This week, Google finds an iPhone vulnerability and handcuffs Huawei, two new games use live-action video in unique experiences, and Shure’s new microphone is actually a full-on video production kit.
New Shure microphone makes it simple to record audio
I first got to know Shure because of the company’s excellent earbuds. Shure was the one of the first manufacturers to supply quality listening experiences with in-ear devices and I got my first pair nearly 15 years ago.
Today I’m astounded by the quality of a microphone, the Shure MV88+.
In fairness, this is much more than a mic. The “+” in the product name signifies the video kit accessories that come with the latest version of the Shure MV88 condenser microphone.
Altogether, the kit is a full on portable audio/video production studio for your smartphone – whether Android or iOS – and I think it’s easily worth the $329 price tag for anyone who’s recording audio or video.
In fact, I’ve started using it to whenever I’m on air with Drex.
A sturdy, ball head tripod provides stability whether you’re hand holding or placing the setup on a surface, and it means you can adjust the position of the microphone.
A strong but flexible bracket keeps your smartphone in place and can be used facing either direction, so you can be only a camera operator or take on a dual role and be on camera, too.
You can even plug in a headset to monitor levels while you record.
The mic works with an accompanying smartphone app – ShurePlus Motiv – that allows you to change the settings in the microphone itself, whether you record in the Shure app or not.
And quick setups in the app make it easy to record speech, music, or any other audio no matter whether you’re in a controlled setting like a studio – use it bidirectionally to record two-person conversations – or in the field. It’s light, it’s useful, and I’m a fan.
Huawei’s Mate 30 phone is about to be released, but it’s likely to be hobbled
The Chinese smartphone manufacturer Huawei is on the verge of releasing its new Mate 30 handset, but because of the restrictions placed on American businesses by the U.S. government, Google is preventing the company from using the full version of Android and any licensed applications for the operating system.
Instead, Huawei will reportedly be using the open-source version of Android. And users, depending on what territory they’re in, will have to manually download Google apps that are allowed in those regions.
Technical support from Google may also be restricted or not allowed.
The continuing economic battle between the U.S. and China continues.
Hackers create websites that can attack your device if you visit them
Google’s “Project Zero”, which is a team of security analysts who are tasked with finding zero-day vulnerabilities, uncovered an initiative that was able to use websites to deliver code to iPhones that allowed hackers to access photos and messages.
The problem was an issue for some two years. Google informed Apple earlier this year about the vulnerability, and Apple has since patched iOS 12 to fix things.
Two new interactive experiences prove the ingenuity of game developers
There’s something vaguely uncomfortable about watching the videos that make up Telling Lies (iOS, OSX, Windows). But as that’s what the game is all about, you’d better get used to it.
The game, published by Annapurna Interactive, is a database of video clips. Writer and director Sam Barlow also created Her Story, which used the same approach to revealing a story.
But Telling Lies is a bigger and more sophisticated experience. Some of the videos are one side of online conversations (you may or may not be able to find the other side of the conversation). Some are videos shot by the characters on smartphones, documenting what’s going on. They are intimate and voyeuristic and they are utterly compelling.
The experience is all about piecing together a narrative out of what you watch, and you discover the various video clips by conducting simple word searches. You’ll start off with single words, but as you collect information you’ll start combining words and searching for phrases.
You glean meaning from the videos, watching the nonverbal cues and listening for subtext, but understanding also comes from the settings the characters are in, and the dates and times associated with the videos.
There are hours of video branching into several storylines featuring characters that are all connected, somehow.
And all the while you see the very subtle reflection of the woman watching the videos. Her life periodically interrupts your voyeurism, and while you’re trying to piece together the story from the videos, there’s another narrative you can’t escape: who is the woman and why is she searching the database?
Erica (PS4) comes from Flavourworks and London Studio and was published by Sony Interactive Entertainment and it also makes use of live action video.
But the real differentiator with this game is in how you control it. While your basic game controller is supported, Erica was developed for players to use a smartphone (Android or iOS) to play with.
It’s essentially a thriller movie with a branching narrative in which you get to have some control over the actions of the protagonist a young woman named Erica.
It’s an interesting experiment, to be sure, and the gestures I was making on my iPhone screen made sense in the context of the world. But I wanted to have more impact on what was happening in the story than Erica allowed.