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Anchor 3.0 Exhibits a New Level of Maturity for the Podcasting Service

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Anchor today launched a major new version of its iPhone app, alongside a new web experience for creators. Anchor 3.0 is a ground-up redesign that takes lessons learned in past versions and applies them for the purpose of making podcasting as effortless and accessible as possible.

My prior experience with Anchor has been limited, but every time I've given it a try, I came away impressed. The latest update to Anchor isn't so much about flashy new features, but more about demonstrating a new level of maturity: the interface is now cleaner and easier to navigate, the task of recording and publishing podcasts has never been simpler, and there are new built-in tools available to creators to help make recordings professional-grade.

In preparing this story, I wanted to approach the app as a new user might, documenting the experience of getting set up and creating a new show. Anchor has always done fairly well at being user-friendly, but I think that's more true now than ever before.

iPhone App

Anchor's new app has three primary navigation tabs: Listen, Record, and Profile. The former is for discovering new podcasts and playing ones you've saved as favorites. Profile is the hub for managing your own Anchor channel, including editing or publishing previously saved recordings, seeing how many users have favorited your show, and changing settings.

In the Record screen, the act of recording itself is extremely simple. Hit the microphone, and you'll be instructed to either hold your phone to your ear to start recording, or you can hit the microphone button again to do the same. Recordings no longer have any sort of time limit, so you can get an hours-long show wrapped in one go. Another nice perk in Anchor's recording flow is the assortment of background music that can be added to your show with a single tap.

Outside the main, solo recording option, Anchor provides four other main tools from the Record screen. You can browse voice messages from your followers, which can then easily be added to a show you record; users can send in voice messages by visiting a show's profile page. Another tool enables initiating a live recording with one or more friends, so you can record multi-person shows without needing to mess around with a separate app or service. A third tool uses your Apple Music or Spotify account to add songs to a recording. And finally, Anchor also includes a variety of transitions built in that can help add extra color and fun to your podcast.

Thanks to Anchor's new episode builder, taking all this different content and organizing it to form an episode is easy. Theme colors for distinct content types make it easy to see at a glance what you're working with, and if you decide to reorder anything, you can do that using the edit function. There aren't any tools to make audio edits to your recordings, but the small set of options make the app way more accessible than wrangling files in an app like Logic. And if you really like Anchor's service and toolset, but want the type of refined control over audio quality that other apps provide, you can visit the new web interface for uploading existing audio files to your account.

One of the features I appreciate most about Anchor is how the app takes care of publishing your work to services like Apple Podcasts, Google Play Music, and more (including a new partner: Spotify). The platform used to be too locked down, so publishing to other services was overly cumbersome, but now the complete opposite is true: there's virtually no work required to publish your podcasts elsewhere. I walked through the initial setup process to see how it worked, and there's nothing to it. You set the show name, upload cover art or use the stylish art auto-generated by Anchor, then you're done. Anchor takes care of all the work from there.

Web App

Also launching today, alongside Anchor's new iPhone app, is the service's first true web app. You can create new recordings, upload existing recordings, browse voice messages from your audience, and more all from within your web browser. The web tools are presented in a clean, stylish format, and publishing from the web is just as easy as in the iPhone app. If you're an iPad user though, unfortunately, the web interface isn't entirely friendly to mobile Safari. You can still use parts of it, but ultimately it wasn't designed for touch input.

The other new aspect of Anchor's web presence is featured pages for each Anchor show. These enable listening to a podcast's full catalog from your browser, and also have direct links for listening in your favorite podcast client. Here's the page for Relay FM's new show, Subnet.

Relay launched Subnet in conjunction with Anchor 3.0's debut. It's a flash briefing show where host Stephen Hackett provides quick snippets on three relevant tech news stories each day. Because of its short, news-focused approach, Subnet is a great choice for listening to through a smart speaker, like an Amazon Echo, Google Home, or HomePod.

“With Anchor, we’ve finally found an efficient solution for distributing a technology news flash briefing in people’s homes via smart speakers. We believe something tailor-made to be consumed on these devices is the right approach, but traditional processes involve a lot of development and expense,” said Myke Hurley, co-founder of Relay FM. “Anchor’s platform is the quickest and easiest way for us to do this, removing a lot of overhead and allowing us to focus on what we do best.”

You can listen to Subnet using Anchor's Alexa skill, by asking Google Home for the news from Relay FM, or by asking HomePod to play the Subnet podcast. Anchor's integrations with digital assistants make it great for short news briefings like this one.


I've always been intrigued by the goal Anchor's team has pursued – democratizing audio by making it easy to create and share. The app has been home to lots of good ideas in the past, and Anchor 3.0 is in many ways a summation of those past successes.

With the launch of a significant web presence in the form of creator tools and dedicated pages for Anchor shows, alongside a refined iPhone app that makes creating podcasts easier than ever, it feels like Anchor is taking a major step forward.

Time will tell if users agree, but I'm excited to see what the company's doing.

Anchor for iPhone is available on the App Store.


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MotherHydra
1 day ago
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Probably some disclosure would have been appropriate here, seems silly not to mention it.
Space City, USA
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The Ruins of a Massive Ancient City Have Been Discovered in Guatemala

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The ruins of an enormous Maya ‘megalopolis’ have been discovered in Guatemala with the help of the remote sensing technique LiDAR, according to a bombshell exclusive from National Geographic on Thursday. This vast lost city envelops sites like Tikal, Holmul, and Witzna—known for their temples and pyramids—but shows that these famous heritage areas are the tip of the iceberg of this lost urban network.

Hidden under the dense jungle canopies of the Maya Biosphere Reserve, more than 60,000 human-made features—homes, canals, quarries, highways, and more—have been identified in aerial imagery collected by an international collaboration of researchers headed by the PACUNAM Foundation, a Maya cultural and natural heritage organization.

Tikal has some of the widest causeways measuring up to 80 m in width. Image: PACUNAM/Estrada-Belli

This pre-Columbian civilization is estimated to have peaked some 1,200 years ago. The data suggests it may have supported a population of 10-15 million over the newly surveilled area of 800 square miles (2,100 square kilometers).

The advanced infrastructure, which includes agricultural terracing and elevated trade routes to prevent flooding in rainy seasons, has experts rethinking the dimensions and complexity of the Maya empire.

Low-profile stone walls related to intensive agriculture in the residential zone of Xmakabatun. Image: PACUNAM/Estrada-Belli

These ancient peoples obviously established a robust and imaginative culture based on their known relics, but the new research has revealed that the scale of this lost society is far beyond what experts had imagined. The findings will be explored in an hour-long documentary called "Lost Treasures of the Maya Snake Kings," premiering Tuesday, February 6 on the National Geographic Channel.

A new pyramid found south of Tikal’s Mundo Perdido. Image: PACUNAM/Canuto & Auld-Thomas

This breakthrough was possible thanks to LiDAR (Light Imaging, Detection, And Ranging) sensors, which can survey landscapes in 3D by bouncing laser pulses off the ground from drones and other aerial vehicles. LiDAR is exceptionally useful for detecting archeological sites, as it penetrates through jungle cover and other features that hinder exploration on the ground.

Jungle image versus LiDar image. Image: PACUNAM/Garrison/Proyecto Arqueológico El Zotz

The technique has been the catalyst of many discoveries in recent years, including major finds at Angkor, Cambodia and Caracol, Belize. Given that the newly announced Maya “megalopolis” is the result of the first phase of PACUNAM’s LiDAR Initiative, which began in 2014, there are likely to be many more revelations about the mysterious people who built this massive urban network. The ultimate goal is to survey 5,000 square miles (14,000 square kilometers) of Guatemala’s lowlands with LiDAR sensors.

View from the southeast of the Preclassic city of El Tintal. A moat enclosed the core area and causeways radiated out to major pyramid complexes. A causeway cross the round wetland connecting two sections of the city. Image: PACUNAM/Canuto & Auld-Thomas

“There are entire cities we didn’t know about now showing up in the survey data,” Francisco Estrada-Belli, a National Geographic Explorer and one of the lead archeologists on the project, says in NatGeo’s forthcoming documentary.

“There are 20,000 square kilometres more to be explored and there are going to be hundreds of cities in there that we don’t know about,” he added. “I guarantee you.”

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MotherHydra
20 days ago
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More evidence that modern man is MUCH older than science would have us believe.
Space City, USA
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The Verge: ‘Surface Pro 4 Owners Are Putting Their Tablets in Freezers to Fix Screen Flickering Issues’

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Tom Warren, writing for The Verge:

Some owners have even started freezing their tablets to stop the screen flickering temporarily. “I get about half an hour’s use out of it after ten minutes in the freezer,” says one owner. Another user posted a video showing how the flickering stops as soon as the Surface Pro 4 is placed in a freezer. The Verge understands that the screen flickering problem is a hardware issue that Microsoft won’t be able to fix with a software update. It’s currently affecting less than 1 percent of all Surface Pro 4 devices.

  1. This is not a “fix”.
  2. This sounds like a bad idea even as a temporary salve. Condensation is a thing.
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MotherHydra
20 days ago
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Inverter issues? I haven't heard about this.
Space City, USA
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Scratched iPhone 8 and iPhone X Screens

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Stephen Hackett:

Unfortunately, the stainless steel band isn’t the only thing that has picked up scratches on my iPhone X. This phone has picked up scratches across the front and back glass in a way no previous iPhone I have owned has. None of them are particularly long, but they are deep enough that I can catch them with the corner of a finger nail if I try.

I’m not sure what’s going on here, but I’ve heard lots of reports like this over the last month or so.

Marco Arment:

I, too, have a scratched-up phone with bizarre-looking fake portrait-photo modes I never use, but that otherwise I absolutely love and I can’t fully believe is real.

Nick Heer:

I’ve been skeptical of claims that the iPhone X has glass that’s more prone to scratching, but there are noticeable marks building up where my thumb scrolls. Dunno if my nail or pocket lint or something is causing that.

Wojtek Pietrusiewicz:

I have now heard numerous reports about people having scratches on the band, front, and back glass. The strange thing is that I use my iPhone X caseless (white model) and it still looks pristine.

Update (2018-01-31): Christopher Pickslay:

My 3-month-old iPhone X has more scratches on the screen than any previous phone I carried for 2 years

Tony Arnold:

Yep, my $1800AUD phone has scratches all over the screen from being on my wooden desk, and in my pocket.

The quality of the glass on my iPhone X is really disappointing.

dan nolan:

mine is scratched to absolute shit from using it the same way I used my scratchless iPhone 7+ so...

Pat Murray:

Yep. 3 months in and my X has way more scratches than the 10year old original iPhone I have on my desk… the kicker of course, my X is in a case 24/7

Andrew Madsen:

My iPhone X screen has scratches I can feel with my nails too, and had them within the first month. Have never had that with any other iPhone, and I treat this one just as well. No idea where they came from.

Update (2018-02-01): Craig Grannell:

My 8 Plus has a scratch. No idea how it happened. Never had one on an iPhone (3G; 3GS; 4s; 5s; 6s) before. No change in usage.

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MotherHydra
22 days ago
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Progress amirite?!
Space City, USA
peelman
19 days ago
making me sooo glad i have held onto my 7 and not upgraded to the X. i was considering going to an 8, but it just seems like such a mediocre upgrade i’d rather hang on to my cash until i feel like i *need* a new phone.
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Wired Launches Their Paywall

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Wired has been one of the worst offenders for intrusive ads and overly-aggressive anti-ad blocking scripts that prevent you from reading the article. Subscribing online will drop all ads from their website, which is terrific, but there’s no word on whether non-subscribers will have a better reading experience to entice them to sign up. Based on what I’ve seen so far today, they don’t seem very worried that readers’ initial impression will still be pretty poor.

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MotherHydra
22 days ago
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GOOD LUCK WITH THAT. pure trash for a decade.
Space City, USA
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Fossil footprints show dinosaurs and early mammals living side-by-side

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A sandstone slab found on the grounds of NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center contains fossilized footprints ...

A new discovery has been made at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, that has nothing to do with space. A sandstone slab covered in fossilized footprints has been excavated from the grounds, giving us a glimpse into a day-in-the-life of the area about 100 million years ago. The slab contains 70 tracks from at least eight different species, including rarely-seen interactions between both dinosaurs and mammals.

.. Continue Reading Fossil footprints show dinosaurs and early mammals living side-by-side

Category: Science

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MotherHydra
22 days ago
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I've come to realize that it was a likely scenario that dinosaurs and modern man existed 10k years ago and co-habitated. Society got a hard reset for whatever reason, and we would be foolish to assume that the current "modern era" is the zenith of technological advancement. Pyramids that existed prior to the Younger Dryas are an important part of this puzzle.
Space City, USA
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