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15
Aug

Best podcast app for Android


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Pocket Casts is the best podcast app for Android. Not only has it been around for a long time, constantly adding great features that fit naturally into the Android ecosystem, but it has great discovery tools to find the best new shows.

Best overall

Pocket Casts

$3.99

podcast-pocketcasts-android.jpg?itok=jRQ

See on Google Play

Pocket Casts does what any good podcast player should do: it loads quickly, has great discovery tools, has effects for cutting down on silences, and it looks great doing it. Shifty Jelly, the company behind Pocket Casts, has put a lot of love into making the app as full-featured as possible without alienating beginners just looking for an easy-to-use podcast app.

With tablet support, Chromecast output, and easy ways to store content on microSD cards, Pocket Casts is our pick for the best podcast app on Android.

Bottom-line: Pocket Casts offers not only an amazing discovery and listening experience, but its synchronization system lets you listen to your favorite shows on iOS, Windows and the web.

One more thing: Themes! Pocket Casts has an amazing dark mode that looks great on AMOLED displays, or when you’re browsing at night.

Why Pocket Casts is the best

Easy to use, powerful for pros.

Pocket Casts is one of the first apps I download on a new Android device, and one of my most-used apps. Even as other popular music streaming apps like Google Play Music and Spotify have added podcast support, I go back to Pocket Casts for its useful tools, intuitive features and navigation, and ability to create on-the-fly playlists using the Up Next feature.

Chris Welch of The Verge had this to say about Pocket Casts for Android:

Above just being a vehicle for your podcasts, the standout aspect of Pocket Casts is definitely its design. It’s a tremendous showcase for Google’s Material Design, with fluid animations and color schemes that shift colors based on a podcast’s artwork. Your subscriptions are arranged in a tiled screen with big, beautiful artwork for every show, and Pocket Casts has a seemingly endless array of preferences, playlist filters, and auto-download settings, so you can tailor it fully to your liking.

One of the main virtues of Pocket Casts is its synchronization system: after purchasing the app for $3.99, you can create a free account and have it sync with the iOS, Windows and web versions. Not only is the podcast artwork beautifully shown in high-resolution, but it’s easy to subscribe and add certain episodes to playlists once you have subscribed to a particular show.

Small things, like a dedicated In Progress category, details the episodes you’ve only half-finished, while an amazing discovery network based on category, location, or podcast network makes it super simple to find the best content on the internet.

Finally, Pocket Casts can cut down the length of a show by removing silences or speeding up the playback up to three times, which is incredible useful if, like me, you subscribe to way too many shows and need to get through them as soon as possible every week.

Best for beginners

Google Play Music

Free

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See on Google Play

Play Music is relatively new to the podcast scene (weird, right?), but Google’s streaming music service integrated podcasts with aplomb — especially since it fits right into the existing user interface you’re already accustomed to. Some of Play Music’s podcast prowess is derived from the app’s simplicity: a great discovery portal, and lots of choice, without overburdening the user with features. Plus, there’s great Chromecast and Android Auto support built in because, well, it’s Google!

Bottom-line: For the simplest experience to get started with, Google Play Music is the ideal place to listen to your podcasts. And because it’s already installed on your phone — there’s very little setup required!

One more thing: Play Music syncs your podcast subscriptions across devices and platforms, so if you subscribe to a bunch of great shows on your Android phone, those shows will be there when you log in through the web.

Best for bingers

Stitcher

Free

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See on Google Play

It seems that Stitcher has been around forever, and on Android that is just about true. But the app has gone through some major revisions over the years, and has emerged as one of the best places to queue up a bunch of audio content for those long trips or head-down work sessions.

Even as podcasts have grown mainstream, and many apps, like Pocket Casts, have emerged to take on that burgeoning market, Stitcher still fulfils its promise of making it super easy to “stitch” a whole bunch of episodes together. The interface may not be as slick as Pocket Casts or GPM, but there’s no better app for discovering new and weird shows and sitting back to listen to them.

Bottom-line: If you’re looking to discover new and interesting shows and podcasts, Stitcher is still unrivalled. It has a huge database of content and, after subscribing to a few shows, Stitcher knows what you like, and will recommend some great stuff you’ve likely never heard.

One more thing: Stitcher isn’t just about podcasts: it works with notable brands like NPR, CNN, Fox News, ESPN, and BBC to push breaking news alerts throughout the day, just like a live radio program.

Best overall

Pocket Casts

$3.99

podcast-pocketcasts-android.jpg?itok=jRQ

See on Google Play

Pocket Casts for Android is, simply, worth the price. It’s got one of the best interfaces for playing and discovering new shows, and Shifty Jelly, the developer, is always adding new and useful features to its new versions. Plus, those change logs are hilarious! While it does cost some money up front, you’ll be happy to chose to bring your subscriptions over to Pocket Casts.

Bottom-line: Pocket Casts offers not only an amazing discovery and listening experience, but its synchronization system lets you listen to your favorite shows on iOS, Windows and the web.

One more thing: Shifty Jelly, developers of Pocket Casts, are very receptive to feedback, and are always looking to make the app as good as it can be. That’s another reason to purchase Pocket Casts: it promises to receive the best and most relevant features as soon as they come out.

15
Aug

Bush Digital TV Recorder has fluid viewing-style features without needing Sky Q


British tech firm Bush has announced a Digital TV Recorder that gives access to your stored programmes even when you are out and about.

Thanks to ShowDrive support, users can record TV shows on the new set-top-box and watch them on mobile devices over Wi-Fi or mobile broadband connections.

It is similar to the headline feature of the Sky Q box, Fluid Viewing, which also gives remote access to recordings stored on the box. However, ShowDrive does it through the cloud.

Users sign up for a basic or deluxe ShowDrive account and recordings are stored in the cloud ready to be viewed on any device capable of accessing the internet, mobile or computer.

  • What is Sky Q Fluid Viewing and how do I get it?
  • What is Sky Q, how much does it cost and how can I get it?

What’s more, a monthly subscription fee can yield greater storage than any set-top-box is capable of. For £1.99 a month, users get 35 hours worth of HD content storage, but for £5.99 a month, user get a whopping 350 hours of storage for HD programming.

Bush

Additional Digital TV Recorders can be used in other rooms too, making it a full multiroom solution. They can also access a user’s ShowDrive account and the content stored thereon.

The Bush Digital TV Recorder comes with two HD tuners, so is capable of recording one channel while watching another, or recording two shows simultaneously. It will be available from 30 August from Argos, priced at £99.99.

15
Aug

Twitter in talks to livestream NFL games on Apple TV


Twitter paid $10 million for the rights to stream NFL games and is reportedly talking to Apple about building an Apple TV app, according to the New York Times. That would let fans to watch ten Thursday Night Football games on a big screen using Apple hardware, even without a cable subscription. “Having that live programming every night when sports are playing — with no paywall, no logging in and directly from the source — that’s key to us,” Twitter CFO Anthony Noto told the NYT.

Twitter started testing live streams during Wimbledon (from a special ESPN feed), though it didn’t carry any live games. It reportedly won the right to stream live Thursday Night Football games over rivals like Facebook because it was willing to let the NFL sell the bulk of ads during the stream. The league recently decided to split up Thursday Night Football broadcasts between NBC and CBS, and will carry them on its own NFL Network. The first game between the New York Jets and Buffalo Bills will stream on September 15th.

We as a television organization, and the social media platforms are sort of sizing each other up, trying to figure out what the relationship is going to be.

The NFL hasn’t said how it’s selling ads, or whether it will split any revenue with the networks. However, CBS told the NYT that it’s still feeling out the streaming situation with internet companies like Google, Facebook and Twitter. “We as a television organization, and the social media platforms are sort of sizing each other up, trying to figure out what the relationship is going to be,” said CBS president David Rhodes.

Source: NY Times

15
Aug

Next PS4 update won’t interrupt your gameplay with UI


If Monday’s are a struggle for you, console yourself with the fact that Sony’s teasing a few of tomorrow’s big PS4 firmware beta update features, which includes a significant UI refresh. Pop-up notifications, new system icons and backgrounds, and a few other tweaks promise to bring the dashboard up to date, and the Quick Menu system has also been overhauled to, well, actually be of use. It also won’t cover the whole screen any more, which was never very convenient.

Hitting the Share button on your controller is also a bit less of a time-suck too — it’ll remember the last network you shared to and has support for clips of a little over two minutes. 140 seconds versus the previous 10 seconds.

Version 4 is a significant across-the-board upgrade that puts more emphasis on Trophies and achievements, as well as aiming at making frequently accessed options that little bit more useful.

Perhaps the best update also sounds like one of the most boring, though: you’ll be able to create folders on the content launcher and in your library, so you can keep better track of what you own. There’s also a new tab called Purchased Content, aimed at decluttering your library.

Of course, to get these features from the beta rollout date tomorrow, you need to be registered for the public program and selected as a tester — and it’s too late to apply now. Everyone else just has to wait.

Source: Sony Playstation Blog

15
Aug

Exploring the past, present and future of AI with Engadget


Few things stir up as much excitement, fear and confusion as artificial intelligence. So we’re dedicating this entire week to examining it from as many angles as possible. We’ll look at how current nascent AIs reflect some of society’s less admirable qualities, how it could be used to improve our criminal justice system and we’ll even explore the meaning of the “I” in “AI” — intelligence. Jess Conditt will challenge the notion that experts truly understand what it means to build an intelligent machine. And Nicole Lee will explore whether or not a minimum income is a viable solution to a workforce that demands less humans, and more computers and robots.

At this point practically every major tech company is making sizable investments in artificial intelligence and machine learning. Microsoft, Facebook and Amazon are all betting big on its potential. Google has built a special processor just for powering AI software. IBM is trying to shoehorn Watson into every industry from retail to medicine — it even had the damn thing write a cook book. Smaller players are looking for a foothold in the emerging market too, such as Fujitsu and startups like Viv.

Even though it seems like the tech industry is all-in on this whole AI thing, it’s not really that cut and dry. Google is pumping tons of money into research and services, while working on a kill switch to keep the machines from rising up and investigating the more mundane dangers of AI. Then there are titans of the industry like Elon Musk, who has invested in the technology while simultaneously warning us that we’re “summoning the demon.”

Musk is hardly alone. Plenty of major players and thinkers in the world of technology have warned of the dangers of AI, including Bill Gates and Stephen Hawking. But not every vision of the future is so apocalyptic. Theorists like Ray Kurzweil envision a world where machines don’t wipe humans out, but become part of us in the singularity. And for every Terminator film, there is a movie like Her, where AIs aren’t destructive forces, but three-dimensional characters and even romantic interests.

Whether you’re in camp armageddon (like Elon Musk) or eagerly awaiting the melding of human and machine (like Ray Kurzweil), one thing we can all agree on is that artificial intelligence is a rare truly transformative technology. Like the internal combustion engine, the assembly line, the transistor and the internet, AI has the potential to make the world of tomorrow almost unrecognizable.

But, before we spend the next week trying to untangle this mess, let’s take a look at the debate as it stands now. Below we’ve collected five quotes about the potential benefits and dangers of artificial intelligence from some of the biggest names in the field. And we’ve had each one loving illustrated by the fine folks at eBoy.

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I absolutely don’t think a sentient artificial intelligence is going to wage war against the human species.

Daniel H. Wilson

Source: The Globe and Mail

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With artificial intelligence, we’re summoning the demon.

Elon Musk

Source: MIT AeroAstro Centennial Symposium

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Artificial intelligence will reach human levels by around 2029. Follow that out further to, say, 2045, we will have multiplied the intelligence, the human biological machine intelligence of our civilization a billion-fold.

Ray Kurzweil

Source: PBS News Hour

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The development of full artificial intelligence could spell the end of the human race.

Stephen Hawking

Source: BBC

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By far, the greatest danger of Artificial Intelligence is that people conclude too early that they understand it.

Eliezer Yudkowsky

Source: Artificial Intelligence as a Positive and Negative Factor in Global Risk (PDF)

15
Aug

Twitter’s first promoted stickers come from Pepsi


You knew it was just a matter of time before Twitter’s stickers became advertising vehicles. The social network has just introduced promoted stickers, which help brands get their message out through the same searchable ‘visual hashtags’ that you might already be slapping on your photos. Pepsi is the first to embrace the concept, and it’ll offer 50 of the emoji you’ve seen on bottles and cans (see above) as stickers across 10 regions.

It’s hard to say how well this will work. Are you really going to use Pepsi’s take on a smiley if a less corporate version already exists? Stranger things have happened, however — it’s easy to find people who cheerlead for brands on Twitter without prompting. And when Twitter is still losing money, anything that attracts big ad deals is bound to be worth the company’s attention.

Via: Ad Age

Source: Twitter Blog

15
Aug

Instagram’s new tools help you reach out to stores


Plenty of businesses operate on Instagram, but wouldn’t it be nice if you could reach out to them on Instagram beyond posting a comment and hoping they’ll notice? You’ll get to do that soon. Instagram has reportedly started rolling out promised business tools that will help you get in touch. Shops that set up a business profile will have a “contact” button that helps you call, email or text a business without having to find the details on the company’s website (or hope that the company includes some in its bio). If you see a tantalizing dessert photo and want to know whether or not the restaurant’s still open, it’ll be trivially easy to get an answer.

The feature appears to be deploying in Europe at first, with Australia, New Zealand and the US due in the “coming months.” Everyone else will see them by the end of the year. We’ve asked Instagram for details and will let you know if it can say more.

Whenever the toolset is available in your corner of the world, it’ll also carry some features you might not appreciate. Analytics (to help companies see which posts are working) are good, but the features also let companies promote posts as ads. Like it or not, you may see more local stores hawking their wares in between friends’ food photos and the usual celebrity endorsements.

Source: Wired

15
Aug

Pokemon Go: Best Pokemon with highest CP


With Pokemon mania having spread across the world, you’re probably in the position where you’re wondering which Pokemon you should really be investing your time in. With a choice of 151 Pokemon (although not all are available to catch right now in the game), we’ve rounded up the best Pokemon in Pokemon Go.

Of course, CP, or Combat Power isn’t the only measure of how effective a Pokemon will be in a battle, but in many cases, when you’re facing an opponent in a Gym, the higher CP (and higher HP) that your Pokemon has, the better chance you have of surviving. That’s reflected in the “rating” below, as a measure overall of how good that Pokemon is.

GamePress

If you want to know where to focus your efforts, however, then take a look through this list of best Pokemon sorted by CP. Pulled together by GamePress, we can’t verify that all the information is correct, but there is another place to look for yourself.

If you open up the details about a Pokemon you have, you’ll see the CP rating at the top of the card, with a semi-circle heading over the top of the character’s picture. This is the CP line and once it reaches the far right, you’re at the maximum CP for that character.

It’s a little more complicated than that, however, because the maximum CP you can reach is based on your Trainer’s XP. As you power up, your ability to increase the CP of your Pokemon increases too, so you might find you’ve powered up your Pokemon as far as you can, and then you lose the option, until you’ve gained more XP.

If a high CP is your aim, then invest your time in Dragonite, Snorlax, Arcanine, Lapras, Exeggutor, Vaporeon, Gyarados, Flareon, Muk and Charizard.

  • Pokemon Go: How to find and catch rare Pokemon like Charizard, Blastoise and Alakazam
  • Pokemon Go: How to raise your XP level, power up and evolve your Pokemon
  • Pokemon Go top tips: Master the Pokemon mayhem
  • Pokemon Go Gym tips: How to battle, train and win
15
Aug

Apple Music vs Spotify: What’s the difference?


It’s been a year since Apple Music launched with a massive marketing campaign and several celebrities lined up, including Taylor Swift, touting how amazing it is to use, especially when compared to Spotify, another music-streaming service that was getting flak for not paying artists enough.

Now that time has passed, and the hype has died down, it’s worth asking yourself: should you really subscribe to Apple Music over Spotify, which currently leads the space in terms of paid subscribers? In order to help you answer that question, Pocket-lint has taken a deep dive and compared the two services by price, availability, features, and more. Here’s everything you kneed to know about Apple Music vs Spotify.

Apple Music vs Spotify: What’s the price difference?

There’s no difference here. They both cost $9.99 a month per account. And they both offer a $14.99 family plan for up to six users.

Apple Music vs Spotify: Where are they available?

As of writing, Apple Music is available in 113 countries on the iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch running iOS 8.4 or later, as well as Apple Watch 1.0.1 or later, Macs and PCs running iTunes, Android, and on the Apple TV. Spotify is available in 60 countries on iOS and Android devices, the web, Amazon Echo and Fire TV devices, and several connect speaker systems from brands like Bose, Bang & Olufsen, and Harman, and more.

Apple Music vs Spotify: Which offers better sound?

Apple Music and Spotify offer different encoding qualities. Apple Music has regular (128kbps) and high quality (256kbps), while Spotify has normal (96kbps), high (160kbps), and extreme (320kbps). Only audiophiles will be able to tell the difference. Still, Spotify does offer the highest quality.

Apple Music vs Spotify: Are there any adverts?

Apple Music requires a monthly fee ($9.99 an account or $14.99 for a family) after its three-month trial concludes, and it does not make users listen to any adverts. Spotify has a free tier option that is ad-supported, meaning users will get adverts. However, they can try the premium, non-ad-supported tier ($9.99 an account or $14.99 for a family) for three months for just 99 cents, so it’s worth checking out.

Apple Music vs Spotify: Which has more music?

This all depends on where you live. Both services claim to offer more than 30 million songs, but the songs you’ll have access to sometimes differ depending on your region. For instance, what you get in the US and the UK could be different from what you get in Sweden. Still, they’re pretty equal in terms of which service offers the biggest music collection and where.

Apple Music vs Spotify: What do they feature? 

Radio

Apple music offers a selection of radio stations that play music based on artists, genres, etc, and it offers a dedicated 24/7 live radio station called Beats 1, which is hosted by DJ personalities such as Ebro Darden and Julie Adenuga. They even share playlists from their radio shows. As for Spotify, it has mood-based playlists and a comprehensive list of auto-generated radio stations (powered by The Echo Nest’s algorithms).

Playlists

Both services offer the ability to create and share playlists of any kind.

Discovery

Spotify has a playlist-discover feature called Discover Weekly. These are curated playlists with 32 base genres to choose from, and they are updated every Monday morning. It even comes with a two-hour playlist of personal music recommendations based on your listening habits. Apple Music offers something similar under its For You tab. It’s a compelling area you’ll live in simply because it appeals to to your music preferences. Playlists here are curated by experts and might be based on style, a particular artist, or even an activity like driving.

Connectivity

Apple Music supports AirPlay, which allows you to send music from an iPhone or iPad to a stereo or connected television, while Spotify has Spotify Connect, a similar way to push audio to connected speakers, though it’s not as ubiquitous.

Social

Apple Music initially offered Connect, an interface that let musicians directly interact with their fans by posting music videos and statuses, but it’s largely being dismantled with the upcoming iOS 10 update. Spotify has a different social strategy: it connects you with your friends on social media like Facebook in order to show you what they’re also listening to, in real time.

Podcasts and videos

Apple Music has embraced podcasts since the very beginning and offers a growing collection of music videos and concerts. Apple’s also reportedly working on original content, including TV shows, which might be broadcasted from Apple Music. Spotify supports podcasts, too, and it offers video content from broadcasters like The Comedy Network and BBC, among others. It even alerts you to nearby concerts within its app.

Voice search

Apple Music has a digital assistant. Sort of. It uses Siri for playback and music control. Spotify, on other hand, has no such capability.

Offline

Both Apple Music and Spotify support offline playback.

Apple Music vs Spotify: Which should you try?

Both apps are relatively easy to use, priced similarly, and widely available – and they come with basic controls and plenty of options for finding songs and creating playlists. They even both offer the ability to play music when there’s no service or Wi-Fi around. But Apple is unique because it can be played using Siri. Spotify, though, at least comes with a free, ad-supported tier. 

If you’re going to choose one service to use though, Spotify is available on almost every platform and supposedly has more video content and more successful discover/playlist/social features. It also offers excellent sound quality. However, if you’re an Apple diehard and just want to stay within its ecosystem, then there’s really no convincing you to try Spotify over Apple Music.

15
Aug

Microsoft Office iPhone users can doodle with their fingers


If you want to sketch or perhaps add your signature to a Word, Excel or PowerPoint document on iOS, the only option has been to use the iPad Pro’s Pencil. Now, with the latest version of Office for the iPhone, you can draw directly on a document with no need for the stylus. Once you launch the app, you can “use your finger to write, draw and highlight with the tools in the new Draw tab,” Microsoft says.

Tools include a pen with adjustable line thicknesses and color, a highlighter and an eraser, and you can draw directly on cells, documents or slides. The new tools should come in particularly handy in conjunction with Office’s new collaboration tools, letting users easily mark up and share changes. The updated apps are now available on the App Store.

Via: The Verge

Source: Microsoft (iTunes)

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