While Tumblr has had mobile apps for years, it hasn’t been easy to truly cut the PC cord; you’ve had to retreat to your computer to fine-tune every aspect of your blog’s look. You won’t be held back any more, though. The social service has rolled out new Android and iOS apps that offer the same editing powers you have on the web. You can now change colors, images and anything else that was once desktop-only, and your color pick will even change the interface’s look on others’ devices.
Tumblr sees personalization as both a way to accommodate its increasingly mobile audience (now half of all users) as well as a way to one-up rival social networks. As the company explains to Mashable, many profiles elsewhere (ahem, Instagram) are locked in a “cookie cutter layout” — the look doesn’t change much from person to person. It’s hard to say if this customization strategy will pay off, but you’ll want to check out the new app if you’re keen on standing out from the crowd.
Via: Tumblr Staff
Google is updating its Google Maps app today, boosting the app’s turn-by-turn direction capabilities. Google Maps will now show drivers which lane to use through its new lane guidance feature and it’s also easier to access alternate routes while navigating.
While Google Maps has always supported the storage of maps for use offline, there’s now a specific “save maps to use offline” option within the app, making it easier to keep track of saved routes. The app has gained new filters to let users browse restaurant and venue selections based on hours, ratings, price, and more, and specific points of interest can be saved to the app.
Don’t worry if you’re not online. Before setting off on your next vacation, hike, or roadtrip, search for an area and tap on its place info sheet, then when available, you can select “Save map to use offline,” and give your map a custom name, like “Toronto Vacation.” To find your offline maps, sign-in, tap the profile icon next to the search box in the top right corner, and scroll to see “Toronto Vacation” and other saved maps.
In select cities, Google Maps will integrate with Uber, letting users compare an Uber ride option with transit and walking directions to determine the faster travel option. Google’s newest update is rolling out to users today and should be available on the iPhone and the iPad shortly.
For many years, Apple has used different suppliers for the solid-state drives (SSDs) in its MacBook Air models, with drive performance varying among manufacturer brands. A recent study by Macworld demonstrated rather dramatic differences in SSD read and write speeds between tested 2013 and 2014 models, but at the time it was unclear whether the poorer performance for the 2014 models was still simply due to drive brand variances or if there was something specific to the 2014 machines causing an overall degradation in performance.
Other World Computing (OWC) has now performed some apples-to-apples testing between 2013 and 2014 models with SanDisk SSDs, and has found that performance is nearly identical.
In OWC’s testing using Blackmagic Disk Speed Test, the new MacBook Air model with a 128 GB SanDisk SSD reported read/write speeds of 705/315 MBps, while the 2013 version also with a 128 GB SanDisk drive scored similarly with read/write speeds of 711/316 MBps.
Macworld‘s testing of four machines (various combinations of 2013/2014 models at 11 and 13 inches) had included drives of two different capacities from three different manufacturers, making it difficult to determine the exact cause of the performance differences.
This variability in brand performance was noticed years ago, when Apple started using both Toshiba and Samsung SSDs in its MacBook Air models. Apple continues to use drives from different manufacturers in its 2014 models, including units from Samsung, Toshiba and SanDisk. How various batches of drives from the different manufacturers are assigned to various machines is unknown, and consumers are unable determine which brand of SSD is in their MacBook Air without opening the box and either booting the machine to examine system profile information or physically opening the machine.
Now you can travel anywhere you’d like and still feel loved.
OhMiBod is no stranger when it comes to sex toys. With their huge line of luxury vibrators, they’ve been pushing the limits of what can be done with sex toys since 2006. You may remember blueMotion – the vibrator that connects to your smartphone through an app, giving the user unlimited customizable vibration patterns. Everything with the product worked very well, except for one thing – the vibrator wouldn’t work over long distances, unlike some others we’ve seen in the past.
That’s where their new IndieGoGo campaign comes in to play.
They’re working on an update to the app that would enable users to connect through WiFi, rather than having to stay in the same room as their partner. With the addition of WiFi capabilities, users will have real-time control over their partner’s vibrator whether they’re 10 or 10,000 miles apart. Adding WiFi capabilities to an app is no inexpensive feat, unfortunately. That’s why the company is looking for donations to hit their $20,000 goal.
The fundraising campaign just began today, May 6th, and will run until June 19th. Forty-five days is quite a long time to raise this amount, considering it is already 16% funded with over $3,000.
Once the app has been funded and developed, the WiFi-capable version will be available from an IAP in the original OhMiBod remote app. Check out the video below for more details.
What you get when you donate
Aside from the usual “your donation is appreciated” spiel, there are some perks that come along with your donation. If you pledge $89, you can get your hands on a blueMotion vibrator before it becomes available for retail. Considering that the original price of the blueMotion was $129, this is a pretty great deal.
Head here if you’d like to donate to the IndieGoGo campaign. If you’re interested in anything else from OhMiBod, visit their official website.
The post OhMiBod’s sex toy remote seeks funding on IndieGoGo appeared first on AndroidGuys.
When we reviewed MSI’s GS60 Ghost gaming Ultrabook, we suggested that you hold out for the “3K” (really, 2,880 x 1,620) display of its higher-end cousin, the Ghost Pro. Well, it’s here — you can now buy the Ghost Pro 3K in the US starting at $1,999, complete with that extra-sharp 15.6-inch screen and a 4.4-pound, 0.8-inch thick body that should be easy to carry. You’ll also get GeForce GTX 870M graphics that can handle the high resolution, and resource-intensive games should be happy with the quad-core 2.4GHz Core i7 processor, 16GB of memory, 128GB solid-state drive and 1TB hard disk.
The Ghost Pro is bringing company, too, in the form of the GS70 Stealth Pro. You’ll have to “settle” for a 1080p display and a heavier 5.7-pound chassis, but you’ll get a bigger 17.3-inch LCD alongside more video memory and an extra 128GB SSD. You won’t have to pay more, either, so it really comes down to a matter of personal preference — just what are you willing to trade for those 3K visuals?
Today Google announced a pretty hefty update to its Maps app, with improved navigation instructions, new search options and even the ability to jump into the Uber app to order a ride. Available for download now via Google Play and the App Store, the update includes lane guidance and easier access to alternate routes when you’re already in navigation mode. Another new feature lets you search for a specific area, such as Toronto, and save that place info sheet for offline use. For those traveling to a new city, there’s the ability to view places saved on Google Maps across all devices. You’ll also be able to star new locales to keep them bookmarked for the future.
Google’s added new filters to assist in your search for restaurants, bars and other places of interest. Sorting options include opening hours, rating and price, among others. And for those who are taking public transportation, the Google Maps update brings enhanced route options, with the ability to select “last train home” so you don’t get stranded. And finally, there’s that Uber integration we mentioned earlier — in addition to letting you order a ride, Maps will compare Uber’s options with transit and walking routes. Check it out for yourself via the download links below.
Source: Google Maps
In doing its part to celebrate Teacher Appreciation Day, Google has announced a preview of Classroom: a simple system for course work organization. The free software is nestled inside Google Apps for Education and serves up a quick and easy way to create/organize assignments, give feedback and communicate in real time with students. As you might expect, Classroom leverages Google Docs, Drive and Gmail in order to complete the aforementioned tasks, automatically creating folders in the cloud-based repository for each student when there’s a new assignment. “Classroom is based on the principle that educational tools should be simple and easy to use, and is designed to give teachers more time to teach and students more time to learn,” writes product manager Zach Yeskel. If you’re an educator that’s interested if giving it a shot, you can apply to be part of a limited preview. Google plans to release Classroom to any school using is education-minded apps program in September — just in time for the fall semester.
Filed under: Software
More often than not, I feel like my feedback — both as a customer and a writer — vanishes into a collapsing singularity of customer service. And yet, I’ve never felt this way about Razer. When the company launched the original Blade gaming laptop, it was panned for being underpowered, so the company replaced it in the same calendar year. When that second-generation machine was written up for being too short-lived, a smaller machine with exceptional battery life hit the market. That machine was judged for having a middling screen, and so Razer answered its critics again, this time with the fourth-generation Razer Blade, a machine that brings more power, more features and a significantly better display. So, does it answer my biggest complaints? Let’s find out.
Look and feel
Unpacking Razer’s latest gaming laptop gives me some serious déjà vu: This newest model echoes the form, design and packaging of last year’s model, even down to the smallest details. Everything here is familiar; its aluminum hull and meager port selection (three USB connections and HDMI-out) haven’t changed at all. For a moment there, I was worried — has Razer’s notebook team grown complacent? Is the Blade slipping into a pattern of iterative hardware refreshes? No, thankfully; not just yet. There are notable changes here. They’re just fairly subtle.
Still, my first impression wasn’t wrong: This is the same thin chassis Razer designed last year — it has the same keyboard, flanked by the same stereo speakers and headlined by the same black power button. The aforementioned ports are accompanied only by an AC plug and an audio jack. It’s refreshingly simple and elegant — kind of like a MacBook Pro draped in black with green keyboard backlighting. It’s so lovely, in fact, that I almost didn’t notice the notebook’s one visual refinement: the reflective glass surface of the new touchscreen display.
It seems like a small change, but it makes a difference: The Blade’s touch panel makes the new model’s lid just a hair thicker than last year’s version, increasing the laptop’s overall girth to 0.7 inch. It’s still gloriously thin, but it’s no longer slimmer than the MacBook Air at its thickest point — rendering my favorite bit of Razer trivia sadly obsolete. The machine has put on a little weight too: It now tips the scales at 4.47 pounds. Even so, these changes are minor; the Blade is still the best-looking gaming laptop on the market. A marginally thicker waist and a slightly heavier frame don’t change that.
Keyboard and trackpad
The Razer Blade’s 80-button keyboard serves as a reminder of what Razer used to be. Before it started making lighted key interfaces, gaming laptops and overpowered tablets, the company was known for building PC gaming peripherals, and that history shows. The chiclet keyboard is a joy to type on, with firm keys that depress with a light click and just the right amount of downward travel. It also boasts niche features like anti-ghosting, and has fully programmable, macro-ready keys. That said, it’s not quite perfect — the keyboard still lacks a hotkey to disable the Windows button (though this can be accomplished through Razer’s Synapse software).
Although the touchpad hasn’t undergone any physical changes since last year, it seems to perform a little better. It’s still a large, smooth surface with a pair of quiet, if slightly mushy buttons, but it handles Windows 8 gestures better than the 2013 model did. That trackpad, if you’ll recall, had an occasional tendency to zoom while scrolling — an issue I never encountered with Razer’s latest system. It’s a good mouser, but I’m still not completely sold on its left and right clickers. They do the job, but their quiet depressions just feel out of sync with the satisfying clicks of the keyboard.
Display and sound
As much as we loved Razer’s previous Blade laptops, they all fell short in the display department. Middling screens with poor viewing angles and low resolutions (specifically in the 14-inch Blade and Razer’s Edge tablet) were the standard — they got the job done, but they were nothing special. Finally, that’s changing: The new 14-inch Razer Blade features a bright, 400-nit, 3,200 x 1,800 panel. It’s a gorgeous answer to its predecessor, with bright colors, wide viewing angles and a resolution befitting a high-performance gaming rig. At worst, it loses a little brightness when you view it from off-center, but its colors don’t run until you gaze at it from extreme, impractical angles.
Games and high-resolution content look stunning on the screen, of course, but it forces yet another comparison between Razer and Apple. Specifically, I mean Cupertino’s MacBook Pro with Retina display: The Blade’s new panel is excellent (it’s true), but not everything scales well. Programs like Origin insist on displaying text, icons and windows optimized for a 1080p display, making them appear miniscule at the Blade’s default resolution. Similarly, games configured to run at 1080p will be displayed in a large, black border unless the Blade’s desktop resolution is dialed down to match. While this isn’t a hard task to accomplish, it makes running games on the laptop a little less user-friendly; I found I had to be far more mindful of game and display settings than usual.
The Blade’s new panel is also a touchscreen, a feature that initially took me off guard. I couldn’t help but wonder if it was included as a compromise for the Blade’s orphaned Switchblade interface. Razer CEO Min-Liang Tan tells me it’s just the opposite. “We set out to design a truly no-compromise product,” he said. “Windows 8 was designed with a touchscreen in mind.” It’s true; the Windows 8 Start Screen fares much better under the tip of a finger than the pointer of a mouse. Still, Tan admitted that touchscreens aren’t for everyone, joking that Razer happens to make plenty of gaming mice, too.
It’s hard to find fault with the Blade’s speakers. Sitting on either side of the machine’s keyboard, they offer loud, clear and well-separated stereo sound. They don’t pump out a particularly rich sound, but they don’t come off as cheap or tinny, either. Naturally, a proper gaming headset will trump any embedded speaker, but the Blade’s stereo drivers sounded fine to me. Average, perhaps — but fine.
Performance, battery life and software
|PCMark7||PCMark Vantage||3DMark06||3DMark11||ATTO (top disk speeds)|
|Razer Blade 14-inch (2.2GHz Core i7-4702HQ, NVIDIA GTX 870M 3GB)||5,664||19,994||24,255||
E9,533 / P6,541 / X2,236
|542 MB/s (reads); 257 MB/s (writes)|
|MSI GS60 Ghost (2.4GHz Core i7-4700HQ, NVIDIA GTX 860M 2GB)||5,909||22,602||22,898||
E7,908, / P5,152 / X1,519
|537 MB/s (reads); 495 MB/s (writes)|
|Alienware 14 (2.4GHz Core i7-4700MQ, NVIDIA GTX 765M 2GB)||5,310||21,502||20,868||
E6,529 / P4,211
|507 MB/s (reads); 418 MB/s (writes)|
|Alienware 17 (2.7GHz Core i7-4800MQ, NVIDIA GeForce GTX 780M 4GB)||5,647||22,114||27,137||
E10,638 / P7,246
|509 MB/s (reads); 420 MB/s (writes)|
|Digital Storm Veloce (2.7GHz Core i7-4800MQ, GeForce GTX 765M 2GB)||6,107||21,379||20,340||
E6,696 / P4,353
|506 MB/s (reads); 196 MB/s (writes)|
|2013 Razer Blade 14-inch (2.2GHz Core i7-4702HQ, GeForce GTX 765M)||5,837||19,505||19,815||
E6,364 / P4,161
|546 MB/s (reads); 253 MB/s (writes)|
|MSI GT70 Dragon Edition (2013) (2.4GHz Core i7-4700MQ, GeForce GTX 780M)||6,111||20,250||N/A||
E10,519 / P7,416
|1.19 GB/s (reads); 806 MB/s (writes)|
|Razer Edge Pro (1.9GHz Core i7-3517U, NVIDIA GT 640M LE 2GB)||4,949||13,536||10,260||
E2,507 / P1,576
|409 MB/s (reads); 496 MB/s (writes)|
|Samsung Series 7 Gamer (2.30GHz Core i7-3610QM, GeForce GTX 675M)||N/A||11,515||21,131||
Last year, Razer reined in the Blade’s performance by anchoring it to a mediocre, low-resolution display. It was a practical move that created an intentional bottleneck — if games can’t run at higher resolutions, they aren’t likely to outpace the machine’s GPU. The 2014 Blade has no such limitations; its 3,200 x 1,800 panel leapfrogs the display capabilities of most gaming portables, leaving the user to choose just how far they want to push their in-game settings. It’s a welcome change, but it’s not necessarily a user-friendly one. Razer Blade owners now have to consider their in-game settings more carefully than ever.
In an ideal situation, most PC gamers would want to run their favorite titles at the maximum configurable visual settings at their monitor’s native resolution — a challenging proposition on all but the most powerful gaming rigs. The new Blade has plenty of power, of course — a 2.2GHz Intel Core i7-4702HQ CPU, 8GB of DDR3L RAM and NVIDIA GeForce GTX 870M graphics — but its enormous display resolution stretches even those internals to their limit. Tuned to ultra or very high-quality settings, most games stuttered at 3,200 x 1,800. Battlefield 4, The Witcher 2, Thief and Crysis 3 all struggled to break 15-20 fps in our tests, reaching playable frame rates only after I downgraded the settings (BF4 managed 36 fps on high, for instance, and a strong 50 fps on medium). Although some games took to the ultra-high resolution naturally (BioShock Infinite, The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim and Dark Souls II averaged 32, 30 and 40 fps on maximum settings, respectively), reducing the resolution produces more consistently impressive results.
At 1,920 x 1,080, the Blade can handle almost anything. Battlefield 4 bounced between 54 fps and 45 fps on maximum settings, depending on the map, with Thief and The Witcher 2 seeing similar gains to 40 fps and 50 fps, respectively. Crysis 3 stubbornly refused to break 30 fps at its highest visual settings, but managed to hit 40 fps when I stepped down to the second-best configuration. Games that tolerated the laptop’s native display size fared even better, boasting frame rates in excess of 60, sometimes 70, frames per second. Still, many titles wouldn’t run at full screen in 1080p unless I scaled down the Blade’s desktop resolution. It’s a minor inconvenience, but it can be irritating if you prefer the panel’s native resolution for general use.
|Razer Blade (2014)||4:27|
|Razer Blade 14-inch||6:24|
|MSI GT70 Dragon Edition||4:34|
|Razer Edge Pro||3:40|
|Razer Blade 2.0||3:29|
|MSI GS60 Ghost||3:13|
|Digital Storm Veloce||2:53|
|Samsung Series 7 Gamer||2:11|
|2011 Sony VAIO F Series||2:07|
While the Blade’s internals didn’t leave me wanting for power, its screaming performance comes at a price: battery life. Our standard rundown test exhausted the machine after four hours and 27 minutes — a respectable runtime for a gaming laptop, but still a solid two hours short of last year’s model. It’s understandable, I suppose — Haswell giveth and Haswell (or perhaps the Blade’s gorgeous display panel) taketh away. Still, it’s always sad to see a machine lose longevity from one year to the next. Oh, and that power generates a fair bit of heat, too: The area just above the keyboard and part of the machine’s underside can get quite hot during gaming sessions. Keep your pants on, literally, or risk burning your legs.
The Razer Blade is traditionally lightweight on pre-installed software, and the latest iteration is no exception. A freshly unpacked Blade is outfitted with little more than Windows 8.1, a handful of drivers and Razer’s own Synapse software — a device, backlight and keyboard macro manager. It’s almost nothing, and that’s perfectly fine.
Configuration options and the competition
When the Blade first hit the scene in 2012, it was expensive — almost prohibitively so — but Razer kept knocking down the price with each successive release. That trend seems to be over — this year’s Blade costs $400 more than its predecessor, regardless of configuration. It’s pricey, but also powerful: Our $2,400 review unit is kitted out with a 2.2GHz Intel Core i7-4702HQ processor (3.2GHz with Turbo Boost), 8GB of DDR3L-1600MHz RAM, NVIDIA GeForce GTX 870M graphics (3GB GDDR5 VRAM), a 256GB solid-state drive and a 14-inch, 3,200 x 1,800 QHD+ multitouch display. Customization begins and ends with the machine’s SSD — it can be doubled for $300 or halved, a move that shaves $200 off the price.
Razer does offer a larger Blade too, but it’s not quite the same machine. The 17-inch Blade Pro starts at $2,300, and features a 2.4GHz/3.4GHz Intel Core i7-4700HQ CPU, 16GB of DDR3L RAM and an NVIDIA GeForce GTX 860M GPU (2GB of GDDR5 VRAM). It also boasts Razer’s unique Switchblade interface — a collection of programmable keys, each with their own embedded LED display. Its display panel isn’t a touchscreen like the 14-inch model’s screen, but it’s a good choice for buyers intimidated by higher resolutions: It tops out at 1080p.
Most of the Blade’s competition comes in the form of larger, but less expensive systems — but if your heart is set on a thin machine, take a look at MSI’s GS60 Ghost. This machine isn’t quite as thin as the new Razer Blade, but it matches the Blade Pro’s internal components part for part, and then some. In addition to all the above specs, the Ghost boasts a 1TB HDD for storage and a lower price of $1,800.
Razer CEO Min-Liang Tan describes the 2014 Razer Blade as a “no-compromise” gaming laptop, and that’s almost accurate. Between the machine’s screaming graphics performance, its thin chassis and that new QHD+ touchscreen, I was hard-pressed to find a legitimate complaint. Even so, the shadow of compromise is indeed here. The 14-inch Blade’s enhancements undo one of the previous models’ best features: battery life. Lasting only about four hours on a single charge, the new Blade still has a decent runtime (for a gaming machine), but it used to be exemplary. It’s a loss worth mourning.
It’s also worth noting that the new Blade is the first in the product’s history to launch with a higher price than the previous model, further solidifying it as a premium gaming machine that won’t compromise features for the sake of price. Either way, Razer’s 2014 Blade is the company’s best laptop yet, trumping its previous machine in nearly every regard. If you’ve got deep pockets, an appreciation for finely crafted electronics and the know-how to navigate the machine’s enormous touch display, you may have found your next laptop.
Lenovo has announced two new Chromebooks today, adding to the current line of more educational geared Chromebooks. The new line consists of the N20 and N20p.
Both Chromebooks offer similar specs:
- 11.6-inch 1366 x 768 display
- 11.6 x 8.34 x 0.70 inches ( 295 x 212 x 17.9 mm)
- Weight – N20: 2.8 pounds (1.3kg) N20p: 3.1 pounds (1.4kg)
- Up to 4G DDR3L RAM
- Up to 16GB eMMC storage
- Intel Celeron processor
- 8 hours battery life
- 2 x USB orts
- 1 x HDMI out
- 2-in1 SD/MMC card reader
The key difference between the Lenovo Chromebook N20 and the N20p is that the N20p offers a 10 point multi-touch display and it also folds around to get the keyboard out of the way entirely. Think more along the lines of the Yoga laptops.
The N20 will set you back $279 and become available in July. Where as the touch screen N20p will be slightly more expensive at $329 and won’t make its debut until August.
Samsung yesterday confirmed it will challenge the $119.6 million verdict in the second Apple versus Samsung patent infringement trial, claiming the decision was “unsupported by evidence.” According to Bloomberg, Samsung will ask Judge Lucy Koh to reduce the damages to zero and will follow with an appeal if this initial request is denied.
After several days of deliberations and weeks of testimony, the jury found that Samsung willfully infringed on three of the five Apple patents involved in the lawsuit and ordered the company to pay $119.6 million, a figure well below Apple’s requested $2 billion. Speaking after the verdict, jury foreman Thomas Dunham said the compensation was “fair and just” based on the evidence presented at the trial (via Re/code).
“The damages were based on the fact that both sides presented their view of what a reasonable amount of, I guess, compensation would be,” he said. “We didn’t really feel either one was what we felt was a fair and just compensation.”
Dunham, who is familiar with the patent system from his work at IBM, hinted that Apple should pursue Google because the Android operating system is the real target in this case, an argument that Samsung’s lawyers used during the trial (via The Wall Street Journal).
“If you really feel that Google is the cause behind this, as I think everybody has observed, then don’t beat around the bush,” said Mr. Dunham, whose job at IBM was to oversee developers expected to file patents. “Let the courts decide. But a more direct approach may be something to think about.”
Though Samsung was the defendant, Google played a role in the case as it was part of a larger “holy war” against Android instigated by Steve Jobs following Android’s debut Google also sent VP of engineering Hiroshi Lockheimer to testify on behalf of Samsung and agreed to offer partial legal protection to Samsung in case of an Apple win.
While Dunham suggests that Google should be Apple’s real target in the ongoing litigation, jurors claim that Google’s part in the trial was not a factor when they were deciding on the merit of the infringement claims. It also did not influence the amount of damages ultimately awarded to Apple.