52 animated GIFs seguing from classic Marvel Comics covers to new, contemporary covers for upcoming Marvel Legacy titles were released Friday. Nothing outside of the animated GIF cover images were revealed, but we did learn about some new titles like Marvel Two-In-One and the apparent impending death of Jane Foster in Mighty Thor.
Here is a complete list of the 52 titles, whose covers you…
It wouldn’t be a Thursday on the internet if folks weren’t irrationally upset over something. The latest installment? A bunch of dudes who are mad that Austin’s Alamo Drafthouse is planning a women-only screening of Wonder Woman on June 6. It shouldn’t really be a surprise, because if there’s one thing men have proven themselves to be throughout history, it’s prone to childish overreactions whenever someone says something isn’t for them. But let’s not dwell on that ridiculous outcry. Instead, let’s focus on this pitch-perfect response from the theater in question:
Ah. Sometimes there is good in the world. There’s also, well, some bad. Here are all of the things you might have missed online from the past seven days. Don’t shoot, we’re just the messengers.
Awkward Papal Photos: Horror Edition
What Happened: It’s the team-up everyone has been waiting for: President Donald Trump and the pope! Together, they fight crime! No, wait. That’s not right. Together, they take really uncomfortable photos. Well, uncomfortable for them, but delightful for the internet. What Really Happened: Last week, President Trump and his entourage headed to the Vatican to meet with Pope Francis.
Honor of a lifetime to meet His Holiness Pope Francis. I leave the Vatican more determined than ever to pursue PEACE in our world. pic.twitter.com/JzJDy7pllI
Considering the Trumps showed up looking like the Addams Family, it was only a matter of time before this happened. But the volume and frequency with which these Photoshops hit the internet was pretty remarkable, and for a while it seemed as though the only thing that would stop them was divine intervention. Once they did peter out, it was hard to determine which was the best, but this Shining-themed GIF might come out on top:
The Takeaway: Apparently, papal supremacy applies to the internet, too.
So, About That Picture of Trump with the Glowing Orb…
What Happened: President Trump also proved adept at providing the internet with meme-worthy material while in Saudi Arabia. What Really Happened: Trump gave the internet a lot to riff on last week. In addition to the aforementioned pope photos, he also told an audience in Israel that he “just got back from the Middle East” and got repeatedly, visibly rebuffed by his wife. But none of those tidbits were as strange as this:
The web’s favorite file format just turned 30. Yep, it turns out the GIF is a millennial, too.
At the same time, 30 makes the GIF ancient in web years, which feels a bit weird, given that the proliferation of animated GIFs is a relatively recent phenomenon. Today, Twitter has a GIF button and even Apple added GIF search to its iOS messaging app. Such mainstream approval would have seemed unthinkable even a decade ago, when GIFs had the cultural cachet of blinking text and embedded MIDI files. But today they’re ubiquitous, and not in some nostalgic sense.
Animated GIFs have transcended their obscure 1990s roots to become a key part of day-to-day digital communication. Some, like Orson Welles clapping or Michael Jackson eating popcorn, have become instantly recognizable shorthand. Others, like Sean Spicer disappearing into the bushes—itself a remix of a popular Simpsons GIF—serve up political satire. The GIF does double duty as both expression and as badge of digital literacy. Not bad for an image standard that pre-dates the web itself.
Today GIFs are synonymous with short, looping, animations. But they got their start as a way of displaying still images. Steve Wilhite started work on the Graphics Interchange Format in early 1986. At the time, he was a programmer for Compuserve, an early online service that let users access chat rooms, forums, and information like stock quotes using dial-up modems. Sandy Trevor, Wilhite’s boss at Compuserve, tells WIRED that he wanted to solve two problems.
The first was that Compuserve needed a graphics format that worked on all computers. At the time, the PC market was split between several companies, including Apple, Atari, Commodore, IBM, and Tandy, each with its own way of displaying graphics. Compuserve had used other graphics formats of the era, such as NAPLPS, but Trevor thought they were too complex to implement. So he tasked Wilhite with creating a simple format that would work on any machine.
Second, he wanted Wilhite to create technology that could quickly display sharp images over slow connections. “In the eighties, 1200 baud was high speed,” Trevor says. “Lots of people only had 300 baud modems.” The average broadband connection in the US is more than 40,000 times faster than even those blazing fast 1200 baud connections, so Compuserve needed truly tiny files.
The web’s other major image format, the JPEG, was under development at the time. But it’s better suited for photographs and other images that contain high amounts of detail and won’t suffer from a small amount of distortion. Compuserve needed to display stock quotes, weather maps, and other graphs—simple images that would suffer from having jagged lines. So Wilhite decided to base the GIF on a lossless compression protocol called Lempel–Ziv–Welch, or LZW.
Wilhite finished the first version of the GIF specification on May, 1987, and Compuserve began using the format the next month. This was two years before Sir Tim Berners-Lee…
In terms of functionality, Apple’s generic, preloaded keyboard has certainly improved, but even after adding its own App Store, complete with stickers and apps, it’s still a little bland. What I do love about Apple is its support for third-party keyboards. You can ditch the generic offering and download enough keyboards for every conceivable customization option you want.
Keep in mind you don’t have to commit. Don’t be afraid to install more than one keyboard! If I’m looking for some particular animated image I’ll use GIPHY Keys more than Gboard, but during normal texting hours or when typing in a note-taking app like Bear, swipe-friendly keyboards are my tool of choice.
Google’s keyboard (available for iOS and Android) is packed with just enough features to be useful but not too many to be cumbersome or unwieldy. It’s been my keyboard of choice since its debut, thanks to its simple search integration: In true Google fashion, you can search from the keyboard itself and send links as well as descriptive cards to recipients. Its responsive swipe functionality is great for popping in and out where other keyboards I’ve tried in the past were somewhat sluggish in acknowledging my swiping as spelling.
You can pull images and GIFs from Gboard to send or save (though the results sometimes differ between its desktop and Gboard searches). Sure, you can type on it like a traditional keyboard, but Gboard also features glide typing—swiping your finger across letters to spell words—just like Swype and Swiftkey, and it learns from your history to improve its predictive search and text suggestion without transmitting personal data to the company.
If you’re on a bigger phone, the combination of glide typing and a one-handed typing setting on Gboard…
Zynga is putting out a sort of follow-up today to their incredibly popular, incredibly addictive Words With Friends mobile game. But where Words With Friends was the perfect melding of a puzzle game that made you think and the social exuberance of going up against your friends, GIFs Against Friends feels like the Idiocracy version that we probably totally deserve in this year, 2017, the year of imitation humor.
We’re obsessed with memes and GIFs, and GIFs Against Friends trades in that obsession. The game is played out in iMessages. One player, the judge of that round, selects a prompt and the other players have to offer up their best reactionary GIF. The judge picks the “best” GIF, a la Cards Against Humanity, and boom, you have a game.
Let’s put aside the soulless victory in “competitive” games like this that deal in when they reduce your win to one person’s arbitrary opinion. And while the lack of depth to this concept was its first fault, that fact that every GIF is locked behind an in-game price tag is worse. You start with the helpful offerings…