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20th May 2017

Tend Secure Lynx review – CNET

Tend Secure’s $60 Lynx Indoor camera has a few flaws, but you can’t beat its price. – Source

WannaCry ransomeware’s real victim: Your local corner store – CNET

Six out of 10 small businesses shut down after cyberattacks. Here’s why. – Source

My first Star Wars? An ‘Ewoks’ film, and I was hooked anyway – CNET

I didn’t know what Star Wars was. I just bumbled into a weird corner of it in my local video store. Then I made my parents rent that cheapo sequel all the damn time. – Source

7 things you missed at Google I/O – CNET

Google’s conference was packed full of new goodies. We assembled our favorite announcements you might have missed. – Source

Google Assistant is spreading, but it needs its own ‘Echo Dot’ – CNET

Google’s giving developers the keys to its digital assistant, but lacks cheap, first-party options. – Source

The PicoBrew Pico: Getting closer to a counter-top beer-making machine

Two cold beers, ready for drinking and not spitting out. (credit: Megan Geuss)

I’m in my mother’s kitchen in Los Angeles drinking a beer with my sister on a hot spring afternoon. The beer is a bready, hoppy IPA without any overwhelming flavors that would make you think too hard. The alcohol content is acceptable. The brew is properly carbonated and doesn’t taste flat. This beer isn’t going to win any awards, but I could serve it to friends and family without having to apologize for it. In short, it’s easy drinking, something you can have a conversation over.

The beer, however, came from a beer-making machine on my countertop, which was why the overwhelming averageness of the brew instead felt amazing. Maybe that’s a low bar to clear in order to merit applause, but given my past experience with the PicoBrew Zymatic, it felt appropriate.

In 2015, I reviewed the Zymatic, a large machine that was supposed to help brewers cook up their wort automatically—but the fermentation process was largely left in the hands of the Zymatic owner. I produced two below-average beers, perhaps owing to the heatwave I was brewing in at the time (the temperatures surely killed off some yeast). But another part of the problem with the Zymatic was that it combined a machine-driven brewing process with the traditionally hands-on fermentation, bottling, and carbonating processes. It was hardly the “set-it-and-forget-it” appliance that I expected.

Read 51 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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Stunning photo series celebrates the complex identity of LGBTQ Africans

An ongoing photo series tells the complex stories of LGBTQ Africans, encouraging the celebration of two identities too many believe are at odds with each other.

Queer Nigerian-American photographer Mikael Owunna created Limit(less) to debunk the myth that it’s “un-African” to be LGBTQ. The photographs also highlight queer African style, an essential point of self-expression for the community, according to Owunna.

SEE ALSO: 6 ways allies still marginalize people of color — and what to do instead

For the past three years, Owunna has photographed 34 LGBTQ African immigrants for the project, most living in North America. The photos are paired with extensive interviews with each participant, exploring themes of homophobia, race, African identity, abuse, and healing. …

More about Photography, Africa, Social Good, Portrait, and African Ethnicity

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The Morning After: Weekend Edition

Hey, good morning! You look fabulous.

Welcome to the weekend. We’re looking back at all the big Google I/O news, as well as an easy way to fix WannaCry. – Source

Nokia 9 poses for live shots: dual 13MP camera, 5.3″ QHD display, Snapdragon 835

The Nokia 9, or as we’ve known it so far – the Nokia 8, has landed in the hands of the folks over at, albeit in an enclosure meant to keep its design away from prying eyes. What it can’t hide is the connectors required for operation, and that means confirmation on the Type-C ports (as all of the new Nokias, so nothing out of the ordinary) and the 3.5mm headphone jack.

Nokia 9 prototype

The display is a 5.3-inch QHD affair (CPU-Z reports 5.27 inches) and the reviewers have measured a 530nits maximum brightness. An Always On feature has also been…

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Google Lens will give Assistant eyes, and WannaCry wreaks havoc video – CNET

In this week’s wrap-up, Google shows off new features coming to Google Assistant and Google Photos that let the apps give you information on things based on images alone. On the dark side of tech, the ransomware known as WannaCry continues to make a mess of things. – Source

Uber vs Google: And now, the self-driving car war gets nasty

Even the biggest, most powerful companies in the world are at the mercy of a grade-school concept: supply and demand.

That’s how a person like Anthony Levandowski can get paid $120 million by Google, leave to start his own company, watch that company get acquired by Uber just months later, and then find himself barred from working on self-driving car technology by a U.S. court.

That goes to show just how important Levandowski—and other engineers like him—truly are to the arms race around self-driving cars.

“It’s not like [you] can hire any one of the thousands or tens of thousands of people who have a particular certification,” said Nidhi Kalra, who heads the RAND Corporation’s self-driving car policy work. “They’re looking for people who are innovators in the fields of machine learning, deep learning, LIDAR design—and there aren’t a lot of those people out there.” …

More about Google, Uber, Autonomous Cars, Self Driving Cars, and Waymo – Source

Android Go has a redesigned Recents view for more efficiency

In addition to specially optimized apps like YouTube Go, Android Go will feature a brand-new Recents UI to allow for faster and more power-efficient switching.

See also:

Android Go is NOT a replacement for Android One
12 hours ago

One of the most exciting announcements at Google I/O this year (aside from Google Home launching in Canada this summer) was the introduction of Android Go. Designed specifically for budget-friendly Android smartphones not just in developing markets but also established ones like the US, Android Go is similar to Android One but does not replace it. Any Android smartphone with 1GB of RAM or less will run on Android One, which boasts a completely modified system that promises significant power-efficiency and low data consumption.

We’ve already explained how Google wants to bring optimized apps to these devices, but we haven’t heard much about the specific changes to the UI. Until now, that is. Google has made some important changes to the system UI, specifically the Recents view, in order to facilitate improved latency and to reduce memory footprint. Design-wise, with Android Go, you no longer have the stacked cards of recently used apps; instead, you get full preview cards, big enough to occupy the entire screen:

Google says that 95 percent of entry-level device users don’t do a whole lot of switching, usually sticking to the four most recent apps.

Google says that 95 percent of entry-level device users don’t do a whole lot of switching, usually sticking to the four most recent apps. Indeed, for power-hungry users, having almost full-screen cards in the Recents view is certainly less efficient than having stacked cards when it comes to jumping back and forth between multiple apps. However, it may not be so inconvenient for entry-level device users; in fact, it makes more sense. After all, this UI change is what enables fast and fluid switching on devices with 1GB or even 512MB of RAM.

What are your thoughts on Android Go? How do you like the new Recents UI? Let us know by leaving a comment below!

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Tips for dealing with Donald Trump that also work with a toddler

Donald Trump is a man whose behavior follows the whim of his impulses and tantrums, much like a toddler, and the world is scrambling to accommodate it.

Officials in the White House and from governments around the globe have tailored aspects of governance to the new president to fit his notoriously short attention span and need for praise.

SEE ALSO: Trump’s fave vacation spots like Mar-A-Lago are reportedly very easy to hack into

While most toddlers don’t have access to the nuclear codes, the advice for dealing with the president can also work for your kids at home. …

Please keep your speeches really briefMore about Donald Trump, Ice Cream, Toddler, Truck, and Nato

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Top 5 things you need to know about Kotlin, Android’s new programming language

What is Kotlin and why should I care about it?

Google announced support for Kotlin in Android at Google I/O 2017, but many of us aren’t sure what’s going on or why we should care.

Let’s take a look at the five things you need to know about Kotlin if you’re not an Android developer.

What is Kotlin?

Kotlin is a programming and development language from JetBrains. They’re the folks behind the IntelliJ Java IDE and Kotlin is really, really interoperable with Java. That means developers can use the Java Libraries they already use now, and the code they write with Kotlin can also be converted to Java and vice versa.

This is important because Java is one of the most-used programming languages in the world, and has been used for Android since the beginning. Throwing away that much work is silly.

Why are developers excited about Kotlin support?

You saw developers stand and cheer, too, huh?

Kotlin is fully supported in JetBrains’ IntelliJ editing environment. A programming tool of any kind is only as good as its support. JetBrains provides simple but powerful Java to Kotlin converters and can generate Java and JavaScript from Kotlin code.

The code written with Kotlin is simpler than the Java equivalent, even when it references the same libraries or classes. It’s more human-readable, which makes debugging a breeze and it’s just better all around for writing Android apps with as little overhead as possible.

Is Java being phased out?


If anything, Java is being made stronger and better with the newest versions of Android and Android Studio.

As mentioned above, Kotlin and Java are closely related at their base and adding support for Kotlin makes Java better. One day, Java will be forgotten about. That day won’t be soon and it won’t be becasue of Kotlin.

Will the apps be better or look different?

Nope again!

They could be better or even just look better because a developer has more time to work on the UI, but functionally Kotlin and Java are compatible and will look the very same.

You won’t know anything is different.

Where can I learn more about Kotlin or get started using it?

Visit JetBrains’ Kotlin website for everything you need to get started.

You can use Android Studio, Eclipse, IntelliJ IDEA or a standalone compiler to build Kotlin apps for Android or your web browser. There are even great tutorials to get you pointed in the right direction!

It’s not difficult, and it’s fun. Don’t be afraid to try and learn as much as you can!

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Bits: Farhad’s and Mike’s Week in Tech: Caring About Tech News

In a tide of breaking news, why pay attention to the tech industry? – Source

Our favorite sci-fi books of all time – CNET

Every week we ask the people around the office questions so you get a better idea of what makes us tick. This week we asked what their favorite science fiction books were. – Source

Once an astronaut, now Mike Massimino can’t wait to be a space tourist

Ars interviews an astronaut! (video link)

NEW ORLEANS—Mike Massimino wanted to be an astronaut ever since Neil Armstrong inspired the former six-year-old. He obsessed over space so much, in fact, his mom once converted an elephant costume from Massimino’s first-grade play into his official flight suit.

“She cut the tail off and made it an astronaut,” he said while sharing a vintage Polaroid on stage at this year’s Collision Conference. “I didn’t have any friends apparently, so Snoopy was my copilot.”

Read 11 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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This week in apps: Instagram face filters, Medium audio stories, Google Assistant on iOS and more

Reading all the news from Google I/O may have kept you too busy to keep up with this week’s app news. We’ve kept up for you.

SEE ALSO: Google imagines an app-less future with Android Instant Apps

Each week we round up the most important app news along with some of the coolest new and updated apps to help you stay in the loop with everything you need on your phone.Here’s what caught our eye this week. If you’re looking for more, make sure to check out last week’s roundup of top apps.

Google Assistant comes to iOS

Starting today, we’re bringing the #GoogleAssistant to iPhones. Whether at home or on the go, your Assistant is here to help#io17

— Google (@Google) …

More about Instagram, Uber, Yoga, Medium, and Facebook Messenger – Source

Well-done steak and other items on Donald Trump’s tour rider

President Donald Trump is traveling abroad for the first time in his presidency for an international tour with stops in Saudi Ararbia, Israel, Italy, and Belgium, where I’m sure absolutely nothing at all will go wrong.

But something about Donald’s first stop on this tour struck me as odd. According to a report, Saudi Arabia is preparing to welcome Donald Trump with his favorite, very Not Insane meal: well-done steak and ketchup.

Folks, this leads me to believe that Trump has a …

More about Watercooler, Humor, Steak, Donald Trump, and Watercooler

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Get lifetime access to 1TB of cloud storage for only $29!

Our current, tech-obsessed world demands a storage solution for your multimedia data, the most convenient being cloud-based storage which you can access from anywhere. Most cloud-based storage services charge a monthly fee, which, over time, adds up to quite a fee. Those of you sick of subscription fees need a storage solution that requires a single payment for a lifetime of access. More importantly, you need cloud storage that is encrypted and can be accessed from all your devices.

Don’t miss your chance to save big! Learn More

Right now, Android Central Digital Offers has a deal on 1TB of cloud storage from Zoolz — a single payment of $29.99 gives you lifetime access. Does this seem cheap? It is! This is 99% off the regular price of $3600.

You will never be charged any extra fees, and you can access your cloud storage from multiple devices. Your data is protected with 256-AES encryption to better safeguard your stuff, and you can schedule backups and throttle bandwidth during uploads. Place files you know you won’t soon need in cold storage — takes three to five hours to access — or place files you frequently need in standard storage that can be accessed instantly.

Grab a lifetime of storage for $29.99! Learn More

Considering 1TB of storage from other popular services costs about $10 per month, this deal will pay for itself in four months, and you can keep using it forever. Even if you don’t think you need it now, you probably will need it in the future. Don’t miss this great opportunity to snag 1TB of cloud storage for only $29!

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Google’s new punishment for poorly-made apps in the Play Store

While Google has tried for the longest time to encourage developers to create high quality apps, its effort hasn’t always been successful. Well, the search giant has a new plan: for those apps that perform poorly in terms of stability and power efficiency, Google may reduce their visibility in the Play Store.

See also:

Everything new in Android O: features and changes
3 days ago

We all know that not all apps are created equal, and that’s problematic particularly for Android. While Apple keeps a tight rein on which apps can be available in the App Store, Google’s approach has always been laxer. The result is that while the Play Store attracts budding developers and perhaps facilitates more creativity, the quality of some of the apps available is questionable, to say the least. Some apps crash constantly; some apps freeze randomly; some apps just drain your battery like there is no tomorrow.

Well, at Google I/O this year, the company reaffirmed its commitment to improving the Android experience and overall device performance. That’s where Android vitals come in. Google wants to focus on speed, security, and stability with Android vitals, and not just for end-users but also for developers. Developers can now see various metrics and scores on their apps’ stability, render time, and battery usage. More specifically, Google wants to look at the following:

App not responding (ANR) rates
Crash rate
Slow rendering
Frozen frames
Stuck wake locks (the app keeps the device awake for more than an hour)
Excessive wake-ups (the app wakes up the device more than 10 times an hour)

Using these metrics, Google wants to find out which apps rank among the bottom 25 percent. And if your app is one of them, you’re likely to hear from the search giant.

Using these metrics, Google wants to find out which apps rank among the bottom 25 percent. And if your app is one of them, you’re likely to hear from the search giant. Back in February, the company announced that an app’s performance will impact its “promotability,” meaning with Google’s new initiative, apps that fail to meet certain standards regarding aforementioned metrics ­– apps that fall below the 25 percent threshold – may not be so visible in the Play Store from now on.

With millions of apps available now, Google’s Play Store has faced growing criticism over fake apps, low quality apps, and malware apps in the recent years. Therefore, Google’s new program, which promises to establish more rigorous standards, is certainly a welcome change.

Do you think Google’s new “punishment” will have a positive impact? Let us know your thoughts!

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Google is taking over the world [#acpodcast]

The Android Central team of Daniel, Jerry, Andrew, Alex and MrMobile take on all the big announcements from Google’s expansive and intimidating developer conference.

Unlike last year, there weren’t any huge product announcements, nor new products, but what we got — updates to Android O, Assistant, Home, Photos — and the introduction of Google Lens and standalone Daydream headsets, give us some insight into Google’s AI and machine learning future.

This episode of the Android Central Podcast is brought to you by Thrifter, the best place to get great deals in your inbox every day!

Show notes:

All the major announcements from Google I/O 2017
Our favorite things from Google I/O
Google I/O 2017 preview!
Daydream and Tango are going to be huge… someday

Podcast MP3 URL:

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10 new Android O features that will make your phone better

Though we got out first peek at Android O back in March, Google finally revealed more details this week at its I/O developers conference about the soon-to-drop version of Android.

Though we’re still quite a ways away from the official release, we now a lot more about the update. At first glance, many of the new changes are subtle, building on updates Google introduced last year with Nougat. (Yes, it’s another boring year for Android.)

SEE ALSO: Google is boring now, and that’s bad news for innovation

Still, there are quite a few features to look forward to, here’s what’s caught our eye so far. …

More about Tech, Google, Android, Apps And Software, and Android O – Source

The haunting images that Diane Arbus captured while roaming the parks of NYC

“Teenage boy on a bench in Central Park, N.Y.C. 1962”

Image: © The Estate of Diane Arbus

Diane Arbus received her first camera as a honeymoon gift from her husband, with whom she ran a successful fashion photography business for almost a decade.

In 1956, restless and unfulfilled, she fled the confines of the commercial studio and took to the streets, first with a 35mm Nikon and later with a medium format twin-lens reflex camera.

Some of the richest grounds for photographic encounters were the city’s public parks, where Arbus prowled the lanes and lawns with her camera and flash, hunting for the strange, melancholy, and striking subjects that would come to define her style. …

More about History, Retronaut, Nyc, New York, and New York City

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alcatel Idol 5 is now FCC certified

The alcatel Idol 5, which has already been spotted on GFXBench twice, has now been certified by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) in the United States. The device certified by the agency carries a model number of 6060C, and the listing reveals it is headed to prepaid carrier Cricket Wireless.

Two different variants of the phone have been spotted in benchmark listings so far – one with Snapdragon 625 SoC and 3GB RAM, while the other with Mediatek Helio P20 chipset and 2GB of RAM.

Other specifications include 5.2-inch 1080p screen, 12MP main camera (4K capable) and 8MP front…

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The real reason to get pumped about drone delivery – CNET

Hint: It has nothing to do with pizza. – Source

All the best family photos from Pippa Middleton’s decadent wedding

On Saturday, Pippa Middleton married hedge fund manager James Matthews. Now, of course, the internet is thirsty for photos of the lovely affair.

Some fast facts: The wedding took place at St. Mark’s Church in Englefield, Berkshire. Pippa’s dress was made by British designer Giles Deacon. And yes, yes, Prince George and Princess Charlotte were in attendance.

Now let’s get to the good stuff.

SEE ALSO: Why Prince Harry and Prince William are truly the millennial royals

Here’s Prince George peeking out of a car.

Image: REX/Shutterstock

And here’s Prince Harry and Prince William arriving at the wedding. …

More about Watercooler, Uk, Royal Family, Pippa Middleton, and Watercooler – Source

How to hide tiny artworks in your URLs

We all know the humble URL; it tells the internet where we want to go. But, as digital artist Alexander Reben discovered, it can do so much more. It turns out that entire webpages can live within its character string — you just need to know how to b… – Source

Apple’s lack of daycare isn’t an oversight, it’s a feature

After WIRED offered us all a peek into Apple’s new headquarters, one notable fact emerged: there’s no daycare center. Whooooopsie.

Except this was no mistake. It was a big fat message to anyone who might be contemplating trying to balance family life with their obsessive devotion to their job. And that message reads, in the sleekest font imaginable, “nope.”

The 150-acre campus contains a huge fitness and wellness center and every other amenity you can possibly imagine. Basically everything you’d need to live your life at work. Unless, of course, your life includes children.

Kids are many things, but mostly they are messy. That goes against Apple’s whole vision of how the world should be — and it’s a vision that most of Silicon Valley shares. I’m not talking about being physically messy, though sticky children don’t exactly coordinate with Apple’s pristine white glass aesthetic. …

More about Apple, Parenting, Family And Parenting, Steve Jobs, and Work Life – Source

How to find a USB-C adapter for your Gear VR

Finding the right adapter is easier than you think.

Having a Gear VR means that you have portable VR right at your fingertips, so long as your phone has enough juice to get the job done. What happens when you upgrade your phone, and it requires a new type of adapter though? That’s the question plenty of people who have upgraded to a Galaxy S8 have been asking, and we’ve got answers. All you need to do is order yourself a handy little Type-C adapter, and you’ll be good to go!


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