Apps

Everything Globe announced at WWGX

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Okay, real talk: We didn’t expect to hear about a lot of exciting stuff when Globe held its first Wonderful Wold with Globe event for the year, for reasons that would probably resonate with local tech insiders.

Fortunately, we were wrong. It turned out that Wonderful World with Globe 10, abbreviated as WWGX, was an eventful affair that featured a Tony Robbins quote about us living in an “entertainment age” and announcements that kept us from dozing off or standing idly on the sidelines while conducting mini-interviews with company executives. (Full disclosure: We did conduct interviews, but only after the show.)


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Globe made a lot of noise and a lot more sense the other night, and we were all ears. Here’s a quick recap of yesterday’s highlights.

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Globe kicked off WWGX by reminding the audience of its ambitious broadband goal for 2020: 20 million households and 20,000 barangays — nearly half the number of barangays in the Philippines — connected through fiber. That’s a rather tall order considering the few fiber-ready areas Globe currently has in place. Still, it was good to hear that more people in the part of the world where fast internet is an exception to the norm would eventually have access to fiber-optic speeds sooner rather than later.

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Speaking of fast internet, Globe gushed about its subscribers getting double-digit download speeds on LTE networks using the 700MHz spectrum it acquired from San Miguel Corporation. The telecommunications company also announced a part of the Philippines’ capital city that now enjoys a high-speed internet experience with its fiber plans.

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Globe got the audience up to speed with its recent deal with Disney Southeast Asia, which brings Watch Disney Channel apps for mobile devices to paying customers. The app themselves live up to their names, offering live and video-on-demand content from one of the largest and most enduring media companies in the world.

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In keeping with its continuing transition to an entertainment company, Globe announced a partnership with U.S. media conglomerate Turner Broadcasting, whose IPs include CNN, TNT, and Cartoon Network. We’re told the latter will benefit most from the deal, meaning more Cartoon Network shows will be available for those who pay a monthly fee.

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It also took to the stage to announce a new partner in Smule, a San Francisco-based startup whose claim to fame is a karaoke app for Android and iOS. The app has seen 50 million downloads on Android’s Play Store since launching in October last year.

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Also joining the fold is eGG, a dedicated eSports channel that brings coverage of the world’s biggest video-game events and more. For Globe subscribers, eGG will be available via the Astro app.

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Sports Illustrated, meanwhile, will offer news, event coverage, and live sports programming, as well as original content from SI sites FanSided and SI Kids.

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The last but certainly not the least addition to Globe’s expanded portfolio is Netflix. We’re unsure what the agreement entails, and whether Netflix’s “first partner in the Philippines” has indeed something delightful to offer, but in an interview with GadgetMatch, Globe senior advisor Dan Horan revealed it has something to do with exclusive offerings, possibly tied to new or existing data and broadband packages.

One of the biggest announcements at WWGX was the unveiling of the second phase of Globe’s modern retail push. Central to this effort is the Tim Kobe-designed Globe Iconic Store that will soon open its doors at Bonifacio Global City in Taguig, alongside two giant high-res outdoor screens hanging from the store’s glass bridge. It’s unlike anything we’ve seen from a telco player — or any retailer, for that matter — and true to the hype, the Iconic Store may be the most memorable retail location in the Philippines for years to come.

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At WWGX, Globe retail boss Joe Caliro announced Globe Live (which he also now heads). “We’re not going down the path of sponsoring anymore,” he said, before detailing Globe’s commitment to collaborating with artists and creative professionals to produce quality musicals and live performances. The company’s first production is “Green Day’s American Idiot,” a musical based on the punk-rock band’s album of the same name.

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Globe has looked to expand its footprint in the entertainment space and recently launched its own production house, Globe Studios. The company has already begun the early stages of developing shows and films top-billed by a talented bunch of contemporary directors.

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To close the show, Globe unveiled new broadband bundles that include a TV, a peripheral, or a video game console, depending on the subscription.

[irp posts=”9513" name=”Globe Prepaid Home WiFi review”]

Apps

Even Microsoft listens to your Skype and Cortana recordings

Absolute privacy is a myth

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A couple of weeks back Apple admitted it listens to accidental triggers of Siri to analyze and improve user experience. They also added that none of the recordings are associated with the user’s identity. However, contractors tasked to listen to these recordings admit coming across clips that revealed personal data.

Now, even Microsoft admits it uses human contractors to review its users’ audio. The list of “listening” companies also includes Amazon, Facebook, and Google. If you want absolute privacy, going off-the-grid may be your only option.


Microsoft uses third-party contractors to listen to your voice conversations on Skype and virtual assistant Cortana. The updated privacy statement says a human review is used to help build, train and improve the accuracy of its artificial intelligence systems.

Motherboard was the first one to come across the new updated policy and company pages for Skype Translator, Cortana, and Microsoft Support now also contain similar disclosures.

While other companies like Facebook, Google, and Apple have suspended these collections, Microsoft says it will “continue to examine further steps we might be able to take.” In simpler terms, “Screw you, we’ll continue doing it.”

The company also says the recordings may actually be subject to “transcription of audio recordings by Microsoft employees and vendors.”

Users are increasingly worried about online privacy since the Cambridge Analytica scandal was revealed. Technology companies have a huge chunk of our daily lives and many aren’t comfortable with it. Especially when privacy policies are complex and security loopholes are widely abused.

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Facebook will have dark mode for mobile

Things are looking bright for our eyes

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It seems Facebook is keen in joining the dark side, together with its fellow popular apps. Jane Manchun Wong, an app researcher, uncovered the tech giant’s plan to release the much-awaited dark mode.

Wong came across the unreleased dark mode for Android by looking in the code underneath, indicating that the tech giant has recently started implementing the feature. However, it seems that Facebook’s dark mode is still in its early stage of development.


While some users declared having it already on Facebook Watch, Wong emphasized that the dark mode is underway across the whole Facebook app.

There are no words yet from Facebook regarding dark mode nor its timeline for implementation. However, things are looking bright for our eyes that are hurt by bright lights should the tech giant implements the much-awaited feature. It’s only a matter of time before we embrace the dark.

See also:

Explaining OLED screens and Dark Mode
Here’s how you can enjoy Dark Mode on Facebook Messenger
Dark mode for Google Chrome is now available for Mac

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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.

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