At last, a camera app that automatically removes all people from your photos

As a misanthrope living in a vibrant city, I’m never short of things to complain about. And in particular the problem of people crowding into my photos, whatever I happen to shoot, is a persistent one. That won’t be an issue any more with Bye Bye Camera, an app that simply removes any humans from photos you take. Finally!

It’s an art project, though a practical one (art can be practical!), by Do Something Good. The collective, in particular the artist damjanski, has worked on a variety of playful takes on the digital era, such as a CAPTCHA that excludes humans, and setting up a dialogue between two Google conversational agents.

The new app, damjanski told Artnome, is “an app for the post-human era… The app takes out the vanity of any selfie and also the person.” Fortunately, it leaves dogs intact.

Of course it’s all done in a self-conscious, arty way — are humans necessary? What defines one? What will the world be like without us? You can ponder those questions or not; fortunately, the app doesn’t require it of you.

Bye Bye Camera works using some of the AI tools that are already out there for the taking in the world of research. It uses YOLO (You Only Look Once), a very efficient object classifier that can quickly denote the outline of a person, and then a separate tool that performs what Adobe has called “context-aware fill.” Between the two of them a person is reliably — if a bit crudely — deleted from any picture you take and credibly filled in by background.

It’s a fun project (though the results are a mixed bag) and it speaks not only to the issues it supposedly raises about the nature of humanity, but also the accessibility of tools under the broad category of “AI” and what they can and should be used for.

You can download Bye Bye Camera for $3 on the iOS App Store.

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The Morning After: The problem with the PlayStation Classic

Hey, good morning! You look fabulous.

Welcome to your weekend! We’ll recap a few highlight stories from the last week, plus some new items like our thoughts on Google getting out of the tablet business and a hands-on test of Tesla’s latest in-car games. Oh, and if you prefer to read this recap in the afternoon, it’s alright — we understand.


Users who found value in the system were collectors or had low expectations going in. Why is the PlayStation Classic so unpopular?

Readers tell us why they liked it even less than we did.


‘Beach Buggy Racing 2’ is playable with the car’s steering wheel and pedal.Control a fake Tesla while charging your real Tesla

Tesla’s vehicles have an array of goofy Easter Eggs. From fart noises to Atari video games, the company isn’t afraid to fly its freak flag. So it was no real surprise when the world found out that Tesla would be adding more games and that an SDK would be available for developers to port their titles to the cars.


Give the people what they want.Google getting out of the tablet game was inevitable (and smart)

When Google announced it was working on bringing Android apps and the Play Store to Chromebooks in 2016, it was pretty clear that Android tablets as we knew them were dead. And while Android apps on Chromebooks are still far from perfect (they’re still somewhat buggy and often not optimized for keyboard and mouse), a Chrome OS device with Android apps is far more useful than any Android tablet ever was. That’s why Nathan Ingraham calls the news that Google will no longer build its own tablets “logical.”


Find the answers when it launches July 5th.‘Sea of Solitude’ looks like a brilliant, emotional horror show

Faith is the soul of EA’s Sea of Solitude. Who can you trust, when you can’t believe the reality your brain is presenting? When your mind has spiraled into paranoid, depressed delusion and nothing makes sense? Who, and what, can you trust, when you’re at your most vulnerable? According to Jessica Conditt, Sea of Solitude asks these questions in a poignant, beautiful game filled with spatial puzzles and giant beast battles.


Like an El Cami-Nikolai.YouTuber known for ‘shitty robots’ turns Tesla Model 3 into a pickup truck

YouTuber and inventor Simone Giertz needed a truck to carry materials for her creations but didn’t want a gas-guzzling pickup. So the 28-year-old robotics enthusiast decided to buy herself a brand spanking new Tesla Model 3, carve out the back seat and the trunk, and perform a bunch of other mods to the $35,000 vehicle that will make some of the Musk faithful wince. Fortunately, she documented the entire messy process in a 31-minute YouTube video. Look on with horror or admiration. And if you’re not into hacking apart your beloved ride, you can always play a game on the dash screen.


Most viewers ever for a Netflix flick on its first weekend.Adam Sandler’s ‘Murder Mystery’ breaks Netflix viewing records

Apparently what people want is more Adam Sandler, and Netflix gave it to them.

But wait, there’s more…


The Morning After is a new daily newsletter from Engadget designed to help you fight off FOMO. Who knows what you’ll miss if you don’t Subscribe.

Craving even more? Like us on Facebook or Follow us on Twitter.

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Respawn will share more about its 'AAA' VR shooter later this year

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Devindra Hardawar/Engadget

Back in 2017, Facebook and Respawn Entertainment revealed the developer was working on a virtual reality AAA shooter. While things have been fairly secretive since (so much so that it might have fallen off your radar), we’ll hear more about it at this year’s Oculus Connect, which is scheduled for September 25th to 26th in San Jose.

While you might wonder if this was tied in some way to the “premium” Titanfall game that’s scheduled for later this year, Respawn said when it announced the VR title it doesn’t take place in that universe. Instead, it’ll supposedly place you in the role of a soldier in a realistic combat scenario.

The relative lack of updates since 2017 might have something to do with Respawn spinning a bunch of plates at the same time. As well as the VR game and the mysterious Titanfall entry, Respawn has Apex Legends updates to focus on and is putting the finishing touches to Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order ahead of its November 15th debut.

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Overwatch's advanced replay system goes live for everyone

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Activision Blizzard

The latest Overwatch patch is rolling out on PC, PS4 and Xbox One, and once it’s installed, you’ll have access to the new replay system. You’ll be able to re-watch your ten most recent matches from any game type, except for the tutorial and Practice Range, from any angle or other players’ perspectives while controlling the playback speed.

The system should be great for figuring out how an enemy player was able to get the jump on you, seeing what your compatriots were doing during a team fight or making killer highlight reels. Using the map overlay adds status indicators for each player, so might see, for instance, when they took damage or were hacked, sleeping or stunned. However, replays (just like unsaved highlights) will disappear whenever a new patch rolls out, so be sure to save them before they vanish.

Blizzard also released a replay system for Overwatch League matches last week. You’ll need to install a PC-only tool to view replays of the action from pros’ perspectives, using the same options as the in-game replay system. That follows a similar feature from last year’s Overwatch World Cup.

Meanwhile, the latest patch adds a limited-time event linked to Baptiste, the game’s latest hero, following the release of a short story about him. Following similar story-driven events for D.Va and Ana, you’ll be able to earn cosmetic rewards for the battle medic. Until July 1, you’ll need nine victories in Quick Play, Competitive Play and/or the Arcade to claim an epic skin, player icon and two event sprays. For the other five event sprays, you’ll have to watch up to six hours of participating Overwatch Twitch streamers to claim them as Twitch Drops.

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The best multi-effects pedal for new guitarists

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When I first started playing guitar way back in 1995 (or maybe it was 1994?) the idea of a digital multi-effects pedal was still pretty new. The Zoom 505 was the biggest game in town, if you wanted a pile of effects in a compact package for a reasonable price. It was also the first pedal I ever bought. But, if I’m being honest, a lot of the sounds you got out of it were not great. And it could be a little confusing to operate at times.

Thankfully things have come a long way since the mid ’90s.

Digital effects can often compete with their analog counterparts now. And even cheap processors are powerful enough to handle multiple effects simultaneously in a live audio application. These are also usually the first stop for a budding guitarist. Your average 16-year-old starting their first band can’t go out and buy half a dozen pedals from the likes of Earthquaker Devices, JHS or even a relatively affordable stalwart like Electro Harmonix. So I decided to go back and check out a bunch of entry-level multi-effects pedals from Zoom, Line 6, Digitech and Mooer to figure out where a new guitarist should spend their cash.

When deciding which pedal was the best for a beginner I took a number of things into consideration. Obviously, one of the most important was the quality of the effects. Even a $20 unit is a waste of money if it sounds like garbage. Another is versatility. While the MS-70CDR from Zoom is pretty well regarded (and a pedal I’ve been eyeing recently), it focuses on chorus, delay, and reverb only. And lastly there’s price. There are a ton of absolutely amazing multi-effects units out there, like the H9 family from Eventide, but those start at $400. That’s way more than any guitarist still learning the ropes should spend.

We decided $200 was the absolute ceiling when it came to an entry-level device. And after months of testing, I’m comfortable saying that the Zoom G1X Four is the best choice for a novice guitarist. At only $100 it’s a heck of a bargain. And while the G1 Four can be had for just $80, I think it’s more than worth it to drop the extra $20 and get the model with an expression pedal. It’ll be a huge help for filter effects like wah; volume swells if you’re dabbling in shoe gaze; or pitch shifting if you want to get real weird.


The Zoom G1 Four
Terrence O’Brien / Engadget

Buy Zoom G1X Four on Amazon – $100

(Full transparency, I tested the G1 Four and not the G1X Four. But the two devices are almost identical except for the addition of an expression pedal and a few extra effects that take advantage of it.)

First and foremost: Most of the effects here are pretty good. Not all of them are useful (“Bomber” in particular is a head scratcher). And some are, shall we say, a little sterile sounding — especially the overdrives and distortions. But on the whole it’s a solid sounding pedal, especially for the price. The reverbs and delays aren’t bad at all, and should please even more demanding players. And the chorus options, while not exactly faithful recreations of the pedals that inspired them, are more than usable.

There’s over 70 effects built into the G1X Four. Plus 13 amp models and even speaker cabinet simulations. The latter are really designed for using with headphones, but you can shape your tone in interesting ways by using them in front of your own amp. Even if you can only find a few effects you really enjoy (and it’s almost impossible not to), you’re still getting your money’s worth. One piece of advice though: ignore the pre-made patches that are loaded in 40 of the 50 save slots by default. Most are kinda cheesy sounding and frankly don’t showcase the best side of the pedal. (Almost all of them have just a touch too much delay for some reason.)

Multi-effects pedals

All this being said, the effects here aren’t significantly better or worse than what you get in other pedals in the price range. The Mooer GE100 and Digitech Element XP, for example, do some things better and others slightly worse. The Digitech might take a very slight edge in terms of pure quality of the effects (especially if you focus on the out-of-the-box patches and distortion), but not enough to make you stand up and notice.

Where the Zoom really beats the competition is on ease of use and features. It has more effects (which you can chain together in any order you choose), more amp models and a desktop app that makes building patches and saving them a breeze. While navigating, tweaking and combining effects on the pedal itself is relatively intuitive, doing it on a desktop is quite a bit faster. And that extra bit of speed will make finding your way around the almost endless combinations much less tedious. I’m in no way suggesting you keep this thing tethered to you computer. That sounds like a nightmare. But you can pull together at bunch of custom patches, load them on the Zoom and never look back.

And honestly, even without the app it’s far easier to use than the previously mentioned Mooer and Digitech pedals, or some of Zoom’s more expensive models like the G3Xn. The interface is richer that the simple-to-a-fault Element XP and more logical than the GE100. I never found a need to look at a manual when using the G1X Four, which is more than I can say for most of the other units I tried.

Multi-effects pedals

Add in a tuner, a 30-second looper and 68 rhythm patterns to practice alongside, and you’ve got basically the complete package for anyone still in the exploratory phase of their guitar playing. The biggest weakness of the G1X Four is the build quality. Now, to be clear, no $100 multi-effects pedal is built to withstand the rigors of tour life. In fact, most aren’t really meant to leave your bedroom. But the Zoom feels particularly flimsy, especially with its plastic foot switches. That being said, I beat the hell out of my Zoom 505 from the mid ’90s until the early aughts, and it was still kicking when I finally gave it to a friend. So I have no reason to believe the G1X Four will break easily. Just don’t expect rugged metal construction here.

Multi-effects pedals

Buy Line 6 M5 on Amazon – $147

Now there is one last thing to consider. Many modern amps like the Fender Mustang series and Boss’ Katana line have plenty of built-in effects. If you own one of these, and you’re more interested in expanding your sonic palette than just layering on as many effects as possible, I have another option for you: the Line 6 M5. It’s a little more expensive at $150 and you can only use one effect at a time, unlike the Zoom where you can stack five or nine with the Digitech. (It’s a “stompbox modeler” as opposed to a proper multi-effects pedal.) But, the quality of that one effect is going to be well beyond what the other pedals mentioned here can produce. And, since it’s built like a tank, it has a good chance of finding a permanent place on your pedal board.

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