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15
Oct

Microsoft will roll out next major Windows 10 update in March


A new clue has indicated when the next Windows 10 update might arrive, just two months after Microsoft released the Anniversary Update.

Several reports have claimed Microsoft will release two major updates to Windows 10 in 2017, with the first one currently going by the codename Redstone 2. Thanks to a discovery by Twitter user WalkingCat, we can expect that update to arrive in March 2017. Earlier this week, Microsoft officials published some documentation that included references to a version of Windows 10 as “1703” as well as its release date.

Based on Microsoft’s current naming convention and the codes used for previous updates, it can be concluded that the Redstone 2 build will roll out in March. ZDNet, which has a good record when it comes to Microsoft rumours, has confirmed that March 2017 is “indeed, the current ship target for Windows 10 Redstone 2”. Microsoft might even discuss the update at its October event.

Microsoft recently invited the media to a hardware event on 26 October in New York City, where it is expected to unveil new Surface PC products, including an all-in-one PC in three different screen sizes.

Check out Pocket-lint’s guide on what else to expect from that event.

Twitter

15
Oct

The Public Access Weekly: Fix up look sharp


Admittedly, I am extremely late to the party here but we just started watching Mr.Robot and holy cow is that ever a great show! I’m not sure I’ve ever been so impressed by the USA Network. It more than makes up for the turn that Gotham has taken this season. (Why is everyone going to the same Hunger Games hairstylist all of a sudden? Why do we keep retreading over the same characters? And am I really supposed to buy Jim Gordon as a bounty hunter? So. Many. Questions.) Rants aside, let’s get down to business because we’ve got some updates for you Public Access members:

Starting this week, the “Looking for something to read?” section of the Public Access Weekly will feature stories written by Public Access members, instead of by Engadget staff members. While we may make an occasional exception for particularly stand-out Engadget stories that are in the same vein as Public Access, we’ll be highlighting your work here much more often.

Some of you may have noticed that we had wee bit of a glitch with last weeks Public Access Weekly newsletter, which (embarrassingly enough) went out to you empty. We are awfully sorry about that! The newsletter was pulling data from the wrong place, but we’ve made the necessary fixes that so there shouldn’t be a problem going forward.

Also, next week you’ll see a refreshed and updated Public Access post page — meaning the template where you create your stories will look a bit different. You’ll still have all the same buttons, in much the same locations, but will also see some changes and additional features. We’ll be updating our “Writing and Publishing Posts” resources page to reflect these changes, but as always, let us know if you experience any snags or problems!

Looking for something to read? Check out:

Sarah Pike covers Google Fiber’s struggles in expanding to Portland, discussing how the service has pulled in fewer customers than expected and faced unanticipated expenses in installation. Portland customers have apparently been unimpressed by the service so far, but Pike points out the ways in which Google Fiber’s offerings have upped the ante for other service providers in the area.

Not being a pro gamer personally, I would have a limited idea on how to prepare myself for a gaming competition (Uh… Get hydrated? Be well rested? Do carpal tunnel stretching?). Fortunately, Dianna Labrien has written a guide in time for the Intel Extreme Masters Championship. Full of a variety of tips from what hardware to bring, and what to expect, this is an interesting look at what it takes to game at this level.

We get a fair amount of articles about 3D printing on Public Access, but none of them has examined the potential for 3D printers to go boldly where no 3D printer has gone before in order to… make pancakes for astronauts. This unique article from DImitar explores the hypothetical possibilities of using 3D printers to improve the breakfast offerings of spacemen.

Looking for something to write about? Mull over:

After several unfortunate fires and two recalls, Samsung has ended production of the Galaxy Note 7 to the dismay of the handsets many fans. The news of the recall has many ruminating on what this will mean for the manufacturer (as evidenced by the nearly 400 comments in the article). So, where does Samsung go from here? Can they win back the trust of their fans and customers?

The NYPD uses Windows Phones — because of the platforms remote management and security features. And there are more Windows Phone fans out there, as many people in the comments tout their love for their Lumia handsets. Are you using a Windows Phone? If so, tell us why you’re sticking with the handset and what you like most about the platform.

Madefire has released a free Gear VR preview app to let fans of its Motion Books read the series in virtual reality. While this is just an initial foray into including VR into digital format comics, it could be a good way to upgrade the experience. Do you read comics digitally? If so, what’s your favorite method/service to do so? And do you find VR a compelling addition?

15
Oct

Where to buy PlayStation VR


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Picking up PlayStation VR is either incredibly easy or a little maddening.

With millions of PlayStation 4 consoles in homes around the world, Sony’s entry into the VR world means there’s a ton of people ready to plug in and start playing. This is great news for VR game developers, but it also means you need to know where to go in order to get your hands on one right now. Here’s where you need to shop!

Read more at VR Heads!

15
Oct

Daily Briefing: Note 7 banned from planes, HTC says no to headphone jacks


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It’s Friday! It’s Friday! It’s Friday’s news!

What a week! Between the cancellation of the Note 7 and the excitement around the Pixel, we’ve hardly slept around here. But that’s a good thing: It’s nice being busy.

But it also makes me look forward to the inevitable slowdown that happens around U.S. Thanksgiving, when people get a chance to slow down and take a few moments to breathe. Of course, Black Friday is another reason to look forward to the holidays; it’s a chance for us to make recommendations, and for you actually buy the things you’ve read about for the past few months.

Phones aside, I’m getting a sense that people are pretty excited about VR, and PlayStation VR in particular. It’s more expensive than Daydream and Gear VR, but it’s also far more immersive, and has the potential to lure millions of casual gamers into the world of virtual reality. I know I’m definitely one of those people.

What’s on your Black Friday wish list this year?

It’s now 100% illegal to take your Note 7 on an airplane

The hurt is almost over, we promise. The U.S. Department of Transportation has banned the Note 7 from all flights originating from or flying into the country, making it effectively an offense to bring one on a plane.

Individuals who own or possess a Samsung Galaxy Note7 device may not transport the device on their person, in carry-on baggage, or in checked baggage on flights to, from, or within the United States.

If you were planning to hold onto the phone indefinitely, is that enough to convince you otherwise?

Samsung to take a $5.3 billion hit on the Note 7

Samsung is estimating that it may lose $3.1 billion over the next two quarters as the company deals with the Note 7 recall. That’s in addition to the $2.2 billion loss it forecast for this quarter, bringing the total to $5.3 billion. More

SwiftKey goes incognito with latest update

SwiftKey beta has been updated to version 6.4.5, adding support for Nougat, text expansion shortcuts, and an incognito mode. SwiftKey won’t remember new words or save any data you enter while you’re incognito, with the keyboard switching to a dark theme with a mask overlay.

Google’s updated Pixel camera app can now run on the Nexus 5X and 6P

Looking to get give your Nexus 5X or 6P a little camera boost? You can now download a slightly modified version of the Pixel camera for last year’s Nexus devices, offering the same gestures and quick toggles that may or may not come to those phones with Android 7.1.

HTC Bolt appears in a new leak with no headphone jack

The HTC Bolt is a rumored new Sprint mid-ranger and today we get to see some pictures of the phone from VentureBeat. Externally things look a lot like the HTC A9 from last year, minus one important detail — a headphone jack. HTC has gone full circle from the G1 to the Bolt.

Google is creating a new index just for mobile

Google is working on a new mobile-only index that will go live in a few months. The mobile index will become the “primary” index, and while the desktop version will continue to co-exist, it will not be as up-to-date. No specifics on how this will work, but we should be learning more in the coming months.

SmrtFOB is a cool idea with a silly name

The folks behind bKey have a Kickstarter for a key fob that acts as a battery as well as storage between your phone and any other computer. What makes it special is the app that helps you remember to charge it and lets you manage the data in the fob while it’s sitting in your key bowl. It’s a neat idea, and the Kickstarter is nearly funded already.

Why does nobody want to buy Twitter?

Salesforce, the leading candidate in the proposed purchase of Twitter, has walked away from the deal following waning interest by a number of companies, including Google and Disney. Twitter may be incredibly popular for a certain subset of users, but on Wall Street it just can’t catch a break.

That’s it for us this week! Thanks for following along, and have a wonderful weekend!

15
Oct

Apple Watch Nike+: What is it, how much is it, and when can you get it?


Apple and Nike announced in September that they revived their partnership, with the introduction of Apple Watch Nike+ during Apple’s Special Event. Now we know when that sports-centric smartwatch will go on sale.

Here’s everything you need to know about Apple Watch Nike+, including how much it costs and when you can get your hands on it. Be sure to check out Pocket-lint’s preview of the watch as well, where we said it looks great, has a sporty feel, and feels really comfortable on the wrist.

  • Apple Watch Nike Plus is designed to be your perfect running partner

Pocket-lint

What is Apple Watch Nike+?

Apart from the new Apple Watch Series 2, Apple unveiled a Nike+ edition of its second-generation smartwatch. Apple teamed up with Nike to make a version of Apple Watch meant for runners. It uniquely features a different strap design and specialised software to make it easier for runners to put it on quickly and make use of the device’s built-in GPS. This isn’t just a simple paint job.

Pocket-lint

What does Apple Watch Nike+ feature?

Although you do get all the same features found in the Apple Watch Series 2, such as built-in GPS, a waterproof design (up to 50m), 38mm and 42mm watch case options, and a band made from the same elastomer material found in the Apple Watch Sport strap, the Nike+ edition worked with Nike to design a new strap with a perforated finish so that it’s more durable and breathable.

However, like the standard Apple Watch, you can change the straps. It’s actually going to be available with four different case and strap combinations: there’s a space grey aluminium case with either a black/yellow strap or a black/grey strap, and there’s a silver aluminium with a either a silver/white band combo or a silver/yellow option. All of which are bright and sporty-looking.

As for the WatchOS 3 software powering the watch, Pocket-lint has a round-up of all the features and changes found in the software. But the Nike+ has two additional perks: it gets exclusive Nike-themed watch faces that include a complication for directly launching the Nike+ Run Club app, which come pre-installed and lets you track your runs, view running history, and more.

Pocket-lint

How much does Apple Watch Nike+ cost?

The Apple Watch Nike+ costs the same as the new Apple Watch Series 2. It starts at $369 (£369) for the 38mm version and $399.99 (£399) for the 42mm one.

Apple

When will Apple Watch Nike+ be available?

Apple quietly updated its website to confirm the Apple Watch Nike+ will launch on 28 October in the US, UK, and elsewhere.

Want to know more?

Check out Pocket-lint’s Apple hub for related news. You can also go here to compare all the Apple Watch models.

15
Oct

FAA bans Samsung Galaxy Note 7 from all flights – even if turned off


If you’re still clinging onto your Samsung Galaxy Note 7 for whatever reason, don’t plan on flying in the US with it.

The US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and the Department of Transportation’s Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) announced on Friday that the device is banned from all US airline flights. It will not be allowed on planes even if it’s powered down. The order follows a second official recall from the US Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) on Thursday.

Samsung’s phablet, which just launched in August, was originally recalled on 15 September after numerous reports of the device overheating. The company hurriedly pushed out replacement devices that were supposed to be safe, but some of those units began to overheat as well. The CPSC said it is currently investing six reports of replacement phones overheating, leading it to formally recall the device for a second time.

Samsung has already ended production of the Galaxy Note 7 and estimated the negative impact to be “in the mid-2 trillion won range for the fourth quarter of 2016 and at approximately 1 trillion won for the first quarter of 2017”, which translates to around $3.1 billion over the next two fiscal quarters. The company will also probably lose a lot in the coming months – if not years – in terms of brand equity and reputation.

Samsung has launched a new Galaxy Note 7 Refund and Exchange programme, which will let you get up to $100 bill credit if you exchange a Galaxy Note 7 for “any Samsung smartphone”. Alternatively, you can get $25 in credit if you exchange a Galaxy Note 7 “for a refund or other branded smartphone.” If you still own a Galaxy Note 7, you should consider exchanging it now.

The FAA’s ban will take effect starting 15 October at 12 pm EST.

15
Oct

Tencent to debut live-streaming WeChat drone at end of month


Tencent, the Chinese tech giant that owns League of Legends, Supercell Games and WeChat, the most popular messaging app in China, announced on Friday that it will release a consumer quadcopter by the end of October.


The Ying drone will cost $300 and offer the option to capture 4K video with the onboard storage or livestream it through a WeChat conversation in 720p resolution. It’s tiny, weighing less than a pound and able to fit easily in a backpack. Tencent reportedly teamed up with Qualcomm and Chinese drone manufacturer Zerotech to produce the Ying.

One can’t help but notice the design similarities between the Ying and DJI’s recently-released Mavic Pro quadcopter. Of course, DJI’s new offering costs more than three times as much, so there likely won’t be a whole lot of market overlap between the models. There’s no word on whether the Ying will make it stateside.

Via: ReCode

Source: LMNTech (YouTube)

15
Oct

Xbox Elite controller opens up games to people with disabilities


AbleGamers program director Craig Kaufman knows he’s done his job when a kid comes running up to him on a busy convention show floor and screams, “I can stab people now!”

“And I’m like, you shouldn’t yell that in public — but it’s exciting,” Kaufman says. “All the kid wanted to do was stab people and we helped him.”

Kaufman is talking about stabbing people in Call of Duty, not real life. AbleGamers’ core mission is to open up gaming to people with disabilities, which often means giving away specialized controllers that respond to breathing, can be mounted on wheelchairs, or offer single-click solutions for more complicated actions like using analog sticks. However, AbleGamers is always looking for simpler and more accessible options, and this year they found one: The $150 Xbox Elite controller.

The Elite is widely marketed as a top-of-the-line controller for serious players — it’s customizable on a physical and software level, and it features extra buttons on the back of the hand grip, allowing for more mapping options. This is good news for hardcore players, but it’s also a remarkable breakthrough for people with disabilities. AbleGamers gives away Elite controllers whenever they can; the organization buys the controllers and sends them out to people in need.

“There’s a social isolation that happens for people with disabilities when you’re inside all the time,” Kaufman says. “And it’s — bam, you can play games. It’s awesome.”

Kaufman offers one example of a man who recently had a stroke and lost the use of one of his hands. He loved games and needed a way to play, so Kaufman sent him an Elite and explained that he could use his mouth to move the analog stick. The man wasn’t immediately convinced.

“That’s a concept that not everyone adapts to,” Kaufman says. So, Kaufman filmed a video of himself controlling the Elite with his mouth and just one hand, using the rear-grip buttons as triggers. It worked.

And this is a $150 solution that you can go buy at Wal-Mart, and it helped that dude with a stroke play games,” Kaufman says. “That’s huge. That’s amazing.”

“There’s a social isolation that happens for people with disabilities when you’re inside all the time.”

Specialized controllers can cost upwards of $400, placing them out of reach for many people living on disability, which offers a fixed income. Plus, many custom solutions come directly from the manufacturer, which sometimes means long order times and shipping them from far-away countries. This is why AbleGamers is so excited about the Elite; it’s relatively cheap and Kaufman can simply send it to someone via Amazon Prime. It’s accessible on a level that other options aren’t.

Plus, the Elite has removable parts, including the analog sticks. For people who play with their mouths, this is a key feature, since it allows them to keep the gamepad clean. People can even 3D print custom parts to make playing easier.

Microsoft isn’t alone in trying to open up the gaming ecosystem. Both Sony and Microsoft recently launched system-wide button mapping options for their consoles, meaning players can customize their controllers on a software level across Xbox One and PlayStation 4. Microsoft also took things a step further with Gears of War 4.

“I actually sent them a layout that I thought would be helpful and they added it,” Kaufman says. “It’s so you don’t have to use the triggers — you can just use the face buttons.” And that’s not just for the Elite, either.

Opening up games to people with disabilities isn’t solely a philanthropic effort, Kaufman argues: It’s also good for business. “You can sell more games,” he says. “Widen the market, include more people.”

Essentially, the more people playing games, the better the industry is for everyone, Kaufman says.

“Microsoft has been very interested in some of the feedback and things we’ve been doing with it,” Kaufman says. “The fact that we give these out is huge for them, and they’re always looking at how to include more players.”

15
Oct

The FBI served Google with a secret subpoena


Tucked into Google’s latest bi-annual transparency report, the search behemoth quietly revealed that it received a secret subpoena from the FBI sometime during the first half of 2015. While the subpoena itself wasn’t necessarily out of the ordinary, what’s troubling is the fact that it was accompanied by a gag order that prevented Google from revealing publicly that the government came knocking.

The secret subpoena is known as a national security letter and, as The Intercept notes it does not require court approval. Instead, investigators only needed to prove that the information they’re trying to get out of Google was “relevant to an authorized investigation to protect against international terrorism or clandestine intelligence activities.” The fact that the letter is only now coming to light is a result of the USA Freedom Act, which modified the Patriot Act to make sure that such letters are periodically reviewed to ensure they are still required. Still, Google has not yet disclosed the contents of the letter itself, which implies that the gag may still be partially in place or Google may be challenging it in a closed court.

Earlier this month, the ACLU and Open Whisper Systems, the company behind end-to-end encrypted messaging app Signal, revealed that OWS had also received a national security letter along with a request for information about two Signal users. In that case, the ACLU and OWS successfully argued that the Justice Department overstepped with their broad gag order and were allowed to go public with their story. Even though these two letters have now been (somewhat) publicized, because of their nature, ACLU staff attorney Brett Max Kaufman wrote during the Signal case that, “there are many more like it, hiding in the filing cabinets in the U.S. attorney’s offices across the country.”

Source: Google Transparency Report, The Intercept

15
Oct

Mafia III review – CNET


The Good Mafia III is incredibly stylish, with great acting, soundtrack and setting. Its brand of action and gun play is as entertaining as it is brutal. The first 90 minutes of the game are great.

The Bad It suffers from a serious lack of diversity in mission types. It’s occasionally glitchy and it becomes tired and repetitive.

The Bottom Line The action and chaos of New Bordeaux kicks off with a bang, but in the end Mafia III reverts back to a very familiar open-world game that never picks up enough momentum.

It’s been six years since we last saw a Mafia game. Mafia III, pitched as a gritty revenge tale by California-based developer Hangar 13, follows the story of Lincoln Clay, a Vietnam veteran who returns from the war to find his hometown of New Bordeaux being run by mobsters.

In what’s truly a powerful opening 90 minutes, Mafia III sets the stage for a terrific story filled with violence and vindication, but what plays out is far more pedestrian, a real anticlimax. The game absolutely nails it in the soundtrack and atmosphere — New Bordeaux is a solid doppleganger of New Orleans — but it fails to explore much beyond the traditional trappings of tired open-world action and driving games like Grand Theft Auto.

2kmafiaiiiscreenshotpreviewcardriving2-2.png Hangar 13

Mafia III’s brand of action includes brutal gun play, stealth and of course, city driving. But just four hours into it, I knew exactly what I was getting. The game’s biggest problem is that things just aren’t as varied as other open-world crime games out there. Very quickly, it turns into a snake eating its own tail, failing to provide enough variety to build significant momentum.

It’s easy to draw comparisons to Grand Theft Auto V — and I’d even argue the shooting action is better in Mafia III — but GTA’s wealth of diverse missions is sadly missing here.

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