Hidden Gems: Expand your brain with Discovery News
Hidden Gems: A Week In the Life
A week in the life of Daniel Rubino, powered by Hidden Gems
With support from Microsoft
In 2015, technology is moving at a rapid clip in all areas of knowledge, whether it is neuroscience, genetics, computers, space or general biology. The modern age of news and the internet can be a blur of information, overwhelming the senses. Relying on your Facebook feed for supposed science news can be a risky gamble, especially with all the pseudo nonsense floating around.
Today, we are going to share with you the easiest way to keep informed and entertained without the fluff. The solution is Discovery News and their new app for Windows Phone.
Back in January 2014, Discovery News, a branch of the Discover network that includes the Discovery Channel, TLC, Animal Planet and more, launched an app for Windows 8. Fast forward to May 2015 and the company released a brand new and excellently designed app for Windows Phone.
In this day and age of sensational media, I find Discovery News a breath of fresh air. It is surprisingly hard to find a single, dedicated source of scienced-focused information. With Discovery News, not only you get the facts you need, you do not need a degree in science to understand them. Instead, it is written in an entertaining and accessible style.
Do you want to learn about the world through the tried and true scientific method? Then Discovery News sets you down that path. Plus it is fun!
Discovery News for Windows Phone
The Discovery News app for Windows Phone is in many ways the poster child for well-done Modern designs. It is fast, fluid, intuitive and just a joy to use. The app has five main sections, including:
- Feature News/This just in
- The Mind Blowers/The Must Reads
Launching the app kicks you right into the Featured news and 'This just in' areas. This part is where you can find all the latest that is happening in the world of science scholarship. Consider this region your daily feed of what you need to know.
The Mind Blowers/Must Reads are selected articles by Discovery News that are truly the most fascinating and exciting bits. Think of this area as featured articles that you do not want to miss.
Tired of reading? Then check out the video section that breaks down news topics for you in an entertaining and concise manner. Videos are embedded at the top of articles with play and pause controls. Tilt your phone and you go to fullscreen in landscape mode.
Discovernator is the simplest of all areas in the Discovery News app. It delivers succinct and interesting facts right to your phone. Need another hit? Just tap 'More Please!' to request another one! If these bits of info do not pique your interest, then nothing will. Did you know there is a mathematical formula for the physics of a ponytail?
Finally, categories let you dive into more specific areas, including:
Tapping on each area delivers that latest two stories for that category. Selecting 'More' brings you to a main page for that category, surfacing even more details such as:
- Featured/Our faves
- Top Lists
The amount of granularity here is impressive! You can dive deep into specific topics that you find interesting.
There are a couple of things I really like about Discovery News and its app design.
- Change the font size
- Change the background color for text from white to black
- Universal Share picker access for sharing articles
- Pin topics to your Start screen for fast access
- Univeral app for Windows and Windows Phone
Being able to change the font size and the background color is crucial. For one, it changes the look but if you are reading a lot, many people prefer the black background with white text. Not only can this preserve battery life on devices with AMOLED displays, but it is easier on your eyes.
_What good is reading something fascinating if you cannot share it with others? _Luckily Discovery News takes advantage of the Share picker in Windows Phone to let you copy the article title and weblink to any other app on your phone. Post to Facebook, Twitter, Messaging, Email, WhatsApp, etc.
Finally, if you are very much interested in a particular topic, like Tech or Earth, you can easily pin that area to your Start screen for one-click access to the latest on that theme. (Tip to the developers: Please let us pin the Discovernator to our Start screen with a Live Tile!)
Windows 8.1 too
Discovery News also leverages Microsoft's shared code feature for apps. This universality means the Windows 8.1 version is nearly identical to the one on the phone. Same design layout, same categories, identical news coverage.
This app is ideal for those with a Surface or Windows tablet with its bold and colorful design.
Stay informed, know the facts
Discovery News as a service and as an app is a well-done addition to Windows Phone and Windows 8.1. Not only will you learn something, but you can do so in an entertaining and succinct way. The combined apps for Windows and Windows Phone make these articles very accessible and sharing the wisdom with your friends and family helps make the world a better – and less scary – place.
After all, knowledge is power!
Read and share the news!
Tweet at us how you get the latest in science and technology news and use the #HiddenGemsApp hashtag!
Tweet your #HiddenGemsApp science and tech favorites!
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How to Enter: To enter this Hidden Gems sweepstakes for your chance to win an HP Stream 7 tablet, simply login to Windows Central and leave a meaningful comment to this article (if you leave multiple comments only your first will be counted towards the sweepstakes entry). If you don't have an account you can register now for free – it only takes a minute.
The sweepstakes run through the end of June and the winners will be announced in early July. Full Hidden Gems Sweepstakes Rules can be found here. Thanks for participating, and good luck!
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Daniel Rubino is the Editor-in-chief of Windows Central, head reviewer, podcast co-host, and analyst. He has been covering Microsoft since 2007 when this site was called WMExperts (and later Windows Phone Central). His interests include Windows, laptops, next-gen computing, and for some reason, watches. Before all this tech stuff, he worked on a Ph.D. in linguistics, watched people sleep (for medical purposes!), and ran the projectors at movie theaters because it was fun.