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Special shot-on-iPhone XS film reportedly on the way for the Chinese New Year
It looks like Apple will be sharing a new short ‘shot on iPhone XS’ film for the Chinese New Year, created by award-winning film director and screenwriter Jia Zhangke.
A post on Chinese social network shares what appears to be teaser materials for the film. Text invites you to click on text to reveal the protagonist of the film, and doing so reveals a man with a taped-up bucket …
Other text asks whose story will be told, and how the secret will be kept, revealing further images of the man on the back of a motorcycle and a closer shot of the bucket.
A post on China IT News suggests that the film will be officially announced on January 25.
Jia Zhangke shot three short films while a student at the Beijing Film Academy, his second one lm Xiao Shan Going Home winning a top prize at a Hong Kong film festival. He went on to win the Venice Film Festival’s top award for Still Life, and NPR film critic John Powers said that Zhangke may well be the world’s most important film-maker.
Back in August, the Beijing Olympics opened with a dazzling, pyrotechnic ceremony that showed us China as its leaders would like us to see it –- a prosperous, unified, modern country that is able to do anything.
There is, of course, another, less glamorous China, and that’s the one you see in the work of Jia Zhangke, who may well be the most important filmmaker working in the world today. Now 38 years old, Jia has spent his life watching China go from being a backward Maoist nation to a booming, capitalist country that is equal parts police state and Wild West. This is the biggest and fastest social transformation ever, and Jia’s movies — which mix fiction and documentary — have the immediacy of bulletins from the front lines of history.
Apple last year marked the Chinese New Year with the moving shot on iPhone X short film Three Minutes (below).
If your family reunion only lasts three minutes, what will you do? A unique Chinese New Year story shot on iPhone X by director Peter Chan.
The combination of the standard set last year and Apple’s choice of filmmaker this year suggests we can expect something rather special from this year’s ‘shot on iPhone XS’ short.
from 9to5Mac
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2 days ago by axil
27 Free Alternatives to Adobe's Expensive App Subscriptions
Adobe appears to have upset a number of users with another price increase for its app subscriptions. While the hit only appears to be targeting specific countries at this point—you’re spared, North American users—there’s no reason to think that you won’t have to pay more to subscribe to an Adobe app (or its whole suite of creative apps) at some future point. That’s business, folks.
As you can imagine, Adobe’s price increase has set off a flurry of activity on the internet, with many annoyed users jumping onto Twitter threads and blog posts to suggest alternatives to Adobe’s ever-more-expensive subscription apps.
I ran through @burgerdrome’s Twitter thread, as well as an excellent software-recommendations thread started by @TubOfCoolWhip and this handy image of recommendations from “Cullen,” who I would link to if I knew who they were. From there, I created this list of 27 good alternatives to Adobe’s Creative Cloud apps based on what people appeared to be excited about (or recommend in droves).
I haven’t tried out all of these apps myself, nor am I the target audience for them—as I don’t really dabble in 3D animation, alas. While we normally recommend apps we’ve used at Lifehacker, in this case, I’ve included recommendations from the various Twitter users who have suggested them when applicable. (It’s tough, as some apps just got called out by name, which is great for making a list, but not very helpful when describing an app’s features.)
If you don’t like any of these picks, you can always try befriending an educator (or a student) to score that sweet $20/month pricing for Adobe’s full subscription. A word of caution, however: That only works for the first year. After that, you’ll get charged the full, standard rate.
Apps for painting, graphic design, or photo editing
Krita (Windows / Mac)
“I can personally recommend Krita as a viable open illustration program. On the commercial side, I’ve heard good things of Clip Studio Paint and Paint Tool SAI. Krita also has re-editable file layers, filter/effect layers and layer styles.” —@AwrySquare
Sketchbook (Windows / Mac)
“I use Sketchbook with my pen display and I can recommend it. It has a decently easy-to-navigate UI and allows you to save in a .psd format for an easy transfer. The only thing it really needs is clipping groups.” — @xx_unsung_xx
MediBang Paint (Windows / Mac / Mobile)
“a really good free ipad app for art is Medibang paint. It’s just as simple to use as procreate, and has all the features and more :)!!!” — @1lonelyegg (Windows)
“ is a great free Photoshop alternative and @inkscape is a great free Illustrator alternative. Been using those for years, and I have all the Adobe products, but those are still my go to’s. I basically only use my Adobe subscription for Premiere and AE.” — @alexcchichester
Pixlr X (Web)
“Pixlr is a personal favorite! I believe they just added a paid option to get rid of ads but there’s still a fully functioning free version” — @notjoykeenan
GIMP (Windows / Mac)
“For photo editing,GIMP is pretty much Photoshop but free ! While the UI may be less user-friendly,it can give out nice results !” — @FarowlHd
Photoscape X (Windows / Mac)
“Photoscape is free and provides a pretty basic photo editing software! you can do a lot with it like make gifs and batch-edit photos in addition to your basics. been using it for 5+ years and have rarely needed something more” — @trisk_philia
FireAlpaca (Windows / Mac)
“well now im glad i stick to sai and firealpaca. at least they arent laggy as shit and confusing to look at” — @finnifinite
If you need a little more than that to consider FireAlpaca for your setup, the app comes with plenty of standard and quirky brushes for digitally painting your next great masterpiece (or comic). You can even make your own, if you’re feeling especially creative. For those looking to draw some comics, built-in templates make it easy to create specific layouts for a strip. The app’s “Onion Skin” mode also makes it easy to draw animations, as you’ll be creating new layers, or frames, while viewing the previous frame as a reference point.
Last week we asked you to share your favorite overall PDF tool, then we rounded up your favorites…
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Apps for creating storyboards
Storyboarder (Windows / Mac)
“The features on this are pretty good, and you DO NOT have to be able to render/draw well to use this! It can create shot types from key words, which is.... wild. :o” — @TubOfCoolWhip
As editor-in-chief of 99U, Adobe’s publication for creative professionals, Matt McCue oversees…
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Apps for editing videos or creating video effects
HitFilm Express (Windows / Mac)
“Somone may have already mentioned these two but VSDC Editor and Hitflim are neat free editing softwares.” — @NotQueenly
If I’m correct, Hitfilm Express an excellent tool for creating special effects—much more so than your standard video editing app, which might not be quite as fully featured for this kind of work. If you’re just looking to edit and trim videos, and maybe add a simple text overlay, other video apps on this list might be a better fit.
Shotcut (Windows / Mac)
“I found [Shotcut] to be a very good free editor for video editing. It’s worked very well for me and i still use it for smaller things.” — @Monkeygameal
If you’re trying to get crazy, like edit 360-degree videos—as PCMag notes—this might not be the app for you. But for basic video editing with a reasonably uncluttered interface, you can’t go wrong with this free app.
DaVinci Resolve (Windows / Mac)
“Because of Davinci resolve I only have the photoshop/ light room bundle. Once I can find a better alternative to photoshop and light room. Im going to ditch that too.” — @Breonnick_5
Kdenlive (Windows / Mac—sort-of)
Although this multi-track video editor is mainly for Linux users, you’ll still find some slightly older Windows and Mac builds to experiment with. Since the app uses FFmpeg libraries, you can import any video or audio file you want—pretty much. You also get a healthy number of transformations and effects to play with, which you can keyframe for greater precision.
If you have a Chromebook that supports Play Store apps, you may be able to download and use six…
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Apps for 3D modeling, animation, or vector graphics
Blender (Windows / Mac)
“I hate Maya for similar reasons and stick to blender whenever I can.” — @IRBlayne
Blender is the big-guns 3D modeling tool that you dabble with when you don’t want to pay for something like 3DS or Maya. The learning curb is steep, but it’s worth mastering if you’re serious about exploring the space. Once you get good, you can do a lot of amazing things with this free app:
Lumion (Windows, free for students)
“If you are a student, the student version of Lumion is FREE. It is an architecture program that renders reeaal fast and does all kinds of neat stuff such as automatic sites, insertable animations of people doing stuff, you can set things on fire, weather settings, and more.” — @samanthagiford8
Synfig (Windows / Mac)
“Synfig for animation! it’s vector-based and works similar to Flash, it can’t do interactive stuff but Flash games are kind of dying anyway” — @ljamesart
Anything that’s similar to Adobe Flash, but isn’t Adobe Flash, is a win in our book.
SketchUp (Web)
You’ll find this recommendation on the aforementioned “Cullen” list, which indicates it’s a great program for basic 3D modeling. Since it’s (now) completely web-based, you can use it right in your favorite browser on Windows or Mac—or on a Chromebook, I suppose. And, yes, everything you do automatically saves to the cloud, don’t worry.
MagicaVoxel (Windows / Mac)
Here’s another entry on the “Cullen” list—this time, their recommendation for a voxel/brick 3D modeling program. I’m not much of an artist, nor am I a Minecraft wizard (but I do love amazing pixel art), so I’ll instead leave you with a comment from this inspiring 2015 blog post: “I started with [MagicaVoxel]5 months ago and feel like I have really mastered the tool. I saw a Tweet of voxel art image made on Magica Voxel from Ephtracy. That was when I just finished Monument Valley, which I loved. I had to try that tool and fell in love with it right away.”
MakeHuman (Windows / Mac) 
The mysterious “Cullen” also recommends MakeHuman if you want to fiddle around with creating digital characters in three dimensions. If I’m correct, you can import your creations into another app on our list—Blender—to animate them, which is as close as you’ll get to full-featured rendering software like 3DS or Maya without plunking down a ton of change.
Inkscape (Windows / Mac)
“The vector program Inkscape is a wonderful free alternative to Adobe Illustrator” — @GrimdorkDesign
I consistently see Inkscape mentioned as an alternative to Adobe Illustrator around the web. I don’t use Illustrator myself, but if I did, this would be the first app I installed to escape Adobe’s subscription fees.
Android: I hate dealing with PDFs. I understand why they’re necessary, but loading them is a pain…
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Apps for editing audio and creating music
LMMS (Windows / Mac)
“If we’re including music/audio editing software, LMMS and Cakewalk by BandLab are both good free DAWs!” — @MystSaphyr
“DAWs,” for those not in the know, is short for “Digital Audio Workstations.” If you’re making music, go with LMMS (or Cakewalk, below.) If you need to cut audio or convert something to an MP3, you’ll want an app like Audacity.
Cakewalk (Windows)
(See previous recommendation. Thanks, @MystSaphyr!)
ocenaudio (Windows / Mac)
“I’d like to add Ocean Audio [sic] as a simple audio editor as well as REAPER as an inexpensive & extremely powerful DAW (with infinite trial period)“ — @fuzzblob
Audacity (Windows / Mac)
I almost shouldn’t need to say … [more]
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7 days ago by axil
With Google Maps on Apple CarPlay, iPhone owners can finally ditch clunky mounts
With Google Maps on Apple CarPlay, iPhone owners can finally ditch clunky mounts
Every product here is independently selected by Mashable journalists. If you buy something featured, we may earn an affiliate commission which helps support our work.
Image: sasha lekach /screengrab
By Sasha Lekach2018-12-28 16:44:56 UTC
Google Maps on Apple CarPlay
$0 (free on CarPlay-enabled cars)
The Good
Really easy to connect • Similar to Google Maps on iOS • CarPlay integrates well with texts • calls • and music streaming
The Bad
Google Maps not native experience • Difficult to input destination info mid-ride • Not as full-featured as iOS version of Google Maps
The Bottom Line
If you're an iPhone owner but prefer Google Maps to Apple Maps, the CarPlay version is a smooth, albeit limited way to get the in-car experience you want.
Cool Factor4.0
Learning Curve3.0
Bang for the Buck5.0
As an avid Google Maps user on my iPhone, I was excited to jump into a car with a screen that would connect to the navigation app seamlessly through Apple's CarPlay. I usually drive a 1995 vehicle with a tape cassette player, so through GM's car-sharing service Maven I upgraded for the day. 
Once in a more modern, electric blue 2017 hybrid Chevy Volt, I was ready to connect. I use a mount in my usual car to see my iPhone screen, but with Apple CarPlay enabled through the Volt's infotainment system I connected my phone through a USB cord to the car and put my iPhone 6 away into a middle compartment.
It momentarily felt weird to be phoneless, but miraculously a car-version of my phone appeared before me. Through the CarPlay interface I recognized some of my usual apps and services (like my Apple Music player, texts, and phone).
The Google Maps app showed up on my Chevy Volt infotainment screen.
Image: sasha lekach / mashable
Once I scrolled to the Google Maps app, I immediately noticed this wasn't the full-featured Google Maps I was used to. Sure it showed the time to destination and the clear directions on the top of the screen, but I couldn't click over to the alternate routes as easily to see how much faster taking that side street would be. I couldn't change my destination as easily mid-ride and it didn't offer any of the "non-driving" options like taking public transit or walking. This was a stripped-down version made for the car, but it worked plenty fine.
However, this is still an Apple system that's begrudgingly added a Google product into its universe. CarPlay came out in 2014, but it didn't accept third-party navigation apps until iOS 12 came out in September. The announcement came out in June, likely to keep more iPhone users from switching to Android phones to use Google Maps or Waze on Android Auto, Google's CarPlay equivalent. 
Apple's CarPlay website prominently features its smooth integration with its own mapping platform. Google Maps doesn't even make an appearance until the bottom of the page with other third-party navigation apps like Waze and Baidu in the "Choose your favorite navigation app" section.
I noticed this Apple preference right away. I tried using my voice to get directions to SFO on Google Maps, but Siri kept sending me to Apple Maps (which worked perfectly fine but it's just not the same). Then, to get back to Google Maps, I had to hunt down the app icon, manually. Unfortunately it defaulted to the second page of options. Thankfully, you can re-arrange the icons, but you need to do it on your phone. (I opted not to since this was a one-day experience.)
Apple Maps gets preferential treatment.
Image: sasha lekach / screengrab
There's Google Maps, on page 2.
Image: sasha lekach / mashable
Once you're hooked into the infotainment system you'll fall into some of the purposeful limitations of an in-car system: primarily the inability to type or really click on many options on the screen once the car is on and in drive (which totally makes sense from a safety perspective). That means you'll have to rely on voice and keep your eyes on the road, meaning you'll need to be very specific when specifying what app you want to use. And it's frustrating that you can't fall back on typical phone searches in a pinch (or when you're at a particularly long red light).
Bright side: Any saved locations or lists also come up in the app for easy one-tap opening, along with recent searches from your phone. 
While getting texts and even for making calls or playing music, Google Maps app effortlessly blended into my other CarPlay needs. Even if it's not the default maps app, it's built for a dashboard, using the in-dash screen and car speakers to best effect. It also knows when not to hit you with information (the whole point of CarPlay and Android Auto are to give you safer, more car-suited experiences).
If you can't cross town without Google Maps and you've got an iPhone, this lets you navigate without a clunky car mount that might tax your battery to dangerously low levels. However, if you're hooked on all the features that Google's added to its navigation app, then you might be want to stick to the mobile app on a dashboard mount.
However, it's worth noting Apple Maps has massively improved over the last few years. If you have CarPlay anyway, it may be easier to just use Siri have Apple Maps come up as the default when you say to your car, "Directions to SFO." 
As Apple knows, though, there is a cadre of Google Maps users who have all sorts of places, searches, and more saved in their history, and switching over entirely just isn't an option for many of them — hence the massive market for car mounts and solutions. For that crowd, the new CarPlay version of Google Maps is enough to keep them from switching entirely to Android.
from Mashable
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26 days ago by axil
Epic Games earned $3 billion profit in 2018 thanks to cross-platform Fortnite popularity, report says
It’s no secret that Epic Games, the company behind the massively popular Fortnite title, had an incredibly successful 2018. Just how big of a year was it for Epic Games? TechCrunch reports today that Epic grossed a massive $3 billion in profit during 2018…
Sylvania HomeKit Light Strip
The report cites “a source with knowledge of the business,” as Epic Games does not publicly disclose its financial data. 2018 got off to an incredible start for Epic Games, when it released Fortnite for iOS. While it’s unclear how much of the $3 billion in profit came from Fortnite for iOS specifically, data from Sensor Tower has suggested that users on iOS were spending over $1 million per day a couple of months back.
TechCrunch further speculates that Fortnite for iOS earned roughly $385 million in revenue from iOS alone between April and November. Google, however, missed out significantly on sharing revenue with Fortnite due to Epic’s decision to use its own launcher:
We can deduce from Sensor Tower’s November estimate that iOS pulled in $385 million over eight months — between April and November — which is around $48 million per month on average. Android is harder to calculate since Epic skipped Google’s Play Store by distributing its own launcher. Some estimates predicted that Google would miss out on around $50 million in lost earnings this year because in-app purchases on Android would not cross its services
Analysts over the summer predicted that Fortnite would gross $2 billion in 2018, but it’s now clear that those estimates were far too conservative:
As a private company, Epic keeps its financials closely guarded. But digging beyond the $3 billion figure — which, to be clear, is annual profit not revenue — there are clues as to just how big a money-spinner Fortnite is. Certainly, there’s room to wonder whether analyst predictions this summer that Fortnite would gross $2 billion this year were too conservative.
Fortnite isn’t the first success story for Epic Games. TechCrunch explains that the company’s title Gear of Wars grossed $100 million with a $12 million developmental budget. Fortnite, however, has taken things to an entirely new level due in large part to its seamless cross-platform play. Fortnite is available on PlayStation, Xbox, Switch, PC, Mac, Android and iOS.
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26 days ago by axil
胡平:郑重推荐《中国:溃而不崩》 | 清涟居
何清涟与程晓农合著的《中国:溃而不崩》(台湾  八旗文化  2017年11月)自问世以来,好评如潮。时值美中两国爆发贸易战以及中国改革开放40周年,这本书尤其值得推荐。 via Pocket
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7 weeks ago by lao-xian

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