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These four apps will help you survive social distancing in the age of COVID-19 – National Post

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Watch the video above or read the transcript below for a rundown of the best apps available for staying in touch with friends and family during the coronavirus pandemic, according to Postable’s Danny Burke.

As you are no doubt well aware, we are living through a time of social distancing and isolation. We are staying home. We are avoiding physical contact with family and friends. We are lonely.

But, good news here folks — you can still socialize!!!! — you just have to do it at a distance. That’s where apps come in to help us keep connected to our loved ones. Sure, WhatsApp and Messenger usually do the job for this — but extraordinary times call for extraordinary apps, and here are four of the best … and they’re all free! I tried out some of these myself to stay in touch with my sisters who are in the U.K.

Houseparty

You may have already heard of this one. It’s become the app to have while in isolation. Houseparty lets you video chat with up to 8 people and is incredibly simple to jump into. The main menu is a default display of your front-facing camera. Swipe up to see your friends list and if you don’t have any, you can add them by name, through contacts, Facebook or just send them the link. If you just want to video a call a friend — that’s fine — but you’re missing out on the fun. Tapping the dice icon will bring up the game options which, although few, are a welcome touch! Tapping the plus button in the top right allows you to add friends and in the bottom left you’ll see a lock symbol to make your room private which stops unwanted people wandering into your fun.

Marco Polo

I love this one. Marco Polo lets you talk to your friends through video chat — but it’s not live. Their push-to-talk feature creates a sort of digital walkie talkie where you leave someone a video, or ‘Polo’, and they watch it whenever they get the chance. This app is for people who want to see their loved ones’ faces, they want to hear what they’re up to, but they might not have the time to sit there and video chat. Even if you’re social distancing right now — you may still be working or studying and might not have the time to talk to people for prolonged periods of time — no matter how much you miss them. Isolation doesn’t mean you’re not keeping busy and if that’s the case — Marco Polo is the perfect app to get.

Netflix Party

When the theatres are closed, and people can’t come to you for movie night, send the movie night out to everyone. Netflix Party is a chrome extension that allows you to watch movies in real time with your friends. After installing it through the Chrome Web Store, start watching a movie or show like normal. Then click on the small ‘NP’. You’ll see a URL to share with whoever you want to join. When they click the link, all they have to do is hit the NP icon to join the party — there’s even a chatbox to talk while the movie is playing and you don’t have to hear them!

Bunch

Next up, we have Bunch. What’s better than video chatting with friends and family? Seeing their faces while you beat them at a game. Bunch is a great little party app that aims to create a ‘frictionless experience’ between playing games and seeing someone face to face on your phone by allowing you to do both at the same time. It’s been called ‘the Discord of mobile games’ — which is high praise as Discord is the most popular chat program for desktop gaming. If you’re not a gamer, though — don’t be put off — most of the games are simple and easy to jump into. Trivia, drawing and charades give you a more casual experience but there’s plenty of more challenging games and established titles such as Fortnite, Roblox and Minecraft which are supported as well!

Honourable mentions

Zoom is the go to app for video conference calling for many businesses both big and small and it works great for families and friends also. Think like the mafia: your family can act like a business.

JusTalk is great for large video calls as it can support up to FIFTY people at once for free while other apps may charge you to do those kinds of numbers!

Glide is a fantastic app that lets you create your own apps from spreadsheets while video chatting so this is great if you want to do something productive with friends or families.

QuizUp is, no surprise, an app that lets you do quizzes. It’s been at the top of the genre for many years now by offering fun quizzes to do with your friends and family across a sea of different topics.

For many people, these apps can never replace being with a friend or family member — but they can help. If you’re watching this, you’ve probably got a phone and if you’re social distancing, you’ve probably got some time on your hands — so there’s no excuse not to check one of these out! Especially if this goes on for a while.

Postable is Postmedia’s first and only YouTube exclusive publication. Produced by and for young Canadians, Postable shares stories that touch on social or cultural topics that affect Canadian Millennials and Gen Z. Postable is funded by YouTube’s funding Initiative program. The channel has been live since July, where a video is published every week. Click here to watch more, or subscribe.

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Halo Infinite Delayed to 2021 – IGN

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Microsoft has announced that Halo Infinite has been delayed from its planned Holiday 2020 launch to an unspecified 2021 release date. That means the upcoming Halo sequel from 343 Industries will not launch alongside the Xbox Series X, as Xbox had previously planned.Xbox did not confirm a new release window other than next year for Halo Infinite, explaining that the delay comes as the “result of multiple factors that have contributed to development challenges, including the ongoing COVID-related impacts affecting us all this year.”

Xbox Series X will still launch this year, with Microsoft confirming the Xbox Series X will arrive in November, 2020.

Microsoft’s full statement on the delay of Halo Infinite reads:

“Today I want to share an important Halo Infinite development update with the community. We have made the difficult decision to shift our release to 2021 to ensure the team has adequate time to deliver a Halo game experience that meets our vision.

“The decision to shift our release is the result of multiple factors that have contributed to development challenges, including the ongoing COVID-related impacts affecting us all this year. I want to acknowledge the hard work from our team at 343 Industries, who have remained committed to making a great game and finding solutions to development challenges. However, it is not sustainable for the well-being of our team or the overall success of the game to ship it this holiday.

“We know this will be disappointing to many of you and we all share in that sentiment. The passion and support the community has shown over the years has been incredible and inspiring. We wanted nothing more than to play our game with the community this holiday. The extra time will let us finish the critical work necessary to deliver the most ambitious Halo game ever at the quality we know our fans expect.

“Thank you for your support and understanding.”

Halo Infinite was arguably the marquee launch game for Xbox Series X, but Microsoft has clarified its launch plans for the next-gen console following the announcement. The console maker makes clear that there are, “More than 50 new games planned for this year across generations and optimized for Xbox Series X.”

Last E3, Microsoft confirmed Halo Infinite was planned as an Xbox Series X launch game. While 343 remained relatively quiet about the upcoming sequel since then, we’ve recently seen and heard a lot more about Halo Infinite. 343 Industries recently confirmed that Halo Infinite’s multiplayer will be free-to-play and support 120 fps on Xbox Series X.

Xbox also showcased the upcoming Halo adventure as part of its recent Xbox Series X event, at which point we learned more about Infinite’s story and villain, how Halo Infinite’s open world will work, why Halo newcomers shouldn’t be afraid to jump into infinite, and how 343 is setting up Infinite to be a platform for the Halo franchise.

Since its showcase, however, the demo encountered some controversy due to discussions around its graphical fidelity. Infinite’s developers addressed the blowback about Halo Infinite’s graphics, explaining some of the developer’s artistic goals and influences while also acknowledging some of the concerns.

Jonathon Dornbush is IGN’s Senior News Editor and host of Podcast Beyond! Talk to him on Twitter @jmdornbush.

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Twitter is for real rolling out its reply-limiting feature to all users – The Verge

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Twitter is making its reply-limiting feature available to all users starting today, and it’s for real this time: You can finally say goodbye to the reply guys. The company’s director of product management, Suzanne Xie, writes in a blog post published Tuesday that the feature is part of the platform’s efforts to give people more control over their conversations on the platform.

“Sometimes people are more comfortable talking about what’s happening when they can choose who can reply,” Xie said in the post, adding that Twitter has seen people use the settings to have conversations that weren’t previously possible. “Starting today, everyone will be able to use these settings so unwanted replies don’t get in the way of meaningful conversations.”

Here’s how the feature works. Before sending a tweet, users will have three options to choose who can reply: everyone, which is the standard default setting, only people the users follows, or only people the user mentions in the tweet. If you pick a setting other than the default, the reply icon will be grayed out for anyone not allowed to reply. And even if they can’t reply, other Twitter users can still retweet, comment, share, or like the tweet in question.

Xie writes in the blog post that Twitter’s research shows people who had access to the limited replies felt more comfortable tweeting and more protected from spam and abuse, and didn’t lead to an increase in unwanted direct messages. And it’s another way to block out noise, Twitter found; 60 percent of people who used the settings didn’t use the platform’s mute or block options during the test period.

Twitter has been experimenting with the limited replies feature since May, and last week pushed an update to the iPhone version of its mobile app that made it seem as if the general rollout was already underway. Yet it ended up being a false alarm — Twitter said it pushed the release notes by mistake, the company said.

Whether limiting replies to tweets actually improves conversation on Twitter remains to be seen, but the company says some users have used the settings to have more sensitive conversations about politics and social issues. “People are sharing more of their thoughts —tweets using these settings about topics like Black Lives Matter and COVID-19 are on average longer than those that don’t use these settings,” the blog post states. And “differing views” can still be shared via the retweet with comment/quote tweet option, so the reply guys may just become the quote guys.

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Do you plan buying a Samsung Galaxy Note 20 or Note 20 Ultra? – MobileSyrup

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Samsung has finally officially unveiled the Galaxy Note 20 Ultra and the Galaxy Note 20 after a seemingly neverending stream of leaks over the last few months.

Both devices are pricey flagship smartphones with great internal specs, especially the Note 20 Ultra.

The two phones are currently available on Samsung’s website for pre-order and at a variety of Canadian carriers.

The 128GB Note 20 is available in new ‘Mystic Bronze,’ ‘Mystic Green’ and ‘Mystic Grey’ colours and costs $1,399 CAD

On the other hand, the 128GB Note 20 Ultra costs $1,818, and the 512GB configuration costs $2,029. The Ultra comes in ‘Mystic Bronze,’ and ‘Mystic Black’

Are you planning on buying the Note 20 or the Note 20 Ultra on August 21st, and if so, which device? Let us know in the comments below.

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