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9
Aug

What is No Man’s Sky and why should you care about it?


The PlayStation 4 has played host to some incredible games in its relatively short life so far but few have caught the imagination quite as much as No Man’s Sky.

Since its trailer debut during the 2014 Sony E3 press conference, it has been the talk of the town. The hype ramped up even further after it was revealed to feature an open world universe, populated by more than 18 quintillion procedurally generated, discoverable planets.

Now it is available in the US, with the UK release to follow tomorrow, and we’ve been playing it for a while to be able to answer some of the questions often posed about the game. We’ll be fully reviewing it in time, but want to ensure we’ve played it plenty beforehand.

Until then here’s everything you need to know about No Man’s Sky.

  • No Man’s Sky preview: 10 hours in and it’s fiercely good fun
  • 50 different planets from No Man’s Sky revealed, only 18 quintillion yet to go

Sony

What is No Man’s Sky?

No Man’s Sky is a game that has been known about since December 2013, thanks to a brief teaser, but it’s main debut was during E3 in 2014. It is an open world survival adventure game, with space simulation and role-playing elements, and has been developed by Hello Games.

It is set in a fictional universe that contains more than 18 quintillion planets, each of which is procedurally generated. That means they don’t exist until someone visits one for the very first time, but will be created by the game’s complicated algorithms to form a full planet, with flora, fauna, islands, watermass and more as soon as a player gets nearby. The galaxies too are procedurally generated.

Hello Games claims that each planet will be totally unique, although they follow set rules for generation. Some will therefore seem similar to another, but no one planet will feature the exact same conditions.

As well as planets, the game features space stations you can visit and other spacecraft that can be hostile. Some creatures and other planetary dwellers can also be seen as enemies.

The game is played persistently online and is multiplayer in that other gamers will inhabit the same universe, but thanks to its enormous size it is possible that you will never see another human player as you explore and travel.

What do I do in No Man’s Sky?

The main goal of No Man’s Sky is to find the centre of the universe and unravel the mystery that lies there. However, it is possible to play indefinitely without ever completing that task.

Instead, like other survival and open world games, you might choose to follow a different path entirely. Even just become a space tourist and visit as many planets as you can.

In terms of actual gameplay, there are many elements to No Man’s Sky, but at its heart are resource gathering, crafting and ultimately surviving. From the very beginning, which sees you crashed on a remote planet, you have to find elements to power and repair your spacesuit, tools and ship. You then craft bigger and better weapons, tools and engines to reach more remote locations.

Some components can be found in boxes and buildings, some have to be drawn from the vegetation, minerals and other resources lying around planets. You also need to collect elements that can be used to fuel your ship and other energy items, such as life-support and your mining laser.

Even when you are in space, you can shoot and gather important elements from asteroids and the like, which help fuel your ship.

Space stations often orbit planets, so you can also buy and trade items for in-game credits (units) which can help to purchase new upgrades or technology.

All of these things are important to keep progressing to the centre of the universe as you need to improve your technology to make faster and further galactic jumps. So if you are keeping to the game’s script, be prepared to constantly hunt for resources.

Frontier Developments

What other games are like No Man’s Sky?

Initially, the space simulation aspects of No Man’s Sky remind us of Elite Dangerous and even the original Elite game of the BBC Micro and ZX Spectrum days. You can travel the universe trading goods you have either bought or mined and improving your tech as you go.

However, when on a planet it more closely resembles survival and crafting games like Minecraft and ARK: Survival Evolved. There are even shades of zombie crafting game 7 Days to Die. However, resources are abundant on planets, so it’s more about finding blueprints for better tech than just the elements to make them.

Sony

How do I win in No Man’s Sky?

As we’ve mentioned, the ultimate goal is to find the centre of the universe and discover the reasons why you feel drawn to it. But you can really make of that what you will. We suspect there will be plenty who consider themselves winners just by gathering the most amount of credits or having the best equipment.

There will also be some whose goal is to discover as many planets as they can.

There are also many dangers and objectives to be completed along the way, so winning is relative really.

How long does it take to complete No Man’s Sky?

How long is a piece of string? We have been told that it is definitely possible to complete No Man’s Sky within a realistic timeframe, but there is no indication as to how long that is.

We have heard unconfirmed reports that someone with access to an early build of the game managed to get to the centre of the universe in little over 30 hours, but Hello Games is alleged to have scoffed at the suggestion, asking whether that person was sure he or she had reached the actual “centre”.

If visiting all the planets is your ultimate goal you’re in for a long one. It is estimated that if you visit every single planet in the game for one second each, it will take you 585 billion actual years to complete.

Sony

What do I need to play No Man’s Sky?

No Man’s Sky is currently available for PS4 and PC. You only need a game controller or keyboard and mouse to play it, although we’d advise checking the settings before you launch from a planet the first time as we had to invert the flight controls to something more natural. It started with “up” literally meaning “up”, for instance, while normal flight controls are the opposite.

Is No Man’s Sky a PlayStation 4 exclusive?

As mentioned above, No Man’s Sky is also available for PC. Sony Computer Entertainment is publisher of the PS4 version while developer Hello Games is publishing the PC version itself.

Can I get No Man’s Sky for Xbox One?

Sadly, there are no current plans to launch No Man’s Sky for Xbox One.

Is there a VR version of No Man’s Sky?

There has been a lot of speculation about No Man’s Sky being adapted for use with PlayStation VR, especially as its release date was put back even though it was believed development had finished. However, Sony is yet to announce compatibility with PSVR, so it might not be something planned for the launch of its virtual reality headset, or even ever.

Sony

Should I buy No Man’s Sky?

Although we cannot say for sure, until we’ve played it a lot more in the coming days and weeks, our initial experiences with No Man’s Sky lead us to believe that it will be a massive, awesome game with an extraordinary amount of depth.

It won’t be for everyone. It is slow paced at times and even if you actively seek out lifeforms to shoot, they can be bereft of action. But it does hold an enormous amount of promise and, at the very least, is worth playing to keep up with the office cooler or playground chitter chatter.

9
Aug

15 secret Instagram tips


Instagram has been around for a while but just because you’ve figured out the best filter to make your pictures look amazing, it doesn’t mean there aren’t a few tips and tricks you might not be aware of.

For those who are new to the app and haven’t quite got to grips with it just yet, you can read our separate Instagram feature that tells you everything you need to know from how it works to what it does.

If Instagram is your thing but you want to be a complete ninja at it, here are a few secret tips that may not be super obvious at first. Some you will know, others you might not but by the end, you will be navigating Instagram as though you created it.

Edit a post

Made a spelling mistake or forgot a hashtag? Don’t worry, Instagram allows you to edit the text of a post once it is uploaded. You can’t change the filter though so pick wisely the first time or you’ll be re-uploading.

iOS & Android: Open the post > Tap on the three dots in the top right > Click on Edit

Ensure you never miss your favourite people post

We all have our favourites and some people just take better, or more interesting pictures than others. Luckily, there is a way to filter out your favourites and make sure you don’t miss any posts from them because your feed is full of cats, dogs and babies.

iOS & Android: Search for the contact > Tap on the three dots in the top right > Click on Turn On Post Notifications

Re-order filters to show your favourite first

There are some filters that just make you look so much better than others and it is a huge faff if you have to sift through all of them to find that one at the end that you love. Thankfully, Instagram allows you to hide filters altogether if you know they don’t work for you, as well as re-order them so your top five are the first ones you see next to the original image.

iOS & Android: Go to upload > Scroll through filters to Manage > Untick to hide a filter or use three lines on left to drag and move to re-order

Find out all the posts you’ve liked

Sometimes it’s good to see whose posts your liking the most, especially if they aren’t liking any of yours. You don’t want to be too keen now, do you?

iOS & Android: Your Account (bottom far right) > Settings (top right) > Posts that you’ve Liked

Clear your search history

There are times when search history is very useful, and there are other times when you’d rather not be reminded who you keep stalking.

iOS & Android: Your Account (bottom far right) > Settings (top right) > Scroll down to Clear Search History

Add an account for your cat

You’ve probably got one Instagram account if you are reading this feature, but if you feel the need for another one just for your awesome grumpy cat, that’s possible and you can control both from one device. Something that wasn’t possible when Instagram first launched.

iOS & Android: Your Account (bottom far right) > Settings (top right) > Scroll down to Add Account

Turn your account into a private one

You might not want the whole world and their mother following you and seeing what you post, in which case, it’s a good idea to set your account to private. This means people have to request to follow you and they won’t see any of your posts until you accept.

iOS & Android: Your Account (bottom far right) > Settings (top right) > Scroll down to Private Account and toggle on

Stop certain users seeing your Stories

Instagram recently added a Stories option, allowing users to share a brief live clip. If you don’t want all the people who follow you to see the Stories you create though, you can filter them out.

iOS & Android: Your Account (bottom far right) > Settings (top right) > Scroll down to Story Settings > Hide story from > Select users

Ensure original photos are saved, or not saved

Instagram is great for turning average selfies into wonderful ones, but sometimes it is worth keeping the original. Or not as the case may be and you need to save on your storage.

iOS & Android: Your Account (bottom far right) > Settings (top right) > Scroll down to Save Original Photos > Toggle on or off depending on your preference

Manually manage photos you are tagged in

There are times when someone tags you in a photo that they look great in, while you have perhaps looked better. Don’t worry though, you can change your settings so you decide which tagged photos appear and which don’t.

iOS & Android: Tagged Photos tab (top right below profile) > Tap the three dots in the top right > Tagging Options > Add Manually

Hide tagged photos

Just as you can manually decide which tagged photos of you appear on your Instagram profile, you can also hide your tagged photos altogether.

iOS & Android: Tagged Photos tab (top right below profile) > Tap the three dots in the top right > Hide Photos

Reduce mobile data use

If Instagram is your life but you don’t have a huge data allowance on your device’s contract, you can set the app to use less data. It’s worth remembering this will mean videos and images take longer to load though.

iOS & Android: Your Account (bottom far right) > Settings (top right) > Scroll down to Mobile Data Use > Toggle on Use Less Data

Link your other social media accounts to your Instagram

For those that want to their Instagram images to appear on their Facebook and/or Twitter with just a toggle on or off, it is worth linking up your social media accounts in settings before you upload.

iOS & Android: Your Account (bottom far right) > Settings (top right) > Scroll down to Link Accounts > Fill in your other social media account details in the respective settings

Send a photo directly to one follower

Sharing is great but there might be times when you just want to send one amazing picture to one amazing follower. It’s a pretty standard Instagram feature but it is an easy one to miss.

iOS & Android: Upload the image > Filter the image > Tap Next > Share to Direct (instead of the default Followers) > Choose user(s)

Browse images from a certain location

One of the great features about Instagram is you can see all the places you’ve uploaded images in the world nice and easily.

iOS & Android: Tap on the location icon under your profile > Tap on image from specific location > Tap on specific image and then “i” to take you to the original post

9
Aug

You can pre-order Fossil’s new Android smartwatches on 12 August


Fossil has said it will release more than 100 connected devices in 2016, including Android Wear smartwatches, two of which will soon be available for pre-order.

Those two models, called the Q Wander and Q Marshal, were introduced earlier this year and start at $295. You’ll be able to pre-order them beginning 12 August. To put them in context, Fossil last year unveiled its first full touchscreen Android Wear smartwatch called Q Founder. It acts as a normal watch while tracking activity and offering alerts for calls, messages, and appointments.

That watch, including the two new models, which are smaller than the Q founder, join the Fossil Q range of smart accessories. The Q Wander has a 44mm gold case with interchangeable leather straps, while the Q Marshal has a 46mm “rugged” case with a navy blue finish and vintage-looking leather straps. Apart from these design differences, they both have circular, always-on touchscreen displays and work pretty much the same, meaning they work similarly to the Q Founder and most Android Wear watches in general.

The new watches will be in stores 29 August. They come with wireless chargers and are compatible with both Android and iOS. Now, although they are often pictured with all-black circular displays, they’ll likely come with a black bar at the bottom, as you can see in the screenshot below.

Fossil

9
Aug

Facebook finds a way around desktop ad blockers


Facebook has decided to fight back against ad blocking. In a blog post today, the company recognised that a growing number of users have installed desktop ad blockers to avoid advertising they consider annoying or irrelevant. But soon, that won’t be possible, as Facebook claims it’ll “begin showing ads on Facebook desktop for people who currently use ad blocking software.” How it’s managed such a feat isn’t clear. Facebook says it hasn’t paid ad blocking companies to be whitelisted — an approach taken by some of its rivals — because it’s “confusing to people” and reduces the funding available to journalists and other ad-centric businesses.

In addition, Facebook is debuting a new ad preferences tool that will make it easier to see how you’re being targeted. You’ll be able to specify your interests, opt out of those Facebook has incorrectly associated you with, and see which advertisers have your details on a customer list.

While you’re scrolling through the News Feed, you’ll also be able to tap on a drop down arrow next to each ad, revealing a few different options. You can give it a thumbs up (this ad is useful) or remove it (hide ad) or, if you’re wondering why you’ve been targeted in the first place, tap “Why am I seeing this?” You’ll then get a brief explanation and a shortcut to the ad preferences too. “These improvements are designed to give people even more control over how their data informs the ads they see,” Andrew Bosworth, VP for the Ads and Business Platform at Facebook says.

The decision is sure to rile some users. It’s a smart business move for Facebook, however, given it makes the bulk of its revenue from ads. The new ad preferences tool is effectively an olive branch — while you can’t opt out of Facebook’s ads entirely, you can have more sway over which ones are shown in your News Feed. Ultimately, that helps Facebook too, because more relevant ads mean you’re more likely to click through and actually buy something from the company that paid for the placement.

Source: Facebook

9
Aug

How to hack a government


Last month members of the Turkish military experienced an attempted coup to oust president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. The overthrow attempt was quickly thwarted, but it might have succeeded if Chris Rock (the security researcher, not the comedian) had had a hand in it.

Rock’s “How to Overthrow a Government” presentation at Def Con last week took attendees through the step-by-step process of taking over a country. At a security conference where talks are usually limited to exposing the vulnerabilities of things like cars, operating systems and gadgets, the subject was a bit more far-reaching. And while hilarious at times, it was a surprising eye-opener about how common hacking techniques combined with military know-how could help topple a regime.

But Rock noted that it takes more than just sitting behind a keyboard to be a kingmaker. To fill in the knowledge gaps he had, he enlisted the help of Simon Mann, a mercenary and former British army officer who was jailed (and eventually pardoned) for a failed coup of Equatorial Guinea in 2004.

With Mann’s help, Rock created a thorough plan that demonstrated how to overthrow the nation of Kuwait. He presented three methods for regime change: elections, coups and revolution. For Kuwait, he decided a coup was too messy, as it would require taking on a huge military force. Because the prime ministers and crown prince are appointed, the notion of a rigged election is moot. So Rock decided to go with a revolution.

Rock laid out what could be accomplished with a few years’ planning and a relatively small team. His presentation was a mixture of spycraft and hacking, with surprisingly few resources. First you need to collect intelligence. You can hire a firm for that. But Rock notes that the best information is what you collect on your own.

Something like this also requires resources, which is another word for cash. And you’re going to need a lot of it. The talk covered the possibility of hacking into government banks not only to help fund the operation (by siphoning money from people who fund terrorist organizations lulz), but to move money around to create a paper trail of corruption implicating the nation’s leaders. Rock told attendees to keep it simple: Instead of using fancy zero-day attacks on the bank, he suggested paying a janitor a few thousand dollars to plug in a USB stick.

As for how to use that money you’ve pilfered, Rock says you should hire protesters to highlight any corruption you find during your intelligence-gathering. He also suggests hiring people to dress up as policemen to attack the people calling for change. Nothing gets the masses on your side like a video of citizens being attacked by the police.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

It’s also important to control the flow of information, which means hacking ISPs, government sites and the media. By controlling when a nation has internet access, you can manipulate not only its citizens, but also the world. No one’s happy when they hear that a country is keeping its residents from expressing themselves.

Those online publishers and government sites can be used to plant stories about top-level corruption. If those articles are pulled down, to the average citizen it’s further proof that the people in charge are trying to hide something. He also suggests planting articles in major outlets outside the country. Just be sure you have two sources for the publication. He liked to call them “unnamed government officials.”

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Then it’s time to take down the power grid. After finding out where the most important power grids are located, he realized that he couldn’t hack into them. So he built a device with two saw blades and cordless drill that could be flown into a power station on a drone to cut the lines.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

With the infrastructure, media, internet access and banks under his team’s control, riling up a country’s citizens is really just a matter of timing. While this seems like a fun (but disturbing) proof of concept, the reality is that Rock’s team of three was able to get full access to five of the Kuwait banks, its media and ISPs five years ago. It took them two years to accomplish their goal. The nation had hired him to test its security and his since patched up the vulnerabilities.

Yet this same methodology could be used to initiate a coup, revolution or even steer the course of an election in nearly any country. He noted that Wikileaks’ disclosure of the Democratic National Committee’s emails could be part of a scheme to influence the upcoming US election. He wasn’t too impressed by the timing, though. “It’s just leaking out slowly,” he said. “There’s no methodology. It’s sloppy.”

Surprisingly, Rock’s talk was added to Def Con’s lineup months ago. Since then, zero government officials or revolutionaries have reached out to him about his techniques. At least not yet.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

As for concerns that his methods would be used against a nation, he told Engadget that it takes a long time to do. “I spent 11 years of research and maybe two years with this small group,” he said. “It’s a lot of work for a small group.” He notes that it involves having people on the ground getting a read on the people. But it’s not outside the realm of possibility that a small group could pull it off. Indeed, he expects it’ll probably happen, he said in an interview.

So if you’re thinking of taking down a country, you’re going to need to do more than just throw a few denial-of-service attacks or leak some embarrassing emails. And if you’re a nation with a slightly irritated populace, you might want to shore up your security and treat your citizens better.

9
Aug

‘Open banking’ data will help Brits compare and switch accounts


Just as Ofcom is making it easy to switch broadband and mobile providers to inspire us to hunt for the best deals, the UK’s Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) wants us to be similarly proactive about our bank accounts. Having completed a lengthy probe into retail banking, the CMA believes the secret to a more competitive industry lies in our data, and the sharing of it.

As it stands, less than 5 percent of personal and business customers move to a different bank each year. And that probably won’t surprise you — I know I set up my first account decades ago and have never had the slightest inclination to look elsewhere. The CMA hopes to stop this kind of apathy with what it calls “Open Banking,” which it’s requiring all relevant institutions to get on board with by early 2018.

The idea is to force all banks to share our financial data (via an open standard) with each other and trusted third parties — all securely and only with our consent, of course. Company-agnostic apps and services being fed this data would then allow us to easily move money between different accounts across different banks — in order to dodge overdraft charges on one particular account, for example.

With all kinds of information (including quality of service/satisfaction metrics) being pulled into a single platform, consumers would also be able to shop around for the best bank accounts, loans and other financial products.

The goal isn’t just to create better comparison apps or simplify money management somewhat — having an open data standard is supposed to result in smarter, more personalised financial advice. The kind fledgling, digital-first banks like Atom, Mondo and B are building reputations on, albeit a few years later and with no particular allegiance.

Via: Gizmodo

Source: The Competition and Markets Authority

9
Aug

Google Inbox finally lets you attach files from Drive


It’s been almost two years since Google launched Inbox, its vision for a smarter way to keep your email under control. The company has added plenty of features since launch, but there are still a few things left that you can only do in traditional Gmail. Today, Google’s cutting down that list a bit by adding the ability to directly attach any files stored in your Google Drive to new emails in Inbox. It’s been years since that feature was added to Gmail, and it’s pretty handy if you’re deep in Google’s ecosystem, so we’re glad to finally see it show up in Inbox.

Inbox has always tried to collect the different pieces of your digital life that come in through email (things like shipping notifications, calendar updates, reminders and so forth), and today Google’s also adding a few new integrations. Now, notifications from Trello and GitHub that come into your Inbox will automatically show you a summary of their contents by default, so you can see exactly what changes have been made without even opening the email. It’s displayed in the same style as newsletters from places like Medium, which also are displayed with a preview of their contents.

The last bit of info Inbox can now pull are the various Google alerts you may have set up. Those emails you get with your updates can be displayed in that newsletter style that is spreading quickly throughout Inbox. You’ll see a preview of the contents from your inbox, and if you tap the email it’ll start with an auto-generated summary of the items inside. You can tap or click on those specific items to get the full story, or just scroll down to read the full email.

There’s one more small update rolling out today that should be a blessing for long-time Inbox users: It’s now way easier to put emails directly into the trash instead of the archive. If you hover over a message in your inbox on the web, a trash can icon is prominently displayed next to the “done” and “snooze” options. Previously you had to select a message first to get the trash icon to appear. It’s a little change, but if you’d rather send more messages to the trash than into your archive, it’s very nice to see. All of these updates should roll out today for Inbox users on the web, and they should be present in the Android and iOS apps as well.

Source: Google

9
Aug

RIP Basis Peak: The best wearable you’ve never heard of


If you don’t already own a Basis Peak, then you’ll probably never get the opportunity to see one up close and personal. The wearable has barely registered in market share metrics, but has suddenly made a name for itself after being recalled. Which is a shame, because history is likely to remember it as that watch that caught fire and burned its owners. That would be an enormous disservice to a gadget that’s one of the most seriously underrated wearables on the market.

There were plenty of things to love about the Peak, but king of them all was its extraordinarily good battery life. Most devices with a built-in optical heart rate monitor require regular trips back to the charging cradle, but Peak lasted for four or five days at a time. That longevity meant that you could wear it for almost an entire working week — day and night — without worrying.

It wasn’t the prettiest device; a rectangular slab with a wide 1.25-inch touchscreen that simply sat on your wrist. But then again, I always appreciated its stripped down and spartan look. And, save for the bezel and logo, it had no flourishes of any kind. It may have looked more comfortable in a gym than under a suit cuff, but its lack of pretension meant it didn’t draw attention to itself at a formal occasion.

I’m not immune to the Peak’s flaws, the biggest one being its terrible, horrible, no good, very bad companion app.

Then there was the user interface which, like Snapchat, relied upon a series of hidden swipes and gestures that you had to figure out on your own. For instance, a double tap closed you out of whatever function you were in while a swipe up the right side of the display activated the backlight. Aside from one morning when I was late to work after forgetting the backlight command and thinking I had hours left in bed, that process of discovery was fun, rather than arduous.

So #Intel is recalling all #BasisPeak and shutting down sync servers.. Big deal, never heard about these watches in the first place. #flop

— romain (@_refocus) August 5, 2016

Another great thing about the Basis Peak was that, for the rest of the time, it simply got out of your way. Plenty of full-blooded smartwatches want to replicate the experience of using your smartphone on your wrist. But that’s a terrible idea in practice; there are lots of things you can do on an inch-wide display that you probably shouldn’t. Since the Peak was a gussied-up fitness tracker, it offered the bare essentials, but when time and battery life are so precious, doing fewer things very well is crucial.

The Peak knew when you began and finished your workouts without you telling it. It could track your steps and monitor your heart rate once it detected activity. For example, if you were walking, the device would automatically switch to pedometer mode and tell you your step count, time and distance. Similarly, you could leave it on the HRM screen to check if you were on the cusp of a heart attack when you’d overexerted yourself at the gym.

I’m not immune to the Peak’s flaws, the biggest one being its terrible, horrible, no good, very bad companion app. Seriously, it’s one of the worst fitness device apps I’ve ever used, making Basis the spiritual opposite of Jawbone, which produces brilliant apps and garbage hardware. I’d often opine to colleagues (who struggled to share my love of all things wearable) that Intel should buy Jawbone just for its app. Basis’ offering was simply that bad.

Basis’ software issue was simple: rather than focusing on letting users draw conclusions on the macro level, it was obsessed with minutiae. Every element of your day was broken apart, making it useless to actually analyze your motion over a week. Plus, it was ugly as sin, slow and generally unfriendly — and perhaps, fire risk aside, one of the biggest things that held the device back from being a winner.

I’m also worried that Intel might decide that the bad PR has tarnished the Basis brand to the point where it’s not worth saving. When the recall was announced, Basis revealed that the Peak’s online services would be shut on December 31st, 2016, giving customers only five months to migrate their data. When I contacted some Intel reps to ask about Basis’ long term future, the wave of “no comment” responses felt ominous. This is speculation, but perhaps Intel would prefer partnerships — such as with Tag Heuer — to be the future of its wearables strategy.

Intel
2014: buys Basis fitness tracker/watch maker
2016: recalls all Basis Peak watches for safety reasons
Still in consumer electronics!

— Kontra (@counternotions) August 4, 2016

Which is a shame, because the demise of the Peak is a sad day for everyone who may not want something as flashy or demanding as an Apple Watch or Android Wear device. With its long battery life, subtle UI and continuous HRM, its spiritual successor is the Pebble 2+Heart Rate, although that doesn’t launch until September. The Basis Peak was a great device, notwithstanding its apparent propensity to explode. I, for one, hope that the team that created it gets the time and backing to get a do-over.

9
Aug

LG’s V20 smartphone may be as modular as the G5


Just a few days ago, LG revealed that it will introduce its first Android Nougat phone in San Francisco on September 6th. The V20 is said to come with similar dual-screen, dual-selfie camera features as its predecessor, the V10. And now, thanks to OnLeaks and Android Authority, we’re getting a first look at purported renders of the device. Most notably, the 5.7-inch V20 appears to have a modular design, based on a button placement reminiscent to that of LG’s newly minted G5.

As Android Authority points out, there appears to be a bottom lip as well, which could be a removable piece to make room for different kind of accessories. That said, the publication says its sources haven’t confirmed if the V20 is actually modular, so hold off on making any final judgements for now. Either way, we’ll likely find out more details about the handset in the weeks leading to its official announcement.

Source: OnLeaks/Android Authority

9
Aug

The best portable dishwasher


By Liam McCabe

This post was done in partnership with The Sweethome, a buyer’s guide to the best things for your home. Read the full article here.

If you can’t install a dishwasher, get the Danby DDW1801MWP. This portable 18-incher hooks up to your kitchen sink when you need it and rolls away on wheels when you don’t. We’ll be honest: You won’t find many portable dishwashers to choose from. But the Danby is actually a good appliance, not just some consolation prize for people who can’t install a built-in dishwasher.

Who should get this

If you can install a built-in dishwasher, do so. (We have a buying guide for those, too.) Over time, it’ll require less effort than rolling around a 120-pound machine before every wash cycle.

But sometimes a traditional built-in dishwasher is out of the question. Older, smaller kitchens don’t always have the right layout. Or maybe you rent your home and the landlord won’t pay to have a dishwasher installed.

Portable dishwashers are an alternative to built-in units. They’re on wheels, so you can roll them in and out of storage as needed, and rather than using a dedicated water line, you hook them up to a faucet and drain into the sink below. (You may also need an attachment for your faucet for the hose to fit properly.) Most models are 18 inches wide, though there are a few standard 24-inch models out there. Apart from those differences, they work like a regular built-in dishwasher.

How we picked

We’ve spent more than 70 hours researching dishwashers over two years, including eight hours looking at portable dishwashers. Although we did most of our fact-finding to pick the best built-in dishwashers, most of the same principles apply to portables, too.

Our expert sources that helped us figure out what makes a great dishwasher include Keith Barry, editor in chief of Reviewed.com’s appliance sites, who has overseen more than 100 dishwasher reviews during his tenure; Julie Warner, marketing manager at Warners’ Stellian, an appliance-sales powerhouse in the Twin Cities region of Minnesota; and Chris Zeisler, an expert at RepairClinic.com with a few decades of field experience repairing machines.

We weren’t able to test any models for this guide, and none of the appliance testing houses have bothered to review any of them, either. We relied mainly on user reviews, comments, and other testimonials to narrow in on the best portable dishwasher.

Our pick

The Danby DDW1801MWP rolls up when you need it and disappears when you don’t. Photo: courtesy of Home Depot.

The 18-inch Danby DDW1801MWP is the portable dishwasher you should buy. It’s a much better appliance than you might expect for the price, and even though it’s the cheapest dishwasher on wheels, we’d recommend it even if it cost hundreds more. It has all the specs you’d find in a decent $600 built-in dishwasher, including Energy Star compliance for lower energy bills and more efficient water usage and a stainless steel tub for long-term durability, quieter operation, and faster drying.

As of summer 2016, the DDW1801MWP is a new model, so it doesn’t have many user reviews at the time of this writing. But it’s a very similar machine to its predecessor, the DDW1899WP-1, which was our top pick in this guide before Danby discontinued it. We looked through the spec sheets and contacted Danby, and we spotted only two differences: The newer DDW1801MWP uses about 5 percent less energy and has a “glass wash” instead of a detergent-free “rinse cycle.” So we think it’s fair to rely on user testimonials about the older model to point out the strengths of this new one while we wait for reviews specific to the DDW1801MWP to become available.

Sweethome editor Ganda Suthivarakom owned an older version of this dishwasher and said that “a full load of dinner party dishes would come out sparkling clean.” The review of the DDW1899WP-1 by Rin76 at HomeDepot.com sums up the sentiments: “It’s a great little dishwasher for 2 people! It cleans everything really thoroughly, even stuck on dishes. It is perfect for our situation (couple in an apartment). It’s counter height, so it adds valuable counter space in our small kitchen. It is also really easy to use and hook up!” Just be sure to brush up on the best ways to use a modern dishwasher.

This guide may have been updated by The Sweethome. To see the current recommendation, please go here.

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