Skip to content

Archive for


OS X El Capitan is now available for download

By now, you’re likely read about the new version of Apple’s OS X more than once. Today’s the day you can get your hands on the final version. El Capitan is now available for download via the App Store on your Mac, delivering arrives new features like split-screen multitasking, speedier performance, handy tabs in Safari and updates to apps like Mail and Notes. If you gave the public beta a spin, you already have an idea of what to expect. However, if you weren’t feeling adventurous, take a gander at our review for some in-depth impressions of all the changes.

Source: Mac App Store


Ridley Scott is working on a VR project

'Prometheus' Paris Photo Call

For a 77-year-old guy who’s been pumping out films for decades, Ridley Scott shows no signs of slowing down. The director has The Martian hitting theaters this week (his best film in some time), he’s planning for three more Prometheus films, and he’s producing a sequel to Blade Runner. Now, you can add VR to the mix. In an interview with Yahoo, Scott revealed that he’s working on a mystery virtual reality project. “You have to go for it,” Scott said when asked if he was considering VR. “You’ve got to, you’d be stupid not to.” While he won’t reveal which film the VR project is attached to (it would certainly make sense for the Blade Runner world), he envisions it being “a domestic experience, where you can sit in a room like this and [walk] through a whole universe by yourself, and then pass it on to your family.” Fox is already producing a 15-minute VR experience for The Martian directed by Robert Stromberg, but the idea of Scott bringing his talent to VR is even more exciting.

[Photo credit: Tony Barson/FilmMagic]

Source: Yahoo


Ask the Nexus 5X and 6P developers anything right now on Reddit

The team behind the Nexus 5X and 6P will be on Reddit today starting at 11AM PT, answering all kinds of questions about the new smartphones. The 6P, you’ll recall, is Google’s sturdy, sophisticated collaboration with Huawei, while the 5X is a smaller LG model with some seemingly nice upgrades.

Source: Reddit


Freevolt generates power from thin air

What you see above may look like an unremarkable slice of electronics, but it can theoretically power a low-energy device forever, and for free. If that sounds like a big deal, well… that’s because it is. Drayson Technologies today announced Freevolt, a system that harvests energy from radio frequency (RF) signals bouncing around in the ether and turns it into usable, “perpetual power.” Drayson isn’t exactly a household name, but the research and development company has a particular interest in energy, especially where all-electric racing is concerned. And now it’s developed the first commercial technology that literally creates electricity out of thin air.

We’re constantly surrounded by an ever-denser cloud of RF signals. They’re the reason your smartphone gets 2G, 3G and 4G coverage, your laptop gets WiFi, and your TV receives digital broadcasts. Capturing energy from this background noise is nothing new, but most proof-of-concept scenarios have employed dedicated transmitters that power devices at short ranges. Furthermore, research into the field has never really left the lab, though a company called Nikola Labs is hoping to release an iPhone case that’s said to extend battery life using RF energy harvesting.

According to Drayson, Freevolt is the first commercially available technology that powers devices using ambient RF energy, no dedicated transmitter required. The key to Freevolt is said to be the efficiency of its three constituent parts. A multi-band antenna scavenges RF energy from any source within the 0.5-5GHz range, which is then fed through an “ultra-efficient” rectifier that turns this energy into DC electricity. A power management module boosts, stores and outputs this electricity — and that’s all there is to it.

Freevolt may well be the most efficient system of its kind, but it’s still only viable for devices that require very little power. In a location where lots of RF signals are flying around, like in an office, a standard Freevolt unit can produce around 100 microwatts of power. That’s nowhere near enough to say, run your smartphone, but Drayson has some specific use cases in mind. The company thinks Freevolt can be the backbone of the connected home, and in a broader sense, the internet of things. Sensor-based devices, such as a smart smoke alarm, can be powered by Freevolt indefinitely. Beacons that provide indoor mapping and targeted advertising are also perfect candidates.

While it’s easy to visualize specific examples — a smoke alarm that never needs a new battery, or a low-power security camera that isn’t bound to a mains outlet — the true potential of Freevolt is hard to grasp. We’re talking about free energy here: devices that never need charging, cost nothing to run, and aren’t limited by the location of an external power source. An entire smart city — where roads know when they’re busy and bins know when they’re full — could be devised using countless sensors that require no upkeep, and have no overheads beyond the price of the hardware itself. It’s a powerful idea, and beyond sensors, Drayson imagines Freevolt being used to trickle-charge all kinds of hardware, significantly extending the battery life of a wearable, for instance.

What’s more, Freevolt can be scaled up for applications that require higher power outputs, and Drayson is currently working on miniaturizing its initial reference design and creating a flexible version that can be integrated into clothing, among other things. There are limitations to the technology, of course. The amount of power Freevolt can harness depends on the density of ambient RF signals, which are way more prevalent in urban areas than the countryside. A sensor-based product could still operate in these lower-yield environments, though, by monitoring a value every five minutes instead of every five seconds, for example.

Drayson’s business model involves selling licenses to Freevolt and its related patents, as well as offering guidance and technical support to interested parties. Development kits are also available to pre-order from today, so advanced tinkerers can get their hands on the tech too. It might take some time before Freevolt finds its way into products, as Drayson is relying primarily on other companies to dream up and develop real-world applications. That said, Drayson has created a consumer product of its very own that’s powered solely by Freevolt: an air pollution monitor called CleanSpace.

The CleanSpace Tag is a continuous carbon monoxide monitor that sends data back to your smartphone via Bluetooth. From the companion app, you can see real-time air pollution levels, and review your exposure during that day, recent weeks and further. The app also keep tabs on your travels, encouraging you to build up “CleanMiles” by walking and cycling rather than taking motorized transport. These banked CleanMiles can then be exchanged for rewards provided by partners such as Amazon, incentivizing you to travel in non-polluting ways.

Air pollution is of particular interest to Lord Drayson, chairman and CEO of Drayson Technologies, who hopes to increase awareness of the invisible health risk. But, there’s also a bigger picture. The CleanSpace app uses data from the 110 static sensors dotted around London to build a pollution map of the capital. Each CleanSpace Tag also feeds anonymized data into this system, with the idea being the more tags in the wild, the more locally relevant and robust that UK pollution map can become. CleanSpace users can therefore decide on the fly to avoid more polluted areas in favor of cleaner routes. The plan is to expand the crowdsourced data concept elsewhere if it’s well received, but for now the CleanSpace Tag is only available in the UK through a crowdfunding campaign. Pricing starts at £55 per tag, though you might want to buy one just to rip it open and see the Freevolt backbone hidden inside.

Source: Drayson Technologies


Tattoo-like electronic health patches are now easy to make

U of T's easy-to-make wearable health patch

However much you like the idea of a wearable electronic patch monitoring (or improving) your health, it’s not all that practical. Making just one patch using current tech can take days, and you’d better believe that the result will be expensive. University of Texas researchers may have licked this problem, though. They’ve developed a “cut-and-paste” manufacturing method for tattoo-like patches that whittles the assembly time down to 20 minutes, and should reduce the cost in the process. The technique involves little more than cutting shapes out of metal placed on polymer sheets, and then printing the electronics on to polymer adhesives. Effectively, it’s 3D printing in reverse — you’re taking material away until you get the design you want.

The invention sounds simple, but it could do a lot to make wearable tech a mainstay of the medical world. If patches are both simple to make and inexpensive, you’re much more likely to get them as part of your treatment. You could even get disposable patches that track short-term conditions (say, a bad flu) to make sure that they’re not signs of something much worse. It could take a long while before you see these cheap-and-easy devices in service, but they may well become commonplace.

Source: University of Texas


Apple Seeds Third iOS 9.1 Beta to Developers

Apple today seeded the third beta of iOS 9.1 to registered developers for testing purposes, three weeks after seeding the first iOS 9.1 beta following its fall “Hey Siri” event and one week after releasing iOS 9.0.1, the first minor update to iOS 9. Apple has also just released iOS 9.0.2, another minor update to iOS.

The new beta of iOS 9.1, build 13B5130b, is available as an over-the-air update and through the Apple Developer Center.

iOS 9.1 includes new features for the iPad Pro, adding support for accessories like the Smart Keyboard and the Apple Pencil, both of which are deeply integrated into the operating system. It also includes features that will allow the iPhone to interact with the new Apple TV.

iOS 9.1 also includes Unicode 8, adding support for emoji like the taco, burrito, cheese wedge, middle finger, unicorn head, and more, plus it includes a new “Hey Siri” Settings feature that lets the “Hey Siri” command be customized for an individual user’s voice. On-demand voice activation even when not plugged into a power source using the “Hey Siri” command is a new feature in the iPhone 6s and the iPhone 6s Plus.

As was discovered in iOS 9.1 beta 2, iOS 9.1 also adds a new Messages option in the Settings app, allowing users to disable photos for their contacts.

It is not clear when iOS 9.1 will be released to the public, but it’s likely it will come in late October, coinciding with the launch of the new Apple TV.


Apple Releases iOS 9.0.2 With Bug Fixes, Performance Improvements

ios_9_iconApple today released iOS 9.0.2, a minor update that introduces bug fixes and performance improvements to iOS 9. The iOS 9.0.2 update comes one week after the release of iOS 9.0.1, the first update to iOS 9, and a month after iOS 9 was released to the public.

iOS 9.0.2 is available immediately to all iOS 9 users as an over-the-air update.

Like iOS 9.0.1, iOS 9.0.2 is a minor update that focuses on introducing some much-needed bug fixes and performance enhancements to Apple’s newest operating system.

This update contains bug fixes and improvements including:

– Fixes an issue with the setting to turn on or off app cellular data usage
– Resolves an issue that prevented iMessage activation for some users
– Resolves an issue where an iCloud backup could be interrupted after starting a manual backup
– Fixes an issue where the screen could incorrectly rotate when receiving notifications
– Improves the stability of Podcasts

iOS 9 has been available since September and focuses on proactivity and intelligence with some major updates to Siri and Search. iOS 9 also includes updates to several Apple-branded apps and it includes a split-screen multitasking feature for the iPad.

Today’s iOS 9.0.2 update precedes iOS 9.1, which will be the first significant update to iOS 9. iOS 9.1 includes new emoji, settings for acclimating the “Hey Siri” activation feature to an individual user’s voice, and an option to disable contact photos in Messages. It also focuses on introducing compatibility for upcoming Apple products like the iPad Pro and the Apple TV.


Apple Releases Safari 9 for OS X Yosemite and Mavericks Users

safariiconAhead of the official launch of OS X El Capitan, Apple’s newest operating system, Apple today released Safari 9.0 for OS X Yosemite users. According to Apple, today’s update is recommended for all people running OS X Yosemite and includes improvements to privacy, compatibility, and security.

The update adds El Capitan-centric features including a new mute audio feature for Safari tabs and additional viewing options for Safari Reader. Pinned Sites, a major Safari addition in OS X El Capitan, is not included.

This update:

– Adds controls to mute audio in Safari tabs
– Adds additional viewing options for Safari Reader
– Improves website AutoFill compatibility

Many OS X Yosemite users will be upgrading to OS X El Capitan in the next few hours, following its official public release. It is not clear when Apple plans to debut the software, but the company has promised that it’s coming on September 30.


Apple Releases OS X 10.11 El Capitan With Improved Spotlight Search, Enhanced Performance, and Revamped Apps

Apple today released OS X 10.11 El Capitan to the public, making the newest Mac operating system available for free to Mac users around the world. OS X El Capitan went through eight developer betas before the golden master version of the software was released on September 9.

OS X El Capitan is still rolling out to users, but it can be downloaded using the Software Update function in the Mac App Store, and it will run on all Macs capable of running OS X Yosemite. Here is a direct link for the update: OS X El Capitan.

Subscribe to the MacRumors YouTube channel for more videos.
As an update complementary to OS X Yosemite, as the OS X El Capitan name suggests, the new operating system builds on the features introduced last year. OS X El Capitan focuses on improving user experience and performance.

OS X El Capitan looks like OS X Yosemite, but it includes a new systemwide font, San Francisco, and it introduces a new Split View option for Mission Control, allowing two full-screen apps to be used side-by-side. El Capitan includes an improved Spotlight Search and several new app features. Safari, for example, has gained Pinned Sites and a universal mute button, while Mail has new iOS-style smart suggestions.

Photos in OS X El Capitan supports third-party photo editing extensions from Mac App Store apps, Notes has new features, and Maps includes Transit directions. Under-the-hood improvements in El Capitan also make a number of apps and processes on the Mac faster, and the introduction of Metal makes system-level graphics rendering 40 percent more efficient.

More information on OS X El Capitan can be found in our El Capitan roundup, which includes details on major features and some little tweaks that were added throughout the beta testing period. Discussion of El Capitan’s new features is also taking place in our OS X El Capitan forum, and we encourage all of our readers to join in with questions and new discoveries.


Hoops: a challenging yet fun, free-to-play, puzzle game

We’ll take a look at Hoops, an indie, puzzle game developed by Pedro Gilabert for this review. As of the time of this post, Hoops appears to be new to Google Play. Let’s find out if there is enough room for it to succeed in this saturated market.


There is nothing to worry about here. Head over to Google Play or Playboard, download, and install.


Hoops features a story mode of 10 worlds, an arcade mode, and a head-to-head mode.

Description of a map in Hoops

In each, the player must use his or her puzzle pieces and match them to pieces located within the hoop. Match all of your pieces before the timer runs out or before your opponent does depending on the situation, and you win.

A map in Hoops

With the story mode, you will be introduced to new mechanics as you progress through each world. These include obstacles and battle rules. Battle rules allow for the likes of time extensions and shortcuts.

You also earn credits as you play. These cannot be used to make purchases in the shop since that is reserved for real-world currency. Instead, you enter games using them.

What We Like

  • Good mechanics that builds on themselves
  • Whimsical soundtrack
  • Decent, replayable tutorials
  • Game manual included
  • English or Spanish dialogue option

What We Don’t Like

  • Can’t replay a world’s maps until that world is completed
  • Paywall appears relatively early
  • Occasional grammatical errors
  • Exit menu is in Spanish even if English has been selected
  • Albeit rarely, it crashes

To conclude, I believe Hoops is a fun game in part because I feel accomplished when I beat what I think of as difficult maps. Your experience may vary. What I found to be difficult is what you might find to be easy.

It’s too bad I couldn’t progress far without hitting a paywall, which I met in the second world. A free-to-play game still has to profit somehow, I suppose.

At least there still are the arcade and the two-player modes, although much of the former has to be unlocked through the story mode.

Unlocki games in Hoops' arcade mode through the story mode

There are also a few, minor, technical issues due to occasional, grammatical errors in the dialogue, Spanish appearing where English should, and rare crashes.

That aside, I admire the fact that Hoops builds on itself. Until I met the paywall, I thought the increasing difficulty was appropriate.

I know there is an equal amount of aspects of the game that I like and do not like. Hoops scores as high as it does because I believe all but one of its cons are quite minor (the paywall).

Also, as mostly a gamer of non-mobile platforms, I admit that I have become more tolerant to paywalls at least within free-to-play games like this.

The budgets of mobile games generally are not nearly as high as console or PC games. However, I realize free-to-play games and many others with micro-transactions have to undersell themselves initially in order to establish a consumer base and then entice the more dedicated consumers to want to pay further.

They just will not be able to offset development costs, achieve their bottom line, and produce apps and other games if they don’t do this.

Therefore, this is why, in spite of the presence of Hoops’ paywall in the second world, it’s value score was not as sharply affected.

That aside, don’t expect to beat all of Hoops’ maps easily, especially if you play beyond the first world. Although, I wouldn’t think the game would be as fun as it is if it wasn’t challenging.

The post Hoops: a challenging yet fun, free-to-play, puzzle game appeared first on AndroidGuys.

%d bloggers like this: