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Five things you need to know about your new Chromecast

Getting started with your Chromecast

The Chromecast is one of those products that’s simple and incredible. This small HDMI dongle (it’s not much bigger than a thumb drive) turns any TV or monitor into a portal for online entertainment, and does it for less than the cost of a dinner and movie date. It’s one of Google’s most popular products, and one that everyone here at AC highly recommends.

Many of us have received one (or more) as a holiday gift and are just now getting into the set-up and playing with casting all the things. It’s a cool little gadget that does so much, but there are a few things you need to know about it to make the experience even better.

Let’s look at five things you need to know about your new Chromecast.


Ara’s favorite devices of 2014

New year, same sweet tech

2014 was a big year for me, device-wise. I went through a few phones — three Moto Xs, to be exact — I lost a tablet, I gained a few Chromebooks, and in the course of my writing here, I got to play with devices I’d otherwise never see. It’s been somewhat eye-opening, but more than anything, it’s helped reassure me of what I want in my devices. And now I’ll share my favorites with you. This list is a tad different — I haven’t played with any of the current tablets enough to confess a favorite, but my Chromebook had replaced my tablet and my old laptop to boot — but it’s a good list and it’s my list.

Onto the show!


HTC’s new Sense 7 Avatar Maker leaks out

HTC Sense 7 Avatar Maker

A new leak from reliable source Upleaks has revealed HTC’s upcoming Avatar Maker software. Interestingly, this software isn’t said to be available until the Sense 7 UI is made official, which could be in a couple of months from now. Needless to say, this is a pretty massive leak and could give us an idea of what Sense 7 could have in store for customers.

As is the norm for any new version of Sense, it will break cover with the year’s HTC flagship. And since the Hima or the One M9 is the next HTC flagship, we might have a good three months of waiting to do before getting to see this in action.


HTC has always rolled out user friendly features like these in the past, but an avatar maker is in a completely different league altogether. We only have a couple of screenshots to look at, so not much can be ascertained from them. But the name itself is pretty self explanatory, so we don’t really need much details on what it brings to the table.

Source: Upleaks

Come comment on this article: HTC’s new Sense 7 Avatar Maker leaks out


Best dating & romance apps to steam up your New Year!

New Year’s isn’t just for health and fitness resolutions, for improving your body and mind. It’s also for improving your heart. We leave increasingly frantic, often isolated lives. Even surrounded by people, we can be alone. Yet as much as technology allows us to work more and interact in-person less, it can also help connect or re-connect in real life. That can mean strengthening your existing relationships or finding new ones, enjoying quick encounters to spark or rekindle romance, or planning ways to renew or discover long term love. No matter who you are or what you’re looking for, here are the best iPhone apps to get your heart beating in harmony this New Year!

Meeting: Tinder, Grindr, and Brenda

Whether you’re looking for a brief encounter or hoping to strike up something more substantial, you’ve got to meet new people. Tinder lets you and others anonymously express interest in each other, and if and when a match occurs, lets you make contact and see what happens. Grindr focuses specifically on the gay and male bisexual community, and Brenda on the lesbian and female bisexual community. Whoever and whatever you’re looking for, one of them will suit your desires.

Dating: Plenty of Fish

At some point you may not want to meet not just someone, but the one. There’s not an app in the ‘verse that can guarantee that, of course, but there are some that focus less on the hookup and more on the matchup. You’re still playing the odds, but hopefully they get stacked a little more in your favor. Plenty of Fish has over 50 million members and a lot of features to help you meet the right one, in the right place, at the right time. If you’ve already loved and lost with OkCupid, give a different sea a try.

Messaging: Avocado

Communication is vital to intimacy. Not the general banter we engage in every day, and often barely listen to. But the flirting, the sharing of hopes and dreams and secrets and desires — the words and feelings that we would only every share with each other. It’s what binds us together, what makes us safe and dependable, and what makes us thrilling and exciting. Avocado is a messaging app designed specifically for couples so you can share text and picture outside Messages and the Camera Roll. So you can share something that exists, privately, only between the two of you.

Dining: Foursquare and OpenTable

Casual or candle-lit, fast or fine, classic or fusion, trendy or timeless, there are all kinds of restaurants for all kinds of occasions. If it’s a first encounter, maybe you want a coffee or pastry shop to keep things light and informal. If it’s a budding romance, maybe you want someplace that’ll help stoke the fires. If it’s a getaway from your everyday, maybe you want someplace that’ll let you fall in love all over again. For any of that, and more, Foursquare has become the place to go for socially-fueled recommendations. And once you find the perfect place, OpenTable can help make sure you get a reservation. (OpenTable even integrates with Siri, which makes it quick and easy to start the process.)

Getting away: Hotel Tonight

If you live with family or roommates, finding time and space to be alone together can be tough. If you have kids, finding time and space to be alone together can be almost impossible. Yet finding that time and space can be the very thing that takes your relationship to the next level, or reminds you what your relationship was all about. If you have a little extra cash, if you can arrange for the grandparents to watch the kids, Hotel Tonight can help you find a room — an oasis in your own town. Since it focuses on hotels trying to fill vacant rooms, it’s perfect for last-minute romantic get aways. And it’ll even let you book with ApplePay.

Your favorite dating and romance apps?

Whether you’re looking to connect or re-connect, what iPhone apps will you be turning to this year?


US Supreme Court moving to digital filing system in 2016

The Supreme Court of the US has stuck stubbornly to its ways. No cameras in the court room, a paper filing system, those robes… which are so last century. That may begin to change over the next couple of years however. In a year-end report released Wednesday night, Chief Justice John Roberts said that the court would begin accepting electronic filings as early as 2016. The court will have to first develop the system, then it will be rolled out in stages. At first paper documents will be used as the default, but those represented by attorneys in the court will also have to file the same documents electronically. Once that trial proves successful, digital documents will become the default for everyone. Though, paper filings will still be required. As Justice Roberts explained in the report, “Unlike commercial enterprises, the courts cannot decide to serve only the most technically-capable or well-equipped segments of the public… the courts must remain open for those who do not have access to personal computers.”

Obviously, one of the biggest concerns for the new system will be security. The privacy concerns of the plaintiffs, defendants and those testifying before the court is of the utmost importance. This is one of the many reasons that Roberts gives for the seemingly tortoise-like pace at which the Supreme Court adopts new technologies. (It took 37 years for the institution to even consider pneumatic tubes for sending documents between offices.) But, while he admits that a guarded approach to new technology is often a necessity for the federal court system, he acknowledges that its ways can seem archaic and inefficient. And even admits that some are… you know, like this reliance on flattened dead tree pulp.

Filed under: Misc


Via: New York Times

Source: The United States Supreme Court


OnePlus launches Android Lollipop Alpha: their new non-Cyanogen ROM


It’s safe to say that OnePlus and their software partner Cyanogen have been experiencing some communication difficulties lately. If you don’t remember, OnePlus found out that they couldn’t ship the OnePlus One to India running Cyanogen’s software, thanks to an exclusive deal between Cyanogen and Micromax. Then to clarify, Cyanogen released a statement telling saying this wasn’t necessarily the case. If that’s not enough, a few weeks later, the OnePlus One was completely banned in India, thanks to that deal with Cyanogen and Micromax. After about a week the ban was lifted and Indian users could begin to buy the phone again.

Thanks to this whole debacle, OnePlus has put together a group of software developers, and is now on its way to releasing their own ROM independently from Cyanogen. Earlier today, OnePlus announced their first ROM, Android Lollipop Alpha. This new software build is OnePlus’ first foray into building their own custom ROM. The Android Lollipop Alpha build is in the very early stages of development, so there are naturally a ton of known bugs with the software already. There aren’t any extra features baked into the OS, so it’s basically just bare-bones AOSP Lollipop for now.

You can flash the software to your OnePlus One using the instructions on the site. When the software is ready for the general public in the future, OnePlus will likely send out an over-the-air update to its users. So, if you aren’t keen on flashing alpha software to your device, give it some time, and you’ll receive OnePlus’ software sometime within the next couple of months.

Remember, this is an alpha build of the software, so it will be extremely buggy a difficult to use in some situations. Here are the known bugs in the software so far:

  • Data roaming is on by default. Make sure to turn if off to avoid potential charges.
  • As always, flashing a custom ROM incurs the risk of bricking your phone. Make sure you know what you’re doing and backup everything.
  • Camera and video may be unstable. This build supports 4k video, however quality may be low as we are still fine-tuning the camera.
  • Capacitive keys do not turn off when you enable software keys.
  • Clock crashes periodically.
  • If using the new app pinning feature in L, make sure to turn on the software keys first. Otherwise, you will have to reboot your machine.
  • On first boot, startup time will be a bit slow. Rest assured we will speed things up in the future.
  • Wi-Fi may be unstable

If you’re interested in getting the software for yourself, head to the OnePlus link below!


Twitter’s “While You Were Away” feature going live for some users

Twitter-for-Android-Receives-Bug-Fix-UpdateTwitter has been working on implementing a new feature for the social network that displays the most popular Tweets at the top of a user’s feed so they don’t miss anything important while they weren’t checking Twitter. The point is to drive up user engagement on the site, similar to how Facebook implements its Timeline feature. The feature is aptly called “While You Were Away” and it looks like it’s starting a slow roll out to some users.

The recapping feature is one of the first moves Twitter is making in 2015 to keep users on the site and posting. The tricky part will be finding the right balance between displaying tweets in the app that people actually want to see, and not just junk that takes up space at the top of a Twitter feed.

If you use the official Twitter app, keep an eye on it to see if the feature is live for you yet. If not, you can probably expect to see it by the end of the month.

source: Tech Crunch

Come comment on this article: Twitter’s “While You Were Away” feature going live for some users


Xiaomi set to unveil a new Redmi 1S variant on January 4th for Chinese markets

xiaomiXiaomi is preparing to show off a new smartphone on January 4th, and rumors are pointing to it being an updated version of the extremely affordable Redmi 1S. The newer variant of the device is expected to bring a few key improvements, including support for 4G LTE on some of China’s major wireless networks.

The rest of the hardware will likely be very similar to the original Redmi 1S. Rumors suggest a 4.7-inch 720p display, a Snapdragon 410 processor, 1 GB of RAM, 8 GB of internal storage and an 8 megapixel rear camera. Interestingly, though, the newer Redmi is expected to being offered in multiple colors. You’ll be able to pick up a black, white, red, orange, yellow, green, cyan, blue, or purple phone, so even the most picky customers should be able to find one they like.

No word on exactly where the price tag will fall, but Xiaomi has an event lined up for January 4th with a bigger reveal on the 15th, so you won’t have to wait too much longer to find out.

source: IT 168

via: Phone Arena

Come comment on this article: Xiaomi set to unveil a new Redmi 1S variant on January 4th for Chinese markets


What Android announcements had you most excited, and disappointed, in 2014? (poll)

oneplus one vs samsung galaxy s5 aa (27 of 29)

The year 2014 is finally over, and we are now ushering in a brand new year. Before we completely turn to the future, let’s talk a bit about 2014. A few days before the new year’s arrival, Simon brought us a great “Year in Review” post that pointed out some of the biggest happenings of 2014.

Now it’s time to share our own thoughts. What do you feel was the most important Android-related development of 2014?

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On the other side of the fence, what was the most disappointing Android development of 2014?

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How about the best flagship smartphone of the year?

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What do you feel was the most disappointing flagship of 2014?

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Turning to the new year

In a matter of days CES coverage will kick off and Team AA will be there in full force. This one event will set the stage for the year to come, even though the biggest Android-specific announcements won’t actually hit until MWC timeframe or later. In the days, weeks and months to come, we’ll likely have plenty of articles and features showcasing what we might see this year — and we’ve already done a rumor roundup on Samsung’s upcoming Galaxy S6.

But let’s talk about what you think — what Android device (or development) are you most looking forward to in 2015? Tell us about it in the comments!


The Huawei Honor 6 Plus with its dual rear 8MP cameras is now on sale for $399

The Huawei Honor 6 Plus smartphone that was first announced in mid-December is now available for sale on the oppomart website for $399 without a contract. The phone’s standout feature is its two rear 8MP cameras that allow users to take 13MP images.

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