49 people have died while attempting to photograph themselves since 2014, the average age of the victims is 21 years old, and 75% of them are male.

Now, we should probably make it clear that it isn’t the selfie themselves that kill people. As far as I know, no one has died from taking their own photo yet and I don’t think anyone has managed to impale themselves on their selfie stick either. It is rather the lack of focus and dangerous places that are picked for the selfies that are the reason for the deaths. The most common reasons were falls from heights as well as drowning. Everyone should know to stay away from trains, but it looks like quite a few don’t know to do that either.

There is a clear picture of where it’s most dangerous to take selfies when we take a look at the location statistics. India is clearly ahead with 19 reported fatalities while Russia comes in on a second place with just seven deaths.

Last year it was 28 people alone that died as the result of their selfie addiction which in itself actually isn’t that much. More than double die from bee and wasp stings each year and it was also reported that up to 150 people die from falling coconuts each year. That puts it a little into perspective.

Still, you should use caution and not take unnecessary risks when you go for those special photographic memories. Keep in mind that no photo is worth your life, no matter how spectacular it might be. The below warning signs were made by a Russian site and they might be worth imprinting to memory.

Snapchat Defends Privacy Policy Changes

Photo sharing on social media websites has become extraordinarily popular due to the “selfie” craze as smartphone users try to capture the moment. Snapchat is one of the most popular choices and revolves around quick snapshots which vanish once the recipient has viewed the photo. That’s the theory though, and there have been concerns about Snapchat’s data policy. Only recently, the company decided to update its privacy policy and disclose their data retention in a more transparent way.

However, the terms caused a great deal of controversy and appeared to allow partners to intrusively access your data:

…you also grant Snapchat and our business partners the unrestricted, worldwide, perpetual rights and license to use your name, likeness, and voice in any and all media and distribution channels…” 

Kal Penn highlighted the privacy issues in the following tweet:

In lieu of this information, Snapchat has released a statement on this blog which reads:

“First off, we want to be crystal clear: The Snaps and Chats you send your friends remain as private today as they were before the update. Our Privacy Policy continues to say—as it did before—that those messages “are automatically deleted from our servers once we detect that they have been viewed or have expired.” Of course, a recipient can always screenshot or save your Snaps or Chats. But the important point is that Snapchat is not—and never has been—stockpiling your private Snaps or Chats. And because we continue to delete them from our servers as soon as they’re read, we could not—and do not—share them with advertisers or business partners.”

“It’s true that our Terms of Service grant us a broad license to use the content you create—a license that’s common to services like ours. We need that license when it comes to, for example, Snaps submitted to Live Stories, where we have to be able to show those Stories around the world—and even replay them or syndicate them (something we’ve said we could do in previous versions of our Terms and Privacy Policy). But we tried to be clear that the Privacy Policy and your own privacy settings within the app could restrict the scope of that license so that your personal communications continue to remain truly personal.”

Snapchat handled this entire situation quite badly especially when you consider how other companies have implemented similar policies and caused public outrage. Their PR team should have known better and conducted things in a more communicative way. Whatever the case, I’m not a Snapchat user, and some might feel the terms are enough to make them uninstall the app. However, I’m pretty sure, Snapchat’s target demographic isn’t majorly concerned about the updated policy.

More People Died from Selfies than Sharks This Year

It’s a sad state of affairs when people have been going out into the wild to slaughter sharks in areas that a human was attacked by one. Here’s a hint for people, sharks live in the sea, we do not, if you get bitten by one, it’s because you generally don’t belong there. Yet I find it infinitely more sad that we’re doing an even better job at killing ourselves taking selfies.

Just this year alone there have been eight shark-related deaths, which is a sad thing for sure as no one wants to lose a loved one. However, there have been twelve deaths due to people taking selfies in dangerous situations, something that only a Darwin Award can help justify. A 66-year-old Japanese tourist died recently after he and his companion fell down the stairs of the Taj Mahal while taking a selfie. In fact, four of the deaths so far were due to falling, only proving that you should literally look where you are going, not at your phone screen.

Falling killed the most, but a close second were people being hit or injured by trains. We’ve heard of people trying to take photos with wild bears, at bull runs and all kinds of stupid things.

There’s nothing wrong with taking a selfie, but there’s no sense in putting yourself in danger. Check your surroundings, if you’re standing in the way of a moving vehicle, selfie or on the edge of a cliff… move before picking your favorite Instagram filter.

Woman Only has her Selfie to Blame After Bison Attack

Yellowstone Park has become a breeding ground for dangerous and avoidable incidents as visitors try to capture the moment in close proximity to a host of wild animals. This particular case involves a 43 year-old Mississippi woman who casually turned her back on a Bison only 6 feet away. Even more worrying, she was accompanied by a young child who could have been seriously hurt. As she lined up the photograph, the Bison hurtled towards her and started a pursuit. In a move which almost redefines stupidity, the woman believed she could outpace the animal. A statement released from the park service outlined the course of events:

“They heard the bison’s footsteps moving toward them and started to run, but the bison caught the mother on the right side, lifted her up and tossed her with its head,”

Colleen Rawlings, a ranger in the park’s Old Faithful District added,

“The family said they read the warnings in both the park literature and the signage, but saw other people close to the bison, so they thought it would be OK,” 

“People need to recognize that Yellowstone wildlife is wild, even though they seem docile. This woman was lucky that her injuries were not more severe.”

This exemplifies how easily people can be distracted by the selfie craze which could have resulted in disastrous consequences. Strangely enough, the term “wild” refers to an uncontrollable beast, so it is bizarre to see people acting in such a cavalier fashion. Perhaps this particular animal was upset because she rudely turned her back and didn’t say Bye….son/Bison. Joking aside, it’s shocking how commonplace these events are and I hope the press coverage will make people prioritize their safety above any kind of photograph.

Could have been worse I guess, remember the guy trying to take a selfie with a moving train?

Thank you CNN for providing us with this information.

Image courtesy of The New York Post.

Samsung Brands Selfie Stick Users “Cave People”

In a new advert for its Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge model smartphones, Samsung has attacked selfie stick users, dismissing them as “cave people” for using the telescopic arms to take pictures of themselves. The risky marketing move – aimed at promoting the Galaxy S6 iterations’ wide-angle, high resolution cameras – laments owners of the awkward monopod photographic aid, probably alienating half the population of China in the process.

The advert proclaims, “This is what it’s come to. Human sardines packing into tiny frames, carrying around sticks like cave people.”

http://youtu.be/l4_CZd69ZBU

Selfie sticks have been given a hard time recently, being banned in football grounds (Tottenham  Hotspur’s White Hart Lane, Arsenal’s Emerates Stadium, and England’s Wembley Stadium), music venues, such as the O2 arena, the Smithsonian Museum in Washington D.C., and even the country of South Korea, where a licence to use one is required, under threat of £17,000 fines.

Much like wearing Crocs or combining socks with sandals, so long as an action doesn’t affect other people – which admittedly, in some cases, the use of a selfie stick does – if seems uncouth to judge based purely on appearances. Personally, I know a guy that owns an Apple Watch and like the Star Wars prequels, but I don’t castigate him. Live and let live.

ASUS Unveils Zenfone Selfie at Computex

Computex 2015: ASUS is presenting their new devices at Computex and we’re of course ready with the coverage. The first new product ASUS unveiled is a new Zenfone and this time it’s for selfie enthusiasts. And yes, they named it Zenfone Selfie.

So what’s so selfie about this smartphone? It comes with built-in selfie-stick, yes you read that right. No need to run around with an extra stick in your pants anymore.

A selfie phone needs a great camera and ASUS didn’t just add that, they also added built-in picture optimization features.

Real-Time Beautification will fix your image and show you the most presentable way, after all no one wants a bad selfie.

The camera is designed to work great in all environments. The Pixel enhancing technology brings up to 400% more brightness.

Taking low-light photos of any sort isn’t really a strength found in any smartphone, but the Zenfone Selfie has just that. It allows you to take great photos party photos in low light environments.

The phones own display isn’t without either as the Zenfone Selfie comes with a 5.5-inch Full HD screen, featuring a 403PPI density, a 178-degree viewing angle, and a 400 cd/m² brightness.

Russian Woman Accidentally Shot Herself in the Head While Posing for a Selfie

Well, this is definitely not something that you hear about every day. It looks like a 21-year-old woman from Russia managed to shoot herself in the head by accident while she was posing for a selfie. If you are wondering how this was even possible, I’m not going to blame you. Apparently, the young woman found the 9mm handgun in her office in Moscow, and she decided to take a selfie while pointing it at her head. Sadly, while she was focused on snapping the picture with one hand, she pressed the trigger by accident with the other.

After the incident, she was quickly rushed off to the Sklifosovsky hospital where doctors are doing their best to save her life. Naturally, the police are looking into how the woman managed to get the gun in the first place. The most plausible explanation is that a security guard had left the gun at the office a few weeks prior to the accident and then went on holiday. He could end up serving up to six months in jail for negligent storage of weapons, which just goes to show that you should always store your firearms properly. Oh, and never take a selfie with a gun. That’s just not smart.

Thank you Metro.co.uk for providing us with this information.

Facebook Wants to Give You More Information on Contacts with New Caller ID Feature

Social media giant, Facebook, has been busy as of late, providing users with more and more features to help them in their daily activities, as well as make them stay and enjoy their social media platform for longer.

We’ve seen that one of their biggest achievements as of late was to make the Messenger app web-based, so they provided users with access to the Messenger platform on both desktop and mobile, provided you don’t already have the app installed.

One of their latest achievements was to bring news articles directly in your feed, so you will have access to your friend’s activities as well as know what’s going on in the world too. I know it’s a bit of multitasking to do and you might even end up mixing your friend’s selfie with a volcano eruption, then you ask yourself what he was doing there in the first place, before realising you were reading two things at once. But hey, we all get used to it in the end.

Facebook’s latest addition is the CallerID feature, which brings some more details about contacts and who wants to connect with you. This is done by having the app display an even bigger photo of the contact, more details about how related you are with him or her and “much more”, as Vice President of Messaging Products, David Marcus, stated. The feature is said to already be available for Android and iOS users in the US, UK, France and India. So will this be of more help than just asking your friends about who is trying to connect with you? We will see.

Thank you Sci-Tech for providing us with this information
Image courtesy of FrAndroid

The Best Selfie in World of Warcraft Will Get You to Blizzcon

If you are a World of Warcraft fan, chances are that you have been at Blizzcon at least once by now. If not, then there might be a chance for Blizzard to send you there this year. What you have to do is get your best World of Warcraft selfie face on.

I know it sounds a bit odd for a selfie in World of Warcraft, but hey, Blizzard are known for cropping up weird competitions and getting you involved in the process. It looks like this competition will follow how players can work on making the best selfie in a lot of spots Blizzard picks for you.

So what Blizzard does is pick a spot for you each week. Then, you can go when you want during that week to the latter spot and try to do the best selfie you can imagine. The grand prize will be two tickets to Blizzcon this November, but that’s not the only thing you can win.

Blizzard says that each submission is eligible for weekly prizes and goodies, such as Blizzard branded gear, Battle.net codes and even an iPhone 6 to help you with your selfie problem in real life. Just kidding. In order to take part, head on over to the WoW Selfiel Scavenger Hunt website where you can find more details.

Thank you PCGamesN for providing us with this information
Image courtesy of Millenium.org

How NOT To Use a Selfie Stick

Selfie sticks have been a popular choice for people who like to take a lot of selfies outdoors, having to get the best shot further away from the hand’s reach. However, some people don’t quite get it that they are also a bit dangerous if mishandled.

This is the case of a woman from outside Buckingham Palace, who decided to answer her phone while still having the selfie stick attached to it. One bystander was so fascinated by her act that decided to post the photo to see what people’s reactions are to this situation. Reddit users followed with their thoughts shortly.

“She could have someone else hold it up to her ear and make it hands free,” one Reddit user wrote.

“She was calling friend who she’s about to facetime with, telling them to take a screenshot for her selfie collection,” another said.

How about you? Are you using selfie sticks? Would you answer your phone like this woman did?

Thank you News.com.au for providing us with this information.

Snowboarder Demonstrates Why You Don’t Use a Selfie Stick on the Slopes

The fact that selfie sticks are loathed by people around the world is no surprise, and rightfully so for many reasons. Using them can take your focus away from what is going on around you by focusing on the little stick that you are waving around.

This lesson was learned by a snowboarder who was using a selfie stick with a video camera attached to the end. While not paying attention the snowboarder gets a good knock to the back of the head from a gondola heading down the mountain. Even after being knocked down the guy didn’t have enough sense to put it away and sits down to gather himself while still fiddling with the stick. Hopefully the next time the guy decides to hit the slopes he will leave the selfie stick at home and preferably in the trash.

Source: Mashable

Nikon Introduces The 1 J5, a Mirrorless camera that takes 4K Video

Nikon just introduced a new addition to its 1 series of mirrorless cameras, the J5.  The J5 has a new 20.8MP VFI CMOS sensor, an XPSA image processor, an ISO range of 160 to 12,800, NFC, and WiFi.

The brand new camera also has a 3″ high res tilting LCD that can flip up and be used from the front for selfies.  The camera can take 1080p video at 30 or 60 frames per second, and there is also an option for 720p video that records at 120fps.  While Nikon did see fit to allow it to capture 4K video it can only record it at 15 frames per second.  The camera is also great at taking still shots in continuous-shooting mode, up to 20 fps with focus enabled and 30 or 60 fps when locked.  The camera will be released soon and will start at $500.

Coachella and Lollapalooza Ban Selfie Sticks

As a way to help the rest of the public that do not carry around selfie sticks enjoy the events both Coachella and Lollapalooza have banned the devices. This comes on the heels of other music venues banning the devices as well as major museums and the Premier League football stadiums.

This move should hopefully make it a lot less annoying when watching your favorite acts at the festivals. Lollapalooza rules state that no “GoPro attachments like sticks, selfies sticks, and monopods” are allowed. From Coachella’s website it states that “selfie sticks / narsisstics” are not allowed in. For those that loathe the selfie sticks, they can only hope that this is the start of a broader adoption of selfie stick bans.

Source: Engadget

London Venues Ban Selfie Sticks

Popular concert venues across London have taken the decision to ban selfie sticks for reasons of safety and concerns over obscured views.

Any convert-goer attending gigs at Wembley Arena, O2 Arena, and Brixton Academy will not be permitted to enter the venue with a selfie stick. The move follows reports of injuries inflicted upon attendees of live music events by mishandled selfie sticks, and complaints that the self-portrait aids impair the view and experience for other fans.

An O2 Arena spokesperson told UK music magazine NME, “the O2 do not allow selfie sticks into the arena due to safety considerations. We welcome selfies, but please leave the stick at home.”

A spokesperson for Wembley Arena concurred, saying, “The sticks might mean you are refused entry to the venue so our advice is don’t bring them and stick with the tried and tested use of an arm.”

A Brixton Academy representative added, “Selfie sticks are not permitted at Academy Music Group venues. This is in keeping with our existing policy that prohibits the filming and photography during a performance with iPads and other tablet devices and includes any such obstructions for the satisfaction of other customers.”

Source: news.com.au

It Doesn’t Get Much More Ridiculous than the Belfie Stick

Just when you thought that it couldn’t get much more ridiculous, someone went ahead and invented the Belfie Stick. We all know, and most of hate, the Selfies and all that it brings along. The Belfie is the cousin to the Selfie, but instead of taking a photo of your face, you take one of your butt.

No, this isn’t a joke. The product is a reality and it’s even patent-pending at the moment. Pre-orders can be placed for the crazy price of $80 on the official website. The stick can be extended and adjusted to get just the right angle before you press the Bluetooth button at the end of the stick to snap that butt shot.

One of the funny things about this, the photos they’re using on the site to advertise it have clearly been taken without the Belfie stick.

Thanks to TechRadar for providing us with this information

Images courtesy of BelfieStick

Casio Launches Ultimate ‘Selfie’ Camera

Casio has released a new ‘selfie’ camera, which has a 14-megapixel sensor hidden behind a curved mirror. The Exilim MR1, given the catchy nickname “Kawaii Selfie by Mirror Camera”, uses a wide-angle lens and face detection to capture the whole of the user’s face, even close-up.

The Exilim MR1 can also shoot 1080p video, has built-in WiFi, and has 4x digital zoom. On the rear is a 2.7-inch LCD screen and basic controls, with on-board image editing including skin tone adjustment and filters. The 700mAh can power up to 230 photographs.

The device has been launched in Hong Kong for around $330.

Source: electronista

Microsoft Announced Cortana Update and 2 New Lumia Phones

Microsoft’s Cortana has been very well accepted in the US and UK where it’s already rolled out in beta state. Now Microsoft is ready to remove the beta tag from the assistant as well as add it to more markets. The next ones to get access to Microsoft’s voice based assistant are Australia, India and Canada as part of the Windows Phone 8.1 Denim update.

The new update will allow it to tie more tightly to apps, giving Cortana the ability to “Skype Peter” or order up an Audiocloud music stream and more, and all this without having to unlock the phone and press a button. The new version will also feature an Always Listen feature, something it seemed many users have requested. A similar function is already available in the Moto X with Android World. When enabled, the device will always listen for the phrase Hey Cortana and then perform it’s action upon that.

While this sure will drain your battery faster, it can be very useful. You can sit across the room from the phone, speak the trigger phrase and let it record a reminder, ask a question or launch an app.

Microsoft also presented 2 new phones, the new Lumia 830 and Lumia 735, to address holes in Microsoft’s product offerings. The 830 is labeled as the affordable flagship and the 735 is a selfie phone. Indirectly they presented three phones, as there’ll also be a dual-SIM version of the 735 that will be called Lumia 730. They are set to roll out this month, so you don’t have to wait long if you’d like one of them.

The Lumia 830 is priced at €330, but doesn’t lack in specifications. It has a 5-inch, 1280 x 720 display, a 1.2 GHz Snapdragon 400 processor, 1 GB of RAM, 16 GB storage, and a removable 2,200 mAh battery. The phone measures 139.4 mm x 70.7 mm x 8.5 mm and weighs 150 grams. Microsoft’s SensorCore is also built in, providing a pedometer sensor for tracking your steps via the Bing Health and Fitness app. It has a 10 MP PureView camera with optical stabilization on the rear and a 1 MP front-facing camera, which seems somewhat underwhelming.

The new Lumia 735/730 is a so called selfie phone that is growing in popularity at the moment. It has a 5MP front-facing camera and features to improve the quality of images and Skype calls. Microsoft even throws in a promotional three-month Skype Unlimited World subscription to get you used to making Skype calls on the go instead of regular ones. The rear facing camera doesn’t have a much higher resolution then the front with 6.7 MP.

It has a 4.7-inch, 1280 x 720 OLED screen with sunlight readability enhancements and a high brightness mode, 1 GB memory and 8 GB of storage. It’s powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 400 quad-core chip that runs at 1.2GHz. Again Microsoft used a 2,200 mAh removable battery. The phone weighs slightly less then the 830 does with just 134.3 grams. It measures 134.7 mm x 68.5 mm x 8.9 mm. The 753 is expected to be priced at €219.

Both phones offer wireless charging as well as traditional. Remember, these phones aren’t meant to be the flagships, they are meant to fill a gap in the product lineup, and I think they do that pretty well.

Thank you PC World for providing us with these information.

Images courtesy of PC World.

New GTA 4 Mod Lets You Take In-Game Selfies!

The significant delay between the PC versions of GTA 4 and GTA 5 have left the PC community needing mods to keep things fresh and exciting. Of note was the 4K mod released last year that took the graphics to a new level but just recently some modders released a new mod that isn’t about graphics. Instead, you are able to use Niko’s phone for taking in-game selfies. Not only do you have the option to take a selfie but you can also pick the facial expression to take a picture of.

Obviously this isn’t going to be to everyone’s tastes but it’s a fairly novel way of poking fun at the internet generation we’ve collectively become. You can grab the mod at the source link below. Also you check the videos of the mod so you can get a feel for what it does. Spoiler alert: you will have to suffer about 30 seconds of the selfie song!

[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=blwsM6z5BIc[/youtube]

[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vk64PO4vBpo[/youtube]

Source: GTAXScripting

Image courtesy of GTAXScripting

Just a Pizza Delivery… On a Train?

Apparently you can get your pizza delivered everywhere nowadays. From ordering it at home, at work, even in a park might be a possible ordering location. However, a comedian apparently went further than that and ordered it on a train.

Though not an actual joke, comedian Chris Ramsey ordered the pizza half-way through his train journey back home, which inevitable became a Twitter phenomenon. The ordering nearly stopped before it began, as of course it was considered by most to be a joke. However, Domino’s Pizza did deliver its order to the customer even if it meant to bring it on the train. Furthermore, they insisted to add extra pizzas for everyone on the train to enjoy.

It seems that even support from fellow comedians were seen between the flood of Twitter comments. It is however to be expected since a delivery such as this one cannot be seen every day.

Finally, the pizza arrived and everyone was excited. As promised in the tweets, Chris did take a selfie with the delivery guy, which apparently was as excited as Chris was.

It is not a common opportunity to see such excitement in delivering a pizza on a train, but by the looks of it people are extremely excited to be served anywhere and everywhere. Who knows, maybe train companies will even offer pizza delivery as an option in the near future.

Thank you TheLADBible for providing us with this information
Images courtesy of TheLADBible

Train Conductor Kicks The Stupid Out Of Selfie Taking Hipster

Taking a selfie is a fairly harmless affair, or at least it should be. Snapping an out of focus picture of ones self in the mirror and tagging it on Facebook with endless hashtags is pretty annoying, but generally a fairly safe thing to do. Of course there are a few people out there that are keen to get a “cool” selfie, such as this moron who wanted a speeding train as his backdrop. Jared Michael thought it would be a great ideal to take a picture / video of himself next to a speeding train, really close to it actually. He stood next to the track, pulled his best hipster face and was abruptly schooled in the “real world” when a train conductors boot connected with his face.

“That train conductor must really hate hipsters!” I hear you call, but a deeper analysis is that the trusty train operator was a hero and saved this selfie addicts head from a becoming a bloody mess. He really was CLOSE to the train, so close in fact that had the boot not saved his stupid ass, he would have felt the metal protrusion on the side of the train giving him a slap instead, in which case this story would have been “Hipster beheaded by train while taking selfie”.

Standing next to a train like this is the dumbest thing I’ve seen all week and it’s only Thursday, so who knows, maybe this will be topped by something worse later in the week. Kudos to the quick thinking conductor who saved this guys life though, hopefully some of his quick thinking and common sense rubbed off onto Jared.

[youtube]http://youtu.be/Dy8Yt-P614w[/youtube]

Thank you Gizmodo for providing us with this information.

Image courtesy of Gizmodo.