Shared posts

17 Apr 14:12

Weber SmokeFire review: An intriguing work-in-progress

by Billy Steele

Looks interesting

Weber is admittedly late to the game. The company is years behind the likes of Traeger, Pit Boss and other companies when it comes not only to pellet grills but also smart grills in general. With the SmokeFire line, Weber offers its unique spin on bo...
17 Apr 14:01

Google Fi now offers eSIM support for iPhones, but only for new users

by Muhammad Jarir Kanji

Only dual SIM iPhones are supported.

What you need to know

  • Google Fi is expanding eSIM support from just the Pixel line to also include iPhones.
  • You will still need an iPhone with Dual SIM support, such as the iPhone XR, XS, XS Max, the 11 series, and the new SE.
  • Even then, only new Fi customers are allowed to sign up at the moment.

With the Pixel 4, Google finally brought dual SIM functionality to its phone but with an interesting new twist: the phone would only still have only one slot for a SIM card, with the second SIM being a virtual one. The company's in-house wireless carrier, Google Fi, served as the perfect companion for this, but the service was, unfortunately, restricted to only Google's own phones till now.

Well, no more. As 9to5Google reports, Google Fi now supports eSIM functionality for iPhones as well, albeit with a few caveats.

Firstly, and as you'd expect, the iPhone must support dual SIM capabilities, which restricts the pool of candidates to just the iPhone XR, XS, XS Max, and the 11 series. Though Google's support site doesn't ist It, the new iPhone SE should also work when it's available.

In addition, only new users of Google Fi can set up an eSIM on their iPhone, even if the device is supported.

Detailed setup instructions can be found here, which requires you to navigate to the Google Fi website from your iPhone, select the Quick Setup option, and download the Google Fi app onto the phone. You will then need to log onto and scan a QR code via your iPhone to complete the process.

The feature is still rolling out, so some users may not see it on their end yet. You'll just need to wait a while in that case.

What is Google Fi, what are the plans, and why should I buy it?

16 Apr 12:02

The iPhone SE vs. the competition: Bang for your buck

by Kris Naudus

Also reads: Pixel 4a dead on arrival.

Flagship phones have risen in price dramatically in the past few years, forcing buyers on a budget to make a lot of compromises when it came to power and performance. However, some manufacturers have risen to the challenge, finding ways to deliver fl...
16 Apr 06:29

Wear OS now nags you to wash your hands every three hours

by Babu Mohan

You can choose to disable the alerts if you find the "feature" to be annoying.

What you need to know

  • The Clock app on Wear OS has started sending periodic alerts to users to remind them to wash their hands.
  • When you open an alert, the app will start a timer for 40 seconds and remind you to always use soap.
  • The reminders can be disabled by holding down on the notification.

Google added a new Assistant command last month, aimed at helping people put the best handwashing practices from the World Health Organization to use. The "Hey Google, help me wash my hands" command plays a rather annoying 40-second song about washing your hands, sung by the Assistant's default "Red" voice. To encourage people to regularly wash their hands to protect themselves against coronavirus, Google has now added a new feature to the Clock app on Wear OS.

As reported by the folks over at Android Police, the Clock app on Wear OS now sends periodic alerts to users, reminding them to wash their hands and to always use soap. After you open the alert, a timer for 40 seconds is started. Once the timer is completed, you will receive another similar alert after three hours.

The feature is part of the latest v5.4.0 update for the Wear OS Clock app. If you don't see the feature yet, you will have to head over to the Play Store and download the latest update. In case you find the alerts to be annoying, you can disable the feature by holding down on the notification.

Best Android Smartwatch in 2020

08 Apr 17:48

You can try Stadia Pro for two months free right now

by Ryne Hager
Google is even crediting existing Stadia Pro accounts with two months free

Google is making Stadia Pro free for customers for the next two months, and that includes those that sign up now. Right now, Stadia Pro service gives you access to nine games, like Destiny 2 and GRID, though you can buy others. After two months, Google will charge you $10 a month if you decide to stick with it, but you can cancel at any time. That means you can get a two-month trial for free, so long as you remember to cancel.

Read More

You can try Stadia Pro for two months free right now was written by the awesome team at Android Police.

10 Nov 18:52

Does ‘ToeJam and Earl’ for Sega Genesis hold up?

by Josh Lowensohn

One of my favorite Genesis games ever!!

Does It Hold Up is a chance to re-experience childhood favorites of books, movies, TV shows, video games, and other cultural phenomenon decades later. Have they gotten better like a fine wine, or are we drinking cork?

Opening presents is one of life’s few consistent pleasures. I enjoy it now as much as I did when I was a little kid. But does the joy of shredding the wrapper off a box to see what’s waiting inside translate into the virtual world?

23 years ago I became obsessed with virtual...

Continue reading…

04 Nov 14:38

HP targets the Razer Blade with new gaming notebook

by Dan Seifert

Actually looks decent

HP isn't a company generally associated with high-power gaming machines (despite it having purchased boutique gaming PC maker Voodoo nearly 10 years ago), but it's looking to change that perception with the new Omen laptop. The Omen is a purpose-built gaming machine, with a quad-core Intel Core i7 processor and Nvidia GTX 860m graphics card. It's priced at $1,499 to start and is available for order from HP's online store today.

With a 15-inch display, slim 19.9mm thick frame, and weight of 4.68 pounds, the Omen is competing with Razer's slim and powerful Blade gaming notebook. HP says it took great care to design the Omen's chassis to optimize thermals, so it can run the Core i7 at its full speed for longer periods of time. The Omen's...

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04 Nov 14:29

Amazon Prime customers now get unlimited cloud storage for photos

by Chris Welch

When it comes to backing up your photo library and life's most precious memories, it's good to have multiple options. Amazon's now giving its Prime subscribers another one: the company has announced that effective immediately, Prime customers will receive unlimited cloud storage for their photo backups. Any images you've already uploaded will no longer count against your cloud storage limit. Before now, only Fire Phone owners have had the benefit of unlimited photo storage.

Amazon calls this latest membership perk Prime Photos, and describes it as a simple, secure destination for your entire photo library. Once they've been uploaded to the cloud, your shots can be viewed across iOS, Android, the web, and of course Amazon's own Fire...

Continue reading…

03 Nov 18:43

Zombie Omelets Are Both Terrifying and Delicious

by Brian Ashcraft

Zombie Omelets Are Both Terrifying and Delicious

Rice omelets (オムライス or omuraisu) are one of Japan's favorite dishes. But you know what makes them better? Zombies, that's what.


21 Oct 17:38


15 Oct 21:14

Android: Be together. Not the same.

by Unknown
Good things happen when everybody’s invited. A few years ago, we had the thought that phones (and stuff that hadn’t even been invented yet like tablets and smart watches) would be way more interesting if everyone could build new things together. So we created Android as an open platform, and put it out there for everyone to imagine, invent, make, or buy whatever they wanted.

Since then, all kinds of people—from companies big and small to folks on Kickstarter, kids in schools, and crazy smart developers—have been innovating faster, together, more than we ever could alone. And the best part is that every time someone new joins in, things get more interesting, unexpected, and wonderful for all of us.

Getting everyone in on the party is the same spirit behind Android One—an effort recently launched in India (coming to other countries soon) to make great smartphones available to the billions of people around the world who aren’t yet online. It’s also why we’re excited about Lollipop, our newest software release, which is designed to meet the diverse needs of the billion-plus people who already use Android today.

Joining the party: Android 5.0 Lollipop
As previewed at Google I/O, Lollipop is our largest, most ambitious release on Android with over 5,000 new APIs for developers. Lollipop is designed to be flexible, to work on all your devices and to be customized for you the way you see fit. And just like Android has always been, it’s designed to be shared. Lollipop is made for a world where moving throughout the day means interacting with a bunch of different screens—from phones and tablets to TVs. With more devices connecting together, your expectation is that things just work. With Lollipop, it’s easier than ever to pick up where you left off, so the songs, photos, apps, and even recent searches from one of your Android devices can be immediately enjoyed across all the other ones.

As you switch from one screen to another, the experience should feel the same. So Lollipop has a consistent design across devices—an approach we call Material Design. Now content responds to your touch, or even your voice, in more intuitive ways, and transitions between tasks are more fluid. 

Lollipop also gives you more control over your device. You can now adjust your settings so that only certain people and notifications can get through, for example, when you’re out to dinner or in the middle of an important meeting. And when an important notification does come through, you can see it directly from the lockscreen.

And because we’re using our devices a lot more, there’s a new battery saver feature that extends the life of your device by up to 90 minutes—helpful if you’re far from a power outlet. We’ve enabled multiple user accounts and guest user mode for keeping your personal stuff private. And you can now secure your device with a PIN, password, pattern, or even by pairing your phone to a trusted device like your watch or car with Smart Lock. But this is just a small taste of Lollipop. Learn more on

Meet the Nexus family, now running Lollipop
Advances in computing are driven at the intersection of hardware and software. That's why we’ve always introduced Nexus devices alongside our platform releases. Rather than creating software in the abstract, we work with hardware partners to build Nexus devices to help push the boundaries of what's possible. Nexus devices also serve as a reference for the ecosystem as they develop on our newest release. And for Lollipop, we have a few new Nexus treats to share with you.

First, with Motorola, we developed the Nexus 6. This new phone has a contoured aluminum frame, a 6-inch Quad HD display and a 13 megapixel camera. The large screen is complemented by dual front-facing stereo speakers that deliver high-fidelity sound, making it as great for movies and gaming as it is for doing work. It also comes with a Turbo Charger, so you can get up to six hours of use with only 15 minutes of charge.

Next, a new tablet built in partnership with HTC. Nexus 9, with brushed metal sides and 8.9-inch screen, is small enough to easily carry around in one hand, yet big enough to work on. And since more and more people want to have the same simple experience they have on their tablets when they have to do real work, we designed a keyboard folio that magnetically attaches to the Nexus 9, folds into two different angles and rests securely on your lap like a laptop.

Finally, we’re releasing the first device running Android TV: Nexus Player, a collaboration with Asus, is a streaming media player for movies, music and videos. It's also a first-of-its-kind Android gaming device. With Nexus Player you can play Android games on your HDTV with a gamepad, then keep playing on your phone while you're on the road. Nexus Player is Google Cast Ready so you can cast your favorite entertainment from almost any Chromebook or Android or iOS phone or tablet to your TV.

Nexus 9 and Nexus Player will be available for pre-order on October 17. Nexus 9 will be in stores starting November 3. Nexus 6 will be available for pre-order in late October and in stores in November—with options for an unlocked version through Play store, or a monthly contract or installment plan through carriers, including AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, U.S. Cellular, and Verizon. Specific carrier rollout timing will vary. Check out for more details on availability.

Android 5.0 Lollipop, which comes on Nexus 6, Nexus 9 and Nexus Player, will also be available on Nexus 4, 5, 7, 10 and Google Play edition devices in the coming weeks.

The party’s just getting started
With this latest release of Android Lollipop, we're excited to continue working with our developer community, hardware partners, and all of you. More ideas and more creators is what gets us all to better ideas faster. And since everyone's invited to the party, we hope you'll join in the fun by creating and sharing an Android character that captures a little bit of who you are—one of a kind. Enjoy!

Posted by Sundar Pichai, SVP, Android, Chrome & Apps
28 Sep 09:08

These burgers taste of human flesh

by Jesus Diaz on Sploid, shared by Casey Chan to Gizmodo


These burgers taste of human flesh

These burgers are not made of human flesh—but they taste like human flesh. That's what chef James Tomlinson and food inventor Miss Cakehead say. They developed the recipe using the description from cannibals like William Seabrook—a journalist who cooked human meat provided by a hospital intern at the Sorbonne.


28 Sep 07:01

Shellshock bug impacts NAS devices like QNAP and Synology

by Christopher White
While the UNIX world worked hard to fix the vulnerability in the bash shell, attention is now being turned to embedded-type devices such as routers and personal NAS devices as they run bash too. Read more...
28 Sep 05:35

Upcoming price increase for NEW Plex Pass subscriptions

by elan

First, we want to thank all of you for the support and loyalty you have given us over the last few years. We truly have the most amazing and passionate community of media lovers on the planet, and it makes our job an absolute joy. If you already have a Plex Pass, rejoice! To show appreciation for your loyalty, the price of your subscription is not increasing (and if you were thinking about upgrading, now is the time). If you don’t have a Plex Pass, this is your last chance to subscribe at current rates.

We’re working harder than ever to bring more Plex goodness to all your favorite devices, and we’re super excited about the things we’re working on and can’t wait to share them with you over the next few months! With premium features and content, sometimes come moderate cost increases. So on September 29, 2014 we’ll be making some changes to our Plex Pass subscription rates for new subscribers:

  • Monthly Plex Pass subscriptions will increase from $3.99 to $4.99 per month.
  • Annual Plex Pass subscriptions will increase from $29.99 to $39.99 per year.
  • Lifetime Plex Passes will increase from $74.99 to $149.99.

For all of you Paypal subscribers, we now have support for recurring monthly and annual Paypal subscriptions. We’re also making it easy to view your billing summary by providing full transaction history and receipts.

Again, please note that these new rates will only affect new subscriptions moving forward. Of course, as we’ve mentioned in the past, we may need to charge separately for certain types of premium content, and we may need to adjust Plex Pass prices again in the future.

Thanks again for all of your support and keep an eye out for more new exciting releases coming very soon!

[Edit: added some frequently asked questions]

Q: Sure, but are you going to bring X feature to app Y?

A: It’s fair to assume we’re shooting for feature parity, especially with big things like playlists and premium features like Extras.

Q: Why do Android Plex Pass members get the app for free, but not iOS/Windows?

A: We’re working on the best way to address this inconsistency.

Q: I need to see a roadmap to know if it’s worth it.

A: That’s not a question. And we don’t release roadmaps, but if we did, it would just be a giant neon sign saying AWESOME STUFF. With a really good bar serving microbrews and Malört underneath the sign.

Q: Why is the Lifetime price going up so much compared to the others?

A: It’s rising disproportionately compared to the other plans because, frankly, at 2.5x the price of a yearly, it was priced in an unsustainable way for us. Turns out humans have a rather long lifespan.

Q: Is the subscription bound to a device or a server?

A: Generally speaking it’s bound to a server (or servers, if you have more than one). There’s one feature (Camera Upload) which requires a Plex Pass on the app, but we’re going to be fixing that.

Q: I just subscribed, do I get a refund if I upgrade?

A: As the great Chuck Norris once said “Anything else would be less than civilized”. And then he crushed a piece of carbon into a diamond. With his beard. When you upgrade, we issue a prorated refund or credit of the amount remaining on your current plan. For example, if you’re half-way into a monthly subscription, we’ll refund you about two bucks.

Q: Do I get all future features or not? What’s with the disclaimer around premium content?

A: The reason why we always have the disclaimer is simple. Let’s say in the future we added some sort of PNetflix-like service (silent P) where we streamed premium movies. There’s no way we could afford that based on a Plex Pass, so we’d need to make it a separate feature with additional cost. But for example, the mega-cool Extras feature we just added involved licensing premium content, and everyone with a Plex Pass got it for free. So we’re just being up front and making sure we’re not limiting ourselves in the future.

B 28

The post Upcoming price increase for NEW Plex Pass subscriptions appeared first on Plex Blog.

18 Sep 19:22

Logitech's K480 Bluetooth keyboard connects to three devices simultaneously

by Harish Jonnalagadda

I like it

Logitech is no stranger to Bluetooth keyboards, but with the newly announced K480 the accessory maker is looking to connect three different devices at the same time, regardless of the computing platform.

16 Sep 01:16

Don’t buy the Apple Watch version 1.0

by Andrew Cunningham
Whatever the first-gen Apple Watches do, they won't do it as well as subsequent versions.
Andrew Cunningham

We've all had about a week to think about the Apple Watch, which is all we can really do with it between now and when it launches in early 2015. There have been plenty of strident pieces written about it since the announcement, and as usual it's pretty easy to find one that reinforces whatever opinion it is that you already have. It's terrible! It's perfect! It's totally irrelevant!

We're not going to be so quick to judge the Apple Watch as a product category, at least not based on our blink-and-you'll-miss-it hands-on session. That said, you probably shouldn't buy the first one. The Apple Watch has promise, and it will have even more once actual people (and developers) can sink their teeth into it. But remember, this is a 1.0 product, and nearly all tech companies have a less than perfect track record when it comes to brand new releases. A quick look into Apple's past is no different, revealing that you rarely want to own the very first generation, version 1.0 iterations of the company's products. Apple's first tries are rarely bad, but they're almost never the company's best work.

The iPad

Read 15 remaining paragraphs | Comments

15 Sep 19:19

Apple releases one-click tool to delete the U2 album you didn't want

by Chris Welch

To put it lightly, Apple's "gift" of a free U2 album hasn't been warmly received by everyone. And it seems the company has heard the chorus of complaints loud and clear. As of today, Apple's offering an easy way to permanently erase Songs of Innocence with a single click. Doing so immediately removes U2's latest album from your iTunes music library and iTunes purchase history. Apple has even set up a support website to guide people through the process.

Note that erasing the album means it will no longer show up in your "purchases" tab. So if you want to re-download it for another listen, you'll need to go through the regular album purchase process again. Songs of Innocence will remain free until October 13th; after that, Apple's window...

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15 Sep 19:15

Hacker exploits printer Web interface to install, run Doom

by Sam Machkovech

That's so cool

Doom on a printer's menu screen! Personally, we can't wait until someone makes Descent playable on a toaster.

On Friday, a hacker presenting at the 44CON Information Security Conference in London picked at the vulnerability of Web-accessible devices and demonstrated how to run unsigned code on a Canon printer via its default Web interface. After describing the device's encryption as "doomed," Context Information Security consultant Michael Jordon made his point by installing and running the first-person shooting classic Doom on a stock Canon Pixma MG6450.

Sure enough, the printer's tiny menu screen can render a choppy and discolored but playable version of id Software's 1993 hit, the result of Jordon discovering that Pixma printers' Web interfaces didn't require any authentication to access. "You could print out hundreds of test pages and use up all the ink and paper, so what?" Jordon wrote at Context's blog report about the discovery, but after a little more sniffing, he found that the devices could also easily be redirected to accept any code as legitimate firmware.

A vulnerable Pixma printer's Web interface allows users to change the Web proxy settings and the DNS server. From there, an enterprising hacker can crack the device's encryption in eight steps, the final of which includes unsigned, plain-text firmware files. The hacking possibilities go far beyond enabling choppy, early '90s gaming: "We can therefore create our own custom firmware and update anyone’s printer with a Trojan image which spies on the documents being printed or is used as a gateway into their network," Jordon wrote.

Read 4 remaining paragraphs | Comments

04 Sep 12:48

iCloud's Two-Factor Authentication Doesn't Secure Your Photos, Backups

by Eric Ravenscraft

That's weird...

iCloud's Two-Factor Authentication Doesn't Secure Your Photos, Backups

iCloud hasn't exactly had the best week. You've probably heard that you should enable two-factor authentication on your Apple account (among others) to protect yourself from hackers, but be forewarned: two-factor authentication doesn't protect your iCloud backups or photos.

As TechCrunch points out, Apple's official support documentation states that two-factor authentication only protects My Apple ID sign-ins and support, as well as purchases from iTunes, the App Store, and iBooks Store. There is no guarantee that anything else on an Apple account is protected by using two-factor authentication anymore than it would be with a regular password...which is a little absurd.

That doesn't mean you shouldn't use two-factor authentication, of course. It still protects you to a certain degree. But, contrary to certain rumors, two-factor authentication is not the solution to any iCloud-related photo hacks you may be hearing about.

Apple's Two Factor Authentication Doesn't Protect iCloud Backups or Photo Streams | TechCrunch

03 Sep 18:53

Sony Xperia Z3 line


I really like the tablet

You better be a multi-tasker with lots of memory today as Sony bombarded the tech world with all kinds of new devices today!  From IFA 2014 in Berlin, Sony introduced the Xperia Z3 along with a compact model, the E3, a Z3 compact tablet, and two wearables.  The Sony Xperia Z3 smartphone will be making it's way to the US this fall. 

25 Aug 19:00

Top 10 Superior Tech Products You'll Never Go Back From

by Whitson Gordon

Yup for the Desktop PC

Top 10 Superior Tech Products You'll Never Go Back From

Some upgrades are subjective—like moving from pen and paper to a digital note-taker. Other upgrades, however, change the way you use technology, and make it impossible to go back to something inferior. Here are 10 of those things.

The main idea of this list is to find things that are objectively better than their lower-quality counterparts—the kinds of things the vast majority of people would not un-adopt. That means most of these products tend to be more expensive, but we've added recommendations for the budget-conscious too, in case you want to get a big upgrade for a small price.

10. A Quality Pair of Headphones

Top 10 Superior Tech Products You'll Never Go Back From

High-end headphones are one of those things you don't think you need until you've been spoiled by them (warning: ignorance is bliss). Not only are you likely to find headphones that are more comfortable and last longer, but the sound will just be unlike anything you've heard before—and you'll never be able to go back to those cheap Apple earbuds (or Beats). If you're on a budget: try one of these great under-$20 headphones. They still won't reach the level of a truly high-end pair, but they'll still blow most other cheap cans out of the water. Photo by Hiroyuki Takeda.

9. A Mechanical Keyboard

Top 10 Superior Tech Products You'll Never Go Back From

Membrane keyboards are fine, but mechanical keyboards—like the keyboards of yore—are still kings in terms of durability, feel, and usability (not to mention ergonomics). You'll still be able to use membrane keyboards after trying a mechanical...but you won't want to. Check out our guide and our list of the five best to find one that's right for you. If you're on a budget: generic brands like Rosewill and Monoprice make some great mechanical keyboards. They won't have some of the flashier features of the expensive ones, but they'll give you most of the benefits for a smaller price tag.

8. Better Third-Party Apps

Top 10 Superior Tech Products You'll Never Go Back From

Some "default" apps will never be overthrown, but in a lot of cases, you'll get more features, nicer design, and more with a good third-party app. We've made a huge list of the best third-party apps here, and our App Directory is always a good place to look for the best app in any category. If you're on a budget: Third-party apps don't usually cost a lot, but they can cost more than their (usually free) official counterparts. There's not much you can do if you don't want to pony up the $2, though—unless there's a good open source alternative available.

7. A Solid-State Drive

Top 10 Superior Tech Products You'll Never Go Back From

A solid-state drive (or SSD) is essentially a hard drive that is much faster than traditional spinning platter drives. It is the best upgrade you can make to your computer. Seriously. Check out our complete guide to SSDs for everything you need to know about using one. If you're on a budget: SSDs are significantly more expensive than their hard drive counterparts. You could buy a budget-focused SSD (which may not be quite as fast as the fastest, but still good), or you could get a small SSD that holds just your operating system and apps—while keeping your other data on a traditional hard drive. You'll spend a lot less, and reap most of the benefits.

6. Voice Control

Top 10 Superior Tech Products You'll Never Go Back From

Unlike the other items on this list, you probably already have this one: you just might not be using it to its full potential. Not everything is better with voice, but complicated tasks like setting reminders, converting units, and even performing simple searches are much, much faster with Google Now (or Siri). And if you have a complicated task Google doesn't support, you can create your own custom command. Once you get used to talking to your phone, you'll realize how awesome it is—and never make reminders the old way again. If you're on a budget: This feature is already free!

5. A Quality Bag

Top 10 Superior Tech Products You'll Never Go Back From

A bag may not be "technology" in the strictest sense, but it can make lugging your gadgets around a heck of a lot easier, so we'll cheat a bit with this one. Bags are one area in which you definitely get what you pay for: a truly quality bag will not only come with convenient features (like, say, a TSA-compliant laptop pocket) but will also last you a lifetime. Check out this bag database from our friends at the Wirecutter for the best of the best. If you're on a budget, there are still some lower-cost options, but you'll find your choices much more limited.

4. USB 3.0

Top 10 Superior Tech Products You'll Never Go Back From

Because it's really, really fast. It's 10 times faster than USB 2.0. Once you've used it for some of those bigger file transfers, USB 2.0 will just feel like molasses. If you're on a budget: Not much you can do with this one—but you'd be surprised at how inexpensive some USB 3.0 devices are (like this awesome flash drive).

3. A DSLR or MILC Camera

Top 10 Superior Tech Products You'll Never Go Back From

The best camera is the one you have with you—but the second best camera is a real, quality DSLR. You'll be shocked at how much better your pictures are, even without manual controls—and if you know what you're doing, there's no picture you can't snap. After using one, going back to a point-and-shoot will feel like using the camera on your old Motorola RAZR. Alternatively, you can get a smaller, cheaper, but still really great mirrorless interchangeable lens camera. If you're on a budget: The mirrorless cameras are significantly cheaper than DSLRs, but are still substantially better than point-and-shoots. However, they're still fairly costly, so if you're on a real budget, you can at least make the best of your point-and-shoot with custom firmware.

2. Inexpensive Cables

Top 10 Superior Tech Products You'll Never Go Back From

Okay, so you probably know about this one, and it's sort of the opposite of the rest of this list: instead of paying more for higher quality, you can pay less for...well, the same quality (usually). There are exceptions, of course—some cables may be more durable than others—but chances are, the $40 cables at Best Buy are a waste of your money, and once you've tried the quality cables from a place like Monoprice, you'll never buy the overpriced crap again. If you're on a budget: then this one's a gimme!

1. A Desktop PC

Top 10 Superior Tech Products You'll Never Go Back From

Now, I know this may be a more controversial one, but hear me out: Desktop PCs do almost everything better than laptops, except travel. A mouse is better than a trackpad, a real keyboard is better than a condensed chiclet keyboard, you can get more powerful parts, use bigger monitors, and benefit from better ergonomics—all at a lower price. In fact, if you play your cards right, you can buy a desktop and a laptop for as much as many people would spend on one PC. So if you have the room in your house, it's well worth the investment, and hard to give up once you've gotten used to it (especially if you build your own).

Title photo remixed from Oleksiy Mark (Shuterstock), dencg (Shutterstock), and Marcio Jose Bastos Silva (Shutterstock).

24 Aug 05:04

Square Enix back to school sale is counterproductive to studying

by Thomas Schulenberg


Like the inevitable return of Final Fantasy 10's Sin, the first day of school is descending upon students, threatening all known joy and their tireless quest to save the world take a break from the books. You're not even safe until your first class...
15 Aug 17:20

Windows 9 preview expected next month

by Tom Warren

So soon?

Microsoft is expected to deliver an early preview version of Windows Threshold next month, the codename for what will likely be named Windows 9. The software maker has been gradually working on the release over the past several months, adding and tweaking features ready for a "technology preview" release to the public. Microsoft has been sharing early builds of Threshold to close OEMs and partners, and ZDNet reports that a public preview is expected next month or early October.

The Windows 9 preview will be similar to how Microsoft first let developers test Windows 8, with features not fully complete or missing. ZDNet claims updates will be pushed to users who install the preview on an automatic basis, meaning the release will change...

Continue reading…

12 Aug 15:54

Windows 8.1 'August Update' now available for download


"Miracast Receive – exposes a set of Wi-Fi direct APIs for Independent Hardware Vendor (IHV) drivers or OEM drivers to develop Windows 32-bit applications that run on all supported x86-based or x64-based versions of Windows 8.1, enabling the computer as a Miracast receiver."
Wait, what? So every windows PC is now a Miracast receiver?

Microsoft has released the 'August Update' for Windows 8.1 which will be part of a new monthly release cycle that will bring minor enhancements to the OS. For those of you who do not want to wait for the update to be delivered via the Windows Update feature built into the platform, we have posted the direct download link at the bottom of this post.

Microsoft has said that the following updates will be included for Windows 8.1 users:

  • Precision touchpad improvements – three new end-user settings have been added: Leave touch pad on when a mouse is connected; allow right-clicks on the touchpad; double-tap and drag.
  • Miracast Receive – exposes a set of Wi-Fi direct APIs for Independent Hardware Vendor (IHV) drivers or OEM drivers to develop Windows 32-bit applications that run on all supported x86-based or x64-based versions of Windows 8.1, enabling the computer as a Miracast receiver.
  • Minimizing login prompts for SharePoint Online – reduces the number of prompts with federated use in accessing SharePoint Online sites. If you select the “Keep me signed in” check box when you log on for the first time, you will not see prompts for successive access to that SharePoint Online site.

While this update may not be all the large in terms of new features, if the company does keep to its promise and deliver updates on a regularly monthly schedule, much like the Xbox team, then these incremental updates will eventually turn into a sizeable improvement over the coming months.

Download: Windows 8.1 'August Update' x86 | x64

12 Aug 15:08

Sierra reboots with new 'King's Quest' and 'Geometry Wars' games

by Andrew Webster

Two of my favorite series :D

After teasing a resurgence ahead of Gamescom, formerly dead video game company Sierra has revealed that it's publishing two brand new projects based on fan favorite franchises. Headlining the announcement is a brand new entry in the beloved King's Quest adventure game series. Not much has been revealed about the new game, but its creation will be handed off to a new developer, The Odd Gentlemen, which most recently made Wayward Manor in conjunction with author Neil Gaiman. The game is slated to launch sometime in 2015.

Continue reading…

10 Aug 15:21

The 60-second case against time zones

Time zones were a good idea when they were invented in the 19th century, but Vox's Matt Yglesias argues that in the modern world they cause more trouble than...
08 Aug 00:13

Google Play Music now limits you to 4 mobile device deauthorizations per year

by Alex Dobie

Bad news for rom flashing addicts

It seems Google has reimposed the limits on device deauthorizations for Google Play Music that were originally put in place a couple of years ago, before being lifted shortly afterwards. The Play Music settings page — and Google's support docs — now inform users "you can deauthorize four devices per year"; go over that limit and it'll tell you "sorry, you've deauthorized too many devices." When that happens you'll need to wait, potentially up to a year, to remove devices from your account and stop them counting towards your 10 device limit. (Max out both limits and you're effectively prevented from streaming Play Music on any additional mobile devices.)

The change means you'll need to think more carefully about which devices you authorize, and how you spend those precious four deauths each year.

05 Aug 07:13

It’s nearly impossible to get Ebola in New York. So why is everyone freaking out?

by Gwynn Guilford
Tap to expand image
Panic in the air.AP Photo/John Bazemore

A man recently returned from West Africa is in the isolation unit at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City, after heading to the hospital with possible symptoms of the Ebola virus, the disease that has killed nearly 900 people in West Africa. Though hospital officials now say that it’s unlikely the man has Ebola, they haven’t yet confirmed his diagnosis.

If your Twitter feed is anything like mine, news that Ebola might have turned up in Manhattan is freaking out a lot of Americans. “Helpful” bits of commentary include as that it’s “deadly uncurable,” has a 90% fatality rate, and causes “a hemorrhagic fever that eventually leads to a complete bleed-out.” Today’s news merely amplifies the anxiety that’s been building since word got out that two Americans infected with Ebola have been moved to US hospitals for treatment.

There are plenty of people who should be protecting themselves against Ebola’s spread—and they live in West Africa. Those of us who are in the US should feel comforted by the following:

  • Ebola’s not airborne. It can only be spread through bodily fluids. The virus spreads when blood, semen, urine, vomit, feces, or other bodily fluids of an infected person come into contact with someone else’s mucus membranes.
  • And it’s not just any infected person—it’s a symptomatic infected person. People can only catch ebola from someone actually exhibiting symptoms. Those include vomiting, diarrhea, and, in some cases, hemorrhaging of mucus membranes, such as nose, nail beds and eyes—in other words, pretty hard to miss.
  • It isn’t curable, but people survive it. In fact, this outbreak has a 57% mortality rate—much lower than that oft-cited 90%. Victims die of organ failure, not blood loss.
  • That pig study doesn’t mean anything. Some people are citing a 2008 study showing airborne Ebola transmission from pigs to rhesus monkeys (they were never in direct contact with each other). However, as Aetiology explains, this experiment showed merely that pigs seem unusually good at spritzing the air with coughed-up viruses. Avoid Ebola-infected pigs and you’re fine.
  • Nearly every hospital in the US is equipped to treat Ebola patients and keep them in isolation. And the symptoms, once they set in, are so aggressive that it’s hard to do much of anything except head to the hospital.

Another reason for all the worry is that the media (Quartz included) has tended to zero in on this outbreak’s rapid spread and its being the “deadliest in history.” While both are true, that says way more about the quality of medical care in war-torn, poverty-stricken pockets of West Africa than it does about Ebola’s virulence. Compare the Mount Sinai response with that Liberian hospitals, which are so packed that they’re having to turn away Ebola patients. The country is running out of rubber gloves, and the health ministry just dumped 37 Ebola-infected corpses in a swampy, open hole near a (so far, relatively healthy) village. Those aren’t first-world problems.

Scott Z. Burns, who wrote the screenplay for Contagion, notes that Americans tend to freak out about “the monster we can see”—in this case, that would mean the gruesome images of Ebola victims bleeding from their faces—while ignoring more familiar but no less deadly risks. He has a point; thanks to the anti-vaccine movement, measles cases in the US have surged nearly fourfold since last year.

31 Jul 17:00

Sony Said No To PS4 EA Access Program Because It's Not "Good Value" for PlayStation Fans

by (Eddie Makuch)

Electronic Arts' recent announcement of EA Access, a Netflix-style program for Xbox One that allows you to pay $5 per month for unlimited access to a library of games, caught some off guard because it was only confirmed for Microsoft's console. As it turns out, Sony considered this program, but declined because the company felt it did not offer a strong enough value for PlayStation gamers.

"We evaluated the EA Access subscription offering and decided that it does not bring the kind of value PlayStation customers have come to expect," a Sony representative told GameSpot in a statement originally obtained by Game Informer.

According to Sony, PlayStation fans are more interested in subscription plans that give them access to a wide range of services, unlike EA Access, which will only offer up Electronic Arts games. "PlayStation Plus memberships are up more than 200% since the launch of PlayStation 4, which shows that gamers are looking for memberships that offer a multitude of services, across various devices, for one low price," the representative said. "We don't think asking our fans to pay an additional $5 a month for this EA-specific program represents good value to the PlayStation gamer."

A subscription to EA Access at $5/month or $30/year gets you unlimited access to games included in what EA calls The Vault, as well as discounts on digital content for EA games, and access to upcoming games five days before they are released to the general population. EA Access is currently in beta, and the current lineup of games includes titles like FIFA 14, Madden NFL 25, Battlefield 4, and Peggle 2. The service is expected to roll out to the everyone later on this summer.

EA Access is potentially damaging to GameStop, as it encourages digital spending. However, GameStop will sell EA Access memberships in its stores, and even though the retailer's stock value tumbled after yesterday's announcement, analysts say it's too early to know if EA Access will have a meaningful impact on GameStop's business.

Eddie Makuch is a news editor at GameSpot, and you can follow him on Twitter @EddieMakuch
Got a news tip or want to contact us directly? Email
30 Jul 00:28

This Chart Shows Which Video Games Give the Best Return On Investment

by Patrick Allan

This Chart Shows Which Video Games Give the Best Return On Investment

Video games can be expensive, especially when you're taking a chance with something you haven't tried or seen much of. The eBay Deals team has put together a way to see a game's ROI (return on investment) so you can see what games—and DLC—may have the best value per your dollar.

Using a formula that includes factors like prices, review scores, and average time to completion, the team came up with a rating system to easily compare games and their DLC. I spoke with them about their method:

Assuming a longer game is a better deal than a shorter game, we looked at how many quality hours of gameplay you get per dollar spent on the game. Quality time is simply the number of hours to beat the main story multiplied by the games overall rating by users and critics. An important nuance here is that certain games, such as many in the FPS or RPG genres, are mainly about multiplayer action and have no set amount of time to beat a main story. For these games, we used the average length for all the other games combined. In order to be fair to every game we only used the game length for the main story, even though some people greatly enjoy doing all the side quests for their favorite games.

Using their information, you can look at a game and see the suggested retail price, the current price, how long it takes to beat the game on average, the average review rating for the title, and—most importantly—the Value Rating (VR). The higher the Value Rating, the better deal you're likely getting with that particular title or batch of DLC.

Of course, a game's value is subjective, and they are aware of that. The eBay Deals team just seeks to answer the enduring question of "What makes a video game worthwhile?":

We tried to treat every game equally by being as quantitative as possible in our measurements. This way we could cut through the pretty graphics and get to the heart of what makes a game fun. Additionally, many have criticized game developers for bringing lackluster products to market in order to generate more revenue by forcing gamers to purchase downloadable content (DLC) to get the full experience. We wanted to find out if there is any evidence to support that... Video games are quite personal for many people, so I think in order to have any sort of meaningful analysis you have to be subjective. Our approach tried to combine these two worlds.

For example, a game that costs $60 could be much less appealing—or valuable—to me than a game that costs $20 and has a much smaller ROI. If you have good idea of what you like, however, these ratings and stats can help you decided whether a game or it's DLC is worth your hard-earned money.

Not every game ever made is available, obviously, but they have a decent library of over 300 popular titles to browse through and compare in an easy to understand interactive graph. For those that want to see more games—particularly recently released games—the eBay Deals team encourages anyone who is interested to download the interactive data set on the landing page and add their favorite games to the mix. Head to the link for an interactive version of the graph below with a ton more games.

Video Game ROI | eBay Deals

This Chart Shows Which Video Games Give the Best Return On Investment