Ancient Tracks Show Diversity Of Australia’s Dinosaurs During Cretaceous Period : SCIENCE : Tech Times

Paleontologists have revealed the discovery of the world’s biggest dinosaur footprint as well as the world’s most diverse collection of dinosaur tracks in Australia.

Giant Footprint Of Herbivorous Dinosaur Sauropod

The gigantic footprint belonged to a sauropod, an herbivorous dinosaur marked by its long neck, which likely measured 17 feet and 9 inches high at the hips. The track, which measures nearly 5 feet and 9 inches, is bigger than the previous record holder, which measured just nearly 3 feet and 9 inches.

The footprint is just one of a series of finds that scientists discovered in Australia’s “Jurassic Park.” Researchers also found 21 different dinosaur tracks and some rocks dating back from as early as 140 million years ago.

The footprints, which were between 140 million and 127 million years old, vary in size. They range from small, measuring about 8 inches, to very large, measuring over 5 feet in length.

Trace Fossils And Diversity Of Dinosaurs

The footprints are considered as trace fossils, left behind by animals but are not parts of the animals themselves.

The trace fossils revealed the diversity of dinosaurs that lived around the region during the Cretaceous period, the geologic period marked by relatively warm climate and an abundance of now-extinct marine reptiles, ammonites, and dinosaurs. The Cretaceous period ended with the Cretaceous-Paleogene extinction event, in which some three-quarters of animals and plants on the planet died out.

Dinosaur Hotspot In Australia

Analyses showed five different track types of predatory dinosaurs, six track types of sauropods, four track types of herbivorous ornithopods, and six track types of armored dinosaurs.

Paleontologist Steve Salisbury from the University of Queensland said that the findings show that Broome, a town on Australia’s western coast, was once a dinosaur hot spot.

He said that the diversity of the tracks was unparalleled on a global level and made the area the “Cretaceous equivalent of the Serengeti.” Serengeti in Africa currently hosts the largest terrestrial mammal migration in the world. The region hosts about 70 large mammal and 500 bird species.

“The overall diversity of the dinosaurian ichnofauna of the Broome Sandstone in the Yanijarri-Lurujarri section of the Dampier Peninsula is unparalleled in Australia, and even globally,” the researchers wrote in their study, which was published on March 24 in the Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology.

“[T]his ichnofauna provides our only detailed glimpse of Australia’s dinosaurian fauna during the first half of the Early Cretaceous,” they added.

Tracks To Provide More Information About Iconic Prehistoric Animal

The tracks are not just fascinating. Scientists are also excited about the find since the dinosaur footprints can help them learn more about the anatomy, diversity, and evolution of the dinosaurs. Analyses of dinosaur bones allow scientists to study the iconic prehistoric animals, but footprints also offer an array of information about these large creatures.

“What stands out are [the footprints’] immense physical size and the great variety of dinosaur tracks found there,” said paleontologist Steve Brusatte from the University of Edinburgh. “Obviously, this part of Australia must have been a dinosaur stomping ground during the Early Cretaceous.”

© 2017 Tech Times, All rights reserved. Do not reproduce without permission.

New iPad is pretty much just an iPad Air – and just as difficult to DIY repair

Apple’s latest iPad launched this month with relatively little fanfare – a minor re-working of the iPad Air line (though dropping the ‘Air’ moniker). It’s a budget play by Apple, looking to attract attention with its $329 (£339, AU$469) asking price.

It’s a good job that the price is relatively affordable for an iPad then as, according to a new iFixit teardown, the new 9.7-inch iPad is all but identical to its original Air predecessor. 

Aside from the addition of the Touch ID sensor (which uses the full button press style rather than the iPhone’s 3D Touch method), all that’s really changed is the removal of the mechanical lock, a solitary speaker grille row and smaller microphone holes.

Low repairability

iFixit also calls into question Apple’s claim that the new iPad has a “brighter” Retina display. It may be brighter than the Air 2, but not necessarily the first Air, with Apple “reverting to the unfused display design of the Air 1” according to iFixit.

As for overall repairability, the new iPad scores a lowly 2 out of 10 from the teardown specialists. Relying on loads of glue and adhesives, you stand a good chance of doing greater damage to the tablet than managing to fix it.

Still, in terms of bang for your buck, the new iPad still looks set to be a solid tablet. Keep an eye out for our full review in the coming days – but perhaps start considering one of those Apple Care plans in the meantime.

Sex-Shifting Parasitic Fish Chooses Gender Depending On Growth Rate, Study Says : SCIENCE : Tech Times

Sea lampreys (Petromyzon marinus) have gained a notorious reputation in the North American Great Lakes. Although considered an endangered species in their native territories – Europe and the Pacific Northwest – their presence inspires terror in U.S. waters, threatening local fish populations and the fishing industry.

These parasitic eel-like fish thrive at the expense of other aquatic creatures, which have come to fear their gaping jawless mouths. Equipped with razor-like teeth, they attack and kill other water inhabitants, latching onto their prey and sucking the blood out.

But that’s not all. Lampreys hide even more secrets in their deadly arsenal of evolutionary traits. According to a new study published on March 29 in the journal Proceedings of the Royal Society B, the parasitic fish can change their gender depending on what their environment has to offer.

Peculiar Sex Determination Tactic

Researchers from the U.S. Geological Survey and Michigan State University set out to investigate how environmental conditions affect growth rates in lampreys. What they discovered instead was utterly unexpected: These “vampire fish” (as they are sometimes called) become male or female as dictated by how much they grow in their larval stage.

This sex determination method is unprecedented in nature, making lampreys the first creatures to undergo sex change based on the resources in their environment. In mammals, sex is established at a chromosomal level, while in reptiles gender assignment is governed by the temperature of the eggs.

The international science journal Nature reports lamprey larvae start out with undifferentiated sexual organs, developing gonads within a year and metamorphosing into adult fish after several more years.

Scientists led by Nick Johnson, a USGS biologist, surveyed the creature’s habitats in the Great Lakes area, including their tributaries and nearby situated reservoirs, and – after making sure there were no wild lampreys in the study sites – released between 1,500 and 3,000 larvae to monitor their developmental process.

More Food Equals More Females

All larvae had been tagged beforehand and so it was easy for the team to recapture them after metamorphosis and observe their sex. The experiment showed the environments with poorer food resources led to slower growth rates in lamprey larvae, which increased their likelihood of becoming male, rather than female.

Such unproductive sites, where prey wasn’t abundant, resulted in a male lamprey population of 78 percent, whereas more plentiful environments only produced 56 percent males.

“We were startled when we discovered that these data may also reveal how sex is determined because mechanisms of sex determination in lamprey are considered a holy grail for researchers,” said Johnson.

He believes the explanation for this species’ gender assignment system lie within larval density, as well as food availability, since a nutrient-rich environment offers better conditions for the fish to produce eggs.

Pest Control Alternative

The newfound data could help establish new ways to keep the lamprey population in check. These invasive and destructive parasitic fish have taken a great toll on the Great Lakes’ ecosystem, decimating native aquatic fauna and disrupting the multibillion-dollar fisheries based in this area.

Previous efforts to curtail the species’ prevalence involved using pheromone bio pesticides to lure females into baiting sites and collect them before they get the chance to breed.

Even though sea lamprey numbers have been reduced by 90 percent, specialists call for even more innovative pest control strategies to protect American lakes from their predatory attacks.

“The results of this study could open paths forward to novel technologies that can disrupt or modify gender in sea lampreys,” said David Ullrich, chairman of the Great Lakes Fishery Commission.

Photo: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Midwest Region | Flickr

© 2017 Tech Times, All rights reserved. Do not reproduce without permission.

The best free office software 2017

Free alternatives to Microsoft Office

The best free office software

When you think of office software, Microsoft Office is probably the first one that springs to mind. This is hardly surprising as so many computer come with a copy of it pre-installed, but the bad news is that in many cases it is just a trial and you’ll need to fork out for an Office 365 subscription to continue using it.

Few people can get by without a word processor, spreadsheet app, presentation tool or even all three, but what if you don’t fancy the idea of coughing up for your office software?

Thankfully, there’s now a superb selection of free office software available, and here we’ve rounded up the very best you can download today. The quality of these apps is truly impressive; you’ll never pay for office software again!


Download LibreOffice free

1. WPS Office Free

Download LibreOffice free now

Well designed, powerful and flexible, WPS Office is the best free office software

WPS Office Free may not be the most famous office suite, but after a recent overhaul we believe it’s the best.

In terms of looks (not that we’re entirely shallow, you understand), WPS Office Free is second to none. If you’ve used any recent version of Microsoft Office, you will feel immediately at home.

At its heart are the three main tools for words, presentations and spreadsheets (hence the name). WPS Office Free also offers some beautiful extra touches, particularly concerning PDFs. Not only is it possible to save documents created in WPS Office as PDFs, you can also convert from PDF to Word. Compatibility is a major feature of the suite, with each of the component program able to save in native Office formats, and the suite is available not only for Windows but also Linux and Android

There are lots of templates available to help you to get started with document creation, and just about the only annoyance with the suite are occasional ads for the premium version of the program. WPS Office Personal and Home adds tools for splitting and merging PDFs, and provides quick email support, but the free edition of the suite is brilliant and will be more than enough for most users.

Download here: WPS Office Free


2. LibreOffice

A capable free office suite that’s in constant active development and supports cloud storage services

If LibreOffice looks more than a little familiar, it’s because it is virtually identical to Apache OpenOffice (below). In many ways it OpenOffice on steroids: it uses the same basic codebase, but it benefits from faster development and more frequent update. If getting bugs squashed and new features added is high on your priority list, LibreOffice should be near the top of your list.

Like OpenOffice, this free office suite has something of a retro look (but not quite to the same extent) and comprises more programs than you’d normally expect to find in an office suite – Writer, Calc, Impress, Draw, Math, and Base.

Anyone who has shifted their life to the cloud will appreciate the support for cloud services such as Google Drive which can be accessed through the Remote Files feature, and there are scores of extensions available to add new capabilities to the suite. A highly recommended piece of software that puts Microsoft Office to the test.

Download here: LibreOffice

Download OpenOffice free

3. Apache OpenOffice

Download OpenOffice free

This well established open source office suite is a solid choice, with six programs rolled into one

Apache OpenOffice goes further than many other suites by providing more than just the three main tools you would expect to find – in fact, there are no fewer than six programs: Writer, Calc, Impress, Draw, Math and Base.

As an open source free office suite, Apache OpenOffice receives frequent updates, and in this regard it trumps Microsoft Office. It’s not only free of charge. It can, unlike some free software, be used for business as well as personal use.

The interface does look a little dated, so if using software that bears more than a passing resemblance to something from the 90s, Apache OpenOffice may not be for you. But, of course, looks are not everything.

What’s particularly impressive is the inclusion of a database in addition to a drawing tool and even a formula creation program – just about every possibility is covered by this impressive suite.

Download here: Apache OpenOffice


Download WPS Office free

4. SoftMaker FreeOffice

Download WPS Office 2016 free

A great-looking free office software suite with ebook creation as a welcome extra

While SoftMaker FreeOffice is available completely free of charge, you do have to jump through the hoop of requesting a product key in order to complete the installation and unlock the software.

When you’re up and running you’ll find that SoftMaker FreeOffice includes the more familiar three office programs – PlanMaker is the spreadsheet, TextMaker the word processor, and Presentations is the slideshow tool.

Things are great aesthetically, and there are some very neat touches such as the ability to not only save documents as PDFs, but also to export them as ebooks in ePub format.

In addition to the traditional, installable version of the software for Windows and Linux, there’s also a portable version available ready to pop onto a USB drive and move from computer to computer – and mobile users have an Android app too. Highly, highly recommended.

Download here: SoftMaker FreeOffice


5. SSuite Office Premium HD+

Download SoftMaker FreeOffice

A free office suite with cross-platform support and a well curated selection of software

Despite being billed as optimized for high definition displays, SSuite Office Premium HD+ looks a little unappealing. But if you can turn a blind eye to its less than perfect looks, you have a capable office suite on your hands .

If you happen to work with more than one operating system, there’s the added advantage that SSuite Office Premium HD+ is available for Windows, Mac and Linux. All three are pretty much identical, so you can flit between them easily.

The developer of this free office software suite has recognized that what most people are interested in is a word processor and a spreadsheet, so gone is the presentation tool you never use!

Plenty of other things have been wheeled in to fill the gap, including an image editor, video conferencing tool, a calendar and personal information manager, a web browser and even an envelope printer. All of the tools are pretty basic, and SSuite Office Premium HD+ isn’t going to win any awards, but it’s still worth taking a look if you’re after something a little different. 

Download here: SSuite Office Premium HD+


What makes great free office software?

When you’re choosing a free office suite, one of the most important factors to consider is file compatibility. You’re likely to be sharing files with people using other tools – both free and paid – so you need programs that are compatible with as many formats as possible, including the most recent Microsoft Office file types.

It’s also important to think about the office software you use now, and how long it will take to adapt to a new interface. The idea of learning a new system might not bother you, but changing from ribbon-based Microsoft Office apps to a menu-heavy design might seem like a step backwards, and cause you to waste valuable time tracking down essential tools.

Pokémon GO Water Festival Draws To A Close, But Shiny Magikarp Will Stay : CULTURE : Tech Times

Niantic Labs surprised Pokémon GO players last week when it announced the Water Festival in-game event, which increased the spawn rates of water-type Pokémon such as Squirtle and Magikarp, along with the ice-type Lapras.

However, upon the launch of the event, gamers were treated to another surprise in the form of a Shiny Magikarp.

Shiny Magikarp Caught In ‘Pokémon GO’

Shortly after the Water Festival started, reports trickled in that Pokémon GO players were catching the shiny version of Magikarp. The shiny Magikarp appears normal on the Pokémon GO map, but upon tapping on it, it will be colored gold instead of its usual red.

The shiny Magikarp does not have any special abilities, nor is it more powerful compared to the normal Magikarp. The only difference that it has over its regular counterpart is its gold color, but that has not stopped Pokémon GO players from launching an all-out hunt for the first shiny Pokémon to be caught in the game.

The shiny Magikarp, however, is not the only such Pokémon that has been added to Pokémon GO. If players would evolve a shiny Magikarp using 400 Magikarp candies, they would receive a shiny Gyarados. Similar to the shiny Magikarp, the shiny Gyarados does not have any discernible advantages over its regular counterpart, with the only difference being its red color compared to the regular Gyarados’ blue color.

Shiny Magikarp Here To Stay In ‘Pokémon GO’

Players who have not yet caught a shiny Magikarp were scrambling to catch one before the Water Festival ended, on the assumption that the availability of the shiny Pokémon will also end after the event.

However, in a tweet by Niantic Labs through the official Pokémon GO account, it revealed the shiny Magikarp will remain in the game, and will still be out in the wild for players to catch. However, it is unclear whether the spawn rate of the shiny Magikarp will remain the same, increase, or decrease with the end of the Water Festival.

There was apparently no way to increase the chance of catching a shiny Magikarp while the Water Festival was ongoing, and it would become much harder to do so with the event having ended as the spawn rate of water-type Pokémon return to normal.

With the shiny Magikarp, and in effect, the shiny Gyarados, to remain in Pokémon GO even after the conclusion of the Water Festival event, it seems to be inevitable that the shiny versions of other Pokémon will soon arrive to the mobile game. How Niantic Labs will go about this remains to be seen, however. The developer might continue rolling out a handful of shiny Pokémon in succeeding events, or it might unlock the shiny versions of all the Pokémon currently in the game all at once.

The addition of the shiny Magikarp, with the expected upcoming entry of more of such Pokémon, to Pokémon GO will likely serve as a simple but effective way for players to remain hooked with the mobile game. Ever since shiny Pokémon were introduced to the franchise, players have gone to great lengths to catch them, and this trend, will likely continue into Pokémon GO.

© 2017 Tech Times, All rights reserved. Do not reproduce without permission.

The best free photo editor 2017

We’re taking and sharing more photos than ever, but even the most skilled photographer is likely to produce a dud or two, and even the best shot straight out of your phone camera could stand to be better.

Photo editing, then, shouldn’t be the sole reserve of those who can afford to stump up the cash for a subscription to Adobe’s Creative Cloud. And no, Microsoft Paint or Apple Preview won’t cut it: you deserve more than mere cropping or a few sliders to tweak.

We’ve given our list a total overhaul and selected the very best free photo editors, ranging from fully-featured Photoshop clones to simple, easy to use ways to add filters and effects to your favourite snaps. These are by no means the only free options, though; if we’ve missed your favourite photo editor, let us know in the comments below.


Download GIMP free

GIMP is a hugely powerful free photo editor, and is getting better all the time thanks to its enthusiastic community of contributors


Download GIMP free

An exceptional free photo editor, GIMP is a worthy rival to premium software

The elder statesperson of free photo editing, GIMP is the most full-featured cross-platform Photoshop competitor going, and gets our vote as the best free photo editor.

It’s not without its crashes and glitches – that’s the too-many-cooks open source development philosophy in action – and it lacks the polish of its commercial rivals. Some of the filters, in particular, seem as if they haven’t been touched since it was first released 20 years ago.

That said, if you’re looking for a desktop free photo editor ready for just about any task, GIMP is it. Its interface will be immediately familiar to Photoshop users, particularly if you switch on the highly recommended single window mode, and it’s still in active development, so new features and filters are added regularly.

Its power and flexibility make GIMP the best free photo editor for Windows.

Download here: GIMP


Download Paint NET free

Paint.NET is a little less intimidating than GIMP, and still has all the essential tools you need to make your photos look great

2. Paint.NET

Download Paint NET free

With layers, filters and plug-ins, Paint.NET has all the essentials to make your photos shine

Sometimes it pays not to be overloaded with bells and whistles. Paint.NET’s simplicity is one of its key features; it leaves it a fast, easy to operate free photo editor that’s perfect for those little tasks that don’t need the sheer power of GIMP.

Don’t be fooled by the name, though. This isn’t just a clone of Microsoft’s ultra-basic Paint – though it was originally intended to replace it. It’s a proper photo editor, just one that lands on the basic side of the curve.

Interface-wise it’s reminiscent of its namesake, but as it’s grown Paint.NET has added essential editing tools like layers, an undo history, a raft of filters, numerous community-created plugins, and a 3D rotate/zoom function that’s useful for recomposing images.

Yes, it’s lacking in certain areas, but if your machine is lacking in power or RAM we can’t think of a better choice.

Download here: Paint.NET


Photo POS Pro has a few limitations, but it’s very accessible, with a choice of two layouts – one for new users and another for those with a little experience

3. Photo Pos Pro

Well designed and easy to use, Photo Pos Pro is a superb photo editor with just a few limitations

Photo Pos Pro isn’t as well known as and GIMP, but it’s another top-quality free photo editor that’s packed with advanced image-enhancing tools. 

Its interface is smarter and more accessible than GIMP’s array of menus and toolbars, with everything arranged in a logical and consistent way. If it’s still too intimidating, there’s also an optional ‘novice’ layout that resembles Fotor’s filter-based approach. The choice is yours.

The expert layout offers both layers and layer masks for sophisticated editing.  as well as tools for adjusting curves and levels manually. You can still access the one-click filters via the main menu, but the focus is much more on fine editing.

Photo Pos Pro also includes a clone brush for erasing unwanted blemishes, and there’s extra support for batch-editing and scripts to help you save time when refining a whole folder of photos.

The free edition of Photo Pos Pro only has one drawback: files can only be saved at a maximum resolution of 1,024 x 2,014 pixels, which might be too small if you’re planning to have them printed professionally. If you want to remove this restriction, Photo Pos Pro Premium is available for a license free of £17.67, US$19.90, AU$29.78.

Download here: Photo Pos Pro

Pixlr Editor is an online-only photo editor that uses Flash to deliver a Photoshop-like experience

4. Pixlr Editor

The best free photo editor for your web browser, with layers, masks and much more

Most browser-based free photo editors are simple Instagram-style affairs that give you a set of filters and little else. Pixlr Editor is different. Provided you have a reliable internet connection and don’t mind the lack of plugins, this free web app is almost as powerful as the best free desktop photo editors.

Load up a photo and you’ll have access to layers, masks, clone stamps, selection tools, and everything else you’d expect from a top-notch image editor. There’s no batch-editing unfortunately, but you can open several images at once and edit them individually.

Because Pixlr Editor is a web app, there’s no software to install and you can use it in any browser that supports Flash. Unfortunately this rules out most mobile devices, and since its developer is currently working on HTML5 versions of other other software, it might give Editor the chop before too long.

For the time being, however, Pixlr Editor is easily the best free photo editor for your web browser.

Try it online: Pixlr Editor

Download Photoscape free

PhotoScape is a free photo editor that’s packed with premium-level tools, including raw file processing

5. PhotoScape

Download Photoscape free

Its interface is unusual, but persevere and you’ll find a brilliant, diverse set of photo-editing tools

PhotoScape might look like a rather simple free photo editor, but take a look at its main menu and you’ll find a wealth of features: raw conversion, photo splitting and merging, animated GIF creation, and even a rather odd (but useful) function with which you can print lined, graph or sheet music paper.

The meat, of course, is in the photo editing. PhotoScape’s interface is among the most esoteric of all the apps we’ve looked at here, with tools grouped into pages in odd configurations. It certainly doesn’t attempt to ape Photoshop, and includes fewer features.

We’d definitely point this towards the beginner, but that doesn’t mean you can’t get some solid results. PhotoScape’s filters are functional and not at all beginner-like, so it’s if good choice if you need to quickly level, sharpen or add mild filtering to pictures in a snap.

Steer clear of the rest of the tools, though: you’ll find better elsewhere.

Download here: PhotoScape


Download Google Nik Collection

Google Nik Collection is a set of Photoshop filters that can also be used as standalone tools

6. Google Nik Collection

Download Google Nik Collection free

A professional-level selection of filters that work as Photoshop plugins or standalone apps

Google’s unending determination to corner just about every market sometimes pays dividends for the pincher of pennies. Take its purchase of German developer Nik in 2012, for example – its Nik Collection photo editor plugin range retailed for US$500 at the time, and in early 2016 Google decided to do away with the price tag and release the powerful collection for free.

We suspect support and updates might be somewhat limited going forward, but this does enable you to bag seven quality photo-editing tools as-is: lens and film emulator Analog Efex; colour corrector Color Efex; monochrome converter Silver Efex; noise reducer Dfine; selective colour tweaker Viveza; and Sharpener and HDR Efex, which speak for themselves.

These are perfect free plugins if you’re already using Photoshop, and you can add them to compatible host applications when you install them, but they can also be run as standalone photo editors if you hunt down their executable files. They won’t appear in your list of Windows apps – you need to look in C:\Program FilesGoogleNik Collection. To edit a photo, drag it onto the EXE file of your chosen editor. It’s a strange system, but it works!

Download here: Google Nik Collection


Fotor’s free toolkit includes batch-processing, so you can tackle a whole folder full of photos at once

7. Fotor

Download Fotor free

A terrific selection of filters for one-click enhancement, plus manual curve and level controls

Fotor is a photo enhancer first and foremost, more than it is a photo editor; if there’s specific area of retouching you need doing with, say, the clone brush or healing tool, you’re out of luck. But it includes a stack of high-end filters that really do shine.

There’s a foolproof tilt-shift tool, for example, and a raft of vintage and vibrant colour tweaks, all easily accessed through Fotor’s clever menu system. You can manually alter your own curves and levels, too, but without the complexity of high-end tools.

Fotor’s most brilliant function, and one that’s sorely lacking in many photo editing packages, is its batch processing tool – feed it a pile of pics and it’ll filter the lot of them in one go, perfect if you have a memory card full of holiday snaps and need to cover up the results of a dodgy camera or shaky hand.

Download here: Fotor


Free photo editor On1 Effects 10.5 Free makes it easy to adjust colors and contrast in your pictures for stunning results

8. On1 Effects 10.5 Free

Download On1 Effects 10 Free

A free photo editor that lets you apply filters to selected areas to make elements pop

The ‘free’ suffix offers some indication of what you’re getting here: On1 Effects 10.5 Free is a cut-down version of On1 Effects 10 proper, pulling out just a limited selection of its filters. But we’re still happy to recommend it, mainly because of its methodology.

Instead of being forced to apply an effect to a full image, you can use On1’s Perfect Brush tool to smear that effect on the areas you’re interested in enhancing, which is a great way to create a unique look. Its quick mask and refine brush tools also make masking off areas of your image particularly easy, so you can make elements pop.

Essentially this is an taster for the full version, but its diminished filter range – HDR, vignette, vintage, glow etc – is still useful and worth trying if you’re after vibrant effects; you’ll have to try another program for sharpening, blurring and noise reduction, so On1 Effects Free isn’t great if you want to preserve the honesty of your photos.

Download here: On1 Effects 10.5 Free


Download Vintager free

If you like Instagram filters but don’t want to be restricted to tiny square pictures, XnRetro’s fully customizable photo effects are ideal

9. XnRetro

Download Vintager free

Fully adjustable old-school filters, though the lack of custom profiles is disappointing

As its name suggests, XnRetro is designed to make your snaps look fashionably old-fashioned. You can apply a filter with a single click and call it a day, or tweak the color balance, contrast, exposure and saturation using a neat array of sliders. Some filters also offer a vignette option for added vintage style.

You can crop your photo to a square to mimic the look of medium-format film, and rotate it in 90-degree increments if you took it with your phone at a strange angle.

If you change your mind, you can easily reset the sliders back to their default values. It’s just a shame there’s no way to store your custom settings as a new profile for future use, as you can in Google Nik Collection. 

Download here: XnRetro

Photoshop Express is a greatly cut-down version of Adobe’s industry-standard software, but its free filters are well made and look great

10. Adobe Photoshop Express

The simplest free photo editor in our roundup, but with the quality you’d expect from Adobe

Photoshop Express is a very different beast to the full version of Adobe’s mighty industry-standard image editor, but it’s useful for giving well-composed pictures the boost they need to become stunning.

There are no advanced editing tools here, so you won’t be able to paint out blemishes, adjust lighting, or even crop your images. Instead, you’re given a selection of good-looking Instagram-style filters and a quick link so you can send the results directly to Facebook, or save them to your PC.

Adobe Photoshop Express is very simple, but the filters are excellent, and more are available as in-app purchases if you want more choice. 

Download here: Adobe Photoshop Express

What makes a great photo editor

All the photo editors we’ve reviewed here are excellent, but different tasks call for different tools. If you’re already happy with the general look of your pictures and just want to enhance them a little before sharing them online, a basic editor that enables you to resize, crop and apply filters will be ideal. Many of these have social media sharing built in, saving you the hassle of saving, then uploading them afterwards.

If you’re planning to print your work, you’ll be better off looking at more advanced photo editors that will give you the fine control you need to make your pictures look perfect at high resolutions. You’ll also need to make sure your free photo editor lets you work with large files; some online-only tools won’t let you upload files over a certain size, and others won’t allow you to export high-res photos unless you pay for a subscription.

FDA Give Approval To Roche Multiple Sclerosis Drug Ocrevus : HEALTH : Tech Times

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved Roche’s drug Ocrevus as treatment for the most severe form of multiple sclerosis (MS).

Ocrevus For Primary Progressive Multiple Sclerosis And Relapsing-Remitting Multiple Sclerosis

FDA’s approval on Tuesday makes the drug the first U.S. approved medicine for the more severe type of the neurological disease called primary progressive MS, or PPMS, which accounts for 10 to 15 percent of all cases of MS.

Patients with PPMS experience gradual worsening of the neurological condition. The drug appeared to slow the progression of disease in patients with PPMS.

In a clinical trial involving more than 700 patients with PPMS, researchers found that those taking Roche’s drug had 24 percent reduced risk of their disability progressing than the patients who were given placebo.

Health regulators also green-lighted the drug, known chemically as ocrelizumab, as treatment for the more common form of MS called relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis (RRMS).

In another trial involving patients with RRMS, those who were given Ocrevus had 47 percent reduction in rate of relapses than the patients taking Merck & Co’s Rebif, an older MS therapy.

“I think that this is a very big deal,” said Stephen Hauser, from the University of California, San Francisco. “The magnitude of the benefits that we’ve seen with ocrelizumab in all forms of M.S. are really quite stunning.”

Side Effects

Neurologist Dhanashri Miskin, from Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City, said that the side effects of the drug appear to be more reasonable than those of other drugs that are currently available as treatment for MS.

Despite this, health experts cautioned about the potential long-term safety of the medicine once it becomes widely prescribed. Natalizumab, which was approved by the FDA for multiple sclerosis years earlier, for instance, was initially found to be relatively safe but it was later found to carry small risk for a nerve-damaging virus.

“The drug looks to be incredibly safe for its efficacy,” said Jerry Wolinsky, from the University of Texas in Houston. “Now the problem, to qualify things, is that natalizumab looked that way when it was approved. Time will tell whether other things will emerge.”

Among the observed side effects of the treatment included upper respiratory infections, cold sores, and reaction at injection site.

How Ocrevus Works

The drug works by targeting a specific type of B cells, which appear to malfunction and play a role in central nervous system damage in individuals with MS. The immunosuppressive drug, which is set to be available in as short as two weeks, is given every six months.

Multiple Sclerosis

Multiple sclerosis is an autoimmune disease, a condition characterized by the body mistakenly attacking itself. It is estimated that over 400,000 people in the United States suffer from MS, 15 percent of whom have the more severe form.

The condition affects the spinal cord and the brain by damaging the myelin sheath, the material surrounding and protecting the nerve cells. Among its symptoms include muscle weakness, visual disturbances, body balance and coordination problems as well as thinking and memory problems.

© 2017 Tech Times, All rights reserved. Do not reproduce without permission.

Did Apple Music really have 10m more monthly users than Spotify in March?

Spotify is generally thought of as ruling the roost when it comes to music streaming services, but a recent report has claimed that Apple Music had than Spotify in March 2017 in the US. 

The report, which comes from , goes on to claim that although Apple’s service has much fewer sessions per month per user (12 compared to Spotify’s 51), Apple Music is leading the way in terms of both smartphone and tablet users. 

There are a couple of things to consider when viewing reports such as this, which could explain why appears to be out of step with our anecdotal experiences. 

Unpicking the numbers

The first thing to consider is that Apple Music comes pre-installed on every iPhone, and that the service comes with a 3 month free trial. Meanwhile Spotify only gives 30 days for free. 

This disparity, combined with the fact that Spotify has much more monthly sessions, indicates that although lots of people are occasionally opening the Apple Music app, people are returning to the Spotify app much more frequently over the course of the month.

This could explain why Apple Music’s numbers are so high in this report while Spotify still appears to dominate the streaming landscape.

Secondly we should consider how Verto acquired this data. According to their own research methodology, this was based on recording the usage data of a select sample of users. If this sample is of a biased selection of users then the overall data will be inaccurate. 

Our scepticism is shared by , which notes that Apple claimed that it had 20 million paying subscribers in December 2016 with 50% of these located outside of the US. If both these figures are true then Apple Music would have had to have gained around 30 million users to reach the numbers reported by Verto. 

Without Verto sharing their workings we might never know where these numbers have come from, but from our perspective they should be taken with a pinch of salt. 

Samsung Galaxy S8 And Galaxy S8+ Chip Shortage: Will It Impact Supply? : TECH : Tech Times

The Samsung Galaxy S8 and Galaxy S8+ are set to hit the shelves soon, but a possibility exists that consumers will have a tough time procuring the smartphones.

According to reports, Samsung is facing a supply shortage issue for the chipsets, which will power the Galaxy S8 and Galaxy S8+.

A report from Korea Herald reveals, that the slow production of Qualcomm chipsets may negatively impact the distribution of the Galaxy S8 and Galaxy S8+. Sources have let on to the publication that the production of Samsung’s Exynos 8895 and Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 835 are sluggish.

“The supply of Samsung Electronics Co.’s upcoming flagship smartphone, presumably the Galaxy S8, may fail to meet demand due to the sluggish production of Qualcomm chipsets, industry sources said Tuesday,” noted the publication.

Samsung Galaxy S8 Release Shifted: Chipset Shortage To Blame?

In March, leakster Evan Blass shared that the launch of both Galaxy S8 and Galaxy S8+ could be delayed by a week. The initial expected release date of the smartphones was April 21, but Blass said it was deferred to April 28. Possibly, the sluggish production of the chipsets led to the release being postponed.

How The Chip Shortage Will Impact Samsung

The Galaxy S8 and Galaxy S8+ will be the first smartphones to house Qualcomm’s latest Snapdragon 835 CPU. Some variants of the smartphones, which will be available in South Korea and a few other markets across the globe, will be powered by the company’s Exynos 8895 chipset.

Reports of Samsung calling dibs on the Snapdragon 835 have emerged online frequently. This was one of the reasons why other OEMs were unable to deploy the chipset on their handsets. Rival LG for instance, was forced to shift to a different processor, or delay the launch of the LG G6 due to Snapdragon 835 SoC’s unavailability.

Samsung was able to monopolize the chipset as it has reportedly assisted Qualcomm in manufacturing the Snapdragon 835. Reports that the Snapdragon 835 chipset will not be made available to other OEMs till the launch of the Galaxy S8 have also been rampant.

It is rumored, that Samsung is expecting plenty of preorders for the Galaxy S8 and Galaxy S8+, more than those of the Galaxy Note 7, Galaxy S7, and Galaxy S7 edge.

If Samsung is unable to fulfill the consumer demand for its next-gen flagship, the company could be in troubled waters. This scenario seems likely if the company does not have adequate Exynos 8895 and Snapdragon 835 chipsets to power its smartphones. The slow production of the chipsets will undoubtedly impact the sales of the smartphones.

If the Galaxy S8 and Galaxy S8+ are not available for purchase, consumers may gravitate toward other handsets such as the LG G6. Moreover, post its Galaxy Note 7 debacle, Samsung needs to keep consumers in good humor.

The OEM promised a Galaxy S8 smartphone to those who bought the Galaxy Note 7 as a replacement, which is also something the company will need to honor. However, the supply shortage of the Galaxy S8 may not allow Samsung to come through on its promise. This would likely lead to more consumer resentment, putting the company’s reputation in jeopardy.

The Galaxy S8 and Galaxy S8+ are expected to become available for preorder in April. It remains to be seen if Samsung can meet consumer demand, despite supposed chipset shortages.

© 2017 Tech Times, All rights reserved. Do not reproduce without permission.

Facebook Live now supports 360-degree video for a more immersive view

Facebook Live is adding a whole new way to stream events and daily goings-on as the streaming platform opens up 360-degree video to all users.

So long as you’ve got the equipment handy, you can now broadcast 360-degree video live on Facebook almost exactly the same way as a normal airing, including the option to choose what audiences and regions your stream reaches, as well as see comments and reactions.

The news comes to us courtesy of Insta360, which develops its own line of 360-degree cameras for Android and Apple devices.

In the video below, the company shows how to get started with 360-degree streaming on Facebook Live, using its own Insta360 Nano and accompanying app to create a fully functioning livestream in just a few short steps.

In addition to the usual Facebook Live settings, you can change the connection quality up to (or even above) the recommended dose of 4Mbps to help customize a nice balance of good picture and smooth performance.

To use 360-degree video on Facebook Live, you’ll need to make sure your compatible camera has its firmware updated to support Facebook Live or set it up manually via the social media site. 

Top Image Credit: Insta360 (via YouTube)