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When you’re hungry for online news, where do you go for a personalized fix? There’s the friend who constantly posts the funniest stories on Facebook before everyone else, or the colleague who shares smart articles on Twitter the second they’re published online. You might even use an app that sorts through online news stories to find exactly what you’ll want to read.
One of the coolest apps out there is Zite, which assembles stories into a personalized digital magazine and simplifies the process of consuming a lot of information in a short time. Since its debut nearly two years ago, I’ve opened Zite’s free app on my iPad nearly every morning. (It also runs on Android and Windows Phone 7.) It displays loads of interesting material on all sorts of topics, and it knows what I like to read because it has tracked my reading habits since the first article I read on Zite.
Starting Tuesday, a new edition of Zite is available for download, updating the existing app on Apple’s iOS 6. (An update for other devices is coming next year.) I’ve been using this new version for the past couple of weeks with a focus on the iPad app. While I like some of its new features, such as a box for current headline news, it tries to do too much without enough focus.
The new Zite puts a lot of emphasis on visuals, forcing people to swipe to new screens to see more stories. Instead of seeing five articles (with headlines, photos and a few sentences per story) in neat squares on the first page of Zite, you’ll now see just three articles. One story includes an extra-large image that swallows up a lot of space and isn’t always clearly distinguished from the rest of the page. Other pages are shown in a layout meant to mimic a glossy magazine, but can come off looking haphazard and too busy.
If these images offered some sort of insightful visual, I might be more accepting of them. But in many cases, the photos don’t show their actual subject. An article about TV personality Alton Brown showed just his pant leg and hand, while a story about a new tech company showed a large black square with a small sliver of someone’s face. Some headlines showed up cut off in mid-sentence.
Zite’s CEO, Mark Johnson, says the app’s algorithm sometimes highlights the wrong part of a photo, and font and software glitches caused the headline issues. He says the company plans to fix both of these problems in an update to the new version, which is expected next month.
So what does this new Zite app do that the old one didn’t? People can now tell Zite if they like articles without opening them by dragging the article up (for thumbs up) or down (for thumbs down). They can see articles that are most popular with other Zite users and can read a stream of Headline News, two features I wondered about while using the original Zite.
A screenshot from the Zite app
A “Featured on Zite” section promotes sponsored pages, like Avant-Garde Design sponsored by Lexus, and other news sources, like the Los Angeles Times.
Readers can now jump from one general article to a Zite page filled with articles on a specific topic mentioned in the article by selecting a topic tag. And an Explore page makes it easy to find more articles by linking Twitter, Facebook, Pocket or Google Reader, or checking out staff picks and popular categories.
Instead of 2,500 categories, Zite now offers 40,000. And the app’s green-and-white app icon has been replaced with a cartoony owl, which the CEO says represents intelligence, curiosity and approachability.
The original Zite used clever animation each time you opened it, swinging images around like they were on a string and neatly displaying them alongside their related articles. Now, the app just opens and articles are shown bumping into each other, like colliding puzzle pieces.
Zite still buries bylines until you open an article, which is frustrating for people like me who might read a story because of the reporter.
Several of the new Zite features give the company more feedback about what users do or don’t like. But the original app was built around the premise that you could do nothing to it and it would steadily improve as you used it. Its algorithm always monitored your every move, including which articles you opened, how long you spent reading an article, if you scrolled down or not and if you gave it a thumbs up or thumbs down. This new version puts ranking in a more prominent spot and makes Zite’s analyzing job easier.
In addition to moving an article up or down to indicate whether or not it’s well-liked, people can select a heart to see more stories on a certain topic. But this doesn’t add the topic to a user’s Quicklist, which is a selection of categories and news sources that someone chooses when first setting up the app.
By letting people dive deeper into specific topics, Zite encourages more discovery, but this blend of topic tags, Quicklist and liking a topic could be confusing.
Finding new categories and stories is easier with this new version of Zite, but maneuvering around the app’s overall layout is not. Its original design encouraged quick reading of a lot of information curated just for you, while this new layout forces you to do a lot of swiping, like with a glossy magazine, until you find what you want to read.
Write to Katherine Boehret at firstname.lastname@example.org.Related Posts:
If Baidu didn’t already have reason take pause at Youku and Tudou’s recent merger, it might now: the newly joined Chinese video giant just announced a five year licensing deal with Sony Pictures. The agreement will put some 300 Sony titles on Youku Premium’s ad-free platform, providing subscribers with classic, critically acclaimed and recent tiles such as Groundhog Day, Across the Universe, and Men in Black 3. The Sony deal also gives Youku Tudou a complete set of major Hollywood content providers, complimenting similar deals with Warner Brothers, DreamWorks, Paramount, Disney, NBC Universal, Lionsgate and Twentieth Century Fox. Check out the firm’s official announcement after the break.
Question by Courtney: I have a motorola xoom tablet. im trying to find where pictures are..? I have pictures in an email. They download and say they are saved but when I click n gallery only pictures I took with the tablet are in there.
Answer by McVillainIn gallery, there should be an album called Download, where the pictures should be sent if you saved the attachments from the email. If all you can see is the camera album, then you may need to tap the back button to go to the gallery main screen.
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twitter.com facebook.com DAILY VLOGS: youtube.com GamerTag: TaylorsiTech Tags: iPhone. iPod Touch. iPad 1, 2, 3. 3g, 3gs, 4, 4s, 5, 4g. First look. Unboxing. iPhone 5 five. New. First. iOS6. Turn by Turn Maps. Australia. Cost. Verizon. AT&T. Vodafone. Telstra. Optus. Virgin Mobile. Plan. LTE. A6 Chip. 2X Faster. iCloud. iTunes. New look App Store. New Features. Apple Ear Pods. Sound. Speakers. Audio Jack. Best. Awesome. Great. Greatest. Unbox. Pictures. Photos.Related Posts:
My Galaxies is a website that translates text into images of real galaxies that look like the letters. Fun! Don’t like the way it turned out? Just hit the ‘Try a new combination of galaxies for the same message’ button — there’s more than one ‘E’ galaxy out there you know! When you’re happy with the way it looks, you can save the image in decent resolution for use in a Facebook cover photo or whatever other sadness you have planned. I spelled every dirty word I could think of and some I just made up before I got bored and screencapped the next thing that came to my mind. It was either this or ‘penis rocket zoom zoom me to the moon’.
Thanks to Melissa, who agrees it’s only a matter of time before we can hire people to actually write things in space with ship-mounted lasers like those guys in the little airplanes do with smoke.
After “seven minutes of terror” involving guided entry, parachute and powered descent, and even a sky crane, NASA’s Curiosity rover has successfully touched down on the surface of Mars. Better yet, the 2,000lbs (900kg) science lab has established communications with Earth and is sending back telemetry along with the first pictures of Gale crater. These initial grayscale images are only 256 x 256 pixels in size but show Curiosity’s shadow on the Martian soil. Peek at our galley below and stay tuned for updates.
Update: NASA’s currently holding a press conference about the landing and the first images.
Question by : Where can I find the pictures my Kinect has taken? I found them on Kinect Joy ride on the home page or whatever of the game but where are they on Kinectimals( if it takes them) and Dance Central?Also please don’t say Kinectshare.com it says I have no pictures on there ( I checked ) but I want the pictures it shows at the end of a game.
Does it not save them? or are they on my hard drive? or what?
Answer by dark_turtle_95im pretty sure if you go into your hardrive and check on memory – games – chose the game – and it mayyyyyyy be in there not 100% sure im getting my kinect tomorow
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Question by L3: What is the best way, to take pictures from a camera onto an Ipad? For Christmas, my father wants a digital camera, that’s not to expensive, that’ll be easy to get the photos of, onto his iPad. Does anyone please have any suggestions of what camera would be good for this? Or any like suggestions?
Answer by DavidCFirst off, you need the camera connection kit. Then you can get any camera that uses a USB stick or an sd card.
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Say you’re a misanthrope and you’re afraid of humans. What to do? Well, you could cower in the dark when people ring your doorbell or you could laugh derisively at their smug faces in the screen of your iPhone. I’m going for the derisive laughter.
This DIY Arduino project involves a simple circuit, a webcam, and a few API calls to PushingBox to enable a truly enjoyable derisive experience.
The system works by pushing images grabbed by the webcam through PushingBox to an app like Prowl or Pushme.to. When the doorbell is pressed, it sends a serial signal to the Arduino board which in turn notifies the various services. The webcam picture then gets sent over to you so you can decide whether to let whoever is outside in.
It’s probably a little more complex than it needs to be, but if you’re totally into watching the world pass you by it’s a great solution and a fun weekend project.