App review: 6tag brings a near perfect Instagram experience to Windows Phone 8

6tag instagram client windows phone 8 app review lumia 1020 somegadgetguyThe lack of an official Instagram app for Windows Phone has long been held as proof of the lack of quality apps for the WP8 ecosystem. “I mean, windows phone doesn’t even have Instagram? AmIRite! High five!”

The problem with not developing an app for a popular service? Someone might develop that app in your absence. There are a couple different solutions for getting pics off of your gorgeous Lumia camera, and on to Instagram’s servers. As of today, my favorite is now 6tag.

Developed by Rudy Huyn, who has produced a number of popular apps for Windows Phone, including mobile 9Gag and Wikipedia clients, 6tag offers up every feature and filter of available on Instagram with a Windows Phone twist.

6tag instagram client windows phone 8 app review lumia 1020 somegadgetguy screenshot 1

All of the favorites are here. Upon logging in, you’re presented a page full of square pics from all the people you follow. The same interactions are available, being able to like by double tapping the pic for example. To leave a comment or tag someone in a photo, you swipe across the photo to get access to these other options. It keeps the photo stream a little more focused on photography, and it looks a little less cluttered. Plus lateral sliding squares is just so Metro.

6tag instagram client windows phone 8 app review lumia 1020 somegadgetguy screenshot filters

Pics and videos can be uploaded and edited using the same tools and filters as you would find on the official Instagram app. Happily, all of the sharing services are also included, giving you one touch sharing to Facebook, Twitter, Foursquare, Tumblr, and Flickr. Unlike the official Instagram app, Huyn also included sharing support for VK, the second largest European social network behind Facebook.

You can also access your likes and lists of people who have liked and commented on your pics. If I have a complaint here, it’s that the live tile doesn’t seem to update those likes very often. I’ll jump into the app and be surprised that my pet picture recently got a dozen likes. It’s a small smudge on an otherwise great experience.

6tag instagram client windows phone 8 app review lumia 1020 somegadgetguy profile

6tag is free to use, but ads are served on certain screens like your profile or when commenting.

It really is unfortunate that Instagram continues to ignore Windows Phone. Some of the most camera phone passionate consumers are Nokia fans, and Instagram is excluding a base of potential users who have sided with a company producing some of the best cameras ever built into smartphones. Seriously. No Lumia 1020 pics?

Of course, this means an industrious developer can step in to fill the void. Until we get that official app, 6tag will do just fine. Plus if you use instagram, you can find me there as SomeAudioGuy.

6tag on the Windows Phone app store.

PSA: The LTE version of the New Nexus 7 (2013) now available on Google Play

nexus 7 2013 lte version google play store somegadgetguyJust a heads up for you tablet shoppers looking for a mini tablet with LTE capability. FourGees is now available as an option on the 2013 edition of the Nexus 7!

This little tab is rocking the most current version of the Android OS, and it’s completely unlocked and ready to jump on T-Mobile’s small (but growing) LTE network. As expected, the price is $349 out the door with 32GB of storage on board. This is a pretty killer hardware deal as the 16GB WiFi-only version of the iPad Mini is currently selling for $329. Google is offering quite a bit more tech for only $20 more.

Check out the Google Play store for more info!

Seagate to ship 5TB drives next year thanks to a case of the Shingles

seagate smr tech announcment slide harddriveI couldn’t help it. Sorry folks. I just couldn’t walk away from a bad chickenpox joke.

Anywho, this is actually cool new tech. Seagate has been working its SMR process to increases data density on hard drive platters. SMR stands for Shingled Magnetic Recording, and it works pretty much like how it sounds. By shrinking the space between tracks, and then staggering them like roof top shingles, you can increase the amount of storage on a surface.

Starting in 2014, Seagate will move from 1TB per platter to 1.25TB per platter, and shipping four platter drives means we’ll see 5TB storage next year. Pretty exciting stuff as I seem to increase the amount of digital content I create logarithmically each year…

Full PR after the jump.

Continue reading Seagate to ship 5TB drives next year thanks to a case of the Shingles

Verizon and FCC addressing Appellate Court today over Net Neutrality

Verizon-logoI’m not sure that’s how the First Amendment works Verizon?

Verizon is suing to halt the Open Internet Order enacted to protect net neutrality. To oversimplify, it prevents ISP’s from prioritizing their own services or degrading the services of their competitors. Verizon has taken umbrage to this directive, and they think they have a First Amendment argument to striking this type of regulation.

To oversimplify again, they feel the government is interfering with their First Amendment right to interfere with the quality of other companies’ communications and services.

What’s sad is that from a legal perspective they might not actually be wrong here. What powers the FCC might have in regulating the internet still haven’t been expanded or properly defined by Congress, so Verizon has an argument in questioning whether the FCC overstepped its bounds. From Verizon’s brief:

“Broadband networks are the modern day microphone by which their owners engage in First Amendment speech. The FCC thus must identify an actual problem and narrowly tailor its solution to solve that problem. The FCC’s ‘prophylactic’ rules cannot pass that test. The Fifth Amendment likewise protects broadband network owners from government compulsion to turn over their private property for use by others without compensation, especially in light of their multi-billion-dollar investment-backed expectations.”

Today, both Verizon and the FCC will be given 20 minutes apiece to address the appellate court hearing this case. The FCC has also posted a detailed response to all of Verizon’s claims. Lot’s of legal-speak, but it’s an interesting read if you’re into net neutrality.

How the court decides on this case will have far reaching impact on what powers the FCC has to regulate internet communications, and what rights and responsibilities ISP’s have in handling their own and competing internet traffic.

(via Ars)

Microsoft Event on September 23rd to introduce Surface 2

surface 2 media event microsoft somegadgetguyThe invites went out this morning!

So you should all know by now how I feel about writing up rumors (I hate writing up rumors), so thankfully we wont have to wait long to get the full scoop on Microsoft’s next-gen Surface. Come September 23rd, we’ll finally have confirmation on all the hardware deets, like whether it will use a Tegra 4 chipset, if it’ll have a proper 1080p screen, and how that new kickstand will work.

Thankfully we do know that MS will be dropping that confusing “RT” label. So that’s already progress.

Until then, we must find other ways of entertaining ourselves… If only there were other tech stories out there to distract us until the 23rd… If only…

ZAGG Ultra-Slim Bluetooth Keyboard Case for Galaxy Note 8 now available

zagg bluetooth slim keyboard for Galaxy Note 8 somegadgetguyI liked the Note 8 when I got to play with it. Tablets have always been good solutions for media consumption, and they’re getting better at media creation. For writers using a Note 8, ZAGG might have just the accessory for you.

The Ultra-Slim case connects to your Note 8 with a new hinge system, turning your Note into a small Android clamshell. The case also offers full protection of the back plate of your tablet. Connecting over Bluetooth, ZAGG estimates the keyboard should last up to three months of regular use on  a single charge.

Also a nice touch, the keys are backlit, and that back lighting is customizable with seven different colors at your command. The combination of a proper keyboard and S-Pen should make the Note 8 a mini writing powerhouse.

Available today on ZAGG.com for $99.

Lenovo shows off FLEX and Yoga 2 multi-mode touchscreen laptops

lenovo flex multimode laptop somegagetguyLenovo is waging an all out war on Windows 8 touchscreen laptops. Yogas and Twists for more portable, tablet style laptop computing, now they’re introducing a new line of bendy notebooks for people wanting larger screens.

The Flex will come in 14″ and 15.6″ flavors, and comes with the neat hinge trick of swiveling 300 degrees around to prop the screen up in “Stand Mode” to focus on touch apps. It’s a set up I use a lot with my Twist, especially when I’m eating to prevent junk landing on my keyboard. Maybe I Reddit too much, and should take more breaks. Who knows. Prices start at $629 for Flex Laptops.

Also, the Yoga is getting a refresh! Yoga 2 will now be sporting a QHD+ screen. At 3200×1800, it’s four times the resolution of the original Yoga in a 16:9 aspect ratio. It’s disturbingly close to a 4K screen, shocking at only 13.3″. It still retains the keyboard flip, where the base folds behind the screen to offer a tablet mode. All new tech, and it’s also thinner than the previous Yoga.

Lastly, a new version of Yoga will sport the ThinkPad moniker. For business folks looking for an ultra mobile touchscreen solution, a 12.5″ 1080p version of Yoga clad in classic Lenovo black will also be available. Along with Lenovo’s business grade tools like the fantastic Thinkpad keyboard, it’ll also have NFC on board for better connectivity with phones and other accessories. Expect to see Yoga 2 start at $1099 and ThinkPad Yoga around $949.

All of this new Lenovo gear is expected to be available Later this month.

Full PR after the jump.

Continue reading Lenovo shows off FLEX and Yoga 2 multi-mode touchscreen laptops

Bionic Vision Australia performs 1st successful implant of prototype artificial eye.

bionic-eye_0SCIENCE!

I hate to say it, but someday, probably within my lifetime, this will be an elective surgery and I’m TOTALLY on board.

Researchers at Bionic Vision Australia have implanted a prototype “Pre-Bionic” in a patient who suffered severe vision loss due to retinitis pigmentosa. Using a device implanted behind the retina connected to a series of 24 electrodes, this first unit is capable of generating pulses of light. This is a crucial first step in understanding how our “wetware” might interface with our current hardware.

Future bionic eyes will incorporate more electrodes which should result in higher quality information being fed to the brain. We’re cresting that push into true cyborg territory, and I love it!

(via Scientific Wizard)

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