TIME Video Games

Here’s Another Great Reason To Buy a Wii U

Nintendo 64
Yvonne Hemsey—Getty Images Product shot of Nintendo 64 game system with games and controller is photographed December 7, 1996 in New York City.

Classic N64 and DS games are coming to the console

Nintendo fans, rejoice: Classic Nintendo 64 and DS games are coming to the company’s Wii U console, it announced Wednesday evening. The N64’s Super Mario 64 and the DS’ Yoshi’s Island DS are now available for $9.99 each.

The old-school titles will be available through the Wii U Virtual Console, essentially an emulator that lets gamers play old titles on the modern Wii U system. Previously, the Wii U Virtual Console only had games for the older NES and Super NES systems as well as the Game Boy Advance. The older Wii console had N64 games, and if you’ve already bought them there, you can port titles over to the Wii U for $2 as they become available, IGN notes.

It’s unclear how many Nintendo 64 titles the company plans on bringing to the Wii U. Here’s holding out hope for classics like GoldenEye and Star Fox 64. You can go ahead and keep Superman, though — we’ll pass on that.

TIME technology

This 50-Year-Old Prediction About Computers Will Make You Sad

April 2, 1965, cover of TIME
Cover Credit: BORIS ARTZYBASHEFF The April 2, 1965, cover of TIME

TIME's 1965 hopes for automation were high

Correction appended: April 2, 2015, 9:45 a.m.

Fifty years ago, when TIME made computers the cover subject for the April 2, 1965, issue, it seemed like the technology had already grown beyond the bounds of human imagination.

A little more than a decade earlier, the magazine reported, the United States had been home to a mere 100 computers. By 1965, there were 22,500 of them. (A 2013 Census report found that 83.8% of households had a computer in the U.S., and that’s not even counting businesses or government offices.) The smallest model available weighed a now-whopping 59 lbs. The government was spending a billion dollars a year on its computers — that’s about $7.4 billion today — and 650,000 Americans were employed making or selling computers, as others in many industries lost their jobs to automation.

They had irreversibly changed the speed of life across the country, making the impossible possible. By TIME’s calculations, “To process without computers the flood of checks that will be circulating in the U.S. by 1970, banks would have to hire all the American women between 21 and 45.”

And, some experts told TIME, those changes would only continue:

Men such as IBM Economist Joseph Froomkin feel that automation will eventually bring about a 20-hour work week, perhaps within a century, thus creating a mass leisure class. Some of the more radical prophets foresee the time when as little as 2% of the work force will be employed, warn that the whole concept of people as producers of goods and services will become obsolete as automation advances. Even the most moderate estimates of automation’s progress show that millions of people will have to adjust to leisurely, “nonfunctional” lives, a switch that will entail both an economic wrench and a severe test of the deeply ingrained ethic that work is the good and necessary calling of man.

Though the economy would have to adjust, it wouldn’t be all bad. “Many scientists hope that in time the computer will allow man to return to the Hellenic concept of leisure, in which the Greeks had time to cultivate their minds and improve their environment while slaves did all the labor,” the article continued. “The slaves, in modern Hellenism, would be the computers.”

The full century during which this change was predicted is only half-way done, but at this point the chances that we’ll live to see a life of Hellenic leisure seem pretty dim. In fact, as a whole, Americans are working more than we were before computers came along to help out. (That change takes into account the entry into the workforce of many women; among men only, the average hours worked per week is slightly down, but not by as much as was predicted in 1965.)

Points for accuracy should go to the 1965 story’s dissenters, who argued even then that society has always adjusted to whatever changes technology may bring, eventually creating more work for people to do when the old jobs get displaced. Sorry, 1965 readers who were looking forward to a life of computers doing all the annoying or difficult stuff.

And, even though computers aren’t doing all the work, some of the 1965 story’s predictions did come true. For example, Computers, TIME accurately predicted, “will eventually become as close to everyday life as the telephone—a sort of public utility of information.”

Read the full 1965 cover story, here in the TIME Vault: The Cybernated Generation

Correction: The original version of this story misstated the proportion of U.S. households that had a computer in 2013. It was 83.8%.

TIME apps

Livestreaming Apps Will Totally Crush Your Data Plan

Meerkat; Periscope
Meerkat; Periscope Meerkat; Periscope

Will mobile operators strangle services like Meerkat and Periscope?

Looking back, I probably used to sound a bit like Charlton Heston. But the only reason I can admit that today is because I’ve mellowed over the years. “From my cold, dead hands!” I used to say — only I wasn’t talking about a gun. I was talking about my unlimited mobile data plan.

As an early iPhone adopter, I got grandfathered into one of the sweetest deals going: an endless buffet of mobile data. Whether I needed it or not, the megabytes were there for the taking, letting me download more or less anything I needed.

The problem was, I needed less — and eventually that’s what I settled for. AT&T rang every enjoyable drop of data out of this deal, blocking apps like FaceTime from their service, putting caps on app size downloads, and even throttling users. For me, the last straw came when I realized that my data usage wasn’t even close to justifying my bottomless cup of bytes. I was really only paying for the potential, should I need it later. So I kissed goodbye the infinite Internet connection, and threw in on a family sharing plan with my wife. We thumb wrestle over 10 gigabytes per month, which is not necessarily digital austerity, but it is life on a data budget.

Now, with live-streaming apps like Meerkat and Periscope and cord-cutting services like Netflix gobbling up bandwidth, I’m kicking myself. This shouldn’t come as a surprise — the fact that file sizes and download opportunities only grow as time’s slider bar inches forward isn’t exactly Moore’s Law, but it’s just as certain. Last year alone, according to Cisco, the world’s mobile data usage swelled 69%. These handheld devices alone accounted for 30 times more traffic than the entire Internet used in 2000. And video, not surprisingly, is the biggest culprit, accounting for 55% of mobile data traffic last year.

All this went down after my unlimited data plan went away. Sure, you could call that bad timing on my behalf, but I was not alone. And if there was already lot of friction between mobile operators and consumers, there’s even more now that cloud-centric apps are steaming things up.

It’s early yet to talk about how Meerkat and Periscope will impact the mobile data landscape, but Ustream has been in the live-streaming game for more than five years already. Much more than just a video-sharing app (though they also do that), Ustream also helps media companies, businesses, conferences, and various other entities get their videos online. To date, they’ve done more than 75 million broadcasts, including feeds for the Federal Reserve, NASA, and even Occupy Wall Street videographer Tim Pool.

Live-stream users should expect their data bill to reflect how they use these apps, says Ustream CEO Brad Hunstable. “If you broadcast for one minute, once to twice a week it’s not a big deal, “ he says. “But if you broadcast for an hour once or twice a day, you could have some sticker shock.”

For instance, on Ustream, users can broadcast using high definition 720p at bitrates up to 2.5 megabits per second (Mbps) on Android, or at 360p for 1.5 Mbps. When it comes to watching videos, you can view at a resolution up to 720p on either platform, but the Ustream dynamically adjusts the video feed for the network or device.

“We’re optimizing for quality in the background,” says Hunstable. “If someone is on a poor connection, we’re actually going to send them a lower quality file to make sure that it gets delivered and works, and is not choppy.” In comparison, Meerkat and Periscope only play in standard definition.

Of course, live-streaming apps are a niche use case for data consumption. But they’re a fast growing one, with the ability to wipe out a monthly allotment in no time at all. And instead of limitless data plans, AT&T now provides a tool for determining your monthly data usage (though live-streamers may prefer Verizon’s calculator, because it includes a video-calling option that’s comparable to live-streaming). That’s a nice gesture, I suppose, but I’d prefer to hit the undo button and get my grandfathered plan back instead.

Read more: Periscope vs. Meerkat: Which Is the Livestreaming App For You?

Interestingly, notes Hunstable, mobile operators like AT&T and Verizon began capping their data just as the love for video apps has grown. “It’s only happened because the quality of the networks have improved over the past few years,” he says. Giving credit where it’s due, this is true. I have had no complaints on my service in the past two-plus years, whereas before my handset sounded like a ham radio, and downloaded apps like it was plugged into a dial-up modem.

But I refuse to give up hope that unlimited data is forever dead on AT&T or Verizon. After all, it has thrived on T-Mobile and Sprint, as these competitors using the opportunity to differentiate themselves in an attempt to steal customers away from other carriers. Whether that strategy is working is another story altogether, but it’s starting to make me think about switching, at least. And I’ve been with Ma Bell since the start of the century.

“My personal opinion is that we’re in a temporary place where they charge a lot for this data consumption,” says Hunstable, who is looking forward to technologies like 5G networks to make prices more reasonable and bandwidth bigger. And you can bet our appetites will keep pace.

TIME apps

The 5 Best iPhone Apps of the Month

TIME.com stock photos Social Apps iPhone
Elizabeth Renstrom for TIME

Try Layout, Instagram's new photo editing tool

Every week, TIME rounds up our favorite iPhone apps of the past few days. Here are the best of the best for March, from messaging to mapping.

VaporChat

I say a lot of things I wish I hadn’t, so an app like VaporChat is pretty essential for a walking foot-in-mouth marathon like me. VaporChat offers you far greater control over your conversations by allowing you to delete texts or even entire conversations from your own phone and from the receiving device as well. No further explanation is needed.

VaporChat is free in the App Store

HERE

A much-lauded maps app, HERE combines the practicality of Google Maps with the level of detailed offered by more powerful travel apps. This means maps can be downloaded for offline use or in areas of spotty wireless service—the times when having maps may matter the most. HERE functions as a full GPS, helps plan public transport routes, and can give to tips on where to stay or help keep your itinerary organized. The interface is simple, keeping the app from getting overwhelming.

HERE is free in the App Store

Breaking

Breaking is like lots of other iPhone RSS readers in that it lets you compile news alerts from different sources—anything that has an RSS feed—and then pulls updates to your phone. But where Breaking stands out is that it pushes stories to your notification center, which makes it easy to get news at a glance without having to log into a dozen different apps.

Breaking is $2.99 in the App Store

Layout from Instagram

Some clever folks over at Instagram realized they weren’t doing enough to help users make collages or photo montages right in the app, seceding those functions to a plethora of third-party apps. Enter Layout, which lets you tinker with your photos by putting them in a collage or mirror-flipping them for a variety of clever effects. You can then share the results on Instagram or anywhere else on the web.

Layout from Instagram is free in the App Store

Fresh Air

Fresh Air creates a handsome graph that tracks developing weather patterns, giving you a better sense of how the day will develop — just because it’s sunny when you roll out of bed doesn’t mean your suede shoes will be safe from those afternoon showers. Moreover, Fresh Air sends notifications to your phone in the mornings, which feels a lot like having a butler on your phone to help you plan accordingly.

Fresh Air is available for $1.99 in the App Store

TIME policy

Twitter, Yelp, eBay CEOs Speak Out Against Religious Freedom Bills

Newest Innovations In Consumer Technology On Display At 2014 International CES
Ethan Miller—Getty Images Twitter CEO Dick Costolo speaks during the Brand Matters keynote address at the 2014 International CES at The Las Vegas Hotel & Casino on January 8, 2014 in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Critics say the laws could allow discrimination against LGBT citizens

Executives at several large technology companies are banding together in opposition to a controversial new religious freedom law in Indiana and a similar bill in Arkansas that critics say could open the door for businesses to discriminate against LGBT customers.

“Religious freedom, inclusion, and diversity can co-exist and everyone including LGBT people and people of faith should be protected under their states’ civil rights laws,” reads the joint statement signed by Twitter CEO Dick Costolo, Square founder Jack Dorsey, Yelp CEO Jeremy Stoppelman and eBay CEO John Donahoe, among others. “No person should have to fear losing their job or be denied service or housing because of who they are or whom they love.”

The group called on state legislatures nationwide to make sexual orientation and gender identity protected classes under state laws designed to protect religious freedoms.

Controversy over those laws erupted last week after Indiana’s legislature passed such a law in the state, while Arkansas’ legislature did the same soon afterwards. Indiana Governor Mike Pence, who signed his state’s law, said this week he’s pushing lawmakers to “fix” it and ensure it doesn’t allow for discrimination. Other business leaders across many different sectors have previously expressed concern about Indiana’s law, with some threatening boycotts if the rule isn’t amended.

Read next: Arkansas Governor Asks for Changes to Controversial Religious Freedom Bill

TIME Social Media

Facebook’s New Video App Wants You to Start the Next Ice Bucket Challenge Phenomenon

Facebook Riff Video App
Facebook An example of a video collaboration on Riff, a standalone app launched by Facebook on April 1, 2015.

The charity challenge inspired the collaborative video app Riff

Facebook isn’t ready to let go of how last summer’s viral ALS Ice Bucket Challenge sent its video views through the roof.

The social media giant launched on Wednesday the standalone app Riff, a collaborative video platform that allows you to invite your friends to stitch together clips under a certain topic, Facebook said in a statement. Since the video is viewable by your participating friends, their friends start can adding videos as well.

“The potential pool of creative collaborators can grow exponentially from there, so a short video can become an inventive project between circles of friends that you can share to Facebook, or anywhere on the Internet, at any time,” product manager Josh Miller said.

Miller told TechCrunch that Riff’s collaborative nature was inspired by how people tagged one another to film and post ALS Ice Bucket Challenge videos, 17 million of which were shared on the site between June 1 and Sept. 1.

Riff also appears to be inspired by how so many Ice Bucket Challenge videos were stitched together—including celebrity and “fail” compilations—similar to the viral “Harlem Shake” videos in 2013, or the never-ending compilations of funny Vines. Riff’s social element will put it in competition with similar apps like Vyclone, MixBit and Snapchat’s Stories.

Riff is available now for iOS and Android.

TIME Web

How Google Tricks You Into Thinking You’re Smarter

It's like a knowledge confidence booster, study suggests

Searching the Internet may inflate your perception of how knowledgeable you are, a new study says.

Researchers found that participants using Google search to answer specific questions believed they could later answer unrelated questions more accurately, according to a study in the Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, published online Monday.

Even when participants couldn’t find answers on the Internet, they still felt an increased self-assessment of how much knowledge they had. As a result, people may unintentionally exaggerate how much information they can recall on their own, the study said.

“It becomes easier to confuse your own knowledge with this external source,” said lead researcher Matthew Fisher of Yale University. “When people are truly on their own, they may be wildly inaccurate about how much they know and how dependent they are on the Internet.”

The study adds to existing research that suggests searching the Internet for information creates an increase in “cognitive self-esteem,” though not necessarily an increase in intelligence.

Read next: 11 Google Tricks That Will Change the Way You Search

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TIME Smartphones

MS-DOS Is Back and It’s On Your Smartphone

Nice April Fool's Day prank, Microsoft

Microsoft rebooted its old and unimproved MS-DOS interface for mobile phones on Wednesday, touting it as the “simplest OS yet” in what may be the company’s most elaborate April Fool’s Day prank ever.

Fans of the monochromatic interface that put Microsoft on the map 34 years ago can download MS-DOS as a free app from the Windows Phone store, then struggle to execute jargon-laden commands to access files and launch primitive apps.

The app launched with a slickly produced promotional video on YouTube, in which executives offer deadpan praise for a “beautifully simple OS,” that, perhaps thankfully, is a thing of the past.

 

TIME Media

Netflix Is Begging You to Take a Shower in These New Binging PSAs

Special Screening Of Netflix's "House Of Cards" Season 2
Jason LaVeris—FilmMagic Actor Kevin Spacey attends a screening of "House Of Cards" at Directors Guild Of America on February 13, 2014 in Los Angeles, California.

This is your brain on House of Cards

“Just say no” to binging — that’s the message behind a new set of Netflix public service announcements conveniently timed for April Fools’ Day.

The PSAs warn of the social, physical and psychological dangers of watching way too many TV episodes back-to-back. If users watch more than two consecutive episodes of a show on April 1, they’ll be greeted with one of 13 PSA’s from stars such as Michael Kelly (Doug Stamper on House of Cards) and Taylor Schilling (Piper Chapman on Orange Is the New Black).

The messages cover a wide range of basic human activities that hardcore Netflix users might often ignore, such as venturing into the outside world, calling their mothers and eating a meal that involves utensils. “Turn off the TV,” Freaks and Geeks star Linda Cardellini says in one ad advocating showering. “You stink.”

Netflix users can see all the ads in one place by searching for “Binge Responsibly” within the service.

 

TIME Gadgets

Drone Photography Is About To Get Way Better

Phase One iXU 180 Camera
Phase One Industrial Phase One Industrial, a manufacturer and provider of medium format aerial digital photography equipment and software solutions, announced the Phase One iXU 180 camera, on March 26, 2015.

Phase One Industrial is out with a super small, hi-res aerial camera

Danish camera maker Phase One Industrial has unveiled a new aerial camera that could help take drone photography to the next level.

The lightweight iXU 180 is the world’s smallest 80-megapixel medium format aerial camera, the company said in a statement. The camera can be integrated into small oblique systems that can fit inside a gyro mount, giving drone operators more flexibility for aerial photography.

The company’s last 80-megapixel camera, the IQ 180, has already produced stunningly detailed aerial footage. Here’s a look at a time-lapse video filmed with the iXU 180’s predecessor:

iXU 180 will begin shipping in mid-April. A Phase One spokesperson said the camera is priced at $60,000.

Read next: Someone Flew a Drone Into a Fireworks Display and This Is What Happened

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