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Why Blackout Tuesday matters and how you can help

What happened last Tuesday?

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I thought Instagram was glitching at first. At midnight on Tuesday, my Instagram feed started flooding with nondescript black squares. At first, none of the posts had any caption or any explanation whatsoever. I was confused. However, as the hour grew longer, the hashtag finally made its long-awaited debut: #BlackoutTuesday.

On every social media possible, everyone participated in the growing online trend. Celebrities. Personalities. Streamers. Creators. Organizations. Companies. African Americans. Asians. Caucasians. Everyone participated in Blackout Tuesday.

What is it? What did it mean? Was it a true way to support the ongoing Black Lives Matter movement? Or was it a PR move designed for those who don’t want to participate in demonstrations?

The black square

By now, the black square (or circle for Facebook) is no stranger to the online world. During tense political upheavals, the iconic image makes an appearance, heralding everyone’s support or opposition towards a specific political stance or event.

Remember the controversial Marcos burial a few years ago? Opposers posted black profile photos with the caption: Marcos is not a hero. It was also used to protest the cybercrime law years ago. Regardless of what it specifically protested, the black image is always a political statement.

In this case, the black square is a symbol of protest against the wrongful murder of George Floyd, an African American man, under the custody of a white police officer in Minnesota, sparking a new #BlackLivesMatter movement. Since the incident, peaceful protests and violent riots have erupted all over the US. In the online world, famous personalities with a platform have used their audiences to spread awareness on the issue. For days, social media was dominated by the #BlackLivesMatter conversation.

On Tuesday, social media took a different direction. Rather than spreading more awareness and furthering the conversation, everyone posted the black square, marking the return of the iconic image. However, this time, the image wasn’t just a political statement. Rather, the online activity had a deeper function.

After flooding social media with the nondescript black squares, the posters ceased all activity on social media for the day. The #BlackoutTuesday movement intended to allow more important voices to be heard. By silencing their voices, they allowed black people more control over the conversation for the day.

In similar fashion, some companies have postponed their long-awaited events to allow the protest to dominate social media. Music streaming services have also reduced their services in a similar #TheShowMustBePaused movement.

It was more than a political statement. It was a call for others to keep quiet and listen to those who had a stronger authority to speak on trauma, racism, and discrimination.

#BlackoutTuesday versus #BlackLivesMatter

Unfortunately, the movement had its drawbacks. At first, participants conjoined both #BlackoutTuesday and #BlackLivesMatter into the same post, creating a strange problem for the protest.

Now, hashtags aren’t just a clever way to add a quirky subtitle for a social media post. They can also help users follow a certain trend. When they search #BlackLivesMatter on Twitter, for example, they can see other posts with the same hashtag.

Naturally, when people searched for #BlackLivesMatter posts on Tuesday, they ran into a strange sight: an overwhelming wall of black. Ironically, in Blackout Tuesday’s attempt to silence all unimportant voices, it flooded social media in a downpour of posts without a voice. Others have also called it a desperate attempt at virtue signaling, a PR move.

Halfway through the day, #BlackLivesMatter protestors urged #BlackoutTuesday posters to stop incorporating both hashtags into the same post. However, it wasn’t to dissociate the movement from Blackout Tuesday, Rather, the guidance was to steer the movement in the right direction.

For all the good intentions that the black squares had, it was truly just a good-natured post. Besides telling posters to stop using both hashtags, Black Lives Matter supporters shared different ways to help the movement beyond the black square or the hashtag.

Beyond the hashtag

Blackout Tuesday is just one part of the ongoing #BlackLivesMatter protests. As the black squares end their one-day effectivity, the call for further action rises to the fore. How can we help the protests from miles away?

First of all, the easiest way is to keep the conversation alive. Blackout Tuesday (or even Black Lives Matter) is not just a one-day event. Neither is it just a purely American concern. The conversation will always be as relevant as it is today and as it is in the US. It is not just a racial war. Wherever discrimination is present, whether it’s race or class, the spirit of Black Lives Matter should always prevail.

Secondly, if you have means to do so, you can always donate to relevant, anti-discrimination foundations or funds. Naturally, donating to a cause in another continent might be too much to ask. However, discrimination happens everywhere. You can still donate or help various causes in your own backyard.

If you don’t have the money or would rather stay at home, YouTube creators have found a revolutionary way to help the cause from afar. Posted first by YouTuber Zoe Amira, these hour-long videos contain art and performances from black artists. However, rather than just an awareness tool, these videos are jampacked with ads. The creators will donate all of the ad revenue to Black Lives Matter funds and foundations. Of course, you’ll have to turn off ad blocker for the duration of the entire video. At the very least, you can mute the browser tab; however, be careful not to mute the YouTube player itself as it nullifies ad revenue.

If you can’t do any of these, the least you can do is to just listen. Everyone has a responsibility to hear out and understand different voices in the racial debate. At this point, either from miles away or right on your backyard, listening is our only way to understand the plights of other people suffering worse things than us.

SEE ALSO: Facebook employees walk out to protest against Trump

News

The OnePlus Watch Harry Potter Edition is confirmed

No news on when it’s coming

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The magic is still alive today. The hype for Harry Potter remains as high as it was back then. Themed merchandise still sells. That said, a tie-up with technology might just break the world. After some substantial rumors in the past, OnePlus has confirmed such a partnership coming soon. The OnePlus Watch Harry Potter Edition is real.

A few months ago, we’ve heard rumors for such a smartwatch. The rumor didn’t exactly reveal how the watch will look like. However, the report does reveal some themed watch faces for the software. Now, we have a glimpse of the actual watch. Even better, it’s from OnePlus itself.

OnePlus India recently tweeted a photo of watch partially covered in shadows. However, the uncovered portion shows a Harry Potter logo on the watch’s strap. The photo also has the caption: “After all this time? Always.” It’s the surest confirmation for a Harry Potter watch.

However, the tweet doesn’t reveal if and when the watch will come to stores. The attached link only indicates a potential sweepstakes coming with the watch. That said, it’s ultimately possible that the watch will only be available through special means, rather than through an actual store.

Either way, the OnePlus Watch Harry Potter Edition is real, and it’s coming. You might not even need to receive a letter from the school to get one.

SEE ALSO: OnePlus Watch Review: Wait for Version 2?

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Cameras

Sony releases lightest, next-generation AF camera lens

The FE 70-200mm F2.8 GM OSS II

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FE 70-200mm

Sony Electronics announced the newest lens in their G Master lineup: the FE 70-200mm F2.8 GM OSS II, which takes autofocus (AF) to the most advanced level yet.

The camera lens is poised to deliver an extraordinary combination of resolution and bokeh, as well as unequalled AF performance in the company’s G Master design.

In a nutshell, the advanced features include:

  • Constant F2.8 70-200 mm telephoto zoom
  • Fast, precise and quiet autofocus (AF) continuous AF tracking capabilities
  • Advanced features for video creators
  • World’s lightest 200 mm large-aperture telephoto zoom lens (approximately 29% lighter than the previous model)
  • Up to approximately 4 times faster AF, with focus tracking while zooming improved by approximately 30% when compared to the previous model
  • Professional-level control and reliability

Designed to perfectly pair with Sony’s E-mount camera bodies, the FE 70-200mm F2.8 GM OSS II is also the lightest F2.8 70-200 mm zoom in the world to allow for more control amongst photographers.

New levels of performance

The new FE 70-200mm F2.8 GM OSS II delivers outstanding image quality with high resolution and clarity throughout its zoom range, thanks to its two aspherical lens elements which focus on precision.

The FE 70-200mm F2.8 GM OSS II effectively controls distance-related aberration variations to ensure outstanding resolution throughout the image area.

To avoid color bleeding while reducing chromatic aberration significantly, the FE 70-200mm F2.8 GM OSS II also employs two extra-low dispersion (ED) spherical glass elements and two Super ED spherical glass elements.

Meanwhile, an ED aspherical element, which is a first in the Alpha system lens is driven to simultaneously suppress chromatic and spherical aberration, and other common issues in telephoto lenses.

Smooth, beautiful bokeh shots

With its large F2.8 maximum aperture and a newly developed 11-blade circular aperture unit, smooth and beautiful bokeh is made seamless.

The lens’ advanced optical design including XA elements thoroughly cancels out the unwanted “onion ring” effect, further enhancing the bokeh.

The FE 70-200mm F2.8 GM OSS II also offers excellent close-up performance with deep bokeh. The minimum focusing distance is 15.7 inches (0.4 meters) at 70 mm and 32.3 inches (0.82 meters) at 200 mm. Maximum magnification achieves 0.3x.

Users may even want to pair the new lens with a high-performance 1.4x or 2.0x teleconverter to extend the lens’ focal length to 400 mm at an F5.6 aperture, all while maintaining its G Master quality.

Sony’s original Nano AR Coating II, meanwhile, comes in play to avoid any unwanted flare and ghosting in tricky lighting conditions as it produces a uniform anti-reflection coating on the surface of the lens.

In addition, the FE 70-200mm F2.8 GM OSS II’s optical design also effectively suppresses internal reflections to improve clarity.

Industry-leading autofocus

The FE 70-200mm F2.8 GM OSS II’s state-of-the-art lens technology brings out the best in the advanced camera body it is paired with.

The new lens uses four Sony-original extreme dynamic (XD) Linear Motors for extraordinary fast and precise AF, making it up to approximately 4 times faster and focus tracking improved by 30 percent when compared to the previous model.

When paired with Sony’s flagship Alpha 1, the FE 70-200mm F2.8 GM OSS II is capable of high-speed continuous shooting at up to 30 fps.

Fast-moving subjects aren’t a problem too, even in videos, as the lens offers smooth AF to lock and focus on such objects. The AF tracking is also available even when using teleconverters.

Advanced features for video

With its maximum aperture of F2.8 combined with its impressive AF performance and versatile controls, the FE 70-200mm F2.8 GM OSS II is an exceptional choice for video too.

The new lens was designed to dramatically reduce focus breathing, focus shift, and axis shift when zooming so that there is minimal unwanted image movement and angle of view variations.

For easy video-use operation, the FE 70-200mm F2.8 GM OSS II features independent control rings for focus, zoom, and aperture (iris), allowing precise manual operation. The aperture ring also has a click ON/OFF switch.

Additionally, Sony’s Linear Response MF ensures a responsive, low-lag manual focus control, while the lens hood features an opening that allows convenient operation of circular polarizing filters or variable ND filters for more creativity.

Designed for professionals

The FE 70-200mm F2.8 GM OSS II is the world’s lightest F2.8 telephoto zoom lens and is approximately 29 percent lighter than previous model, weighing just under 37 oz (1,045g).

Aside from being lightweight, the lens is designed to offer professionals ideal balance without much front-heaviness, ensuring the center of gravity falls directly above the tripod mount.

The new lens includes focus functions such as the Full-time DMF, natural and linear manual focus response and a focus-range limiter switch primarily supports professional needs.

The FE 70-200mm F2.8 GM OSS II also includes three customizable focus hold buttons placed 90 degrees apart for easy access and convenient control when shooting in horizontal, vertical, or just about any angle.

Easy control switches

The lens features a click ON/OFF switch and an iris lock switch for quick and flexible aperture control.

The aperture ring click stops can be turned ON to provide more emphasis to shooting stills, or OFF for smooth and silent aperture control filming.

In addition, the zoom ring torque is optimized and now includes image stabilization with MODE 3 for moving subjects.

Durable in tough environments

The FE 70-200mm F2.8 GM OSS II is designed to be reliable in even the most challenging environments.

It features dust and moisture resistance equal to the FE 400 mm F2.8 GM OSS and FE 600 mm F4 GM OSS, based on initial feedback from professionals.

The front lens element features a fluorine coating that repels water, oil, and other contaminants, while making it easier to wipe off any contaminants or fingerprints that do become attached to the lens surface.

Pricing and availability

In Singapore, The FE 70-200mm F2.8 GM OSS II will be available at selected retail shops and online shops from November 2021  For a full list of specs and information,

In the Philippines, it’ll be available soon.

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News

Samsung Galaxy Unpacked Part 2 happening on Oct 20

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Galaxy Unpacked

As if there weren’t enough events happening next week already, Samsung is joining the fray with Galaxy Unpacked Part 2 happening on October 20th at 10PM GMT+8/ 10AM EST.

There isn’t a lot to go on in terms of the details. All we really got is the image posted above which turns out to be a screenshot of their video invite. The video shows several Samsung native apps being enclosed in cubes.

Samsung’s mobile press room says the event will “see how Samsung is opening up new experiences for self-expression through technology.”

Again, that isn’t a lot to go on, but our best guess is this is something camera-centric with “self-expression” often linked to the camera part of most marketing material. It could also be some form of customization just like their BeSpoke line of products. Our last guess is this is that this is a ONE UI update. Whatever it may be, we will all find out when the event streams on Samsung’s YouTube channel.

The event is happening right after Apple’s “unleashed” which is expected to showcase M1X-powered macs, and the official event of Google’s Pixel 6.

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