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LG Pay, Competitor To Samsung Pay, May Be Delayed In U.S.

LG

LG is preparing to launch LG Pay – its competitor to Samsung Pay (and other digital wallets) in the U.S. However, we uncovered some intel that indicates that we might have to wait a lot longer than expected…

It’s been heavily rumored and reported that LG Pay would make its U.S. debut by June, but new job listings for a Manager of Mobile Service Operation and Customer Service position, among others on the digital wallet team seem to indicate the actual launch is still much further out.

lg pay

One of the key nuggets in the Service Operation and Customer Service job posting, which went live on May 29th 2018, is that this person will be responsible for “LG Pay testing and operation before launch.” This person will also need to “Develop, update and manage EULA [end user license agreement]” which does not seem to suggest the launch of LG Pay any time soon.

There are also now listings for a Senior Manager of LG Pay Business Development/Partnerships, and a Marketing Manager. Both of these positions’ descriptions point towards there still being lots of groundwork that needs to be done before LG phones in the U.S. get their own first-party payment system.

While a June launch looks June looks nearly impossible with these key foundational components not yet in place, LG Pay is certainly still coming to the U.S. market. At this point, it’s just a matter of when.

But, if it takes too much longer there’s a big question of whether it will even matter – as many people may have already started using other digital wallets.

LG launched the payment service in South Korea in 2017 and it uses a similar technology to Samsung Pay called Magnetic Secure Transmission, which allows wider compatibility with credit card swiping terminals.

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How To Listen To Podcasts In 6 Easy Steps

podcasts

Here’s a quick start guide to go from hearing people talk about podcasts to listening to them yourself.

Follow the steps associated with whichever type of device you have.

iOS (iPhone)

  • Open the “Podcasts” app. This is a default app which comes on all new iPhones. If you’re using an older model you can search the App Store and download it for free.
  • Tap the third icon on the bottom titled “Browse.”
  • Tap “Featured” and select something that looks interesting. You can delete this podcast later if need be.
  • Looking at the show’s page, tap “Subscribe.”
  • That show is now in the “Library” section. You can find it by tapping on the icon on the bottom of the screen.
  • In the “Library” section tap “Episodes” to see all the episodes from the show you’re subscribed to. Touch the top one to start listening.

apple podcasts

You are now subscribed to a podcast, meaning, each time that podcast has a new episode, it will show up automatically. You can listen at your convenience in the car, while exercising, or at home; all through your phone.

Android

  • Open “Google Play Music.” This is an app that should come on your phone by default. If not, you can download it in Google Play app store.
  • Tap on the menu icon in the top left corner. It looks like three horizontal lines.
  • Select “Podcasts” from that list.
  • That will bring you to featured podcasts. Find one that looks interesting and tap on it. You can delete this podcast later if need be.
  • Looking at the show’s page, tap “Subscribe.” You will get a pop up with multiple options. Make sure notifications are selected on the pop up so you will know when a new episode comes out.
  • You can find that podcast you subscribed to at the top, under “Your Podcasts.” Tap it to start listening.
google play podcasts
photo via Ars Technica

That’s it. You’re officially a podcast listener. Congrats. Now comes the fun part of sorting through the thousands of shows that might interest you. There are plenty of good ones out there.

If you do want to try a new podcast app on iPhone, you should check out Overcast. It has something super special about it.

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The Latest Apple Rumors And What New Things You Can Expect From WWDC

apple wwdc

Here comes Apple season. Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) is approaching on June 4th and news from the company will soon dominate the internet.

Why should you care? It’s here that Apple lays out its software plans for the coming year, meaning: we find out about all new features that your current phone will gain in the near future.

But it’s not just fancy new software, Apple has announced new hardware products in the past, and could this year as well. What will we see announced on June 4th? Here are our best predictions…

Likely

  • iOS 12 – There will be a new operating system for iPhones and iPads announced. The focus of this release is thought to be mostly bug fixes–said in a fun marketing way of course. (But that’s big, people don’t like glitches and stuff not working.)

    So far, a lot of the features will revolve around augmented reality, digital wellness, and group FaceTime calls. The latest reports indicate that FaceTime and Face ID will gain new horizontal orientations.

    Google targeted digital wellness at its conference in May and introduced things like App Timer, Wind Down, and an enhanced usage dashboard.
  • AirPods and AirPower – AirPods are everywhere. People love them. A new wireless charging case was teased alongside the AirPower charging mat in 2017, but we still haven’t seen either of those items in the last nine months. We have to see these at WWDC, right?
  • Apple Watch – There’s a new Apple Watch coming this year, the question is whether its in June or later in the fall. Almost certainly, though, we’ll see new software and features for the watch. There’s nearly 100% chance that those new features focus around health and fitness, which is great, but can we get some new watch faces too?

Possible

  • HomePod – The HomePod is fresh off its February launch, so it’s almost impossible that we see a new speaker, but, hopefully, we see new features and capabilities which would show that Apple is serious about competing with Amazon’s Echo. “Hey Siri, can you add add calendar events from HomePod yet?”
  • New Laptops – The latest iterations of Apple’s MacBook Pros have been the best selling, but have not been the best received. There’s a (presumably small) group of people not happy with the build quality of the latest keyboard version. It’s very likely we see a new generation of MacBook Pro laptops make a debut and iterate on the keyboard quality and feel–in addition to general computer speed increases.

No Way

Whenever we do hear, though, it will be exciting. Just imagine being able to use your iPhone apps (appropriately sized and nice looking) on your Mac.

Even if all these items get announced at WWDC, does that make a satisfying keynote event? Are there any other wildcard announcements? The only other plausible thing is brand new, bezel-less, iPhone X-like, iPad Pros, but most likely we won’t see those until the fall.

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Fresh Friday: Han Solo Star Wars Movie, New Music From Chvrches, Pusha T, And More

palm trees green

This week’s new music

Alternative, electronic-laced band Chvrches have finally dropped a new album and it’s great. It includes an appearance by The National singer on “My Enemy,” if you need another reason to add the album to your library. Basically, don’t hesitate, just give it a listen.

Maggie Rogers impressed Pharrell with her song “Alaska” a few years back, but she now has a new indie-pop song called “Falling Water”. Pusha T has a new album, Daytona, which people are fawning over.

Don’t forget about hit makers from the early 2000s are back this week, led by Snow Patrol with a new album and Weezer with a new song. Sure, these two bands aren’t in the same league as one another, but it’s something new for radio DJs to burn into your ears.

Other new music from: A$SP Rocky, Shawn Mendes, and Jessie J.

New movies in theaters starting today

The big movie this week is Solo: A Star Wars Story. A spin off from the traditional Star Wars movies, Solo centers around Han Solo before we knew him as Luke’s pal. No Spoilers, but it’s pretty good. Not as good as Rogue One, but still intriguing.

Other things that happened this week

  • Hey! You probably didn’t see, but a few companies updated their privacy policies this week. The general data protection regulation (GDPR) goes into effect in Europe 5/25/18. Here are a few simple things you can do to protect your privacy in a few minutes.
  • YouTube Music was officially released. Say goodbye to YouTube Red and hello to YouTube Premium if you want access to YouTube original content.
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Here Are 9 Fun Ways To Blow $1000

skateboard

Did tax day roll around, and surprise, you got $1,000 more than you were expecting in your refund? While you should put it in savings, you could also blow the extra amount on some ridiculously cool and fun gadgets, like the items below.

The fast and furious and fun

In the transportation category it’s all about finding a last-mile, fun to ride device.

Boosted Boards’ new Boosted Mini S electric skateboard is styled like past manual ones of the past, but incorporates batteries and a motor. The Mini S will set you back $749 for a top speed of 18mph and 7 miles of range.

For a slightly cheaper option, coming in at $599, Riptide’s R1 electric skateboard will get you the same speed and distance with a similar look.

If you want to take an electric ride, but don’t feel comfortable cruising on a skateboard, you might do better with Xiaomi’s scooter. It’s able to navigate more than 18 miles and go up to 15.5 mph.

The frivolous spender

While it’s easy to make a case for electronic transportation, here are a few things no one needs but are tempting to try.

Lightphone 2 is the dumbest of all phones–on purpose. For people who want to disconnect, but just can not think of not having a backup connection for emergencies. Lightphone 2 strips almost everything away, including a screen. There’s nothing to fiddle with, just a glowing dialpad.

lightphone 2

Going the complete opposite way of Lightphone 2, LaMetric Time desk clock adds a bunch of connectivity to something that probably doesn’t need it. But, as with a lot of things, if you add Wi-Fi, you can do some really fun things. LaMetric TIme can show when you get new emails, flip through time zones, show countdowns, show real-time social followers, connect with Slack, connect with IFTTT, and so much more.

lametric time clock

The high-tech homebody

Nest remade the thermostat and now they are remaking the doorbell. The Nest Hello features HD video, wide-angle views, night vision, and can be told not to ring during a “quiet time.” Hello can even recognize family and friends with facial recognition and send a special alert so you know to answer the door without looking.

nest hello doorbell

If you want video surveillance beyond your front door, you might want to try EverCam which is a stick-anywhere, wireless camera with a 1 year battery life. EverCam looks to be a super easy way to quickly add cameras to any location, especially those without access to a power outlet.

evercam security

Outside your house might need security, but inside your house, it should be party time. Nanoleaf can help facilitate that with smart lights to decorate your walls. Of course these lights can be controlled by your phone, but they can also be activated by music or noise which makes dance parties even more memorable.

nano leaf Aurora lights

Also, for the walls of your house, is a Meural frame. Unlike cheesy digital photo frames of the past, Meural is a large, wood framed display which shows pictures and art in a way that might fool people into thinking they’re real prints.

If you’re more about saving instead of spending, check out our tips for saving money on streaming video services like Hulu and Netflix.

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How To Protect Your Online Privacy In Less Than 5 Minutes

privacy guide

We’re all lazier than we should be when it comes to online privacy, but there are a few things you can do to keep yourself from being taken advantage of by companies collecting data at every turn.

Even if you don’t care about your online privacy–you’re not doing anything illegal, of course–these things could keep embarrassing and annoying ads at bay.

Don’t assume Google is the only search

Instead of searching using Google, use DuckDuckGo–a search engine that doesn’t track you. You can set all computer and phone browsers to do this by default. You should still get the search results you want without using Google, and you won’t be feeding them more information.

duckduckgo

How-to
iPhone: Settings app > Safari > Search Engine > DuckDuckGo

Android: Android phone use various browsers so the quickest and easiest method is to download DuckDuckGo search app.

On a desktop/laptop: Follow the instructions for your specific browser here.

Google collects a lot of user data, but that doesn’t mean you need to feed it everything about you. Switching to a privacy-focused search engine will keep Google in the dark about all the things you’re looking up.

Message responsibly

Use a messaging app that is end-to-end encrypted. These types of apps keep your messages between you and the recipient. That means your words can’t be used to serve you targeted advertising, or in other malicious ways.

How to: download and use a secure messaging app like Signal, WhatsApp, Wire, or use Apple’s iMessage if both people are iPhone users.

Using a secure messaging app will keep your messages private, even if you’re on an unknown network or there’s a security breach.

Say yes to two-factor

When you sign up for a service and the option to use two-factor authentication is available, use it. Logging in through multiple means (something you know like a password and something you have with you like a phone) can keep your accounts safe from security breaches.

How to: say yes to two-factor going forward. To add it to existing accounts, follow these quick links to get started on: Google, Facebook, Amazon, and Apple.

Two-factor authentication is like putting your password on steroids. Any extra time and inconvenience is well worth it for the added protection and peace of mind.

Finally…

Don’t be fooled into thinking you’re now 100% protected from prying eyes or invincible against any attacks, but these few things will mitigate over sharing personal information. It will also make critical accounts harder to be broken into.

While these quick tips will help keep you from oversharing personal information and make your accounts more secure, don’t fool yourself into thinking you’re 100-percent protected or invincible against any attacks.

If you’re curious about what Google knows about you, can see that on CNBC. But, let’s be real, this is the 5-minute guide and those 5-minutes are likely up.

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The USB Cable Guide: Do You Need Type-C, Micro USB, Or Lightning?

usb cables

Here’s a super quick guide to help figure out which type of USB cable you need to charge your mobile device. The three most common connection types for phones and tablets are USB Type-C, Micro USB, and Lightning.

If you use an Apple iPhone or iPad, you want a Lightning cable. Simple as that.

USB Type-C and Micro USB are a little trickier to determine because, at a glance, they’re both small and look pretty similar. Micro USB had been the default connector type for Android devices and other electronics, but USB Type-C is beginning to slowly take its place to become the new standard.

different cable connectors

One way to tell the two apart is that the Type-C connector doesn’t have a top or bottom. It’s an oval, so it doesn’t matter which orientation way you plug it in. Conversely, the Micro USB connector does have a specific way it needs to be plugged in because it’s flat on the bottom and angled on the top.

Devices with USB Type-C

There’s no hard and fast rule for whether your device will use USB Type-C. It could have been used for a device manufactured from 2015 onward. But, here are a few of the most popular devices that need a USB Type-C charging cable:  

  • Samsung’s Galaxy S8, S9, Note 8, A7, A5, A3
  • Google’s Pixel, Pixel 2, Nexus 5X, Nexus 6P
  • LG’s V20, V30, G6, G7
  • The Essential Phone
  • Nintendo Switch

Motorola, Xiaomi, HTC, Huawei, and OnePlus each have USB Type-C devices as well.

If you don’t see your device listed here AND it’s more than a year or two old, there’s a good chance you need a Micro USB cable.

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Binge These 2 New Shows If You Love 80’s Nostalgia And Bizarre Murder Mysteries

Cobra Kai and Evil Genius are two very different shows, but two great options for those of you constantly looking for your next streaming show to obsess over.

Evil Genius – a true, mystery-riddled thriller

It’s no secret that Netflix knows how to make a really good true crime documentary–they did it so well, in fact, they actually parodied themselves with American Vandal–and Evil Genius is no exception.

Enter their newest docuseries, Evil Genius, which focuses on the pizza bomber mystery from 2003. This short, four-part show is the most exciting if you go in with as little information as possible. No need to even watch the trailer if you’re inclined to bizarre murder mysteries.

Still not convinced? Here’s a basic summary.

In 2003, a 46-year old Brian Wells walked into a Pennsylvania bank demanding $250,000 with a bomb locked to his neck. But the incident was the tip of the iceberg, as several murders and a much more involved plot unfolded.

If you’re too young to remember this event, or you don’t remember it making national news, hearing this story from start to finish for the first time will likely blow your mind. It’s crazy.

For those of you who did hear about the pizza bomber in real-time, this four-part series should satisfy by taking all the major and minor details over the years and putting them together in an easy to consume way.

Evil Genius is now available exclusively on Netflix.

Cobra Kai – for those of you who experienced The Karate Kid mania in its heyday

Cobra Kai essentially asks the question of whether nostalgia can go home again. In this case, the answer is an emphatic yes.

Beyond reviving old characters and telling their, where-are-they-now, stories, Cobra Kai also flips the tables on protagonists and antagonists. The majority of the story is told from the point of view of the original bully, Johnny, instead of the hero, Daniel.

If The Karate Kid touched your life in anyway, you should love this new ride; and there’s a good chance you give the show more of a pass on some of its cornier moments.

Even if the original 1984 movie didn’t have an impact on you, Cobra Kai might still be able to warm your heart with its theme of redemption and light, dad-esque humor.

Cobra Kai is available exclusively on YouTube Red, though you may be able to watch an episode or two for free if you hurry.

Want to save a few bucks on your streaming services? Check out our guide to all the different options.

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Fresh Friday: Deadpool 2 In Theaters, Plus New Music From James Bay, Ray LaMontagne, And More

fresh friday 3

Discover this week’s new music

A bunch of artists, all creating music in a similar vein have new releases this week. If you like James Bay’s soulful rock music, then there’s a good chance you’ll also enjoy Ray LaMontagne’s adult contemporary rock, or Matt Costa’s folk-rock jams.

Anderson .Paak released a new song, “Bubblin;” and K-pop sensation, BTS put out Love Yourself [Tear].

Get out of the house this weekend

Marvel’s adult-themed superhero, Deadpool is back with a sequel. There’s not much to say about the movie at this point; either you’ve seen all the parody marketing Deadpool 2 has been doing and want to see it, or you know it’s not for you.

Sure, there are other movies out in theaters today, but Deadpool 2 is the one to see.

Other things that happened this week

If you’d rather watch Fresh Friday, instead of read, that video is below. See you back here next week for Solo: A Star Wars Story and more of the latest releases.

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A Bunch Of Reasons You Need To Try New Gmail

email gmail

Gmail, the world’s most used and generally loved email service is finally getting a refreshed look and new features. The updated website look will eventually come to all users, but here are five features that should convince you to enable it now.

For the organized: Tasks, Keep, and Calendar in your sidebar

The sidebar in Gmail is finally useful with quick access to Tasks, Keep (notes app from Google), and Calendar. You can keep a to-do list with Tasks–even dragging emails over to it and automatically making the email a task. There’s a new iOS and Android app for Tasks to manage those when you’re not in Gmail.

gmail tasks

For the secret agents: Confidential mode

Confidential mode allows you to send emails which will disappear in a set amount of time. The details aren’t important, but you can email someone information and be confident it isn’t lingering around in their account longer than it needs to.

For the procrastinators: Snooze

Don’t want to deal with a message at the moment? Hit snooze and choose when the message will pop back into your inbox like a new message. The ability to ‘snooze’ a message is not new or ground breaking in the world of email, but it’s great to finally see Gmail add it to its list of features.

For the forgetful: Nudging

Gmail can pick up on key phrases that indicate a message is time sensitive so if you haven’t responded to a message that says something like, please let me know if you need to reorder supplies by friday, it can ‘nudge’ you to do so.

For paranoid: IRM (intellectual rights management)

IRM is another feature in the name of security. It will allow you to remove the ability for people to forward, copy, download or print messages you send them. If disappearing messages with a confidential mode doesn’t make sense, this is another way to cripple people’s ability to use your message in ways you don’t want them to.

How to enable

Click on the settings gear icon on the right side and the first option should be to enable the new look and features. If your Gmail account is part of a work domain, bug your admin to help you enable it.

Don’t worry, if you hate it you can always switch back to the ‘classic’ Gmail.

gmail enable

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5 Non-Music Apps To Drown Out Annoying Office Noise

sound color

The drone of constant coughing, talking, loud sneezing, squeaking chairs, erratic typing, and various noises from an office can be a lot to handle sometimes. Sure, you could pop on some headphones and listen to music, but music, for a lot of people, can be just as distracting. (It’s also a pain to continually find something to listen to.) Instead, these apps provide a wide array of other sounds to help you stay calm and focus on the task at hand.

Noizio 

Noizio is a straightforward and simple sound machine at heart. The app features a bunch of different sounds listed out which you can enable or disable as needed. You can set the volume for each selected sound. Once you fine-tune a great mix you can save it as a preset for future use.

For example, say you want to you want to mimic summer nights in the Midwest, you can make a soundscape featuring farm animals, wind, and light rain. Noizio keeps adding new sounds such as vinyl cracks, keyboard typing, subway, ghosty, and a bunch more to create unique mixes.

Tide

Tide is designed to keep you moving and productive, even if that means being asleep. It has two different modes, one for focus, to help with work or school, and another for sleep. On the sleep side, Tide can help you go to sleep at night with its soothing sounds, or, you can set a short timer to knock out a quick power-nap. While its sound library isn’t as deep as others, it’s set up to add more in the future.

Nosili

Nosili is probably the simplest app of the bunch with a dozen big pictures and volume controls under each. It functions similarly to Noizio, but does include an all-important fan sound, which a lot of people seem to enjoy.

Coffitivity

Like it sounds, Coffitivity is trying to combine coffee (or coffee shop sounds) and productivity, as lots of people say they work better in the hustle and bustle of a crowded coffee shop. Coffitivity is recreating that– no matter where you are.

Thunderspace, Windy, Sunny

Instead of one sound app, Taptanium (an app creator) made a bunch of separate apps focused on specific sounds.

windy app

Taptanium is like that friend who gets into a hobby innocently enough, but, four weeks later, is up at three in the morning, bidding on eBay Beanie Babies, in need of their next rare collectible fix. Not only did Taptanium put out a bunch of sound apps, but, it began to incorporate stories and give the sounds their own personalities–the female Windy, for example.

Thunderspace is a crazy-good thunder and rain machine app. It’s stereoscopic, so, with headphones on, you feel like the sound is all around you. All the apps are well done; even if you don’t get into the whole story aspect of the app.

windy app 2

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If You’re Addicted To Your Phone, Try This Gray Hack

gray phone face

You’re addicted to your phone and want to to do something about it, but are still having a hard time disconnecting. Well, there might be a way to trick yourself into not overusing your phone on a daily basis.

The hack is to turn your phone grayscale, and it works simply because it makes your phone less appealing.

According to the New York Times, app makers are actually working with companies to scan “electrical activity of the brain while a consumer is interacting with a phone, such as texting and scrolling Facebook.”

They know that using certain colors can help draw you to tap on their app over a different one, and your attention is extremely valuable to them.

Turning your phone gray effectively makes scrolling through Instagram about as visually appealing as scrolling through your work email.

gray home

Going gray will be a punch to the eyes

When I first said goodbye to color and enabled grayscale, my first reaction was: Wow, this is surprisingly relaxing. It’s awesome to see an iPhone X with bright, vivid colors, but, on the flip side, grey tones can be very calming and pleasant on the eyes.

Additionally, the playing field is leveled. Each of the apps on your homescreen is now equal to the one next to it. In that way, it’s a bit jarring that no one app is luring your eyes more than another.

After activating grayscale, I was constantly reminded that I was using my phone. I felt a lot less compelled to aimlessly browse and poke around with the dull shades, versus a bright and stimulating array of color.

gray map

As relaxing and interesting as the phone is to look at through grayscale eyes, I think it’d take a very long time ignore the lack of color.

Interestingly, Google just announced its focus on digital wellness, which included a bunch of uses of gray to help people disconnect easier. One it will be implementing is  Wind Down which fades your phone screen from color to gray once it reaches a preset bedtime.

I have a feeling we’ll begin to see a new, obvious trend in how companies use color, or a lack thereof; and how they acknowledge the importance of being able to disconnect.

What to give gray a go?

Here’s how:

Settings app > General > Accessibility > Display Accommodations > Color Filters > toggle Color Filters on > select Grayscale from the list underneath

(Should you have a visual disability, this may also serve as a reminder that selecting between the available color filters may help you see your phone better in general.)

Note: this feature is just a filter for what you’re seeing. It does not affect how the phone normally behaves. For example, if you take a send a picture, it’s still taken in color. If you take a screenshot, it’s still in color. You’re not forcing others to live the grayscale lifestyle too.

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Hot Or Not: First Look At New Snapchat Spectacles Sunglasses

spectacles featured

Here’s our first look and impressions with Snap’s new Spectacles sunglasses. The previous version was released a year ago, but Snap, parent company of Snapchat, is back with the second generation, trying to get people to put cameras on their face.

spectacles gif

All things considered, version 2 is a very cautious update, tweaking the design slightly to be less obvious. The biggest change to the glasses comes in the form of adding water resistance. You can now bring them in the pool, rain, and generally anywhere you’d wear sunglasses. You no longer have to worry about getting them wet.

The sunglasses with a built in camera still work the same as before. Hit the button, record a short video and share it to Snapchat or export it other places.

What’s new?

  • Colors – new colors for the glasses and multiple choices for lens.
  • Water resistant – Don’t call it waterproof! But they should be fine anywhere you’d wear regular sunglasses, i.e. pool, beach, rain.
  • Pictures – Beyond just 10 or 60 second videos, you can now snap pictures with the glasses.

spectacles two gif

Version 2 can store up to 3,000 pictures or 150 hours of video and comes with a battery case (a bit thinner overall) to give the glasses four, full additional charges.

Is it worth it to wear a camera on your face?

After a weekend with the new Spectacles, this new version really does address some of the roadblocks that prevented version 1 from becoming more successful.

No one seemed to notice that my sunglasses had a camera in them. No strange looks or questions. The removal of the yellow ring around the camera lens is likely the most helpful in this regard.

Even my kids were surprised and a bit confused at how I had taken video of us playing kickball at the park because they hadn’t seen me take out my phone at all. The action of tapping a button on your sunglasses is subtle enough to go unnoticed.

These new glasses will be fun to use in water, throughout the summer. The water resistance should open up more opportunities you’d naturally want to capture memories, but usually not have your phone readily available.

One of the phrases printed on the Spectacles container is “Share your perspective” and I think that’s the potential Spectacles have always held. It’s fun to have a video of exactly what you experienced without a visible camera present. Even after just a short time with version 2, I do think Snap is onto something here and smart for updating the original glasses.

V2 on the left, V1 on the right
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9 Hidden iPhone Settings That Will Change Everything

control center iphone

Want to blow your mind? Open the settings app on your iPhone and be amazed at what helpful features are hiding there that could change how you use your phone every day.

Type better one handed

You can make the keyboard slide over to the left or right hand side of your screen which makes it easier to use with one hand.

Settings->General->Keyboard->One Handed Keyboard

You can also long press on the emoji icon anywhere the keyboard comes up and select the keyboard screen location.

Access more apps from the lock screen

On iOS 11 (the newest version) you can customize which icons and shortcuts you see on Control Center (the screen with brightness and calculator).

Settings->Control Center->Customize Controls

You can make shortcuts to a bunch of fun things, including screen recording.

See your notifications from across the room

Want your phone to light up each time you get a message or notification so you’ll have a visual cue for new notification? This works great at loud venues, but isn’t so bright that it’s annoying at home.

Settings->General->Accessibility->Hearing section->LED Flash for Alerts

Clear out old junk

Even if you’re not stressed over space on your phone, you may want to get rid of large and forgotten pictures, videos, or gifs piling up in your messages.

Settings->General->iPhone Storage->Review Large Attachments

You can also see these under the details of individual messages, but checking this from the settings pools all the attachments together for an easier view.

Know your phone’s battery health

If you think you’re battery isn’t lasting as long as it used to – especially if your phone is more than 2 years old – you can check that. You can also see if your phone is slowing down to keep your battery from shutting off your phone. More battery info available in our other posts.

Settings->Battery->Battery Health (Beta)

Find old passwords

When you enter a password on a website and Safari asks if you want to save it, there’s actually a place they are going. Next time you need to find a password that you haven’t used in a while, check here.

Settings->Accounts & Passwords->App & Website Passwords

Let people know you’ve seen their message

text message

Turn on read receipts so people can see if you’ve read your messages.

Settings->Messages-> Send Read Receipts

You can turn it on individually, for a few significant others you’d never ghost. This isn’t about people ignoring you, but it’s nice to know whether they’re busy and just haven’t seen the message yet.

I mean, it’d be nice to know whether your spouse saw the text about needing deli meat from the grocery store and realize you should give them a call before it’s too late.

On a specific message tap the circled i in the top right corner and then turn on read receipts. (Tell the other person to turn this on for you if you want to see too!)

Locate your parked car

apple parked car

You can turn on and off whether Apple Maps automatically drops a pin on the location of where you parked your car so you can find it later. This is for all the Apple Maps users out there.

Settings->Maps->Show Parked Location

Keep the camera on the last used mode

The default action for the camera app is to go back to “photo” next time you use it (after a few minutes). You can change that so it always opens with the last mode you used, i.e. panorama, video, square, etc…

Settings->Camera->Preserve Settings->Camera Mode

You can also have it default to your last used lighting and filter options under the same settings menu.

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Fresh Friday: New Music From Selena Gomez, Ty Dolla $ign, Plus New Movies In Theaters

fresh friday 2

Listen to this

Selena Gomez released a new song called “Back to You” which will be featured on the upcoming second season of the Netflix show, 13 Reasons Why.

Charlie Puth dazzles with his new album Voicenotes.

“New Light” is a surprise new song from John Mayer. Ty Dolla $ign released the album Beach House 3, not to be confused with the indie rock band Beach House which also put out a new album today called 7.

If that’s not enough, there’s also new music from pop singer Tove Styrke, rising alternative band Courtship., and crooner Ellie Schmidly–all of which are worth your time.

Movies now in theaters

Life of the party: Melissa McCarthy is in it, need you say more? Even if the movie is a dud, the larger-than-life actress typically provides enough value to justify a movie’s ticket price.

Breaking in: This film looks like an intense scene from a movie or TV show that got expanded into a whole movie. It appears to be trying gain favor with audiences by tapping into most people’s primal fears and instincts around home robberies. Hopefully there’s a little more depth than meets the eye in the trailer.

Other need-to-know things from the week

  • Spotify is removing R. Kelly’s music from its curated playlists because of repeat allegations of sexual abuse; and will presumably be doing this with more artists in the future.
  • Say goodbye to Brooklyn Nine-Nine, Fox decided to cancel the show after five seasons.
  • Early reviews and hype for the new Star Wars movie, Solo is strong. This should help fans breathe a little easier until they can see it for themselves in a few weeks.
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The Best Podcast App Includes This One Amazing Feature

podcast app

There are a dozen decent apps that you can use to listen to podcasts across Android and iOS; but they’ve become so similar that the biggest difference is how they look.

Podcast apps like Castro and Apple’s default podcast app are fine and provide plenty of functionality, but, after venturing out and trying some new ones, I found it nearly impossible to switch away from the podcast app Overcast, for one simple reason:

Overcast includes a feature called Smart Speed.

overcast podcast app

Smart Speed shortens the silence gaps between people speaking and helps you get through podcast episodes quicker, without having to listen to the whole thing at an unnatural speed.

Typically, if you want to listen to something faster, you play the whole thing at 1.25x or 1.5x the original speed. Speeding the whole thing up doesn’t sound great and can make listening harder. Dynamically shortening the silence between talking, moves things along without making people sound funny.

Smart Speed sounds neat, but is making the short time between people speaking really saving that much time? Yes. After two years, Smart Speed has trimmed 77 hours off the podcasts I’ve listened to inside Overcast.

Put another way, I’ve saved more than 3 days of listening time.

smart speed overcast

In addition to Smart Speed, another feature called Smart Resume now intelligently resumes playing a few seconds earlier than when the episode was paused or stopped (without starting in the middle of a word). A less significant feature, but equally as nice to have.

Overall, Overcast is a fantastic podcast playing app and well worth trying out–especially because it’s the only app to have a Smart Speed type of feature. It’s available for iPhones and iPads in the App Store.

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Why It’s Okay If You Hated Marvel’s Avengers: Infinity War

marvel avengers

Even if you loved the new Avengers: Infinity War movie, let’s admit that it wasn’t the perfect film and there are reasons that some people might not have liked it.

There were a lot of characters and very few were explained

Featuring all (or most) of the characters from Marvel’s comic book universe is a rad idea and, for every person that saw all of the movies leading up to this point, it paid off in a big way. Unfortunately, those who didn’t hand over hundreds of dollars to Disney for that pleasure could quickly become less in the loop as the movie plays out.

There just isn’t enough time to explain each character’s backstory – that was the purpose of their individual movies. But needing to see each of those is a bit crazy. Seriously though, who is Vision and what other movie was he in?

Two part movies suck, every single time

Infinity War did a fine job handling part one of a long story split into two parts, but, in the end, it means you still need to see two movies instead of one to get the whole thing. There’s a semi-ending, so you shouldn’t be angry over a full-on cliffhanger, but [redacted] sitting [redacted] shouldn’t be fooling anyone.

Even if you discount corporate greed and assume a movie with a big cast and a long narrative needs four plus hours to tell its story, cutting it into two parts means that not every single person who saw part one will see part two. Those people don’t get the whole story and that’s a shame.

Was it a actually a funny movie?

Thor: Ragnarok is a good example of a movie littered with quick, throwaway joke after throwaway joke. There was enough “quick wit” that I thought it was pretty hilarious the first time around, but after a second viewing, those jabs didn’t have the same weight behind them and felt like the movie lacked substance. Infinity War felt similar with the way characters were introduced through thinly veiled wit, instead of genuinely funny parts.

Here’s the deal

In theory, Avengers: Infinity War is less of a traditional summer blockbuster and more of a Hollywood experiment in fan loyalty–one which could have easily backfired, but didn’t.

The premise that you can put a double-digit number of A-list movie stars in a single (two parts, of course) film and have enough time to make their roles more than just cameos, is pretty much impossible; so Infinity War requires that moviegoers invest in all (or most) of the stars’ individual movies proceeding this film.

If you’ve been following along from the beginning, great, this movie was made for you. Enjoy it. If you haven’t followed the super hero scene too closely over the years, however, don’t worry about not liking Infinity War. As an individual movie, it was just fine.

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Google Just Blew Our Mind With These 4 New Announcements

google conference

Google announced all kinds of cool new things at its annual I/O conference–from robots making our phone calls to a colorless phone screen. Seriously. Read on to have your mind blown about all the new features.

Google Assistant

Google performed some black magic with a demo of a person asking (speaking or typing) Assistant to make them a haircut appointment. Google Assistant then called the salon on its own, used a fake human voice to talk to the person answering the phone, and then let the person know when the task was completed and added to their calendar.

Plus, just for fun, Google Assistant is gaining the ability to speak to you with a few popular celebrities like John Legend.

Google Lens

Google Lens is Google’s visual search which uses the phone’s camera to better and automatically understand the world you’re standing in currently.

New features coming to Google Lens includes the ability to point your phone’s camera at a book, drag your finger across the screen on top of the text, and have that text instantly copied to your phone.

lens copy paste

It will soon be able to do Style Match and look at furniture or clothing and determine other matching items to go with it. You could buy a couch, and then use it to determine what type of end tables best go with it. Google Lens should be able to answer matching question for you, without directly asking, just pointing your camera at it.

Android P (new Android software)

Android P is the new, yearly operating system update for compatible phones. A bunch of the stand out features focus around intelligence, simplicity, digital wellbeing.

Intelligence

  • Adaptive Battery will figure out your usage patterns and make even smarter decisions to preserve battery life longer.
  • Adaptive Brightness will now account for personal preference in addition to auto brightness and be smarter about your screen brightness.
  • App Actions will first predict which app you want to use (based on time of day and patterns) and then predict what you want to do with that app and provide an action without having to go into the app.

Simplicity

  • A simpler home screen design in Android P will use more swipes to move around including swipe up to see your recent apps–think iPhone X and how its gestures work.
  • Android P will also change the side volume buttons to change media volume by default, instead of your ringer, because most people don’t want videos to blast unexpectedly.

Digital wellbeing

  • A new dashboard will show how you’re spending your time on your phone. Including items like, how many times you unlock your phone in a day, detailed app usage, and total YouTube watch time across your phone and other computers.
  • App Timer – you’ll be able to allocate an amount of time you want to use a specific app in a day and once you reach that amount of time the icon will become grayed out.
  • Wind Down – instead of your phone keeping you up in bed, it will try and put you to sleep. Tell it what time you want to go to bed and the screen will fade from color to grayscale when you reach your “bedtime.”

google wind down feature

Google Maps

Google Maps is critical to people getting around, but not without its pain points. The example Google showed was getting off the subway and not knowing how you are oriented and which direction to head in, to continue following the directions.

Google Maps is adding augmented reality to Maps, so when you hold up the phone and it uses the camera, Maps can overlay arrows, street names, and other information on top of the real world you are seeing through the camera.

google maps ar directions

There might even be a cute animated pet which you can follow and will lead you in the right direction in a future update.

Google Maps will also be adding a new section called “For You” with personalized recommendations of businesses and things around you at any given moment. with a “your match” scores comparing your info with what google knows about these places

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4 Instant Coffee Choices That Don’t Taste Terrible

instant coffee

Imagine being able to bring delicious tasting coffee with you on an airplane, when you go camping, or even just to the office each day, without the aid of a coffee maker or a barista? It could be life changing. Unfortunately, most instant coffees to-date have been instant crap. But that could all change thanks to a few startups who are trying to buck that stereotype.

sudden coffee instant
Sudden Coffee tubes

It can be tough to go against incumbents like Folders, Nescafe, Mount Hagen, or Starbucks so these new small companies are first focusing on making really good coffee; and second, make it happen in an instant.

Sudden Coffee

Sudden Coffee delivers its new blend in unique tubes–which can also double as coffee stirrers. It’s a monthly subscription plan so you’re committing to at least $8/month. Sudden Coffee does offer a free sample so you can try before you buy.

Swift Cup

Swift Cup is ‘single purchase’ packs of 6 cups, which works out to around $2-$3 per cup, depending on the flavor you choose.

Voila Coffee

Throwing it all on the table, Voila Coffee claims to the be the “world’s best instant coffee.” While taste is relative, they back up that claim with testimonials from legit coffee people like the head of quality assurance at Stumptown who says, “… It’s the best in the field I’ve had…”.

Go Cubes

For those times when you’d rather have your coffee delivered as a solid versus liquid. In that case, check out Go Cubes which promise half a cup of coffee in each cube. It looks like a gummy cube, tastes kinda like a gummy cube, and gets the job done in terms of pep.

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Fresh Friday: New Music And Movies Out Now (May 4th)

friday music movies

May the 4th be with you today? It might be if you check out these fresh media releases.

Music

For those into some soulful folk, Leon Bridges is the latest rising star you need to know. On his new album Good Thing, Bridges also adds pop influences into the mix and the result is an addictive groove.

Be sure to also check out Mat Kearney’s Crazytalk, Shawn Mendes’ new single, “Youth” featuring Khalid. Rae Sremmurd released Sr3mm with a whopping 27 tracks, and if you’re into it, Christina Aguilera is back with the Kanye West produced song “Accelerate.”

What are you listening to today?

Movies

Watch the trailers for Tully and Bad Samarian, both movies in theaters starting today.

Other media items from this past week

  • Fortnite Season 4 launched this week
  • God of War sold more than 3 million copies to become the fastest selling PS4 exclusive release
  • Deadpool 2 release a new music video with Celine Dion called “Ashes”
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Music Hype: Kid Astray Interview

kid astray photo

Kid Astray is your next need-to-know band dropping fire through your headphones. Their self-described music is “tangy pop with heavy nods towards indie and rock.” They have been steadily releasing killer tracks since 2013, continually whittling away fluff from their songs and replacing it with increasingly addictive melodies. For comparison sake, they say to think Foster The People, a direct and early influence of the band members.

Hear more from Kid Astray about what drives their music and what apps keep them creative.

The Digital Hype: How do you think your music has changed from your first album in ~2013 to this new EP in 2018?

Kid Astray: It’s interesting that you’re asking just that, as one of the main reasons this EP is quite different from ‘Home Before The Dark’ is because our focus and goals were quite different.

Back then we really focused on making it as catchy and fluent as possible, and we worked with a lot of different songwriters and a producer to try and force our sound to progress fast. It was a great experience that we learned a lot from, so it’s not something we regret in any way, but with this EP we’ve sort of done the opposite. Gone back to just writing something that we think is cool, doing everything from production to the artwork ourselves.

TDH: What songs are you seeing people responding to the most so far?

KA: The singles from our debut album have the best streaming numbers, “Back To The Ordinary” in particular. That’s kinda cool, because it was the one track on the album we spent the most time on, and we initially had some serious doubts about it. Right now we’re very excited to see how people like the new tracks.

They’re five pretty different tracks, showcasing different aspects of Kid Astray.

TDH: Are there any political or social issues that have influenced your music?

KA: It’s sort of inevitable to be influenced by politics and social stuff, obviously. We have never actually written an intended political song, and have sort of steered consciously away from that area, as it doesn’t really align with our wishes and visions. But we do voice our opinions  other places.

TDH: As musicians in the digital age, are there any apps you would consider indispensable to your creation process or performances?

KA: Uuuh, cool question!

  • Shazam and Soundhound, definitely. Inspiration can come everywhere, and it really helps to be able to find out what that awesome tune is anywhere anytime.
  • Apple’s own recording app is a must for recording melodies and early demos, and a great tool for songwriting. An idea for a song might present itself at any time, so it is really important to record it before it’s gone, even though it might be a bit awkward to be singing into your phone on a bus or a train. Apple´s note app for writing down lyrics and everything.
  • WhatsApp for keeping all our super secret conversations  and personal jokes… well, secret.

TDH: What social network/platform has been the most beneficial so far and you see being important into the future?

Facebook and Instagram are the boring but truthful answer. They’re both getting increasingly difficult to work with, with posts having little to no impact unless you know the mysterious algorithms or throw some money on it.

I think now Spotify is gradually turning into the single most important arena for promoting music, occupying a lot of the space that social media, and even music press used to occupy. At least in Scandinavia.

If you’re really good with videos, YouTube is really cool and great hub for bands, so we hope to do a lot more there in the future. But it’s really hard to tell, since these things change really fast.

 

Be sure to follow the band on Twitter, Spotify, Apple Music, Instagram, and all other places quality music is found.

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The Cheapest Way To Stream All Your Favorite Shows And Movies

tv streaming

There are somewhere between one to two billion content streaming services available now. It’s crazy how many companies want you to pay a monthly fee to watch movies and TV shows or listen to music from them.

Let’s “desert island” this topic and see if we can’t narrow the choices down a bit to help you save some money stop subscribing to services just out of knee-jerk reaction.

Selection – it’s all about those originals and exclusives

Netflix has too many originals to list out, but some of its standouts include: Stranger Things, The Crown, Master of None, Jessica Jones, Black Mirror, House of Cards, 13 Reasons Why, and Narcos.

Hulu is newer to the originals game, but they get it and have some along with some exclusives: Handmaid’s Tale, Seinfeld, The Mindy Project, and 11.22.63.

Amazon Prime hasn’t slouched on originals, including: The Grand Tour, Lore, The Lost City of Z, The Big Sick, Electric Dreams, Mozart in the Jungle, and The Man in the High Castle.

While Sling TV does offer any original content, it might provide you an exclusive opportunity to watch things like Sunday Night Baseball on ESPN. The basic, lowest-priced Sling TV package includes channels like: ESPN, AMC, CNN, Comedy Central, Cartoon Network, the Disney Channel,TNT, IFC and A&E.

Spotify, Apple Music, and Tidal are all consistently close to the amount of music each service offers. While they each have gotten exclusive releases in the past, none have been forever and typically don’t last longer than a year at the very most.

YouTube Red has a lock on a bunch of top tier YouTube creators so you want the latest and greatest from Roman Atwood or Rhett & Link you’ll probably be seeing red in your future. YouTube Red’s new show Cobra Kai, however, which is the continuation of The Karate Kid movie looks amazing and almost worth a subscription for it alone.

YouTube Red also includes access to YouTube Music to stream music without ads and with the YouTube app not as the front-most app (which is a big deal).

Availability – what devices can I watch my shows on?

Netflix: Even your toaster can now play Netflix. Seriously though, it would be a shorter to mention devices that can’t play Netflix.

Hulu: iOS, Android, Web, Apple TV, Roku, Fire TV, TiVo, Xbox, Playstation

Amazon Prime: iOS, Android, Web, Apple TV, Roku, Fire TV, TiVo, Xbox, Playstation

Sling TV: iOS, Android, Web, Chromecast, Apple TV, Roku, Fire TV, Xbox One

Spotify: iOS, Android, Mac, Windows, Web, Android Auto, CarPlay, Sonos

Apple Music: iOS, Android, Mac, Windows, Android Auto, CarPlay, Sonos

YouTube Red: iOS, Android, Chromecast, Android TV, Apple TV, Xbox, Wii U, PlayStation, Roku

Price –  OK, how much is all this gonna cost?

Spotify: $9.99/month

Apple Music: $9.99/month or $99/year

Tidal: $9.99/month (standard quality) $19.99 (lossless quality)

Amazon Prime Video: $8.99/month
YouTube Red: $9.99/month

Netflix: $10.99/month (default streaming option)

Hulu: $7.99/month
Sling TV: $20/month (~25 channels) $25/month (~40 channels)

Here’s where things get tricky. While each of these streaming services typically reside between $10-$20/month, there are some ways to combine multiple ones and save a few bucks.

  • Spotify + Hulu = $12.99/month [Savings of $4.99]
  • Amazon Prime Video = free [With the purchase of Prime two-day shipping $99/year]
  • T-Mobile = free MLB TV subscription
  • Prime Video + HBO = same cost [Even though Amazon lets you watch HBO through Prime Video, there’s no cost savings to the bundle. Bummer.]

Choose 3!

To maximize value and variety, I’d go for 1 music service, 1 on-demand video service, and 1 live TV service. Here are the 3 services I’d pick:

Spotify + Hulu = $12.99/month

Sling TV = $20/month

Total = $32.99/month

Gotta have a music service so if I pick Spotify I can save $5/month by also picking Hulu for access to a bunch of rad TV shows and new(er) movies. Sling TV (Orange) gets me ESPN as well as History Channel, TBS, and a bunch of other live broadcast TV channels.

What would you pick?

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The Everyday Guide To Preserving Your Phone’s Battery

power time

True or false, if you use the wrong app, you could damage your phone’s battery? This is false, but there are still a lot of questions about how you should charge your phone and what things may lessen the longevity of a battery’s life.

Battery questions have long been in the back of people’s minds, but Apple brought this more to light with iOS 11.3 and the addition of its battery-health indicator which measures the long term health of your phone’s battery and tries to maximize its performance and life.

Let’s dig into some of these questions and see if you should change any of your battery behaviors.

Is there anything my phone’s battery can’t handle?

Your battery doesn’t like physical damage, like being tossed into a fire or something else crazy. But in terms of general phone usage, your battery is resilient to refreshing Instagram thousands of times.

Play all the video games you normally would, leave your phone plugged into a charger if you feel like it, and don’t worry about letting your phone hit 0%. Your battery should be fine for years.

How do I get my phone’s battery to last through an entire day?

There are a few things you should watch out for to make sure you aren’t losing unnecessary battery life on a daily basis. One thing you should NOT be doing, though, is force quitting all apps on your phone after each use. That WILL NOT help and could be using more battery life. (What does this mean? Check out why that is…)

If you think your daily battery should be lasting longer than it is, your first visit should be to the battery section in the settings app. Both iOS and Android provide details on how much battery different apps are using.

Warning: be prepared to have your eyes opened if you’re scrolling Instagram for hours a day.

Keep an eye open for unusual activity such as long usage in the background (continued use, while not visible on screen) which could be taking unnecessary battery life.

If everything looks normal in the battery section of the settings app you can tweak a few other settings, such as lowering the brightness of your screen and turning off a notifications (which can light up your screen everytime they come in). [screenshot]

If you’re constantly running out of battery life despite taking these precautions, you may just be a “power user,” in which case, there’s a simple solution: pick up a portable battery to recharge your phone between the early morning and late night. This won’t tie you to an outlet and can provide as much extra battery life as you’re willing to pay for.

Say I want to live the ideal battery lifestyle, how would I do that?

So you want your battery to #liveitsbestlife on a daily basis and prolong the health of your phone’s battery long into the future? More power to you. Here are some of the key points that manufactures like Apple recommend in prolonging the life of their phone’s battery:

  • Keep it comfy – Batteries like to be comfortable and that means keeping your phone (and its battery) between 32-95 degrees fahrenheit. Basically the same temperatures that work for humans. (Don’t leave your phone in a hot car!)
  • Update! – Stop ignoring those reminders and keep your phone’s software up-to-date. Both iOS and Android devices heavily manage the phone’s hardware through its software and having the most up-to-date version means that your phone will have the latest tips and tricks to keep it running smoothly.
  • Disconnect – When you phone doesn’t have a strong connection to a cellular connection (like when it goes back and forth between one bar and “no signal”) it then works the hardest to search for a better signal. Avoid areas with poor connectivity to your provider or turn off cellular in your phone’s settings to avoid a big power drain.
  • Locate – Most people have used GPS to navigate somewhere and understand it is a heavy user of battery life. Just be aware that apps that constantly use your location like maps and Uber are a bit more heavy on the battery and shouldn’t be planned to used for hours without a backup charging plan.
  • Certify – Anything electrical you plug into your phone  should be good quality. For Apple, that means MFI certified (Made for iPhone, iPad, iPod). For others, it should be sold by a reputable reseller–probably not that rando gas station in the middle of nowhere. While modern phones are extremely safe, plugging them into a janky charger could definitely cause explosive issues.
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5 Reasons To Buy An Apple Watch If You’re On The Fence

fitness watch

Apple Watch went on sale in the U.S. just over three years ago–in April 2015. Considering Apple has dominated the sale of not just smart watches, but all high-end watches, there’s a good chance you’ve considered buying one.

The first question is a typically a variation of: what can it do?

Right now, the Apple Watch is still largely an accessory of the iPhone, used as an extension like the original iPod was an extension of a someone’s personal computer.

Apple Watch is most known for its ability to display notifications and track workout information, but it can do a lot of other cool things. Here’s 5 reasons you might want to add one to your wrist.

Unlock your Mac

Macs with macOS Sierra operating system and later and Apple Watches with the latest software can work together to verify your identity and unlock your computer when you wake it from sleep. It’s usually the small, mundane tasks that create the most irritation, so, being able to sit down, open the lid of your Macbook or wake up your iMac without entering your password (but still keeping your computer secure) is a brilliant thing.

Track your heart rate, minute-by-minute

Going beyond tracking a single workout or taking your pulse once in awhile, continuously tracking your heart rate in the background may prove to be invaluable one day. Your heart rate is a great gauge of overall health and it can be an excellent first indicator if something is wrong or off balance. Apple Watch can track years of data for your doctor, as well as monitor your heart for irregular rhythms.

Quick flashlight

Slide up the control center (quick controls) screen on your Apple Watch and tap the flashlight icon. You’ll see a dim white screen. Rotate your wrist outwards and the light will get brighter to illuminate your way. Rotate your wrist back towards you and the light will get dim again (so it doesn’t blind you when you turn it off).

Gym DJ

The Apple Watch paired with a wireless, Bluetooth, headset can be the only music device you need as your gym-buddy. This has been the case from the beginning, but, in the early days, it was super complicated to use music playback on the watch by itself. Now, updates have  addressed these issues.

Apple Music’s streaming app now comes built in, which means if you’ve got the cellular-connected model of the watch, you can stream your music on the fly (versus having to rely on pre-download songs). Wireless headphones are also easier to pair directly from the watch with the newest software. With these updates, you’re free to throw your phone in your gym locker, shed the extra weight and responsibility, and work out with nothing but your headphones and the watchband.

Help you take better selfies

The camera app on the Apple Watch is not new, but it often gets forgotten and overlooked. Who doesn’t want to take a better selfie without holding the phone? Here’s how it works:

  • Open the app on the watch
  • (the camera app on your phone should open)
  • Set your phone on a tripod or other dock
  • Check the preview on your wrist, then snap your picture
  • Alternatively, you can take a 3-second delayed burst shot with 12 shots in succession
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The Best Episode Of The Office Explained

After binge-watching The Office, what’s that one episode that sticks out as both incredibly cringe-worthy, but also extremely hilarious? It has to be The Dinner Party.

 Jim and Pam try dodging Michael’s dinner requests over a subtle, several-episode arc, but the inevitable happens and the awkwardness culminates with Pam, Jim, Andy, Angela, Michael, Jan, and surprise guests trying to have a civil dinner together.

As part of the episode hitting its 10-year anniversary, Rolling Stone interviewed the cast and dug into one of the most beloved and cringe-worthy episodes in The Office’s history.

The episode is a crucible for the various relationships on the show,” says Ed Helms, who played Andy Bernard. “It’s a tight, contained space where so many relationship issues are bubbling around between Jim and Pam, Andy and Angela, Michael and Jan. It’s that pressure-cooker aspect that heightens everything, plus the decorum of the dinner party, the sort of need to rise to a different sort of social construct, as opposed to just being co-workers in an office space. It’s just a boiling-hot crucible of comedy.

Carve out some time to give the whole episode history a read.

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The Ultimate Guide To Choosing A Home Wi-Fi Router

wifi router

Wireless internet and connectivity is the lifeblood of your house. Netflix, Xbox Live, YouTube, Sonos, Alexa, Nest’s thermostat, they all need that intenet juice to do their jobs.

For high-speed wireless internet, you need a modem, which brings the internet into your home and then you need a Wi-Fi router to send it out wirelessly. Cable and phone companies typically like to set you up with both of these devices (sometimes all-in-one) so you pay them more money. You can, however, use a different wireless router if you’re noticing slow, spotty, or poor wireless signal.

The obvious question then becomes: what Wi-Fi router should I get?

Here are tips and things to consider–including a few recommendations of different Wi-Fi routers that will hopefully provide solid internet across your home.

Coverage
Needing to stand in one corner of the living room to get a Wi-Fi signal is no way to live life and will cause many people to rip their hair out in frustration.

Takeaway: Don’t skimp on a lower priced router trying to save a few bucks instead of getting one that adequately provides enough signal for all your rooms.

Everyone’s home is different so there are no guarantees until you get the router set up and try it, but here are some very general guidelines on what you should budget based on the size of the place you’d like Wi-Fi.

Expected cost estimates:
0-1,000 sq. ft. – $25-$50

1,000-1500 sq. ft. – $50-$100

1,500-2,000 sq. ft. – $100-$300

2,000+ sq. ft. – $200-$400

Features
Routers have gotten pretty advanced in the last few years and certain ones now come with some pretty cool features built in. You can find routers which can monitor internet traffic, monitor kids’ devices, prioritize gaming over Instagram, and turn off the internet after bedtime, among other things.

 Takeaway: Besides a solid and reliable wireless connection, figure out what additional features you want, such as ease of use, parental controls, insight into internet consumption, or, device priority.

The reason Google Wifi and Eero have become so popular in the last few years is that they focus on making a complicated Wi-Fi network simple enough for anyone to set up and use. You might give up a few features from the more technical routers, but, they are dead-simple to set up and can be expanded for more signal strength in the future.

Price
These things are not cheap! Unfortunately, if you want to blanket your home in that Gucci internet, it’s going to cost you.

Take away: Although the Wi-Fi systems with multiple parts like Orbi and Eero are more expensive, they are typically simpler and you can expand them later in the future to add signal strength if you find you need more space connected.

Here are some suggestions on router options, divided into the two main groups for most people.

Lower cost and traditional router options

For smaller homes with open floor plans and people with less demanding streaming media needs–less than 10 connected devices in the home.

TP-Link N450

 

NETGEAR AC1000

TP-Link AC1900

 

Expandable (mesh networking) router systems

For larger homes with more closed off floor plans and people that are streaming more media–more than 15 connected devices in the home

 

Eero home wireless 

Google Wifi system

Netgear Orbi Wifi system