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20
Jul

Pokemon Go Plus explained: Release date, price and everything you need to know


There are few out there who haven’t heard about Pokemon Go, on a basic level at least. It’s a global phenomenon that has been covered way beyond the confines of games or tech news outlets.

However, as the craze settles and the true Pokemon Go gamers settle more into their new passion, it’ll be time to focus on other aspects that help them. Long after the world gets tired of talking about churches and sex offenders institutes as PokeStops, there will be a fanbase looking for ways to improve their experience.

Pokemon Go Plus is such a device. It is coming to different countries, including the US and UK, soon, and could be a fantastic tech extension for the true Pokemon Go player.

That’s why we’ve put together everything you need to know about it, so when it arrives you’ll know whether you want or need one.

Pocket-lint

What is Pokemon Go Plus?

Pokemon Go Plus is a wearable device that links to your smartphone through Bluetooth and informs you when a Pokemon is nearby as you travel the streets – sort of like a Pokemon flavoured smartwatch.

It can even be used to catch the Pokemon itself, so you don’t have to take your phone out of your pocket.

The device should, therefore, help Pokemon Go players be more aware of their surroundings, without constantly holding a mobile screen up to their faces.

  • Pokemon Go: How to play and other tips and tricks
  • Help! Pokemon Go isn’t working: How to fix common Pokemon Go problems
  • Can’t get Pokemon Go in your country yet? Here’s how to download it now
  • What is Pokemon Go and why is everyone talking about it? 
  • Pokemon Go: Best, worst and craziest places people have found Pokemon
  • London through the eyes of Pokemon Go
  • Pokemon Go top tips: Master the Pokemon mayhem

How does Pokemon Go Plus work?

The small wearable can be worn around a wrist thanks to an included band, clipped onto a shirt or even just placed in a pocket.

Pocket-lint

Whenever a Pokemon is nearby, an LED with flash and the device will mildly vibrate. You can then either check out which Pokemon it is by looking on your phone and using the app, or press a button on the Plus and it will attempt catch the Pokemon by throwing a Poke Ball for you. A further notification will let you know if you were successful.

The Pokemon Go Plus will also notify you when you are near a PokeStop. You will, however, have to then use your phone for interaction.

Do I need Pokemon Go Plus?

Because it is an extension of Pokemon Go, it is not needed to get the whole experience – you simply need a smartphone for that.

Instead, it can help make the search for PokeStops and Pokemon easier and more comfortable. If you wear one on your wrist, for example, you can go about your daily life, occasionally stopping whenever it tells you a Pokemon is nearby.

Will Pokemon Go Plus work with my phone?

On launch, Pokemon Go Plus will only work with iOS. It will be compatible with iPhone 5, 5c, 5s, SE, 6, 6s, 6 Plus, and 6s Plus. They will also need to be on iOS 8 or higher.

Is Pokemon Go Plus compatible with Android?

Sadly, the Pokemon Go Plus will not work with Android on launch. Compatibility with Android is “under development”.

Pocket-lint

What are the Pokemon Go Plus’ specifications?

Inside the pack you get the Pokemon Go Plus device, a polyester wristband that measures 4-7cm when worn, and a removable CR2032 Lithium coin cell battery for power.

The device itself, which looks like the pointer in the app (and on Google Maps) is 46 x 33 x 17.5mm and weighs 13g.

How much is Pokemon Go Plus?

The Bluetooth enabled device costs £34.99 in the UK, $34.99 in the US. It might be available in other regional prices too. Check with your local supplier.

Where can I buy the Pokemon Go Plus?

Nintendo stocks the Pokemon Go Plus in the UK. It is yet to open for pre-orders, with a shipping date of 31 August.

US pre-orders, however, have been and gone. GameStop has the exclusive and as soon as the device went on pre-order it sold out very quickly. It ships on 31 July, so after that date you might get one from a second stock roll out.

There are also reports of units being offered on eBay for ridiculous sums of money.

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20
Jul

How to make your home smart right now


Smarthomes were once associated with the rich and famous. The kind of houses you only saw in your dreams or TV programmes like Cribs. That’s no longer the case.

There are hundreds of devices available these days that not only make a smarthome possible, but accessible too. Yes, some of the options are pricey, but not all of them are, and there are plenty of gadgets available that will make your home smart right now, without breaking the bank.

Here are just a few to get your started from smart heating to smart lighting, with plenty in between.

Amazon Echo

Amazon

Amazon Echo is a 9.25-inch-tall cylinder speaker with a seven-piece microphone array. This mic setup allows the speaker to respond to the wake word “Alexa,” which happens to be the name of the speaker’s Siri-like assistant. With Alexa, Amazon Echo is capable of voice interaction, controlling compatible smarthome devices and music playback from devices over Bluetooth.

It can make to-do lists, set alarms, stream podcasts, play audiobooks, read PDFs, provide weather forecasts, warn you of traffic, answer trivia, and serve up other information in real-time. Echo requires a Wi-Fi connection to respond to voice commands, and it must remain plugged in for power.

PRICE: $179

Nespresso Prodigio

Amazon

The Nespresso Prodigio is the first connected Nespresso machine. It will connect to your smartphone via a dedicated app and allow you to prepare your coffee remotely, whether that’s from the comfort of your bed or the dining room table. You could even do it from the bath if you really wanted to.

It will alert you when your favourite pods are running low, when you need to empty the capsule container and when you need to top up the water tank. The Nespresso Prodigio is available in silver or titan colour options and there is also the Prodigio&Milk model that offers an integrated milk frother. Both have multiple size settings.

PRICE: $289.99 for the Prodigio&Milk model

Google Chromecast

Google

Chromecast plugs into any TV with HDMI and USB ports (or requires separate power if not) and it can be controlled from a phone, tablet, or computer. From there, you can “cast” content displayed on your device’s screen to your TV.

Many popular apps have a Google Cast button built directly into their apps, including the likes of Netflix and YouTube, enabling you to send a movie or YouTube clip to your TV with a simple tap of a button. Its purpose is to makes a dumb TV smart and it does a brilliant job of it.

PRICE: $35

Honeywell Lyric Thermostat

Honeywell

A smarthome wouldn’t be complete without a smart thermostat and Honeywell offers several options including Lyric. The Lyric Round Thermostat adapts to your life without a learning curve and offers control from wherever you are in the world via your Android or iOS smartphone.

The Lyric Round Thermostat will use your smartphone’s location to find out where you are, ensuring you come home to a warm house or you save energy when you aren’t coming home. It is compatible with a number of platforms including Apple HomeKit, Samsung SmartThings and IFTTT, allowing for easy and simple control. There is also a Lyric security and home control system that allows you to control numerous elements of your home including the Lyric thermostat, as well as lights and locks.

PRICE: $229

Sonos Play:1

Sonos is a wireless HiFi system that consists of various different sized speakers, a sound bar and a sub, all of which you can control using the Sonos app, which is compatible with iOS, Android and Windows. The Sonos Play:1 is the cheapest and smallest of the speakers available, offering two custom-designed drivers with dedicated amplifiers inside. 

It comes in black and white colour options and you can stream your entire music library, a range of music services such as Spotify, and internet radio from the app to the speaker. Sonos speakers can also be grouped, no matter which combination you have so it’s nice and easy to add to your collection and fill your home with music.

PRICE: $199

Netatmo Welcome

The Netatmo Welcome is one of the more expensive smarthome camera options out there, but it allows you to customise user profiles thanks to its facial recognition technology and it’s a great feature. Welcome will recognise faces from various angles and build a profile relating to that person.

You have to teach the camera who is who so it learns but for each profile you build, you can alter the recording preferences. For example, if you want to know when your partner is home from work but you don’t want their every action to be recorded when they are home, you can select this, making the Welcome camera far less intrusive than others available. Door and window sensors that work with the camera are also available.  

PRICE: $199

Philips Hue

Philips

The Philips Hue system consists of connected bulbs and a wireless bridge, which can be controlled using a smartphone from wherever you are. The starter pack comes with three bulbs and the bridge, which can control up to 50 Hue light bulbs, so you can buy more bulbs individually depending on how many lights in your home you want to connect.

You’ll be able to create light settings based on your favourite photos, or photos you have uploaded, and there are millions of colours to choose from. Hue also has a party mode that makes the bulbs flash in time with your music and you can set timers to help you wake up every day. Of course you’ll also get the ability to turn the Hue bulbs on, off and dim them to suit the mood you are trying to create.

PRICE: $199.99 for the starter pack

Honeywell Lyric Water Leak and Freeze Detector

Honeywell

The Honeywell Lyric Water Leak and Freeze Detector is the latest device to be added to the Lyric range of products. Its purpose is to catch a leak or frozen pipe early in order to try and avoid the devastating and costly effects a flood or burst pipe could cause.

The detector works with the Lyric app, notifying you via your smartphone if a leak is detected or the temperature drops below that which you have set, allowing you to take action before the situation gets worse. It also has a 100dB buzzer and LED lights to warn users if they are home. The Lyric Water Leak and Freeze Detector connects to your home Wi-Fi network without the need for a hub, is battery-powered and several devices can be connected to the Lyric app, allowing you to place them around your home.

PRICE: $79.99

Belkin WeMo Switch

Amazon

The Belkin WeMo Switch is part of a modular system so you can control as much or as little of your home as you want to. The idea of the switch is to give you wireless control over home appliances and electronics, for example a lamp, fan, TV or coffee machine.

You plug the WeMo Switch into an outlet in your home and plug any device or appliance into it. The Switch then needs to be connected to your home Wi-Fi network, which you do through the Android or iOS app, and after you complete the installation instructions, you’ll be able to turn whatever you have plugged in on or off from anywhere using your smartphone. The Belkin WeMo range is also compatible with IFTTT so you’ll be able to create various recipes if you want to.

PRICE: $49.99

Belkin WeMo Maker

Amazon

The Belkin WeMo Maker is a device that makes it possible to control low-voltage electronic devices using your smartphone or tablet. It can connect to nearly any device controlled with a DC switch and once connected, you’ll be able to turn them on or off, put them on schedules or connect them to different sensors.

The customisation possibilities are endless with the WeMo Maker as it too works with IFTTT. With this compatibility, it means you could connect a WeMo Maker to a garage door and create a trigger to open the door when you are nearly home based on your smartphone’s location for example.

PRICE: $79.99

The Honeywell Lyric Water Leak and Freeze Detector is an early warning system that notifies you on your smartphone when a leak is detected or the temperature drops below a temperature of your choice. By catching it early, you may be able to avoid expensive repairs and loss of treasured items. To find out more visit Honeywell.com

This article was created in association with Honeywell.

20
Jul

SwiftKey’s first Microsoft-era keyboard predicts your emoji


Wondering what SwiftKey has been up to ever since Microsoft bought it early in the year? It’s not necessarily what you’d expect: meet Swiftmoji, a predictive emoji keyboard app for Android and iOS. The software uses both the context of what you’re typing and worldwide trends to suggest emoji when you’ve decided text just isn’t enough. They’re a bit like iOS 10’s suggestions, only with a culturally savvy bent. Swiftmoji will offer “queen” and “bee” if you’re raving over the latest Beyoncé single, for example. If you regularly venture beyond the basic emoji, this might save you some time digging through 1,800-plus emoji to find the perfect picture.

Swiftmoji is only available in English right now, and its functionality depends on the platform you’re using. It’s a full-on keyboard replacement on Android, while it’s strictly for inserting emoji on iOS devices. Whichever version you use, it’s safe to say that this is more of a specialized tool compared to SwiftKey’s standard keyboard — you’ll know right away whether or not it’s something you can use.


Source: App Store, Google Play

20
Jul

Facebook Messenger tops one billion monthly users


Facebook has just announced yet another milestone: more than 1 billion people now use its Messenger service every month. Combine that with WhatsApp, which reached the billion-user point back in February, and it appears that the company now owns two of the most popular messaging apps in the world. The firm says that this also posits Messenger as the second most popular iOS app of all time behind Facebook itself. Over on Android, the company says the Messenger app has been downloaded over a billion times.

“As part of this journey to 1 billion, we focused on creating the best possible experiences in modern day communications. We remain focused on helping connect people to the people and businesses who matter most,” said David Marcus, VP of Messenger, in a statement. Facebook released a few more stats too: it now has over 18,000 bots on its Messenger platform, 10 percent of all VoIP calls are apparently made through Messenger and more than 22 million GIFs are sent via Messenger everyday. To celebrate this momentous occasion, Facebook has unveiled a special celebratory balloon emoji on Messenger that you can send to your friends and family starting today.

20
Jul

Skype no longer supporting Windows Phone or older Android versions


Microsoft is making some changes to its Skype app going forward, and it may end up making some Android and Windows Phone users frustrated. Today, Microsoft announced it would continue to support Skype across iOS 8, Android 4.03 and Windows 10 Mobile, but is ceasing support for those using Windows Phone 8 or older versions of Android.

Anyone still chugging along on these older versions will no longer receive the newest versions of Skype going forward. Unfortunately, this means that some users won’t be able to utilize the Skype app to the fullest as time goes by.

The changes were outlined by Microsoft’s corporate vice president of Skype and Skype for Business Gurdeep Pall, who was quick to admit that Skype has had its own issues in the past. He noted that “unforeseen issues” have indeed been a thorn in users’ sides for some time, such as “messages not syncing across devices or delayed notifications.”

Microsoft notes that the transition from P2P to cloud service of the last few years may be part of the problem, and with the transition still ongoing, Microsoft is hoping to wrap things up in the coming months.

Via: The Verge

Source: Skype Blog

20
Jul

Ecotricity disputes Tesla’s fastest charger claim, loses


Tesla and Ecotricity, a British energy provider using renewable sources, have a rocky relationship. Years ago the two came together to work on Tesla’s Supercharger network in the UK, but disagreements led to a feisty lawsuit and an out of court settlement. Since then the pair have been exchanging blows through the UK’s Advertising Standards Authority; Tesla filed a complaint about Ecotricity’s website that was ultimately dismissed in April. Ecotricity submitted its own concerns about Tesla’s site which, in a ruling published today, has also been thrown out by the regulator.

The complaint references two passages that were visible on Tesla’s domain last October. The first claims that the company’s Supercharger is “the world’s fastest charging station,” while the second suggests that Model S owners can save £6,000 by switching away from a petrol vehicle. Ecotricity challenged both points and in response, Tesla set out its workings.

The company said it considered a number of chargers that are capable of delivering direct current (DC), a method faster than alternating current (AC). Among its rivals were the the “GB/T” charger from GuoBiao, the “SAE Combo” charger developed by German car manufacturers and the “CHAdeMo” charger built by Japanese EV car companies. Tesla compared their charging speeds using maximum power output — the higher the figure, the faster a car could be refuelled, it surmised. While one, the GB/T, had a higher “theoretical delivery” — 180 kW compared to 145 kW — in practice all of the chargers had a lower output than the Supercharger.

Tesla backed up its second claim with a whole host of average statistics. It says Model S owners use the Supercharger network for 11 percent of EV charging — that number increases to 19 percent for Model S owners in the UK. Tesla, however, rounded down to 10 percent, just to be on the safe side. It then took the national average cost for electricity in the UK, and then compared it to the price of petrol over the same period using public figures. Finally, it modelled petrol consumption using the BMW 535i Saloon, a mid-size sedan that’s cheaper and more fuel efficient than alternatives that might be considered closer to the Model S.

In conclusion, the ASA said there was no breach and that “no further action was necessary.” Ecotricity declined to comment.

Now that the legal dust has settled, Ecotricity and Tesla can turn their attention elsewhere. The British energy supplier is switching its roadside chargers, which used to be free, across to a paid model. Tesla’s Superchargers are currently free for Model S and Model X owners, however the company has warned that the Model 3, its cheapest car and a shot at mass EV adoption, won’t enjoy such luxuries. It’s a seemingly inevitable move, but one that could fund an even larger expansion of public chargers in the UK, and make EVs just a little more viable for drivers everywhere.

Via: Ars Technica UK

Source: ASA

20
Jul

Amazon explores using street lights as delivery drone perches


Amazon’s Prime Air delivery drones already have a glaring problem: how do you keep them charged and sheltered when dedicated facilities are likely to be few and far between? The company has an idea. It recently received a patent for a “UAV docking station” concept that would offer a temporary perch for drones in need. If a drone runs low on battery or needs to take shelter from an impending storm, it would only have to travel to a station on top of a street light, cell tower, church steeple or another high-up location. The drone could even drop off a package for another drone, turning a delivery into an aerial relay race.

This is just a patent, so there’s no guarantee that you’ll see drones sitting on lamp posts like robotic pigeons. Amazon would need to get approval to install these stations. With that said, it’s easy to see the online retailer using them in the long run. Current drone technology faces serious limits on range, and this would let Amazon complete courier runs that would otherwise be too distant or too risky.

Via: PatentYogi, Mashable, Wired

Source: USPTO

20
Jul

These artists went beyond Google Sheets to make a mural


Spreadsheets typically equate to boring, menial work. Who wants to talk about data entry? Google has taken some interesting measures to go beyond spreadsheets’ intended use (namely Google Sheets) and has created art instead.

As part of a collaboration with Refinery29, Google asked artists Marina Esmeraldo of Barcelona and Mallory Heyer of New York to “push Sheets to its limits” and go beyond data and number-crunching. The duo quickly realized the best way to make something memorable: using Sheets as a tool to create art using data cells filled in with color to create a larger picture.

The finalized image was a 13′ x 34′ mural which was created by Colossal Media in Brooklyn, turning what began as colorful points of data into an enormous work of art. If you’re in the area and want to see the finished product in real life, head over to Bogart & Thames in Brooklyn to get a look at the wall where the mural is positioned until August 14th. If you’re ever bored and want to create something unique, why not turn to Google Sheets?

Source: Google

20
Jul

Vine is a sinking ship, but one worth saving


If you haven’t checked in on Vine recently, you might find the six-second video network looks a little less vibrant than it used to. The service has seen most of its high-profile creators move over to other platforms, while executives are quitting en masse. Vine now exists in a state of unmanaged decline, its enormous potential withering away in the sunlight. Twitter may have shown extraordinary prescience in acquiring Vine, but it’s clear that nobody has a clue how it should work.

The central issue is that Vine’s leadership doesn’t know what it is, and as a consequence, don’t know how to manage it. There’s a similar malaise at Twitter itself, which is defined not by its leaders, but through the prism of the people who use it regularly. For some, it’s a social network, while others describe it as more of a broadcasting platform. Either way, both of those very distinct concepts require drastically different management styles. But since nobody’s clear on what Vine and Twitter are, both leadership teams are desperately clinging to the status quo in the hope that things will improve.

Orson Welles is believed to have said that “the enemy of art is the absence of limitation,” but the web offers almost unlimited space onto which we can pour our thoughts. Vine, like Twitter, exists as a rejection of that principle, forcing people to be briefer and more creative. Six seconds was a concession to the technical realities with the processing and uploading of video on mobile networks. But it managed to spawn a phenomenon that has launched more than a few tweens into minor stardom, almost overnight.

Vine quickly became a vehicle for weird art, stop-motion videos, hand-drawn animation and news clips that boiled a breaking event down to its defining moment. But six seconds was perfect for comedy, which is one of the reasons I’ve been such an avid fan of the service. Six seconds, as it turns out, is the perfect length to establish a premise and execute a punchline. Take this clip from Danny Gonzalez, which has to be the pinnacle of the art:

Producing a successful Vine clip isn’t as simple as mugging into a camera for six seconds. Believe it or not, there are artistic and commercial pressures that come with pushing clips out on the service. Jessica Vazquez generated a following of more than three million users before quitting Vine in March of this year. In a YouTube video explaining her decision, she said that “you can say that it’s six seconds, but six seconds — putting it out there in front of millions of people to tell you what they think about it is hard.”

From obscurity, figures like Vazquez were suddenly being pressured by their audiences, for no direct compensation, to keep pumping out hits. Advertisers were quick to fill the gap, using “influencers” to become the face of their brands in exchange for piles of cash. But that money has dried up, with a report from Digiday back in May revealing that businesses have fallen sharply out of love with Vine. Talent agencies that sprang up to represent these new stars have begun pushing them to ditch Vine for platforms that supply better ad analytics, such as Snapchat, Facebook and Instagram.

It doesn’t help that while Vine is happy to compromise on video length, it’s been woefully slow in iterating its service. Snapchat is eating its lunch because it offers far more features, such as live video filtering, special effects and those aforementioned ad analytics. It’s also managed to present itself as far less formal than Vine, reducing the need for overly structured or heavily edited clips that for many seem like too much effort. This laid-back attitude means that Snapchat is less intimidating for new users who don’t feel capable of matching Vine’s more talented stars.

On the subject of stars, Vine describes itself as “the entertainment network where videos and personalities get really big, really fast.” But there’s a disconnect between what it says and how it behaves, especially when it comes to the treatment of that talent. Viners have only recently been allowed to make money from their clips, no matter how much effort or time goes into them, or how popular they become. Buzzfeed revealed that late last year Vine held a crisis summit with a clutch of top Viners, ostensibly to discuss remuneration for their work. But, given the subsequent brain drain that has taken place through 2016, those talks clearly foundered.

Which means that Vine is going to continue to spiral downward, unless it can make some big changes, quickly. An example worth examining would be YouTube Red, which dealt with a similar issue of talent retention, although it was backed with Google’s billions. The site was evolving from a collection of clips into its own entertainment destination, and executives knew it had to maintain its stable of stars. So, it created a subscription service and signed deals with some of its biggest names, letting them earn money from the subscription pot.

YouTube’s natural development into the TV of the future was enabled because the people in charge took a risk. Rather than sit with the status quo, and risk those names being drawn away to other websites, it made changes. Vine, on the other hand, has not, and has suffered as a consequence. But all is not lost, at least not yet. Rather than simply altering the duration of videos and hoping that everything will be okay, Vine needs to realize that it’s an entertainment service, not a social network. And then it needs to start acting like one.

20
Jul

Which printers are worth buying?


You probably don’t print as much as you used to, if at all. However, on the rare occasion that you need a crisp copy of your resume to bring to an interview or want some framed photos of the kids for your office, a printer can be pretty handy. But not every printer works for every job, so we’ve scoured critics’ reviews across the web and assembled a list of some of the best devices currently out there. Whether you’re looking to send out photo cards for the holidays or just need an everyday workhorse of a machine, check out the gallery below to see which printer might be up to the task.

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