All posts in “Apps And Software”

The new Instagram Stories camera is broken and needs to be fixed ASAP

Instagram Stories is broken… again.

In April, Facebook gave Instagram Stories a makeover that makes it more like Facebook. With the new update, Stories no longer need to be photo- or video-based. Instead, you can do things like ask questions, and create polls, quizzes, countdowns, and text-based posts.

I’m all for these new additions. I like the tweaks to the Instagram Stories camera that make it easier to quickly swipe to create things like Boomerangs, Superzooms, and apply camera filters. 

But there’s one glaring problem with the Instagram Stories camera: the viewfinder is busted and it needs to be fixed, like ASAP.

Look, I’m no app designer, but as the first person to “break” Instagram Stories by posting too many clips in 24 hours, I know the format pretty well. As a power user, I can’t stay silent on the crappy new Instagram Stories camera anymore.

See, a camera viewfinder has a single purpose, and that’s to help you frame a photo or video. It shows you what is and isn’t in the frame. That’s it.

A good viewfinder captures exactly what you want framed — no more, no less. However, a bad viewfinder, like the new Instagram Stories camera, captures more than you intend to.

Prior to the new update, the Instagram Stories camera opened up into a viewfinder with a clear, visible window with a 16:9 aspect ratio. You could see exactly what was in the frame. 

But on the new Stories camera, the viewfinder obscures a large chunk of the bottom with a black, concave-shaped carousel for all the various camera modes and filters. The problem is that it blocks a significant portion of what the camera’s capturing.

What you see is not what you get. Take a look at these screenshots. Here, I’m thinking I’m gonna take a cool selfie covering everything below my nose. What I actually get after pressing the shutter button is a selfie with my mouth. That’s not what should happen and not what I wanted.

Okay, gonna take a cool selfie blocking my mouth.

Okay, gonna take a cool selfie blocking my mouth.

Image: raymond wong / mashable

Wait...why is my mouth in the shot?!

Wait…why is my mouth in the shot?!

Image: RAYMOND WONG / MASHABLE

In the below images, the screenshot on the left shows the new Instagram Stories camera viewfinder as seen on my iPhone XS. I was hoping to capture a pic of only my sneakers on the edge of the staircase. Instead, the camera snapped a photo with my legs in it.

Just taking a fun shot of my kicks on the staircase.

Just taking a fun shot of my kicks on the staircase.

Image: RAYMOND WONG / MASHABLE

Wait, I didn't want my legs in there...

Wait, I didn’t want my legs in there…

Image: Raymond wong / mashable

I really don’t want to get graphic, but this is how accidental dick pics happen. You think you’re taking a photo of your muscular legs to show off on Instagram Stories and don’t bother to double-check. And then — boom — next thing you know, all your followers have seen your junk because the Instagram camera over-captured. (This didn’t really happen to me, but I’m using it as an extreme example of what could happen in a nightmare scenario.)

The fix to this problem is really simple: define the bottom edge of the viewfinder again like it was on the old version of the Instagram Stories camera. 

Instagram can still keep the carousel, but just make it clear where the edges of the viewfinder are again. Reduce the opacity of the black carousel the same way it is on devices with 16:9 aspect ratio displays.

I don't have the same framing issues on an iPhone 8.

I don’t have the same framing issues on an iPhone 8.

Image: raymond wong /mashable

I realize this is a first-world complaint. Go ahead and @ me for bitching about the new Instagram Stories viewfinder, but as any photographer or video producer will tell you, precision is important. 

No, really, I dare you to go and tell someone like a foodie Instagrammer that an overhead photo of their meal with an unintentional view of their feet standing on top of a chair isn’t a big deal. It’s a big effing deal that what you see in the camera viewfinder isn’t what you get.

Maybe it’s not an issue for amateurs who are used to farting out any ol’ photo or video, but for people who do care about pixel-perfect content, Instagram needs to fix this problem. 

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Car crash? These apps know — and can get you help right away.

Disclosure

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.

Your phone or car camera can now help if you're in a crash.
Your phone or car camera can now help if you’re in a crash.

Image: owlcam

A growing selection of mobile apps, smartphones, cameras, and other devices can detect if you’ve been in a car crash and then alert the authorities, loved ones, and your insurance agent. 

Android Q’s car crash-detecting feature could one day be built directly into all Android phones. Other companies are doing something similar. Pioneer Electronics has rDrive, a device you plug into your car that shares your location and the level of impact during a crash. 

On Tuesday, Volvo announced its Car Accident Advisor mobile app. After a crash, it will bring up your emergency contacts and a checklist to help you document the accident, and will connect you to repair and insurance professionals. 

After a crash, drivers might be injured, or at the very least frazzled — this is supposed to help guide them through the aftermath in systemic, careful way. 

Other apps want to do the same thing. Jeffrey Blecher, chief strategy officer at Agero, explained that its car app, Driver360, is like “OnStar in your pocket.” Blecher said the app “is designed in a way that you don’t have to interact with it” until you get into a crash, and then it’s right there.

The post-crash app is supposed to help you deal with an incident.

The post-crash app is supposed to help you deal with an incident.

Image: volvo

During a demo with Owlcam‘s CEO Andy Hodge, I saw how a 4G LTE-connected dash camera can be more than a security tool. In a crash, it can contact emergency assistance, and send video of the crash to your phone to show to authorities and insurance companies. 

Someone gets in touch automatically.

Someone gets in touch automatically.

Image: owlcam

Since December, Owlcam has offered 911 assistance for $79 per year. The company says thousands of people have used the service. But starting Tuesday, the company is including the 911 feature for one year in its regular package for $349, which will be available in 550 nationwide Best Buy stores this month.

Ride Check kicks in when the app thinks you've crashed.

Ride Check kicks in when the app thinks you’ve crashed.

Image: uber

Uber introduced a crash detection feature to its ride-hailing app last year. Ride Check pulls up the Safety Toolkit for riders and drivers if it seems like you’ve been in a crash or because of unusual driving behavior. You can then get in touch with 911 or the Uber safety team — all through the app. A spokesperson said the feature is rolling out across the country now.

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What will Google call Android Q? We have some ideas.

What dessert will Google name Android Q after?
What dessert will Google name Android Q after?

Image: LightRocket via Getty Images

Let the speculation begin.

As expected, Google announced more details about the next version of Android, tentatively called “Android Q,” at its annual I/O developer conference.

Standout features in the software update include support for foldable phones and hardened privacy controls. All good things, but what everyone really wants to know is what the Q will stand for.

If Google follows past Android naming schemes, the Q will stand for some kind of dessert. Android P stood for Pie, Android O for Oreo, Android N for Nougat, etc.

But what will the Q stand for? We did some Googling and, honestly, there aren’t a whole lot of desserts that start with the letter. 

Below is a list Mashable’s tech reporters pulled together, from what we feel has a good chance to names that aren’t likely at all. I mean, some of them aren’t even desserts.

  • Android Quiche

  • Android Quince

  • Android Quesadilla

  • Android Quaker Oats

  • Android Queijadinha 

  • Android Quesito

  • Android Quark

  • Android Quail Egg

  • Android Quinoa

  • Android Queso

Are we missing something? What will Google call Android Q when it comes out later this year?

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Get this RapidWeaver web builder bundle on sale for just $50

Just to let you know, if you buy something featured here, Mashable might earn an affiliate commission.
Get $450 off RapidWeaver 8, bundled with essential training.
Get $450 off RapidWeaver 8, bundled with essential training.

Image: pexels

A few decades ago, building a website was an impressive feat simply because you had to code everything from scratch. These days, it doesn’t make sense to do that, not with endless resources available to help you whip a professional looking one in no time at all. Website builders like WordPress, Squarespace, and Wix have seriously changed the game.

The issue is that their theme-based designs tend to offer a limited array of options, so you’re stuck with what you get. Not the end of the world there, but if you do find yourself itching to customize them beyond existing design constraints, then you’re going to have to get down with CSS and JavaScript anyways.

One web design solution that transcends this issue is the RapidWeaver 8 app for Mac. RapidWeaver 8 is truly made for the everyman/woman, thanks to its friendly interface and seamless UI. It’s designed for you to build stunning, responsive websites without writing any code, period.

Image: realmac software

You’ll start by choosing from over 50 built-in themes, which is a respectable selection there. But here’s the true value proposition of the app: you can then customize your site with 1,500 add-ons. The Add-ons manager makes navigating these plugins, themes, and stacks simple and easy, further going along with the theme of usability. Plus, you’ll have access to a responsive device simulator that ensures your site will look stunning whether it’s displayed on a phone, tablet, or desktop.

If you’re not familiar with how to use RapidWeaver, the Complete RapidWeaver 8 Bundle includes not just the app itself, but also a slew of training courses designed to turn you into a pro. You’ll get four included courses that will have you mastering the Foundation framework, SEO best practices, the Total CMS blog platform, and the Pulse CMS online editing tool — all essential to designing a truly professional looking site.

The Complete RapidWeaver 8 Bundle normally retails for $500, but grab it now for $49.99.

Get this PDF editor (a Mac App Store favorite) on sale for 30% off

Just to let you know, if you buy something featured here, Mashable might earn an affiliate commission.
Never fight with your files again.
Never fight with your files again.

Image: Pexels

The million-dollar question: why hasn’t Apple made a PDF editor available as a fallback app on new MacBooks?

If you don’t have a third-party editor installed on your computer, then editing and modifying PDFs is a recurring exercise in torture. The act of manually editing a doc often unfolds as such: convert PDF into Word doc, do editing, take a water break, fix messed-up formatting, eat a cookie, initiate file conversion back into PDF, read Avengers: Endgame plot theories, yell at frozen conversion screen, cry a little…

Enter PDF Expert for Mac. This is one of the top paid apps in the Mac App Store and it’s currently on sale via the Mashable Shop.

Outfitted with a suite of features designed to expedite the PDF modification process, its intuitive interface makes it easy to use, so that editing text, images, links, and outlines are far less painful than you may have come to associate with PDFs. Merging and signing documents, also two of the biggest pains of working with PDFs, are now a breeze with PDF Expert.

On top of that, PDF Expert functions as a user-friendly PDF reader, allowing you to quickly read files and annotate them to your heart’s desire. Plus, share PDFs easily across your Apple devices or with other people, and password protect any docs you want to keep confidential.

PDF Expert for Mac is normally $79.99, but grab it on sale for just $54.99.