Digital life reporter Katie Humphrey covers all things Internet and culture, from apps and social media to goofy memes and studies proclaiming tech will doom/save us all. Chat with her on Twitter: @HumphreyKatie.

Instagram launches timelapse video app

Posted by: Katie Humphrey Updated: August 27, 2014 - 2:41 PM

Add timelapse video to the things you can do with your smartphone.

Instagram launched Hyperlapse for iOS on Tuesday, opening up the potential for a whole new genre of #sunset shots on social media.

The trick to the app is technology that stabilizes the video. Keeping the camera still is one of the biggest challenges in timelapse video. Wired wrote, "What was once only possible with a Steadicam or a $15,000 tracking rig is now possible on your iPhone, for free."

Tap to record, tap to stop recording. Choose playback speed (1x to 12x), then share on Instagram or Facebook. "We designed Hyperlapse to be as simple as possible," Instagram said in a blog post announcing the app.

Mashable has a list of 20 creative Hyperlapse videos if you need some ideas. Or maybe take inspiration from Bridget Jewell's local Hyperlapse stroll across the Stone Arch Bridge.

Gazing at Google Maps: Filming locations of Emmy-nominated shows

Posted by: Katie Humphrey Updated: August 25, 2014 - 2:44 PM

If you need a little scene setting before the Emmy Awards tonight, there's a digital tour of filming locations at your fingertips.

Google Maps released a Street View list of in-real-life locations of some shows' famous shots, from England to Los Angeles to Morocco.

For "Downton Abbey" fans, there's Highclere Castle:

Also, the decidedly different ambiance of the storefront that serves as Freddy's BBQ Rib Joint in "House of Cards." Map fact: It's in Baltimore, not Washington, DC.

Continuing with political dramas, Google Maps reveals that the "Scandal" gladiators' offices are actually at the Palace Theater in Los Angeles.

Set closer to the television reality, the filming location of Los Pollos Hermanos in "Breaking Bad" is in Albuquerque.

And perhaps the most dramatic landscape is Aït-Ben-Haddou, also known as Yunkai, one of the cities conquered in "Game of Thrones."

Internet bunnies try to hop into spotlight

Posted by: Katie Humphrey Updated: August 19, 2014 - 10:40 AM

Move over, cats. The rabbits want to hop into the Internet spotlight.

The Minnesota Companion Rabbit Society is calling on the people of the Internet to vote for a bunny to take on Grumpy Cat, Lil Bub and the other cat celebs. (All in the name of raising awareness for domestic rabbits and increased adoption, of course.)

The contenders, according to a press release, are:

  • Geronimo - a Lionhead whose spontaneity and flair could make him a star on Vine.
  • Harvey - a Jersey Wooly who has been taking agility classes since the age of one.
  • Greyshorts - a Magpie Harlequin ready to be the next source of "aww" on social media.
  • Lenny - a Velveteen Lop whose personality has earned him the nickname Rabbit Gosling.
  • Cricket - a Standard Rex is the Anna Nicole Smith of bunnies, big and beautiful.

On the Minnesota Companion Rabbit Society website, they're blunt about their bid for online stardom: "Cats are cute, but those mew-tants have lived their nine lives out in the Internet spotlight. now it's time for something cuter, smarter and bouncier to take the throne."

They even made a music video.

Internet Bunny Ready to Dethrone Cats from Lucky Branded Entertainment on Vimeo.

Voting for the most Internet-worthy rabbit ends August 29. Updates on the winner and "the rabbit's first order of business as the leader of the Internet Bunny Movement" will be shared on the Minnesota Companion Rabbit Society Twitter account.

"We're really excited to launch this new campaign that hopefully educates many animal lovers about rabbit ownership," Luke Stultz, president of the Minnesota Companion Rabbit Society, said in a press release. "We love all animals, but, let's be honest, has there been a fad that has overstayed its 15 minutes of fame more than Internet cats?"

Judging by Lil Bub's reaction in the photo above, taken when she met bunny competitor Lenny at a fundraiser last week, the Internet cat star disagrees.

See what's biting with FishBrain, the social network for anglers

Posted by: Katie Humphrey Updated: August 18, 2014 - 1:19 PM

Not a fish tale: There is an app and social network for people who love to fish.

It's called FishBrain, and it originated in Sweden. Sounds perfect for Minnesota.

The idea is to crowdsource information to help anglers figure out where the fish are biting. Users log their catches -- kind of fish, size, bait used, a picture -- and FishBrain adds details about weather conditions. All that is plotted on a map so users can explore activity on nearby lakes.

Have a favorite spot you want to keep an eye on? Follow "fishing waters" that interest you to get updates. Or maybe you're curious what they're catching in Norway. Browsing FishBrain gives you a snapshot.

Local fishing enthuiasts have already caught on. Some metro areas lakes already have more than 1,000 followers. Many of the bigger lakes across the state have dozens of followers.

FishBrain CEO Johan Attby told Wired, "Say you want to fish for pike. Our system can predict what bait you should be using, and suggest where and when you should fish."

But even the digital world isn't immune to a little embellishment, it seems. One person who offered an otherwise positive review in the iOS app store noted, "The only thing about this app is that many people lie about the weight and length of fishes they catch which would be great if it were true."

And the Golden Kitty Award goes to...

Posted by: Katie Humphrey Updated: August 15, 2014 - 11:00 AM

Another Internet Cat Video Festival is behind us. (Dog people, rejoice!)

The third annual event -- back at the Walker Art Center's Open Field -- was an almost purr-fect outing, even if you don't prefer feline pets. The combination of cats and Internet is endlessly entertaining.

There was a moment of near cat-tastrophe when the inflatble screen went fell down before the main event. But volunteers helped the crew get it back up quickly.

By the time Lil Bub took the stage, it was all about the cats. About an hour and many collective "awwwws" later, a new Golden Kitty was crowned.

That's a good one. But of all the other videos, I thought this animated short about a girl and her not-Internet-ready cat was particularly sweet. Judging by the "awws" from the audience, many cat owners can relate.

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