Skip to content

Archive for


Google adds replies to Chrome Web Store reviews


In an effort to encourage better communication between developers and the users of applications developed for the Chrome web browser, Google has added the ability for developers and users to post replies to feedback left on the Reviews tab. Ideally, users should leave bug reports and feature suggestions on the Support Tab. However, Google has noted that many users continue to use the Reviews tab for that purpose. Without a mechanism to respond to this feedback, users may get the impression their issues are never addressed.

Google is suggesting developers take steps to ensure they are monitoring the Reviews tab for feedback that needs a response. Developers also need to be careful to respond in a constructive manner regardless of whether the feedback is positive or negative. They should also notify users when issues have been addressed and thank users who are helping advocate for their apps.

Google reminds developers that their names and Google account information will be publicly available through the Reviews tab as a way to bring transparency to support efforts.

source: Chromium Blog

Come comment on this article: Google adds replies to Chrome Web Store reviews


Alphabet replaces Google’s ‘Don’t be evil’ with ‘Do the right thing’


Google has long used the phrase “Don’t be evil” as a sort of company motto, including it in the founder’s letter for its IPO in 2004, and at the top of its Code of Conduct. The Wall Street Journal noticed that as a part of today’s restructuring, Alphabet has exchanged that for something slightly more specific. The corporate code of conduct now entreats employees to “do the right thing – follow the law, act honorably, and treat each other with respect.” It is unknown at press time if that includes a required viewing of Spike Lee’s 1989 film. For Google employees specifically, the “Don’t be evil” phrasing is still in full effect, so it’s hard to see anything specifically changing as a result. Of course, some have mocked the giant for how close it does or does not stick to that adage, including when Steve Jobs reportedly called it “bullshit” in 2010. Of course, as the search giant worms its way into our photos, cars and even bodies, maybe being a little more specific about its intentions is a good thing.

[Image credit: Moviestore collection Ltd / Alamy]

Via: Wall Street Journal

Source: Alphabet


Peel uses Smart Remote app data to fall TV winners and losers


While more and more people are “cutting the cord” when it comes to what they watch on their televisions, the big networks are still trying to produce new shows in hopes of keeping viewers sticking with the classic television model. Even as they do that, technology is still creeping in and if not changing behavior, it can provide some unique insights. An example is the Peel Smart Remote app that can be used as a virtual remote control. Besides the functionality of the app, Peel is also collecting data that may reveal trends in viewership, like which new network shows are grabbing the interest of viewers.

In their latest analysis, Peel looked at data for new fall 2015 shows. In 2014 Peel accurately predicted 92% of the shows that would eventually be cut and which would be renewed for a second season, so their data seems to provide some good predictive capability.

In looking at this fall’s new shows, crime dramas are leading the way with Limitless, Rosewood and Blindspot all holding their audiences for at least 15 minutes at a strong clip. Following those were The Muppets and Grandfathered. If you are looking for a show to invest your time in with an expectation that it will be back for another season, these would all be good bets.

At the other end of the spectrum, the early forecast for Minority Report, Life in Pieces and The Player are not very good based on their inability to hold an audience.

The ability to hold an audience is only one bit of data Peel looks at it. They also analyze how many users “favorite” a show and how many set reminders for a show. For instance, Scream Queens did not hold their audience very well, but they were ranked second for fans setting the show as a favorite or setting a reminder, so there is still hope for a show like that.

The Smart Remote app from Peel is in use by 125 million users around the globe. Peel is able to collect data from users and uses that to personalize content recommendations along with providing aggregated data for analysis.

Check out the full press release from Peel below.


Peel Smart Remote App Data Shows Networks Have Less Than 15 Minutes to Grab Viewers

“Minority Report,” “Blood & Oil” and “Life in Pieces” among highly anticipated shows likely to be cancelled.

Mountain View, CA – October 2, 2015 – Peel, maker of the world’s leading smart remote app, Friday announced its predictions for winners and losers from among this year’s crop of new shows based on tune-out data from its 12 million monthly active US users.

In 2014, Peel was able to predict with 92% accuracy which Fall Premieres would land on the chopping block and which would survive for another season based on whether the shows held the attention of more than 70% of viewers for at least 15 minutes of the first episode.

Leading the crop of predicted 2015 successes is CBS’ detective drama “Limitless” with 73.8% of viewers remaining tuned in for at least 15 minutes of the premiere , followed by two more crime dramas: Fox’s ““Rosewood” with 73.3% and “Blindspot”  with 72.5%. ABC’s “The Muppets” (72.2%) and Fox’s “Grandfathered” (70.2%)  also appear destined for success.

Topping the list of new shows headed for quick cancellation were ABC’s “Blood & Oil,” which had only 60% of viewers still tuned in after 15 minutes, followed by Fox’s “Minority Report” (62.9%), CBS’ “Life in Pieces”  (63.3%) and NBC’s “The Player” ( 65%).

The star-studded family comedy “Life in Pieces” suffered in part from very stiff competition in its time slot. Peel, which also tracks where viewers go when they defect from a show, found that 21.2% of of “Life in Pieces” viewers jumped to NBC’s “The Voice,” 7.9% to ABC’s “Dancing with the Stars” and 6.1% each to Fox’s “Gotham” and CW’s “Penn & Teller: Fool Us.”  Likewise, NBC’s Wesley Snipes action series “The Player” suffered from airing opposite Shonda Rhimes’ “How to Get Away with Murder” on ABC, which grabbed 14.3% of channel switchers and “Thursday Night Football” on CBS, which stole another 10.7%.

“Tune-out data, along with other engagement metrics such as reminders set for next week’s episode, appear to be a much better indicator of success than the total number of viewers who tune in to a premiere,” said Peel CEO and cofounder Thiru Arunachalam, whose remote control app now has 125 million registered users globally. “Viewer retention and ‘likes’ signals the quality of a premiere episode rather than how much money was spent promoting it or what hit show led into it.”

“Life in Pieces, for example,  was scored a winner based on Nielsen data showing 11.28 million viewers and a 2.6 rating in the 18-to-49 demographic, as it benefitted from the strong audience lead in from “Big Bang Theory”.  “But the high rate of viewers tuning out and low level of reminders to watch told a very different story,” added Arunachalam.

One show that missed the 70% tuned-in cut-off, the Ryan Murphy horror comedy “Scream Queens” (66.5%) may have a chance of survival based on the other success factors tracked by Peel. It ranked second highest (17.7%) behind “Blindspot“ (18.1%) in the ratio of viewers choosing the show as a favorite or setting reminders to watch the following week’s episode, indicating it may have found a loyal niche audience.

Overall, the 20 2015 comedy and drama premieres that were analyzed averaged 67% of viewers remaining tuned-in after 15 minutes, about the same as 2014’s average of 68%. For more complete Fall premiere viewer data visit Peel’s blog [].

The Peel Smart Remote app, which turns Android or iOS smartphones and tablets into smart universal remotes, is used by 125 million people globally to control their TVs, set-top boxes and other home appliances.  Viewers can also set calendar reminders, program their DVR and “favorite” a show, giving Peel access to unique data about TV preferences and viewing behavior.  By examining its data, which is only held in aggregate and not personally identifiable, Peel is able to provide personalized content recommendations and target tune-in and brand advertising to video entertainment consumers.

About Peel

Peel was founded to redefine the home control experience by seamlessly connecting users via their mobile devices and social media with personalized TV, cable and streamed content recommendations. With more than 125 million registered users who have generated 135 billion remote commands, Peel is the recognized leader in intuitive program discovery, TV program interaction, and intelligent home room control. For more information, visit

Come comment on this article: Peel uses Smart Remote app data to fall TV winners and losers


Edward Snowden’s Twitter account generated 47 GB of notification emails

edward snowden twitterEdward Snowden created a Twitter account a few days ago, but he forgot to turn off email notifications that Twitter likes to send out. Well, it turns out when you’re one of the most popular men on the internet, this creates a ton of email.

Snowden was notified for every follow, favorite, retweet, and DM that he received, which generated about 47 GB of emails. That’s a lot of junk mail to wade through.

If there are any other huge celebrities without a Twitter account, keep this in mind if you ever make one.

source: Edward Snowden (Twitter)

via: Engadget

Come comment on this article: Edward Snowden’s Twitter account generated 47 GB of notification emails


TiVo exec explains Bolt strategy, Fire TV app and new Pro next year

When the TiVo Bolt was unveiled earlier this week, most of the questions (that weren’t about its odd shape) came from long-time enthusiasts wondering why it doesn’t cater to them? Many aren’t willing to downgrade from a Roamio Pro’s 6 tuners and 3TB storage just to add 4K and commercial skipping. Dave Zatz points out that today TiVo Chief Marketing Officer Ira Bahr has faced the company’s most dedicated fans in a thread on TiVo Community, and says not to worry. According to Bahr, “we already have a roadmap plan to bring you something you’ll like way better in 2016 (more on this shortly).” As I figured during our Bolt preview, this device is an attempt to connect with new users, among the millions of people buying streaming boxes as they use internet video services to replace or add to traditional TV. As far as the look of the Bolt, Bahr said “my view is that we have to look different.”

The posts also added detail on the yet-to-debut Fire TV app by explaining it will arrive next week, ready to work both in and out of the home. At launch it will only support recorded content, but that includes watching content while it’s still recording.

As far as TiVo’s future, Bahr says that TiVo will keep selling the current Pro until a new model is available, and a 4K capable Mini extender should arrive next year. Acknowledging TiVo’s lack of individual profiles or ability to setup and save app logins under one user ID, he said the company is looking at ways to address that. We’ve long wondered when TiVo would address some of the longest-standing issues with its platform, and along with new hardware maybe 2016 will really be the year?

TiVo CMO Ira Bahr:

As an overarching thought for this whole conversation I would emphasize what many of you have already inferred. And that is, that the Bolt product was not really designed for the TiVo enthusiast. So your lukewarm reaction is not unexpected. Bolt is low on Tuners, light on storage, doesn’t fit into your racks and really doesn’t offer this group much more than 4K and software features you figure we’ll roll-down anyway.

So this leads to “why the hell did you NOT design for the TiVo enthusiast?” First, we already have a roadmap plan to bring you something you’ll like way better in 2016 (more on this shortly). This product is on the already established 3 year product cycle which you’re used to. Second, there just aren’t enough of you to sustain the company’s retail business alone. If there were, I assure you we’d have a way different approach. TiVo is simply unable to build its business on the backs of its ever diminishing group of loyalists. We did 150,000 activations in our last fiscal year. Compare that to the millions of streamers out there, and the tens of millions of DVRS out there and you see that we’ve got a lot of ground to make up. In order to win for the the company, and for YOU, we need to expand our market. If we fail to do this, we’re not going to be able to do much of anything, We think we’ve got a plan for both the mass market AND for enthusiasts. So snuggle up with a warm multi-meter, walk through the answers and we’ll try to talk more when you’re done.

Via: Zatz Not Funny

Source: TiVo Community


Motorola announces which devices will be getting the Android Marshmallow update

(adsbygoogle = window.adsbygoogle || []).push();

Motorola has had a pretty stellar reputation when it comes to rolling out software updates to its devices quickly, and we’re hoping that won’t be changing for this round of Android Marshmallow updates. Earlier today, Motorola detailed in a blog post exactly which devices are going to be updated to the latest version of Android, which included the following:

  • 2015 Moto X Pure Edition (3rd gen)
  • 2015 Moto X Style (3rd gen)
  • 2015 Moto X Play
  • 2015 Moto G (3rd gen)
  • 2014 Moto X Pure Edition in the US (2nd gen)
  • 2014 Moto X in Latin America, Europe and Asia2 (2nd gen)
  • 2014 Moto G and Moto G with 4G LTE2 (2nd gen)
  • DROID Turbo
  • 2014 Moto MAXX
  • 2014 Moto Turbo
  • Nexus 6

Motorola does note that things could change and more or less devices could be updated, but you probably shouldn’t hold your breath as some carriers don’t even bother announcing which devices are being updated, let alone give us an incomplete list. We will note that there are some devices we’re surprised are missing, namely all Moto E devices, and carrier versions of the 2014 Moto X – the 2013 Moto X and 2013 Moto G are also missing, but we’re guessing they’ve fallen out of the 2 year window for support.

Motorola also noted in its blog post that it would be retiring a few apps, including Motorola Assist, Motorola Migrate, as well as the Chrome extension for Motorola Connect. If nothing else, Motorola touches on a poignant reason to get rid of these apps:

“Both of these products were valuable in their time but the world has moved on and they no longer add enough value to justify taking up space in your device.”

We’ll pay that. What do you think about Motorola’s Android Marshmallow update list? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.

Source: Motorola Blog via Android Police

The post Motorola announces which devices will be getting the Android Marshmallow update appeared first on AndroidSPIN.


Meet the man who owned for one minute


Former Google employee Sanmay Ved bought for $12 on September 29, 2015. He owned the domain for a full minute before somebody somewhere realized this probably wasn’t supposed to happen and revoked Ved’s backstage access.

No, this isn’t an Onion article, it apparently actually happened.

Ved said that he was up late browsing Google Domains, which is Google’s website buying service. While there, he saw that was available for purchase at the incredibly reasonable price of $12. Long-time readers may recall that is the most heavily trafficked domain in the world and is kind of a big deal.

“I thought it was some error,” said Ved, “but I could actually complete check out.”

Ved added to his shopping cart, completed the checkout process, and for all intents and purposes became the proud new owner of the internet as we know it. Rather than getting the usual email notifying him that he had completed a purchase, Ved’s Google Search Console dashboard was updated, and he began receiving messages intended for the domain owner. He also began receiving emails with internal information, which Ved says he later turned over to Google’s security team.

“The scary part was I had access to the webmaster controls for a minute,” said Ved.

He took a rapid series of screenshots and documented his whole experience on a LinkedIn post.

Ved’s tenure as God of the Internet was fleeting, however. Google Domains reversed the sale about a minute after the purchase went through and sent him a message that claimed someone had registered the site before he could. Ved was refunded the $12 the domain had cost him and went back to being mortal. However, if only for a moment, Ved flew.

“So for one minute I had access,” said Ved. “I can’t shake that feeling that I actually owned”


Martian Active Collection: Taking the traditional watch design and making it smarter

(adsbygoogle = window.adsbygoogle || []).push();

The smartwatch game is growing constantly. Adoption rate isn’t growing as fast as manufacturers are cranking out device though. It seems to be hit and miss on how people perceive the wearables that are currently available. Many that I have spoken with don’t see a need for another screen attached to their wrist that they have to worry about breaking, charging or learning. Others couldn’t live without the abilities that many, like Android Wear or the Apple Watch, offer. Arguably the two best wearable platforms are Android Wear and Apple Watch. While those might be the ones you hear the most about, there are others out there that can offer a lot to consumer with a different approach. Martian Watches is one such company that I have had the privilege of growing with over the last few years. Unlike many of the other big name brands, Martian took the idea of the smartwatch and went back to the roots, which is a ‘watch’ and then made it smarter.

Building the business up with a watch first direction keeps them in a different market then the more flashy smartwatch manufactures. The first line to hit the shelves was the Martian Voice Command. It offered a square Passport and rounded, but still square, Victory line. They followed up that line with a simpler design, the Notifier, that took the mic and speaker out to bring just notifications to your wrist. At CES 2015 we got to take a look at this year’s line, the Martian Active Collection, that brings back the voice command line, but takes its old design and goes more stylish.

Whats in the box

Martian Active Alpha T10 (6)

The packaging is very classical and places the watch first and foremost when you first receive it. It is wrapped around a soft and squishy little pillow inside the box. under the pillow and watch you find the bare necessities like a charging cable, but no wall plug, some legal documents and a short instruction manual.

The Martian Active overview

The new line, Martian Active collection, really steps up the company offerings in terms of looks, design and functionality. The Active collection features 5 distinct designs.

(From left to right you have the Electra S10Aviator B10Envoy G10, Alpha T10, and Electra E10.)

Martian collection

Just looking at the images you can see these aren’t your typical LCD or AMOLED screen faces. By design, the Active line is a watch first and foremost. The time is kept by an analog quartz watch with Japanese movement. Inside, the watch is powered by a typical watch batter that keeps your time for approximately 2 years before it needs replacing. Unlike other smart watches, this design lets you still use the watch even if the smart part of it is dead.

Martian Active OLED (3)Martian Active OLED (12)The smarts of the watch comes via a 96 x 16 pixel graphic OLED display found in the bottom part of the watch face. The display will ticker feed you all the calls, texts, emails, calendar appointments and more with minimal effort. The OLED is powered by a separate lithium polymer battery that is charged up via your typical micro USB cord. Charge time is about 2 hours and your smart parts should stay on and available for 5 days of use.

As with a normal watch, you have your crown on the side to set the time. You also have two additional buttons, one above and one below. The button on the bottom is a select button of sorts. It lets you pull up a digital clock, the date, the weather and scroll through the menu of the watch. From the menu on the display you can set the watches speaker volume, activate the small LED light to help you find a keyhole, turn on Do Not Disturb to silence all notifications, Camera Mode to trigger your phone’s camera, Find My Phone to force your device to ring, along with other setup details.

Martian Active Alpha T10 (8)Martian Active Alpha T10 (7)The top button is a command button that triggers both Siri and Google Now, depending on your device. Yes, the Martian Active line does offer a mic on the right hand side which offers noise cancellation and a fairly loud directional speaker on the left side. Triggering commands gives you all the same abilities you would have with either platforms voice command apps. With Google Now you can send texts, make calls, add appointments, reminders, search direction and everything else Google Now is capable of doing. You do need to wait a few seconds as the trigger isn’t as fast as if you did it directly on your phone, but it works just as well.

Martian Active Collection


The body of the watch is a light weight nylon composite resin case with a screwed on metal plate on the back. 4 screws hold it in placed. Under the plate is where the battery can be replaced for the normal watch aspect of the device. The top glass is a anti-scratch mineral glass and is your typical 42MM diameter with a weight of .5 pounds.

Martian Active Alpha T10 (1)

In the case of the Alpha T10, the watch strap is made from a flexible, but thick, silicone. The clasp is made from stainless steel and looks awesome. Other variants of the watch come with a leather strap of sorts to match its body and could be a bit more pleasing to some.

3 Weeks hands-on with the Martian Alpha

Martian was kind enough to ship me over the design of my choice to give it a whirl prior to their launch exclusively at Bloomingdale’s on September 12th. I opted for the Alpha T10 because of its classy look that would be good for both business and for pleasure. I was also drawn to it because of the inner military time aspect. Having a few friends in the military who still tell me times in military time, this has become useful more than a few times. Rather than mentally thinking what time 2100 hours is, I can glance down and know its 9 p.m.

Martian Alpha T10 wrist review

As I have used the last two iteration of Martian Watches, I can speak to the improvements the company has made over the years. My biggest gripe on previous models was centered around charging. Martian had recessed the micro USB port behind a rubber grommet that required a longer, and proprietary, charging cable. In the new Active line they have since seated the port closer and it can easily be charged with any micro USB cable you have sitting around. The estimated charge time from 0% to 100% of 2 hours was accurate to my calculations and so was the 5 days of usage. The occasions that I forgot to plug it in weren’t world ending as it charged quickly on commutes or while I was getting ready for work. I could easily plug it in for 45 minutes and get through an entire day without worry.

Pairing the watch is as easy as pairing with any other Bluetooth device. Once you install the app, you run through a few motions and are up and running in less than a minute. Once paired you are free to set it up any way you wish through the Martian app.

Martian Active Alpha T10 (9)

Martian also dramatically improved the wrist strap of the watch allowing for removal and changing of the bands at will. The included band, on the Alpha T10, is made from silicone with a stainless steel clasp to keep it on your wrist. The new design also allows for something that the Martian Notifier didn’t, and that is for the watch to actually lay flat. Might be silly to want that ability, but it is worth mentioning.

Over the month of use I experienced very few issues. There was a few times, and I mean like 2 times, that it needed to be plugged into power to turn back on even though it was charged well over 50%. I never did discover the reasoning behind it, but it it happened. The delay between hitting the voice button and the phone connecting to Google Now took a bit of time to get used to. With it active the watch still directs all voice controls through your wrist, so if you are using your phone and tap the mic, or use the Google Now command, you will need to give it a second or so or else your command will only be partly recognized.

The Martian App

The app is what brings you what you want to the OLED. Through the app on your device you can enable, or disable, any and all notifications you desire. I personally keep things simple. I want calls, texts and hangouts. However, you can get email alerts, calendar, alarms, reminders and much more, as you can see in the screenshots below.

Martian App (1)Martian App (2)Martian App (3)Inside the app you can also set the vibration intensity for notifications along with specific vibration patterns. I have an absolutely horrible memory, so setting 2 long and short doesn’t make me think of a text at all. I feel it vibrate and I look.

Martian App (5)Martian App (4)Martian App (6)


With the Martian Active line you have a mic and speaker. The mic lets you take calls, ask Google questions, command your phone and more. The speaker gives the voice feedback from those questions or the people you are talking to on the phone. The speaker also offers up audio for call ringtones and notification tones. I spoke to many people while walking around the house, the store and driving in the car. No one gave me ill feedback about my sound quality from the noise cancelling mic, nor were there any missed voice actions with Google. I was able to hear the caller in most cases, but did find myself pulling my hand to my face for a little more volume occasionally.

Martian Active Alpha T10 (7)

Overall thoughts

I have always thought highly of Martian and their line of smartwatches. They take the watch first approach and make it smarter. They cater to a very different type of user on the market who love a real watch, but want their watch to do a little bit more in their lives. The latest Active collection is step in the right direction for both form, design and functionality. It certainly looks more ‘watch’ like and premium than the first two lines. I can’t necessarily directly compare it against the Notifier collection because that collection was aimed at notifications only with no voice actions or controls. My only real disappointment with the Active collection is the branding of Active. While it certainly looks Active and some of the models look more sporty than others, they suffer with an IPX-4 rating which only covers splashes from various directions. That cuts out pools, hot tubs and showers. I would have gone with an IPX-5 or IPX-6 with an ‘Active’ collection. After all, busy people may need to see meetings, texts, calls and more while hitting the shower before work, after a workout at the gym or when they are back at the hotel taking a dip in the pool. It isn’t enough of a detractor to make me dislike the watch, as it still serves a very relevant purpose in 90% of a normal users day. Just take it off before you get in the water.


Pricing for the Martian Active line cruise up some from the previous Notifier line. They vary from $249.99 to $299.99 depending on the model you choose. The least expensive variant is the Envoy G10 with the higher priced listing being for the more female orientated Electra E10. You can find them Bloomingdale’s across the nation or check out the website to get more details and place an order.

The post Martian Active Collection: Taking the traditional watch design and making it smarter appeared first on AndroidSPIN.


ZTE alleges that Google ripped off the design of the Nexus 6P from the ZTE Grand S

(adsbygoogle = window.adsbygoogle || []).push();

The smartphone world is rife with design patent disputes, the most famous of which was Apple successfully taking Samsung to task for infringing on its designs. However, there’s a difference between that, and devices that look vaguely alike, something that ZTE‘s marketing head, Lu Qian Hao, has decided to point out. In a post on Weibo, Lu suggests that Google derived the design of the Nexus 6P from the ZTE Grand S, and posted photos of photos which presumably prove the infringement.

Nexus 6P from the ZTE Grand SPresumably, if there was a genuine patent dispute here, ZTE would be handling it quietly, discreetly and professionally – pointing it out publicly only suggests that they don’t have a patent on their design. We can definitely see where Lu thinks there is some copying going on – the black bar at the top of both devices is glaringly prominent – but that’s just about where the similarities end, and even then they aren’t even that similar. Of course, we now know that the Nexus 6P has the black bar at the top to let wireless signals in and out, though we wonder if the same can be said of the Grand S’ black bar.

Source: Weibo via Phone Arena

The post ZTE alleges that Google ripped off the design of the Nexus 6P from the ZTE Grand S appeared first on AndroidSPIN.


Microsoft buys 3D physics developer Havok to boost gaming efforts

Microsoft today announced the acquisition of Havok from Intel. Havok makes a 3D physics engine and licenses it to gaming studios; its work has been featured on more than 600 titles, including popular franchises such as Assassin’s Creed, Call of Duty, Destiny, Dark Souls, The Elder Scrolls and Microsoft’s own Halo. While Microsoft says it is delighted to add Havok’s technologies to its robust portfolio of tools and components for developers, like DirectX 12 and Azure, it did point out that it won’t stop supporting partners going forward. “We will continue to license Havok’s technology to the broad AAA games industry,” Microsoft said in a statement to IGN. “This also means that we will continue to license Havok’s technology to run across various game consoles including Sony and Nintendo.”

Source: Microsoft

%d bloggers like this: