Dotpict is a fun app to start making pixel art

Or make pixel chicken scratch



Dotpict is a pixel art painting app by Masaki Mitsuyama that makes the tedious job of working pixel by pixel a little bit easier. The app features a pen tip you can navigate to fill every pixel with your color of choice, an easily accessible and customizable palette below your pixel canvas, and a push button to select the pixel you want to work with.

Here come excuses

I’ve been ill for about two weeks with the flu and I was trying to find some way to feel less like a vegetable in bed having absolutely nothing to contribute. So, I went on Google Play looking for a game or an app to fill the time. I quickly found dotpict on my recommended apps. I installed it and quickly lost interest.

Attempts at pixel drawing

Alright, dotpict looks like a ton of fun and it can be. When I first began, it was daunting. I was decent at doodles and all, but creating pixel drawings was a little, if not significantly, different. It demands a ton of your attention and it doesn’t really help when you have the attention span of a goldfish.

Either way, the other works posted on the app are a mix of silly attempts and gorgeous creations which can tear through you with the reality that you may never be able to make works the likes of these amazing artists. For example, my first work:

My first attempt: not too bad?

As you can see, mistakes were made. I’m not too proud of this piece if I’m being honest. I was a little too ambitious on making pixel characters I grew up playing — to which I’d obviously not done a great job. From this point on, I ignored the app for a couple of days. I couldn’t quite grasp how to create pixel art.

I tried again and managed to draw this!

My second attempt

This was about a week into my flu. I’d gotten absolutely nothing done and I was tantalizingly close to bashing my head to scare the flu off its depressed host. I know, it is quite morbid, but being sick isn’t fun when you have tasks you want and need to get done. I was just at wit’s end and thought I’d give dotpict another try before I gave it a hard pass. To which, I’m happy I did because I did quite alright.

Features that help beginners

The app isn’t quite forgiving when it comes to making it easier for you if you want to design detailed pieces. It does help you with all the items you need to get started though. For starters, if you’re bored and want to fill the time, you can doodle on dotpict. Secondly, the bucket tool is a lifesaver — nobody wants to fill 20 pixels one by one. Thirdly, the palette lets you switch colors easily so you don’t have to have to spend a ton of time working with one color at a time.

From chicken scratch to this! This is my favorite and most tedious work yet: a pixel art of a scene in Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse

A ton of squinting?

Dotpict is a fun app — if you’re the type to obsess over details. It takes a bit of squinting sometimes when you’re eyeing the tiniest details and can’t seem to see the bigger picture. If that’s not you, it’s the perfect app to challenge you to be patient and precise. It lets you take your time and if you need a break, it autosaves your work so you can come back worry-free. If you want to give dotpict a try, it’s free for both Android and iOS.

SEE ALSO: #ArtistsofSEA: Celebrate the diversity of Southeast Asian art


BlackBerry Messenger is shutting down

Enterprise version will live on



Do you still remember your BlackBerry Messenger PIN? Almost a decade ago, BBM was the world’s most efficient solution for instant messaging. Before dependable data plans simplified messaging, BlackBerry offered a free alternative for its users. Years later, the tables have turned. Data packages have popularized other free messaging services like Messenger, Whatsapp, Telegram, and Viber. BlackBerry Messenger became obsolete.

Three years ago, BlackBerry tried a few resuscitation strategies, adding support between other apps. Unfortunately, it wasn’t enough. Users just flowed liberally to other messaging apps.

Naturally, the end is near. BBM is past its expiration date. Now, BlackBerry has made the funeral official. On May 31, the company will cease support for BBM. Because of a rapidly declining user base, the messaging service will be shut down. At least, for consumers.

Instead, BlackBerry Messenger will live on through its enterprise version. Unlike the consumer version, BBMe — as the enterprise version is called — offers end-to-end encryption and message editing after sending. Initially intended for business users, the service requires a biannual US$ 2.50 subscription fee. Because of the recent announcement, BlackBerry Messenger Enterprise is now available for everyone to download.

“Though we are sad to say goodbye, the time has come to sunset the BBM consumer service, and for us to move on,” BlackBerry said in a blog post. Regardless of its user base now, BBM’s end is a sad day for instant messaging. Back in its heyday, BlackBerry was a major force in the smartphone world, going toe-to-toe with Samsung and Apple. Exchanging BBM PINs was, in itself, a secret handshake exclusive only to BlackBerry users. Whether you were a user or not, BlackBerry Messenger was a huge hit back in the day.

SEE ALSO: BlackBerry KEY2 LE is a toned-down, colorful version of KEY2

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Video sharing app TikTok has disappeared from India

The company has challenged the ban in court



The Indian government has ordered Google and Apple to take down the Chinese-owned TikTok video app after a court expressed concerns over the spread of pornographic material.

The Tamil Nadu state court had on April 3 asked the federal government to ban TikTok, saying it encouraged pornography and made younger users vulnerable to sexual predators. Its ruling came after an individual launched a public interest litigation calling for a ban.

In accordance with the ruling, the government asked Google and Apple to remove the app from Google Play and the App Store, respectively. Both companies have complied with the ruling.

TikTok is one of the most popular mobile apps in India and had been trending on app stores for quite some time. Bytedance, the company that runs the app, says it has more than 500 million users worldwide and 120 million of them are from India.

The app allows users to make and share short videos and it can still be used by those who have already downloaded it on their smartphones. Lip-syncing, jokes, Bollywood music, and memes have been a massive hit with the audience. With a 15-second time limit, the app is competing against behemoths like Instagram and even YouTube.

Bytedance has declined to provide a comment, stating the issue is still in court. The company has challenged the court’s decision and the next hearing is set for April 24.

Last week, a 19-year-old was shot dead by a friend in New Delhi as they posed with a pistol to make a video to show on TikTok. These incidents have fueled criticism for the app and unmoderated videos of minors are rampant.

This wasn’t the first time TikTok had been under scrutiny. In February, The US federal trade commission slapped a fine of US$ 5.7 million on the app to settle allegations of child privacy law violations.

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Plum is a dating app designed for women who want deeper connections

‘Where respect is rewarded’



Tired (of dating apps)? Lonely? Looking for love — well, at least meaningful connections?

One new dating app will try to redefine the dating app experience.

“Where respect is rewarded” — that’s the tagline forwarded by Plum Dating. The dating app aims to reward respectful behavior by men where things other than just looks are factored in.

The brainchild of Jenna Birch, a dating coach and the author of The Love Gap: A Radical Plan to Win in Life & Love, Plum allows women to rate men they’ve encountered on the app and not the other way around. Also, you can only rate the guy, but only after your date. The scoring system revolves around three core values: Profile authenticity, Communication, and Follow-through. As for men, the higher your rate is, the more visible you’ll be in the app.

In theory, this setup aims to scope out the “nice men” as women navigate a safer dating landscape. Think of it: Women have all the control, including if they want the option to message potential mates first, or the opposite, while men legitly just have to be decent people to score well. As to if it will actually work in real life, we’ll find out this spring, which is when the app is slated to come out.

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