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Creative hacks to improve your Instagram Stories

Using only Instagram and native phone apps

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Instagram has become an outlet for a lot of creatives over the years. It’s evolved from a platform where we share mundane photos of food and moods to hyper-curated grids — until Instagram Stories was introduced, that is. If you’re one of those people who barely post anything other than stories, here are some easy and not-so-simple ways on how they can look better so you can tell your stories better:

Use the native camera app

Photos taken with the Samsung Galaxy Note 10’s wide angle camera, ultra-wide angle camera, and night mode

Most phones released in 2019 now have at least two different cameras — a combination of wide angle and telephoto, or wide angle and ultra-wide angle. Some even have up to three or four in total. Take advantage of these lenses by taking your photos on the native camera app instead of going straight to Instagram. By using an ultra-wide angle lens you can fit more in your shot without walking several steps backwards. If your phone has a built-in night mode, your low light shots will also turn out much better when you take them using the camera app instead of  Instagram’s camera.

“Wrap” your caption around shapes

If your caption is a bit long, get creative by wrapping them around your subject’s shape. If you have a photo of food or coffee for example, you can type the letters one by one around the plate or cup.

Apply your video camera’s built-in filters

Smartphone cameras are getting more and more features each year. On the Samsung Galaxy Note 10 for example, there’s a feature called Live Focus Video where you get a TV glitch filter. This adds a retro, vaporwave aesthetic to your videos without having to install a third party app.

Add doodles

Make your subject pop by doodling around it. You can add dots, lines, hearts, stars, or broken lines around it — whatever you can think of! Doodles can also add a better narrative to your story than captions when Spider-Man appears out of nowhere for instance.

Animate your captions 

By simply adding small GIFs like stars around your caption, or integrating word GIFs into your caption can make it look like it’s animated. If you have a Samsung Galaxy Note 10, you can also get animated handwriting with the S  Pen using the phone’s native editor whether that’s on a photo or a video.

“Mask” your subject 

Another way to make your subject stand out is by “masking” lines or handwriting behind it. Simply write over your subject using any of the pen shapes, then erase parts of the lines or handwriting to make it seem like it appears over and under the subject.

Mix fonts with your handwriting

Instagram’s font selection may be limited but doesn’t mean your imagination should be. Pick any font to write your caption with — ideally anything but Neon — then pick one word to replace with your handwriting. You can also play around with tracking by simply adding spaces in between letters.

The trick in making your Instagram Stories look better is to not overshare and not overdo any of the effects. Just because you can add GIFs doesn’t mean you should plaster the entire screen with them. While it should feel more raw than your posts, be more purposeful in what you share — always try tell a story whether you’re sharing a photo or a video. It’s called Instagram Stories for a reason.

How do you make your Stories different? Share your tips with us in the comments section below.

Apps

AdorableHome: What’s got everyone hooked?

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I have to preface this article with the fact that I struggled a bit to write it because I was mainly obsessing over the tiny details of my home in AdorableHome. I can’t stop and I need help. Being assigned this article was a bit of a mistake considering I have a tendency of fixating over details with games like these. I want everything nice to fill the void that is the impossibility of all this being ever real in my lifetime.

What is AdorableHome?

It’s everything I need to escape my miserable life. Jokes aside, AdorableHome is a cute simulation mobile game developed by HyperBeard. The game seems to be a tip of the hat to Neko Atsume by Hit-Point Co., Ltd. with cats being the surrounding theme.

The game starts off with you picking out your character and your partner. It’s lovely to see that the developers didn’t pre-select your partner to be exclusively the opposite sex. You begin with just having moved into a new flat with your partner with your charming cat.

What is love?

“Baby, don’t hurt me. Don’t hurt me, no more.” Back to the game. It’s interesting. It doesn’t really stop at having cats dominate your home. AdorableHome lives up to its name quite literally. The currency of the game is “Love” which you can obtain by tending to your cat: feeding, petting, and grooming. And, it doesn’t stop there.

The game has you prep a bento box for your partner and you earn “Love” from that too. Similarly, cute elements give collectable love: the weather, lucky TV shows, and visitors.

Cats aren’t the only catch

I think the thing that got me hook, line, and sinker into this game is the fact that you get to furnish and design the home you moved into. There’s just so much decorating and styling on top of taking care of the cats and it just incentivizes making sure the cats are taken care of.

I mean, I spent almost half an hour making sure the garden looked great. But, there’s more reason to switch out and jazz up every room you have access to: visitors.

Silly memories and cute visitors

Once you expand to the garden, you quickly encounter other adorable animals. Which brings me to another thing that makes you check the game every now and again: the silly animals that show up and the memories.

When you sometimes launch the game, it asks you to take a photo which then is transferred to a photo album that shows every sweet or silly interaction. On top of that, there’s just a quirky bunch of animals that visit your home. They appear and disappear at random but, it’s fun to spot unlikely creatures hanging around your home.

There is a polar bear on my desk chair. A POLAR BEAR. Okay, game, okay.

Not as easy?

AdorableHome is a twinge deceptive with its simplicity. The game doesn’t just highlight the collection of cats in your household. It strangely brings to light the responsibilities that having a pet entail. The game goes into lengths to have you feed, pet, cut their nails, and bathe them.

Granted the game does lend an unrealistic number of times to which you tend to their needs, it does try. A detail that I love and hate about bathing the cats in the game is maintaining the temperature at warm, not scorching nor cool.

Cheats and ways to get the good good

Syke! Don’t cheat boys, girls, unicorns, and dragons. Unless you want to take away all the fun of the game then, go ahead. Anyways, playing this game sort of came at a serendipitous time. I’ve been thinking of adopting a pet for a while. I love animals, reptiles included.

I did, at some point, even saved up to get a bearded dragon but, you get the point. It’s been a point of contention to get a pet. I haven’t been sure if I had stable finances to care for a kitten or a pup. But recently, I’ve managed to save up after getting off my antidepressants.

Long story short, I’m looking to adopt a cat soon. Where I live, security has been chucking cats and kittens into sacks for disposal so, I figured it was high time I took a cat safely home.

From this process, I’d come to realize the value in adopting over shopping. I grew up surrounded by a good bunch of both adopted and bought pets. Taking care of both was equally fulfilling but I think that shifts when you realized the attention and affection you give to an adopted pet.

Adopt don’t shop, responsibly

Most pets set for adoption have gone through some form of mistreatment. And, that’s not to say, all of them have. I know some pets up for adoption are well cared for and that’s what the caretaker or owner ultimately wants: a loving home. So, establishing boundaries and hurdling through some trauma, I think it’s safe to say adopting can be a bit more challenging yet, even more fulfilling.

If you’d like to give this game a go, AdorableHome is available only on GooglePlay for Android (for now).

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Facebook, Twitter, Instagram coming to Huawei AppGallery soon

At least, their CEO believes so

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At a press briefing following the launch of the Huawei Mate Xs, Huawei CEO Richard Yu told GadgetMatch that our most used social media apps like Facebook and Twitter should be arriving on the AppGallery soon.

Huawei has been on the unfortunate receiving end of the US government’s ire following accusations of spying for the Chinese government. In 2019, tech news headlines were dominated by the rift between the US and Huawei — the biggest of which happened when the US banned companies like Google from working with Huawei.

It was a huge hit as the company relied on Google’s mobile operating system Android for its smartphones.

The company has started rebounding since. Over the last six months, they’ve announced their own HarmonyOS. It’s not only meant for their smartphones but it’s more of a single OS that connects all of their products.

They have also heavily invested in getting more apps on the AppGallery. This is why Yu strongly believes that all the apps we usually use like Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter will soon be able to easily make their way to all new Huawei phones.

Ban affected their first foldable

Yu also noted that the ban heavily affected the global release of the Huawei Mate X — the predecessor of the Huawei Mate Xs.

The Huawei Mate X never made it out of China specifically because of the lack of Google Mobile Services. This wasn’t an issue in China since the company’s HongMengOS had already gotten a wide adoption in the country.

Now, Huawei hopes to make the same wide adoption through the AppGallery. In the meantime, Huawei is also pushing HTML5 based Quick Apps as an alternative to apps that are not available in AppGallery.

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Facebook will pay for your voice recording, if you agree

It’s for their smart speaker

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Much has been said about Facebook’s track record for violating user’s privacy. As such, the company took some steps to rectify its shortcomings. However, the company remains firm on its data collection practices.  After all, data from the users provide a lot of revenue opportunities for the company.

The company is now trying out an odd way to let it collect these data. Facebook is now resorting to paying willing users to have their voice recorded. By consenting to Facebook’s collection of your voice and personal details, you can get rewards which you can also exchange for a measly amount of money.

If you are eager to try out this Facebook’s new scheme, you can do so by downloading the Viewpoints app. The company launched the app months ago to test out new features for its platform. Through the app, you can receive an invite from the company prompting you to say “Hey, Portal” and the name of your 10 friends in exchange for a reward. Apparently, the social networking company is very eager to know everybody on this planet.

There’s a caveat for trying out though. Only US users can sign-up at the moment. Additionally, you have to say out the prompt five times in order to receive a single reward.

Where will Facebook use the data collected from you? The company is actively developing its new smart speaker — Facebook Portal. By donating your voice to a company with serious privacy violations in the past, you will help them fine-tune the product’s interaction with people.

The company assured that all activity coming from its Viewpoints app will never be shared on Facebook. Also, the company promises to never share all collected data with any other third-party companies without your permission. However, the company still has the right to use other data including payment and device data for better ad targeting.

A step in the right direction?

Over the years, governments and individuals have scrutinized major tech companies for invasive data collection practices. Much of the scrutiny lies in the lack of consent and permission and the scope of data collection. Facebook, in particular, got a bad rep over the years for collecting data anonymously. Worse, the company failed to safeguard this collected data, resulting in leaks with major political implications.

So maybe, this is a step in the right direction for the company. Data collection agreed upon by the users legitimizes the company’s practices — even if it is invasive and unnecessary in the first place.

Source: Android Authority

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