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Samsung pushes throttle with EVO-series SSD and Facebook game [Review]


Last year we accepted Samsung’s challenge that claimed anyone would be capable of installing a solid-state drive. Taking apart my HP laptop was a frightening prospect but proved to be quite simple. The folks at Samsung have since launched their new EVO-series of SSD’s and I, once again, got my hands on one. Having upgraded to a more powerful laptop, the prospect of taking a screwdriver to it wasn’t any less clammy-hand inducing. I did it, however, and can tell you that speed is the name of Samsung’s game.

I’ve included the specs, below, but will try to spare you the minutiae of every improvement. What I will tell you is that Samsung has improved speed and performance with the 840 series. Already having a solid-state drive installed, the EVO SSD netted less dramatic results than you’ll experience if coming from an HDD. I did notice a much snappier response-time when installing software, during boot-up, and especially during video editing.

Samsung has also launched their new time-killer on Facebook, “The Fastest Game on Earth!”. Testing your response-time qualifies you for a daily chance at winning a 250GB 840 EVO. They’re giving away 50 of these bad-boys so get to clicking.

You’re not using a CRT monitor and you’re certainly not loading up floppy-drives anymore so there’s really no excuse to be using archaic HDD’s either. I’ve gone SSD and refuse to look back. If you’re contemplating doing the same, my mileage with Samsung has given me no reason to look elsewhere.

Samsung SSD 840 EVO Data Sheet [PDF]

The post Samsung pushes throttle with EVO-series SSD and Facebook game [Review] appeared first on AndroidGuys.


IRL: Letting IFTTT automate my life

IRL: Letting IFTTT automate my life

I’ve come to rely on different services to help power me through the day: Foursquare to find new coffee shops, Pocket for my reading habits and Instagram and Flickr for photo sharing. As great as these apps are, though, I find myself wishing they could do more — especially when it comes to how they all talk to each other. Being programming-inclined, I’ve been turning to If This Then That (IFTTT) to connect these various services, as well as automate some of my more basic tasks.

While IFTTT offers a lot of ways to crosspost to various networks, I’ve found it valuable for archival purposes, especially combined with Evernote’s powerful search. I like to keep logs of places I check into, along with a list of my favorite articles from around the web. Foursquare and Pocket can both do this, but there’s always that small chance the service will go away or shifts focus. Plus, their search capabilities aren’t as feature-rich; you can’t even use tags, for instance. And while I’m not crazy about Evernote’s note-taking capability, it’s great for archiving and searching. With just a few clicks I can save and tag my activity — metadata and all — inside a labeled Evernote notebook. This makes it easier for me to remember the awesome little breakfast nook we found when visiting Bar Harbor a few years ago. Not a huge fan of Evernote and like Drive better? No problem: IFTTT supports Drive, too.

I got particularly good use out of IFTTT a few months ago when I was searching for a new place to live. I have two dogs and they’ve never had a yard to play in, so having outdoor space became a big priority for my wife and me. Unfortunately, our part of New Jersey doesn’t have many pet-friendly rentals, so it was critical that we have a leg up on everyone else who was looking. I knew Craigslist offered RSS, so I plugged that into IFTTT and had it email me with any new listing. After a few weeks, a new place was found, a yard was had, and our dogs have been sunbathing ever since.

IFTTT’s iOS app has also proven more valuable than I expected. I like to capture a lot of pictures on my phone, especially when I’m on my bike. I’m five minutes away from the beach and 30 minutes from the farmlands. Of course, I like to capture this stuff, but when I’m riding I don’t have time to futz with various apps. With the app I can set it to monitor an album in my photo stream and auto-upload to my Flickr feed with the tag “bike touring.” This makes it easy to snap a photo, dump it in a folder and hop back on the bike before the ol’ legs can cramp up.

The channel list is always growing, too, and each new addition has me exploring new ways to further integrate IFTTT into my life. And while it’s mainly centered around web-based services, the mobile apps have opened a new area for me to experiment with, thanks to location triggers and push notifications. IFTTT won’t be a good fit for everyone, and it doesn’t always work the way you’d like it to. For example, I can’t have pictures auto-post to Instagram, but I can use tags to auto-post to Facebook, Dropbox or Twitter based on a hashtag. Not the end of the world, but it can sometimes interfere with my workflow ideas. This minor annoyance aside, IFTTT’s easy-to-use interface and improving mobile apps can go a long way in making the web work the way you want it to.

Filed under: Internet



Official CyanogenMod Nightlies come to Samsung Galaxy Tab Pro 8.4


If you have grabbed yourself a Samsung Galaxy Tab Pro 8.4 but wanted to enjoy the device with a stock Android experience then you’ll be pleased to learn that the Tab has gotten CyanogenMod Nightly build support.

The device has been branded as ‘mondrianwifi‘ on the CyanogenMod website and the download comes in at just over 200MB.

As with any Nightly builds, expect there to be bugs, things that don’t work, and things that work pretty well, but with stock Android on a Samsung Galaxy Tab Pro 8.4, are you going to complain?

The post Official CyanogenMod Nightlies come to Samsung Galaxy Tab Pro 8.4 appeared first on AndroidGuys.


Motorola E specs and photos leak ahead of next week’s announcement


Following the Moto E leak on Facebook yesterday, the yet-to-be announced device just got another leak and has now been fully revealed thanks to a Brazilian retailer that published images and specs prematurely.

According to the retailer, the Moto E will have a 4.3-inch display and, if the recent leaks are to be believed, will be running at a 720 x 1280 resolution.

Full specs below:

  • Android 4.4 KitKat
  • 3G connectivity, Wi-Fi
  • 5MP rear camera without Flash (there’s no front-facing camera)
  • Dual-core 1.2GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon processor
  • 1GB of RAM
  • 4GB of internal memory
  • microSD card support (up to 32GB)
  • 1,980 mAh battery
  • 124.8 x 64.8 x 12.3 mm
  • 140 grams

We’re all expecting Motorola to announce the budget device that will be priced at a point that will be affordable for all next week on May 13th.

The post Motorola E specs and photos leak ahead of next week’s announcement appeared first on AndroidGuys.


Whatever happened to Netscape?

Netscape’s story reads like a proper fairy tale: takeovers, fierce and hostile competition, split-ups, a giant payout and even a dragon! While Netscape may now only be a sweet, sweet memory to those who used it to first discover the web, the browser’s monstrous impact has cemented it as one of the first and most important startups to shape the internet. Netscape’s founders successfully plucked a brilliant idea from academia and pushed it onto the world’s stage at a time when competition didn’t exist, websites were not much more than plain-text blurbs and inline images were still revolutionary. Consider the battle that would ensue between this web pioneer and Microsoft. The “browser wars,” as they came to be known, would ultimately lead to creation of Internet Explorer, Microsoft’s antitrust suit and the formation of the Mozilla Project and Firefox.

Netscape was born the child of University of Illinois graduate Marc Andreessen and Silicon Graphics’ Jim Clark. Andreessen had spent some of his time at university working on the NCSA (National Center for Supercomputing Applications) Mosaic browser and understood full well the potential it offered. With Clark’s help, the two created Mosaic Communications Corporation in April 1994, pulling in many former SGI and NCSA employees. The team then churned out the first point release in October of that year: Mosaic Netscape release 0.9. By the end of December, the company underwent a significant transformation, adopting the name Netscape Communications and launching Netscape Navigator 1.0.


Jim Clark (left) with Marc Andreessen.

The company launched Netscape Navigator into the market without even a glimmer of real competition and the browser went on to become the de facto portal to the web in early 1995. Of course, Microsoft was working feverishly in the background to play catch-up with a browser of its own creation, licensing Mosaic’s tech to build the first iteration of Internet Explorer.

On August 9th of that year, the then roughly 1-year-old Netscape went public with its initial stock offering at $28 per share. By close of day, the company’s valuation skyrocketed to nearly $3 billion. It was around this time that Microsoft was preparing to release Windows 95 and a separate add-on pack: Windows 95 Plus! Pack, which included Internet Explorer 1.0 and TCP/IP, the protocol needed to use the web. At last, Microsoft had arrived with its first effort at a Netscape killer.

The company launched Netscape Navigator into the market without even a glimmer of real competition and the browser went on to become the de facto portal to the web in early 1995.

Netscape and Internet Explorer traded releases in lockstep throughout 1995 and 1996, but by the time Internet Explorer version 3.0 was released, Microsoft had fully caught up and was able to match Netscape feature-for-feature. In an attempt to differentiate from its IE rival and grow its user base, Netscape took a stab at the enterprise crowd and launched the Netscape Communicator 4.0 bundle in late 1996. Communicator added in a Usenet client, web editor, e-mail app and even an address book; in short, it quite handily defined the very early days of sales- and management-driven bloatware. The move, however, failed to gain much traction with the suit-and-tie set.

Netscape’s browser icon through the years.

Netscape continued to develop both Netscape Navigator 3.0 and Communicator 4.0, but the looming threat of Internet Explorer, with version 3 bundled into Windows 95 service release 2, still lingered heavily in the background. The rivalry was compounded even further when Microsoft’s browser team apparently dropped its massive IE logo off at Netscape’s campus the night of Internet Explorer 4′s launch. The Netscape crew understandably took issue with the slight and toppled the giant IE logo over, placing its Mozilla dragon mascot atop it and holding a sign that read “Netscape 72 Microsoft 18.”

In January 1998, Netscape announced its intention to release the source code for Netscape Communicator to the public; a move that gave rise to the Mozilla Organization. Unfortunately for Netscape, this also had the effect of stalling development on its browser platform through much of that year, essentially giving Microsoft the lead it needed. And that summer, Internet Explorer finally overtook Netscape as the most used browser, a mantle Netscape was never able to win back.

Netscape responds to Microsoft’s prank by putting its mascot atop a toppled Internet Explorer logo.

The company, however, was far from being completely wiped out: AOL recognized some value in the struggling company and purchased it in November 1998 for a whopping $4.2 billion. The acquisition did nothing to spur development efforts though, and it wouldn’t be until April of 2000 that preview versions of Netscape 6, based on Mozilla code, saw the light of day. A further two years later, Netscape 7 was released, serving as the last major build version to come from that source code.

AOL recognized some value in the struggling company and purchased it in November 1998 for a whopping $4.2 billion.

Not long after, AOL shuttered the Netscape department and laid off most of the staff in 2003, opting instead to continue development in-house with Mozilla’s Firefox as its code base. The once proud web app was also re-branded as Netscape Browser and AOL eventually outsourced successive releases to Mercurial Communications, a Canadian software developer. Mercurial babysat and pushed out versions 8 through 8.1 of the Netscape Browser between 2005 and 2007 to a public that largely didn’t care any longer. And, in a sad final gasp, AOL cobbled together a dev team to push out Netscape Navigator 9, its first internally built browser effort since version 7. Its release would signal the end of Netscape the browser, as AOL pulled the plug on it in February of 2008.

While Netscape didn’t stand the test of time quite like its chief rival Internet Explorer has, its open-source transition into Mozilla did eventually birth Firefox — a browser success story in and of itself. But Netscape’s precipitous rise and fall in those early internet days wasn’t without lasting effects: Its brief stint at the top and tense rivalry with Microsoft laid much of the groundwork for innovation in the browsing space.

[Image Credit: Associated Press;]

Filed under: Internet, Software, Microsoft



Recommended Reading: Star Wars visuals and Square’s data gold mine

Recommended Reading highlights the best long-form writing on technology and more in print and on the web. Some weeks, you’ll also find short reviews of books that we think are worth your time. We hope you enjoy the read.

Star Wars: The Exhibition - Private View

The Man Who Literally Built Star Wars
by Jeremy Singer, Esquire


Esquire sits down with Star Wars set decorator Roger Christian to find out what it was like to literally build the visuals for George Lucas. During the course of the chat, we discover that the interior of the Millennium Falcon was constructed from scrap airplane metal, the challenge of the garbage compactor, the inspiration for Hans Solo’s blaster and the creation of the first lightsaber.

A Bitcoin for GIFs Aims to Make Digital Art Ownable
by Whitney Mallett, Motherboard

Right now, GIFs aren’t of much monetary value since they can be easily copied from their source and distributed at will. However, an artist and an entrepreneur have an idea that could change that. By using a cryptographic block chain similar to that which tracks Bitcoin transactions, the pair looks at how they could build a market for such works by authenticating authorship of one-of-a-kind pieces.

Pocket!function(d,i)if(!d.getElementById(i))var j=d.createElement(“script”);;j.src=”″;var w=d.getElementById(i);d.body.appendChild(j);(document,”pocket-btn-js”);

How Agencies Vet Startup Clients to Find the Next WhatsApp
by Alexandra Bruell, Advertising Age

PR agency head Scott Allison knows a thing or two about taking on startups as clients. He was still representing WhatsApp when it was acquired by Facebook a few months back. But for every success story, he says there are at least five that fizzle out. In this piece for Ad Age, Allison and others discuss the vetting process before working with possible up-and-comers and the factors that figure heavily into the decision-making process.

Pocket!function(d,i)if(!d.getElementById(i))var j=d.createElement(“script”);;j.src=”″;var w=d.getElementById(i);d.body.appendChild(j);(document,”pocket-btn-js”);

A Conversation with Composer Cliff Martinez
by Nara Shin, Cool Hunting

You may not immediately recognize the name, but if you’re a fan of Steven Soderbergh, you’ve likely heard his work. Martinez collaborates with Soderbergh often to provide dark, yet ambient scores, appearing in such works as Sex, Lies and Videotape, Solaris and the upcoming HBO film The Normal Heart. Cool Hunting chats up working with Skrillex, compositional style and his work on The Knick, another pending Soderbergh project for Cinemax about the early days of surgery in the US.

Pocket!function(d,i)if(!d.getElementById(i))var j=d.createElement(“script”);;j.src=”″;var w=d.getElementById(i);d.body.appendChild(j);(document,”pocket-btn-js”);

Square Turned Dollars Into Data. Now It’ll Turn That Data Into Gold
by Mat Honan, Wired

Wired asked Square to take a look at data concerning how a sports stadium generates revenue for local businesses to show just how valuable the outfit’s collected data is. While the company has proven it’s a highly useful payment processor, it can also provide a wealth of transaction analytics too. And that may just be were it cashes in next.


[Photo credit: MJ Kim/Getty Images]

Filed under: Misc



VTech Connect-to-Cell DS6670-6C review


At First Glance

The Bluetooth Connect-to-Cell DS6670-6C by V-Tech is one of the easiest ways to give up your Landline while keeping handsets around the house, while remaining Landline compatible itself. This model features a base equipped with one handset, an earpiece, and comes with four additional extension units to place about your home. This model allows for up to two paired cells, and a landline connection as well.


The handsets have a beautiful design and come in two colors with all purchases. Two of the extension handsets come in white, while the others remain like the base unit and silver/black. The handsets are very sleek, narrow, and long, which at times may make the handsets a uneasy in hand. The buttons are easy to use, as with most of VTech’s lineup.

Operation and Ease of Use

VTech’s Landline models offer simplicity and a variety of features all at the same time, this model is no exception. The Menu option features your usual categories such as time/date, announced caller ID, and ringtones. A great feature is that ringtones are customizable per the device ringing so that way you can associate which line (up to 3) is ringing.

Intercom System

A dedicated intercom is integrated into this system, connecting you from one handset to another or the earpiece.

Push to Talk (PTT) System

On the upper right hand side, there is a Push to Talk button that will connect to one individual handset of your choosing each time or the entire handset system. You can easily make an announcement to the handsets in your home, and persons listening can reply back to you in a two way radio (aka walkie-talkie) style.

Bluetooth Connection

This unit pairs with up to two mobile devices via Bluetooth. You may also upload your contacts to the system for easier recognition of your mobile callers. Call quality is great when connected to a mobile device with normal to full cell coverage.


You can initiate a call on either cell by dialing in the number you’d like to reach and then press either the “Cell 1″ or “Cell 2″ buttons to dial out. When you receive a call on either lines, landline/home, cell one, or cell two, an LED indicator will direct you as to which to answer when ringing.

Wireless Earpiece

While I wouldn’t call this a Bluetooth earpiece, as it does not connect to your cell separately, the headset works for you when you need it via landline or any of the cellular devices. In testing, it was especially handy when multi-tasking.

What We Missed:

VTech kept the Connect to Cell™ true to 

  •  Handset Naming (While you could always PTT to the group, sometimes you need to PTT or Intercom directly to a handset  and remembering which handset is in what room is not exactly the easiest of tasks.)
  • Optional Belt Clip on Handsets (Personally I never much use them, but they are very handy to some, and a classic feature of many VTech Phone models.)


This system makes it easy to stay connected without running through your home every time your phone rings. Great battery life with all handsets is a definite plus. Standard features such as speakerphone, intercom, ringtone selection, and an optional use answering machine makes this your average advanced system and more.

There is an integration application that may be found on the Google Play Store at no cost to alert your system of a variety of other alerts. Sadly, this application hasn’t been updated in almost a year and while some users are having issues with the current version, it is not needed for this system.

I definitely love this phone set and it has made staying in touch much easier.You can check out the Connect-to-Cell DS6670-6C Home System on sale for $149.95 for a limited time at the VTech Store.

The post VTech Connect-to-Cell DS6670-6C review appeared first on AndroidGuys.


Here are some of the best reaction GIFs according to Reddit

Sometimes there’s no better way to respond to a story or a comment than with an animated GIF. Specifically, a reaction GIF, which should be no stranger to anyone who’s ever spent a significant amount of time in online chat rooms and internet message boards. And out of the millions of GIFs out there, a few have risen to the top. Which ones? Well, the Museum of the Moving Image has asked the Reddit community to come up with what it deems as the 37 most frequently deployed GIFs on the internet for an exhibit. After looking through the submissions, we have to admit there are definitely some familiar GIFs on here (We’ve seen the Homer Simpson fading into the bushes animation one too many times for example).

If you want to check out the whole list, either head over to the source link or visit the museum in-person before the exhibit closes on May 15th. Meanwhile, we’ve decided to pair up some of our latest stories with a few from the list for a bit of fun. Check ‘em out after the break.

Oh no, so sad

FCC’s new net neutrality rules opposed by 100+ internet companies

Well, hooray for you

What does hip-hop’s ‘first billionaire’ have that Apple wants?

Alright, that’s pretty cool

3D printers find a home fighting disease in Syrian refugee camps

Seriously, you guys?

The Minecraft version of Denmark is being attacked, hilariously

Oh shit.

A Westerner’s guide to Japanese toilets

[Image credits: Museum of the Moving Image]


Source: Museum of the Moving Image


Blu Studio 6.0 HD Review, The Mid-range Phablet For Everyone!

Studio 6.0 S Black 3D(3)

Blu Studio 6.0 HD Specifications

See official press release here

Blu Studio 6.0 HD:

  • Network: 2G (GSM/GPRS/EDGE) 850/900/1800/1900 MHz, 3G (HSPA+ 21Mbps) 850/1900 or 850/2100, Dual Mini-SIM Cards
  • Display: 6.0 inch HD 720 x 1280, with OGS and Full Lamination Touch Panel
  • Processor: MediaTek MT6582 Quad-Core 1.3GHz Cortex-A7 with MALI-400 GPU.
  • OS: Android v4.2 Jelly Bean, upgradeable to 4.4 KitKat (End of May)
  • Camera: Rear – 8.0 megapixel, autofocus with LED Flash, Video Record 1080p @ 30fps, Front – 2.0 megapixel
  • Connectivity:  WiFi b/g/n, GPS, Bluetooth v4.0 with A2DP, Wi-Fi Hotspot, micro-USB, FM Radio
  • Sensor: Accelerometer, Proximity, Gyroscope
  • Memory:  4GB internal memory + microSD slot expandable up to 32GB, 1GB RAM
  • Dimensions: 168 x 83 x 8.5 mm, 206 grams
  • Battery: Non-removable Li-Po 3000 mAh battery
  • Colors: Polished Black, Lustrous White

Devices are now shipping for just $249!

The Blu Studio 6.0 HD is shaping up to be a solid budget competitor in the phablet game. This device is everything that the Galaxy Mega should have been; LCD display, AOSP Android 4.2.2, with a quad-core processor. There’s no LTE and while it’s only got 1 GB of RAM as opposed to the 1.5 GB of the Galaxy Mega, keep in mind that the device isn’t running the resource-heavy TouchWiz UI, so it evens out.


Both the black and the white versions are very classy looking. I prefer the black, but even though I don’t generally care for the look of large white devices, I would take either color in a heartbeat. The front of the device is a nearly bezel-less design around the gorgeous 6 inch 720p display. Rather than waste the screen real-estate on a navigation bar, they gave the bottom bezel to the same buttons which would normally reside on the nav-bar, and bravo to Blu for putting them in the correct order: back, home, recents. The sides have the traditionally placed volume rocker on the left, power/sleep button on the right. You’ll find the microUSB charging port centered on top of the device and the 3.5 mm headset jack to it’s left. There’s also a very classy silver, metallic bezel which surrounds the device. The device’s rear is beveled to a very aesthetically pleasing degree. There’s a centered 8 MP camera at the top crowing the LED flash and the “BLU” logo a quarter inch beneath, and a quarter-inch from the bottom center there’s a half-inch speaker slit.


Possibly the most exciting feature of the Blu Studio 6.0 HD is the firmware, even though it’s still on Android 4.2.2, (soon to be upgraded to 4.4.2 KitKat) It’s running a nearly perfect AOSP UI with just a few enhancements in the browser, settings and quick settings menus. The one downfall of the device’s software is that the recent apps button is mapped to menu, and you have to long-press it to activate recents. But I’ve been in touch with their product manager about that and am hoping for a fix to map the recents button correctly and enable the overflow menu button in a future update. We’ll see how that pans out. Blu’s software team has made some enhancements to the AOSP browser app to make the best of the spacious display. There’s now a bar at the bottom which shows back and forward, tabs and bookmarks buttons. studio 60 hd browser The rest of the devices software is pretty much stock Android 4.2.2, but to Android fanatics, that’s a wonderful thing! How we’ve needed a larger selection of devices with less of these OEM skins. This device is absolutely a contender in the Phablet race. To quote my editorial on Blu:

Take the Galaxy Note series. Great devices, always leading Samsung’s Galaxy line, and often leading the market in specs, but for most people to get the new one without selling a minor organ will literally cost years of your life in the form on a contractual agreement with a carrier, or a financing plan adding a monthly fee to your bill until the retail price of the device is paid-in-full.   The question is, do the people who use the Note series all need the power that these expensive devices pack? I don’t think they do. Most of the people I’ve known who swear by the Note line are just in it for the screen size, and nothing more. Most don’t even play games or do anything much more taxing than watching Youtube videos and browsing the web. The Galaxy Note 3 has an MSRP of $699.99, but for what a lot of users need (I won’t necessarily say “most” but a lot) they would be better off with Blu’s new Studio 6.0 HD which is prices at $249.99 unlocked, out the door with no contract.

If you want a large screen and don’t need the leading edge specs, check out this device!

Real World Usage

One of the great things about this device is that it’s totally usable throughout the day and it doesn’t slow down. I consider myself a power user and using this device hasn’t slowed me down in the least. Getting used to the larger display has taken more acclimation than anything else.

Looking at the specs on paper, I expected to have to give the device a bit of a handicap in my review, but that hasn’t been the case. It’s lived up to and sometimes exceeded my expectations in most areas. The only time it seems to drag a bit is when activating the recent apps menu from a taxing application, but that’s a small price to pay for the value you’re getting with this phone. I hope soon to hear of friends in the Android community excited to receive their new Blu devices!

Website: Blu Studio 6.0 HD

The post Blu Studio 6.0 HD Review, The Mid-range Phablet For Everyone! appeared first on AndroidGuys.


Motorola’s first post-Google phone looks to be another low-end wonder

Motorola was planning a big shindig for May 13th, where it’ll launch its first phone after being sold to Lenovo by Google. Unfortunately, any big surprises that were being kept for the day look to have been spoiled thanks to trigger-happy Brazilian retailer FastShop. The site has posted a full listing for the handset, and if it’s genuine, then the Moto E will sit beneath the Moto G as the company’s new ultra-budget device. Specs-wise, there’s a 4.3-inch display, 1.2GHz dual-core Snapdragon paired with 1GB RAM, 4GB storage, a 1,980mAh battery and dual-SIM slots. On the expansion front, the microSD slot will only take cards up to 32GB, and there’s a 5-megapixel camera poking out of the back. There’s no word on price, but given that the Moto G retails for just under $200, we’d expect this to cost no more than a Benjamin-and-a-half.

Filed under: Cellphones, Mobile, Lenovo


Via: PhoneArena

Source: FastShop (Translated)

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