Using a Roku: How to Finally Cut the Cord on Cable

Using a Roku: How to Finally Cut the Cord on Cable

It seems to be standard for almost everyone to cut the cord on their cable TV providers and use a Roku or similar TV streaming device these days. The term “cut the cord on cable” is used by many people.

It means to stop subscribing to cable TV service providers and use a TV streaming device. The thing is, “cut the cord on cable” is a cheap way to get your fix for all of your favorite TV episodes, movies, news, local channels, and more. Here is more information on how to “cut the cord on cable” and use a Roku stick instead. And the many benefits of doing so.

Why Cut the Cord on Cable and Use a Roku Instead

image of roku box and stick, to cut the cord on cable

Roku streaming sticks are easy to use. Image CC by 2.0, by Bago Games, via Flickr 

There are many benefits of “cutting the cord on cable” and using a Roku stick instead. If you think you won’t be able to get the same TV shows and movies you did with the more expensive cable or satellite TV providers, you are wrong. There are a lot of TV streaming services you can get a whole lot cheaper than what you are or were paying for services like DirecTV, Dish Network, and Xfinity.

You can get it, or Netflix, Hulu, Youtube Red or regular free Youtube, and more for a lot cheaper. Don’t forget about Amazon Video because they are inexpensive as well. Almost all of these TV streaming services cost under $10 per month. Also, you don’t need all of them to get the TV shows and movies you already enjoy.

Using a streaming set-top box is like only paying for the things you watch instead of paying an outrageous cable bill every month for channels you may not even be watching much, if at all.

What is Roku TV

A Roku TV is more expensive but it is a nice option to have.

Roku TV is a nice option for easy streaming. Image CC by 2.0, by Michael Sheehan, via Flickr 

You have more than one option when it comes to using Roku. You can use a Roku box that hooks up to your TV and Internet. Another option is to get a Roku streaming stick that does the same thing but it is a lot smaller than the box, or you can buy a TV with Roku built into it. This is called Roku TV. With all three of these, you will be ready to enjoy watching your favorite TV shows and movies as soon as you connect the box or streaming stick to your TV. Then, connect it to the Internet and create a Roku account where you can choose the channels you want to watch.

With a Roku TV, the Roku is already on the TV, so all you need to do with this is connect to the Internet and create your Roku account to start enjoying your favorite shows and movies. Admittedly, a TV that has this streaming device built into will be an expensive purchase at first. However, it is a one-time payment and the only thing you pay out every month is your services for your TV channels and movies like Netflix or Hulu or similar cheap services.

A Roku TV is easier to use. However, the box or a streaming stick is cheaper. So, if you are trying to save money all the way around, not just with your TV shows and movies, you should go with the box or the Roku streaming stick.

How to Use a Roku Streaming Stick

It is easy to hook the streaming stick up to your TV.

Roku streaming stick is the easiest choice. Image CC by 2.0, by Mike Mozart, via Flickr

Using a Roku streaming stick is one of the easiest things you can do when it comes to the streaming device. All you do is plug it into the back of your TV and connect everything to your home Wi-Fi. Then, create a free Roku account, choose your free and cheap TV streaming services and channels, and start watching and enjoying your favorite TV shows and movies. However, both the box and the streaming stick plug right into your TV, so they are essentially the same thing.

The only real difference between the two is the size and the price. The box is a little bit cheaper, approximately $10 less expensive than the stick. You can go to a store like Walmart and pick up the box for around $60 to $70 one-time payment. You can pay a little bit more for the stick and a lot more if you want a new TV with it built in.

The only reason for buying the Roku TV is if you already need a new TV. If you already have an excellent working TV, it is recommended to pay the one time $60 or $70 for the box or a little more for the stick. Then, choose the streaming services you think you and your family will enjoy the most.

Sign up for your account with the streaming service or services you are choosing. Add your free and cheap channels to your Roku. Now, you are well on your way to enjoying free (or a whole lot cheaper) TV shows and movies to your heart’s content!

About Roku Channels

Not only can you find very inexpensive channels on the Roku website but there are free TV channels and movie channels that even come with your free account with this service.TV and movie channels like Crackle and a few others come included with the Roku. There are also local TV streaming channels like Sling TV, US TV Now, Playstation VUE, and more. Some of these are free to use while others give you the option to pay for a monthly upgrade for even more local TV channels and movies.

Some sports fans wonder if they can still watch their favorite sports on it if they decide to “cut the cord on cable.” The answer to this is YES! Many of these streaming services and channels have sports channels included with them.

How Much Money Can You Save?

You can save a lot of money by switching to a Roku.

Save money with a Roku. Image CC by 2.0, by Pictures of Money, via Flickr

Many people often wonder how much money they can save if they “cut the cord on cable” and go with a Roku. The answer to this is about $1000 or more per year. That is a lot of savings every year. Think about what you can do with an extra $1000 or more per year if you aren’t paying for cable anymore! It is amazing!

So, are you convinced to “cut the cord on cable” yet? It is as easy as calling your cable or satellite service provider to cancel your subscription. Keep your Wi-Fi and go to the nearest Walmart or similar store to pick up your Roku box, streaming stick, or your new Roku TV.

Then, come home, choose your streaming services like Sling TV, Netflix, Hulu, or more, connect everything to your home Wi-Fi. Create your free Roku account and your account with your new streaming service provider. Choose your channels and movies. Sit back, relax, and watch TV as long as you want.

What is Binge-Watching TV?

If you have never heard of binge-watching TV, you will soon discover what it is all about with your new TV streaming device! Once you have all of this, you should calculate what your monthly and yearly savings will be after “cutting the cord on cable” for good! You might be surprised how much money you can save. Not just every month, but every year as well! Not only will you be happy with your new way to watch your favorite TV episodes and movies, but you will be happy about saving money too!

 

Featured Image: CC by 2.0, by Mike Mozart, via Flickr 

 

Is Hulu Free Actually Free Anymore? Here’s the Scoop!

Is Hulu Free Actually Free Anymore? Here’s the Scoop!

The pressing question is, “can we get Hulu free anymore?” Inquiring minds want to know. Hulu had bloomed in popularity because they bring us all the TV shows we love, but can’t get on Netflix, at one click. But, you used to be able to get Hulu, “Hulu Plus,” and even a free trial of Hulu — can you anymore? Well catch you up on the greatest aspects of this service, and answer all the questions you have about Hulu free.

Many people turn to online sites that allow us to watch television. And everyone likes to get stuff “free,” though nearly nothing is really free anymore. Usually, to get something free, you are paying for it in information or watching advertisements.

Still, we ask ourselves; in a world where free isn’t really free anymore, is Hulu free?

Online Video Streaming: Hulu Free

Hulu is an online video streaming site that launched in 2008. You can find your favorite movies there, but Hulu centers more on TV series. You’re able to use any device available to stream your favorite shows. With the use of your tablet, smartphone or TV, you can stream Hulu anywhere. You are able to watch all types of shows on Hulu; action, comedy, romance and more. If you’re into anime, you’ll find select shows and movies on Hulu and “Hulu Plus.” Hulu is becoming the most go-to site for television programs found on major networks, not including the CW and CBS.

Many people had Hulu free, and others Hulu Plus, though their model has changed in the last few years.

Hulu video streaming for free

The services Hulu provides are becoming more popular, like Netflix or Amazon Video. Of course, Hulu works by connecting to wireless internet services. By doing this, when they started, you were able to stream your favorite videos and shows for free on a trial basis. This makes traveling long distances, or a long flight more tolerable. Just plug into available internet services and enjoy! According to Hulu Press;

“Hulu is the complete TV experience for consumers, offering both live and on-demand programming and more consumer choice than ever before,” said Freer. “We are the only place that delivers award-winning content, ad loads less than half that of traditional television, with ads that are always viewable and always in a brand-safe environment — and we are leading the TV and advertising industries into the future.”

But, the Free trial on Hulu is a thing of the past

When they started out, new subscribers were able to get a 7-day free trial. You were allowed limited access to the site, with commercials, while choosing a plan. Hulu began to take catching up with the competition seriously, in 2016. That is when they dropped the free trial, and added other things.

Is it true “Hulu Plus” is no longer free?

Yes, it is true, they ended their 7-day free trial. And, actually, “Hulu Plus” no longer exists either. With competing companies, Hulu decided to move towards an all-subscription model. In 2016, Hulu joined a deal with Yahoo. That is when Hulu decided to phase out their free trial system. Why?

According to PCMag.com, “Hulu used to have a free tier with limited shows and advertising, but killed it in 2016. Now, the price is a flat $7.99 per month for its base content. Hulu used to call this tier “Hulu Plus,” but now it’s just Hulu.

They focused on building a subscription service that provided a more personalized experience possible for their viewers. Hulu Senior VP and Head of Experience Ben Smith said in a statement, “As we have continued to enhance that offering with new originals, exclusive acquisitions, and movies, the free service became very limited and no longer aligned with the Hulu experience or content strategy.”

Hulu free is no longer available, but the services offered by the streaming service seem to make up for the low cost.

The Product Formerly Known as “Hulu Plus” – Is the pricing worth it?

To get or not to get, that is the question. When Hulu started, their basic package for $7.99 came with limited commercial interruptions. Some were fine with these interruptions. However, for $4 more you can get more content with no commercials – minus certain shows that have them due to streaming rights.

But what makes Hulu better than cable?

Cable television is very expensive these days. And a technician from whichever company comes to your home to install everything. Some companies charge for that installation, and even that can run into money not well spent. Additionally, if you don’t own a cable box you’re looking at spending $20-$30 a month. That adds up to a lot of money.

Whereas, if you were to sign up for Hulu today, you’d only be spending $7.99 a month. If you chose to sign up for Hulu with Live TV, you could completely skip the Cable TV, for only $39.99 a month. If you already have cable, you know that is a heck of a savings. With average US cable bills running $99.99 a month, that is only one third the cost.

Also, if you’re going on vacation or need to take a break, financially,  you can put your account on hold for up to twelve weeks. Can you do that with cable? We’ll cover more about Hulu with Live TV below. First, let’s talk about an exciting offer for Hulu and Sprint customers

Sprint Unlimited Plus Hulu, Plus Means Better!

Sprint users are in luck! All new or current Sprint users are able to sign up for Hulu on their smartphones. How does it work exactly? After you’re done signing up for your subscription you’ll get an activation link or code. By using the link or code, you’re able to complete any Hulu registration process.

Adding Hulu to your Sprint plan

Basically, enter your email address to create an account and log in to your current Hulu account. It’s that simple! Note, those who are already signed up for Hulu Limited Commercials, won’t have access to Hulu Live TV or add-ons. According to the Sprint FAQs page, your plan “includes the TV you love, with the Hulu Limited Commercials plan. Your Sprint Unlimited plan also includes a 10GB mobile hotspot so you can watch on the go, where you go. You’ll be able to watch the most popular next-day TV, original series, thousands of hit shows, movies and more.”

Sounds almost too good to be true, right?

Watching Hulu “Free” with Sprint Unlimited

After registering and activating your account, watching Hulu with Sprint is easy. Since the app comes on your phone already, you can take it anywhere. Stream your favorite shows and movies from the comfort of your home, car or wherever you get an internet connection.

There are, however, some exclusions at the moment. Sprint prepaid brands, any phones on seasonal standby, as well as Sprint corporate and business accounts are excluded. There is no information on when these types of exclusions will be allowed, till then it looks like Sprint users are limited. Hulu free is no longer available here either.

Hulu Channel Lineups and Subscriptions: Hulu with Live TV

Like mentioned above, cable is expensive these days, especially if you want to watch certain networks, movies or television shows. Even when using a DVR system, you’re looking to spend large amounts of money to achieve this. If you are addicted to your cable, your best bet is to go with Hulu with Live TV.

Sure it’s $39.99 a month, but in the long run, you’re saving money to watch live television. This subscription will cover your local, regional and standard cable networks. Not to mention, you get up to 50 hours worth of DVR recording time. (If you’re not looking to spend $40 a month, you also get DVR with the basic package.) Even with the cheaper versions, you still have access to your favorite shows.

Have a large household, look into getting the Hulu’s add-on packages. You get more hours for DVR recordings, and Unlimited Screens packages. However, some regional and local channels might be limited due to where you live.

Free Movies Online, a Thing of the Past

It was sad to see Hulu free disappear. However, you’re still able to stream favorites such as Law and OrderFamily Guy, and South Park just to name a few. There are no hidden fees, no extra equipment, and no cable guy to come install anything when signing up for Hulu. All you need is your phone, tablet, Roku, Chromecast, Apple TV device or a Samsung Smart Tv for streaming. It’s also nice to know that you can cancel at any time without any extra costs. Even the streaming quality is pretty nice. Hulu with Live TV comes in HD quality.

For your viewing pleasure, Hulu Free no longer

Hulu with Live TV is a great replacement to cable television, and Hulu’s lower tiers make a great addition to your current streaming services. For just $7.99, that’s a deal you don’t want to pass up. You save money in the long run and it’s a great investment in entertainment.

So, what will you be watching today?

 

Featured Image: CC by 0, by ADMC, via Pixabay

Best Bluetooth Earbuds on a Budget: What’s Right for You?

Best Bluetooth Earbuds on a Budget: What’s Right for You?

With so many options on the market today, and at so many price points, how do you know which ones are the best Bluetooth earbuds? Better yet, how do you know which ones aren’t worth the money at all?

One of the most annoying things about wired headphones is the wire itself. It becomes tangled and twisted and can be a huge pain. If you find dealing with wired headphones annoying, it might be time to make the switch to the best Bluetooth earbuds. Perception is that these headphones still cost an arm and a leg, but there are plenty of options available on a budget.

There are plenty of options available on the market today for the best Bluetooth earbuds under 50 dollars. This article will discuss some of the best cheap Bluetooth earbuds available, comparing battery life, quality, comfort, and appearance. Hopefully, one of the headsets listed below fit your needs.

Who Needs Bluetooth Earbuds?

bluetooth earbuds on table

Image: CC BY 2.0, by Karl Baron, via Flickr

The earphones listed here are some of the best cheap Bluetooth earbuds you’ll find on the market. These Bluetooth earbuds are ideal for people who aren’t worried about high-level sound quality. These headphones don’t cost a lot of money, can make and receive phone calls, and work like they’re supposed to with little fuss.

Something to remember is that because most of these Bluetooth earbuds are under $50, most of the cost goes into the technology behind them. As a result, you miss out on other functionality. Things like build quality, sound drivers, and other features won’t match the level of sophistication you find in more expensive Bluetooth earbuds.

So keep in mind that you’re going to get what you pay for, as we review some of the best Bluetooth earbuds under $50.

The Best Bluetooth Earbuds

picture of right earbud with blurred background: best bluetooth earbuds under 50 dollars.

Image: CC BY 2.0, by Faruk Ates, via Flickr

The following seven earbuds are the most affordable Bluetooth earbuds on the market.

Skullcandy Ink’d Bluetooth Earbuds

Some of the best cheap Bluetooth earbuds available come from Skullcandy, a company well-known for its high-quality headsets. These Bluetooth earbuds come with two pairs of ear gels, along with a micro USB charging cable. You’re definitely getting your money’s worth with these Bluetooth headphones. They offer a quick recharge time and noise canceling capabilities.

Of course, it’s important to remember that even though these Bluetooth earbuds boast about their noise canceling feature, you’re not going to get the quality you would get with a pricier pair. Still, for the name brand and quality you get, you can’t beat the price for these Bluetooth earbuds.

Brainwavz Blu-Delta Bluetooth Earbuds

 Brainwavz Delta Black IEM In Ear Earbuds Noise Isolating Earphones Remote Headset Apple iPhone & Android

Image via Amazon

While Brainwavz may not be the most recognizable name on this list, they do produce a quality Bluetooth headset. Brainwavz Blu-Delta Bluetooth earbuds are noise isolating, and feature a high-fidelity sound provided by its 4.0 aptx technology.

Some reviews suggest the Brainwavz Blu-Delta has trouble isolating sound in noisy spaces, but remember that you’re paying less than $50 for these earbuds. This may be an area you have to sacrifice. If you’re looking for some of the best cheap Bluetooth earbuds, you can’t go wrong with a Brainwavz Blu-Delta wireless headset.

Photive PH-BET50 Bluetooth Earbuds

Photive PH-BTE50 Bluetooth 4.0 Wireless Sports Headphones with Built-in Microphone

Image via Amazon

Some of the best Bluetooth earbuds for running, the Photive PH-BET50 wireless headset is an excellent fit if you exercise regularly. The Photive earbuds are sweat-proof, so you won’t damage them while you’re out for your daily run. With your earbuds, you’ll get a user guide, a cord clip, a micro USB charging cable, and different sized ear tips.

Of course, like many of the Bluetooth earbuds on this list, users have reported some problems with the Photive PH-BET50 earbuds. The most common complaint is that after a few months, the earbuds quit producing sound. However, at less than $50, these are some of the best Bluetooth earbuds you can get on the cheap.

iFrogz Audio Impulse Wireless Headset

iFrogz wireless earbuds offer fantastic sound quality in comparison to some of the other Bluetooth earbuds on this list. These earbuds provide drivers that focus on giving end users an incredible sound experience. It will have you wondering how they can cost less than $50.

Included with the iFrogz Audio Impulse Bluetooth earbuds are a starter guide, an audio jack cable with a mic, and a micro USB charging cord. These earbuds are great for workouts since they are resistant to sweat and can withstand harsh conditions. Based on the quality of these Bluetooth earbuds and the low price, it’s easy to see why these are on the list of best cheap Bluetooth earbuds.

Aukey Latitude EP-B40 Wireless Earbuds

woman racer running down hill: find the best bluetooth earbuds for running

Image: CC BY 2.0, by Paul dobson, via Flickr

Here’s another headset you can add to the list of best Bluetooth earbuds for running. The Aukey Latitude EP-B40s are sweat resistant and offer a great sound via the aptx codec. Along with the earbuds, you’ll get a user manual, a carrying pouch, three pairs of ear hooks, three pairs of ear-tips, and a micro USB charging cable.

Aukey boasts a long-lasting battery, saying that it can go without a charge for up to eight hours of continuous usage. Like many on this list, there are a few drawbacks to the Aukey, with some saying that it has a poor connection if you pair the earbuds with more than one device. Even so, the Aukey Latitude EP-B40s are an excellent option for you if you’re looking for some of the best Bluetooth earbuds for less than $50.

iClever Bluetooth Headphones

iclever earbuds image from Amazon Wireless Headphones, iClever Sport Headset Ultra Comfy Fit, Noise Cancelling, Waterproof Bluetooth Headphones Wireless Earbuds for Gym, Workout, Running – Black

Image via Amazon

The iClever Bluetooth headphones are the first to provide users an 8mm dynamic speaker. Along with your iClever Bluetooth earbuds, you’ll get a pair of running headphones, earbuds for iPhone X, and a micro USB charging cable.

iClever says that its wireless headphones will last up to 10 hours of playing time, all while providing noise cancellation and waterproof earbuds. Some folks have found trouble with the amount of time it takes to charge the headset, but even so, you’re getting a great set of wireless earbuds.

Anker Soundbuds Life

Anker bluetooth earbuds

Image via Amazon

Anker’s Soundbuds Life are perhaps some of the best wireless Bluetooth earbuds you can get for under $50. These earbuds are thin and sturdy and capable of handling any type of activity. If you’re using a device with Bluetooth 4.1 technology, you’ll find that Anker’s Bluetooth earbuds provide high quality and sound.

Because of their light weight, your Anker Soundbuds Life won’t fall out of your ears. The water and sweat resistance also make them among the best Bluetooth earbuds for running. The additional tips that come with the earbuds will help keep them securely in place. Along with the different sized ear tips, your Anker Soundbuds Life comes with a micro USB charging cable and a shirt clip.

Offering up to seven hours of continuous play, along with a robust sound experience, the Anker Soundbuds Life earbuds might just be the best Bluetooth earbuds you can get on a budget.

The Choice is Yours

earbuds laying on wood table: best cheap bluetooth earbuds

Image CC0, by jklugiewicz, via Pixabay

Hopefully, some of the information about the best Bluetooth earbuds on a budget have helped you make a decision about which ones are right for you. As you can see, there is no shortage of options available on the market today. You have a wide range of features and qualities from which to choose. Of course, only you know what works best for your needs, so use these reviews to make an informed and educated decision.

Of course, if you’re an audiophile, or find the need for a great music experience, the headsets on this list may not work for you. But if you are merely looking for a reliable set of cheap Bluetooth earbuds, you can’t go wrong with any of the options on this list.

 

Featured Image: CC by 0, by StockSnap, via Pixabay

5 Things You Should Know About Bitcoin

5 Things You Should Know About Bitcoin

Cryptocurrencies have erupted over the past year.

 

These currencies are nothing new.

 

For years, people used these coins to trade goods and services (mostly illegal drugs) on the Dark Web in places like the late Silk Road.

 

Those days are gone, dozens of new cryptocurrencies emerge every day.

 

While many people rushed to purchase crypto when the Bitcoin price skyrocketed in November, most don’t understand the risk and many other factors.

 

As the price crashes, many people find themselves asking “wait, what is Bitcoin (BC) and how does it work?” It’s too late for some of them. Advocates will tell you now is the time to buy – but is it?

 

Here’s what you should know about the Bitcoin value, Ethereum price, and cryptocurrencies in general.

 

  1. What Is Bitcoin Exactly?

BC is what’s known as a cryptocurrency. Unlike traditional monies, BC and other cryptocurrencies are decentralized (well, kind of) through the use of technology called blockchain.

 

Blockchain is an interesting system created by a notorious – and elusive – figure named Satoshi Nakamoto. No one knows much about Satoshi or if he (?) really exists. It’s generally understood that Satoshi is, rather, a concept for the group of people who created blockchain.

 

Confused yet? It gets worse.

 

Blockchain is a series of blocks or digital records which are all linked in some way. Cryptography ensures these blocks stay secure through a special form of encryption.

 

Crypto-currency: get it? What is Bitcoin? A specific type of cryptocurrency secured using blockchain technology.

 

  1. Where Does Bitcoin Value Come From?

That’s a great question. Unfortunately, there isn’t one correct answer.

 

Crypto advocates will tell you that since BC is independent from the global dollar system, it’s value is determined by this decentralized network: users determine the value.

 

This is somewhat true, but what defines value?

 

In one sense, the only value that BC holds is as a method of exchange.

 

But what is being exchanged? Traditional fiat currencies which you’ve acquired through labor and other methods – all of which rely on the global dollar system for their value.

 

There are two ways to acquire BC and cryptocurrencies: purchase them with “real” money, or mine it. In order to mine BC, you need a heavy-duty computer system that solves complex puzzles (this is an over simplification).

 

Most people purchase BC with their country’s traditional currency. Although advocates tout crypto as a competitor to the global dollar system, these currencies are measured against fiat like the U.S. dollar. Plus, in order to purchase crypto, you need a standard bank account to transfer funds.

 

In fact, cryptocurrencies are very reliant on governments and economies for determining their number values. When governments impose regulations or large corporations announce they will accept BC, this makes the value fluctuate – and drastically.

 

  1. Beyond Just Bitcoin Price: Transaction Fees are Completely Unaffordable for Both Users and Businesses

If you’ve never purchased Ethereum, BC, Litecoin, or any other cryptocurrency, you may not realize how much it actually costs.

 

An average transaction fee costs $28 – average.

 

Want to upload fiat funds to your digital wallet? Pay a fee. Want to purchase BC with funds from your digital wallet? Pay another fee. Is it time to sell because the price skyrocketed? Yep, another fee.

 

Cryptocurrency exchanges like Coinbase charge a lot of money for moving even small amounts of monies. In many respects, this is holding back potential progress in the industry.

 

It’s almost impossible for businesses to offer cryptocurrencies as a payment method for this reason.

 

  1. Think Income Inequality is Bad? The Cryptocurrency World Isn’t Better

In the “real world,” 1% of the population control more wealth than the entire 99% combined. In the cryptocurrency world, 1,000 people control 40% of all BC. Keep in mind that it’s difficult to calculate exact figures for inequality so this is more of an estimate.

 

This inequality doesn’t help the argument that BC is “decentralized.”

 

Combined with other factors, those 1,000 people can drastically influence the value of cryptocurrencies. If all 1,000 decided to sell everything tomorrow, the price would plummet. This would leave folks who invested their last $500 (or sold their home to purchase BC) out in the cold.

 

  1. The Ethereum Price is Low, Could This Make You Money?

Perhaps. Ethereum is one of the up-and-comers of the cryptocurrency world along with BC Cash and Litecoin.

 

If the Ethereum price is low, you could buy a little, but don’t invest your life’s savings. At the time of writing this, Ethereum costs $530 – down about 40% for the month.

 

If you’re looking to make money in crypto, you’re better off buying something like Ethereum and riding it out. However, there are dozens of cryptocurrencies: nearly every state government and major company is developing their own.

 

Deciding which one to purchase is just as much – if not more – risky than the traditional stock market.

 

Invest wisely, just don’t lose your home.

What Are the Top Emojis and Where Did They Come From?

What Are the Top Emojis and Where Did They Come From?

Believe it or not, people are very interested in studying the science of emojis.

 

What are the top emojis? What are emojis anyways?

 

The history of emojis dates back a few decades to the advent of modern computers.

 

Now, Twitter has emoji support and you can even use animated or “live” emojis in your texts.

 

Let’s look at how we got here and where emojis are going.

 

What Are Emojis and Where Did They Come From?

Many people think that emojis are the advanced versions of emoticons. This logic makes sense: as the world transitioned to smart phones and high-tech devices, it was only a matter of time before emoticons got a fresh makeover.

 

However, this isn’t the case. In fact, emojis and emoticons have two very different histories. What is an emoji and where did they come from?

 

Emoticons

Emoticons use punctuation marks to represent feelings or facial expressions.

 

A computer scientist at Carnegie Mellon University, Scott Fahlman, is the first known person to type an emoticon back in 1982. What did Scott type? “: – )” and “: – (” These are what’s known as ASCII emoticons.

 

However, other researchers believe the first recorded emoticon dates back even further to PLATO computer systems in 1972. These emoticons were actually much more advanced than the versions that Scott would type in the early 80s. They included small pixelated formations of animals, faces, aliens, and objects – and dozens of them.

 

Scotts emoticons looked a lot more primitive than what the developers at PLATO came up with.

 

While Western countries would type their emoticons sideways for the next three decades or so, the Japanese quickly advanced in 1986. This is when kaomojis were born. These are somewhat unsettling to users who have only experienced sideways emoticons and emojis because they are very wide and strange.

 

You’re probably most familiar with the shrug: ¯\_(ツ)_/¯.

 

The creepy ones, however, are called “Lenny:” ( ͡⚆ل͜ ͡⚆) and ( ͡◉◞ ͜ʖ◟ ͡◉)

 

Anyways, we were stuck with using these to express our emotions through text for nearly 30 years.

 

What Is an Emoji Exactly?

That’s when emojis finally came along. What is an emoji exactly?

 

The emojis we now know and love (or hate) surfaced in 1999 when they were first included in Japanese phones. They wouldn’t make an impact though until 2010 when they became fairly standard on mobile operating systems.

 

These are very different than typographic expressions because they are little images instead of typeface: just click a button and you have an emotion to express yourself.

 

As more and more people only communicate through text messages and emails, emojis have become vital for expressing sadness, content, joy, and a broad range of other emotions. In the past few years, emojis have advanced drastically to include nearly every country’s flag and just about any activity you can possibly imagine.

 

Not only that, but several emojis have double meanings (this blog won’t cover the dirty ones).

 

  • Nail painting emoji: Painting your nails OR gleefully apathetic
  • Frog emoji: Actual frog OR calling someone ugly OR smugness (especially when combined with coffee emoji)
  • Coffee emoji: Drinking coffee OR smugness
  • Skull emoji: Laughing so hard you died (has anyone ever used this one for face value?)
  • Fire emoji: Actual fire OR something is awesome

 

How to Use Live Emojis

Due to their popularity, emojis get yet another upgrade this year: animated or live emojis. You’ll first see these new emojis on the updated iPhone operating systems.

 

You now have a few live emojis to choose from such as a lion, bear, skull, unicorn, and even poop. Why they chose to start with animals and creatures instead of faces no one will know. Maybe it’s because of how live emojis are used: the facial recognition system transforms the emoji to express your actual emojis like an animated avatar.

 

Did they think expressing yourself through animals was less creepy than a yellow blob? Maybe, but it’s still weird.

 

Whatever expressions you make, the live emoji will follow. You can also use the live emojis for singing karaoke.

 

The Top Emojis of 2018 (Tracking Twitter Emoji Use)

Everyone has their favorite, but what are the top emojis?

 

To celebrate World Emoji Day (July 17th), Emojipedia decided to look at the top emojis used across Twitter. A Twitter emoji is easier to track and pull data. It’s probably impossible (and illegal) to track emoji use across text messages and cell phones.

 

So, what’s the top emoji? If you guessed crying laughing you’re right.

 

Unbelievably, poop emoji also ranks in a top spot. Other favorites include heart eyes, red heart, grinning face, smiling face with sunglasses, party popper, smiling face with smiling eyes, and thumbs up. As far as top emojis in the object category go, coffee wins hands down.

Facial Recognition: Face Search and What You Need to Know About It

Facial Recognition: Face Search and What You Need to Know About It

Not only has face search technology advanced rapidly, but it continues to develop quickly today. Facial recognition software has become the state of the art, and social media and tech are in love with it. Even Social media giants, like Facebook, are using it now.

According to Facebook, we can now use face recognition to find photos we are in posted by other people. However, not everyone who uses Facebook is happy about this new option. Like most young tech, it has its share of distrust.

Facebook and Face Search

Facebook tells you all about their face search for images when you log-on after you have logged out after a while. They have the setting turned on already for you but explain to you how to turn it off if you don’t want to use the new facial search feature. (If you are wondering how to turn off Facebook’s facial recognition, we have a video below.)

Although Facebook has rolled this software out for users of the giant social network, according to USA Today, three Illinois residents are suing the popular social media site because of face search. They are suing them under the Biometric Information Privacy Act. This state law is one of only two in the entire nation that regulates facial recognition technology. A California judge has officially ruled that this case can move forward. Because of this, Mark Zuckerberg, the founder of Facebook, is facing billions of dollars in damages if these residents win this significant case.

What is Facial Recognition?

What is facial recognition, or face search, exactly? Face recognition is a technology software used to identify a person by the features of their face. Whoever is using the software records the facial features of the people who will be using face search to access or get into a place or site. Once their facial features are documented, the software will recognize who they are, from that point forward. This way, they can sign-in to different places and websites, using their face. The software remembers their features and from that point forward, will know who they are.

Facebook is using this software for people to find photos they are tagged in whether they did the tagging themselves or someone else did. Although they have rolled this feature out in the United States, users do have a choice whether they want to use this feature or not. Meaning, they have the option to leave it on, since it comes turned on already for users, or they can go into their settings and turn it off. This is proof that Facebook is not forcing the use of this software on anyone.

How Face Search Works

Face search is gaining in popularity.

Image CC by 4.0, by Abyssus, via Wikimedia Commons 

So, maybe you are wondering how face search works? This brand new tech software works by recording facial features. The input is in the form of either an image or a video, and the output is in the form of either identification or verification of the person’s face that shows in the picture or video. There are a few different ways facial recognition software is designed, and the main three include the following:

  • Alignment
  • Detection
  • Recognition

Detection

The computer detects the human face in digital images in this stage. Although you may be standing in front of a building or maybe even a tree, it will ignore what is behind you and only get your facial features. The computer will remember the elements of your face for the future.

The facial recognition process was invented in 1973. Since the invention of facial detection, there have been several of them. The year 2001 was a breakthrough year for face detection because Viola Jones invented the first type of face detection that detects in real time.

Alignment

Alignment works by the computer dividing the face into visible landmarks. These visible landmarks are called nodal points, and they work by dividing different parts of the face for detection. Examples are the depth of the eye socket, the distance between each eye, and how full the nose is on a person’s face. Once determining the differences between these areas of the face, they would then be used to make a unique code. However, a problem occurred with this. The problem is that you can’t get the same view of your face twice. The reason for this is because our faces are in flux constantly. They are not like fingerprints. But there is a solution to this problem. Make a 3D face model and using the 3D that was made of the face to warp it to the frontal representation of it.

Recognition

The real recognition of the face is classifying the identification from the aligned, detected, and usual faces for identification purposes. Recognition answers the “who is it?” question. However, it does consist of many different representations to identify the person. In plain English, it uses multiple identifiers to find out who the person is.

Where and How is Face Recognition Software Already Being Used?

There are many places and people who use facial recognition now. Keep reading to find out where and how it is used today.

Accessing personal devices

Many of ourpersonal devices are also unlocked by face recognition

Image CC by 1.0, by USDA, via Flickr 

One place face search is used at is to unlock smartphones these days. Although most phones use a password, a pin number, or a fingerprint to open it, phones like the iPhone 8 are now using face recognition to unlock them. Another “personal device” being unlocked with face search are cars. The new cars coming out today have face search in them. This means they are aware of their surrounding environment. Thanks to the technology of today, we now have self-driving cars. How amazing is this?

Other places for face search

You probably already know that airports are using facial recognition for entering and departing the premises. However, other locations are also using face search. They are:

  • In schools, confirming a student’s identity before and during after exams.
  • Inside sports stadiums all over the world to make sure people who are on a ban list do not get in.
  • When paying for items in stores or online
  • Holding your place in line for an amusement park rides

Pros and Cons of Using Face Recognition Software

What are the pros and cons of using face recognition? Read below for more information.

Pros of facial recognition software

  • Enhanced security for phones, cars, homes, and public places such as schools, courthouses, and more.
  • No more fraud
  • Less money to be spent since face search is inexpensive
  • Easy to use
  • Is fast
  • Decreases product loss at stores because it can catch shoplifters quick and easy and can keep employees from stealing

Cons of using face search

  • Loss of privacy
  • Someone might try to use their face to log-in to your computer

How to Turn Off Facebook’s Face Search

Here is a video showing you step by step how to disable Facebook’s facial search feature:

Who is Using Facial Recognition Software

There are many people already using the face search software. They include the iPhone 8 and iPhone X, KFCs payment smile system, Google and their clip camera, Facebook’s Deep Search, and more.

Now that you have some useful information on how to use face search, who is using it, and the pros and cons of this software, will you be using it now or maybe soon? One day, everyone might have to use it and may not have a choice.

 

Featured image: CC by 0, by Teguhjatipras, via Pixabay