TIME Video Games

The Fallout 4 Pip-Boy Replica Won’t Work With These Phones

Bethesda

Anything over 6 inches is a no-go

The Fallout 4 limited edition, honking big, bona fide replica Pip-Boy won’t work with the iPhone 6 Plus, in case you’re rocking Apple’s 6.22-by-3.06-inch phablet.

Mind you, Fallout developer Bethesda’s $120 not-so-smartwatch, modeled after the gigantic arm-computer players wear in the series, still looks like something a Ghostbuster might strap on — the antithesis of fashion feng shui, but kind of cool anyway. It’s for diehard fans of the upcoming post-apocalyptic free-for-all, which is to say, probably not you.

But even if you are secretly jonesing to cosplay one of the game’s survivors, you’ll need a phone smaller than 6 inches to get the thing to actually do something recognizably Pip-Boy-like via Bethesda’s companion iOS and Android app. The list of compatible smartphones includes all models of the iPhone from 4 until the iPhone 6. You can apparently insert foam to jury-rig a snug fit for other devices, but the top-end size to jam a phone into the Pip-Boy’s frame is 6 inches. That, among others, means no to the Huawei Ascend Mate 7, no to the Nokia Lumia 1520, and definitely no to Sony’s monstrous Xperia Z Ultra.

The Pip-Boy is essentially a green-screen gauntlet, an old-school IBM mainframe screen you clap to your arm. In the game, it’s the interface to all the fiddly roleplaying minutia like characters stats and inventory. It’s also a pretty slick portable radio, say you want to listen to the Ink Spots croon something ironic as you probe the game’s post-nuclear mutant-scape. The limited edition replica version is mostly fan service most likely to grace display shelving. But if you really want your second screen experience served on your forearm (and you managed to snag one of the things before they sold out), bear in mind it’s not phablet-friendly.

TIME How-To

6 Secret Tricks For Photographing Fireworks With Your Phone

Fireworks Light Up Skies Over New York City On The Fourth Of July
Kena Betancur—Getty Images People watch fireworks light up the sky over New York City on July 4, 2013 in Weehawken, New Jersey.

Get ready for the Fourth of July

Firework photography is like the fish that got away. Every summer (or New Year’s Eve), you think you’ve finally mastered your smartphone camera chops to snap a magnificent cascade of falling sparks, only to be left with a camera roll full of blurs.

But this year, with just a little advance planning, maybe you’ll finally reel in the big one, whether it’s a golden horsetail, a fiery chrysanthemum, or a sparkling peony. (Those are all firework effects, not fish names.)

Here’s how to take great fireworks photos with just your smartphone:

1. Turn off the flash

Your smartphone will automatically turn the flash on, because — in case you didn’t notice — you’re standing there in the dark. Don’t let that happen.

“The flash is only going to illuminate things that are within five to 10 feet of you,” says Tony Northrup, a Waterford, Conn.-based photographer and author of How to Create Stunning Digital Photography. “Maybe you actually want to light people up in the foreground, but if you do that, it’s going to under-expose the shot . . . the fireworks will end up too dark.”

So, in that case, try to get their faces lit with a light that’s behind you (and most importantly, the camera).

2: Turn off the HDR

HDR, or high dynamic range, seems like it would be a good idea for capturing fireworks’ rich color. But in this instance, it’s going to trip up your shot, says Northrup. A way to shoot photos using multiple exposures that helps to reduce contrast (and dark, night shots are full of contrast) HDR is bad for fireworks because they’re a moving, morphing subject. As a result, when the camera captures the multiple exposures to blend the fireworks together into one HDR image, they won’t match up. So, like the flash, be sure to turn this setting off.

3: Create a long exposure

The longer your shutter is open, the more light gets exposed to the photo sensor. Applying that to fireworks, Northrup likes to create an exposure for as long as five to 10 seconds, timing the shot by starting right before the incendiary explodes. With a pro-level camera, this is easy to do, but the default app on your smartphone may not provide these kinds of controls.

Third party apps, like the free A Better Camera for Android and the $.99 Manual on iOS, can give you these capabilities with a minimal learning curve. Still, I recommend buying one at least a day before fireworks time, because they can take some getting used to. And having a tripod is pretty much essential for long exposure photography, too.

4: Shoot more than just the sky

If you want a great photo of some fireworks, Google Image Search can set you up with one. So run a query and dazzle your friends with the kind of shot you could never capture (because, frankly, you didn’t). But if you really want to photograph the bursts before your eyes, shoot more than just the sky. Northrup suggests photographers try telling a story with their shots.

“You could crouch down behind your kid and shoot the back and side of their face, as they’re looking at the fireworks,” he says. “There’s a bit of story — here’s a kid looking at fireworks — and that’s a hundred times more interesting than just a firework.”

7. Use a selfie stick

What was that incredible boom? No, it wasn’t an M-80 exploding in the sky — it was people’s heads exploding at the thought of a professional photographer recommending one of the worst gadgets of the year.

“I know people revile these things, but I actually like them,” says Northrup. In fairness, he recommends that people use a selfie stick to take unexpected shots, like getting a good angle over a crowd. He also suggests using the selfie stick as a monopod — a one-legged tripod — to help steady your shot. This is important when shooting in low-light situations, because the more you move the phone while the shutter is open, the blurrier the image will be.

6: Edit your shot

No one takes a perfect shot from the get-go, not even the pros. Northrup himself does a bit of editing to his smartphone photos to make them look better. For fireworks, he recommends reducing the contrast and making the shadows brighter. If that washes the color out, adjust the saturation slightly, but not too much. And, of course, crop the photo for maximum effect. All these things can be done with the Android and iOS photo software, but if you want to get more hands on with your picture, try Snapseed, a free photo editing app available on Android and iOS.

Bonus tip: Shoot video instead

It might seem counterintuitive to shoot video when you’re really looking to wow people with a photograph, but if you’re posting your pics on Twitter or Facebook, your media will stand out more if it’s moving. Facebook and Twitter now offer automatically playing movies, so a short five to 10 second clip of some falling fireworks would be perfect for the social networks. Also, you can also pull a frame out of the movie file to make a still photo, if you decide you’d like one of those instead. After all, fireworks all about the grand finale — and by that I mean how many likes and re-tweets you get.

MONEY Opinion

Innovation Isn’t Dead

177800130
Dave Reede—Getty Images A farmer looks out over his field of canola being grown for biofuel while the encroachment of his farmland by housing development is in the background, Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada

Most important innovations are only obvious in hindsight.

Wilbur and Orville Wright’s airplane flew for the first time in December 1903. It was one of the most important innovations of human history, changing the world in every imaginable way.

To celebrate their accomplishment, the press offered a yawn and a shoulder shrug.

Only a few newspapers reported the Wright’s first flight at Kitty Hawk, N.C. All of them butchered the facts. Later flights in Dayton, Ohio, the brothers’ home, still drew little attention.

David McCullough explains in his book The Wright Brothers:

“Have you heard what they’re up to out there?” people in town would say. “Oh, yes,” would be the usual answer, and the conversation would move on. Few took any interest in the matter or in the two brothers who were to become Dayton’s greatest heroes ever.

An exception was Luther Beard, managing editor of the Dayton Journal … “I used to chat with them in a friendly way and was always polite to them,” Beard would recall, “because I sort of felt sorry for them. They seemed like well-meaning, decent enough young men. Yet there they were, neglecting their business to waste their time day after day on that ridiculous flying machine.”

It wasn’t until 1908 — five years after the first flight and two years after the brothers patented their flying machine — that the press paid serious attention and the world realized how amazing the Wrights’ invention was. Not until World War II, three decades later, did the significance of the airplane become appreciated.

It’s a good lesson to remember today, because there’s a growing gripe about our economy. Take these headlines:

  • “Innovation in America is somewhere between dire straits and dead.”
  • “Innovation Is Dead.”
  • “We were promised flying cars. Instead we got 140 characters.”

The story goes like this: American innovation has declined, and what innovation we have left isn’t meaningful.

Cancer? Not cured. Biofuel? An expensive niche. Smartphones? Just small computers. Tablets? Just big smartphones.

I think the pessimists are wrong. It might take 20 years, but we’ll look back in awe of how innovative we are today.

Just like with the Wright brothers, most important innovations are only obvious in hindsight. There is a long history of world-changing technologies being written off as irrelevant toys even years after they were developed.

Take the car. It was one of the most important inventions of the 20th century. Yet it was initially disregarded as something rich people bought just to show how deep their pockets were. Frederick Lewis Allen wrote in his book The Big Change:

The automobile had been a high-hung, noisy vehicle which couldn’t quite make up its mind that it was not an obstreperous variety of carriage.

In the year 1906 Woodrow Wilson, who was then president of Princeton University, said, “Nothing has spread socialistic feeling in this country more than the automobile,” and added that it offered “a picture of the arrogance of wealth.”

Or consider medicine. Alexander Fleming discovered the antibiotic effects of the mold penicillium in 1928. It was one of the most important discoveries of all time. But a decade later, penicillin was still a laboratory toy. John Mailer and Barbara Mason of Northern Illinois University wrote:

Ten years after Fleming’s discovery, penicillin’s chemical structure was still unknown, and the substance was not available in sufficient amounts for medical research. In fact, few scientists thought it had much of a future.

It wasn’t until World War II, almost 20 years later, that penicillin was used in mass scale.

Or take this amazing 1985 New York Times article dismissing the laptop computer:

People don’t want to lug a computer with them to the beach or on a train to while away hours they would rather spend reading the sports or business section of the newspaper. Somehow, the microcomputer industry has assumed that everyone would love to have a keyboard grafted on as an extension of their fingers. It just is not so …

Yes, there are a lot of people who would like to be able to work on a computer at home. But would they really want to carry one back from the office with them? It would be much simpler to take home a few floppy disks tucked into an attache case.

Or the laser. Matt Ridley wrote in the book The Rational Optimist:

When Charles Townes invented the laser in the 1950s, it was dismissed as ‘an invention looking for a job’. Well, it has now found an astonishing range of jobs nobody could have imagined, from sending telephone messages down fiberglass wires to reading music off discs to printing documents, to curing short sight.

Here’s Newsweek dismissing the Internet as a fad in 1995:

The truth [is] no online database will replace your daily newspaper, no CD-ROM can take the place of a competent teacher and no computer network will change the way government works.

How about electronic publishing? Try reading a book on a computer. At best, it’s an unpleasant chore: the myopic glow of a clunky computer replaces the friendly pages of a book. And you can’t tote that laptop to the beach.

Yet Nicholas Negroponte, director of the MIT Media Lab, predicts that we’ll soon buy books and newspapers straight over the Internet.

Uh, sure.

You can go on and on. Rare is the innovation that is instantly recognized for its potential. Some of the most meaningful inventions took decades for people to notice.

The typical path of how people respond to life-changing inventions is something like this:

  1. I’ve never heard of it.
  2. I’ve heard of it but don’t understand it.
  3. I understand it, but I don’t see how it’s useful.
  4. I see how it could be fun for rich people, but not me.
  5. I use it, but it’s just a toy.
  6. It’s becoming more useful for me.
  7. I use it all the time.
  8. I could not imagine life without it.
  9. Seriously, people lived without it?

This process can take years, or decades. It always looks like we haven’t innovated in 10 or 20 years because it takes 10 or 20 years to notice an innovation.

Part of the problem is that we never look for innovation in the right spot.

Big corporations get the most media attention, but innovation doesn’t come from big corporations. It comes from the 19-year-old MIT kid tinkering in his parents’ basement. If you look at big companies and ask, “What have you done for the world lately?” you’re looking in the wrong spot. Of course they haven’t done anything for the world lately. Their sole mission is to repurchase stock and keep management consultants employed.

Someone, somewhere, right now is inventing or discovering something that will utterly change the future. But you’re probably not going to know about it for years. That’s always how it works. Just like Wilbur and Orville.

More From Motley Fool:

TIME Smartphones

Here’s How Many Americans Sleep With Their Smartphones

Apple Unveils iPhone 6
Justin Sullivan—Getty Images

Smartphone reliance is growing

Nearly three-quarters of Americans (71%) who own smartphones sleep with them — either by putting their phone on a nightstand, in their bed, or, for 3% of people, holding it in their hands.

A new mobile consumer report from Bank of America found that not only do Americans sleep with their smartphones, but the devices are also the first thing on people’s minds when they wake up: 35% of respondents said their first thought in the morning is about their smartphone; 10% said it was for their significant other.

The new report underscores an increasing trend of smartphone reliance among owners of the device, especially Millennials.

Throughout the day, more than half of Americans, about 57%, say they use their phone at least once an hour. In New York, that statistic jumps to 96%. In California, it’s 88%.

This constant interaction with smartphones means that Americans are increasingly using their phones for banking. More than half of the survey’s respondents said they use either an app, or a web browser as their primary form of banking. In California, 57% of residents are actively using a mobile banking app, mainly for banking notifications and alerts, checking balances, and mobile check deposits. By comparison, 53% of New Yorkers and Texans actively use banking apps.

Not crazy about smartphones? You might want to move to Denver. The city’s respondents are the most likely to survive without their smartphones: 49% said they would choose phone calls if they could only keep one feature of their phones (that’s 10% above the national average); and 27% of Denver respondents said they could refrain from using their phones indefinitely.

But even in Denver, the trend is inescapable: 63% of Denver residents sleep with their phones.

The Bank of America study surveyed 1,000 people who own smartphones and have banking relationships across the United States, plus 300 people in key markets such as New York, Denver, and California.

TIME Smartphones

The Apple Watch’s Best Feature Is Coming to the iPhone

Force Touch iPhone Apple Watch
Bloomberg — Getty Images A man uses the remote camera function on an Apple Watch Sport smartwatch as he holds an Apple iPhone 5s smartphone in an arranged photograph in Hong Kong, April 24, 2015.

Use the Force Touch, Luke

The Apple Watch’s Force Touch feature, which can tell the difference between harder and softer touches, will be implemented in Apple’s upcoming iPhones. The feature enables app developers to add new functionality to their software — by using Force Touch on the Apple Watch’s notifications display, for instance, users can clear all their notifications with a single touch.

According to sources familiar with the matter, Apple suppliers have begun early production of new iPhone models with the new touch screen technology, Bloomberg reports. The addition will help the new iPhones — speculated to be the “iPhone 6s” and “iPhone 6s Plus” — stay ahead of rival smartphone makers, particularly Samsung.

Force Touch was made available on Apple’s latest MacBooks, which were released in May.

[Bloomberg]

TIME Smartphones

Some T-Mobile iPhone Users Say Their Phones Are Crashing

iPhone Blue Screen, Restart, T-Mobile
Bloomberg via Getty Images T-Mobile US Inc. signage is displayed in the window of a retail store in Washington, D.C., on Oct. 23, 2014.

They're seeing the "blue screen of death"

Some T-Mobile iPhone users on Wednesday are reporting a “blue screen of death” followed by their devices restarting.

Users flustered by the problem say their iPhones are displaying the ominous blue screen randomly for a split second, then rebooting, often at 10 to 30 minute intervals, MacRumors reports. iPhones that have experienced the issue so far include the iPhone 6 Plus, 6 and 5s across several versions of iOS 8.

Though T-Mobile has not addressed the issue publicly, some users speculate the issue may be a memory problem. The carrier’s support staff has recommended to customers who call-in to try a hard reset. And if that doesn’t work, customers should try clearing out old text messages, then restoring their iPhones to factory settings with iTunes.

T-Mobile has not yet responded to TIME’s request for comment.

[MacRumors]

TIME apps

Android Users, Rejoice: Microsoft Office Is Finally Here

Office for Android
Microsoft Office for Android

Word, Excel and PowerPoint are all free to download

Microsoft removed the “preview” label from its Office apps for Android smartphones on Wednesday, declaring the latest release of its productivity suite officially ready for prime time.

The announcement comes five weeks after Microsoft released the apps in preview mode to Android users, in a sort of public beta test that spanned 83 countries and 1,900 different Android phone models.

“We heard from thousands of these users,” Microsoft corporate vice president Kirk Koenigsbauer wrote in a public statement, “and over the last few weeks we were able to incorporate a lot of their feedback into the apps we’re launching today.”

The current release won’t work across every last Android device, particularly older models with tight memory constraints. But the vast majority of Android users can now download mobile versions of Word, Excel and PowerPoint for free from the Google Play store.

TIME Smartphones

This Attachment Makes Your Phone’s Pictures Way Better

DxO

"It’s possible to shoot crystal-clear images under moonlight"

Digital imaging company DxO unveiled a new camera on Thursday that plugs into the charging port of an iPhone and captures photos with a crispness and resolution that few smartphones can match.

At 20 megapixels, the DxO ONE packs more than twice the punch of the iPhone 6’s iSight camera. The pocket-sized dongle spans roughly the width of an iPhone and weighs only 3.8 ounces, and excels at capturing images under low light conditions, the company says.

“It’s possible to shoot crystal-clear images under moonlight, which is incredible for a camera this small,” said DxO CEO Jerome Meniere in a statement.

Of course, all of those pint-sized innovations come at a hefty price. The dongle will go on sale this September for $600, which may limit its appeal to hardcore photo enthusiasts with a penchant for moonshots.

TIME Social Media

How to Stop Facebook From Killing Your Data Plan

Autoplay Video Ads on Facebook Twitter
Kai Pfaffenbach—Reuters

Now both platforms have autoplay video ads

Following in Facebook’s footsteps, Twitter introduced autoplay videos on Wednesday — a big day for social media advertisers, but not so much for all those ad-unfriendly users out there.

Twitter’s autoplay feature has begun rolling out on iOS and web with Android to follow, which means that video ads, GIFs or Vines on your timeline will automatically load and play (while muted), according to post on Twitter’s blog. Like Facebook’s autoplay videos, which were introduced in December 2013, Twitter’s feature will likely be a big boost to the company’s bottom line — but also a big drain to some users’ data plans and battery life.

Luckily, both Facebook and Twitter have made it easy for mobile users to disable or limit auto-play. Here’s how:

  • For Twitter (iOS only), first open the Twitter app, and tap on the Settings icon, which is the gray gear-shaped icon near the top-right corner of your profile. Then tap on Video autoplay and either select Use Wi-Fi only or Never play videos automatically.

  • For Facebook (iOS), there’s no need to open your Facebook app. Just tap Settings on your iPhone or iPad’s home screen, and scroll down and select Facebook. Then tap on Settings, and then Auto-play, and select either Wi-fi only or Off.

  • For Facebook (Android), open up the Facebook app, and go to App Settings. Then check the box next to Auto-play videos on WiFi only.

For web, it’s even simpler: just go to Facebook’s Video Settings and Twitter’s Settings to turn-off autoplay videos.

Read next: Surfing the Web On Your iPhone Is About to Get Way Better

TIME Smartphones

We Might Finally Get An Eye-Rolling Emoji

And it's about time

At long last, an “eye roll” emoji could be coming to your smartphone.

How emoji get approved is kind of wonky, but here goes: The Unicode Consortium is a non-profit group that oversees the communications standard emoji rely upon. The Consortium has approved the “Face With Rolling Eyes” emoji for inclusion in that standard, emoji blog Emojipedia reports.

Here’s a sample emoji from the Consortium. If Apple or Google ever included this emoji in iOS or Android, it would look different.

72x72x1f644-unicode-example.png.pagespeed.ic.qTNY95O1Xa (1)

But this doesn’t mean the eye-rolling emoji will suddenly show up on your iPhone or Android. Apple, Google and other platform-makers have to decide for themselves which emoji to add to their devices. A new emoji getting included in the Unicode Standard just means the new selection is available to those companies as an option.

Back in May, Emojipedia reported that a middle finger emoji is coming to Microsoft’s upcoming Windows 10 operating system.

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