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The Wrap: 12 March

Telling your life story

If you liked Facebook’s Lookback videos (remember the gimmick the social network used to celebrate its 10th birthday that turned timeline images into a clip?), you’ll appreciate Sharalike.

The beta desktop and iOS service starts by asking you to select the pictures you want to upload, then creates a video of them complete with a matching soundtrack and a link that makes it easy to share the result on social media. The US creators are dads and wanted an easy way to share the best images of their kids with family. In case you were wondering, this venture started in 2012, well before Facebook came out with Lookback.

One ring to rule them all

Ring is a Kickstarter project that’s just a bit Harry Potter. The difference is you’re not waving a wand to make things happen, you’re waving a ring on your finger. The project’s creators say the ring device will let you send text messages, control smart gadgets in your home and even pay bills.

For home appliance control, you programme gestures via an app which are recognised by these devices. For texts, the letters you form are recognised by Ring’s software. You can also get alerts via LED lights and vibration on the ring and connect it directly with other devices or a routing hub. The scariest part is the ability to gesture a cheque symbol to make a payment or by tracing a payment number with the ring on your finger, using iBeacon payment technology. 


Music in a cone

We know speakers as things that project music from a player to our ears, but Aether looks set to shake up speaker choices with Cone, which only plays us what we want to hear. It’s billed as the thinking music player, because it learns from the choices you make from among streaming services when it serves up tracks in future. Users teach the Cone what the like by turning the dial to let a track play, holding the centre button down to ask for a particular song or turning the dial again to skip to a new tracks. Cone also works with Apple’s Airplay service and will work with any iOS 7 or OS X 10.9 device or higher.

To Oculus and beyond

If you’ve thought about going into space but never quite had the guts, a virtual ride to space could be more your style. Hope for this type of experience comes from a Kickstarter project that plans using the Oculus Rift gaming headset and a weather balloon carrying 24 GoPro Hero cameras to create the impression you’re a space tourist. If you don’t have an Oculus Rift, a desktop and smartphone offering are also part of the plan. The launch is set for July, so get in fast.


Amanda Sachtleben is an Auckland writer and social media type, who's also Idealog's former tech editor and business journalist.

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