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What is The Dream Bell Exchange Ticket in Animal Crossing (& How to Get Them) – Screen Rant

Luna has returned to take players on the ride of their dreams! Heres how to earn Dream Bell Exchange Tickets in Animal Crossing: New Horizons.

The Swimming Summer update for Animal Crossing: New Horizons wasnt the only big present Nintendo had cooking up for players. Another wonderful update has just been released, adding a ton of collectibles, clothes and activities. The update has also added new weekly events for players to partake in.

Related:Why Animal Crossing: New Horizons' Summer Update Is Disappointing

Along with the fun for players, some old characters have returned to the island. Luna is a Tapir who appeared in Animal Crossing: New Leaf. Luna has a lot of tricks to show players, but first they need to get their hands on some Dream Bell Exchange Tickets. Heres how to earn Dream Bell Exchange Tickets in Animal Crossing: New Horizons.

Luna was a character that was introduced in New Leaf. She worked in the Dream Suite and was in charge of leading players to new towns in their dreams. In New Horizons her role is mostly the same. While she no longer runs the Dream Suite, she will appear to players whenever they go to sleep in any bed. Sleeping has previously held no purpose to the game, or benefit for players. When she appears, players will have access to islands that have been uploaded to the Library of Dreams. In order to access the library, players will need Dream Bell Exchange Tickets.

The first ticket that can be gained will come after the player has uploaded their first island to the system. This will allow other players to come to their island in a dream state. Bare in mind that the island can not be permanently changed in any way. Players dont have to worry about someone showing up and making changes to their space. The other tickets will come from making updates to existing islands in the system. Players can currently do this once a day.

When a player puts their island online for others to come visit, they will get mail from Luna about the process. Players should check their mailbox for their first Dream Bell Exchange Ticket. Players will want to make frequent updates to their island on the system if they want to keep earning tickets. This means that players should make sure they update their island every day, in order to receive a new ticket each day after.

If a player doesnt have any interest in exploring dream islands in their sleep, they can sell the tickets to the Nook Twins. Head on down the Nooks Cranny and ask them to take the tickets. They will buy them for 5,000 bells. Players who arent interested in travelling may still want to go ahead and upload their island every day because this can be a lucrative method of making a bit of money each day.

More:How to Find (& Catch) The Arowana in Animal Crossing: New Horizons

Animal Crossing: New Horizons is available on Nintendo Switch.

Ghost of Tsushima's Charms Are The Game's Worst Feature

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What is The Dream Bell Exchange Ticket in Animal Crossing (& How to Get Them) - Screen Rant

Instagram launches Reels, its attempt to keep you off TikTok – The Verge

With TikToks future uncertain, Instagram is hoping to lure some creators away with the rollout of a direct competitor, Reels, which is launching in more than 50 countries today, including the US, UK, Japan, and Australia, on both iOS and Android.

Similar to TikTok, Reels lets people create short-form videos set to music that can be shared with friends and followers and discovered while browsing the app. Its the newest opportunity for Instagram to bring in users, increase the amount of time people spend in the app every day, and establish itself as a video entertainment platform.

Reels allows people to record videos up to 15 seconds long and add popular music, as well as an array of filters and effects, over top of them. For creators looking to use Instagram Reels as a new way to build a following, Instagram has revamped its Explore page to create a specific landing spot for Reels at the top of the screen that people can vertically scroll through similar to TikToks For You Page.

Both private and public options are available. If you want to become the next Charli DAmelio, having a public profile will allow your Reels to be widely discovered. For people who want to share with friends, Reels created under private accounts will only post to a persons Feed and Stories. The feature lives entirely inside of Instagram; its not a new app.

The launch of Reels comes as TikTok faces a potential ban in the United States by President Donald Trump or a possible partial acquisition by Microsoft. ByteDance also said Sunday that Facebook was among the troubles in its path, accusing the company of plagiarizing its product with Instagram Reels. Robby Stein, Instagrams product director, said that while TikTok popularized the short video format, the two products are different.

I think TikTok deserves a ton of credit for popularizing formats in this space, and its just great work, Stein told The Verge. But at the end of the day, no two products are exactly alike, and ours are not either.

Thats a familiar line to people who remember when Instagram first launched Stories in 2016, and the company was accused of creating a Snapchat clone. Stein said that his team received very similar feedback when we launched Stories. But Instagram Stories quickly surpassed Snapchat in daily users and has continued to be a massively successful product. That history of success is one of the strongest reasons for Instagrams team to think it can pull Reels off. TikTok did it first, but maybe Instagram can do it better.

Part of that strategy is focusing on what Stein believes Instagram does best: creating easy-to-use technology for whoever wants to make a video. When opening Instagram to make a Reel, people will be able to slide to a new section of the camera that comes with an assortment of tools. Reels can be recorded either all at once or as a series of clips, or people can upload videos from their photo gallery. The cameras new features are similar to TikToks, with options to mess with the speed, apply special effects, set a timer, and add audio.

Instagrams product team is really positioning Instagram camera around a few core formats, according to Stein. Stories is designed as more of a social feature quick little snippets people want to share with their followers. Reels is designed with entertainment in mind, an area that Instagram wants to really focus on. Part of that focus includes the redesign of Instagrams Explore page. More than 50 percent of people use Instagrams Explore page in a month, Stein said, and now therell be a dedicated hub for Reels. This is essentially Reels equivalent of the For You Page on TikTok, a place for creators to possibly go viral or find new followers.

Were going big with entertainment and [making Explore] the permanent place for you to go lean back, relax, and be inspired every day, Stein said. Its our hope that with this format we have a new chapter of entertainment on Instagram.

Reels biggest difference from TikTok is its tie-ins to the overarching Instagram ecosystem, Stein says. People can send Reels to their friends directly on Instagram and they can use Instagram-specific AR filters and tools everything that people want to do is part of an existing network.

TikTok and Instagram are more than camera products, though. Theyre communities for established and burgeoning creators. Stein said the companys main goal is to support the entire creator ecosystem, including giving creators the ability to scale their reach on the platform and adding new tools to make their videos pop. For now, though, Instagram wont be paying popular creators for their videos, as TikTok has started to offer.

Instagram already allows for influencers and creators to earn revenue through brand deals and sponsored posts, but Instagram doesnt directly pay people for content. TikTok didnt either until very recently. The company announced last month that its starting a $200 million fund in the US to pay top creators for their videos. TikTok is hoping to expand that fund north of $1 billion. The message is simple: we want you to stay on TikTok and create for TikTok, and were going to pay you to do it. Stein had nothing to share for now about direct payments to creators, but he stressed that allowing people to monetize is important.

There are a few other features that Reels will not have at launch. People wont be able to duet with each other a core TikTok feature that lets people interact with, build upon, and remix videos. Instagram also wont allow people to upload songs directly into the apps system. Musicians looking to use the app as a place to make a song go viral can add original audio by just recording and that can live on later, Stein said, adding that other people could use it and remix it, but the actual song cant be uploaded directly.

Reels isnt its own world like TikTok is or Vine was. Its another thing to do on Instagram and another way to find entertainment beyond scrolling through Stories and our Feeds. That lack of focus might seem like a weakness, but Stein sees it differently. I think one of the really fun parts of this, he says, is its just another format on Instagram.

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Instagram launches Reels, its attempt to keep you off TikTok - The Verge

Join a Virtual Race with the Northwest Broward Road Runners Club – Parkland Talk – Parkland Talk

Fabiola Pepe, Maida Kopet, Chuck Medcraft, Melissa Schwartz, Edna Tello, and Gineth Yibirin. (photo was taken before Covid-19)

By Jaime Vining

Running is not cancelled this year. However, while the pandemic continues through 2020, all of the World Marathon Majors in Tokyo, Boston, London, Berlin, Chicago, and New York City have been cancelled or gone virtual.

The same is true for the local races in Parkland and the rest of Broward County.

Everything all the 5K races, half marathons, and marathon races are going virtual, at least through November, said Maida Kopet, president of the Northwest Broward Road Runners Club (NWBRRC).

A virtual race is like a traditional race, in that it includes a starting line, running as a group, and a finish line, however, in a virtual race, runners can run, walk or treadmill their miles on their own schedule and safely at the location they choose.

Upon completion of the race, participants can upload their time and route online or through popular apps like Strava and Racejoy.

A virtual race is a healthy, body-strengthening activity and a great way to practice race day nutrition and hydration without the crowds or poor weather.

Virtual options allow participants to be a part of the race together, but run separately in different locations, said Kopet. Signing up for a virtual race motivates me to train, run on a particular day and support a great charitable cause.

Organizers for the Parkland Dash just announced that the October 5K and 5-mile races would be held virtually this year. Registration opens this Friday, August 14. The Run 4 Beigel 5K, scheduled for February 6, 2021, is also tentatively planning for a virtual option, if necessary.

The CDC recommends staying physically active as one of the best ways to keep your mind and body healthy.

There are so many members of the community outside running, walking, and biking these days, even in this heat, said Fabiola Pepe, Vice-President of NWBRRC. Pepe, who has participated in various virtual runs this year, similarly stressed the importance of following CDC guidelines while exercising.

Runners should stay at least six feet apart and wear a neck gaiter in populated areas. Plus, stay hydrated with your water bottle. Neck gaiters, running water bottles, and other necessities for virtual runs are available from Runners Depot in Coral Springs.

The NWBRRC hosts weekly club runs for both new and experienced runners and walkers in Parkland, Coral Springs and Tamarac at the Parkland Starbucks (at the corner of Coral Ridge Drive and Holmberg Road). For more information about upcoming local virtual run options and club membership, please visit the NWBRRC website.

Send your news to Parklands #1 News SourceParkland Talk.

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Join a Virtual Race with the Northwest Broward Road Runners Club - Parkland Talk - Parkland Talk

Gigabit broadband rollout milestone reached – GOV.UK – GOV.UK

45,000 vouchers, worth more than 90m, issued to help cover the costs of delivering gigabit speeds directly to peoples homes and businesses

New taskforce launched today to encourage further take-up of gigabit broadband services

Almost 500,000 premises across the UK have been connected to gigabit-capable broadband since summer 2018. This is part of a 1 billion government funding commitment until the end of 2021, with a further 5 billion for the hardest-to-reach areas to be earmarked soon.

It means that, alongside commercial investment, more than 7.5 million premises can now access gigabit capable broadband, compared to around 1.4 million premises two years ago.

Nearly 45,000 vouchers, worth more than 90 million, have been issued to subsidise the cost of building faster, gigabit-capable broadband infrastructure to homes and businesses.

The figures are released as the government calls on companies and residents in rural towns and villages to apply for more than 70 million on offer immediately to take them out of the digital slow lane.

Digital Infrastructure Minister Matt Warman is today urging people to take advantage of the Gigabit Broadband Voucher Scheme which is open until March next year and aims to future proof peoples internet connections for a generation.

The scheme is being targeted at rural, hard-to-reach areas that arent likely to be connected through the commercial rollout of gigabit networks soon.

Minister Warman is also today launching a new taskforce, led by consumer and business groups including Which?, the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) and Confederation of British Industry (CBI) to drive consumer take-up of gigabit speed internet connections.

'Its fantastic to see so many people getting access to gigabit speed broadband. This is thanks to our investment alongside the sterling work of industry.

Today I urge people in rural communities in the digital slow lane to apply for the immediate financial help available so they can seize the benefits of better connectivity - from making work easier to catching up with family and friends.

I am also launching a new drive with business and consumer champions to make more people aware of just how beneficial better, faster broadband can be.

Gigabit broadband carries speeds of a thousand megabits per second. These connections will not only underpin the use of smarter devices such as intelligent heating systems and internet-connected fridges, but they will allow people to download HD movies in seconds and stream TV and gaming content at 4K picture quality on multiple devices at the same time.

The speeds will pave the way for new and unexpected social benefits alongside jobs and economic growth, and revolutionise rural communities by giving people the freedom to live and work more flexibly.

To date, through the Gigabit Broadband Voucher Scheme, more than 3,500 vouchers have been issued to rural homes and businesses in Somerset, nearly 2,000 in Cumbria, and more than a thousand going to Kent, Lancashire, Hampshire, West Yorkshire and Surrey.

The vouchers are worth up to 1,500 for rural homes and up to 3,500 for rural small to medium-sized businesses (SMEs) provided they come together as a collective of two or more properties.

Its really important that people across the UK, including those who are vulnerable or in hard to reach locations, have a quality broadband connection that meets their needs not just for entertainment and to stay in touch with loved ones, but also to be able to work, shop and bank.

By bringing together industry, the regulator, government as well as groups representing both consumers and businesses, this new advisory group will be able to provide recommendations on the best way to ensure everyone can take advantage of faster, more reliable internet connections as they are rolled out.

Small businesses require reliable, fast, and futureproof connectivity to operate with confidence. Gigabit-capable broadband will enable firms to connect with customers nationally and internationally with ease, develop new ways of using technology to improve their performance, and conduct more business online than ever before.

This year has forced small firms to overhaul their business models, and digital connectivity has proved to be a lifeline during this time. However, many have struggled with poor internet connections, and would be better served with a step-change in connectivity.

Thats why this task force could not have come at a more pressing time. FSB is delighted to work with the Government, along with consumer and business representatives, to accelerate the take-up of gigabit-capable broadband.

Going for gigabit on digital connectivity is more important than ever as the UK responds to the Covid crisis. Its great to be part of the Governments new advisory group ensuring that the business view is heard. Bringing in expertise from across the board will spur more households and businesses to take up faster, more reliable broadband and help put tech and innovation at the centre of our economic recovery.

Gavin Keeble and his wife Belinda, who live in Grisedale, Cumbria, run a corporate training business. They were paying 115 a month for an unreliable service which would drop out every time low-flying RAF planes went overhead. They had their broadband upgraded by using one of the governments vouchers, which contributed to the cost of installing gigabit-capable broadband.

Gavin and Belinda saw their speeds, as well as those of 121 homes and 56 businesses in the surrounding area, rocket from 8 Mbps to 1000 Mbps, which means they can successfully run their business.

Gavin said: The difference that the new service has made is completely cosmic. It has given us total peace of mind connecting to the outside world and running an international business from a beautiful and remote part of the UK and dramatically improved our businesses professionalism and capability as well as transforming our family life.

Dominic Fairman, a local councillor who runs a farm and campsite on Bodmin Moor in Cornwall, has recently benefited from the scheme. He can now run digital promotion for the campsite and do his online tax returns hassle-free.

Dominic said: The difference that this has made to our lives and our neighbours lives has been incredible. My tax returns are seamless, I can upload photos and videos for the campsite to social media and I wont ever have to lose data again.

Of the 5,000 people who work for Cornwall Council, around 4,000 have been working from home during the pandemic so it has really brought it home to us how important it is to have reliable connectivity these days. I will certainly be recommending this scheme to other communities in my parishes.

Currently gigabit broadband is available to about 26 per cent of residential and business premises across the UK, but estimates show only 30 per cent of premises are taking up these services where they are available.

The new Gigabit Take-Up Advisory Group (GigaTAG) has been set up to lead a strategic review into boosting take-up as gigabit connections among consumers and businesses become more widely available.

It will be led by Which?, the FSB and CBI, with membership including Ofcom and industry representatives, to look at encouraging more consumers to engage with this new technology and to take advantage of the benefits that they will bring.

It will specifically explore increasing business take-up by promoting the benefits that gigabit broadband has brought to companies that already have it, and the role firms can play in incentivising their employees to upgrade too.

ENDS

The UK Government committed more than 1 billion on gigabit-capable broadband to the end of the financial year 20/21:

400 million through the Digital Infrastructure Investment Fund

279 million through the Local Full Fibre Networks Programme, which funded the first wave of the Gigabit Broadband Voucher Scheme

200 million through the Rural Gigabit Connectivity Programme, which is funding the second wave of the Gigabit Broadband Voucher Scheme

At least 200 million from the existing Superfast Broadband Programme is being transitioned to specify gigabit-capable connections for all remaining procurements / change requests

There have been 44,792 vouchers issued so far through the Gigabit Broadband Voucher Scheme, and of these 29,142 have resulted in a live connection. And as of Q4 19/20, 464,458 premises now have access to a gigabit-capable connection through the redirected Superfast Broadband Programme. Therefore almost half a million (493,600) premises now have access to or are connected to gigabit capable broadband.

Independent figures from ThinkBroadband released this week reveal 1 in 4 premises now have access to a gigabit broadband option.

What is the Gigabit Broadband Voucher Scheme?

The Gigabit Broadband Voucher Scheme is a UK-wide, supplier-led scheme offering vouchers to offset the cost of installing gigabit-capable broadband to premises, i.e., homes and businesses. Vouchers can only be used when part of a group project. Gigabit-capable broadband can provide speeds of over 1,000 Mbps or 1 Gbps but beneficiaries only pay for the speed they want to use, provided it is at least double the speed they had before and more than 30 Mbps.

Businesses and communities are encouraged to check whether they are eligible through a postcode checker on the Gigabit Broadband Voucher Scheme website: https://gigabitvoucher.culture.gov.uk/. If they are eligible they can approach any of the suppliers who are active in their area to apply for a voucher. Registered suppliers can only use the vouchers when they are part of a group scheme that can consist of homes and businesses.

In June, the UK and Welsh governments teamed up to boost the amount available in certain areas, due the difficulty and expense of rolling out broadband infrastructure in rural Wales. This boost doubled the vouchers worth so that homes in rural Wales can now receive 3000 and SMEs 7000. In England, similar voucher top-ups are also available in Cumbria, Kent, Northumberland, Hampshire, Dorset, Warwickshire and West Sussex, to help connect some of the hardest-to-reach places.

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Gigabit broadband rollout milestone reached - GOV.UK - GOV.UK

GMB weather girl Lucy Verasamy parades mind-blowing curves in skintight top – Daily Star

Good Morning Britain bombshell Lucy Verasamy has been thrilling fans with her Scottish holiday album.

The 39-year-old has been busy documenting her idyllic countryside trip on Instagram.

ITV weather girl Lucy couldn't resist sharing a scorching snap of herself while she posed among a field of green fern trees.

Toying with fans, she playfully stroked her brunette locks as she posed for the camera.

Enjoying her escape and taking some well needed time off of work, Lucy beamed a huge smile to camera.

Looking effortlessly stylish, she wore a skintight hiking top that showcased every curve.

She teamed her outdoor attire with grey, figure-hugging leggings with a jumped neatly knotted at her waist.

Keeping it cool, she wore an oversized pair of shades to complete her eye-popping look.

Captioning her getaway, she told her 128,000 fans: "In the fern. With no filter.

"I think green is my favourite colour."

In another snippet, she showcased beautiful scenery as she whizzed past in her vehicle trying to capture her surroundings in all its glory.

Later, she included an upload of the final setting, that included a picturesque mountain backdrop, with a stunning valley that was completely encompassed by vast amounts of green trees.

It wasn't long before her adventurous post attracted many of her followers, with This Morning host Eamonn Holmes 'hitting' the like button, showing his approval.

Although Lucy's setting was completely mesmerising, many fans seemed to be more in ore of the GMB weather reporter.

One fan joked: "Stunning, you're not looking too bad either."

Another gushed: "Super fit."

While a third said: "You're so hot Lucy."

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GMB weather girl Lucy Verasamy parades mind-blowing curves in skintight top - Daily Star

Understanding files: 4 types of files and their uses – AZ Big Media

Are you trying to figure out more about different types of files? Read this article to learn about differen types of files and their uses.

It seems like technology these days is little more than a constant stream of acronyms: PDF, HTML, DOC, XLSX sometimes its hard to keep up, no matter how tech-savvy you are.

These acronyms are usually codes for different file types. But how can you tell which is which? Read on to find out about the most common types of files and how to use them.

One of the most common document types used today is the Microsoft Word Document, which ends with .doc or .docx.

These documents are specifically built for word processors like Microsoft Word, sotheyre easily editable. If youre going to be making changes to a document, DOC is definitely the way to go.

DOC files are also pretty much universal. In other words, you dont need Microsoft Word to open them. Any word processor will do.

PDFs are another common document file type, so its helpful to compare the two when youre choosing a file type. PDFs arent as easily editable as DOCs, which can be a strength or a weakness.

On the one hand, its much harder to edit your work once its in PDF form.On the other hand, this permanence means that if you send a PDF over email or print it out, youre much less likely to run into weird formatting changes made automatically by your word processor.

So if you have a document thats not likely to change, consider using a PDF to distribute, store, or print it. If you have a DOC file that you want to convert, try using a free DOCX to PDF converter.

JPEG files are the most popular type of image file out there today.

Why? JPEGs are extremely lightweight in terms of size.They cut out extraneous data and only keep things that are visible to the human eye. This makes them very compact and easy to send, upload, or transfer.

One thing to keep in mind with JPEGs is that each time one is saved and re-saved, it loses a little bit of its quality. If you save one over and over again, youll start to see it get grainy because it gets more and more compressed each time you save it.

JPEGs are also universal, meaning that they can be opened on any computer or device. Theyre especially useful for web design or social media because of their small size. They load quickly and easily, making them the ideal format for image files.

PNGs are similar to JPEG files, but they have some different advantages. Whereas JPEGs are valued for their small size, PNGs are larger files and will take longer to load.

But PNGs make up for their large size with image sharpness and color retention. PNGs also support transparent backgrounds, which is an advantage over JPEGs, which dont.

These four types of files are just a smattering of the many, many file types out there today. That being said, these are probably the most commonly encountered files and are a must-know for any tech user. The better you get to know them and their uses, the more tech-savvy youll become!

Looking to learn more to get the most out of your tech devices? Be sure to browse the rest of this site.

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Understanding files: 4 types of files and their uses - AZ Big Media

Instagram launches Reels, its attempt to keep you off TikTok – The Verge

With TikToks future uncertain, Instagram is hoping to lure some creators away with the rollout of a direct competitor, Reels, which is launching in more than 50 countries today, including the US, UK, Japan, and Australia, on both iOS and Android.

Similar to TikTok, Reels lets people create short-form videos set to music that can be shared with friends and followers and discovered while browsing the app. Its the newest opportunity for Instagram to bring in users, increase the amount of time people spend in the app every day, and establish itself as a video entertainment platform.

Reels allows people to record videos up to 15 seconds long and add popular music, as well as an array of filters and effects, over top of them. For creators looking to use Instagram Reels as a new way to build a following, Instagram has revamped its Explore page to create a specific landing spot for Reels at the top of the screen that people can vertically scroll through similar to TikToks For You Page.

Both private and public options are available. If you want to become the next Charli DAmelio, having a public profile will allow your Reels to be widely discovered. For people who want to share with friends, Reels created under private accounts will only post to a persons Feed and Stories. The feature lives entirely inside of Instagram; its not a new app.

The launch of Reels comes as TikTok faces a potential ban in the United States by President Donald Trump or a possible partial acquisition by Microsoft. ByteDance also said Sunday that Facebook was among the troubles in its path, accusing the company of plagiarizing its product with Instagram Reels. Robby Stein, Instagrams product director, said that while TikTok popularized the short video format, the two products are different.

I think TikTok deserves a ton of credit for popularizing formats in this space, and its just great work, Stein told The Verge. But at the end of the day, no two products are exactly alike, and ours are not either.

Thats a familiar line to people who remember when Instagram first launched Stories in 2016, and the company was accused of creating a Snapchat clone. Stein said that his team received very similar feedback when we launched Stories. But Instagram Stories quickly surpassed Snapchat in daily users and has continued to be a massively successful product. That history of success is one of the strongest reasons for Instagrams team to think it can pull Reels off. TikTok did it first, but maybe Instagram can do it better.

Part of that strategy is focusing on what Stein believes Instagram does best: creating easy-to-use technology for whoever wants to make a video. When opening Instagram to make a Reel, people will be able to slide to a new section of the camera that comes with an assortment of tools. Reels can be recorded either all at once or as a series of clips, or people can upload videos from their photo gallery. The cameras new features are similar to TikToks, with options to mess with the speed, apply special effects, set a timer, and add audio.

Instagrams product team is really positioning Instagram camera around a few core formats, according to Stein. Stories is designed as more of a social feature quick little snippets people want to share with their followers. Reels is designed with entertainment in mind, an area that Instagram wants to really focus on. Part of that focus includes the redesign of Instagrams Explore page. More than 50 percent of people use Instagrams Explore page in a month, Stein said, and now therell be a dedicated hub for Reels. This is essentially Reels equivalent of the For You Page on TikTok, a place for creators to possibly go viral or find new followers.

Were going big with entertainment and [making Explore] the permanent place for you to go lean back, relax, and be inspired every day, Stein said. Its our hope that with this format we have a new chapter of entertainment on Instagram.

Reels biggest difference from TikTok is its tie-ins to the overarching Instagram ecosystem, Stein says. People can send Reels to their friends directly on Instagram and they can use Instagram-specific AR filters and tools everything that people want to do is part of an existing network.

TikTok and Instagram are more than camera products, though. Theyre communities for established and burgeoning creators. Stein said the companys main goal is to support the entire creator ecosystem, including giving creators the ability to scale their reach on the platform and adding new tools to make their videos pop. For now, though, Instagram wont be paying popular creators for their videos, as TikTok has started to offer.

Instagram already allows for influencers and creators to earn revenue through brand deals and sponsored posts, but Instagram doesnt directly pay people for content. TikTok didnt either until very recently. The company announced last month that its starting a $200 million fund in the US to pay top creators for their videos. TikTok is hoping to expand that fund north of $1 billion. The message is simple: we want you to stay on TikTok and create for TikTok, and were going to pay you to do it. Stein had nothing to share for now about direct payments to creators, but he stressed that allowing people to monetize is important.

There are a few other features that Reels will not have at launch. People wont be able to duet with each other a core TikTok feature that lets people interact with, build upon, and remix videos. Instagram also wont allow people to upload songs directly into the apps system. Musicians looking to use the app as a place to make a song go viral can add original audio by just recording and that can live on later, Stein said, adding that other people could use it and remix it, but the actual song cant be uploaded directly.

Reels isnt its own world like TikTok is or Vine was. Its another thing to do on Instagram and another way to find entertainment beyond scrolling through Stories and our Feeds. That lack of focus might seem like a weakness, but Stein sees it differently. I think one of the really fun parts of this, he says, is its just another format on Instagram.

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Instagram launches Reels, its attempt to keep you off TikTok - The Verge

How to remove restrictions from a PDF with free programs? – Explica

Many times, the authors or owners of a PDF documentThey decide to put restrictions on it so that no one is able to modify them without their consent. But if you are not the creator of that file or have bad intentions, you probably want to be able to make some modifications to it. Therefore, in this article, we want to show you how remove restrictions of an easy, fast and free PDF.

The first thing you have to bear in mind is that restricted PDF documents greatly limit our range of possibilities. In general, in these cases we will not be able to copy the content of the document, open it if you have a password, edit the text, make annotations or prints, etc. As we can see, any restricted PDF document becomes almost useless most of the time.

Luckily, today we have some free software that has been specially designed so that we can remove these restrictions. Next we are going to talk about some of the best, so that you can take a look at them, and decide which is the best one for your needs.

Of course, you have to bear in mind that you will always need the password to access the PDF document. Otherwise, you will not be able to apply any of these modifications. However, it is common for restricted PDFs to have their password released, so we have thought about those specific circumstances.

Online2pdf.com is the first of the free programs to remove restrictions from a PDF that you should consider. Once you have used it, you can convert formats, rotate pages, rearrange them and more.

Its main strength has to do, however, that it is able to remove restrictions from several PDF files at the same time. In fact, you have the chance to upload 20 PDF files at a time. Another good option is to configure it to get separate PDF files on output. Likewise, you must consider certain limits: 100 MB for a single PDF, 150 MB for multiple PDFs.

Its operation is extremely simple, although it does not have any additional features. If the original PDF doesnt have a password, you can add one of your own and manage new permissions.

PDF2Go is the second of the alternatives that we want to recommend. It is quite similar to the previous one, inviting us to carry out actions such as, for example, search within the document, change the size of each page, repair errors, unlock it, and even protect it with a password.

Again, you can unlock multiple PDF files or single PDF according to your requirement. As for the ways to upload files, it supports many different ones: from the Desktop, from cloud storage, from a URL, or from an online PDF. Therefore, it is not necessary to download them first.

This service can be used without registering or with a free account, although we suggest that you sign up to enjoy some extra features, such as a larger file size.

As its name implies, PDF Restrictions Remover is a free and quite intuitive software. It is powerful enough to batch remove restrictions from PDF files. You can also add different PDFs, add access passwords and many others.

Once you are done, of course, you will overcome the printing, copying and editing restrictions.

Something that you will have to bear in mind is that it is impossible to establish or configure an output folder. Therefore, we have to take for granted the one that automatically generates to store all the results of your operations. Beyond that, it has no other major cons.

And we conclude with PDF Unlock. A simple tool, up to a point somewhat limited. However, you will be able to add your PDF documents to the extent that you are able to unlock them by password.

Here you can select an output folder that makes it easier for you to later reach the unlocked PDFs.

Remember, once you have finished and removed all restrictions to the PDF document, then you can carry out many other tasks with these files. Without going any further, it is possible to convert a PDF to another format. You only have to download the program or application that is necessary for it.

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How to remove restrictions from a PDF with free programs? - Explica

Berkeley has put $580K behind the arts. The caveat: no one can congregate to enjoy them – Berkeleyside

The Downtown Berkeley BART Plaza will soon be getting a 50-minute sound installation by Thea Farhadian (pictured) and Dean Santomieri called A New Sense of Place. Photo: Dean Santomieri

Museums are shuttered and theaters remain silent as the tomb, but the arts in Berkeley are not kaput. The city is moving forward with plans for new public art and, in a recent special meeting, approved grants for nearly 100 artists, organizations, and festivals totaling almost $580,000.

The catch? In order to proceed, artists and festival organizers must show they wont allow any groups to congregate you know, basically what festivals and the performing arts are all about.

Its really challenging; however, people are rising to the challenge, said Lisa Bullwinkel, chair of Berkeleys Civic Arts Commission. They got their grant money and have been asked to file a new report about how theyre going to I hate to use the word pivot but that seems to be the vernacular right now pivot onto some other platform.

I think its so important we do support these arts organizations for a couple of years, she said. And it IS going to be a couple of years until were able to meet in theaters again or in big groups outdoor at festivals or concerts. Its going to take a long time, not only for the vaccines and medicines to work but for people to feel comfortable psychologically to be in a group like that.

The city originally wanted to allocate zero funds for festivals this year. But it changed its mind and released $80,000, about half the usual annual amount, after realizing that some festivals could go online.

Not all of them translate, however. Chahar Shanbeh Suri, the Persian New Year celebration that has people ritualistically leaping over bonfires, will not have an official Berkeley analog in 2021. There was no way that could pivot and go online, Bullwinkel said.

But some of the larger ones are proceeding in transmogrified forms. The Bay Area Book Festival, for instance, is holding an online, one-day mini-fest on Oct. 4 called Berkeley Unbound featuring local activists and luminaries like Steve Kerr, W. Kamau Bell, Alice Waters, and the legal scholar Erwin Chemerinsky. (Watch the teaser.)

Were at this real inflection point in the history of our country, I mean probably more than since the Civil War, said Cherilyn Parsons, executive director of the Bay Area Book Festival (for which Berkeleyside is a media sponsor). Here in Berkeley we have extraordinary intellectuals and thinkers and writers, so we thought, What does Berkeley have to say about this really key point? What is its vision for forging a better society out of this time?

Theater lovers are also in luck, as local troupes seem to be adapting to the new age.

The theaters are uniquely dangerous places to be when youre in a space with somebody who has COVID, says Patrick Dooley, founding artistic director of Shotgun Players. One person coughing in the back of the theater with the HVAC blowing air all over the building could infect a hundred people a night, you know?

Commuters on I-80 might notice something missing in the public-arts landscape soon. Berkeley Big People, the grand-scale figurative sculptures that have guarded the pedestrian overpass to the Berkeley Marina since 2008, are getting the heave-ho as reported by Berkeleyside last year. We were in the process of planning that when COVID struck, said Jennifer Lovvorn, the Civic Arts Commissions secretary. But it will be happening at some point in the future maybe this year or next year. Ive offered the city to refurbish them with no cost to the city and maintenance-free for 15 years, says the sculptures creator, Scott Donahue, who indicates he might still be in negotiations with Berkeley about the artworks future but cant offer more due to legal advice.

So what Dooleys group is doing is delivering props, sound equipment and green screens to its players so they can erect their own home studios. A costume designer virtually rifles through their closets to see what clothes they should wear. The actors then stage performances via Zoom that are sprinkled with the magic of live theater.

I saw a cat come and kind of walk through once, says Dooley. Weve had dogs barking, phones ringing, neighbors knocking on the door. You think youve worked out everything, and then somebody starts ringing the doorbell.

People bold enough to go outside can expect to see some new public art this year, too. The Downtown Berkeley BART Plaza will soon be getting a 50-minute sound installation by Thea Farhadian and Dean Santomieri called A New Sense of Place. The artists say they hope that people traversing the plaza will appreciate encountering something familiar, or something strange, coming from the multichannel, overhead speaker array, and for some moments be roused from their thoughts, conversations, or devices by the unexpected gift of music. (Thea Farhadian is the featured photo for this story, taken by Dean Santomieri. Hear two audio excerpts from the composition.)

And Cube Space, the public-arts display in the Center Street Garage on Addison Street, is switching up exhibits this fall. The Oakland-based digital/video artist Leila Weefur is curating a next year-long show, featuring three African American artists presenting different material over separate four-month periods.

So what else is on the arts horizon for 2020 and beyond? Some of the winners of the recent arts grants chatted with Berkeleyside about their pandemic plans. (See the full list of grant awardees.)

The center is using its grant to showcase a series of digital exhibitions, supplemented by a virtual artist panel instead of a physical opening reception, about art that advocates for environmental activism. Currently on view is Art/Act: Local Wild Places, our annual juried show which features four Bay Area artists exploring the importance of connecting to nature, says Sibel Gner, communications and development manager. Our next exhibition [in October] will be Art/Act: Award, which will be on view for an entire year and features the work of National Geographic photographer Frans Lanting.

We planned to open [last] weekend, but given the announcements about school closures and all that it seemed like a really weird time to do that, says executive director Daniel Nevers. We will reopen sometime. Were watching the [COVID] numbers, and in the meantime are proceeding with our exhibition schedule, some of which were going to share online as well as create original digital content like artist interviews and digital publications. The just-installed exhibition Experiments in the Fieldfeatures art about the intersection of climate science and personal and cultural identities, and will be available to extremely small groups of people (think two, wearing masks) to physically tour by appointment.

The gallery is lettings its arts fellows transform the interior into a constantly evolving creative lab that might feature different material depending on the week you visit (by appointment only, of course). This show, titled Residency Projects in Flux, will last through September and features the works of print artist Jonathan Herrera Soto, who explores collective memory and historical instances of state-sponsored violence, photographer and book artist Sara Press, whose fascinations include dog fighting, feral children, and our co-evolution with snakes, and many others.

Shotgun Players thought about canceling their 2020 season but instead have gone all-in on livestreamed and prerecorded shows on a pay-what-you-can basis ranging from free to $40. Playing now is The Niceties, a show about a black student and a white professor debating slavery, truth, and the American Revolution. (Tickets available here: https://vimeo.com/ondemand/theniceties) Up next in early August is Quack, about a doctor who runs a popular TV show for women who encounters a savage media take-down. (Tickets here: https://tinyurl.com/shotgunquack)

Shunning the Zoom craze, Aurora has decided to embrace the format of an old-fashioned audio drama. Were known for being intimate the audience is only four-rows deep all the way around three sides of the stage. Youre very close to the actors, and we bring in some of the best actors in the Bay Area to do nuanced, high-quality acting with a real emphasis on language, says artistic director Josh Costello. Trying to replicate that in Zoom didnt feel right, but an audio drama has a sense of intimacy, because its a voice in your ear. The play, which will be released on an undisclosed platform in October, is about three neighbors who all live in a Berkeley triplex due to an extended shelter in place, says Costello. And ultimately its about how people deal with a shifting world and how we move forward as a community at a time when the existing structures and systems are no longer serving us.

The organizers of the annual Juneteenth Festival in Berkeley do not have plans for an alternative event at this point.

Freight & Salvage is exploring different options for its next traditional-music fest, which will take place likely online in 2021, but in the meantime will provide free music lessons to all middle schoolers in the Berkeley Unified School District in the fall. It also has developed a robust schedule of online music classes for adults, such as this one about jug bands. The cool thing right now is were not limited by classroom size or geography, says executive director Sharon Dolan. So our enrollment is higher than it would be for some classes, and we have teachers from around the country.

The new shape of the kite festival is thousands of kitemaking kits that people are picking up for free at our solar-powered kite shop on wheels at the Berkeley Marina, says festival founder Tom McAlister. People can grab them on weekends, weather permitting, and assemble them at home. We really believe that now more than ever we should be encouraging families to get outdoors, safely, in small groups, while social distancing, and enjoy the universal wind, he says.

The delightful melding of sweet treats and sidewalk art is losing its street-fair component. Were going to have people do artwork at their own homes and sidewalks and send pictures to us, and well upload it virtually, says organizer Lisa Bullwinkel. And instead of having people buy chocolate tickets and walk around to stores and eat chocolate, were just going to get prizes and gift certificates from the merchants for chocolate items that well distribute as prizes for the artwork after its judged on the website.

Theater artist Bruce Bierman received an individual-artist grant to produce the first West Coast adaptation of Sholem Aschs controversial 1906 Yiddish drama, God of Vengeance. I served as the Yiddish dance dramaturg for the Tony-Award winning play, Indecent, at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival and Washington, D.C.s Arena Stage last year, Bierman says. Paula Vogels play Indecent recounts the turbulent history of the play God of Vengeancewhen it first came to America in 1922 and was shut down for obscenity and the actors thrown into the slammer. Yep. First lesbian-love relationship ever seen on Broadway.

Jazz performer Faye Carol is putting together a yet-to-be-announced group of renowned musicians for a virtual concert. Im developing a suite of music around social-justice themes arranged for an all-star sextet that will premiere in December in an online livestream, she says. The sextet will feature collaborations with some amazing musicians and name artists in the jazz world. ThisYouTube video, she says, will be emblematic of what shell be doing this year.

Paulina Berczynski says shell be using my individual-art grant to continue work on an ongoing project making story quilts with unhoused individuals and communities through my collaboration Feral Fabric (with artist Amanda Walters). Theyre inviting housed Berkeley community members to help finish the quilts, if youre interested check out their website.

Lena Wolff and her graphic-design collaborator Lexi Visco are making at least 20,000 posters to promote voting that they plan to ship across the country and put on billboards prior to the November election. We see the project as a timely public-service announcement and critical public-art campaign, with the goal of boosting enthusiasm around voter engagement ahead of the most significant election of our lifetime, Wolff says.

Our main goal this upcoming year is bringing La Pea online, says fundraising and operations associate Dainiz Almazan. The center has three types of programs planned: free online classes about the organizations cultural art forms, social-justice dialogues about civic engagement and the arts, and a sponsorship program for artists to livestream content to make up for pandemic-related lost work. The center is also launching its first online program this week about immigrant detention and prison reform; find more info here.

The nonprofit book distributor plans on using its grant funds to help small-press publishers adapt to the challenges of COVID, says executive director Brent Cunningham. To that end weve started a series of SPD summer school workshops online. Were also planning to revive our reading series in online form for the fall, have added 10 new spots to our ad programs, and are featuring authors and books in our new social-media reading series, where we will be posting minute-long recordings from SPD authors of their work. And, as always, there will be new poetry and fiction books coming out in the fall, some by local authors.

The center is using its grant to sustain its weekly online dance classes for ages ranging from infants to seniors. The program includes traditional modern and ballet classes, alongside expanded styles and forms that serve more students, both locally and nationally, such as adult jazz with Antoine Hunter with American Sign Language, Big Movement in Small Spaces Contemporary for Teens with Julie Crothers, and Stepping/Body Percussion with Antwan Davis, says executive director Rebecca Johnson. Its also producing the work of local dance choreographers online and will have a virtual Queering Dance Festival in mid-September that highlights the artistic work and issues on the minds of the queer, trans and gender-nonconforming dance community in the East Bay.

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Berkeley has put $580K behind the arts. The caveat: no one can congregate to enjoy them - Berkeleyside

Gigabit broadband rollout milestone reached – GOV.UK – GOV.UK

45,000 vouchers, worth more than 90m, issued to help cover the costs of delivering gigabit speeds directly to peoples homes and businesses

New taskforce launched today to encourage further take-up of gigabit broadband services

Almost 500,000 premises across the UK have been connected to gigabit-capable broadband since summer 2018. This is part of a 1 billion government funding commitment until the end of 2021, with a further 5 billion for the hardest-to-reach areas to be earmarked soon.

It means that, alongside commercial investment, more than 7.5 million premises can now access gigabit capable broadband, compared to around 1.4 million premises two years ago.

Nearly 45,000 vouchers, worth more than 90 million, have been issued to subsidise the cost of building faster, gigabit-capable broadband infrastructure to homes and businesses.

The figures are released as the government calls on companies and residents in rural towns and villages to apply for more than 70 million on offer immediately to take them out of the digital slow lane.

Digital Infrastructure Minister Matt Warman is today urging people to take advantage of the Gigabit Broadband Voucher Scheme which is open until March next year and aims to future proof peoples internet connections for a generation.

The scheme is being targeted at rural, hard-to-reach areas that arent likely to be connected through the commercial rollout of gigabit networks soon.

Minister Warman is also today launching a new taskforce, led by consumer and business groups including Which?, the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) and Confederation of British Industry (CBI) to drive consumer take-up of gigabit speed internet connections.

'Its fantastic to see so many people getting access to gigabit speed broadband. This is thanks to our investment alongside the sterling work of industry.

Today I urge people in rural communities in the digital slow lane to apply for the immediate financial help available so they can seize the benefits of better connectivity - from making work easier to catching up with family and friends.

I am also launching a new drive with business and consumer champions to make more people aware of just how beneficial better, faster broadband can be.

Gigabit broadband carries speeds of a thousand megabits per second. These connections will not only underpin the use of smarter devices such as intelligent heating systems and internet-connected fridges, but they will allow people to download HD movies in seconds and stream TV and gaming content at 4K picture quality on multiple devices at the same time.

The speeds will pave the way for new and unexpected social benefits alongside jobs and economic growth, and revolutionise rural communities by giving people the freedom to live and work more flexibly.

To date, through the Gigabit Broadband Voucher Scheme, more than 3,500 vouchers have been issued to rural homes and businesses in Somerset, nearly 2,000 in Cumbria, and more than a thousand going to Kent, Lancashire, Hampshire, West Yorkshire and Surrey.

The vouchers are worth up to 1,500 for rural homes and up to 3,500 for rural small to medium-sized businesses (SMEs) provided they come together as a collective of two or more properties.

Its really important that people across the UK, including those who are vulnerable or in hard to reach locations, have a quality broadband connection that meets their needs not just for entertainment and to stay in touch with loved ones, but also to be able to work, shop and bank.

By bringing together industry, the regulator, government as well as groups representing both consumers and businesses, this new advisory group will be able to provide recommendations on the best way to ensure everyone can take advantage of faster, more reliable internet connections as they are rolled out.

Small businesses require reliable, fast, and futureproof connectivity to operate with confidence. Gigabit-capable broadband will enable firms to connect with customers nationally and internationally with ease, develop new ways of using technology to improve their performance, and conduct more business online than ever before.

This year has forced small firms to overhaul their business models, and digital connectivity has proved to be a lifeline during this time. However, many have struggled with poor internet connections, and would be better served with a step-change in connectivity.

Thats why this task force could not have come at a more pressing time. FSB is delighted to work with the Government, along with consumer and business representatives, to accelerate the take-up of gigabit-capable broadband.

Going for gigabit on digital connectivity is more important than ever as the UK responds to the Covid crisis. Its great to be part of the Governments new advisory group ensuring that the business view is heard. Bringing in expertise from across the board will spur more households and businesses to take up faster, more reliable broadband and help put tech and innovation at the centre of our economic recovery.

Gavin Keeble and his wife Belinda, who live in Grisedale, Cumbria, run a corporate training business. They were paying 115 a month for an unreliable service which would drop out every time low-flying RAF planes went overhead. They had their broadband upgraded by using one of the governments vouchers, which contributed to the cost of installing gigabit-capable broadband.

Gavin and Belinda saw their speeds, as well as those of 121 homes and 56 businesses in the surrounding area, rocket from 8 Mbps to 1000 Mbps, which means they can successfully run their business.

Gavin said: The difference that the new service has made is completely cosmic. It has given us total peace of mind connecting to the outside world and running an international business from a beautiful and remote part of the UK and dramatically improved our businesses professionalism and capability as well as transforming our family life.

Dominic Fairman, a local councillor who runs a farm and campsite on Bodmin Moor in Cornwall, has recently benefited from the scheme. He can now run digital promotion for the campsite and do his online tax returns hassle-free.

Dominic said: The difference that this has made to our lives and our neighbours lives has been incredible. My tax returns are seamless, I can upload photos and videos for the campsite to social media and I wont ever have to lose data again.

Of the 5,000 people who work for Cornwall Council, around 4,000 have been working from home during the pandemic so it has really brought it home to us how important it is to have reliable connectivity these days. I will certainly be recommending this scheme to other communities in my parishes.

Currently gigabit broadband is available to about 26 per cent of residential and business premises across the UK, but estimates show only 30 per cent of premises are taking up these services where they are available.

The new Gigabit Take-Up Advisory Group (GigaTAG) has been set up to lead a strategic review into boosting take-up as gigabit connections among consumers and businesses become more widely available.

It will be led by Which?, the FSB and CBI, with membership including Ofcom and industry representatives, to look at encouraging more consumers to engage with this new technology and to take advantage of the benefits that they will bring.

It will specifically explore increasing business take-up by promoting the benefits that gigabit broadband has brought to companies that already have it, and the role firms can play in incentivising their employees to upgrade too.

ENDS

The UK Government committed more than 1 billion on gigabit-capable broadband to the end of the financial year 20/21:

400 million through the Digital Infrastructure Investment Fund

279 million through the Local Full Fibre Networks Programme, which funded the first wave of the Gigabit Broadband Voucher Scheme

200 million through the Rural Gigabit Connectivity Programme, which is funding the second wave of the Gigabit Broadband Voucher Scheme

At least 200 million from the existing Superfast Broadband Programme is being transitioned to specify gigabit-capable connections for all remaining procurements / change requests

There have been 44,792 vouchers issued so far through the Gigabit Broadband Voucher Scheme, and of these 29,142 have resulted in a live connection. And as of Q4 19/20, 464,458 premises now have access to a gigabit-capable connection through the redirected Superfast Broadband Programme. Therefore almost half a million (493,600) premises now have access to or are connected to gigabit capable broadband.

Independent figures from ThinkBroadband released this week reveal 1 in 4 premises now have access to a gigabit broadband option.

What is the Gigabit Broadband Voucher Scheme?

The Gigabit Broadband Voucher Scheme is a UK-wide, supplier-led scheme offering vouchers to offset the cost of installing gigabit-capable broadband to premises, i.e., homes and businesses. Vouchers can only be used when part of a group project. Gigabit-capable broadband can provide speeds of over 1,000 Mbps or 1 Gbps but beneficiaries only pay for the speed they want to use, provided it is at least double the speed they had before and more than 30 Mbps.

Businesses and communities are encouraged to check whether they are eligible through a postcode checker on the Gigabit Broadband Voucher Scheme website: https://gigabitvoucher.culture.gov.uk/. If they are eligible they can approach any of the suppliers who are active in their area to apply for a voucher. Registered suppliers can only use the vouchers when they are part of a group scheme that can consist of homes and businesses.

In June, the UK and Welsh governments teamed up to boost the amount available in certain areas, due the difficulty and expense of rolling out broadband infrastructure in rural Wales. This boost doubled the vouchers worth so that homes in rural Wales can now receive 3000 and SMEs 7000. In England, similar voucher top-ups are also available in Cumbria, Kent, Northumberland, Hampshire, Dorset, Warwickshire and West Sussex, to help connect some of the hardest-to-reach places.

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Gigabit broadband rollout milestone reached - GOV.UK - GOV.UK

Dreams PSVR Review: A Messy, Unmissable VR Playground In Need Of An Overhaul – UploadVR

Media Molecules Dreams is finally ready for VR prime time. Does the ambitious creation platform hold up? Find out in our Dreams PSVR review!

Whats nice about reviewing Dreams five months on from launch is how much its been demystified. Theres little need to critique the games audacious creation tools and sharing systems with the caveat they might never take off; this pudding already has enough proof. Seriously, just go and check out some of the highly-rendered puddings.

Its still tough, though, to wrap your head around the enormity of Dreams. How do you stamp a score on whats essentially a YouTube-style platform of interactive experiences? Its a trickier task still when you factor in VR.

Lets try not to complicate it too much, then; if you have any interest in VRs weirder, more experimental side (which, given the very nature of the platform, theres a good chance you do), you absolutely cannot miss Dreams, even with some significant reservations for the creation mode.

Dreams brings a welcome bit of DIY to the VR scene. It allows anyone to get out there and make the game theyve always wanted to see, pending their patience with the modest learning curve and their readiness to accept adapting their vision to the games fuzzy-paint aesthetic (which is customizable but never fully escapable). The tangible bit of all this is the tools themselves. On a flatscreen, Dreams intelligent UI, existing templates and logical progression got me up and running with some pretty basic game concepts in just a few sessions. You get pretty much the same suite of tools and tutorials in VR which, in practice, actually might be the most disappointing aspect of the Dreams VR experience.

Let me explain; VR creation apps are some of the best, most wholly unique experiences you can find in headsets. The intuition of 3D painting in apps like Tilt Brush has led to the creation of entirely new works of art and simple apps like Googles Blocks can also get you up and running in this field in no time.

In terms of pure functionality, Dreams offers everything those apps do and much, much more. This toolset has the power to make entire games with deep mechanics. Again, Media Molecule has more than proved this platform is capable of that.

But, rather than go back and overhaul the Dreams learning and building experience for native VR support as you might have expected it would the developer settled on an awkward halfway house. When you first boot up Dreams, some of the games most basic on-ramping instructions will only be shown on a virtual screen, with your controllers (either two Move controllers or the DualShock 4) represented as a floating creature known as an Imp. In normal VR, navigating using the Imp is simple, but trying to negotiate 3D space on a flat screen in these tutorials is beyond clunky. Then, when you head into the Workshop, where the bulk of the games tutorials rest, youll be greeted with this message.

Oh.

There are some additional videos to guide you through VR specific elements but, largely speaking, Dreams tutorials are not designed with the platform in mind, and thats a real shame. Yes, theyre fantastic for flat-screen creation, but VR support would have been best served starting from scratch with native guidance that properly communicates how much VR enhances the Dreams experience. Yes, you can still do everything you can do in the flat screen version and people already familiar with the tools will easily adapt, but this should be better at introducing new players to the weird and wonderful world of VR.

Dreams PSVR Review Indie vs Inspiration

Dreams has a strange sort of allure to it in that, many people want to see their favorite games and films paid tribute to within it but the real magic behind it is originality. VR puts an interesting spin on all that; if youve ever wanted to see what PT or Star Wars or Resident Evil or practically anything else might be like in VR, youll more than likely find it here. Heck, we could see a Halo VR tribute on PSVR in the future, which is a mind-blowing proposition. Media Molecule might scoff at the idea, but its built a dream (sorry) platform for VR in that sense. How branded content evolves against original ideas with the inclusion of VR will be fascinating to watch.

Problems also persist with the games control schemes. I had hoped that a switch to VR would make creation with the PlayStation Move controllers a much more palatable affair given the additional context of 3D space. And that is the case to some extent, but the Move controls are also plagued by the confusing button layout, which Media Molecule doesnt virtually replicate when youre making finger-tying shortcuts. Moving the camera around, too, is incredibly sensitive and begging for analog sticks to properly master. As such, the DualShock 4 surprisingly remains the best way to create in Dreams, but even then brushes up against the limited positional tracking.

But creation is only one part of the Dreams VR experience.

Ive already revisited one of the all-time scariest games, P.T., piloted an X-Wing, and admired that stunning Unreal Engine 5 demo inside my headset with Dreams. More importantly, Ive discovered some brilliantly-fleshed out original concepts too that have amazed, delighted and surprised. On the flip side, its had me nauseous, confused and often bewildered.

Its a messy little thing, but thats sort of the point.

Navigating Dreams hub of user-generated content in VR isnt so much a rollercoaster as an exhilarating and oddly amusing dash through a minefield. Theres strong curation from Media Molecule itself, but the real magic requires a risky dive into its ever-expanding pool of creations. Youll find a dizzying array of fantastic ideas varying in quality of execution, endless memes, hastily-abandoned prototypes and tacked-on VR support. Even Media Molecules own VR showcase, Inside The Box, wrestles with control schemes and ideas with only some success, and many of the existing non-VR creations that have enabled support are strangely scaled, breaking every rule in the book of VR design. If you thought Five Nights At Freddys VR was disturbing, wait until youve played a broken fan tribute with muffled screams recorded through a PlayStation camera.

Dreams PSVR Review Comfort

Dreams offers a wealth of comfort options that are all enabled by default and, more importantly, will let you filter out experiences not necessarily optimized for VR. The game will boot you to Cinema Mode when framerate suffers and Media Molecule offers plenty of comfort tips. That said, itll still be hard to spend entire sessions in the game without coming across intense content, but there are ratings in place to help guide you.

Theres plenty of comfort options to shield you from the worst offenders, of course, but it can only do so much. Every time you click on a new game, youre rolling the dice, but the reward is often worth the risk. In one play session I found Hard Reset, a moody, atmospheric 6DOF exploration game that, even if it wasnt built for VR exclusively, seemed to possess a powerful understanding of immersion.Bionic Revolution, meanwhile, promises a simple VR shooter that frankly plays better than some SteamVR shovelware.

This all sort of speaks for itself its a better review of the game than myself or anyone else could write up. You might have to shovel through a lot of misses to find the hits but, when you do, Dreams absolutely sings. And the chances are youll have a lot of fun wading through the former category anyway. On a platform thats still in need of a lot of content to sustain it, Dreams offers a hugely compelling hub of VR intrigue that youll want to return to time and again. Even if its creative elements arent as strong as newcomers might hope, this limitless playground is more than enough reason to dive in.

Its true, though, that the game does have certain technical constraints in VR, especially from what Ive played on a standard PS4. While theres no extra limits on the size of your creations, dynamic rendering can reduce them to a blur, for example, and the game will boot you to PSVRs Cinema Mode if it runs into framerate hitches. Still, its no secret that Dreams released at the tail end of a generation with a long roadmap ahead of it and, as exciting as it is in its current form, I cant help but wonder what the future holds on other systems, where VR support is likely to shine even brighter. Media Molecule is interested in a PC version and, of course, PS5 looms too.

Until then, we have an immensely promising foundation. A strong community is already cropping up around Dreams PSVR support; one thats free to experiment and tinker in ways that big-budget games might not be able. VR is often described as a wild west of game development, and in many ways Dreams is the epicenter of all of that.

Dreams creative mode might not integrate with PSVR as naturally as hoped, but its cemented position as a hub of invention makes it an easy recommendation. Paired with the platforms inherent comfort issues, its sprawling, untamed ecosystem can prove to be a minefield to navigate, but for every unwelcome rollercoaster ride (literally and figuratively), theres another wish waiting to be fulfilled or something genuinely original to discover. The only way to truly judge Dreams is by the strength of its creations and those already speak for themselves; if you want to embrace VRs experimental side, you shouldnt miss it.

Dreams is available now on PS4 for $39.99. The VR support comes as a free update. For more on how we arrived at this score, check out our review guidelines. What do you make of our Dreams PSVR review? Let us know in the comments below!

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Dreams PSVR Review: A Messy, Unmissable VR Playground In Need Of An Overhaul - UploadVR

Mind uploading in fiction – Wikipedia

Mind uploading, whole brain emulation, or substrate-independent minds is a use of a computer or another substrate as an emulated human brain. The term "mind transfer" also refers to a hypothetical transfer of a mind from one biological brain to another. Uploaded minds and societies of minds, often in simulated realities, are recurring themes in science-fiction novels and films since the 1950s.

A story featuring an artificial brain that replicates the personality of a specific person is "The Infinite Brain" by John Scott Campbell, written under the name John C. Campbell,[1] and published in the May 1930 issue of Science Wonder Stories.[2] The artificial brain is created by an inventor named Anton Des Roubles, who tells the narrator that "I am attempting to construct a mechanism exactly duplicating the mechanical and electrical processes occurring in the human brain and constituting the phenomena known as thought." The narrator later learns that Des Roubles has died, and on visiting his laboratory, finds a machine that can communicate with him via typed messages, and which tells him "I, Anton Des Roubles, am deadmy body is deadbut I still live. I am this machine. These racks of apparatus are my brains, which is thinking even as yours is. Anton Des Roubles is dead but he has built me, his exact mental duplicate, to carry on his life and work." The machine also tells him "He made my brain precisely like his, built three hundred thousand cells for my memory, and filled two hundred thousand of them with his own knowledge. I have his personality; it is my own through a process I will tell you of later. ... I think just as you do. I have a consciousness as have other men." He then explains his discovery that the electrical impulses in the brain create magnetic fields that can be detected by a device he built called a "Telepather", and that "[t]hrough this instrument any one's mental condition can be exactly duplicated." Later, he enlists the narrator's help in constructing a new type of artificial brain that will retain his memories but possess an expanded intellect, though the experiment does not go as planned, as the new intelligence has a radically different personality and soon sets out to conquer the world.

An early story featuring technological transfer of memories and personality from one brain to another is "Intelligence Undying" by Edmond Hamilton, first published in the April 1936 issue of Amazing Stories. In this story, an elderly scientist named John Hanley explains that when humans are first born, "our minds are a blank sheet except for certain reflexes which we all inherit. But from our birth onward, our minds are affected by all about us, our reflexes are conditioned, as the behaviorists say. All we experience is printed on the sheet of our minds. ... Everything a human being learns, therefore, simply establishes new connections between the nerve cells of the brain. ... As I said, a newborn child has no such knowledge connections in his cortex at allhe has not yet formed any. Now if I take that child immediately after birth and establish in his brain exactly the same web of intricate neurone connections I have built up in my own brain, he will have exactly the same mind, memories, knowledge, as I have ... his mind will be exactly identical with my mind!" He then explains he has developed a technique to do just this, saying "I've devised a way to scan my brain's intricate web of neurone connections by electrical impulses, and by means of those impulses to build up an exactly identical web of neurone connections in the infant's brain. Just as a television scanning-disk can break down a complicated picture into impulses that reproduce the picture elsewhere." He adds that the impulses scanning his brain will kill him, but the "counter-impulses" imprinting the same pattern on the baby's brain will not harm him. The story shows the successful transfer of John Hanley's mind to the baby, whom he describes as "John Hanley 2nd", and then skips forward to the year 3144 to depict "John Hanley, 21st" using his advanced technology to become the ruler of the Earth in order to end a war between the two great political powers of the time, and then further ahead to "John Hanley, 416th" helping to evacuate humanity to the planet Mercury in response to the Sun shrinking into a white dwarf. He chooses to remain on Earth awaiting death, so that people would "learn once more to do for themselves, would become again a strong a self-reliant race", with Hanley concluding that he "had been wrong in living as a single super-mind down through the ages. He saw that now, and now he was undoing that wrong."

A story featuring human minds replicated in a computer is the novella Izzard and the Membrane by Walter M. Miller, Jr., first published in May 1951.[3] In this story, an American cyberneticist named Scott MacDonney is captured by Russians and made to work on an advanced computer, Izzard, which they plan to use to coordinate an attack on the United States. He has conversations with Izzard as he works on it, and when he asks it if it is self-aware, it says "answer indeterminate" and then asks "can human individual's self-awareness transor be mechanically duplicated?" MacDonney is unfamiliar with the concept of a self-awareness transor (it is later revealed that this information was loaded into Izzard by a mysterious entity who may nor may not be God[4]), and Izzard defines it by saying "A self-awareness transor is the mathematical function which describes the specific consciousness pattern of one human individual."[5] It is later found that this mathematical function can indeed be duplicated, although not by a detailed scan of the individual's brain as in later notions of mind uploading; instead, Donney just has to describe the individual verbally in sufficient detail, and Izzard uses this information to locate the transor in the appropriate "mathematical region". In Izzard's words, "to duplicate consciousness of deceased, it will be necessary for you to furnish anthropometric and psychic characteristics of the individual. These characteristics will not determine transor, but will only give its general form. Knowing its form, will enable me to sweep my circuit pattern through its mathematical region until the proper transor is reached. At that point, the consciousness will appear among the circuits."[6] Using this method, MacDonney is able to recreate the mind of his dead wife in Izzard's memory, as well as create a virtual duplicate of himself, which seems to have a shared awareness with the biological MacDonney.

In The Altered Ego by Jerry Sohl (1954), a person's mind can be "recorded" and used to create a "restoration" in the event of their death. In a restoration, the person's biological body is repaired and brought back to life, and their memories are restored to the last time that they had their minds recorded (what the story calls a 'brain record'[7]), an early example of a story in which a person can create periodic backups of their own mind which are stored in an artificial medium. The recording process is not described in great detail, but it is mentioned that the recording is used to create a duplicate or "dupe" which is stored in the "restoration bank",[8] and at one point a lecturer says that "The experience of the years, the neurograms, simple memory circuitsneurons, if you wishstored among these nerve cells, are transferred to the dupe, a group of more than ten billion molecules in colloidal suspension. They are charged much as you would charge the plates of a battery, the small neuroelectrical impulses emanating from your brain during the recording session being duplicated on the molecular structure in the solution."[9] During restoration, they take the dupe and "infuse it into an empty brain",[9] and the plot turns on the fact that it is possible to install one person's dupe in the body of a completely different person.[10]

An early example featuring uploaded minds in robotic bodies can be found in Frederik Pohl's story "The Tunnel Under the World" from 1955.[11] In this story, the protagonist Guy Burckhardt continually wakes up on the same date from a dream of dying in an explosion. Burckhardt is already familiar with the idea of putting human minds in robotic bodies, since this is what is done with the robot workers at the nearby Contro Chemical factory. As someone has once explained it to him, "each machine was controlled by a sort of computer which reproduced, in its electronic snarl, the actual memory and mind of a human being ... It was only a matter, he said, of transferring a man's habit patterns from brain cells to vacuum-tube cells." Later in the story, Pohl gives some additional description of the procedure: "Take a master petroleum chemist, infinitely skilled in the separation of crude oil into its fractions. Strap him down, probe into his brain with searching electronic needles. The machine scans the patterns of the mind, translates what it sees into charts and sine waves. Impress these same waves on a robot computer and you have your chemist. Or a thousand copies of your chemist, if you wish, with all of his knowledge and skill, and no human limitations at all." After some investigation, Burckhardt learns that his entire town had been killed in a chemical explosion, and the brains of the dead townspeople had been scanned and placed into miniature robotic bodies in a miniature replica of the town (as a character explains to him, 'It's as easy to transfer a pattern from a dead brain as a living one'), so that a businessman named Mr. Dorchin could charge companies to use the townspeople as test subjects for new products and advertisements.

Something close to the notion of mind uploading is very briefly mentioned in Isaac Asimov's 1956 short story The Last Question: "One by one Man fused with AC, each physical body losing its mental identity in a manner that was somehow not a loss but a gain." A more detailed exploration of the idea (and one in which individual identity is preserved, unlike in Asimov's story) can be found in ArthurC. Clarke's novel The City and the Stars, also from 1956 (this novel was a revised and expanded version of Clarke's earlier story Against the Fall of Night, but the earlier version did not contain the elements relating to mind uploading). The story is set in a city named Diaspar one billion years in the future, where the minds of inhabitants are stored as patterns of information in the city's Central Computer in between a series of 1000-year lives in cloned bodies. Various commentators identify this story as one of the first (if not the first) to deal with mind uploading, human-machine synthesis, and computerized immortality.[12][13][14][15]

Another of the "firsts" is the novel Detta r verkligheten (This is reality), 1968, by the renowned philosopher and logician Bertil Mrtensson, a novel in which he describes people living in an uploaded state as a means to control overpopulation. The uploaded people believe that they are "alive", but in reality they are playing elaborate and advanced fantasy games. In a twist at the end, the author changes everything into one of the best "multiverse" ideas of science fiction.

In Robert Silverberg's To Live Again (1969), an entire worldwide economy is built up around the buying and selling of "souls" (personas that have been tape-recorded at six-month intervals), allowing well-heeled consumers the opportunity to spend tens of millions of dollars on a medical treatment that uploads the most recent recordings of archived personalities into the minds of the buyers. Federal law prevents people from buying a "personality recording" unless the possessor first had died; similarly, two or more buyers were not allowed to own a "share" of the persona. In this novel, the personality recording always went to the highest bidder. However, when one attempted to buy (and therefore possess) too many personalities, there was the risk that one of the personas would wrest control of the body from the possessor.

In the 1982 novel Software, part of the Ware Tetralogy by Rudy Rucker, one of the main characters, Cobb Anderson, has his mind downloaded and his body replaced with an extremely human-like android body. The robots who persuade Anderson into doing this sell the process to him as a way to become immortal.

In William Gibson's award-winning Neuromancer (1984), which popularized the concept of "cyberspace", a hacking tool used by the main character is an artificial infomorph of a notorious cyber-criminal, Dixie Flatline. The infomorph only assists in exchange for the promise that he be deleted after the mission is complete.

The fiction of Greg Egan has explored many of the philosophical, ethical, legal, and identity aspects of mind transfer, as well as the financial and computing aspects (i.e. hardware, software, processing power) of maintaining "copies." In Egan's Permutation City (1994), Diaspora (1997) and Zendegi (2010), "copies" are made by computer simulation of scanned brain physiology. See also Egan's "jewelhead" stories, where the mind is transferred from the organic brain to a small, immortal backup computer at the base of the skull, the organic brain then being surgically removed.

The movie The Matrix is commonly mistaken[citation needed] for a mind uploading movie, but with exception to suggestions in later movies, it is only about virtual reality and simulated reality, since the main character Neo's physical brain still is required for his mind to reside in. The mind (the information content of the brain) is not copied into an emulated brain in a computer. Neo's physical brain is connected into the Matrix via a brain-machine interface. Only the rest of the physical body is simulated. Neo is disconnected from and reconnected to this dreamworld.[citation needed]

James Cameron's 2009 movie Avatar has so far been the commercially most successful example of a work of fiction that features a form of mind uploading. Throughout most of the movie, the hero's mind has not actually been uploaded and transferred to another body, but is simply controlling the body from a distance, a form of telepresence. However, at the end of the movie the hero's mind is uploaded into Eywa, the mind of the planet, and then back into his Avatar body.

Mind transfer is a theme in many other works of science fiction in a wide range of media. Specific examples include the following:

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Mind uploading in fiction - Wikipedia

In a future of mind uploading, will you still be you, and …

Achieving immortality has long been humanitys holy grail. Ever since we first became aware of the fragility of our own existence, weve been looking for ways to cheat death and prolong our lives indefinitely. Although advancements in medicine have enabled us to significantly increase our lifespan, true immortality has remained out of reach. Achieving physical immortality may very well prove to be beyond our capabilities, but what about digital immortality?

A US startup called Nectome recently unveiled plans to help humanity achieve digital immortality by preserving the brain using a revolutionary new embalming technique and subsequently uploading it to the cloud. The process is called vitrifixation, or Aldehyde-Stabilised Cryopreservation. It involves replacing the blood flow in the brain with embalming chemicals that preserve its neuronal structure in microscopic detail, basically by turning it into frozen glass. You can think of what we do as a fancy form of embalming that preserves not just the outer details but the inner details, explains Robert McIntyre, a co-founder of Nectome.

There are a couple of caveats, though. The biggest one is that you cant actually survive the procedure. Furthermore, in order for it to work, it needs to be performed on a living brain. If the brain has been dead even for a short amount of time, it will become irreparably damaged and the procedure wont be successful. That means that it would essentially be a form of suicide, which would make it legal only in those US states that allow euthanasia, such as California. Another major downside is that Nectome still isnt even close to developing a method for reviving or uploading the preserved brain to the cloud.

However, this uncertainty didnt stop people from investing in the idea, with 25 people already having joined the waiting list by paying a $10,000, fully-refundable deposit. One of those people is Sam Altman, the chief executive of the successful startup accelerator Y Combinator, which recently welcomed Nectome into its fold. The company managed to raise more than $1 million in funding so far and was awarded two prizes by the Brain Preservation Foundation, as well as a large government grant to collaborate with MIT. However, the widespread public criticism that followed the waiting list announcement resulted in MIT cutting all ties with Nectome.

Nectome isnt the only company working on uploading our minds to a computer. In 2011, the Russian businessman and billionaire Dmitry Itskov founded the 2045 Initiative, an organisation that aims to help humanity achieve immortality by 2045. Within the next 30 years, I am going to make sure that we can all live forever, claims Itskov. The ultimate goal of my plan is to transfer someones personality into a completely new body.

The 2045 Initiative has laid out its plan in three stages. The first stage involves building a humanoid robot called the Avatar, and a cutting-edge brain-computer interface system. The second stage consists of building a life support system for the human brain, and linking it with the Avatar. The third and final stage involves creating an artificial brain that would hold the original individual consciousness.

So, can it actually be done? Is it really possible to upload a mind to a computer? The short answer is: yes, theoretically. All of the evidence seems to say in theory its possible its extremely difficult, but its possible, says neuroscientist Randal Koene, the scientific director of the 2045 Initiative. The human brain is an incredibly complex organ, consisting of about 86 billion neurons that constantly exchange information with one another. All of the connections between the neurons in a brain are called the connectome, and many scientists believe that this connectome actually holds the information that makes us who we are. And mapping it could potentially allow us to recreate a persons mind.

Our current assumption is that all brain activity is computable. If thats true and the brain does work like a computer, and if we could find a way to map that activity, scan the brain at the necessary level of detail, interpret the scan in a way that would allow us to reconstruct the brains neural network and create a faithful simulation, and if we had enough computing power to run such a simulation, then we should be able to recreate the human mind in a computer. Thats a lot of ifs, but until we know different, it remains in the realm of possibility. However, its a very remote possibility at this point. We are pitifully far away from mapping a human connectome, says Dr Ken Hayworth, a neuroscientist at the Janelia Research Campus in Virginia. To put it in perspective, to image a whole fly brain it is going to take us approximately one to two years. The idea of mapping a whole human brain with the existing technology that we have today is simply impossible.

The main problem is that there are so many things about the human brain we dont know yet. We dont know how the mind is created. We dont know what consciousness is or how to measure it, so even if we were able to create a simulation of the human brain, we wouldnt be able to determine whether that simulation really is conscious. We dont even know exactly which brain structures and biomolecules need to be preserved to recreate a persons memory or personality, or if its even possible.

Many scientists are certain it cant be done. You cannot code intuition; you cannot code aesthetic beauty; you cannot code love or hate, argues Dr Miguel Nicolelis, a neuroscientist at Duke University. There is no way you will ever see a human brain reduced to a digital medium. Its simply impossible to reduce that complexity to the kind of algorithmic process that you will have to have to do that.

The whole idea is also rife with ethical issues, and some experts are suggesting that Can we do it? isnt even the right question to ask. Instead, what we should be asking is Should we do it?. Lets say that weve successfully uploaded a human mind onto a computer. Does that mean that personal identity has also transferred along with memories and that this person is still the same? Or is it a new person with a different identity that just happens to share the same memories? What rights would this digital person have? And if you could create one copy of yourself, why wouldnt you be able to create multiple copies? In that case, which one of those copies would be the real you? And since you wouldnt have a physical body anymore and would essentially be reduced to a stream of data, who would that data belong to? Who would own you? How could you prevent major corporations from misusing your data?

Mind uploading is a fascinating concept, but were not sure yet whether its even possible. Our existing technology and our understanding of the human brain arent advanced enough to answer that question at this time. Even if uploading the human mind onto a computer eventually turns out to be impossible, the idea is still worth pursuing further, because the technology Nectome and others are working on could have many other useful applications. For example, it could facilitate brain banking for future research into health and disease states, help us discover new brain disorder drugs, or enhance our basic neuroscience circuit mapping.

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The immortalist: Uploading the mind to a computer – BBC News

While many tech moguls dream of changing the way we live with new smart devices or social media apps, one Russian internet millionaire is trying to change nothing less than our destiny, by making it possible to upload a human brain to a computer, reports Tristan Quinn.

"Within the next 30 years," promises Dmitry Itskov, "I am going to make sure that we can all live forever."

It sounds preposterous, but there is no doubting the seriousness of this softly spoken 35-year-old, who says he left the business world to devote himself to something more useful to humanity. "I'm 100% confident it will happen. Otherwise I wouldn't have started it," he says.

It is a breathtaking ambition, but could it actually be done? Itskov doesn't have too much time to find out.

"If there is no immortality technology, I'll be dead in the next 35 years," he laments. Death is inevitable - currently at least - because as we get older the cells that make up our bodies lose their ability to repair themselves, making us vulnerable to cardiovascular disease and other age-related conditions that kill about two-thirds of us.

So Itskov is putting a slice of his fortune in to a bold plan he has devised to bypass ageing. He wants to use cutting-edge science to unlock the secrets of the human brain and then upload an individual's mind to a computer, freeing them from the biological constraints of the body.

"The ultimate goal of my plan is to transfer someone's personality into a completely new body," he says.

Itskov's interest in making the impossible possible began as a child in the Soviet Union in the 1980s. "My biggest dream was to be a cosmonaut, to fly in to outer space," he says. One science fiction novel made a lasting impression: "The hero took some immortality pill and he ended up flying the orbit of Earth. I remember myself questioning what I was going to do if I'm immortal."

But does his plan to allow us all to upload our minds to computers amount to anything more than sci-fi? The scientific director of Itskov's 2045 Initiative, Dr Randal Koene - a neuroscientist who worked as a research professor at Boston University's Center for Memory and Brain - laughs off any suggestion Itskov might have lost touch with reality.

"All of the evidence seems to say in theory it's possible - it's extremely difficult, but it's possible," he says. "So then you could say someone like that is visionary, but not mad because that implies you're thinking of something that's just impossible, and that's not the case."

The theoretical possibility Randal refers to is rooted in questions about how our brains work that neuroscience has yet to answer. Our brains are made up of about 86 billion neurons, connected cells that send information to each other by firing electrical charges that propagate through this organ in our skulls like waves.

But exactly how the brain generates our mind is a mystery like no other in science, according to the neurobiologist Prof Rafael Yuste of Columbia University. "The challenge is precisely how to go from a physical substrate of cells that are connected inside this organ, to our mental world, our thoughts, our memories, our feelings," he says.

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Horizon: The Immortalist, produced and directed by Tristan Quinn, will be shown on BBC 2 at 20:00 on Wednesday 16 March 2016 - viewers in the UK can catch up later on the BBC iPlayer

To try to unlock its workings, many neuroscientists approach the brain as if it were a computer. In this analogy the brain turns inputs, sensory data, into outputs, our behaviour, through computations. This is where the theoretical argument for mind uploading starts. If this process could be mapped, the brain could perhaps be copied in a computer, along with the individual mind it gives rise to.

That's the view of Dr Ken Hayworth, a neuroscientist who maps slivers of mouse brain at the Janelia Research Campus in Virginia by day, and by night grapples with the problem of how to upload his mind. Ken believes mapping the connectome - the complex connections of all the neurons in a brain - holds the key, because he believes it encodes all the information that makes us who we are, though this is not proven. "In the same sense that my computer is really just the ones and zeros on my hard drive, and I don't care what happens as long as those ones and zeros make it to the next computer it should be the same thing with me," he says, "I don't care if my connectome is implemented in this physical body or a computer simulation controlling a robotic body."

But Ken is a realist. "We are pitifully far away from mapping a human connectome," he acknowledges. "To put it in perspective, to image a whole fly brain it is going to take us approximately one to two years. The idea of mapping a whole human brain with the existing technology that we have today is simply impossible." And there's another theoretical challenge. Even if we could create the wiring diagram of a human brain, mind uploading would also most likely require reading the constant activity of all its neurons too.

Here Itskov might get some unexpected help, according to Yuste - who helped bring about the world's biggest neuroscience research project, the Brain Initiative. As part of this $6bn American programme aimed at solving the mysteries of brain disorders like Alzheimer's, he is hoping to map the continual interaction of neurons - the patterns of firing - in the brain over time, "We want to measure every spike from all the neurons at once simultaneously. Many people said it's just impossible."

It is an approach that does not rely on mapping the connectome first. In research yet to be published, Yuste has for the first time imaged over time the hypnotic electrical flashes that make up the activity of nearly all the neurons - up to several thousand - in one of the simplest nervous systems in evolution, a tiny invertebrate called a hydra. "It was very exciting," he says. But "today we just cannot tell you what these patterns mean. So it's a bit like listening in on a conversation in a foreign language that you don't understand."

Within 15 years Yuste hopes to map - and interpret - the activity of all the neurons in a mouse cortex. But the ultimate aim is to read the activity of the human brain.

"If the brain were a digital computer, if you wanted to upload the mind you need to be able to decipher it or download it first. So I think the Brain Initiative is a step that is necessary for this uploading to happen."

But Itskov is far from home and dry. At Duke University, one leading neuroscientist argues that the brain's dynamic complexity - from which the human condition emerges - cannot be replicated. "You cannot code intuition; you cannot code aesthetic beauty; you cannot code love or hate," says Dr Miguel Nicolelis, who is developing a mind-controlled exoskeleton aimed at helping the paralysed walk. "There is no way you will ever see a human brain reduced to a digital medium. It's simply impossible to reduce that complexity to the kind of algorithmic process that you will have to have to do that."

Yuste is also very far from certain the brain works like a computer and could ever be copied in a machine. But because neuroscience cannot yet explain how exactly the brain gives rise to us and prove that mind uploading is impossible, he believes society should start considering what the consequences might be if Itskov succeeded in his ambition.

"The pathway that leads with the new neural technologies to our understanding of the brain is the same pathway that could lead, theoretically, to the possibility of mind uploading," says Yuste. "Scientists that are involved in these methods have the responsibility to think ahead."

Mind uploading would usher in a world fraught with risks.

"If you could replicate the mind and upload it into a different material, you can in principle clone minds," says Yuste. "These are complicated issues because they deal with the core of defining what is a person."

Itskov is more sanguine: "I will answer you to the question of ethics by the opinion which was given to me by his holiness the Dalai Llama when I visited him in 2013. His point was that you can do everything if your motivation is to help people."

But this assurance is not enough for Yuste, who sits on the Brain Initiative's ethics panel: "I would put mind uploading in the list of the topics that should be very carefully discussed and thought through."

Itskov is already planning his endless life. "For the next few centuries I envision having multiple bodies, one somewhere in space, another hologram-like, my consciousness just moving from one to another."

It is estimated that 107 billion people have died before us. As our understanding of the brain advances in the decades ahead it will become clear whether Itskov is really the momentous visionary he claims to be, or merely the latest dreamer of impossible dreams.

Tristan Quinn produced and directed Horizon: The Immortalist, which will be shown on BBC 2 Wednesday at 20:00 on 16 March 2016 - viewers in the UK can catch up later on the BBC iPlayer

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The immortalist: Uploading the mind to a computer - BBC News

The Singularity Is Near: Mind Uploading by 2045? | Live …

NEW YORK By 2045, humans will achieve digital immortality by uploading their minds to computers or at least that's what some futurists believe. This notion formed the basis for the Global Future 2045 International Congress, a futuristic conference held here June 15-16.

The conference, which is the brainchild of Russian multimillionaire Dmitry Itskov, fell somewhere between hardcore science and science fiction. It featured a diverse cast of speakers, from scientific luminaries like Ray Kurzweil, Peter Diamandis and Marvin Minsky, to Swamis and other spiritual leaders.

In the year 2045

Kurzweil an inventor, futurist and now director of engineering at Google predicts that by 2045, technology will have surpassed human brainpower to create a kind of superintelligence an event known as the singularity. Other scientists have said that robots will overtake humans by 2100. [Super-Intelligent Machines: 7 Robotic Futures]

According to Moore's law, computing power doubles approximately every two years. Several technologies are undergoing similar exponential advances, from genetic sequencing to 3D printing, Kurzweil told conference attendees. He illustrated the point with a series of graphs showing the inexorable upward climb of various technologies.

By 2045, "based on conservative estimates of the amount of computation you need to functionally simulate a human brain, we'll be able to expand the scope of our intelligence a billion-fold," Kurzweil said.

Itskov and other so-called "transhumanists" interpret this impending singularity as digital immortality. Specifically, they believe that in a few decades, humans will be able to upload their minds to a computer, transcending the need for a biological body. The idea sounds like sci-fi, and it is at least for now. The reality, however, is that neural engineering is making significant strides toward modeling the brain and developing technologies to restore or replace some of its biological functions.

Brain prostheses

Substantial achievements have been made in the field of brain-computer interfaces, or BCIs (also called brain-machine interfaces). The cochlear implant in which the brain's cochlear nerve is electronically stimulated to restore a sense of sound to someone who is hard of hearing was the first true BCI. Many groups are now developing BCIs to restore motor skills, following damage to the nervous system from a stroke or spinal cord injury.

Jos Carmena and Michel Maharbiz, electrical engineers at the University of California, Berkeley, are working to develop state-of-the-art motor BCIs. These devices consist of pill-size electrode arrays that record neural signals from the brain's motor areas, which are then decoded by a computer and used to control a computer cursor or prosthetic limb (such as a robotic arm). Carmena and Maharbiz spoke of the challenge of making a BCI that works stably over time and does not require being tethered to wires.

Theodore Berger, a neural engineer at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles, is taking BCIs to a new level by developing a memory prosthesis. Berger aims to replace part of the brain's hippocampus, the region that converts short-term memories into long-term ones, with a BCI. The device records the electrical activity that encodes a simple short-term memory (such as pushing a button) and converts it to a digital signal. That signal is passed into a computer where it is mathematically transformed and then fed back into the brain, where it gets sealed in as a long-term memory. He has successfully tested the device in rats and monkeys, and is now working with human patients. [Bionic Humans: Top 10 Technologies]

Mind uploading

The conference took a surreal turn when Martine Rothblatt a lawyer, author and entrepreneur, and CEO of biotech company United Therapeutics Corp. took the stage. Even the title of Rothblatt's talk was provocative: "The Purpose of Biotechnology is the End of Death."

Rothblatt introduced the concept of "mindclones" digital versions of humans that can live forever. She described how the mind clones are created from a "mindfile," a sort of online repository of our personalities, which she argued humans already have (in the form of Facebook, for example). This mindfile would be run on "mindware," a kind of software for consciousness. "The first company that develops mindware will have [as much success as] a thousand Googles," Rothblatt said.

But would such a mindclone be alive? Rothblatt thinks so. She cited one definition of life as a self-replicating code that maintains itself against disorder. Some critics have shunned what Rothblatt called "spooky Cartesian dualism," arguing that the mind must be embedded in biology. On the contrary, software and hardware are as good as wet ware, or biological materials, she argued.

Rothblatt went on to discuss the implications of creating mindclones. Continuity of the self is one issue, because your persona would no longer inhabit just a biological body. Then, there are mind-clone civil rights, which would be the "cause clbre" for the 21st century, Rothblatt said. Even mindclone procreation and reanimation after death were mentioned.

The quantum world

In parallel with the talk of brain technologies and mind-uploading, much was said about the nature of consciousness in the universe. Physicist Roger Penrose of the University of Oxford and others disagree with the interpretation of the brain as a mere computer. Penrose argued that consciousness is a quantum mechanical phenomenon arising from the fabric of the universe. Those of the "Penrose school" think uploading the brain would have to involve quantum computers a development unlikely to happen by 2045.

But Itskov thinks otherwise. The 32-year-old president of the Global Future 2045 Congress is dead set on living forever.

Editor's Note: This article was updated on June 19, 2013, to correct the dates of the Global Future 2045 International Congress (it was held June 15-16, not June 14-15, as previously stated.)

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The Singularity Is Near: Mind Uploading by 2045? | Live ...

Eye of the Temple Reminds You How Amazing Room-Scale VR Is, Demo Available Now – UploadVR

It sometimes feels like weve forgotten something about the magic of room-scale VR. The need to traverse bigger worlds has given way to the fine, if unconvincing means of smooth movement, but theres real power in putting your own two feet in front of you.

Eye Of The Temple doesnt forget that. In fact, it embraces it with open arms.

This long-in-development PC VR title from Danish solo developer Rune Skovbo Johansen finally has a free demo to try. And, in a strange way, its Indiana Jones antics are both a nostalgic trip back to the early days of PC VR and a potent reminder of the physicality that can really root you in the experience. Check out some of our demo gameplay below.

First things first: you need at least a 2mx2m meter space to play Eye Of The Temple. Even then, a little extra wouldnt hurt to give you peace of mind when stepping across chasms. Inevitably, this will place a strict limitation on the number of people that can actually play the game, but the trade-off is necessary. You sheepishly side-step between moving platforms, flaming torch in one hand, whip in the other. Across the campaign, youll need to negotiate various obstacles as you progress through each environment, with evolving challenges and ideas (hopefully) keeping things fresh.

Its an idea weve seen elsewhere, like in the excellent Tower series, but four years of development has left Eye Of The Temple polished and tactile. Some platforms, for example, are actually rolling blocks that youll need to walk backwards on to avoid falling off. Its a brilliantly clever idea to keep you moving, making great use of the space around you.

I havent played the whole demo but even from about 30 minutes of playtime I was introduced to a steady flow of new ideas, like stone pillars obstructing moving platforms that Id need to dodge. Theres also some light combat with the whip, which is a tough thing to master. I suppose with some authenticity in mind, it never quite does what you want it to do, though I spent longer that Id like to admit trying to get it to wrap around levers.

At times I inevitably found myself getting tangled in wires and, naturally, longing for the freedom of Oculus Quest. Unofficial streaming from Virtual Desktop is obviously one way to go, if you can, but Im holding out hope for a native port too. Johansen says he will investigate a port after full release, but doesnt have any concrete plans at this time.

A throwback to those more limited days of VR accessibility, then, but in all the right ways. Eye Of The Temple can be dizzying and unnerving, but if youve got the space you should absolutely check the demo out. You can head over to Eye Of The Temples official Discord to request access to the demo via Steam.

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Eye of the Temple Reminds You How Amazing Room-Scale VR Is, Demo Available Now - UploadVR

Teaching: Your Questions About Hybrid Teaching Answered – The Chronicle of Higher Education

This week, Jenae Cohn, an academic-technology specialist for the program in writing and rhetoric at Stanford University, examines the challenges of technology and active learning.

Making effective use of technology for your in-person students: Pretty much all of the Hybrid (or HyFlex, or whatever you call it!) discussion seems to imply that in-person students will need to bring technology to log in to Zoom to interact with other students, writes Janet Samuels, a clinical professor in the School of Accountancy at Arizona State University. However, our undergrads are not required to have laptops or tablets, and many of my students come from a socioeconomic background where acquiring a laptop would be a burden on them.

Do you have suggestions for engaging students in a hybrid classroom if the in-person students dont log in to Zoom or have access to technology? How can I effectively engage the students to work on accounting problems, reviewing financial statements with each other, etc., in this situation? Additionally, if in-person students do bring in laptops and work on Zoom with other students, wont the computer feedback from multiple laptops near each other, and noise from 15 students in the classroom working with 25 remote students, be overwhelming?

My second question is about suggestions Ive seen to have in-person students monitor chat or Zoom for questions from remote students. Isnt this distracting for that in-person student? I want them focusing on what we are doing in class and not monitoring chat or responding to chat messages from remote students.

Jenae Cohns response: I would definitely encourage this instructor to leverage mobile learning more with her students. Even if students are not bringing in a laptop or tablet, they most likely have a smartphone on them. (According to Educause data, the vast majority of students own mobile phones.) So, given widespread mobile adoption, students can use the Zoom app on their phones to connect with classmates who may be remote. If your students dont have smartphones, they can also use the dial in feature on Zoom (this is something a lot of folks forget about!) to just connect over the phone rather than through the internet. There would need to be some clear messaging around who gets to mute when, though I would encourage remote students to largely just use the text chat rather than trying to engage with microphones.

To this readers point, feedback is going to be an issue, so when I suggested that students partner up with someone on Zoom, I really meant that they would do that partnering work via text chat rather than through live dialogue. I think the logistics of trying to manage multiple microphones in one space for small-group conversations would probably get noisy and complicated otherwise. This would also take more work on the instructors part, but if you paired up remote and in-person students, you could also create a shared, collaborative space like a Google Doc or an Etherpad shared document (i.e., an open-source alternative to Google Docs) for students to write in together in real time.

In terms of working on statements and reviewing work with one another, you might want to post course content in a place thats mobile-friendly. So, again, if students dont have laptops, consider posting these materials to a learning-management system, perhaps not as a PDF file, but as a text-based file in the LMSs Pages section, so that everyone can see the text clearly. If you must have paper handouts, you could also take pictures of the handouts on your phone and upload those files to your remote students, though bear in mind that pictures from mobile phones are not accessible for students who need to use text-to-speech applications or screen readers.

In terms of having in-person students monitoring the chat for remote students, I would encourage instructors to think about imagining the chat less as a place of monitoring and more as a place of interaction. I agree that no one student should be solely responsible for being the information relay to the instructor. Rather, an instructor could design activities that invite everyone to engage in the chat at key moments. As an instructor then, you can also have the chat stream open so that you can see the questions or responses coming in. You can also leverage the chat in Zoom to send participants to note-taking spaces, like a Google Doc, where everyone can see notes or materials from the class. Google Docs is also a really mobile-friendly app, so that could also be helpful in this situation. In other words, I would design activities where there isnt really a ton of room for students to need to divide their attention. Rather, keep lecture based materials short in a hybrid format, and try to make interactive moments collective rather than divided.

How to incorporate active learning in big classes: One thing I keep on seeing in this area is the unspoken assumption that the class size is perhaps 25-35 or so," writes Henry Schaffer, a professor emeritus in the department of biological sciences at North Carolina State University. "So many of the activities, e.g., "ask a student in class to pair up with a remote student through a Zoom chat room" how would that work with 70 students present and another 140 online? Seventy chat rooms followed by 70 summarizations to the class? I know that many colleges cap class size at about 35, but large ones, especially public ones, often have classes at 200+.

Cohns response: This is a good point, and I agree that doing pair share activities, with reporting to the full group, is not really feasible with a class of 200. In that case, I would lean less on Zoom for large classes and more on participation tools that can scale better to having large groups share ideas. For example, in a large class, you might ask students to respond to a real-time poll. After students see responses to the poll, individual students can write down a follow-up reflection or response based on what they learned or gleaned from their peers. That might not be as much of a dialogue, but itll still be interactive. Another option would be to divide students up in advance (perhaps alphabetically?) and to give each of those alphabetic working groups access to a shared workspace in the learning-management system, a shared Google Drive or Box folder, or another shared note-taking space. That might be a space where small clusters of groups from a large class are invited to share notes and documents together, including, perhaps a real-time notes document that can be kept during the live class session itself. That would require a bit of organization up front, but could have some payoff in terms of building presence within a large lecture class.

Last week a reader asked how to help students who attend class remotely hear what students in the classroom are saying. This is a common challenge when the classroom has only one microphone, which is usually positioned near the instructor.

Several people wrote in to suggest a low-tech solution: the professor should simply repeat the question. I asked Cohn about that. Heres what she said:

Im all for simple answers, and there may be moments where simply repeating a point out loud very well could do the trick! In the context of a simple question-and-answer session, this might especially be the case. Bear in mind, however, that some students might not be willing to ask for you to repeat what a peer said, because they may feel embarrassed by needing to ask for repeated information. So, as an instructor, if youre relying upon repeating what in-person students say to online students, you might be guessing at what needs to be repeated, which would not only slow things down, but also focus your judgment, as the instructor, on what needs to be centered from peers in the conversation.

My advice from the first newsletter here will also help in this situation: if you design as much of your class online as possible, so that peers are largely communicating with one another via text chat, or within an online space that everyone can access, the experience is as close to equal as possible, and no student has to be in the position of feeling like theyre asking for anything additional. When online students have to go out of their way to ask for things that in-person students are experiencing, it might also amplify the feeling that will very likely already exist, that the online experience is less valuable than the in-person one. The more that instructors can design classes to make the two experiences as similar as possible, the better.

One other note here is that if we rely upon the instructors repeating what other students say, that does not necessarily solve the problem of students needing to talk to one another and engage in sustained dialogue as peer groups. So, some of the recommendations offered from last week are also meant to help facilitate better peer-to-peer exchange, rather than simply instructor-to-peer exchange.

Last week I shared a request from a reader who is about to embark on hybrid teaching this fall and is seeking academic articles on its delivery and effectiveness. Here are some of your responses:

Cub Kahn, hybrid coordinator for the Center for Teaching and Learning at Oregon State University Ecampus, encouraged people to use the university's searchable Online Learning Efficacy Research Database, which includes academic studies on learning outcomes of hybrid and online education compared with face-to-face education. The database houses more than 100 peer-reviewed studies about blended and hybrid learning.

Kahn also points readers to The Blended Course Design Workbook by Kathryn E. Linder, the former research director of eCampus and now executive director for program development at Kansas State University Global Campus. This is a great resource for faculty new to designing and teaching hybrid courses, writes Kahn. Its a comprehensive guide to evidence-based hybrid pedagogy, technology, and design.

Beth Thornburg, a law professor at Southern Methodist Universitys Dedman School of Law, recommends Adaptable Design: Building Multi-Modal Content for Flexible Law School Teaching, by Agnieszka McPeak (2020). It has a helpful framing device even for courses currently scheduled to be taught in person, planning active-learning tools that can be done asynchronously will make a transition to an online course easier should that happen, Thornburg writes.

Here are two articles recommended by Jenae Cohn:

Challenges of Student Equity and Engagement in a HyFlex Course, by Sebastian Binnewies and Zhe Wang (2019)

Learning style, sense of community and learning effectiveness in hybrid learning environment, by Bryan Chen and Hua-Huei Chiou (2014)

Thanks for reading Teaching. If you have suggestions or ideas, please feel free to email us at, beckie.supiano@chronicle.com or beth.mcmurtrie@chronicle.com.

Beth

Love the Teaching newsletter? Recommend it to a friend. Want to learn more about The Chronicles coverage of teaching and learning? Read this. Have questions about the newsletter? Read this FAQ. Past issues are available here.

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Teaching: Your Questions About Hybrid Teaching Answered - The Chronicle of Higher Education

New Font Styles on Instagram Stories: How to Find and Use the New Font Styles – Parade

No, quarantine isnt making you lose your mind. (Well, maybe; but not about this.) The fonts on Instagram Stories have officially changed and now feature new text styles like italics, outlines, and more.

According to Instagrams official Twitter, the app began rolling out the new font feature on April 29, 2020. As it does with most new features, IG rolled it out as a test run by only granting access to a small amount of users. On August 3, 2020, Instagram came back with a follow-up tweet, announcing that new IG Stories fonts would now be available to all.

Related: 300 Instagram Captions For When You Dont Know What to Write

These four new text styles are in addition to the original styles were all accustomed to and each feature their own personalized backgrounds. So, if you use the Garamond-esque typeface option and decide to add a background, it automatically adds a rectangular box with sharp edges. If you choose the Comic Sans-esque optionwhichBustle is calling Comic Sans Lite, for nowyour font background will be a sort of splashy, brushstroke-esque background.

While many IG users are excited to have more personable font options than the few standard serifs and sans serifs we had before, there are still a lot of users confused about how to access these new fonts.For everything you need to know about how to use the new Instagram Stories fonts, keep reading!

Yes! Youve seen and heard correctly: There are new text styles now available to all users on Instagram as of August 3, 2020. These new styles include Comic Sans, what looks to be a Garamond type font, an italicized serif, and outlines.

Instagram still has not yet released the names of each of the fonts, leaving many people to wonder and simply choose font styles for their Stories based on aesthetic preferences.

Related:11 Instagram Accounts To Figure Out Your Enneagram

The new fonts on Instagram Stories are where they always have been! To use them, simply take a picture or upload a picture to your Story, then tap the Aa icon all the way in the top right of the screen. Youll then be able to type and swipe between nine different text style options.

As always, you can still choose alignments, colors, and backgrounds at the top of the screen, as well as the font size by toggling the bar on the left side of the screen. When youre satisfied with your typing, tap Done in the top right corner and youll see your text appear on your Story.

Of course, you may not be able to access the new fonts if your Instagram app is not up to date.

Not seeing the new fonts automatically pop on your Instagram Stories? No worries! To access the new rollout of fonts, you have to make sure that your Instagram app is up to date with the latest version.

So, you want to access the new fonts on Instagram Stories but arent sure if your app is the latest version. How can you tell if your app is up to date?

If you have Apple iOs, go into the App Store and tap your picture icon in the top right of the screen. UnderAvailable Updates, you should see a list of apps that are ready to be updated. If Instagram is listed there, then once its fully updated, youll be able to access the new fonts. Tap update to start the update process, then when the icon goes away, the update is over and you can launch the app like you normally would.

Celebrity interviews, recipes and health tips delivered to yourinbox.

If you have Android, head over to the Play Store Home screen and tap the Menu icon in the upper left. Tap My apps & games. Then, you should see Instagram. Tap the Instagram app to update. Once the update is over, you should be able to enjoy the new font styles on Instagram Stories like the rest of us!

Next up, how to use Instagram like an influencer.

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New Font Styles on Instagram Stories: How to Find and Use the New Font Styles - Parade

How to Get Cast on ‘The X Factor’ – Backstage

Photo Source: Courtesy ITV

When it comes to searching for new music talent, X marks the spot. ITVs long-running British reality music competition show The X Factor takes contestants through high-stakes auditions, performance boot camps, eliminations, judge mentorships, and live performances until the public decides the winner(s)the recipients of a recording contract. While the show will be resting this year, plans are in motion for a reinvigorated version in 2021.

Over the course of the series, which began in 2004, undiscovered singers show off their vocal skills in front of a panel of judges (originally Simon Cowell, Louis Walsh, and Sharon Osbourne; most recently in 2018, Louis Tomlinson, Ayda Field, and Robbie Williams) and an audience to test talent and performance. In contrast to similar shows like American Idol, The X Factor has no age limit: kids as young as 12 have tried out (though the lower age limit has been bumped to 16), and groups of singers can apply. Those who move on to the next rounds learn choreography, sing for their life, and step up their game. Each judge is tasked with mentoring a category and through various performance and elimination rounds. Some of the biggest stars to emerge from the show include One Direction, Fifth Harmony, Little Mix, and Leona Lewis.

The X Factor was created by Simon Cowell, who has remained its executive producer. After the 15th Series in the U.K. and a three-season run of its American adaptation, two spinoffs of the showThe X Factor: Celebrity and The X-Factor: The Bandaired last year. On the next official season of the show, Cowell has said, Next year the main X Factor show will change again and weve got something very, very exciting, that I cant get into yet, but its a four-year plan.

While the show is currently on hiatus for the year, it was announced in April that The X-Factor has opened up its applications for next season. The auditions are taking place online via video submissions and in-person across cities in the U.K.

Singers can choose whether they want to audition in-person or via video submission, and if theyre trying out as a solo act or group. Those who wish to submit a video audition must upload a recent video of you performing and should have this prepared before filling out the application. If a group submits, all group members are present when completing the application.

All auditioners must be 16 years old or over by June 25, 2021, which is the current deadline for online applications. Anybody under 18 at the time of applying must have their parents/guardians permission before continuing.

Waiting for The X Factor to Return? Apply to These Reality Competition + Singing Gigs

While no information regarding the status of returning names has been announced, the last official seasons principal players were:

The names that made up Decembers The X Factor: The Band were:

Similar to its predecessor Pop Idol, The X Factor mines several cities in search of the worlds next legendary singers via open auditions. Even prior to COVID-19 restrictions, auditioners could submit their performances online and/or over texts. This means that there isnt ever one primary casting director or team of mainstay casting agents. For each season, casting is conducted by teams, with producers reaching out to local talent agencies to find prospective contestants.

For the American iteration of the show, both FreMantle Productions and Bizzly Blondes Entertainment ran casting calls for Teen Male Singers, 15-18 and Teen Female Singers, 15-18, and soloists and vocal groups, respectively.

Much like other talent competition shows, the preliminary auditions take place well before the judges ever see anything and potential contestants go through many rounds of callbacks. I had five auditions before I saw [the judges]...its a quite a grueling process, said finalist Mason Noise. I went to London, went into a room with some X Factor crew, then into another room and another with more, higher-up producers.

After passing a round or two of auditions with producers and members of the production team, wherein theyre judged based on sheer talent and/or the potential for making for entertaining TV, theyre then granted a golden ticket to sing before a more senior production member. Those who make the cut there on out are able to perform for the judges.

The auditions are open to anyone who can singyou can be 12, you can be 112, Cowell said. If youre a performer, this is gonna be a great opportunity for you. On this show, the contestants are gonna have to do the auditions in front of 3,000 or 4,000 people. If you can come out and nail it in front of 3,000 or 4,000 people, then youve got the makings of a star.

Stand out by being yourself: Be original, Cowell advised. Try not to copy what everybody else is doing. What I look for is what we havent seen or heard before. You know, you always want something different[and] dont be afraid to be what I would say out there. Stand out from the crowd. He also added: Dress differently, behave differently, dance differently.

Liam Payne of One Direction echoed the sentiment while reflecting on his first audition: Separate yourself from someone else, do something that makes you a little bit different, and put yourself out there.

Presenter Dermot OLeary, who has served as host for more than 10 seasons, said, The way people audition has changed a lot over the years. We used to get people saying Tell me who you want me to be, but these days people know who they are as an artist, theyre not copying other people and theyve probably got their own YouTube channel. I think X Factor is still relevant and still an incredible way for people to get their music out there.

Louisa Johnson, who was the shows winner in 2015, agrees: Theres always ways to make things different. Be yourself. Its really hard, you can get quite wrapped up in things, especially when theres so many people with so many opinions...But as long as youre staying true to yourself and doing what makes you happy, then I think you cant really go wrong. The only person that you really need to make happy is yourself at the end of the day.

Get creative about your song choices: The worst thing you can do is sing a song that everyone else is doing too, said OLeary. Think outside the box. Pick a song thats original and other people are unlikely to choose. The judges wont put you through if you bore them.The judges dont want to see a young guy doing an Ed Sheeran song, or a girl doing Adele. [They] wont be able to help comparing you with the original artist and you will come up short.

Raid your parents record collections for an old song that you can update. Some of the best auditions do that. Like Emily Middlemas...who chose Master Blaster by Stevie Wonder, which no one else did, so she stood out.

Dont let your nerves take control: Nerves are only natural and everyone will get them, says industry insider Max Millias, who has worked on the show behind-the-scenes. The first thing you can always do is make sure you look good. The better you look, the more confident you feel. Then you also need to make sure you keep a positive frame of mind. If you get any negative thoughts about what might go wrong, then just make sure they are quickly displaced from your mind. Probably the best way to deal with the nerves is to motivate yourself. Tell yourself that this audition is finally your chance to show people just how good you are and prove to the judges you have what it takes.

Dont give up: Jesse Campbell, who auditioned twice for the American version of The X Factor before ultimately getting far on NBCs The Voice, spoke of not being upset if you get rejected: I spent hundreds of dollars, I did my inner work, I did my vocal work, physical work in preparation for it. I stood out in the rain at two in the morning, in the cold, ate right, did everything that I knew to do, and my bestI believewas and always is good enough, as is yours. But just dont be attached to the outcome of anything. You aim high, you do your part, and then do your best and then let it go because if you are so attached to the outcome, then you never know...the universe may have something different for you. But how you relate to yourself while youre going through that process becomes the process. See the brighter side of things. Look for the positive in the negative. Reframe it, turn it into something good. Keep moving. Keep going to the next audition, to the next audition.

The audition process for The X Factor begins online, and those who wish to submit an application can do so here. Be sure to also stay plugged into the show via Instagram and Twitter for any and all audition updates!

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How to Get Cast on 'The X Factor' - Backstage


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