Skip to content

Archive for


ESA releases first color photos of the EXOMARS crash site

The ESA’s EXOMARS Schiaparelli lander crashed into the Red Planet’s crust at more than 300 kph on October 19th, marking not only the end of its mission but also the surface itself. NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) spotted the impact site quickly afterward but it wasn’t until this week that its orbit brought the MRO back around. Using its High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE) camera, the MRO snapped the shot you see above.

It’s the first color photograph retrieved from the Schiaparelli crash site. It appears to confirm that the bright spots around the central impact are indeed fragments of the landing craft. The image also suggests that the lander’s parachute, which landed nearly a mile away, has shifted its position since the last flyover thanks to the Martian winds.

The ESA estimates that its investigation should be concluded by the end of November. The other half of the EXOMARS mission, the Trace Gas Orbiter, will continue its mission until at least 2022. Despite this setback, the ESA plans to launch another mission to Mars in 2020, working in conjunction with Russia’s space agency.

Source: Space


85% of U.S. Note 7s have been returned, battery-limiting update arriving for the stragglers

No, seriously, return your Note 7 already.

Now multiple weeks removed from the Galaxy Note 7s final recall and discontinuation, Samsung says that 85% of all Note 7s in the U.S. have been returned to the company. That’s a great return rate for a phone that sold millions of units, but that still leaves tens of thousands of unsafe Note 7s out in the wild today — to combat it, Samsung is finally issuing a software update to remaining phones that keeps them for being charged beyond 60%.


If that sounds familiar, that’s because Samsung has already issued the same update elsewhere in the world — most recently in Europe starting October 25 — to try and spur Note 7 owners who have kept their phone to return it. It’s not so much that only charging the phone to 60% makes it safer, but the fact that nobody would want to use their high-end phone with just more than half its usual battery life. The update will also hit users with notifications to return their phone every time they turn their screen on.

In a statement provided to Android Central, Samsung claims that a “majority” of Note 7 returns have opted to receive a replacements Samsung phone instead of a refund, which isn’t quite as cavalier as previous statements claiming high rates of like-for-like Samsung swaps surrounding the first recall. It’s not surprising that following a second full-scale recall even the most dedicated of Samsung fanes may have waned in their support and chose to put their refund toward a different company’s phone.

The full statement from Samsung:

As of today, nearly 85 percent of all recalled Galaxy Note7 devices have been replaced through the U.S. Note7 Refund and Exchange Program, with the majority of the participants opting to receive another Samsung smartphone.

We remain focused on collecting the outstanding Galaxy Note7 phones in the market. To further drive participation, we will be releasing a software update in the coming days that will limit the phone’s ability to charge beyond 60 percent, as well as issue a reminder pop-up notification every time a consumer charges, reboots or turns on the screen of their Note7 device.

Any Galaxy Note7 owner who has not yet participated in the U.S. Note7 Refund and Exchange Program should immediately power down their phone and contact their carrier or retailer today.

You have to wonder what took Samsung so long to issue this 60% battery limitation update, even with the understanding that its other initiatives have reclaimed 85% of units out there. This update really should have been issued sooner, and further actions such as stopping the phones from accessing cellular networks altogether would really put the screws to the remaining owners to return their phone. There’s no downside for Samsung at this point to doing everything in its power to reclaim remaining Note 7s.

Samsung Galaxy Note 7

  • Galaxy Note 7 fires, recall and cancellation: Everything you need to know
  • Survey results: Samsung users stay loyal after Note 7 recall
  • Samsung Galaxy Note 7 review
  • The latest Galaxy Note 7 news
  • Join the Note 7 discussion in the forums!


Daily Briefing: Going out in a blaze of glory


This is the end, my beautiful friend.

The saga of the Samsung Galaxy Note 7 is nearly over, but it refuses to go away entirely. For the stragglers holding onto their devices, carriers are now taking extra steps to convince people to give in their units. T-Mobile is sending out an update today to cap maximum charging capacity at 60%, and regulators in New Zealand are going even further.

Speaking of going even further, today marks the final edition of the Daily Briefing. While we had a lot of fun putting it together each day, we’re returning to a more traditional way of reporting the news, as so many of you have requested in the answers to the State of Android Central survey we published yesterday.

Google Home is now available to buy!

We’ve got a review and a comparison, but today you can buy one for yourself. Google’s connected-speaker-slash-assistant is now available at Best Buy, Target and Walmart.

T-Mobile and AT&T are pushing out updates to cripple the Note 7

T-Mobile is pushing out another Note 7 update to bring its maximum charge to 60% and pushing more annoying notifications, further crippling the phone to incentivize customers to return them. AT&T is doing the same, saying that 85% of customers have returned their devices. More

New Zealand carriers are going even further

New Zealand’s telecom providers, in cooperation with the country’s regulator, have decided to block the IMEI numbers — essentially cutting off service — for the remaining few hundred people in the country still using Note 7s. More

Some Daydream View VR headsets are being delivered already

Ahead of schedule, some folks are already receiving their Daydream View VR orders. Unfortunately, (as noted by Android Police) those who received them are unable to use them right now, with a prompt saying “Daydream apps cannot run unless you update Google VR Services.” With the headsets originally set to become available on November 10, odds are we see the necessary updates in the coming days.

Moto M gets the full leak treatment

Motorola’s upcoming Moto X refresh, likely for the Chinese market, will sport a rear fingerprint sensor and a MediaTek processor. It’s being unveiled on November 8. More

Xiaomi’s Mi Mix gets torn down, phone parts found within

For its forward-facing aesthetic, Xiaomi’s bezel-free Mi Mix concept phone is very much just that — a phone. That has been confirmed after GizmoChina decided to perform a teardown of the device, revealing a fairly traditional internal layout — with a few neat tricks.

Alexa comes to a kitchen tablet

This is interesting. Though it was announced back in April, TCL has finally released Xess, its strangely-named kitchen tablet with a built-in handle and bundled IP camera. It also has Amazon’s Alexa built right in. TCL is the parent company of Alcatel, the smartphone maker, and is one of the bigger electronics names in China these days. Xess is available for $499 from Amazon. See at Amazon

Samsung has begun Android 7.0 beta testing for the Galaxy S7 edge

UK users, you are in luck. Samsung will soon begin testing its version of Android 7.0. Those who have the Galaxy Beta Program installed on a Galaxy S7 edge will be able to take Samsung’s version of Nougat for a test drive. It’s unclear if the beta will be extended to Galaxy S7 users, as well.

Thanks for following us on this brief Daily Briefing journey! We’re still going to bring you the news you love, just in a more traditionally per-article format. If you want to keep getting Daily Briefings, sign up for our newsletter and get one each morning in your Inbox!


Apple sale offers all USB-C adapters at discount, stock up now for new MacBook Pro

You need to buy around £226 worth of cables and adapters, if you want to use Apple’s new MacBook Pro.

When Apple announced its latest laptops at an event in late October, it revealed the new MacBook Pro dropped all legacy ports in favour of some Thunderbolt 3 ports. The new tech allows you to charge your laptop and other devices as well as hook up peripherals all through the same type of jack, but it also means you need USB-C-style adapters for all your existing devices in order to plug them into the new MacBook Pro. 

The move was criticised by many, but in a surprise to all, Apple has reduced its Apple Store prices on all USB-C and Thunderbolt 3 peripherals, as well as the prices on Apple’s USB-C adapters and cables, according to Engadget. This is a sale that will last from 27 October to 31 December.

Here’s the new Apple Store prices:

  • USB-C to USB Adapter – (from $19) $9
  • Thunderbolt 3 to Thunderbolt 2 Adapter – (from $49) $29
  • USB-C to Lightning Cable (1m) – (from $25) $19
  • USB-C to Lightning Cable (2m) – (from $35) $29
  • USB-C Digital AV Multiport Adapter – (from $69) $49
  • USB-C VGA Multiport Adapter – (from $69) $49
  • SanDisk Extreme Pro SD UHS-II Card USB-C Reader – (from $49) $29
  • All other third party USB-C peripherals – 25 per cent off

If you bought one of these adapters or peripherals shortly before the sale began, you can return it for a refund, The Verge reported. Oh, and Apple said its sale will not include Apple USB-C power adaptors or the 2m USB-C charge cable.


Facebook’s WhatsApp is testing a Snapchat Stories-like feature

Facebook is trying to go after Snapchat again.

The company is developing an ephemeral photo feature for WhatsApp, the popular messaging app it acquired a couple years ago for more than $19 billion. Remember, Facebook once tried to buy Snapchat, but the deal was rebuffed, and then Facebook launched a copycat app, called Slingshot, which failed to catch on. Oh, and Facebook tried to buy Snow, the “Asian Snapchat”, this summer.

And let’s not forget that Facebook-owned Instagram recently added a Story feature that’s a direct rip-off of Snapchat’s most popular feature. So, it’s not too surprising to learn that WhatsApp is testing a photo-narrative feature, called Status. Much like Snapchat Stories, Status lets you broadcast to followers your pics and videos via a narrative loop that has unlimited playback for 24 hours.


It will even let you add doodles and captions, according to Mashable. The quiet project was discovered in WhatsApp’s latest public betas for iOS and Android. The feature is now live for beta testers and appears as though it will sit in the the tab menu between Chats and Calls.


The Public Access Weekly: Cheap thrills

Hey all, a lot of you out there are still waiting for your registrations and articles to be approved, so we’re going to do todays weekly in a TL; DR bullet point format:

  • On the Geek Calendar, tomorrow is both Worldwide D&D Day and Guy Fawkes Day so celebrate according to whichever franchise has more of a hold over your heart. Or hey, do both. I’m not your mom.
  • October was a truly huge month for Public Access — while I’m still gathering up all the final numbers, over 455 articles were published making this our best month for the sixth month in a row. That’s amazing y’all. Give yourselves a hearty pat on the back!
  • As mentioned in previous Weekly’s, we have posted rules for Public Access members on the landing page that you see when you log in. And we are enforcing them. If you have not read those rules yet, do it now because you will be expected to abide by them.

And lastly, as I mentioned above some of you have been waiting awhile to have your Public Access membership registrations approved, and some of you new members have submitted stories for approval this week but haven’t heard back yet. Those will be done today, on my word. Until next week!

Looking for something to read? Check out:

Krishna Permi examines the ways in which internet and smartphone apps have impacted our relationships, interactions and social culture by looking at the changes in education, information and communication created by social media and an online lifestyle.

Electric vehicles have come a long way, and still have a ways to go in the minds of many consumers. One of the things that may turn the tide is the advancements being made to develop wireless charging options for EV owners. James Cummings gets into the science behind the technology in his first Public Access post.

Apple Watch owners will want to read through Ryan Kh’s article on how to use IoT hardware — such as the Withings HD camera and the Amazon Echo — with your Apple Watch to create a smart home that you can control right on your wrist.

Looking for something to write about? Mull over:

Our article this week on Apple’s explanation on the lack of an SD card slot on the new MacBook Pro provoked nearly 300 comments, so we know some of you are having strong feelings about the decision. What are your thoughts about the missing SD card slot? Good, bad, awful, worse than that? Weigh in with your opinions!

Those using ad blockers were disturbed this week to see special ads directed at them by Netflix’s Black Mirror, creating a conversation around the effectiveness of ad blocking software, the back-and-forth with companies who can side-step such software and clever vs intrusive advertising. If you use an ad blocker, tell us why — and discuss the cycle of intrusive advertising leading to better ad blockers leading to more intrusive advertising. How does that cycle get broken?

This week popular password manager LastPass switched to a freemium model meaning users can now sync across devices without needing a subscription. With password breaches occurring with disturbing regularity, we thought it was time to ask you: How do you manage your passwords? If you use a password manager, which one and why do you like it? If you have an alternate method, tell us about it (in as much detail as is safe for you, obviously!).


McDonald’s is testing mobile ordering

Over the last couple of years, a trend among fast food franchises has focused on reducing customers’ wait time by allowing them to order and pay ahead of time on their mobile devices. Starbucks, Domino’s, Dunkin Donuts, Chipotle and Taco Bell (especially Taco Bell) already allow for mobile ordering. However, McDonald’s has noticeably lagged behind its competitors. However, according to a Business Insider report out Friday, Micky Dees is about to catch back up.

The report, citing anonymous sources within the company, McDonald’s will roll out mobile ordering to the US market — as well as Australia, Canada, France and the UK — next year. And by 2018, the company hopes to expand the program to as many as 25,000 franchises worldwide.

Source: Business Insider


SpaceX engineers have solved their exploding rocket mystery

Investigators looking into September’s Falcon 9 explosion believe they have finally found their culprit, CEO Elon Musk said during an appearance on CNBC today. According to Musk, the explosion that destroyed the rocket and its payload was caused by a “really surprising problem that’s never been encountered before in the history of rocketry.”

Last week, the company said it suspected the problem had something to do with one of three carbon fiber helium tanks that sit inside the main fuel tank. As the New York Times reports, the liquid oxygen fuel froze solid as it was flowing into the rocket’s second stage, which set off the chain of explosions. Although Musk didn’t share any details about how the frozen oxygen may have affected the helium tanks, he did offer a vague explanation and confirmed that his engineers had been able to replicate a ruptured helium tank. “It basically involves a combination of liquid helium, advanced carbon fiber composites and solid oxygen,” Musk said. “Oxygen so cold that it actually enters solid phase.”

The New York Times also points out that oxygen freezes at –362 degrees Fahrenheit and the latest Falcon 9 rockets use supercooled liquid oxygen that is usually around –340 degrees. The helium inside the carbon fiber tanks is even colder at –452 degrees and may have caused the liquid fuel to freeze.

While NASA has already handed off the ISS supply run to SpaceX competitor Orbital ATK, Musk and company believe they will be ready to put another Falcon 9 on the launchpad by the middle of December.

Source: CNBC, New York Times


Apple’s Eddy Cue Sells More Than $37 Million Worth of Stock

Apple iTunes chief Eddy Cue brought in quite a bit of money this week, according to documents filed with the United States Securities and Exchange Commission. Cue cashed in 335,000 Apple shares at an average price of $111.86, netting himself $37,473,100.

Cue’s windfall follows the September vesting of 525,000 restricted stock units, which were worth approximately $59.6 million at the time. The shares represented the final 75 percent of the 100,000 restricted stock units Cue was awarded in November of 2011, which became 700,000 RSU’s after Apple’s 7-for-1 split in 2014. The first 25 percent of Cue’s RSUs vested two years ago, on September 21, 2014.

Cue put his full September award of 268,695 shares after taxes into a family trust, which is also what he has done with the 335,000 shares that were cashed in this week. Following the transaction, Eddy Cue continues to hold 1,464 shares of Apple stock.

Apple SVP of hardware engineering Dan Riccio has also cashed in 33,323 shares worth between $110.09 and $110.90, netting 3,677,115.

Tag: Eddy Cue
Discuss this article in our forums

MacRumors-All?d=6W8y8wAjSf4 MacRumors-All?d=qj6IDK7rITs


Pegs ‘n Holes: Is this puzzle the perfect fit for you? (review)

It’s amazing how a simple game can entertain us so easily. Let’s take Connect Four for example. The company I work for recently had a Connect Four tournament for all the employees. It was hilarious to see full-grown adults getting so hyped over watching two people try to line four circles in a row. I actually spent hours practicing with my roommate only to lose in the first round to my boss. If you’re reading this Beth, I’m taking you down next year.

Let me introduce you to Pegs ‘n Holes, another simple, yet addictive game that resembles a Connect Four board.

  • Developer: Jordan Naftolin
  • Price: Free (In-app purchases)
  • Download: iOS and Google Play


Pegs ‘n Holes is a logic-based puzzle game that involves matching the circles with the board’s holes in the correct sequence. Tapping the circle will slide it to the corresponding colored hole, eliminating it from the board. The goal is to match and eliminate all the holes in the board.


Finding the correct sequence is harder than you think. The game will only let you tap the circles that give you a potential move. The tricky part is that there are multiple circles that can potentially go into the hole that you want to clear. The concept is similar to Sudoku,
where numbers can go into multiple boxes, but only one box will complete the puzzle. Prepare yourself for the frustration you will encounter when you only have two boxes remaining with the wrong colored circles.

There is an undo and restart button during gameplay. The undo button comes in handy when you realize you’ve moved the wrong peg. You can undo as many times as you want and you will not be penalized for using it. There is also a colorblind mode option that uses shapes instead.


The game offers two modes: solo play and online competition. Solo play lets you choose different board sizes such as 4×4 up to 9×9. 4×4 will be for beginners, while 9×9 will be for those players with a lot of time to kill and need some mental stimulation.

The online competition mode features a 7×7 board, where your completed time will be ranked against other players. I have managed to get last place almost every time in this modes. Some of these times are obscenely fast. I average around 100 seconds for a 7×7 board. The top ranked players are finishing at around 16 seconds.


There is only one in-app purchase which is to pay $0.99 to remove ads at the bottom of your screen.


I really enjoy puzzles so it was no question that I had a great time playing Pegs ‘n Holes. The game is quite addicting and I found myself playing constantly. I really appreciated the simplicity of the game. You don’t have to invest much time to be entertained. The challenging levels were great exercise to keep my brain sharp.

The animations of the game were really smooth. Tapping the circle was quick and responsive. You can tap two circles at the same time to shave off key seconds. The only issue I had with the touch screen interface is that it became harder to tap the correct circles when the board grew bigger. I found myself tapping the wrong circle in the 9×9 mode frequently. This could be partly due to my fat fingers, but I can imagine users with smaller phones having an equally difficult time trying to tap those small pegs.








One more minor thing that bugged me was the restart button. There were numerous instances where I accidentally grazed over the restart button and ended up restarting the game right before I was about to win. This could easily be fixed by adding an “Are you sure you want to restart the game” option when the restart button is pressed.


It’s amazing how a simple game can keep people entertained for hours. This is the main reason why puzzle games will always have a spot in your phone.

Pegs ‘n Holes is a logic-based puzzle game that uses pegs to eliminate all the holes in the board. The two game modes gives you the freedom to play casually or competitively. This game is perfect for anybody who has a couple minutes to kill and wants to challenge their brain. With all mindless games in the app store, it’s nice to have an option that actually requires some thinking.

%d bloggers like this: