It's been a tough few weeks for Facebook, but we still love the social network anyway. Its declining stock prices have sent the world into a flurry, and what's worse, Facebook faces several lawsuits for failing to disclose information regarding the company's prospects for mobile growth. Despite the business drama, billions of users are still active on the network, and there's no sign of slowing. For active users out there, here are some handmade goods, books, and other products to show some love for your favorite social network.
Some people spend their Summers soaking up the sun, while we prefer a healthy balance of time outdoors and inside making up for lost gaming time. If you are a game-playing geek, these seven games should keep you busy all Summer long. We've covered our genres, so whether you are a huge Olympics fan or prefer action-packed thrillers, there's a game to satisfy your needs.
The countdown to Summer is on and we can't wait to host picnics in a style all our own. We've covered our geek bases, so if you have a die-hard obsession with classic video games, space travel, or just straight-up cool gizmos, one of these picks is bound to find its way to your next outing.
On most digital cameras, there's a handy way to measure the brightness of a photo. Called a histogram, it's a graph usually found within the menu settings and displayed on the LCD screen, and it records the brightness level of each photo.
In the picture above, the horizontal axis shows the brightness level, while the vertical axis indicates the number of pixels for each brightness level. Hence, the taller the bar, the more pixels at that brightness level. A graph with equal points throughout is a sign of a balanced, properly exposed photo. If most of the bars on the graph are clumped toward the right, then the photo is too bright or overexposed. Conversely, if most of the graph points are clumped to the left of a histogram, then the photo is too dark.
Regularly checking your camera's histogram to balance the light meter when shooting pictures will lessen the need for later editing. However, histograms do work wonders for changing brightness levels in Photoshop and phone apps. Check out three ways to use histogram below.
- On an SLR camera: Check the camera's manual for instructions on how to view the histogram on the camera's LCD display. Viewing the histograms will help determine patterns in exposure. Use a manual setting to adjust the ISO, white balance, and aperture settings until the light meter and histogram are balanced.
- On an iPhone: Iris Photo Suite ($2) is a great photo-editing app. Upload a photo, and tap "Adjustments" then "Histogram" to view the photo's histogram. Adjust the brightness levels manually, or use the "Magic Touch" button for an auto-adjustment.
- In Photoshop: Photoshop's histogram allows you to view a variety of different histograms, including all colors, luminosity, RGB, or specific colors. Edits done by eye can't always be trusted, so these graphs are handy, especially when altering the photo's white balance or brightness levels.
Graduation is the perfect opportunity to ask Mom and Dad for the tech you are dying to own. While grads may have once vied for gaming consoles and laptops, these days it's all about sleek, multifunctional touchscreen tablets. We rounded up the five best tablets for every type of grad that may be on your celebration list this year.
Ready for Summer travels is the recently released Yahoo! TimeTraveler, a free app that offers guided tours in 29 different cities, including London, New York, San Francisco, and Paris, among others. I tried out the app on cities I have lived in (Amsterdam, San Francisco, Los Angeles, New York City, and Dallas), so I feel like I have a firm idea of major landmarks every tourist should hit. The app itself is easy and intuitive to use; however, I see it more as a supplement to travel itineraries. It needs some major updates before I'd be willing to trust it to plan my itinerary entirely.
- The app generates a list of attractions to see in a certain time frame. However, unwanted attractions can be removed with a swipe of the finger, and the app will generate a refreshed list of sights.
- For each city, the app shows an interactive map highlighting the destinations on the itinerary (and in which order they will be visited). The map also pins nearby attractions and restaurants.
- All the basic information for each attraction is right there in one place. The app pulls travel details, hours of operation, photos, and a brief description and history of each destination.
A day at the beach is the perfect chance to capture carefree memories, but the brightness of the sun reflecting off the sand and water doesn't often yield the best photographic results. Before you start snapping away, take a look at three common beach photography problems and simple ways you can avoid them.
- The photos are overexposed: Auto mode can overexpose photos, making them appear washed out. Experiment with the camera's manual setting. First set the camera's ISO (the setting that controls the camera's sensitivity to light) to a low number, like 100. A low ISO setting is best for bright lighting. Set it to a higher number, like 400, when shooting moving objects. Next, change the white balance, and set it to daylight, shade, or cloudy-twilight-sunset, depending on the weather.
- The pics are boring: Transform a shot of the sea by finding a point of interest to focus on, whether it's a rock, crashing wave, setting sun, or flying bird. The object breaks up an otherwise basic-looking landscape. Frame the pic using the rule of thirds, and include the horizon of the beach in the background to give the photo depth.
- The pics have a weird bluish lighting: Try attaching a few filters to the camera. A UV filter will remove the fog effect that is caused from UV rays, and it helps protect the lens from sun damage. Experiment with a polarizing filter to reduce the glare from water and to darken the bright blue hues of the sky. It can be used occasionally, depending on the effect you are hoping to achieve.
Sally Ride, the first American woman to travel to space, turns 60 today! In her postastronaut career, she's continued to dedicate herself to science, investigating both the Space Shuttle Challenger and Columbia accidents, writing five science books for children, and founding Sally Ride Science, an organization helping women pursue tech- and science-related careers. To celebrate her birthday — and our love of astronauts in general — we've gathered 10 astronaut tees to flaunt our gravity-defying interest in space.
We're celebrating 35 memorable years of Star Wars today the only way we know how — a party! How to throw a party the likes no Mos Eisley Cantina regular has ever seen? Start with themed Star Wars snacks, decorations, the right music, and definitely the perfect costume. There's only one rule — be sure to watch at least one of the films from the original trilogy (or keep it on in the background). Get in on the festivities with our party musts.
Photo courtesy of Lucas Film Ltd.
Grab that frosting from a galaxy far, far away (or just sweet stuff from your local galaxy store) ready, as this Friday, Star Wars celebrates its 35th anniversary. It's the perfect excuse to invite friends over for a cupcake-filled viewing party to commemorate one of the greatest space films ever made. No need to be a cupcake master — most of these items require little to no effort. Let the cupcake wars begin!
The new Fall TV shows have been announced, and, of course, we have a discriminating eye for those filled with sci-fi and fantasy elements. From alien comedies to comic-book heroes, there's a show for every geek obsession. Click through to see the five new shows we're hoping will become a new Fall TV addiction.
Real or not real? JumpFromPaper handbags look like they've literally jumped out of a graphic novel or comic book. It may look 2D from the front, but that's all optical illusion! The bags are no cardboard cutout — it's a roomy haven for laptops, tablets, headphones, or just, you know, your everyday needs. The bags are currently preorder only, but the company promises a shipment to the US in June. Prepare to be wowed with the crazy, cool designs.
Take some of that hard-earned PTO, and plan a Summer vacation that speaks to your geek style: peep Japan's latest and greatest, choose your favorite sci-fi convention, or check out theme parks that are anything but ordinary. Click through, and let the vacation inspiration begin!
Most people consider Google to be a connector to information — in the same way that Flickr connects users to photos — yet one UCLA professor has recently taken up the cause that Google functions more as a publisher, like a newspaper, and should be treated as such by the law. And as journalists receive freedom of the press, entitled to pick and choose what content they prefer without government interference, Google's search results, the professor argues, should be protected under First Amendment rights too.
Google, the number one search engine in the world, promises that its algorithm pulls the most relevant results from trusted sources to "answer" search queries related to news, places, people, things, and products. The site does not promise neutrality in those results, and competitors have argued that Google's algorithms favor Google products and Google-owned services. If Google is protected under the First Amendment, then it is protected by law to favor its products and certain websites while excluding others.
Does Google's search-engine product deserve a freedom-of-press type of legal protection, shielding it from claims of anticompetitive practices, or should it be regulated like other large corporations are?
Engage in the messy drama, bloody politics, and sexual escapades of the mythical world of Westeros in the new Game of Thrones Facebook game. Based on the TV and book series, the social game Games of Thrones Ascent mixes storytelling and strategy as seven noble families fight for control of Westeros.
Players choose one of seven noble families to swear allegiance to, cultivate their land, earn money and positive reputation, and make important decisions and alliances with other players. The game's movement relies on conflict arising from social interactions and decision-making, which sounds awfully similar to The Sims Social. In addition, the game seeps into Farmville territory, as players "develop the land," a possible hint at cultivating crops and earning new tools, houses, etc. While the date of release is still unknown, Disruptor Beam, the game's creator, promises fans will be impressed with the original artwork and the social experience.
For a chance to play the beta version, "like" the Game of Thrones Ascent Facebook Page.
The thrill of Disney World's Space Mountain roller coaster is blasting through the unexpected drops, twists, and turns in utter darkness, save for those twinkling stars. A lucky few have experienced the roller coaster with the lights on. Be on the lookout for a "101" announcement when boarding the ride: in Disney jargon, it means "nonoperational." Fingers crossed, it could be a chance to hop on a slow but steady "PeopleMover" cart to experience Space Mountain with the lights on. Watch the video to see the steel behind the magic.
Companies know that peering down to play or work on a tablet can cause back and neck strain, so now they're rolling out ergonomic stands for the iPad. Whether your tablet of choice is Android- or iOS-based, Flote Tablet Stand ($270) works as a floor or bed stand and is designed to bend and move to meet your ergonomic needs.
The stand has a sleek design, complementing Apple's simple aesthetic, and is easy to bend and move into different directions and angles. Sure, it has a shocking price tag, but it could save you hundreds in chiropractor bills. What do you think about the Flote?
Ever wonder what sort of craftsmanship goes into making a $50,000 camera? With fascinating precision, luxury camera maker Leica partnered with Hermès to create the limited special-edition Leica M9-P Edition Hermès camera. Watch as artisan camera makers and leather craftsmen take painstaking care to produce this extraordinary camera and its custom-fit leather case.
Virtual inspiration board site Pinterest is the latest to join the billion-dollar valuation club, and it actually has a calculated worth of $1.5 billion after funding from Japanese ecommerce company Rakuten.
Only a year ago, Pinterest was valued at $200 million, making it just one of the many Silicon Valley sites to experience rapid growth and success as a startup. In the last 18 months, companies including Airbnb, Dropbox, Evernote, and Square made headlines in funding news that estimated the companies' worth at $1 billion or more each. The news of these startups plus Facebook's current $104 billion valuation has us wondering: which, if any, of these companies does the public think is actually worth the money?