Vine Kids is loud, colorful, and everything a child wants from a smartphone



Vine has introduced a new mobile application dedicated to allowing children to watch six-second videos in an app that caters to their love of bright colors, weird sounds, and cartoon characters that will haunt their dreams a few years from now.

It’s called Vine Kids. It seems like a desperate attempt to remind people Vine still exists — the app once thought to be the future of news and entertainment has faded into the background, all but forgotten by the world at large — and I fucking love it.

Or at least I would have a few years ago, when my nephew enjoyed repetition more than a NASCAR driver likes to turn left, and all he wanted to do was watch the same YouTube videos or straight-to-VHS children’s shows over and over and over again.

And, as much as I didn’t like having to clean his grubby fingerprints off my iPhone (children’s hands are disgusting things and everything they touch should be cleansed with alcohol and holy water), I would’ve preferred Vine Kids over the other options.

Might that have eroded his attention span down to six seconds? Maybe. Could it have convinced him that reality is nothing but an endless loop waiting to be swiped away by some childlike deity holding a smartphone? Probably not, but it’s possible.

All I know is that as much as my nephew liked playing games, watching videos, or chewing on my smartphone, he would’ve liked Vine Kids even more. It’s bright. It’s noisy. It’s repetitive. It’s everything small children like rolled into one mobile app.

Vine Kids could be a smart business move, too, as children and parents represent a valuable and difficult-to-target demographic coveted by advertisers. Vine hasn’t yet monetized its blink-and-you’ve-missed-them length videos, but if it can find a way to build density within a single demo – Cheez-it covered munchkins, in this case – the company’s conversations with advertisers could eventually go much differently.

But, then again, given the number of entertainment options available to kids, and considering the pace at which Vine is fading amongst their parents, that’s no sure bet.

Still, I hope the damned thing will still be around when I have my own children. There’s only so much “Barney,” “Thomas the Tank Engine,” and “SpongeBob Squarepants” a person can take in their life, and I have far exceeded my limit.

[animated gif by Brad Jonas]



Artist Uses Wireless Signals App to Create Colorful Time-Lapsed Photos


Smartphones are receptors for wireless signals, but they’re typically displayed as a series of bars. Turn those bars into a color app, and you’ve got an instant art display, capable of being the object of colorful time-lapse photography.

They’re called Spirit Photographs, or Wireless Spectre. The project is a performance art piece by Newscastle University student Luis Herman. The photos demonstrate the nuances of invisible wireless waves as perceived by our mobile devices and moved by humans. In order to capture the wireless signals as colors, the light performers used the Kirlian Device, an app that expresses wireless signal strengths with screen colors.

The current version of the app continuously reads the WiFi manager status, looks for the Received Signal Strength Index (RSSI) of the current connection and transforms the value into the corresponding color from a five-color heat map scheme. Red means stronger signal, blue means weaker. In addition, it uses the RSSI value to emit a changing frequency sine-wave tone. The app maps values between -40 and -90 dB, but it is possible to adjust this threshold by pressing the “Calibrate” button provided in the main interface.

Just a note: the app does not take photos. It simply shows WiFi strength as colors. In order to re-create the ghostly images, you’ll need to experiment with some time-lapse photography and a tripod. Another thing to keep in mind is the color of the WiFi spectrum. If you find yourself seeing a lot of blue, that’s actually a bad sign.


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