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‘Star Wars: Battlefront’ gets Lando and Cloud City on June 21st

You won’t have to wait too much longer to fill the Cloud City-sized hole in Star Wars: Battlefront’s content. EA has revealed that the promised Bespin DLC will arrive on June 21st for Season Pass holders, and two weeks later (July 5th) for everyone else. As before, the highlights of the paid add-on are the introduction of Lando Calrissian and Cloud City — you’re getting everyone’s favorite administrator-turned-general as well as a much-needed change of scenery.

The add-on also brings the bounty hunter Dengar and two fresh weapons (a blaster and a sniper rifle). There are also promises of new game modes, star cards and more, but EA is hush-hush on those details. You probably won’t know the exact value of the Bespin DLC until close to launch, then, but the odds are that it’s much like the Outer Rim pack. It’ll make the most sense if you’re either completely hooked on Battlefront, a Star Wars completionist or both.

Via: Polygon

Source: EA


How to travel with a Wi-Fi-only iPad – CNET

Sarah Tew/CNET

Whether traveling for work or pleasure, the iPad is a perfect travel companion. It’s lighter and runs longer than a laptop and springs to life instantly. Plus, its screen is large enough to get work done or enjoy TV shows or movies while in transit.

If you have a Wi-Fi-only iPad (or are traveling abroad with a cellular iPad and don’t want to return to find hefty international data roaming charges tacked onto your next bill), here are five tips for making the most of your travels with an iPad.

1. Download music and movies before you leave

Don’t count on flying on a plane with Wi-Fi and watching Netflix — there’s no way to watch Netflix offline. Instead, download any shows or movies you want to watch before you leave. You can purchase and download movies and TV shows from iTunes to view offline. Amazon Video lets Prime member download select titles to Fire phones and tablets along with Android and iOS devices, and YouTube lets YouTube Red subscribers download videos for offline viewing.

Movie files can be large and can take a while to download, so be sure you leave yourself enough time to complete the download; this is something to do the night before you leave and not something to do as you are walking out the door.

Because movie files can be large, you may also need to remove some apps or delete or offload some photos and videos to make room for your in-flight entertainment.

2. Make Google Maps available offline

If you plan to use your iPad as a city guide, you can download areas of Google Maps to view offline. Here’s how:

  • Search for a city in Google Map, tap the triple-dot button and then tap Save offline map.
  • Pan and zoom on the map to get the area and level of detail you want.
  • Tap Download in the lower-right corner, give the map a name and tap Save.

Screenshot by Matt Elliott/CNET

To view your saved offline maps, tap the hamburger button in the upper-left corner of Google Maps, tap Your places and then tap on one of your saved maps under the header, Offline maps.

Likewise, business travelers may want to make files available offline in Google Drive. To do so, tap the triple-dot button to the right of a file in Google Drive and tap Keep offline. Your offline docs can then be found by tapping the hamburger button in the upper-left corner of Google Drive and tapping Offline from the menu.

3. Turn off Wi-Fi when you aren’t using it

The iPad boasts good battery life, but constantly searching for a Wi-Fi can needlessly drain battery resources. Swipe up from the bottom edge and turn off Wi-Fi from the control panel before you toss your iPad in your backpack or purse and head out on the town.

4. Take security precautions

You’re more likely to lose your iPhone than iPad when traveling, but it’s still a good idea to turn on Find My iPad to help you locate a lost iPad and enable Lost Mode to remotely lock your iPad and display a message with your phone number on its lock screen. Lost mode also disables Apple Pay.

To turn on Find my iPad, go to Settings > iCloud > Find My iPad and turn the toggle switch on for Find My iPad.

Screenshot by Matt Elliott/CNET

In order to protect a missing iPad before Lost Mode can be turned on, give it a passcode while you are traveling. Go to Settings > Passcode and enter a passcode.

5. Accessorize: Case, keyboard and splitter

Protect your iPad from the bumps and bruises of being on the road by outfitting it with a tough case. That means leaving Apple’s Smart Cover at home and getting a case that protects both the front and back of your iPad.

If you plan to get some work done on your iPad during your travels, get a Bluetooth keyboard so you aren’t forced to type for long stretches on the iPad’s onscreen keyboard. Or combine the previous two tips and get a keyboard case for your iPad.

Lastly, a tip for parents traveling with two kids and one iPad: get a headphone splitter and thank me later.


Moto Z Droid Edition sends original images to Google Photos for free

Motorola is bundling the Verizon-exclusive edition of Moto Z with a feature shutterbugs would love: two years of free original-quality Google Photos storage. It wasn’t mentioned on stage during Lenovo’s event, but 9to5google has spotted the info on the upcoming handset’s web page. Motorola’s website only has the “Droid Edition’s” details up, so it’s not clear at this point whether the unlocked version will get the freebie, as well.

Google Photos doesn’t cost anything, but it’s limited to 16-megapixel images and 1080p videos. Further, it doesn’t save images in their original state: it keeps compressed jpeg versions instead. If you want to save your original snapshots without compression, you’d have to upload them to Google Drive, which only gives you 15GB of free storage per month. Upgrading to 100GB will cost you $1.99 per month. If you’re not exactly sold on the Moto Z but already have a Nexus device, you could be looking at a similar deal. Android Police dissected the app in May and found that it could give Nexus devices unlimited original-quality photo storage, as well.

Source: 9to5google, Motorola


Your original Moto 360 isn’t getting Android Wear 2.0

Android Wear is turning 2 years old, but it won’t be a happy anniversary if you’re one of the platform’s earliest adopters. Following a similar warning by LG for the G Watch, Motorola is saying that the original Moto 360 won’t get Android Wear 2.0 when it arrives in the fall. Yes, you’ll have to buy a new smartwatch if you want that on-screen keyboard or third-party watch face widgets. It’s uncertain what will happen to other older Android Wear devices, such as Samsung’s Gear Live or the first ASUS ZenWatch, but there’s a real chance that they’ll meet a similar fate.

The cutoff isn’t entirely shocking. Google regularly ends major OS updates for Nexus devices after 2 years, and its tighter control over Android Wear updates suggested that you’d see a similar schedule for wearables. It’s unfortunate when you realize that many newer devices have comparable hardware, though. And however arbitrary this feels, it’s a reminder that smartwatches won’t endure as long as their mechanical counterparts — you’ll have to swap wristwear every couple of years if you’re determined to remain current.

Via: 9to5Google

Source: Motorola Support (Twitter), LG USA Mobile (Twitter)


2016 Mini Cooper Convertible review – Roadshow

The Good The 2016 Mini Cooper S Convertible offers open-top driving for you and a few friends. Its handling feels more nimble than most cars, and its eco and sport modes make a real difference. An optional Harman Kardon audio system is a must for music lovers.

The Bad With the top up, the Mini Convertible’s blind spots get large, and with the top down the rear view becomes compromised. The brakes feels a little weak for sport driving. The infotainment system lacks support for Apple CarPlay or Android Auto, and the destination and music search interfaces are needlessly tedious.

The Bottom Line With its unique design and fun handling character, it’s easy to forgive some of the 2016 Mini Cooper S Convertible’s flaws, but wise buyers should take a close look at the non-sport Mini Cooper Convertible, which will likely offer equal satisfaction.

I steal glances at the full, green canopy of the forest overhead when I deem it safe to take my eyes off the road. Unadulterated by a roof, pillars or side windows, the 2016 Mini Cooper S Convertible affords a truly panoramic view of the scenery.

But as the next twist in the road comes up, I remind myself that I’m here to test handling. Braking and downshifting, feeling the suspension tilt slightly and the tires bite into the pavement as I turn the wheel, the Cooper S Convertible sounds off with a delightful little exhaust snort when I upshift at high revs to third for the ensuing straight.

2016 Mini Cooper S Convertible

Mini reengineered its standard Cooper hardtop a couple of years ago, and follows with the new Cooper S Convertible, also on a new platform.

Wayne Cunningham/Roadshow

Combining sport driving character and a gloriously open top seems like a perfect mix, but not all is rosy in Mini-land.

The Mini’s top, folded down behind the rear seats, obstructs my rear view. Racing up to a turn, the brakes feel like they took a nap, and only groggily get to work when I put the pedal down hard. The car itself still exhibits fun handling, but this generation has grown substantially since BMW bought the brand and re-engineered the classic Mini cars in 2002. The new grown-up Cooper S Convertible may offer better interior room than its predecessor, but it lost that earlier ultra-nimble driving character.


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2016 Mini Cooper S Convertible

2016 Mini Cooper S Convertible

2016 Mini Cooper S Convertible

2016 Mini Cooper S Convertible

2016 Mini Cooper S Convertible

2016 Mini Cooper S Convertible

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New generation

This latest Cooper S Convertible represents a new generation for the iconic anglo-car, following the new Mini hardtops launched last year. The traditional Mini look is here in full effect, and most people won’t be able to distinguish this generation from the previous. But an additional 5 inches of length makes this one less mini, although additional cabin space may seem like a reasonable trade-off.

The power-operated convertible top will be the real draw for fans of open-air driving, and the Cooper S Convertible holds a distinction for being one of the few four-seater convertibles on the market, especially with a base price under $30,000. Driving with the top up, the cloth overhead looked sturdy and didn’t flap or make more noise than I would expect. As a bonus, at mid-position the top rolls back just enough to uncover the front seats, serving as a sunroof.

2016 Mini Cooper S Convertible2016 Mini Cooper S Convertible

With four seats, it takes a lot of cloth to cover the Mini’s cabin.

Wayne Cunningham/Roadshow

As a Cooper S, this Mini convertible comes with a 2-liter four cylinder engine using a twin-scroll turbocharger, making 189 horsepower and 207 pound-feet of torque. Drop the ‘S’ from the Mini Cooper Convertible, and you get the three cylinder turbocharged engine that reasonably impressed me in the Mini Cooper hardtop.

A six speed manual transmission comes standard in the Cooper S Convertible, but my example had the optional six speed automatic, with paddle shifters and a sport setting. Fuel economy rates at 25 miles per gallon city and 34 mpg highway, although in my mixed course of driving I only squeaked above a 25 mpg average.

Rectangle in a circle

Those new to Mini might wonder at the big, circular frame in the center of the dashboard housing a wide, rectangular LCD. In past years that frame held the speedometer, and Mini retains it for love of legacy.

The LCD itself shows navigation, app integration and digital audio, with sources such as Bluetooth streaming, satellite radio and a single USB port for iOS devices or drives. The maps on the navigation screens show excellent detail, including buildings rendered in perspective view. Route guidance works well, especially with the optional head-up display showing turn-by-turn directions.

2016 Mini Cooper S Convertible2016 Mini Cooper S Convertible

Mini’s maps look nicely detailed, but the destination interface is frustratingly out-of-date.

Wayne Cunningham/Roadshow

However, destination entry still relies on the old paradigm of entering city, street and number separately, or choosing a different screen for point-of-interest searches. Now that Ford’s Sync 3, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto have brought single-box destination entry to in-car navigation, the Mini’s interface feels very outdated and clumsy. The Mini infotainment system doesn’t support Apple CarPlay or Android Auto, either, although the Mini Connected app enables online destination search in the system if you cable your smartphone to the car.

On a similar note, searching for music on a connected device using Mini’s infotainment interface involves a ridiculously tedious and complex interface. A single-box search here would be very nice, especially considering the hand-writing recognition touchpad atop the dial controller for the infotainment system.

The highlight of the Cooper S Convertible’s electronics was its optional Harman Kardon audio system, which creates very detailed sound and will be a worthwhile upgrade for music lovers.


The good, the bad and the weird at the Tokyo Toy Show

This year’s Tokyo Toy Show failed to turn up anything as impressive as the things I cooed over back in 2014. (Perhaps that’s why it’s only held every two years.) However, I did get another glimpse into what (the hell) Japanese toy companies think about shoppers: nearly all girls’ toys here are smothered in pink, gemstones and giant-eyed manga characters, while boys get a mix of trains, trains with cameras, trains that connect to your smartphone, and maglev … trains. Barring the Disney/Star Wars juggernaut, as a non-Japanese resident of the city, I don’t get the appeal of most of these things — but then again, I’m also more than willing to lay down cash for a Magikarp coin purse. So maybe I’m not the best judge.


Siri hints at upcoming Mac support

Apple may have inadvertently erased doubts that Siri would come to the Mac. Brian Roemmele has discovered that asking iOS’ Siri the right question (such as “open settings in the window”) sometimes produces a response saying that the voice assistant can’t find the Finder app — you know, a crucial part of the Mac’s interface. Barring the inclusion of a full-on file manager in iOS 10 (not very likely), this hints that Apple is laying the groundwork for Siri in OS X.

We wouldn’t count on the feature being finished any time soon. Apple historically releases new OS X versions in the fall, so you may have to wait a while if you’re not the experimental sort. However, the apparent slip supports rumors that Apple would talk about Siri for the Mac at WWDC — don’t be shocked if there’s a beta (public or otherwise) with voice commands in the near future.

Here is the video of Siri looking for Finder. Proof that someday real soon she will be on #MacOS #WWDC2016 #Siri2

— Brian Roemmele (@BrianRoemmele) June 11, 2016

Via: 9to5Mac

Source: Brian Roemmele (Medium)


Six incredible buildings made from shipping containers

By Cat DiStasio

Cargotecture is a growing trend in modern architecture that has more to do with repurposing than it does with starting from scratch — and yet the results are no less spectacular than traditional construction projects. Recycled shipping containers can be used alone for a tiny, efficient homes, or linked together for more spacious structures. Around the world, architects and designers are reinventing the cost-efficient “bones” of steel shipping containers into amazing reflective art installations, self-contained produce farms and even pop-up hotel rooms that can be moved for a change of scenery. With their low cost and resilient nature, these container buildings are a creative response to a variety of architecture challenges, and each one is cooler than the next.


Amber Weather Widget: Just another Weather Widget? (Review)

The Brief

Sometimes names can be deceiving. In the case of Amber Weather Widget, this app is so much more than just a widget. It’s a full-fledged attack on all things weather. Yeah, sure, there are a few widgets that come along for the ride. But the real power shows when you click that widget on your home screen and bring the app full screen.

Digging In

First, long press the home screen and add the widget. There are 3 to choose from. Try them all to see which one you like best. I chose the small one, since I already have a clock on my home page from my alarm app that I like better.




Now it’s time for the magic! Click the temperature on the widget and you are transported to weather heaven. The first thing I needed to do was change the temperature settings to Fahrenheit from Celsius. I did this by clicking the hamburger button at the upper left of the screen and then tapping settings. Here you will have all the settings you need so the app makes sense for your location. You can change:

  • Fahrenheit and Celsius
  • Mph and m/s
  • Mi and Km
  • 12 hours and 24 hours

(Wait, did he say hamburger button? Yes, I did, it’s the 3 straight lines stacked on top of each other that take you to the settings page in most apps.)

Out on the main screen, there is a whole slew of weather info for your current location. From currents to hourly forecast and precipitation for certain days, it’s all here.

Warning: By clicking the customize button, you understand that you will waste at least half an hour trying to pick the best theme for your icons and widget. Obviously, that’s a joke but I really did spend 45 minutes once I found the customize button, downloading themes and icon packs to get the perfect look.

There are free themes and paid themes – some of the paid themes even have a 5-minute trial so you can see if you like it or not before spending $1.49 on it.

After digging a little into the settings, I found that I could even tell Amber Weather to use my alarm app when I click the clock on the widget. I was able to remove the widget for the alarm app that I was using and just use the Amber Weather Widget for opening my alarm app from the home screen (score!).

As with many apps recently, there are paid options. They are $5.99 yearly or $1.99 monthly, this will give you access to all the themes and remove the ads.

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Custom Widgets

Main App page

Main App Page when scrolling down

Main App Page when scrolling down

In The End

If you are looking for a highly customizable, accurate and downright beautiful weather app, this is the one. Some of the menu items are not described very well and the subscription-based app purchase made me hesitate to pay for it. That being said, this is an awesome app and you should give it a try. You can find Amber Weather Widget for free with an in-app purchase of $5.99 yearly or $1.99 monthly that will remove ads and gives access to all paid themes.

Download and install Amber Weather Widget from the Google Play Store.

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