TIME Innovation

Watch 40 Years of the Best Movie Effects Ever in 1 Minute

From Industrial Light & Magic

Oscar-winning special effects company Industrial Light & Magic (ILM) has unveiled a reel of some of their best film work spanning the past several decades.

The company, founded in May 1975 — exactly 40 years ago — is responsible for many of the special effects in hundreds of films, including the Star Wars, Marvel Cinematic Universe and Transformers franchises.

Watch ILM’s reel above to see some familiar movies and how they’ve evolved over the years.

TIME Innovation

This Website Says It Can Identify Any Photo

See artificial intelligence in action

Computing company Wolfram Research released Thursday a “milestone” website that it says will identify any photo—though of course, it won’t always be perfect.

ImageIdentify.com lets you drag a photo or upload an image into the program, then a machine learning algorithm then returns an answer, like “cheetah,” “zamboni” or “fragrant water lily,” according to examples on Wolfram Research CEO Stephen Wolfram’s blog.

“‘What is this a picture of?’ Humans can usually answer such questions instantly, but in the past it’s always seemed out of reach for computers to do this,” Wolfram writes. “For nearly 40 years I’ve been sure computers would eventually get there—but I’ve wondered when.”

Read next: Find Out What Your Name Would Be If You Were Born Today

TIME Web

Why Dial-Up Internet Isn’t Dead Yet

The Verizon-AOL deal shows staying power of the first consumer Internet connection

Verizon’s announcement Tuesday that it plans to purchase AOL revealed a interesting tidbit about what AOL is up to these days. Not only does the company continue to provide old-fashioned, dial-up Internet service to 2.3 million active subscribers, but that subscriber base has held surprisingly steady in recent years. The current numbers are only a notch lower than 2013, when AOL had 2.5 million dial-up subscribers, according to the company’s second-quarter earnings report.

The numbers reflect a broader trend in broadband adoption—or lack thereof. The vast majority of Americans abandoned their dial-up connections in droves sometime between 2000 and 2010. But their numbers plateaued in recent years. Meanwhile, a slender minority of the population, roughly 3%, didn’t make the switch, according to Pew Research. Year after year, the same percentage of Americans stuck to dial-up.

FT_13.08.29_BroadbandUse_420px-copy

That’s partly because broadband providers have yet to extend fiberoptic cables to sparsely populated regions, such as rural counties in southeast Missouri. “It’s just not a concentrated enough population to justify the investment from the companies,” said Felicity Ray, director of the Ozark Foothills Regional Planning Commission. Residents have been advocating for federal or state funding to extend the broadband cables a little farther into the countryside, Ray said.

“We’ve been trying, trying, trying to get higher-speed Internet,” Judy Allen, 75, who lives five miles outside the Missouri town of Bunker (pop. 402), told TIME. Her house falls just a mile beyond the local broadband network’s outer limit, so she’s been forced to stick with dial-up service instead.

“It was slow as grandma, but it was there all the time,” Allen said—until it wasn’t. The local service provider closed up shop and Allen had to switch to an even costlier and less reliable satellite connection. At roughly $70 a month, she said, she gets a connection that is occasionally disrupted by a cloud drifting overhead. “The politicians say, ‘We want everybody to have access to high-speed internet,’ but they won’t fund it,” Allen said.

MORE 3 Charts that Show Why Verizon Wants AOL

Of course, not all dial-up subscribers are physically cut off from the broadband network. A Pew survey in 2009 found that roughly 15% of dial-up subscribers had no access to speak of, while a full one-third said they simply couldn’t afford to pay broadband prices. AOL offers a dial up connection at $11.99 a month, a tempting discount, especially for more infrequent Internet users. Besides, not everyone needs to stream videos in high definition.

Pew researchers did discover a tiny kernel of users who seemed to have a stubborn attachment to their dial-up service. Whether it was due to age or force of habit, those respondents didn’t say, but roughly one-fifth simply asserted “nothing would get them to change.”

So even if broadband prices plummet and networks expand to every last redoubt of dial-up nation, AOL may still have a core of paying customers for years to come. If that sounds implausible, consider the longevity of the telegram, which remained a viable service in India until 2013, more than a century after phones supposedly rendered it obsolete.

MORE Meet the Man Who Brought AOL Back From the Dead

TIME Web

Young People Now Spend a Full Day Online Every Week

Survey data shows how reliant we are on technology

Young adults are now spending more than one full day per week online, according to new survey data from a U.K. communications regulator. In its annual Media Use and Attitudes Report, Ofcom found that U.K. residents between ages 16 and 24 now spend 27 hours and 36 minutes using the Internet each week, compared to about 10 hours per week a decade ago. Overall, people older than 16 are online for about 20 hours and 30 minutes each week, up from 10 hours in 2005.

The boost can largely be attributed to smartphones, which allow users to access the Internet from virtually anywhere. People now spend almost two and a half hours online per week when they’re away from work, home or school, up from just 30 minutes in 2005.

As Internet use has increased, general anxiety about the dangers of being online have fallen. Fifty-one percent of respondents said they were “concerned” about being on the Internet, compared to more than 70% in 2005. However, people may be becoming less willing to divulge personal information now. One-fifth of respondents said they would never provide their credit card information online, compared to 13% in 2013. One-fourth said they would never share their cell phone number, compared to 17% in 2013.

TIME Web

Google Maps Stops Allowing Public Editing After Pranks

Online vandals have been putting vulgar images on Google Maps

Google Maps has put an indefinite freeze on public edits to its maps after several acts of vandalism on the site. Prank edits, including a park drawn to look like Google’s Android robot peeing on the Apple logo, have been cropping up on the site in recent months.

Google had previously allowed members of the public to make changes to maps, such as adding roads, bridges and parks, through a program called Map Maker. Users of the editing community largely self-moderated the content, similar to the way Wikipedia works. However, a growing number of fake edits have appeared on Maps, like a business called “Edwards Snow Den” located within the White House.

Starting Tuesday, public editing of maps is disabled globally, Google Maps staffer Pavithra Kanakarajan said in a post on a support forum. The company had tried to use a manual review process to approve appropriate edits but said the backlog was growing too large. Kanakarajan said Google was working on adding some “intelligent mechanisms” to its moderation system, though she didn’t provide a date for when edits would be possible again.

TIME Web

Watch the Most Ridiculously 90’s AOL Commercials

"Every time you sign on it tells you if you've got mail."

Verizon announced that it would acquire AOL for $4.4 billion on Tuesday, hailing the company as a “digital trailblazer.”

If seeing the words “AOL” and “trailblazer” has you feeling as if you’ve woken up in a mid-90’s time warp, here are a few more blasts from AOL’s past.

“Kayaking friends on your computer?”

“I want an A this time!”

“Every time you sign on it tells you if you’ve got mail.”

“It’s like living in the future”

“It’s Jerry Stiller!”

 

 

 

TIME Web

Photo-Sharing Site Flickr Just Completely Reinvented Itself Again

Flickr Mobile Camera Roll 2015
Flickr

Flickr is trying to stay afloat in an era of Instagram and Facebook

Flickr is trying to reclaim its throne as the king of photo-sharing apps with a major redesign of its services.

The Yahoo-owned site announced Thursday a string of new features for its desktop and mobile platforms. Among the features are an updated search algorithm that allows you to find images with a certain color, size or orientation, as well as a new cloud-based Camera Roll that can auto-organize your photos across over 60 categories including landscapes, animals and screenshots.

It’s the second major update in two years as Flickr, once the go-to site for photo-sharing back in the mid-2000s, attempts to stay afloat in an era of Instagram and Facebook. In 2013, Flickr underwent a series of massive changes that were met with mixed reviews: while every user was given a free terabyte of storage (that’s about 70 times Google Drive’s free storage), many still were angered by the elimination of paid unlimited storage and the design overhaul.

 Redesign
FlickrFlickr Redesign

The updates are Flickr’s latest attempts to stay relevant in a sector that has exploded in just a couple of years. Back in 2008, Flickr and its main competitor Facebook — both four years old at the time — had comparable shares of the some 20 million photos shared online daily, according to estimates in KPCB’s annual Internet Trends report. Flash forward to 2014 and about 1.8 billion photos were being shared online daily, with about 350 million on Facebook, 60 million on Instagram, 700 million on Snapchat and Whatsapp each — but fewer than 10 million on Flickr.

TIME Web

The 5 Best Music Streaming Services

woman-listening-music-smartphone
Getty Images

Spotify isn't your only option

Correction appended, May 15

Owning a library of music on physical media is rapidly becoming an anachronism. Physical album sales have been plummeting since we first plugged our earbuds into iPods, and digital downloads are now on the decline, too.

Instead, Americans are streaming their music online via a growing crop of music services that offer infinite choices for listening to and discovering new music.

Pioneer streaming services Pandora and Spotify remain the heavyweights of the industry with 80 million and 60 million listeners respectively. But internet radio services such as Slacker have gained traction thanks to their music discovery features, while curated streaming sites such as Songza offer what may be the killer app of streaming 2.0: songs and channels hand-picked by humans and based on themes and moods.

On the flip side is YouTube, the top destination for music streaming with over 1 billion unique monthly users. YouTube is great for hunting down that super obscure B-side song with the banned video, but it pales in comparison to other services when it comes to playlists and music discovery.

So what should you look for in a streaming service? We dug into the Internet to find the best music streaming services based on these factors:

Song library Most of the major streaming services clock in with similarly sized song catalogs — 20 million or more, covering a good range of genres, hits and rarities.

How can you find new music? A radio feature that lets you build customized channels based on songs or genres you like is handy for discovering new music, as are playlists curated by real people, whose skills outstrip machine algorithms in building particular vibes or themes.

Offline access If you can’t get online, you may still want to be able to access your music library.

Sound quality A 320 kbps bitrate offers excellent sound quality for most listeners when played from a computer on speakers. Audiophiles may prefer higher bitrates.

Best Curated Music: Songza

The killer feature of this music recommendation site is its human-curated playlists based on mood, activity, genre, era and “situations” from breaking up to waking up and themes as specific as barbecues or pregame. In fact, Songza’s strictly about its playlists; you can’t search for particular songs or artists, although you can browse from a mind-boggling selection of soundtracks and musical vibes.

Songza Daily’s Tumblr-esque design showcases the editors’ playlists of the day, quirkily titled (“The ultimate songs from Piscean musicians”) or chosen for timeliness (“The best original songs from the Oscars 2015”). You’ll also find clips of interviews and single songs interspersed with retro photos.

You can star favorite playlists or click through to similar playlists. Rating particular songs with a thumbs up or thumbs down improves its Concierge feature, which recommends particular songs and styles based on time of day and your liked and disliked songs. Our personal favorite that just kept giving? “Your Personal Indie Rom-Com,” which ran through dozens of grungy, riff-laden, highly nostalgic hits.

Sound quality: 256 kbps — very good quality on desktop and mobile

How can you find new music? Pick your mood, activity, genre or era, and Songza suggests the rest.

Is it available offline? No

You’ll love: The curated playlists and soundtracks for times and moods as particular as “Kitchen Dance Party.”

But: There’s no search function to find particular tracks or artists, nor the ability to build your own playlists. You’ll have to trust that the humans behind this digital music service will post songs that will suit your day.

Can you listen to it on your phone? Yes: Android, iOS, BlackBerry 10, Windows 9

Price: Free with ads and max of six song skips per week; $0.99 per week ad-free, 12 song skips per week

Site: songza.com

Best Radio: Slacker

There’s no shortage of internet radio with stations personalized around your personal music tastes, but Slacker is our favorite for its minimal, discovery-centric home page. Hit the search box with an artist, song, genre or activity; entering “writing” (while writing this article, self-referentially enough) turned up an eponymous song by Woody Allen as well as an eclectic selection of stations including an ambient electronic station called Mensa Mix and Going Steady, a collection of love songs.

Like Songza, Slacker’s channels are curated by real people with a goal, as the site says, of forging those unexpected connections between songs that are the foundation of great radio. We love Slacker’s non-music channels, including live radio, news, sports and weather.

Sound quality: 320 kbps on web and Sonos, 128 kbps on mobile with 320 on the way

How can you find new music? Create radio stations from familiar artists, or browse 200+ stations of pop, rock, electronic and more.

Is it available offline? Yes, paying subscribers can download songs, stations or playlists.

You’ll love: Being able to stream particular artists and songs on demand and listen to curated stations, news and sports.

But: Finding songs by activity, such as working or cooking, didn’t always turn up soundtracks as pleasing as those Songza provided.

Can you listen to it on your phone? Yes: Android, iOS, BlackBerry, Windows

Price: Free version with ads and max of six song skips per hour; $3.99 for ad-free and unlimited skips; $9.99 for offline playlists, on-demand streaming and the ability to create radio stations based on artists

Site: slacker.com

Best All-Rounder: Spotify

The juggernaut of music streaming counts personalized radio, on-demand music, people-curated playlists and a social feed among its feature set. Of all the services, Spotify probably apes the sensation of using your own music collection the best. You can easily save artists or albums to your library from a one-click Save tab, while Spotify’s clean, comprehensive interface always shows your playlists for easy scrolling. Drag and drop songs to create playlists, or browse and save other user-created playlists.

If you’re stuck for listening inspiration, Spotify updates its home page daily with human-curated playlists for various moods such as “Weekend Hangout” or driving-friendly tunes.

With a song catalog clocking in at over 30 million and licensing deals in dozens of countries, Spotify covers an excellent range of independent artists and electronic music as well as major pop and rock stars. Its catalog includes an exclusive for Metallica, although a few other major artists have removed their music from the service in high-profile fallouts over royalties.

If you’re the proud owner of a large digital music collection, Spotify supports uploads of up to 10,000 of your tracks into your Spotify library.

Sound quality: 96 kbps — standard quality for mobile; 160 kbps — standard quality on desktop; 320 kbps for premium subscribers — high quality on desktop

How can you find new music? Create a radio station based on an artist or song, or browse the curated playlists.

Is it available offline? Only for premium subscribers

You’ll love: Saving artists by playlists, which means you can browse your collection much as you would a library you owned.

But: Notable omissions from its catalog include Taylor Swift, The xx and Radiohead’s post-2011 albums.

Can you listen to it on your phone? Only premium subscribers: Android, iOS, BlackBerry, Windows

Price: Free for ad-supported version; $9.99 for premium version with offline playlists and smartphone listening

Site: spotify.com

Best Online Music Locker: Google Play Music

If you’re as attached to your digital music collection as you are to the infinite amount you could store in the cloud, a streaming service that offers online backup for the tunes on your hard drive could be your best bet.

Once you upload your tracks to Google Play Music, they’re accessible on any device from anywhere in the world — a neat way to bring your music collection wherever you are without having to fuss around with USB sticks.

Like Spotify, Google’s 30-million-track catalog covers a great range of rarities and hits, including artists who’ve snubbed Spotify such as Thom Yorke’s band Atoms for Peace. If you can’t decide what to listen to, the service offers a Concierge feature (like Songza, which Google purchased last year), where Google’s algorithms try to predict what tracks constitute, say, a “Chardonnay soiree.” As seems de rigeur for any self-respecting on-demand music service, there’s also a radio customizable by artist and your own taste.

Along with this lineup of Spotify-esque powers, Google Play Music currently offers one final arrow in its bow. Signing up now gives access to the invite-only beta of YouTube Music Key, a paid add-on that lets you stream music ad-free from YouTube’s gargantuan collection of classic tracks, rare mixes, hit singles, bootlegs and other unofficial takes. (Nonsubscribers can sign up for a YouTube Music Key invitation at YouTube).

Sound quality: 320 kbps — excellent sound quality on desktop and mobile

How can you find new music? Try the Concierge recommendation feature or the customizable radio.

Is it available offline? Yes

You’ll love: The ability to upload 20,000 tracks you can access anywhere, along with your streaming library.

But: There are no social features, so it’s not as easy to share music with friends or followers.

Can you listen to it on your phone? Yes: Android, iOS

Price: $9.99 per month (no free option)

Site: play.google.com

Best Sound Quality: Tidal

If you’re a serious music listener with the speakers to match, this celebrity-owned service launched by Jay-Z could be the high-fidelity streaming service you’ve been searching for.

Along with streaming music at a CD-quality, loss-less 1,411 kbps—all the better to hear the shades of percussion and detail of the high notes—Tidal claims it will have first dibs on music videos from stars like Rihanna and Beyonce.

The service also offers on-demand access to 25 million tracks, playlists curated by music journos and 75,000 music videos. It’s all accessed via a Spotify-esque web-based player, allowing similar playlist creation and the ability to build your own music library by starring artists and albums you like.

While Tidal hasn’t received the warmest reception, audiophiles with high-end speakers may find it compelling enough to offset the cost, double that of Spotify.

After all, when Neil Young launched high-fidelity streaming service Pono last year, uptake was low, and the service still only has 2 million tracks — peanuts in today’s crop of streaming services. But as ultra-fast internet begins to creep across the United States, funneling super-high-bandwidth music down the fibers just might become a more popular — and affordable — business model.

Sound quality: 1,141 kbps for $19.99 per month — extremely high quality; 320 kbps for $9.99 per month — very good quality on desktop and mobile

How can you find new music? Browse the playlists and recommendations curated by its panel of music experts.

Is it available offline? Yes

You’ll love: The high-fidelity, CD-quality sound or exclusive content such as music videos from pop stars (even if thus far, they’ve been promptly pirated and posted on YouTube).

But: For the average customer, Tidal’s uber-high sound quality may not be worth its price, especially compared with similar competitors.

Can you listen to it on your phone? Yes: Android, iOS

Price: $9.99 per month for 320 kbps; $19.99 per month for CD quality

Site: tidal.com

Streaming Music Services Compared

Songza Slacker Spotify Google Play Music Tidal
Song catalog 20 million 13 million 30 million 30 million 25 million
Radio? Yes Yes Yes Yes No
Playlist creation? No Yes, for Premium users Yes Yes Yes
Offline listening? No Yes, unlimited tracks Yes, for Premium subscribers: 10,000 tracks Yes Yes, unlimited tracks
Sound Quality 256 kpbs 320 kpbs 320 kpbs 320 kpbs 1411 kpbs
Platforms Android, iOS, BlackBerry 10, Windows, desktop Android, iOS, Windows, desktop Android, iOS, BlackBerry 10, desktop Android, iOS, desktop Android, iOS, desktop
Price Free with ads; $0.99/week ad-free Free with ads; $3.99/month ad-free; $9.99/month for Premium with offline listening options Free with ads; $9.99/month ad-free $9.99/month $9.99/month for 320kpbs; $19.99/month for CD-quality

This article originally appeared on Techlicious.

More from Techlicious:

Correction: A previous version of this post misstated Slacker users’ ability to create playlists. Premium users can create them.

TIME Web

The Best Websites to Help You Fall Asleep

woman-sleeping-bed
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These mobile and desktop options will help create your perfect atmosphere for sleep

The science of sound can help you in many aspects of your life, from increasing concentration to creating the right atmosphere for a better night’s rest. The trick is to know which kind of sound will do the trick and the easiest way to access it. Fortunately, there are plenty of websites and apps that do just that.

Pink noise generators for better sleep

Do you notice that you sleep better when the rain falls steadily outside or the wind blows gently through the trees? That’s what researchers call pink noise, a combination of sounds that contain all of the frequencies that people can hear, with volume decreasing in high frequencies. This kind of pink noise “has significant effect on reducing brain wave complexity and inducing more stable sleep time to improve sleep quality of individuals,” according to the Journal of Theoretical Biology study. In comparison, white noise keeps the volume consistent across all frequencies and most people don’t find it as restful.

There are many apps that offer noise generation for better sleep, but be sure to only use the features that provide a steady, consistent sound, not intermittent noise.

Lightning Bug

Lightning Bug provides relaxing nature sounds that will help you sleep better at night. Make sure to enable plug-ins and download the free White Noise pack. In the pack, you can choose from white noise and pink noise. Bonus: it also comes with an alarm, snooze button and sleep timer.

Price: Free with premium plug-ins available at Google Play

Sleep Fan

Similar to falling rain, the noise of an electric fan also helps many get a better night’s sleep. This app, a favorite here at Techlicious, generates that exact sound for you. You can play a fan sound at low, medium or high speed and also set a time for how long you want the noise to play. It even plays as a background app, allowing your phone to go into sleep mode but still play fan sound through the night.

Price: $1.99 on iTunes

WhiteNoise

If you don’t like fan noises, try WhiteNoise. It has pink noise, brown noise (low frequency sound masking) and many more soothing sound. Plus, it gives you great flexibility for painting your own soundscape, mixing up to five sounds at once. Pay a little extra to get a recorder and generator to create your own sounds.

Price: $1.99 on iTunes and free on Google Play

Chroma Doze

This highly-rated, Android-only app generates white noise based an algorithm that you can control. Tweak the sound wave curve to get just the right kind of noise to help you sleep. The app is free, has no ads and will run in the background on your phone.

Price: Free on Google Play

Finally, if you are looking for an all-around effective noise generator, not just an app or sound file that mimics sounds, we highly recommend the Marpac DOHM-DS Natural White Noise Sound Machine ($47.95 on Amazon). It creates a soothing sound that helps block other sounds in your environment that may be distracting you.

Sound for better focus and concentration

No matter how many times experts remind us to turn off the distractions when we’re trying to get things done, most of us enjoy listening to music on the job. A little bit of whistle-while-you-work can boost flagging energy and bolster creativity — but too much of a good thing is a definite no-no.

What you need is the right noise for the job: ambient sound for creative focus, white noise for tight concentration or more relaxed soundscapes for calm efficiency or relaxation. If you’ve always suspected you do better and more rewarding work when you cart your laptop down to the local shop, research is on your side. When you’re trying to coax creativity out of hiding, moderate levels of ambient noise can provide just enough of a distraction to free the rest of your brain for broader thought.

A study in The Journal of Consumer Research shows that background noise as mundane as the hum of a coffee shop in full swing or the muffled chatter of a television in the other room can enhance performance. Apply that knowledge with discretion: Higher noise levels are too distracting, and tasks that require concentration and focus on detail are better performed in a quiet environment.

If your surroundings are already littered with distracting sounds and conversations, you might need white noise to mask the chaos. Be careful about playing these sounds too loudly, too close to you or for too long. A recent study shows that white noise used to keep babies drifting in a peaceful slumber could in fact damage their hearing.

Laptop, desktop and mobile browsers options

Ready to download some sound apps to help tune up your life? Not so fast. Our favorite sources for ambient sound, white noise, meditation gongs and calming music aren’t apps at all — they’re free websites you pull up right in your browser.

Coffitivity

Here’s the hottest spot to find that coffee shop ambience — what Coffitivity calls a “combination of calm and commotion” that inspires and supports creativity. Choose from several different vibes: “Morning Murmur” gives you the traditional hustle and bustle of the corner café; “Lunchtime Lounge” carries a little more energy; and “University Undertones” soothes you with the calmer sounds of a campus café.

Price: Free at coffitivity.com or for Mac desktop at iTunes; Coffivitity app free at Google Play and iTunes

Noisli

This ambient sound generator plays to maximum advantage on a second monitor because it includes a color generator that helps set the mood. Research also backs the role of color in influencing productivity. Using a blue desktop background, for example, can enhance creative performance, while red helps you attack and focus on nitty-gritty details. Noisli lets you toggle and layer as many sounds as you like to create your own tapestry of sound. Choose among coffee shop chatter, three types of white noise and nature sounds including rain, thunderstorms, waves, crackling fire and more. Still distracted? There’s also a text editor for distraction-free writing.

Price: Free at noisli.com or $1.99 on iTunes

myNoise.net

Here’s some serious noise. “Welcome to the convergence of serious audio engineering, creative sound design and the scientific understanding of human hearing,” reads myNoise’s introductory text. “The site you are about to enter is not just another of those soundscape websites but a serious tool oriented toward the needs of hearing professionals, sound therapists and people interested in noise machines in general.”

At myNoise, choose from sounds designed specifically for noise blocking, healthcare, sound therapy, meditation and tonal sound. The site allows you to calibrate much of the sounds to your own computer and hearing. Because the website is so robust, playing the noise generators from Mobile Safari (iOS) requires the larger RAM sizes of the newer iPads and iPhones; on Android tablets, Firefox 22 has been confirmed to play well.

Price: Free at myNoise.net and free with $0.99 for upgrade sounds on iTunes

App options for mobile productivity

If you’d prefer an app for your mobile device, you have plenty to choose from. Just remember to use earbuds or headphones if you’re going to use an ambient sound or white noise app on a mobile device; you’re seeking immersion in sound that surrounds you, after all.

Ambiance

For your iPhone or iPad, we like the capacious sound library of Ambiance. With this polished app, you get more than 2,500 free sounds, from ambient and urban environment (the traditional coffee shop mix plus many alternatives), binaural beats and more. You can mix multiple sounds to blend just the right custom sound.

Price: $2.99 plus $0.99 for premium sounds on iTunes

Naturespace

While the whole idea of these apps and tools is immersion, if you’re really committed to going deep, go Naturespace. Naturespace attempts to reproduce soundscapes in a 3-D environment; you hear the birds in the trees above you as well as what’s before and behind you. This is some of the best sound quality out there.

Price: Free with limited previews or purchases from $0.99 and up on iTunes and Google Play

White Noise Box

Looking for something free? White Noise Box is the ticket. You get all the basic sounds and features you need and expect.

Price: Free or $0.99 for premium (removes ads and pointer to the store) on iTunes and Google Play

If what you really need is pure, sweet silence, try a pair of noise-cancelling headphones; our guide shows you the best.

This article originally appeared on Techlicious.

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TIME Web

We’re Finally Getting a Middle Finger Emoji

Middle Finger Emoji
Microsoft Middle Finger Emoji

It's coming to Windows

The long-awaited middle finger emoji will be included in Microsoft’s Windows 10 operating system, according to Emojipedia.

The emoji is officially called “Reversed Hand With Middle Finger Extended.” The one-finger salute emoji has been available for tech companies to pack in their products for almost a year — emoji are an industry standard set by a non-profit group; individual tech companies like Apple and Google are free to adopt and interpret the group’s selections largely as they see fit. No major tech companies have yet adopted Reversed Hand With Middle Finger Extended.

Windows 10, Microsoft’s upcoming cross-platform operating system, is due out sometime this summer. It replaces Windows 8.1 — Microsoft skipped a number for undetermined reasons.

Read next: Microsoft’s Next Version of Windows Will Be a Free Upgrade

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