Lenka monochrome camera app upgrade adds controls to a lean interface

Lenka, the dedicated monochrome camera app for iPhone was updated today for iOS 8 and now includes additional shooting and editing controls.

Developed by photographer Kevin Abosch, Lenka is designed for shooters of all levels, while delivering a singular aesthetic to its exclusively black and white output. The new 1.1 version is optimized for iOS 8.1 and designed to be used with the new, larger iPhones as well as the smaller iPhone 5 series. An Android version is due out in two weeks.

Launching the updated Lenka reveals a number of new features that give the app greater flexibility. There’s now a choice of whether to use automatic or manual focus, the latter of which is only available with iOS 8. The new version also lets you adjust contrast manually with a control slider. A third slider lets you control a subtle cooler or warmer temperature tint. You can also now shoot your photo with the volume control buttons as well as the large shutter button.

Screen Shot 2014 10 30 at 6.44.25 PM Lenka monochrome camera app upgrade adds controls to a lean interface

Onscreen preview functions and switching the aspect ration from full frame to square format remain the same as the previous version. And like the first version, Lenka does not allow flash photography or the use of the front facing camera — both for creative and aesthetic reasons.

And, as before, Lenka’s exposure is automatic and designed to be “smart” because it dynamically responds to changes in light. However the Lamp button on the upper left corner lets you manually enable a constant light source for fill light or for extreme low-light situations.

Overall, the new additions offer flexibility for the shooting experience without making the app more complex.

Lenka is $2.99 in the App Store, and the upgrade is free for all previous owners.

➤ Lenka [iOS]

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Andy Rubin Is Leaving Google To Start A Hardware Incubator

Andy Rubin, best known for his work on Android at Google, is leaving the company. According to The Wall Street Journal, Rubin will build an incubator for what it describes as companies working with “technology-hardware” products.

Google confirmed the departure to us with a prepared statement from Google CEO Larry Page: “I want to wish Andy all the best with what’s next. With Android he created something truly remarkable—with a billion plus happy users. Thank you.”

It’s not clear whether Google will be involved in any way with this new incubator, either financially or operationally, or what it is called. The company declined to comment on this.

James Kuffner, who worked under Rubin in the robotics division, will be stepping up to take over Rubin’s role running it.

Rubin’s fortunes at Google rose with the rapid growth of Android, Google’s mobile operating system, which is now the most widely used smartphone platform in the world. But while Android has only gone from big to bigger, Rubin seemed to fall out of favor as the person to run it. In 2013, Android fell under the purview of Sundar Picahi, who had formerly managed the company’s work with Google’s Chrome web browser and operating system.

Less than a week ago, Pichai picked up a host of new managerial responsibilities, solidifying his position within Google leadership.

After Rubin left his work on Android, he retreated into Google’s more experimental arm, helping run the company’s robotics efforts — a focus that lines up with his new direction with hardware startups.

Rubin’s background originally was in hardware. Before Google, Rubin worked at Apple, and then co-founded the device maker Danger, but he left a half decade before it was acquired by Microsoft. He then went on to co-found Android with Rich Miner in 2003. Google acquired Android in 2005.

Rubin is not the first high-profile departure from one of Google’s more cutting-edge projects. Sebastian Thrun formally left his role at Google as a VP and Fellow heading up moonshot projects at Google X earlier this year in order to focus more on his education startup Udacity.


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Fire HD

Fire HD 6 Kids Edition, 6″ HD Display, Wi-Fi, 8 GB, Pink Kid-Proof Case
by Amazon
3.0 out of 5 stars(177)

Buy new: $149.00

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In The Best Conditions, iOS-Exclusive Vainglory Is A Top-Notch MOBA


A few weeks back I drove down to the San Mateo headquarters of Super Evil Megacorp, the developer behind Vainglory, one of the prominent multiplayer online battle arenas built specifically for tablets (and, as we discovered at September’s iPhone event, the iPhone 6).

There, I met with the studio’s founders as well as several other developers and quality assurance testers. After we got through introductions, the team, a writer from another publication, and myself sat down in front of 6 iPads Air and Mini from last year’s line-up for an hour-and-a-half of playtime.

The conditions were optimal for a session of multiplayer gaming: everyone had their own screen, the latest (at the time) hardware, and good Wi-Fi setup. We also had every character available to play as, whereas at launch players will have to choose from a rotating group of characters if they want to play for free.

The layout of the game is simplified from its bigger relatives on the PC. Instead of three lanes to take to attack the enemy’s base, there is one straight avenue and a wilderness area where you can sneak around in bushes and kill AI characters for experience, health, gold, or to win over a giant monster to fight for your side. Rather than play through a tutorial, one of the developers looked over my shoulder and gave advice as we went.

With the assistance I got, I quickly got to know the particular combinations of abilities that worked with the two characters I tried during the demo. That said, I reckon that even those who don’t have friends with intimate knowledge of the game’s characters will be able to pick up the game in a group setting. Each character has only three abilities, so if you start on the cautious side you can learn what works and what doesn’t without ruining things for your team. The item system for upgrading attack speed, accuracy, defense, and the like was easy enough to pickup for someone coming from Dota 2 but may not be entirely obvious for users fresh to the genre.

Compared to other MOBAs and action-RPGs I’ve played on tablets, a few things stood out in Vainglory’s favor. Performance was excellent, with no stuttering or major graphical issues in the time that we played (again, in great conditions). Vainglory is also incredibly responsive to taps and swipes, which encourages you to tap and swipe more often, bringing your “actions per minute” to a rather twitch-y level. This in turn seems to make the really key moments — timing attacks just right to kill multiple enemy players or just barely getting out of a fight — actually get your heart rate going. Combined with the friendly-ish trash talk and the face-to-face reactions to the ups-and-downs of the game, the session felt like a mix of what you get out of LoL or Dota 2 and what you get playing Super Smash Bros. on the couch with friends.

Vainglory is only out in a few countries in Southeast Asia at the moment. Super Evil Megacorp is using the limited release to further balance characters (I didn’t notice anything too overpowered) and work out its in-app purchase model to optimize for player satisfaction and, you know, making money. It also means that I didn’t get to play under real conditions — I’ll have to wait until launch to see what it’s like to play when thousands of people are on the same infrastructure or what performance is like on older iPads.

I also didn’t get to see the iPhone 6 version of the game during my visit. The impression I got from talking to the team was that the A8 powering the new iPhones is up to snuff, but making the game feel fair with such a smaller view of the action is trickier than it seems at first glance.

Having played Vainglory, I’m curious to see if its developer’s “if we build it, they will come” assumption is true. I don’t know that most people could get enough people together with the latest iPads and an interest in MOBAs to replicate the experience I had, so the details I didn’t get to see will be key to how it performs after its broader release. What I saw was definitely compelling enough to bring me back to see how that goes.

IMAGE BY Vainglory

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