Skip to content

Archive for

16
Jul

The Public Access Weekly: Wake me up before you go-go


Wow, has it ever been a Pokémon-tastic week or what? In the roughly ten days since the AR games’ release, it has exploded across every dark and light corner of the internet and out into the real, live world. Players are crashing their cars, finding bodies, walking off of cliffs, walking onto sex offenders’ property, getting caught cheating, getting locked in cemeteries, registering voters and getting robbed all over the damn place. It’s craziness out there y’all.

Now, on to the non-Pokémon portion of the Weekly! Over in the comment section, we’ve got a bug that is removing legitimate comments. I’m not sure what’s causing it yet, but I’m working with the developers on fine-tuning the spam algorithm (which might be the culprit). In the meantime, I’m doing my best to catch legit comments and re-approve them. So, if your comment has disappeared (and there was nothing untoward about it), it was almost certainly caught by this bug. In other words, it’s not you. It’s us. Sincere apologies to those who have been affected by the glitch, we hope to have a fix for that shortly!

Looking for something to read? Check out:

There was a good amount of eye-rolling in the Engadget Slack channel when Shervin Pishevars mobile app response to recent police shootings was brought up (Okay, most of it was mine). Maybe his heart was in the right place, or maybe it was just his pocketbook, but the fact remains: It might be time to admit that not everything needs an app or a Silicon Valley-style “disruption” to be solved.

Because Verizon is our parent company, people often think we can’t write about them objectively. Cherylnn Low’s honest coverage of Verizon’s new data plans is sure to ruffle some feathers on both sides of the fence (and has already provoked quite a few thoughts in the comment section).

The news that Microsoft will be cutting the 15GBs of OneDrive storage that it gave to users in 2014 is provoking a whole bunch of strong feelings in the comments. But even if you skip the conversation after the story, it’s worth knowing what’s going down and when.

Looking for something to write about? Mull over:

World of Warcraft, being an MMORPG, has a history of troubled communications and social interactions between players. Blizzard’s newest policy is to silence players who have been reported multiple times for spam or abuse. What are your thoughts — Will this help with WoW’s history of harassment? Will anything? What are the drawbacks to this new policy? If you’re a WoW player, do you support it?

For those of you who are playing the Pokémon, what are your thoughts about the mental health claims being made by players on Twitter (and doctors)? Is catching them all really a great way to alleviate the symptoms of anxiety and depression?

For those of you who aren’t playing, here’s a quick question: How are you escaping from Pokémon Go?

Advertisements
16
Jul

This tiny accessory will make your USB Type-C transition way less painful


usb-typec-micro-usb-adapter-2.jpg?itok=t

They’re not expensive, but it would be a good idea for more companies to bundle this USB Type-C adapter in the box.

I received the new ZTE Axon 7 in the mail yesterday, and promptly unboxed it. (You can watch it over on our Facebook page if you haven’t already.) The phone itself is a known quantity: powerful, sleek, and unlocked, all for $399. We’ll have a review up shortly.

Inside the box, though, is something I didn’t expect to be as useful as it has proven over the past 24 hours: a USB Type-C to Micro-USB adapter, which makes it easy to use all of those legacy cables I have configured around my house.

usb-typec-micro-usb-adapter-5.jpg?itok=p

The truth is that everyone has a million Micro-USB cables lying around, and likely only a few Type-C cables. As the industry transitions to the new standard — which is considerably better, being reversible and capable of more current at the same voltage — there’s going to be an extended period where some devices, particularly less expensive ones, will still ship with the older version. Even Samsung, the world’s biggest Android manufacturer, has resisted adopting USB Type-C in its main devices to maintain compatibility with its Gear VR headset and other first-party accessories (though that is expected to change with the Galaxy Note 7).

The truth is that everyone has a million Micro-USB cables lying around

Sure, an adapter is easy to lose, and is certainly a bridge to a future where something so disposable is unnecessary, but in the meantime more companies should think about including one. We know that Motorola has decided to include an admittedly more useful USB Type-C to 3.5mm headphone adapter in every Moto Z and Moto Z Force box, but ZTE gets bonus points for thinking about how its customers use smartphones today, not just how they will in the future.

usb-typec-micro-usb-adapter-1.jpg?itok=husb-typec-micro-usb-adapter-4.jpg?itok=h

There are a couple things to note about these adapters:

  • Most of them are USB 2.0-only, which means that even if the USB Type-C device you’re connecting to supports USB 3.1, speeds will be limited to 480Mbit/s. Some adapters do support USB 3.0 (which isn’t quite as fast as USB 3.1) — you just have to know what you’re buying.
  • Some of these adapters include a 56kΩ resistor, which limits the amount of current through the cable if it terminates in a USB Type-A (the larger connector that usually plugs into a laptop or AC adapter). These shouldn’t be necessary if you’re using a high-quality cable with its own 56kΩ resistor built in, but it’s there for added protection.
  • If your phone supports Qualcomm’s Quick Charge spec, this adapter should work just fine — it did when connecting the Axon 7 to a Quick Charge 2.0-compatible Motorola Turbo Charger — as it merely works as a passthrough.
  • I know I’m going to lose this thing, so maybe, if you do decide to buy one, get a two or three-pack.
  • USB Type-C is reversible, but Micro-USB isn’t. Make sure that when you insert the adapter, you know which direction the Micro-USB end is facing, so that you don’t break the cable, or the adapter, putting it in backwards.

There you go: not much to this thing, but I’m going to use the heck out of it all the same.

If you’re looking for one (or set of three), Amazon has a whole bunch of them from well-known accessory makers like Aukey, Goliath, and Unitek.

See at Amazon

Do you think you’d have use for one of these adapters? Let us know in the comments!

16
Jul

Watch out for fraudulent ‘Pokémon Go’ apps


It’s official: Pokémon Go has become a major phenomenon: It’s getting people interested in augmented reality, inspiring filmmakers and even helping players cope with anxiety. Unfortunately, it’s also creating targets for malware developers. According to the antivirus folks at ESET, at least three fake Pokémon Go apps have been spotted on the Google Play store since the game launched. One of them has the unsettling distinction of being the first malicious, fraudulent screen-locking app to surface on Google Play.

At a glance, “Pokémon Go Ultimate” looks a lot like the official app — but after installation the app renames itself “PI Network.” Launching it immediately causes a user’s device to lock up, rending the phone unusable until the battery is removed or the device is rebooted via the Android Device Manager. Once the phone reboots, the app hides itself and generates ad-revenue by silently clicking ads in the background. It could be worse, too: ESET’s blog says that the app is only one step away from being ransomware.

Two other fraudulent Pokémon apps briefly surfaced that produced fake security messages, attempting to trick users into paying for a virus removal service that doesn’t exist. At present, all three apps seem to be removed from Google Play, but be on guard: more are likely to show up in the coming days. By all means, join the Pokémon revolution — just make sure you’re downloading the real app before you head out to catch ’em all. Check out the source links below for ESET’s full advisory and security recommendations.

Via: Ars Technica

Source: WeLiveSecurity, ESET

16
Jul

Apple’s idea for music royalties could stick it to Spotify


The Copyright Royalty Board, a three judge panel that sets licensing rates, is trying to figure out what the statutory rate music download and streaming services will pay publishers between 2018 and 2022. Now, the New York Times and Billboard report that Apple has a suggestion on how to figure out those rates that oh-so-coincidentally would negatively impact services with free streaming options like Spotify (heating up their back-and-forth battle) and YouTube. The statutory rate is what services pay unless they make a direct deal with a publisher, and can shape negotiations between them.

As we’ve heard over the last year, publishers and artists like Taylor Swift aren’t happy about Spotify’s free option, while Apple Music is only available to subscribers (and has a three month free trial period).According to both publications, the proposal (which has not been made public) would have streaming services pay 9.1 cents in songwriting royalties for each 100 plays, equal to the royalties of one download. This is much simpler than the current setup, which pays out a percentage of revenue and is obviously much lower for a free service.

Still, it’s just one proposal of many — the NYT says Spotify, the RIAA, Google, Pandora and Amazon were all expected to file their own suggestions this week — and the CRB is only in the early stages of coming to a decision.

Source: New York Times, Billboard

16
Jul

Sick of Pokemon Go? Here’s 12 other augmented-reality apps to try


This might shock you, but… Pokemon Go isn’t the only augmented-reality app out there. Gasp!

The technology has been gaining momentum in recent years, especially with the advent of virtual reality (VR) and augmented-reality (AR) headsets, so there are actually several apps available that, although they aren’t quite as nostalgic as Pokemon Go, do provide an experience in which your real world blends into a virtual one. In fact, Niantic Labs, the developers behind Pokemon Go, released another AR game years ago.

So, if the lure (heh, see what we did there?) of Pokemon Go is starting to wear off, Pocket-lint recommends checking out your other options. We’ve therefore rounded up some AR apps you should try, and we’ve included that old Niantic game too. Here’s what we found.

AR apps and games

Ingress (Android | iOS)

Of course we’re going to start off with Niantic’s first AR title. This game turns your world into a globally-competitive game. The premise is that some unknown, mind-altering energy is taking over the world, as discovered by European scientists, so the world is divided into two forces: the Enlightened, which seek the power of this energy for themselves, and the Resistance, which tries to defend humanity against the force.

You have to go out and discover mysterious artifacts around you, some of which will help you in your quest. You also have to capture territories and defend them against the opposing team and solve thousands of mysteries. The story of Ingress evolves daily as you play it.

Zombies, Run! (Android | iOS)

If you like Pokemon Go because it gets you off your couch, check out this title that’s all about making you fit, with the help of zombies. It’s an immersive game that brings you into a world full of zombies, and to survive, you must run or jog – all while listening to the undead scream. You must collect supplies and unlock daily missions, too. Just remember to speed up when a zombie is on your heels.

Zombies Everywhere (Android | iOS)

Yes – another zombie app. This app works just like Pokemon Go, except you have to kill zombies instead of collect Pokemon.

The Walk (Android | iOS)

This was developed by the same team that created Zombies, Run!. In the game, which takes three months to finish, you must carry a package – that could save the world – to a mysterious destination. As you walk, you get closer to your destination and unlock immersive audio story clips.

Superhero Workout (Android | iOS)

Here’s another fitness AR app from the creators of Zombies, Run!. In the game, you become the pilot of a battleship and must defend the world against alien forces. You’ll do real-world exercises, like crunches and arm punches, to defeat aliens. The app uses motion detection too.

SpecTrek (Android)

This game is all about catching and getting rid of ghosts. It’s a simple title that transforms your own world into a world full of ghouls. You must find where they’re spawning using the GPS and camera on your phone, and then you try to catch them. The more ghosts you get, the better you do.

Clandestine Anomaly (Android | iOS)

Ever want to defend the world against an alien invasion? In this game, aliens are launching an attack on your planet and in your city. You are the Earth’s only hope. You’ll get to watch the alien invasion around you, deploy defensive and offensive tactics, build structures around your neighborhood, and take part in the battle from your home or move to real-world locations.

Temple Treasure Hunt Game (Android)

You can now be a treasure-hunter. This interactive game uses geo-location to turns the world around you into a temple full of hidden artifacts you need to uncover. You can either be a treasure protector or a treasure hunter. You can even play it with friends and family. For instance, you can share treasure trails with your friends, and all of you can hunt for the treasure together as a team.

Geocaching (Android | iOS)

This is another treasure-hunting, outdoor-based game. You basically get to discover real, hidden containers around the world – and some of them even contain small stuff for trade. It’s basically the same thing as Pokemon Go, but instead of catching Pokemon on your phone, you’re trading real-world objects and stories with other adventurers from acround the globe.

Real Strike (iOS)

This app turns your reality into a military base and includes first-person shooting (but, please, don’t use real guns). You have 25 weapons to choose from in the game that you can fire and reload. Combat items include night vision, thermal vision, and more.

Parallel Kingdom MMO (Android | iOS)

Want to enter into a past era of kings and kingdoms? This location-based MMORPG game lets you complete quests and slay monsters, with your location becoming the battle ground. There are 40 levels, trading options with other players, chat rooms, leaderboards, and more.

Night Terrors (Indiegogo)

This app isn’t out yet, but we had to include it. Like horror films? Well, Night Terrors transforms your house into a haunted death trap.

Want more?

These two are also worth trying for their AR tricks: Field Trip and Sky Guide.

16
Jul

Astronomers map 1.2 million galaxies in colossal 3D image


After spending a decade measuring the stars, scientists just released a 3D map spanning 1.2 million galaxies. But it also measures the universe’s expansion over time, giving credence to the theory that dark energy played a role in its increasing size.

Hundreds of scientists from the Baryon Oscillation Spectroscopic Survey (BOSS), a program from the Sloan Digital Sky Survey III that measures the expansion of the universe over time, collaborated to make the map. The full one spans 650 cubic billion light-years, which is about a quarter of the sky.

The above image, however, is only a slice of it, covering 1/20th of the sky and ranging only 6 billion light-years wide. Color indicates distance from Earth, with yellow dots representing the nearest galaxies and purple the farthest away (grey dots are regions that weren’t surveyed). Inside are 48,741 galaxies, about 3 percent of the full dataset, meaning they observed 1,624,700 in total.

BOSS tracked the universe’s increasing size by tracking pressure waves that emanated out from the Big Bang and froze as matter solidified 400,000 years later. The researchers tracked galactic movement from 7 billion years ago until 2 billion years ago, which supports dark energy’s and dark matter’s roles in the universe’s growth. Measuring the distribution of galaxies across time reveals how much both elements competed to increase its outward expansion in the time period they tracked.

“If dark energy has been driving the expansion of the Universe over that time, our maps tell us that it is evolving very slowly if at all: the change is at most 20% over the past seven billion years,” said Florian Beutler of University of Portsmouth, who contributed two of the papers that the scientists submitted to the Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society this week.

Via: Gizmodo

Source: SDSS

16
Jul

Watch the Evo 2016 fighting game championships right here!


Need a place to watch this weekend’s Evo fighting game championships? Look no further. The event runs through Sunday, with finals for Street Fighter V starting that night at 10 p.m. Eastern live from the Mandalay Bay Events Center. Other games this year include Super Smash Bros. for Wii U, the GameCube’s fan-favorite Super Smash Bros. Melee, Killer Instinct, Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3, Mortal Kombat XL and Persona 4 Arena.

If you’re not in Sin City but still want to catch the action, we’ve embedded a Twitch player below. At any given moment there are a number of events happening at once though, so you’ll have to choose between a few different streams. For a full schedule of what’s going down and when, head over to Shoryuken. Happy watching!

Watch live video from srkevo1 on http://www.twitch.tv

Source: Shoryuken (1), (2) (Twitch)

16
Jul

How to connect a USB flash drive to your Android phone


usb-to-android-hero.jpg?itok=WHpR7pRE

How do I connect a USB flash storage device to my Android phone?

Say you’re going to a party and your friends have asked you to play amateur DJ. Your phone has some music on it, but there’s so much more on your thumb drive or external solid state drive. You don’t want to bring an entire laptop to the party! Why not hook it up to your phone?

Another scenario: you’re going on a long road trip or flight and you can’t imagine anything better than watching movies the whole time. Problem is, you can’t fit them all on the internal or removable storage on your Android phone. Bring your flash drive! It’s full of movies!

Connecting a USB flash storage device to your Android phone is cheap and easy. Let’s find out what you need and, finally, how to get everything connected and safely disconnected again.

  • How to check if your Android phone supports USB On-The-Go
  • What you’ll need to connect USB flash storage to your Android phone
  • How to connect a USB flash storage device to your Android phone
  • How to safely disconnect a USB flash storage device from your Android phone

How to check if your phone supports USB On-The-Go

Not all Android phones support USB On-The-Go (OTG) functionality. If you don’t have the correct guts in your phone you’re not going to be hooking anything up with OTG. Luckily, to check if your phone is compatible requires just one app download.

The Google Play Store has a great app called OTG? that you can download now on your phone. It scans your phone automatically and will let you know if you’re one of the lucky ones. If you are, keep reading.

Download: OTG? (Free)

What you’ll need to connect USB flash storage to your Android phone

Connecting USB flash storage to your Android phone is easy and cheap. Here’s what you’ll need:

A USB OTG cable

ugreen-usb-otg-cable-press-01.jpg?itok=A

Some Android phones, like the Galaxy S7, come with a USB OTG cable in the box — but most don’t. If your Android phone didn’t come with an OTG cable, you can pick them up off Amazon for super cheap.

This cable is what allows you to hook up your phone to your flash storage device. Without it you’re pooched.

The one linked to here is made by Ugreen — it’s $5, it has a one year warranty, and it works great. The cable is six inches long, so you’ll be able to set your flash storage device and phone down any way you’d like. Can’t really beat that.

See at Amazon

A USB flash storage device

This one is largely up to you. Any storage with a USB connector will work as long as it’s formatted as FAT32. If you want a ton of storage you’ll probably want a solid state drive with a USB connector (but beware of the power draw — not all drives will work!). If you’re OK with less storage, a thumb drive will do the trick.

patriot-stellar-boost-128gb-xt-usb-press

If you don’t already have an OTG cable or a USB flash storage device, you can purchase an all-in-one flash drive and OTG connector. The one pictured here, made by Patriot, has 128GB of storage, has USB and micro-USB male connectors, and only costs about $40. You can plug it into your computer, transfer files onto it, then plug it into your phone and stream media without the need for a separate OTG cable.

See at Amazon

How to connect a USB flash storage device to your Android phone

Plug your USB OTG cable into your Android phone.
Plug your USB flash storage device into the female connector of your OTG cable. The file explorer on your phone should automatically pop up.

That’s it! As long as your USB flash storage device is connected you’ll be able to play media from it. Be careful you don’t remove the storage device while using or transferring files.

How to safely disconnect a USB flash storage device from your Android phone

Swipe down from the top of your phone’s screen.

Tap USB mass storage connected.

android-connect-flash-storage-screen-01.

Simple as that. You can now safely unplug your flash storage device without risking corruption of any files.

Are you connected?

Do you use OTG cables to connect flash storage to your Android phone? Do you use a different method? Let us know in the comments section below!

16
Jul

Over 70,000 ATMs in US will support Touch ID for cardless withdrawals


Even if you aren’t ready to ditch your plastic credit card, you might have no choice soon, as FIS and and Payment Alliance International (PAI) are forcing ATM goers to at least acknowledge that cardless withdrawals are a thing.

The two have announced a partnership that will allow you to withdraw money using Touch ID from over 70,000 ATMs — a sign that the end of plastic cards is upon us. FIS Cardless Cash is a QR code-based solution that lets customers withdraw funds through an iPhone app without inserting a card into the machine, while PAI is the largest operator of non-bank-owned ATMs in the US.

Their partnership (NYCE) marks the first national network to support phone-to-ATM transactions. PAI’s ATMs will be equipped with FIS and made available in stores, malls, and restaurants across the country. While they aren’t using Apple Pay, they will let you get cash out using your iPhone and QR codes combined with an app. All transactions will also require Touch ID verification.

FIS said transactions should take mere seconds and that you’ll get a digital receipt, too:

“Cardless Cash protects consumers by reducing risk of card skimming and shoulder surfing, both of which are on the rise at ATMs, according to industry data. By leveraging FIS Mobile Banking with Touch ID, customers securely access their funds and authorize the amount they want without inserting a plastic card into an ATM. The mobile banking app acts as a remote control for the ATM, providing unparalleled privacy and security for consumers. Customers using FIS Cardless Cash can complete their withdrawals in 10 seconds and get an electronic receipt on their smartphone.”

Keep in mind Bank of America announced last month that it is bringing Apple Pay to ATMs across the country. Between that integration and today’s announcement, it’s clear that cardless transactions are quickly becoming the go-to way of getting your money.

Woo! The future!

  • Apple Pay: How to set it up and which stores and cards support it right now
  • 30 Touch ID apps that let you unlock or pay for stuff
16
Jul

Turkish president interviewed via FaceTime during military coup


As Turkey’s armed forces seized control of the country today, an odd scene unfolded on CNNTurk as President Recep Tayyip Erdogan appeared live on the screen of an iPhone. News reports indicated he was safe but did not confirm his location, while Erdogan called on the public to support him in public squares and airports. Being forced to rely on internet communications like FaceTime is particularly notable for Erdogan, who has been described as “One of the world’s most determined internet censors,” for repeatedly shutting down access to services like Twitter and YouTube.

Facebook.com/live page showing streams from Turkey

According to the group Turkey Blocks, access to Twitter, YouTube and Facebook was disabled after the military uprising began a few hours ago (Update: two hour period of throttling). Twitter’s Policy account said that it is not blocked, but “we suspect there is an intentional slowing of our traffic in country.” The coup attempt is still ongoing, as there are reports of shots fired and hostages taken at the military headquarters in the country’s capital city of Ankara. Despite whatever blocks are in place, Periscope is very popular in Turkey, and a number of livestreams are currently showing protests occurring around the country.

We have no reason to think we’ve been fully blocked in #Turkey, but we suspect there is an intentional slowing of our traffic in country.

— Policy (@policy) July 15, 2016

BREAKING Turkish President Erdoğan blames #Gulenist network & calls on public to go to public squares and airports. pic.twitter.com/vmQlYLyv35

— CNN Türk ENG (@CNNTURK_ENG) July 15, 2016

Cumhurbaşkanı Erdoğan CNN TÜRK’e açıklama yaptıhttps://t.co/C0EYdmeAz6 https://t.co/IHVrhCBVEB

— CNN Türk (@cnnturk) July 15, 2016

%d bloggers like this: