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6
Aug

ESPN streams its first drone racing event at 1PM ET


Just when we were getting used to ESPN and eSports coverage, the worldwide leader in sports is adding another new event to its slate: drone racing. It’s not on the broadcast channels yet, but today and tomorrow at 1PM ET on ESPN3 (probably via the WatchESPN app) you can watch the 2016 U.S. National Drone Racing Championships.

Held on Governor’s Island in New York City it’s promising “jaw-dropping views” of Manhattan to go along with 60mph+ racing that will crown the fastest drone pilot in the US. If you miss the streams (or are just caught up in Olympics action), there will be a one-hour special airing on ESPN after this event and after the World Championships in October.

Source: Marketwatch, DroneNationals.com, Drone Sports Association

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6
Aug

Recommended Reading: President Obama, Commander in Nerdiness


Obama to leave
the White House
a nerdier place
than he found it

Gardiner Harris,
The New York Times

President Obama has accomplished a lot of things during his eight years in office. One of the causes he’s championed is science and STEM education. The New York Times takes a look at how the commander-in-chief is leaving the Oval Office a much nerdier place than he found it with science fairs, advisory committees and more.

Reboots be damned, ‘Stranger Things’ shows a better way to do nostalgia
Nathan Mattise, Ars Technica

If you haven’t watched Netflix’s latest critically-acclaimed original, you might want to skip this. However, if you have streamed it, Ars Technica offers a look at the proper way to handle nostalgia in a world of reboots.

Seeking Shelter
Ben Fox Rubin and Richard Nieva, CNET

CNET takes a look at the refugee crisis in Greece through the lens of the technology that’s available to the folks who are camping out. Refugees have to use phones to find food and shelter while scheduling Skype meetings for asylum interviews.

America’s electronic voting machines are scarily easy targets
Brian Barrett, Wired

While Donald Trump was busy spouting comments about a rigged election, Wired posted a look at how the voting machines we use in the States are easy targets for a security breach.

No Man’s Sky isn’t 30 hours long, silly
Samit Sarkar, Polygon

A Redditor paid an insane amount of money to obtain a copy of the unreleased No Man’s Sky. The forthcoming title boasts an infinite universe, but this person finished it in 30 hours. So, what gives? And does it really even matter?

6
Aug

4K Video Emerges Online Depicting Three Versions of iPhone 7


A high-definition video comparing three iPhone 7 models has emerged online, reviving rumors that Apple is set to unveil two different versions of the larger 5.5-inch handset.

The 4K resolution video, picked up today by Dutch blog TechTastic.nl, was posted on YouTube by the account ‘Bshop Kuwa’, which appears to be linked to a Japanese iPhone reservation store.

A gold 4.7-inch iPhone 7 is shown beside two larger handsets, one in silver and one in rose gold. One of the two 5.5-inch handsets shown in the video has a single-lens camera, while the other is fitted with a dual-lens.

Early rumors had suggested Apple was working on two versions of the 5.5-inch iPhone 7, earning them the distinguishing monikers ‘Plus’ and ‘Pro’, but those rumors died down except for one set of images that appeared in July which briefly revived speculation.


Apple may have been working on two different 5.5-inch prototypes early in the design stage in case of supply issues with a dual-lens camera. If so, this is the most likely cause of the ‘Pro’ and ‘Plus’ rumor and at this point we don’t believe Apple is set to unveil two versions.

Despite that, it’s still interesting to note that the dummy models shown in last month’s images showed the iPhone 7 “Pro” model featuring a Smart Connector, whereas the corresponding handset in the latest video has none.

It’s also worth noting that all the phones in the video bear the model number A1429, which actually identifies a version of iPhone 5 in Apple’s numbering scheme and indicates that these are almost certainly mockups.

iPhone 7 three models
Either way, this is the best-quality video we’ve had comparing the likely design of the 2016 iPhone 7 with last year’s iPhone 6s, which also makes an appearance. Otherwise, the newer phones bear the now familiar hallmarks of other expected design tweaks in store for the iPhone 7, such as repositioned antenna bands, larger cameras, and no headphone jack.

Also, while the models shown here don’t tally with an alleged leaked front panel that appeared earlier this week, they do match up with the functional iPhone 7 video that appeared on Thursday.

iPhone 7 three models
Apple is expected to launch the iPhone 7 next month. Pre-orders could begin Friday, September 9, ahead of retail availability on Friday, September 16, according to noted leaker Evan Blass.

Related Roundup: iPhone 7
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6
Aug

Kenmore 13699 review – CNET


The Good The Kenmore 13699 is one of the best cleaning dishwashers we tested, and a fine dryer as well. It also outclasses its $700 price with six different cycles and a few appealing features.

The Bad The control panel feels cheap, the design is bland, and I wish it had stem holders for your wine glasses. The plastic tub is also a step down in terms of energy management from the stainless variety of higher end models.

The Bottom Line A great value for bargain hunters, this top performing Kenmore is a steal if you don’t mind the plain design.

Visit manufacturer site for details.

The Kenmore 13699 dishwasher proves one thing that’s sure to make budget shoppers smile — you don’t have to shell out big bucks to get a dishwasher that can clean well. This $700 Kenmore cleans like a champ and backs it up with all the basic cycles you’d hope for in a dishwasher and a few helpful extra features to boot.

The main reason this dishwasher costs less than competitors with similar features is the plastic tub. The stainless steel tub adorning higher end models saves energy during the cycle. This Kenmore also has a pretty bland design and a clunky control panel that feels cheap, so I can’t entirely brush away the cost cutting measures Kenmore took to trim the price of the 13699.

But especially given its cleaning power, if you’re looking for a dishwasher that’ll wash away whatever you throw at it and if you’re hoping to save some money in the process, I strongly recommend the Kenmore 13699.

Kenmore’s budget dishwasher has the heart…
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Dark Knight

Perhaps the plain black exterior of the Kenmore 13699 won’t be a negative for you. I like my superheroes wearing darker colors, and this dishwasher has fantastic cleaning powers. Plus, the same model is available in white or stainless steel, though the stainless costs an extra $50. Regardless of which color you pick, the look of the Kenmore 13699 doesn’t do much to stand out.

The interior has a little more going on, with red jets accenting the grey racks. The racks themselves feel a little cramped. The Kenmore 13699 only has space for 12 place settings, vs 16 in the $600 GE GDF610PMJES, so even with our test run of 10 place settings, following the manufacturer’s recommended loading pattern resulted in a little overlap of plates. But the tines themselves are positioned well enough so that the plates feel secure and we were still able to find a spot for large pans during anecdotal runs.

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The red jets add a nice bit of color to the interior.


Chris Monroe/CNET

You can purchase the Kenmore 13699 at Sears or on Sears’ website. As is typical of the Kenmore brand, you can only purchase this model at Sears and it’s not available overseas. This particular model was manufactured by Whirlpool. As usual with large appliances, you can find it cheaper than the $700 price. Sears has it for $650 right now.

Making room

With only one set of fold-down tines, the Kenmore doesn’t have a lot of extras to help make the space feel flexible. Higher end dishwashers have third racks. That similarly priced GE GDF610PMJES has a silverware basket you can slot on the door or the edge of the lower rack and bottle wash jets for washing the bottom of taller glasses.

You can change the angle of that one set of movable tines on this Kenmore — the back row of the bottom rack. And you can raise and lower the upper rack a couple of inches. But that’s pretty much it.

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You can raise and lower the upper rack.


Chris Monroe/CNET

The rack doesn’t get in the way of loading, as with the tedious $800 Bosch SHS63VL5UC or the $900 LG LDF7774ST. The Kenmore 13699 doesn’t win many points with usability perks, but it only lacks one thing that I really missed — wine stem holders. As a result, you can’t put wine glasses in the outer-most columns on the top rack, as the stems will lean over the rim and knock into the edge of the dishwasher when you push in the rack.

Other than those wine glasses, the Kenmore 13699 is easy to load and for the most part, it’s inoffensive to look at. It even has hidden controls on the upper rim — an increasingly popular dishwasher trend. Unfortunately, those controls look and feel like cheap plastic.

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You can shift the angle of the back row of tines or fold it down entirely.


Chris Monroe/CNET

Other than the controls — the Kenmore 13699 does well to look plain instead of cheap, but the feel of the controls is a distinct step down from flashy touch panels of higher end models such as the $1,100 Frigidaire FPID2497RF.

Cycles for all occasions

Fortunately, though the control panel feels cheap, it’s intuitive to use and has all the basic cycles you’d hope for, even in a higher end dishwasher, along with a few helpful options you can add to your cycle.

6
Aug

Acer Predator 8 review: Gaming, flawed


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Acer’s gaming brand has an Android tablet that shouts a big game, but doesn’t quite hit the mark.

Acer has made Android tablets for years, but it is getting into a more niche space with its first Predator-branded product for the ecosystem, the Predator 8. How does it stack up? Read on.

Pros

  • Unique design
  • Mostly vanilla Android experience
  • Front facing speakers are LOUD

Cons

  • Poor battery life
  • Android Lollipop with no hint of updates
  • Lacks a defining gaming feature such as you’d get with the NVIDIA Shield

Acer Predator 8 Full Review

Believe it or not, Android is now a fairly strong place to be for folks who like to game on the go. The quality of mobile gaming has improved exponentially in recent years be that new names making a splash or some retro PC and console classics that are now playable in the palm of your hand.

As such, there are a couple of dedicated players in the gaming space trying to make a splash. NVIDIA is the incumbent champion with the excellent Shield, a tablet we recommend as the best you can buy right now. And then along came Acer, with the Predator 8.

Unlike NVIDIA, which usually just makes the internals for gaming laptops, Predator is a fully fledged gaming hardware brand from Acer. Usually its aggressive logo is adorned on desktop rigs and beefy laptops. And now, it comes to an Android tablet.

So this is a gaming tablet from Acer, then. It’s not at all like the one from NVIDIA, but it has a lot to live up to in order to take on the best. So how well does it fare? That’s what we’re here to find out.

Acer Predator 8 Specs

Operating System Android 5.1 Lollipop
Processor Intel Atom x7 quad-core
RAM 2GB
Display size 8-inches
Display resolution 1920 x 1200
Internal storage 32GB
MicroSD Yes
Battery capacity 4420 mAh
Connectivity Wifi b/g/n, Bluetooth

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Acer Predator 8 Hardware and Design

There’s little denying that the Predator 8 stands out in a crowd. I mean, tablet design can only go so far, but in a sea of black rectangles you’ll have no excuse not to see the Predator coming.

Equally, it’s a design that will firmly split opinions. There are those people who adore the garish designs traditionally found on gaming laptops, and there are those who would only use them while their head was inside a paper bag. The Predator 8 adopts this styling technique. You’ll love it or hate it. There probably won’t be a middle ground. For the record, I like it. It appeals to my inner child.

Those speakers on the corners are LOUD

The aggressive lines aren’t all show, though. From the rear the shape is bizarre (and so too from the front, really) but those angular corner pieces are where you find the four front mounted speakers. These were a good choice, regardless of your thoughts on how the thing looks.

If you like to have some serious sound while you’re gaming or watching video content, you’re in luck. The speakers are loud, without offering anything exemplary in quality. They’re tablet speakers after all. But you won’t have any issues hearing what’s coming out of them.

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Besides being all angular and aggressive looking, there’s a fairly striking red and silver color scheme all around. The shiny Predator logo lets everyone know that this isn’t any normal tablet. Those angles also fit in just the right places to put a hand either side of the tablet in landscape mode without having pointy corners digging into your skin.

Out front is a nice, if unremarkable 1920×1200 resolution IPS display. It’s pretty bright, too; several times during the review period finding myself turning it down. Underneath you’ve got some fairly normal sounding specs: 2GB of RAM, 32GB of internal storage and a quad-core x7 Intel processor.

The x7 processor from Intel has some horsepower

Only this particular processor from Intel is a little more beefed up than we’ve been used to on past phones and tablets bearing the famous logo. The Predator 8 uses an Intel x7 processor, which by comparison is used in the Microsoft Surface 3. To run full Windows 10.

So the Predator 8 has some grunt. It also has an adequately-sized 4420mAh battery inside it, which shouldn’t be too bad for an 8-inch tablet without cellular radios. But more on that later.

What you have here is a pretty wild-looking tablet that’s a great size and has plenty enough going on underneath to eat up even the most intense games that the Google Play Store can throw at it. Which is where we head next.

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Acer Predator 8 Gaming Experience

Usually we’ll get a tablet in for review and go through the motions: hardware, software, battery, camera and so on. But the Predator 8 isn’t just any old tablet. It’s touted for gaming, so that’s what I’m going to focus on.

The software is mostly as you’d find from Google. Very plain Android, with slight customizations such as the “Left Panel” for news feeds and whatnot, and some pre-installed custom apps. Really, that’s all there is to it.

The software is very much untouched with only a few minor customizations

So, to playing games.

The Predator 8 has a task at hand to get on the same level as the NVIDIA Shield. Besides packing some serious power inside, the Shield has access to an ecosystem of titles. There’s also a dedicated controller and a cover that props it up at such angle as you can play games nicely with said controller.

Acer doesn’t have a first party input. Controllers can be found, sure, but it’s easier to tie up your gaming tablet with a ribbon if you can show casual consumers the whole kit and caboodle. There is an official case that ill prop it up, but I haven’t yet seen one of those in person. You can at least buy them, it seems.

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The biggest thing Acer lacks over NVIDIA though is content. There are exclusive games for the Shield as well as the ability to stream PC games to the tablet. The Predator has none of this. What you have is what you get through the Google Play Store.

That isn’t a bad thing, but there’s nothing there to shout about, to make it stand out from the competition. But thankfully the Google Play Store is well stocked in 2016.

Acer has a bunch of gaming friendly marketing relating to the hardware for the Predator 8, a couple of which are highlighted below:

Get a grip on your entertainment with Predator TacSense dual haptic feedback. Two carefully calibrated vibration-inducing motors give you a game-controller experience in a super-thin tablet.

Predator Precision Plus technology lets us pack tons of touch sensors into the screen, so you can control your games with pro-level precision. Get the competitive edge with the ultimate level of gaming accuracy at your fingertips.

I’m not a fan of technical mumbo jumbo, and to many none of this will really mean anything. In my (less technical) layman’s words, the touch experience is superb and it vibrates too often. Like vibrating constantly when booting up — even when turning on the display.

For what it’s worth, I like to turn controller vibration off on my Xbox One. So I’m not a fan of throwing all the vibrating things at my fingers.

The Predator 8 is great to play your games on

The Predator 8 is, however, mostly fantastic to play games on. As already discussed, the size is basically perfect for a tablet, the grip pads on the back are just grippy enough and the display is a good rounder.

I’ve played a mixture of games throughout the review period, ranging from Clash Royale up to Vainglory, and a few places in between. The Predator 8 hasn’t missed a beat once. You never buy a tablet expecting to be surprised by its performance, but the Predator 8 doesn’t disappoint.

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The combination of the speakers, display and overall performance leads to a solid experience. I’ve never felt like I needed more from the hardware. I also particularly like the built-in blue light filter, something I’ve written about previously. It makes a massive difference to eye strain while using the tablet in the evenings.

Where I do feel I need more is in the overall experience. I need a case to prop it up on, and I need a controller. Games like Vain Glory are touch-specific which is fine, but personally I can’t seriously get into tablet gaming without a physical input. Acer could have made it a lot easier for its customers by offering a bundle.

If you’re OK with touch-only, you’ll have a blast.

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Acer Predator 8 Problems

There are things about the Predator 8 that aren’t particularly good. While software hasn’t been much of a focus in this review, there is one important thing that it needs marking down on. It runs Android 5.1 Lollipop.

There’s no beating around the bush: this is a very bad thing. And what’s worse is we’re not exactly teeming with confidence that it’ll ever progress beyond this.

It’s 2016 and Acer is still on Lollipop

The other big downer is the battery life. It’s just underwhelming. Plain old bad. In the same time that an NVIDIA Shield had dropped around 20%, we’re looking at 50% on the Predator 8. Several days during the review period I saw just 2 hours of screen-on time, dropping 10% during two or three games of Clash Royale. I did check, and Clash Royale isn’t the most battery hungry game on earth. The display is the big power muncher and it’s not lasting nearly long enough for extended gaming periods or watching more than a solitary movie away from the power outlet.

The battery life in particular will sour anyone’s experience with the Predator 8. It’s yet another thing to constantly charge. It’s a good thing there isn’t a cellular radio inside, frankly.

But that’s another thing missing. Not everyone cares, but unless you’ve got data you can’t play some games. Vainglory springs to mind, limiting your travelling play time potential unless you’re happy tethering. NVIDIA at least offers a 4G variant of the Shield, and it’s your choice whether you want it.

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Acer Predator 8 The Bottom Line

Acer took a punt on making a gaming tablet based on Android and for the most part did a good job. The love-or-hate looks will divide opinions but regardless makes the Predator 8 stand out in a crowd of black rectangles. It can’t be accused of ignoring raw horsepower, either, putting in the most powerful option it could at the time from its partner, Intel.

But for as good as the Predator 8 is at what it sets out to be, it falls short of the mark. The NVIDIA Shield is still the one to beat in this, and all Android tablet categories, and sadly the Predator 8 won’t be unseating it any time soon. It’s not a bad tablet, but it’s not as good as it needs to be.

The battery life is its biggest failing. You could overlook other annoyances like only being on Android Lollipop if you wanted, but you can’t ignore the battery life. It just isn’t good enough, and that’s a shame, because I do actually like this tablet, and a lot more than I thought I would. But I don’t like having to charge it up all the time.

Should you buy the Acer Predator 8? Probably not

The Android Central recommendation of best tablet still stands. If you can buy an NVIDIA Shield, you should. Aside from the battery life there’s nothing really wrong with the Predator 8 should you really want one, but it’s tough to recommend you buy when the competition is as good as it is.

But if you can get one at a good price and like what you see then why not. Just be aware of where you might be disappointed.

See at Amazon

6
Aug

Six Tesla inventions that aren’t electric cars


By Cat DiStasio

Tesla is well known for its electric cars, but you might be surprised to learn about all the other stuff the company makes. At some point in time, each of the amazing things Tesla is doing now was simply another one of CEO Elon Musk’s crazy ideas. Now the company is working on batteries that can power your home, the world’s largest building and a global network of thousands of zero-cost electric car chargers. Read on to learn about six incredible Tesla projects — aside from electric vehicles, that is.

The largest building in the world

A big part of Tesla’s evolution centers on the company’s massive battery factory, called the Gigafactory (because “mega” doesn’t sound big enough), which is under construction outside Reno, Nevada. There, Tesla will manufacture batteries for its electric cars as well as its home energy storage solutions. Only 14 percent complete at present, the Gigfactory is expected to be the world’s largest building by footprint once it’s finally complete in a few years. The factory aims to cut the cost of the lithium-based car batteries by 30 percent and is projected to nearly double the global production of lithium batteries once the factory is fully operational. If anyone ever questioned Tesla’s commitment to clean energy, the Gigafactory — which Elon Musk says could be the first of several the company builds around the world — should erase all doubt.

A battery that can power your house

When Tesla unveiled its long-awaited residential battery system this past spring, it sold out in a flash. The $3,500 Powerwall allows homeowners to store energy from solar or other renewable sources, as well as off-peak grid energy, to be used whenever desired. As with any Tesla innovation, the Powerwall system launched with lots of room for improvements, and Tesla responded to overwhelming sales by quickly ramping up development of a second-generation model to go on sale this summer. The new version, dubbed Mark II, will replace the larger capacity option for the Powerwall system, branching off into a new product line, paving the way for the future of home energy solutions.

Supercharger stations

Electric cars run on batteries that drain with use, so what’s a Tesla driver to do when the power level gets low and they aren’t at home? Tesla thought about this issue early on, and opened its first public charging station in 2012, calling it a Supercharger for its ability to charge a Tesla car battery in under an hour. Over the years, Tesla has invested more and more in the charging stations, expanding the network to include 4,157 superchargers in 681 stations worldwide as of July 2016. The chargers are open to the public and free for all Tesla owners to use.

Select Supercharger stations also have photovoltaic roofs that generate some of the electricity used to power up the car batteries, and Tesla plans to eventually power all of its stations entirely with solar power. The company has also been working for several years on deploying battery-swapping stations at many of the Supercharger locations, which would allow Tesla drivers to pick up a fully charged car battery and leave their drained battery behind in a process that takes as little as 90 seconds.

The robotic snake charger

Although this product hasn’t yet been released, we know Tesla has been working on it for some time. Musk unveiled a prototype last year for a robotic snake arm that would connect to Tesla models for easy charging without any human involvement, and the video of the arm in action is quite exciting. Like something straight out of a futuristic science fiction film, the arm curves and stretches to find and plug in to the electric car’s charging port. Musk hinted that robotic arms like this may some day be sold to private customers who could install them at their homes, making charging a breeze. It’s also possible that we could eventually see these automated charging arms installed on some of the company’s many Supercharger stations, which might make it possible for drivers to charge their EVs without even getting out of the car.

Shipping container car showrooms

Tesla may be the first car company to have a portable showroom that can be transported on the back of a flatbed truck. The “Tesla Mobile Container Store” toured the United States and Europe last summer, starting over Memorial Day weekend in Santa Barbara, California. Because Tesla doesn’t sell its vehicles in traditional dealerships, the company must open its own showrooms to give potential customers a chance to check out its snazzy electric cars in person. Tesla has showrooms in a number of states, the result of many sticky battles against state regulations and dealership owner associations, but a modern company like Tesla likes to do things a little differently. In addition to the mobile showroom, Tesla is experimenting with other methods of reaching new customers, such as putting its all-electric Model X SUV on display in a Los Angeles-area Nordstrom.

Tesla’s bright and busy future

With all of these products and projects moving forward at lightning speed, it’s clear that Tesla is evolving as rapidly as its product offerings. As the company geared up for the official grand opening of its Gigafactory last week (despite the facility being far from completion), Musk released “Part Deux” of his original master plan, now 10 years old. In the update, he revealed several of the ambitious projects that will wow the green car industry in the years to come. For starters, Musk said Tesla will release a series of heavy-duty trucks and buses as soon as 2017, and may dig deeper into the solar power industry with its bid to buy SolarCity.

Tesla also aims to continue improving its self-driving technology both for efficiency and increased safety, which is no surprise following the first fatality associated with the Autopilot program, as well as work to innovate other ways for Tesla drivers to benefit financially from owning cars that appear to come from the future.

6
Aug

Apple Launches Official ‘Rio 2016’ App Store Section


Coinciding with the first full day of competitive events at the 2016 Olympic Games, Apple this morning launched a special section of the App Store showcasing official Rio 2016 apps and games. The section reads:

The Olympics unite the world in celebration of struggle and triumph. They’re where legends are born and impossible feats come true. With the official apps, games and music, you can follow the excitement of this year’s events — and relive the glory again and again.

Three apps are currently featured – one made especially for competing athletes – and two games are also listed to help younger viewers celebrate the sporting occasion:

  • The Olympics – Official App: News. Highlights. Records. Unforgettable moments. An invaluable guide to Rio and Games past.

  • Olympic Athlete’s Hub 2016: Made for competitors, this app offers helpful tips, resources, and a way to connect with fellow athletes.
  • Rio 2016: Get the official schedule, real-time results, medal counts, and the latest on Olympic and Paralympic sports.
  • Rio 2016 Olympic Games: Go for gold against other players in six fast-action minigames, including tennis and archery.
  • Rio 2016: Vinicius Run: Dash through colorful forests and beaches as Vinicius, Rio’s cheerful mascot. How far can you get?

NBC cable subscribers in the U.S. can follow live coverage of the events by downloading the NBC Sports app on iOS and Apple TV.

Meanwhile, U.K. residents can follow the action via the BBC Sport apps for iOS and Apple TV, while residents in Canada can keep track of developments through the CBC iOS app.

Earlier this week, Apple launched its official ad for the 2016 Olympic Games, which ran on Friday night during the opening ceremonies in Rio and took over the Apple homepage.

Part of its “Shot on iPhone” campaign, the ad is called “The Human Family” and uses words from famous poet Maya Angelou to celebrate diversity around the world.

Tag: Olympics
Discuss this article in our forums

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6
Aug

ICYMI: Area man gets robo-legs and scientists invent brain dust


ICYMI: Area man gets new legs and scienists invent brain dust

Today on In Case You Missed It: Ohio resident Lee Raisor lost all four of his limbs in an industrial accident 30 years ago but today is the proud new owner of a pair of robot legs. Just look at him go! We also take a look at UC Berkeley’s newest invention: tiny, implantable computers capable of monitoring and controlling future prosthetics from inside your skull. They’re calling it “neural dust”.

And finally, it’s Saturday so here are all the headlines you missed from earlier this week presented in rapid-fire fashion. Get ready for some TL;DR! As always, please share any interesting tech or science videos you find by using the #ICYMI hashtag on Twitter for @mskerryd.

6
Aug

Essential accessories for Moto Z


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What are the best accessories for the Moto Z Droid?

The Moto Z Droid was only just released, but it’s never too early to start looking at must-have accessories for Motorola’s latest flagship. Here are a few that we think are worth your money.

  • Moto Style Shells
  • Tudia TPU Bumper Shock Absorption case
  • NXET USB-C charge dock
  • Bose QuietComfort 35
  • JBL SoundBoost Speaker
  • Moto Insta-share Projector
  • Incipio offGRID Power Pack

Moto Style Shells

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Moto Style Shells are the solution to when you want to change the look and feel of your Moto Z on the fly — they just snap on to the back of the phone and magnets hold them in place. You can quite literally have a day look and a night look for your phone if you feel like it.

As of this writing, the shells come in three textures, fabric, faux wood, and leather, with six varieties to choose from, including crimson ballistic fabric, washed oak, black leather, and more.

Just don’t rely on them to provide much protection, since they don’t cover the phone’s edges — they just cover the back. That being said, they do keep the phone’s back from heating up too much.

See at Motorola

Tudia TPU Bumper Shock Absorption case

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The Tudia TPU Bumper Shock Absorption case is not going to give you much protection from drops, but its flexible TPU composition will give you something to hold on to, which is a good thing because the Moto Z Droid is an exceptionally thin phone.

It comes in clear, as well as several other colors, so whether you just want some extra protection that you can wrap around one of the Moto Style Shells without covering it up, or you want a different look, you have options.

If you’re not looking for heavy-duty protection and/or you want a clear case that shows off your Moto Z Droid Style Shell, try the Tudia TPU Bumper Shock Absorption case.

See at Amazon

NXET USB-C Charge Dock

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If you’re tired of having to fuss with USB cables everywhere, then the NXET USB-C Charge Dock is for you. It doesn’t take up much space on your desk, or wherever you typically charge your Moto Z Droid, and since it’s USB-C, it will work right out of the box without the need for adapters.

While charging, your Moto Z Droid will remain totally accessible, so you can swipe through your notifications, check the time, or play some tunes one-handed. It also lets you place your phone at three different angles, so you can always find the most comfortable view for you.

It is important to note that the NXET USB-C Charging Dock does not support fast charging, nor is it a wireless charger; however, it’s a great option if you have limited space. It also supports USB 2.0 transfer speeds when connected to your computer.

See at Amazon

Bose QuietComfort 35

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The Moto Z Droid does not have a headphone jack. While it does have a USB-C to 3.5mm adapter, having to lug around another cord that you can easily lose is less than ideal; a much better solution is to use Bluetooth headphones.

Featuring top-notch sound, an impressive battery life, best-in-class active noise cancellation, and extended listening comfort, you can’t do better than the Bose QuietComfort 35 for Bluetooth headphones.

The QC-35 can last up to 20 hours on a single charge, so you can keep listening all day without worrying about your headphones dying out on you, and what’s more, its Active EQ adjusts tone and balance automatically so that regardless of the volume, you’ll hear every sound with almost no distortion.

See at Amazon

Moto Mods

Moto Mods are Moto Z add-ons that add to or enhance the functionality of the Moto Z phones. They are very easy to install and use: just snap them onto to the back of the Moto Z — that’s it. They’re held in place by magnets, so mounting and dismounting them is simply a matter of breaking the magnetic seal. There are three Moto Mods as of launch-day: The JBL SoundBoost Speaker, Moto Insta-Share Projector, and the Incipio offGRID Power Pack.

JBL SoundBoost Speaker

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One of the three initial Moto Mods available for the Moto Z Droid, the JBL SoundBoost Speaker snaps onto the back of the phone and turns it into a miniature boombox. Yes, party like it’s 1989, but without the acid-washed jeans, big hair, and bulky stereo.

With its two speakers pumping out sound at 3W each, you’ll be banging your head and bopping to the beat with no distortion, and with its built-in battery, you can enjoy your tunes for an extra 10 hours. The best thing? You don’t have to worry about pairing or setting these up: just snap the speaker mod into the back of your phone and listen.

Grab a JBL SoundBoost Speaker if you like to rock your tunes without headphones, or if you want to pump out the jams at home or anywhere. We won’t judge if you bring out your (or your parents’) old parachute pants or bangle-bracelets.

See at Motorola

Moto Insta-share Projector

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When you want to share those photographs of your last vacation to Disney World or your expedition to Chichen Itza with your cousins, you can pop on the Moto Insta-Share Projector, another Moto Mod and voilá! You have a 70-inch projector that transforms any flat surface into a gigantic screen.

It really is that simple to use: just snap it into place, aim it at an available wall, and you’ve got a huge screen on which to display photos or watch Netflix. The kickstand it comes with can adjust to any angle, so you can position the screen however you like. You’ll also love the additional hour of projection time you get before the Insta-Share Projector starts using your phone’s battery.

Whether you want to share pictures at a family get-together, or you want to watch the latest blockbuster on Netflix with friends, the Moto Insta-Share Projector is a must-have accessory for your Moto Z.

See at Motorola

Incipio offGRID Power Pack

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As our own Phil Nickinson said in our review of the Moto Z, the Incipio OffGRID Power Pack is the Moto Mod that he would buy right away. According to him, it’s well worth the money for that extra bit of juice.

The 2,220 mAh battery pack boosts the life of the phone by up to 22 hours and comes in designer options from Kate Spade New York and TUMI. I don’t think Phil gives a hoot about that, but you might care about that sort of thing. There is also one that will recharge wirelessly.

Just go out and get the Incipio offGRID Power Pack. You won’t regret it.

See at Motorola

We want to know what you think

We’ve shared our favorite accessories for the Moto Z, but what about you? Let us know in the comments below!

Moto Z and Moto Z Force

  • Our Moto Z review!
  • Moto Z specs
  • Moto Mods custom backs
  • Moto Z and Moto Z Force will be Verizon exclusives until the fall of 2016
  • The latest Moto Z news
  • Discuss in our Moto Z forums

Motorola
Verizon

6
Aug

Pokémon Go goes live in Taiwan, the Philippines, Singapore, and more Asian countries


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Developer Niantic Labs has once again expanded the reach of its hugely popular augmented reality game Pokémon Go. It has officially gone live in 15 Asian countries, including Taiwan, the Philippines and Singapore.

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Here’s the full list of new countries that can now download and play Pokémon Go:

  • Brunei
  • Cambodia
  • Indonesia
  • Laos
  • Malaysia
  • Philippines
  • Singapore
  • Thailand
  • Vietnam
  • Taiwan
  • Papua New Guinea
  • Fiji
  • Solomon Islands
  • Federated States of Micronesia
  • Palau

Even with this new expansion, Niantic has yet to launch Pokémon Go in several major markets in Asia, including India, China and South Korea.

Pokémon Go

  • Join our Pokémon Go forums!
  • How to deal with GPS errors in-game
  • Which team should you choose?
  • How to play without killing your battery
  • The Ultimate Pokémon Go Game Guide!
  • Listen to the Pokémon Go podcast!

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