TIME technology

12 Things to Know If You Got a Drone for Christmas

The FAA releases FAQs for UAVs

Today’s distinguished youths have Christmas present palates far too refined to enjoy infantilizing Frozen paraphernalia.

“It’s that time of year when kids of all ages will receive presents for the holidays,” begins an FAA PSA released Monday. “Many will be excited when they unwrap the box and find an unmanned aircraft.”

Ah, drones. The gift for the kid who has almost everything.

There have been numerous reports that drones are the it-gift of the season. And so the FAA released an educational video as part of its Know Before You Fly campaign that, as TechCrunch very accurately puts it, is “the least interesting drone video you’ll ever see.”

“Make sure you stay off the naughty list,” the FAA preaches as half-hearted animations explain proper flying rules — stay under 400 ft. and away from airports and people’s faces, for instance.

While drones have done many good things this year (like that time they delivered bottle service to good samaritans at Las Vegas poolside clubs), they have also proven a wee bit dangerous (like that time a mistletoe carrying drone accidentally chopped off the tip of someone’s nose at a TGI Friday’s in Brooklyn.)

Merry Christmas, everyone.

TIME apps

Here’s Where You Can Track Santa’s Sleigh Ride Around the World

Karen Bleier—AFP/Getty Images This December 24, 2012 photo shows a woman monitoring the progress of Santa Claus in Washington, DC.

U.S. defense officials say this year's Santa tracker was reinforced by an "anti-Grinch" firewall

The North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) center has once again trained its state-of-the-art satellites on Santa’s sleigh, mapping his course around the world in real time.

NORAD’s official Santa Tracker website overlays an icon of Santa and his galloping reindeer on a 3-D map of the earth. The map includes Bing-powered images of cities along the delivery route. As of this posting, he’s zig zagging across central Asia, seconds away from Addu City in the Maldives.

The map can also be uploaded to mobile phones using NORAD’s official Santa tracking app.

This year, defense officials told the Wall Street Journal that the Santa Tracker had been reinforced by an “anti-Grinch firewall” to repel would-be hackers. “We are confident the system will work,” said NORAD spokesowoman Maj. Beth Smith.

TIME movies

You Can Watch The Interview Here

The controversial film will now screen online

Sony Pictures will release its beleaguered Seth Rogen/James Franco comedy The Interview on several streaming sites Wednesday afternoon, in a move that sidesteps concerns about online threats made against theaters that show the film.

The Interview will be available for digital rental or purchase on Google Play, YouTube, Xbox and seetheinterview.com starting at 1 p.m. ET Wednesday. It will cost $5.99 to rent or $14.99 to purchase, both in high-definition.

The move marks another turn in Sony’s handling of the film’s release. Sony Pictures scrapped a widespread theatrical release of The Interview earlier this month after several major theater chains backed out in the wake of threats against the movie. Those messages were believed to have come from the same group responsible for a massive cyberattack against Sony Pictures, which the Federal Bureau of Investigation has linked to North Korea. (Some cybersecurity experts remain unconvinced of that link.)

Sony’s first backtrack came Tuesday, when small theaters across the country said they would go ahead with plans to show The Interview on its planned Christmas Day release date. At this point, only a few hundred theaters are planning on showing the film, as opposed to thousands that were originally planning to screen the movie. Offering The Interview online could help Sony reduce losses from such a dramatic cut in the number of theaters showing the movie.

The real winners here, though, could be YouTube and the other streaming services. It’s extremely rare to offer a simultaneous in-theater/streaming release of such a major film. Americans are already going to movie theaters less often, opting for the often cheaper experience of staying in and watching videos online or on demand instead.

READ NEXT 22 Movies That Are Being Turned Into TV Shows

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TIME Gadgets

8 Last-Minute Stocking Stuffers Under $30

Getty Images

How about a pair of texting gloves to go along with that new phone?

Now that the holidays are here, stockings around the world are being hung by chimneys with care. Fortunately, neither you nor St. Nick need to bust your budget stuffing them full of cool tech gifts.

Here are some of our favorite, small gift items that can be had for under $30.

Speck CandyShell Case

A quality smartphone case always makes a great stocking stuffer, especially if there’s a new phone hiding somewhere under the tree. We like the Speck CandyShell Grip Case – it’s attractive, available in a wide range of colors and protects like a champ. It even has rubberized covers for your phone buttons, and a raised bezel to help protect your screen. Versions are available for the iPhone 5 and 5S, iPhone 6, Galaxy S5 and HTC One M8.
Price: Varies by phone. Starts at $15 at Amazon.com.

Headphone Wrap

If that special someone on your list loves to hit the gym, chances are they spend a few minutes every day struggling to untangle a pair of headphones. Make messy wires a thing of the past with a cord wrap. We like the inexpensive Gwee Sport Guppy magnetic cord wrap at Amazon – it comes in a wide range of colors, and the interior is made of antibacterial microfiber to keep it from getting too funky.
Price: $12.99 at Amazon.com

Kitchen Tablet Mount

The Aduro U-Grip Fridge Mount is an unusual but useful accessory for tablet owners. It contains powerful built-in magnets to mount your tab to your kitchen refrigerator – a great way to stay entertained or read recipes while working on dinner. Or, you can use a set of screws (not included) to permanently affix the tablet mount anywhere you want it. Best of all, the stand itself is expandable, so it’ll work with iPad and Android tablets of various sizes, including the new iPad Air 2.
Price: $22.99 at Amazon.com

Texting Gloves

Don’t let a cold winter’s day stand between your family’s new touchscreen tech gifts. If there’s a smartphone under the tree, consider putting a pair of Echo Design Women’s Texting gloves. The soft 50% lycra, 50% acrylic blend keeps hands warm without getting in the way of using a touchscreen. You can take your pick of five different colors; if none of them work, be sure to check the other similarly priced touchscreen-enabled gloves that are available.
Price: $27.98 at Amazon.com

Smartphone Lens Kit

Have an amateur smartphone photographer in your life? Check out the aluminum CamKix 3-in-1 Lens Kit. The inexpensive wide angle, fisheye and macro lens set clips on to any smartphone or tablet to give its pictures an artistic kick. The set includes a microfiber pouch for storage and lens caps to keep everything safe when not in use.
Price: $19.99 at Amazon.com

Mini Portable Battery Charger

Many of this year’s top tech gifts come with a battery. Keep them all fully powered by also gifting a simple battery charger like the lipstick-sized Anker Astro Mini Portable External Battery Charger. The compact device stores up to 3200mAh of juice (after 4 hours of charging), enough to fully recharge most smartphones when connected by USB.
Price: $19.99 at Amazon.com

iBeacon Key Tag

LassoTag’s iBeacon key tag seeks to make lost keychains a thing of the past. First, you attach a water resistant LassoTag to your keys. Then, when your keychain disappears, use the free iOS LassoTag app to get hot and cold search clues and track it down. You can also configure notifications if your phone and keys get separated by more than 50 feet.
Price: $19.99 at Amazon.com

Pivotal Activity Tracker

Activity trackers are very popular as gifts this holiday season, but they also tend to be quite expensive. Not so with the Pivotal Tracker 1 Activity and Sleep Monitor. The $15 wrist-worn device tracks the fitness and sleep basics – steps taken, distance, calories burned and more. Your $15 gets you both the tracker and a year’s subscription to the tracking service; to use the device into 2016, the recipient will need to re-subscribe.

Price: $15 (pre-order) at Amazon.com

This article was written by Fox Van Allen and originally appeared on Techlicious.com.

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TIME Video Games

4 Video Games That Could Be Olympic Sports

Running, swimming...Super Smash Bros.?

Over the years, the Olympics have chosen to include some pretty odd sports: Tandem bicycle sprints, pistol dueling and live pigeon shooting have all at one time or another been official Olympic sports.

But Olympic video gaming?

That’s not as crazy as it sounds, says Rob Pardo, formerly lead designer on games like Blizzard’s World of Warcraft and Starcraft: Brood War. Pardo told the BBC Wednesday “there’s a very good argument for e-sports being in the Olympics,” citing the rising popularity of video games as a spectator sport.

“I think the way that you look at e-sports is that it’s a very competitive skillset and you look at these professional gamers and the reflexes are lightning quick and their having to make very quick decisions on the fly,” Pardo said.

But which video games are worthy of Olympic competition? Here are four titles the International Olympic Committee might want to consider:

1. Call of Duty

The Call of Duty series has worldwide appeal, meaning no particular country would have a crazy advantage right off the bat (we’re lookin’ at you, U.S. Men’s Basketball Team). It’s also a game that, believe it or not, is pretty fun to watch other people play — especially when they’re really good.

Oh, and professional and semi-pro Call of Duty: Ghost players have already racked up nearly $1.5 million in competitive prize money, according to esportsearnings.com.

2. Dota 2

Dota 2 is the closest the Olympics might ever get to an actual Thunderdome — many teams enter, only one team leaves. It’s a multiplayer slice-and-dice battle arena game that can see 800,000 people playing worldwide at the same time during peak times.

There’s more strategy involved in Dota 2 than you might think at first, so once you understand what’s going on, it’s pretty entertaining to watch — kinda like curling. Competitive Dota 2 players have made a whopping $24.5 million in prize money, topping esportsearnings.com’s list.

3. League of Legends

Like Dota 2, League of Legends is an online multiplayer battle game, with nearly 27 million players logging on each day. In every new match, each player starts off fairly weak, then levels up to gain strength before taking on opposing players. It’s among the best choices for an Olympic sport because there’s already a massive competitive scene for it — professional League of Legends leagues have popped up in North America, Europe and across Asia, where the game’s particularly popular.

League of Legends players have made $18.7 million in prize money, says esportsearnings.com.

4. Super Smash Bros. Melee

The Super Smash Bros. games are among the only titles where it’s almost more fun to watch people play than actually play yourself. A perennial Nintendo classic, players choose from favorite characters like Mario, Peach, Pikachu and Kirby to do button-mashing battle with their rivals.

While Smash doesn’t have quite the competitive scene these other games do, it would be tremendously fun to watch people smashing Wii U buttons in a quest for Olympic gold.

TIME Smartphones

7 Must-Haves for iPhone Photographers

iPhone Photography
Ed Jones—AFP/Getty Images In a photo taken on November 26, 2014 a couple use a 'selfie stick' to take a photo at a popular tourist spot in Seoul.

Up your Instagram game with these eye-popping accessories

Apple’s iPhone 5 is still the world’s favorite camera of choice, according to photo-storage service Flickr. But after the holidays — and presumably a lot of upgrades — newer versions of Apple’s phone could take the top spot.

Still, snapping great pics is only the start — iPhone photographers are using everything from filters to printers to get the most out of their shots. Give your photos a much needed edge with these seven iPhone camera accessories:

Fujifilm Instax Share Smartphone Printer

Smartphones might have done more for photography than any invention since the point-and-shoot camera, but they’ve totally gutted the practice of enjoying printed pics. This Wi-Fi connected printer works with both iOS and Android to let users spit out Polaroid-like snaps for real world enjoyment.

Battery-powered and weighting in at less than a pound, the $179 Instax is portable and easy to use, making sharing photos — as in actually physically giving them to someone else — a cinch. Great for scrap-booking, loading the inside of a locker with photos, or giving grandma a little something for her refrigerator, the Instax is an excellent way to help bring people trapped in the 20th century into the selfie age.

Motrr Galileo

Panning, scanning, and tracking users as they walk past, this robotic dock is how some photographers create those gradually moving, gorgeous, time-lapse panoramic shots that go a full 360 degrees. Controllable via Bluetooth from another smart device or over the Internet, Galileo can also track faces and follow motion, making it great for video chat sessions as well.

Compatible with a range of iPhones from the current models all the way back to the 3Gs, this $149 device can also support GoPro cameras by using a special mount.

iPhone Telephoto Lens

A little outrageous compared to the iPhone’s tiny, subtle, rear camera lens, this 12-times zoom lens packs some powerful magnification into an inexpensive $35 kit. Complete with a matte black iPhone case (necessary for attaching the telephoto lens), a collapsible tripod, and a carrying case to keep it all protected, this manual focus accessory works with iPhones as old as the 4/4s (but note, the 5c is not compatible).

You might look a little foolish walking around taking snapshots with it, but who’ll be laughing later when your Instagram sunset gets more likes than your friends’ pics?

iStabilizer Shutter Remote for iOS

Remember when Macs used to come with remote controls? iStabilizer hasn’t forgotten, and this iOS-compatible controller brings the experience to your handheld devices. But why would you need a remote for something you can put in your pocket? Photos.

This tiny, $39 accessory can snap pics from up to 30 feet away, which means technically full-body, sans-mirror selfies can be part of your repertoire. Add in the ability to play, pause, skip and rewind music, launch movies, adjust brightness and volume and even activate Siri, and you’ve got a multimedia monster in the palm of your hands. Oh, and it also works with Macs, if you lost your old remote.

Jelly Camera Phone Filters

Trying you out-filter your friends? Slap one of these gummy accessories over your iPhone’s camera lens before you shoot, and you’ll have photos that your followers will never be able to recreate.

Adhesive (without leaving residue), these keychain-looped lenses are compatible with just about any phone (or tablet) sporting a rear camera, and with starburst, kaleidoscope, and wide-angle options, they’ll make your photos pop and your videos totally trippy. Best of all, they run just $15 for the set, so they are excellent stocking stuffers for the shutterbug in your family.

Moment Lenses

Expert photographers frequently talk about how they use the popular smartphone to take astounding photos that their pro-level cameras just can’t capture. But with Moment’s gorgeously crafted lenses — a 60mm telephoto and a shorter wide-angle lens, $99 apiece — amateurs can also up their game, taking beautiful, distortion-free shots that can be just as good as those taken with DSLRs.

Compatible with the iPhone 4 and newer handsets (as well as iPad Air and Mini), the lenses attach to your Apple devices via a stylish adhesive mounting plate. But if you have a cover on your phone (and you should), fear not. I discovered that slipping the plate between the case and the handset works well (even with Apple’s super-snug, leather iPhone 6 protector), and even saves you from sticking the plate to your handset.

Noot Selfie Stick

If 2014 was the year of the selfie, then there’s no more timely gift to give this holiday season than the Noot Selfie Stick. Low-tech but highly useful, this extendable pole lets photographers get more of themselves and their background in the shot.

While some selfie sticks connect via Bluetooth (yes, there are more than one of these devices on the market), they also require a periodic battery recharge. But this $19 model sports no such wireless connectivity. Instead, it has a plug that connects to your iPhone’s headphone jack that allows a button on the stick’s hilt to take the picture – no timers necessary. After all, who has time for timers when you’re snapping off super-cool selfies?

TIME apps

The Best iPhone Apps You Should Download This Week

Apple iPhone 6
Chesnot—Getty Images A woman checks the iPhone 6, on the day of its launch at the Apple Store Opera on September 19, 2014, in Paris, France.

Use your iPad as a second screen with Duet Display

It seems like hundreds of new iPhone apps pop up every week, but which ones should you bother trying? We explored the App Store and found five apps worth downloading this week.

TurboTax Tax Preparation

Every year for a few weeks after the April tax deadline, scores of young, inexperienced or sloppy taxpayers wait to find out of they’re going to be audited because they botched their paperwork. There are just so many forms, it’s easy to screw things up.

To help make sure you don’t end up on Uncle Sam’s naughty list and hit with a fine (or worse), TurboTax’s new Tax Preparation app makes everything easy and helps you prepare for the most stressful thing since college applications.

TurboTax Tax Preparation is free in the App Store.


At times it seems like the ease of taking photos on smartphones has outrun the actual need to consecrate certain would-be memories. Before you know it, you’ve got a backlog of photos clogging up your iPhone, waiting to be organized and put on your computer.

PhotoTime makes it easy to keep track of all those photos. You can tag photos with keywords to make them searchable, while facial recognition makes it easy to log photos of family members. You can even bookmark your favorite photos in order to go back and look at the pictures that really matter.

PhotoTime is available free in the App Store.

Duet Display

Some workplaces offer employees second monitors to use as an extended display. This should be a hint and a half that for many, having a bigger screen simply means getting work done faster and more efficiently. Duet Display allows users to jerry-rig an extended display of their own by using their iPhone (or, even better, their iPad) as a second display for their Mac desktop or laptop.

Duet Display is available for $14.99 in the App Store.


The Amazon gift card is perhaps the least personal of gifts, but it’s extremely useful. It has so few constraints and such wide application that recipients can always find something to buy — it won’t sit untouched like that $300 menswear shop gift card you got for Christmas three years ago.

Surprise! is an Amazon app that allows users to send e-cards, but, more importantly, Amazon gift cards. Think of it as a gift-friendly version of a Western Union money transfer.

Surprise! is free in the App Store.

Group Text+

Group Text+ combines the practicality of Facebook Messenger with SMS-based texts. You can select message recipients from a neatly organized bubble of contacts, along with any attachments (such as photos or videos) you might want to send. Essentially, it circumvents the counter-intuitive nature of the standard iOS group text layout. It also makes it easy to text links from websites as well as drop a pin showing your location to several people at once.

Group Text+ is available for $1.99 in the App Store.

TIME South Korea

Uber CEO Indicted in South Korea

Uber has hit another roadblock

South Korean prosecutors have indicted the local subsidiary of Uber, the ride-sharing app firm embroiled in numerous controversies worldwide, for violating the nation’s transportation laws.

The indictment also names Uber’s CEO, Travis Kalanick, for flouting a South Korean law that prohibits any person or company from using rental cars for paid transportation services without the correct license, Reuters reports, citing South Korea’s Yonhap News Agency.

Yonhap reports that prosecutors will not make any arrests but that the penalty for the alleged crime is a fine of up around $18,000 or a prison sentence of up to two years. Uber tells Bloomberg that it will cooperate fully with any investigation.

The U.S.-based company has weathered a year of scandals — most crushingly, the alleged rape of a passenger by an Uber driver in New Delhi — and has been banned in several countries, including Germany, Spain and Thailand.

TIME apps

L.A. Judge Stubs Out Marijuana App

Marijuana is seen under a magnifier at the medical marijuana farmers market in Los Angeles
David McNew—Reuters Marijuana is seen under a magnifier at the medical marijuana farmers market at the California Heritage Market in Los Angeles, California July 11, 2014

Court says Nestdrop flouted Proposition D's rules against pot delivery

Correction appended: Dec. 24, 2014.

A Los Angeles-based smartphone application aimed at becoming the city’s first mobile medical marijuana logistics service was ordered to stop business by a judge on Tuesday.

Judge Robert O’Brien, of the Los Angeles County Superior Court, said Nestdrop, a mobile app hoping to connect the city’s medical marijuana patients with dispensaries, was in violation of a voter-approved law called Proposition D that explicitly bans medical marijuana delivery, according to the Associated Press.

Nestdrop claimed that they were not in violation of the law because they only connect distributors with patients and do not handle the marijuana themselves, according to the Los Angeles Times.

On Dec. 2, L.A. City Attorney Mike Feuer filed an official complaint about the company’s supposed violation of Proposition D.

“Nestdrop is the technology platform that connects law abiding medical marijuana patients with local dispensaries to receive the medication that they need in a safe and secure manner,” Nestdrop co-founder Michael Pycher told the Los Angeles Times earlier this month.

Launched earlier this year, the company said that it will maintain its alcohol logistics service within Los Angeles while evaluating future options to operate there in the medical marijuana industry as well.

Correction: The original version of this story misstated the timing of Feuer’s lawsuit. It was filed on Dec. 2, 2014. The original version of this story also incorrectly described when Nestdrop first launched. The app first became available in the summer of 2014.

TIME Internet

The 114-Year-Old Who Challenged Facebook’s Age Limits Has Died

Richard Tsong-Taatarii—AP At her home in Pottsdam, Minn., Anna Stoehr plays Scrabble with her son Harlan, 83, who is changing the hoses on her washer

"I'm still here," Anna Stoehr told Facebook when she tried to join

The 114-year-old woman who gained notoriety for challenging Facebook’s age limitations died in Minnesota on Sunday.

Anna Stoehr died in her sleep following several days of hospice care, her son, Harlan, told the Associated Press. According to the Gerontology Research Group, Stroehr was Minnesota’s oldest and the country’s seventh-oldest verified resident.

She garnered attention nationwide this year after a local news outlet reported her attempt to join Facebook was slighted by the fact that she couldn’t put down her real age. Unable to list her birth year of 1900 since it was in the triple digits, Stoehr put down 99 but penned a letter to Facebook that outlined the dilemma.

“I’m still here,” she wrote. In response, her son said, Facebook sent Stoehr 114 flowers on her birthday.


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