How to take great photos with your cell phone

Originally posted on TED Blog:


Taking great photos isn’t just about having a nice camera. I’m a firm believer that good photography comes from smart photographers who think creatively and know how to make the most of what they’ve got—whether they’re working with fancy DSLR or an iPhone.

On TED’s design team, where I manage TED’s Instagram account, we’re always on the lookout for beautiful, arresting images. Below are 8 non-technical, non-intimidating tips that I continue to refer to even after years of taking pictures.

  1. Keep your lens clean and your battery charged. Yes, both of these things are obvious, but they’re also very easy to forget. With my camera, I like to keep at least one extra fully-charged battery on hand, and I always keep my phone charger with me because it’s such a bummer when you want to take a photo but can’t. Phones can get especially dirty from riding around in…

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This little USB can hack any Mac or OSX in no time….

Originally posted on TechCrunch:


Quick! The bad guy/super villain has left the room! Plug in a mysterious device that’ll hack up their computer while an on-screen progress bar ticks forward to convey to the audience that things are working!

It’s a classic scene from basically every spy movie in history. In this case, however, that mystery device is real.

Samy Kamkar — developer of projects like that massive worm that conquered MySpace back in 2006, or SkyJack, the drone that hijacks other drones — has released a video demonstrating the abilities of a particularly ridiculous “necklace” he sometimes wears around.

Called USBdriveby, it’s a USB-powered microcontroller-on-a-chain, rigged to exploit the inherently awful security flaws lurking in your computer’s USB ports. In about 60 seconds, it can pull off a laundry list of nasty tricks:

  • It starts by pretending to be a keyboard/mouse.
  • If you have a network monitor app like Little Snitch running…

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Microsoft Sway is now open for all….

Originally posted on TechCrunch:

Microsoft’s Sway, an online tool for creating presentation documents, is now generally available to the public. Previously, a waiting list was in place.

That Sway has taken down its rope line isn’t surprising. What is perhaps slightly unexpected are the metrics that Microsoft announced in its blog post concerning the product’s availability.

Here’s the company:

It’s been only 10 weeks since we kicked off Sway Preview, and we’ve already had over one million unique visitors to and over 175,000 requests to join, and those numbers grow by thousands daily.

Ten weeks is 70 days, implying that Sway has seen around 14,285 hits and 2,500 signups per day, so far, on average. The actual count on the traffic side of things is slightly higher, but as Microsoft only specified “over one million,” we can’t be more precise.

I would have had no guess what sort of traffic a product like Sway…

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Tops apps, movies,music for Google Play store for 2014.

Originally posted on TechCrunch:

Google has just released its ‘best stuff of the year’ on Google Play for 2014, and in terms of most downloaded content, it’s not all that different from Apple’s list.

Frozen, The Walking Dead, and Fancy by Iggy Azalea all placed at the top of the list in their respective categories, though the app situation varied a bit from that of Apple’s list, which is an editorial decision while Google focuses on downloads.

In the Google Play store, top apps included Duolingo (which made Apple’s list last year), Netflix, Facebook, and MyFitness Pal to name a few.

Google also said that Health and Fitness was the fastest growing app category.

Here’s the full list from Google. Congrats to the folks who are on it.


Most Downloaded Apps by Category in 2014
Education: Duolingo
Health & Fitness: MyFitnessPal
Music: Pandora
Social: Facebook
Entertainment: Netflix
Sports:NFL Mobile

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First Data Center OS…

Originally posted on TechCrunch:

Mesosphere, the commercial entity built on top of the open source Apache Mesos project, announced some major milestones today, starting with $36M in Series B funding along with the early release of what they are calling the first data center operating system.

The round was led by new investor Khosla Ventures with additional funding from Andreessen Horowitz, Fuel Capital, SV Angel and other unnamed investors. The latest funding brings the total investment to-date to $50M.

2014-12-07_2116Besides the funding though, the bigger news was the announcement of their first data center operating system (DCOS). This is a new kind of operating system that operates on the scale of the entire data center, which means instead of controlling a single machine, the operating system sits on top of the data center and enables administrators to treat all of the resources in the data center as a single, virtual entity. This allows for much simpler management and lets administrators spin…

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Uber now banned in New Delhi…

Originally posted on TechCrunch:

Update: Uber has been banned in New Delhi, Economic Times reports, marking the latest turn of events that began when a driver alleged raped a female passenger late on Friday. Authorities say the service is misleading customer, which could mean bans for rival services.

Attempts to reach the company were unsuccessful, but we will update this story with any response we receive.

Our original story continues below…

Early today, Uber pointed the finger at India’s transportation licensing system after a convicted sex offender who became a driver for the company in New Delhi was arrested on the suspicion of raping a passenger.

Police apprehended a suspect this weekend after a female passenger told them that she had been raped while taking an Uber ride home on Friday night. Subsequent reports have since suggested that the driver previously spent seven months in prison for sexual assault.

That’s according to Huffington Post India, which also claimed he…

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The Star Wars: The Force Awakens

Originally posted on TechCrunch:

If you aren’t heading to the movies today, you still won’t miss out on the Star Wars: The Force Awakens trailer – it’s available now over at iTunes to watch. The highly-anticipated sequel to the sci-fi trilogy from the late 70s and early 80s (and maybe also a decade or so ago, if you happen to count those) comes out December 15, 2015, so know that when you’re watching this trailer you still have to wait over a year before the Force actually awakens.


Is this fair? It is not fair. But take heat, since it seems like only yesterday we found out about this project to begin with: You’ll be back in the loving embrace of the fictional Star Wars universe before you know it. Brb getting in line now.


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