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DT Daily: Facebook’s drone plans, Sony warps reality, manual controls for the iPhone camera

Today on DT Daily: Facebook firms up their plans to use drones, a Sony VR experiment that looks like an outtake from Inception, and finally, someone has given us full manual control over the iPhone’s camera.

Facebook chief Mark Zuckerberg has talked before about bring the Internet – and Facebook – to the rest of the world, and it looks like he now has a firmer plan on how to do it.

According to an article in Wired, Facebook has formed what they call the “Connectivity Lab,” which will work with the Internet.org initiative to connect the unconnected masses. Part of the plan is to use solar-powered drone aircraft to work as Internet nodes in far-flung locales. One of the drones they are looking at is the bird-like Zephyr, which recently stayed aloft for 300 hours – or over 12 days – all on solar power. It looks pretty easy to launch as well.

The Zephyr was originally developed for military applications, but with some modifications, it could bring wireless Internet, news feeds and cat videos to the as-yet Facebook-less billions out there.

Remember the movie Inception, where buildings and even cities would bend and morph during those crazy dream sequences?

Well, there’s a guy at Sony who loves that movie, and he wants to build a pair of goggles to help make that kind of experience a reality. And it’s not just for emulating some crazy dream, either. Real-world usefulness includes being able to see around or even through buildings, simplifying navigation, or using Yelp reviews to amplify the sizes of businesses so you know where the best sushi is.

It’s just an experimental iPad app right now, but down the road, you may have to wear this, um, attractive headset, which probably won’t rate a second glance in Japan, but may be more of a style challenge elsewhere. Check out the link for more information.

The camera built into the Apple iPhone is a pretty capable device on its own, but from the start, many photographers have been asking for purely manual control over it – with no luck.

Well shutterbugs, your prayers have been answered with a new app, appropriately called ‘Manual,’ which gives you direct control over ISO, shutter speed, focus, white balance and much more. It also allows for partial automatic controls as well, and it’s pretty simple to use.

The cost of feeding your all-consuming desire to control your iPhone’s camera? Two bucks! Manual works with the iPhone 4, 5 and 6 but you’ll need to be running iOS 8 to use it. With that in mind, anyone thinking of upgrading their iPhone 4 or 4S to iOS 8 should venture forward carefully, as we have found it can bog the phone down something fierce.

Your host today is Caleb Denison.