How to adjust 3D Touch pressure sensitivity on the iPhone 6s

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If you’re like me, you got your new iPhone 6s or 6s Plus, and you’re trying out the new features, like 3D Touch. I’ve found 3D Touch immediately useful, but I’d like to be able to tweak the amount of pressure needed to use the feature.

Fortunately, there is a way to make this adjustment. Here’s how.

Adjust 3D Touch sensitivity

    1. On your iPhone 6s or 6s Plus, open the Settings app.
    2. Tap General > Accessibility.
    3. Scroll down until you see 3D Touch in the Interaction section. Tap it.
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The 3D Touch settings are in the Accesibility section of the General settings. (Shown above on an iPhone 6s Plus in horizontal mode.).

  1. Here are the settings for 3D Touch. You can turn off the feature using the switch at the top. Below that is the setting for 3D Touch sensitivity. You have three choices here: Light, Medium (default), and Firm.
    3d touch settings

    Pick a setting and try it out in the 3D Touch Sensitivity Test section at the bottom of the screen. Once you find a setting you like, you can close the app and you’re done.

 

New App to Help Curb Bad Eating Habits

Two Indian-American scientists have designed a new smartphone app that will record your erratic eating habits throughout the day and help you not only cut some bad habits but also prevent “metabolic jetlag”.

Satchidananda Panda and Shubhroz Gill from the Salk Institute have developed the app that can collect, analyse and interpret patterns of food intake in humans.

“The study is about developing methods and offers some preliminary insight into what and when people eat,” said Panda, associate professor in the Salk Institute’s regulatory biology laboratory.

The duo have kept the app simple, only requiring users to send pictures of everything they ate or drank, whether it was an entire water bottle or a few bites of a cookie.

Each click also captured metadata (such as the location where food was consumed) and recorded a timestamp.

Users were healthy males and females between the ages of 21 and 55 who were not actively managing their diet.

“One pleasant surprise was how many participants got used to taking a picture of anything they ate or drank; it almost became their second nature,” noted Gill, post-doctoral associate in Panda’s group.

The context of the pictures spoke volumes. For example, when taken next to a keyboard, in bed, watching TV, on the sidewalk, in the car or while filling gas.

“This is an example of a new class of research studies that have become possible due to the massive adoption of smartphones,” Gill added.

In addition to cutting out some bad habits, the authors feel that the app can also prevent “metabolic jetlag” – when differences in day-to-day or weekday/weekend meal times cause metabolic organs to become out of sync with the body’s overall circadian rhythms.

The app could also be a powerful tool for personalised medicine.

For example, the pictures revealed that nearly two-thirds of participants took some kind of nutritional supplement or vitamins, but the time at which they took these pills varied from day to day.

The same held true for medication.

In addition, the data revealed cultural food practices, such as people’s’ consumption of coffee and milk in the morning, alcohol in the evening, and tea throughout the day.

Also, yogurt was a morning food, sandwiches and burgers were primarily reserved for lunchtime while vegetables and ice cream were saved for the evening.

Photos of chocolate and candy were recorded from pretty much 10 a.m. Onward.

Panda now hopes to test the benefits of time-restricted feeding under different conditions of sleep, activity and disease.

‘Shoto’ Photo Sharing App for Friends Launched

Indian-origin entrepreneur Sachin Dev Duggal, based in San Francisco, on Friday globally launched a new photo sharing app “Shoto” here.

“A trillion pictures were taken on a smartphone in the last one year which goes to show the engagement by users. Users are now more interested in photos which were clicked by others but curation always has been a problem. Shoto makes getting photos clicked by friends on various occasions easier,” Duggal told IANS.

“Shoto tells you how many photos were taken with friends or family members from times spent together and easily lets users share photos and create private or public albums.

“It collects metadata from the phone and asks the user if he or she wants to share the photos, so the privacy issue is also taken care of,” he explained.

The app, which is available on the App Store and Google Play Store, can be downloaded in over 120 countries with local language support. Among the languages available are Hindi, Spanish, French and Mandarin.

Shoto, which was in beta mode till Friday, cost the founder $1.2 million in development. It was founded in 2013 with the intent to solve the inefficiencies often attributed with sharing photos.

The app company also got funding of $1.5 million from investors like Real Ventures and Kunal Nayyar, the Indian-origin actor of popular TV series “The Big Bang Theory”.

Shoto is also a partner of the UN Foundation since June 26, 2015.

Sao Paulo Mayor Seeks Middle Ground on Uber, Eyes Regulations

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Sao Paulo is looking at ways to regulate the Uber ride-sharing service instead of backing an outright ban proposed by local Brazilian lawmakers, the mayor of South America’s biggest city said at a university event in Paris.

“We’re analysing a law that passed in Sao Paulo but has still not been signed, because we want to find a middle way,” Mayor Fernando Haddad said on Thursday in remarks posted online. “The executive branch is analysing the law and we have about 10 days to announce the measures we consider appropriate.”

Haddad did not say whether he was planning a full or partial veto of a law that the city council approved earlier this month banning paid ride-sharing apps such as Uber amid protests by thousands of taxi drivers.

The mayor said he was concerned about the livelihood of Sao Paulo’s roughly 30,000 cab drivers and convinced that the state had to play a role in solving urban transportation issues.

“I personally don’t believe in mobility programs without state regulation,” he said, adding that he shares concerns about Uber expressed by New York Mayor Bill de Blasio, who himself fought an unsuccessful battle to limit the service’s growth.

Uber Technologies Inc’s service has triggered protests by taxi drivers from London to New Delhi as it upends traditional business models that require professional drivers to pay steep licensing fees to drive cabs.

Haddad’s proposed compromise would be the second respite for Uber in Brazil this year, after the governor of the federal district – home to the country’s capital city Brasilia – vetoed a bill banning the ride-sharing service. The mayor of Rio de Janeiro is also weighing whether to sign a law banning Uber.

San Francisco-based Uber said in its website blog that it is open to cooperate with Haddad to create regulation “that supports entrepreneurship, creates new job opportunities and, at the same time, improves transit in the city.”

Uber’s head of government relations in Brazil, Daniel Mangabeira, suggested earlier this month that the service could be regulated in Brazil as it has been in Mexico.

In July, Mexico City became the first city in Latin America to regulate Uber, introducing a 1.5 percent levy on the cost of rides and a yearly permit fee of 1,599 pesos ($95).

Adobe Photoshop, Premiere Elements 14 Get New Tools and 4K Video Support

Adobe on Friday launched Photoshop Elements 14 and Premiere Elements 14, bringing new features to both apps for Mac and Windows. Both apps come with a price tag of $149 (roughly Rs. 9,800) together, or at $99 (roughly Rs. 6,500) separately. While the individual update is priced at $79.99 (roughly Rs. 5,200), the bundled upgrade comes with a $119.99 (roughly Rs. 8,000) price tag.

Adobe Photoshop Elements 14 now lets users now be able to remove camera shake from images or videos with its Shake Reduction feature. It also features a haze removal tool that enhances the image and makes it look clear. This feature is mainly for those situations when the photos are not shot with proper lighting or are taken in a foggy environment. Other new features include a brand new Guided Edit including improved resizing and tools for motion blurring; hair selection via the new Fine Detail Selection feature; Smart Looks intelligent filters, and an improved Quick Edit mode.

For movie-makers, the Premiere Elements 14 brings support for editing 4K resolution videos. Also included are motion titles, which users can include in their videos. The titles come with bounce, spin, and zoom effects. The update also sports a new audio timeline view. The timeline view now also shows audio and lets users work on the recorded volume control. The Black and White Color Pop Guided Edit feature, which was there in the previous version of Photoshop Elements, has now reached the video editor as well. Users can even edit videos to play in fast or slow motion with the new Guided Edit features. The Export and Share feature has also been reworked, while all the audio features have been relocated to a single place.

Both the Photoshop Elements 14 and Premier Elements 14 come with a helper app named Elements 14 Organizer, which has been revamped with new People, Places, and Events views. The application now lets users find and organise both images and videos more easily through the library with enhanced face recognition tool. It also includes a tool to find content geotagged on a map. In the new Events view, media is arranged according to date.

iPad Pro Users Will Have to Pay for Microsoft Office Editing Features

If you’re planning to purchase an iPad Pro and use Microsoft’s productivity suite on it, keep in mind that editing and other advanced features won’t be free.

Microsoft stepped on stage at Apple’s September 9 event to showcase several new features in Office 365 for the iPad Pro. If you’re planning to purchase the device and use Microsoft’s productivity suite on it, do note that editing and other advanced features won’t be free. Microsoft offers both viewing and editing features in iPad for free, but the company has said that it would charge for the same features on the iPad Pro.

The company had announced in March that the editing feature would require an Office 365 subscription on any device with a display larger than 10.1 inches. Even the Android and Windows 10 Office Mobile apps follow the same pricing. So it wasn’t really surprising when the company confirmedto Ars Technica that the iPad Pro users wouldn’t be able to use the aforementioned services for free. However, the iPad Pro thus becomes the first iOS device to not feature free editing on the Office apps for the platform. An Office 365 subscription starts at $6.99-per-month (Rs. 300).

Microsoft released Office for iPad last year. Within hours of its release, the productivity suite apps were among the top free apps on the App Store. While Office suite apps – Word, PowerPoint, Excel – were free to download and do reading, users needed an Office 365 subscription to edit and access advanced features. Later in 2014, the company removed that requirement and made editing features free too, adding the caveat about screen size.

Used by more than a billion people worldwide, Office is a cash-flow product for Microsoft. The company continues to add new features to the service to make it more lucrative to users. It recently released Office 2016 for Mac and Windows platforms that come with many new features including the ability co-author on posts, a black theme, and Tell Me assistant.

Lucasfilm Unveils Prototype Virtual Reality App for Star Wars Filmmaking

Before a planet in a galaxy far, far away is completely constructed inside a computer or entirely built somewhere in the real world, “Star Wars” filmmakers are now able to visit it in virtual reality before production commences.

Rob Bredow, a Lucasfilm visual effects supervisor and head of the ILM Experience Lab, showed off a prototype program Wednesday at an industry gathering of VR creators. The program, called V-Scout, allows filmmakers to virtually experience mocked-up sets on an iPad and Oculus Rift VR headset.

Bredow demonstrated the prototype at the Oculus Connect conference with a visit to the desert planet Jakku that will be featured in director J.J. Abrams’ “Star Wars: The Force Awakens.”

“The idea here is that you can mock up your shots very intuitively if you’re the director, the director of photography or anybody in the filmmaking process before you’ve gone out and planned anything in any detail,” Bredow said. “In this case, we’re just looking at sketch models, low-quality models that the art department mocked up early in the production to work on blocking and scale.”

During the demo, finger motions on an iPad were used to sweep around a downed Star Destroyer in order to frame a shot. At one point, the Oculus Rift headset was used to simulate standing on top of the massive space vessel to illustrate the ship’s height above the sandy wasteland below.

Bredow said Gareth Edwards, director of the spin-off film “Star Wars: Rogue One,” has been using the technology before constructing sets.

In addition to V-Scout, Bredow also showcased a quirky computer-generated, 360-degree demo featuring iconic “Star Wars” characters C-3PO and R2-D2.

In the footage, the rebel droids were hiding from Stormtroopers on the planet Tatooine. The footage was first shown as a linear short film before Bredow employed touch controls on an iPad to navigate past the plot’s main action, revealing bounty hunter Boba Fett lurking in the background and an AT-AT combat vehicle attacking a rebel ship off in the distance.

“We’ve taken pieces that might have ended up on the cutting room floor and are exploring them in this new medium,” Bredow said. “It feels natural. You don’t have to teach someone to use this – and it’s all running on an iPad.”

Bredow noted that despite any perceived similarities, the immersive form of storytelling is neither film nor video game. It’s a new medium that exists somewhere between them.

“We’re letting you do everything but change the story,” Bredow said. “You can change the wind, lighting, all of that, but not the story because we’re making the assumption in this test that you don’t want to change the story. You want to be told a great story and see other things that complement that.”

Lucasfilm and visual effects studio Industrial Light and Magic launched ILMxLAB earlier this year to create such immersive entertainment prototypes, although their potential commercial viability is unclear. The division has so far released 360-degree promotional content featuring creatures and locales depicted in such films as “Jurassic World,” ”Warcraft” and “The Force Awakens.”

Microsoft Launches Invite App to Help Organise Meetings

Microsoft, after launching its ‘Send’ email app for Android earlier this month, has now introduced a new app called Invite. The app, like Send, has been conceptualised by the Microsoft Garage team, and like Send at launch, is currently limited to iOS users in the US and Canada. The new Invite app is said to make it easier for users to organise meetings on the go.

The company said the new Invite app would soon also be reaching the Android and Windows Phone platforms. Microsoft added the Invite app works best for Office 365 Business and School subscription users. Microsoft however says it works with “any email”, including Outlook.com, Gmail, and Yahoo Mail.

The Redmond giant says the app is meant to “overcome the biggest obstacle when scheduling meetings – not being able to see the calendars of attendees outside your organization.” Users can invite others to meetings via email, and they will receive an email or an app notification depending on if they have the Invite app installed or not. Users can suggest multiple meeting times slots. The attendees can then choose the time when they are free, either via the app or the browser. The favourable time given by a user would be visible to other attendees as well.

After everyone has responded as to their ideal times, the person requesting the meeting can choose the final date and time, and tap ‘Send Calendar Invites’ button to place the meeting appointment on the user’s and fellow attendees’ email calendars.

“With Invite you won’t have to worry about whether attendees are inside or outside your organization, what platform they’re on, or whether they have less important meetings squatting on valuable calendar space. Say hello to a simple mobile app that lets you find meeting times that work for everyone from anywhere. Invite. Accept. Done,” says the company blog post.

Microsoft clarified the feature is different from “Send Availability” feature included in Outlook on iOSand Android. “The “Send Availability” feature in Outlook is great for sharing your calendar availability to organize meetings. Invite, however, provides additional automation to this process. You suggest times that work, attendees choose the times that work for them, and their responses are automatically summarized for you. No need to cross-reference potential meeting times yourself,” it said in the blog post.

Google Touts Voice Recognition Improvements for Search and Dictation

Google on Thursday announced that it is now using better acoustic models for its Voice Search feature, which now uses less computational resources, is more accurate, faster, and is more robust to noise interference. The new acoustic models are already being used in the Google app for Android and iOS, which powers the Google Now voice-based virtual assistant, while dictation for Android also sees the benefits.

The Google Speech Team in a blog post said that Google Voice Search, which until now was powered by Deep Neural Network technology, is now using “better neural network acoustic models” powered by Recurrent Neural Networks (RNNs) – specifically, Connectionist Temporal Classification (CTC) and sequence discriminative training techniques.

The new RNN-based models use feedback loops for better recognition that uses less computational resources, allowing its engine to recognise better sounds by also analysing the sound that came before and after it. For example, the /m/ and /j/ sounds surrounding the /u/ in the word ‘museum’. This, alongside CTC recognisers, allowed for better phenome recognition without aggressive prediction. However, since it was using larger chunks of audio, performing it real-time proved to be a challenge. Google said it managed to prevent delays by using prediction based on “ground-truth” timing of speech.

It has added artificial noise and reverberation to the training data, all of which would result in better speech recognition even with ambient noise. The details can be found in the company’s dedicated blog post.

It is worth noting that Google last year in November added the Hindi Voice Search for its Maps for iOS. It also added multilingual voice search as a part of the Google Search update for Android.

Saavn Claims 10-Fold Increase in Daily Active Users in India

Digital music streaming services company Saavn on Thursday said that it has seen a ten-fold increase in daily active users in India in the last one year, and has recorded over 250 million streams a month.

Saavn, which currently has a global team of 145 employees across five offices, said it now has 18 million monthly active users, and over 20 million songs.

The company also said that former Vodafone CEO Arun Sarin has joined the company as a investor and strategic advisor. His joining comes on the heels of the company’s latest funding round in July where it accumulated $100 million (roughly Rs. 660 crores).

Saavn’s Series C round was led by Tiger Global Management, with participation from Bertelsmann India Investments, Steadview Capital, Liberty Media, Mousse Partners, Quilvest, and additional Hong Kong-based hedge funds.

“As CEO of the global telecom giant Vodafone plc, Sarin was one of the first to predict the mass adoption of mobile phones in emerging markets. His support for Saavn underscores a similar trend underway in the music industry,” said Saavn co-founder and CEO Rishi Malhotra.

“With over 90 percent of our usage driven by smartphones, Saavn users are moving data plan transactions and driving data engagement at an incredible pace. In the coming months, you’ll see us work more deeply with carriers in India and additional territories,” he added.

“Music streaming is a core app on today’s smartphones, and Saavn is superbly positioned to grow rapidly in the fast expanding smartphone market in India. As an innovative and nimble music streaming company, at the heart of one of the world’s most valuable markets, Saavn hits all the right notes. I look forward to working with the Saavn team on the company’s continued progress,” Sarin said.