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8
Aug

Play Doodle Fruit Games: How to find and play Google’s amazingly addictive fruit Olympics


Google is going big on the Olympics. Not only is its coverage of the Olympic Games Rio 2016 hugely comprehensive and easy to navigate through Google Search, it’s also running its own competition: welcome to the Doodle Fruit Games.

This fruit fun is easy to miss, so here’s a complete guide to how you can get involved in the 2016 Doodle Fruit Games.

What are the 2016 Doodle Fruit Games?

Google likes to play. There have been a wide selection of browser games from the company in the past, but with the Doodle Fruit Games, Google is using its Google app on Android and iOS to bring some fun directly to your smartphone.

Timed to sit alongside the Rio 2016 Games, the Doodle Fruit Games provide an addictive distraction on your phone, letting you get some sports action with a range of fruit.

google

Graphically simple, there are a range of cartoon-styled games to play, each letting you compete in an event with a different fruit. There’s a brief fruity fact for each too.

How do I get Doodle Fruit Games?

This part is simple. The Doodle Fruit Games live within the Google app. This is the app that provides a deep link into Google from your phone, powering search, offering voice searching and feeding the information to Google Now.

For Android users, you almost certainly have it on your phone, accessed directly through the app itself, via the Google search bar on your home page or through Google Now. If you don’t have the app, click here to download from Google Play.

For iPhone users you’ll need to install the Google app from the App Store. This is well worth doing, not just to play these crazy games, but because it opens up a wide range of Google services on your phone. If you don’t have the app, click here to download from the Apple App Store.

It’s also worth noting that you don’t need to be online to play: the Games are part of the app, so you can play wherever you want, with or without a connection.

Google

How do I find Doodle Fruit Games?

The Fruit Games might not be immediately obvious, as you have to tap on the Google Doodle to get to them. The Google Doodle is the changing graphic that Google places above the search box on its home page, and something you’ll find when you click through on the Google app too.

This Google Doodle changes regularly, but at the time of writing, it shows a lemon, ready for the lemon swimming game.

If you’re on Android, you might find yourself just looking on the G Google logo in Google Now – tap on that G to enter the search page proper, and you’ll see the Doodle to tap to start playing.

It’s worth noting that this only works on mobile devices: if you click on the Google Doodle on your PC’s browser, you’ll be taken through to Google’s actual coverage of the Rio 2016 Games.

What Doodle Fruit Games are there?

At the time of writing, there are seven different games: coconut BMX, apple water polo, blueberry golf, lemon swimming, grape hurdles (riding a spider, natch), pineapple tennis, strawberry running.

The controls for each game is different, but basically involves tap, swipe or tilt to get through the course, aiming to survive the longest or score the most points.

Give it a go, they are quick and easy to play, a great distraction now you’re bored with Pokemon Go.

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8
Aug

Casio EX-FR200 will capture your wide-angle selfie and 360 video world


With everyone talking about virtual reality, camera manufacturers see the opportunity to provide their own perspective, with a range of innovative capture devices appearing from all sides. 

Casio is the latest company to join the fray, with the announcement of the EX-FR200 camera, a ruggedised and flexible device to tackle your wide-angle needs. 

Now, Casio is a little limited in distribution these days, so we can’t be sure if this camera will appear outside Japan where it has been announced, according to the translation from DP Review. 

The EX-FR200 presents a fish-eye lens unit with a separate controller. The two can be connected to offer a conventional (albeit wide-angle) camera arrangement, it can be configured for selfies so you can look at the display and peer into the lens, or they can be separated, offering remote control.

Casio

Where some devices offer a camera controlled by a smartphone, Casio’s solution appears to be similar, but providing the controller with a 3-inch touch display. 

Coming back to 360 video, one of the interesting aspects of the Casio EX-FR200 is that you can combine camera modules in back-to-back fashion, just as you can with the Kodak PixPro SP360, which will let you produce video compatible with YouTube 360 Video. 

The FX200 lens itself has a 13.4mm (equiv) wide angle lens, with F/2.8 aperture and its fixed focus, good from about 40cm out to infinity. There’s a 12-megapixel CMOS sensor sitting behind the lens, with support for external microSD card storage. Casio says it gives you 185-degrees of capture.

Casio

A range of capture options are offered, with super-wide options and panorama, as well as a lot of video options, including panorama again, 4K and slow motion.

It talks to the controller using Bluetooth and Wi-Fi, with a smartphone app offering a wider range of functions, although the controller/camera body that comes with it can act as a remote control too. There are also a range of mounting options so, for example, you could have the camera module on your head, and the controller on your bike handlebars.

As we said, we’re not sure if this device will make it out of Japan, available from mid-September 2016, but it’s another interesting addition to the world of 360 capture.

8
Aug

The next MacBook Pro may have a fingerprint-reading power button


That widely rumored MacBook Pro update may have more than just an OLED touch strip to draw you in. A 9to5Mac source (who has reportedly supplied “reliable” info in the past) claims that Apple will give the Pro a fingerprint-reading Touch ID power button, much like what you find on recent iPads and iPhones. Just how it would work isn’t clear, but it’s reasonable to imagine logging in without your usual password or taking advantage of macOS Sierra’s Apple Pay support when shopping online.

While you’ll supposedly have to wait until the fall to see whether or not the rumors are true, there is evidence to suggest that this isn’t just daydreaming. Code in MacOS Sierra references both the OLED bar and Touch ID, for example. And when you combine this with reports of Thunderbolt 3-capable USB-C ports and it sounds like the MacBook Pro is getting a major (if long, long overdue) upgrade.

Source: 9to5Mac

8
Aug

NBC will produce original content for Snapchat


If Snapchat’s feeling an existential crisis (what with Instagram ripping off its product and all) then it’s not showing it. The company has sealed a deal with NBCUniversal that’ll see the broadcaster produce “original content” for the messaging service. The shows will feature original material that’s been spun out of popular NBC franchises like SNL, The Voice and Fallon. The first will be a scaled-down version of the singing competition, in which user-submitted auditions will be judged by whichever The Voice coach has some free time.

It’s not the first time that Snapchat and NBC have teamed up together, with the latter using the former to broadcast content from the 2016 Olympics. These clips are being shared via a dedicated channel in the app, showing behind the scenes clips and highlights from the events themselves.

In an interview with the Wall Street Journal, NBCU’s Ron Lamprecht says that a YouTube-like system of rehashing existing material wouldn’t work with Snapchat. Perhaps unsurprisingly, that’s because the app’s vertical video layout makes cropping widescreen TV shows a near-impossibility, so everything has to be made fresh. He added that none of the clips that NBC produces for Snapchat will be exclusive to that service, giving other apps the opportunity to make a similar content deal.

It also helps to address the issue that young people — millennials — aren’t watching as much TV as previous generations. The hope, clearly, is to lure them back toward the living room (where NBC and others can make money from ad sales) by reminding them that fusty old TV is down with the kids. The network also pledged to cut two sets of ad breaks from the next season of Saturday Night Live — after all, YouTube and Netflix are working very hard to eliminate the concept of the “commercial break.”

Source: WSJ

8
Aug

Adidas Creator Studio lets you design kits for soccer teams


Ever wish you could have a hand in creating team kits for your favorite soccer (read: football) team? Adidas wants to make that possible with its upcoming Creator Studio project.

The Creator Studio allows players the unique opportunity to design the third shirts that may be worn by real players at Real Madrid, Manchester United, Juventus and more. You can head over to the Creator Studio yourself right now and get to work designing a specialized kit that strikes your fancy.

When you’re done you can submit your design, and then you’ll be given a special image that can aid you in amassing votes from your community. In the end, the kits with the most votes will be added to a list for each club from which they’ll choose their favorites.

This is an interesting way to get close to footballers in a way that’s not yet been dabbled with, and the creator looks simple enough to use. Give it a look here and see what you can come up with.

8
Aug

The best tech for students who like to party


That’s all students, right? Right? While not everyone will be headed to toga parties on frat row (we applaud your decision there), all of you are going to need some gear to keep you amused when class isn’t in session. In addition to some of the more predictable stuff, like speakers and a Chromecast, we have some more off-kilter recommendations, including an electronic dartboard, a USB turntable, a “music festival survival kit” and even a vaporizer, if that’s your idea of a good time. Check out the gallery below for all our party gear picks, and make sure to peruse our full back-to-school guide right here.

Source: Engadget’s 2016 Back-to-School Guide

8
Aug

‘Rocket League’ update brings grappling hooks and giant boots


Psyonix still isn’t done finding ways to inject new life into Rocket League more than a year after it first hit the scene. It’s introducing a Rumble mode that adds some welcome chaos to the vehicular sport through random power-ups. You can use a giant boot to kick players out of the way, a magnet to lure the ball to your car, or a grappling hook to draw yourself to the ball. There’s even a tornado that will sweep up everything into a raging funnel cloud. Rumble will be free when it arrives in an update this fall, so it’ll be easy to try if you find that your exhibition matches are becoming a little too predictable.

Via: Rock Paper Shotgun

Source: Psyonix

8
Aug

Watching Olympics coverage in VR is fun, but TV is still better


Many people complained about the tape delay and excessive ads for NBC’s Rio 2016 Olympics opening ceremony coverage, but there was another option. If you had a Samsung Gear VR headset and were willing to wait a day, you could watch it in 360-degree video as if you were at Rio’s Maracanã Stadium. That’s what I did, and it was indeed pretty cool: You’re immersed in the event and can look at whatever grabs your eye. The execution and technology are still lacking, unfortunately, which degraded the experience, but it’s easy to see how it could one day be a spectacular way to view live events.

The setup was a bit difficult, given that I’m located in Paris and NBC’s sports app only works in the US. But thanks to a VPN and some cooperation from NBC’s PR team (being a tech journalist has its perks), I was able to get the app installed, authenticated and working with the Gear VR’s Oculus software. The 24-hour delay for the VR broadcast seems excessive, but it’s easy to understand why NBC did it. The Rio games are a big test for the feasibility of VR tech, so the broadcaster probably wanted to ensure that it worked perfectly before unleashing it on the public.

Another good reason to delay the VR broadcast is that it’s still pretty tricky to watch a live event on a VR headset. There are lot of things that can go wrong (app installation, et cetera), and it can take a lot of menu futzing to get it playing, so you’d hate to miss anything because of that. In other words, VR isn’t just complicated from the broadcaster’s side — it’s also tricky from the consumer end.

So how was it? First, the good. NBC had a handful of 360-degree cameras around the stadium, with several good views from a spectator perspective. There were also cameras on the floor, letting you scope the dancers, performers and athletes up close. You could also watch NBC’s regular TV feed by looking down at a virtual “screen.” But a lot of the fun is choosing where to look, whether at the dancers, fireworks or crowd. The audio quality was good, and with many shots, especially closeups, I felt immersed.

The downside was the technology. The video quality was so poor, especially on wide shots, that I felt at times that I was watching a bad copy of a VHS tape. I’ve seen lots of 360-degree videos on the Gear VR, so I know it’s possible to do better. It wasn’t likely a streaming issue, as I had at least 100Mbps speeds, even with the VPN. The limited number of camera positions was also a negative; it would’ve been great to have athletes carry cameras, for instance.

I did watch the opening ceremonies live on French TV, and saw a replay of NBC’s broadcast on its sports app. For now, that’s clearly the superior medium. Crisp, high-def or 4K video, lots of closeups, live commentary and slick production.

Here’s what would make VR a superior experience to a regular broadcast for me. I’d like lots of 360 cameras from fixed and mobile positions, being carried by dedicated camera operators and even athletes. After all, why not take advantage of the relatively portable 360 camera gear made by Samsung, GoPro and others? I also want a better video feed, in order to max out the resolution of the Gear VR. It’d be nice to have more, well-chosen cuts from a dedicated VR director, or even the ability to choose my own camera angle, and I’d like the option to turn commentary from the regular broadcast on and off.

The next time, NBC should support all or most VR headsets on the market, especially the Vive and Rift, even if they do have a sponsor relationship with Samsung. And, while we’re dreaming, how about a higher-resolution smartphone? If Samsung or other smartphone makers (Sony, maybe?) could do 4K, that would help solve the quality issues. (Yes, I now regret saying that 4K smartphones were useless, by the way.)

All of this would require quite a commitment from a broadcaster like NBC, along with very fast internet speeds, high-resolution headsets and 360-degree cameras that don’t even exist yet. When can we expect that? Maybe in a few years. Once all of these pieces fall into place, though, viewers will get a unique hybrid of a live event and broadcast. The only drawback is being alone inside your headset — until they can virtually connect folks together, it’s always more fun to watch big events with others.

8
Aug

AT&T ordered to pay $7.75 million for bogus directory assistance tools


US telecom providers have a pretty bad rap, and today we’re finding out that some AT&T customers ended up paying money they shouldn’t have thanks to some scammers. The FCC just released a statement noting that it reached a settlement with AT&T in which the carrier will pay $7.75 million after it accidentally allowed scammers to charge $9 a month to unsuspecting wireline customers for a “sham” directory assistance service. Adding insult to injury, it seems this service was set up as a tool to help launder money; the scam was originally uncovered by the DEA.

AT&T said in a statement that “two companies that engaged in a sophisticated fraud scheme were apparently able to circumvent those protections and submit unauthorized third-party charges that were billed by AT&T.”

According to the FCC, AT&T received a fee each time this fraudulent service appeared on a customer’s bill, but the so-called service provider never actually provided anything to these customers, most of which were small businesses. Out of the $7.75 million AT&T is paying up, $6.8 million will go towards refunds and a paltry $950,000 will go to the US treasury as a fine. Given that AT&T pulled in $40.5 billion in revenue in its most recent quarter, it’s a stretch to call that fine even a slap on the wrist.

This is hardly the first time US telecom providers have gotten in trouble for such shady practices — in 2014, AT&T itself paid a much larger $105 million settlement for cramming false charges onto its customers’ bills. T-Mobile also paid $90 million in a 2014 settlement, while Verizon and Sprint paid $90 million and $68 million, respectively, last winter. We’re hoping the FCC continues to pay close attention to these shady practices.

AT&T’s full statement is below:

“Consistent with industry practices, AT&T wireline telephone customers have been able to purchase certain telecommunications services from third parties and have charges for those services billed on their telephone bill. We have implemented strict requirements on third parties submitting charges for AT&T bills to ensure that all charges are authorized by our customers; indeed, those requirements go beyond the requirements of FCC rules and impose safeguards that the FCC proposed but never adopted. Nonetheless, unbeknownst to us, two companies that engaged in a sophisticated fraud scheme were apparently able to circumvent those protections and submit unauthorized third-party charges that were billed by AT&T.”

“Today, we reached a settlement with the FCC to resolve all claims associated with these companies and the related charges. Pursuant to the settlement, we will provide refunds for all charges on behalf of these two companies going back to January 1, 2012. Affected former and current AT&T wireline telephone customers will receive these refunds via check within 90 days. We stopped billing for these entities as of June 2015 and will also cease wireline third-party billing for other third parties, with limited exceptions.”

Source: FCC

8
Aug

Lyft app now supports multi-stop routes


Next time you share a Lyft with a friend or have to use the service to run errands, you don’t need to manually adjust your destination anymore. The ridesharing app now supports multi-stop routes — you just need to click “Add Destination” whenever you want to program more than one. Lyft says hundreds of thousands of passengers every month, usually on a Friday or a Saturday night, would manually change their stop when they need to go somewhere first. This feature would eliminate the need to do that and could help drivers plan more efficient routes. We believe that’s what’s called a win-win. While we’re sure you won’t have trouble figuring it out on your own, you can check out a short GIF of the process below the fold.

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