With only a few weeks left in the college football season, it’s the all-important time for your favorite teams to buckle down. One (more) loss and your guys could be knocked out of contention. Given the way things have transpired as of late, we wouldn’t be surprised if there were a few more shakeups before things wrap up.
Regardless of how the standings look when the season ends, the conference championships and bowl games are going to be fun to watch. As we see it, there are few things on TV as enjoyable as two top teams going head to head.
One area where would-be cord-cutters sometimes balk is on the topic of live sports. To them, getting rid of cable or satellite is a risky proposition, especially at this time of year. As it turns out, there are plenty of ways that one can get their football fix on smartphones, Android TV, and Fire Stick devices.
Below is a list of key games and apps to help you watch college championships and bowl games. We’ve listed Amazon and Google Play Store links, respectively.
● PAC-12 Conference Championship (FOX Sports Go) (FOX Sports Go)
● American Championship (WatchESPN) (WatchESPN)
● SEC Championship (CBS Sports) (CBS Sports)
● Big Ten Championship (FOX Sports Go) (FOX Sports Go)
● ACC Championship (WatchESPN) (WatchESPN)
● MWC Championship (WatchESPN) (WatchESPN)
● Capital One Orange Bowl (ESPN on the Sling TV app) (Sling TV)
● Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl (WatchESPN) (WatchESPN)
● Fiesta Bowl (ESPN on the Sling TV app) (Sling TV)
● Parade of Roses (ABC, NBC, and HGTV) (ABC, NBC, HGTV)
● Rose Bowl (ESPN on the Playstation Vue app)
● Allstate Sugar Bowl (ESPN on the Sling TV app) (Sling TV)
● Goodyear Cotton Bowl (WatchESPN) (WatchESPN)
MobiKin Assistant for Android is a PC-based device management tool for Android devices that offers easy to use data backup tools but doesn’t come cheap.
- Developer: Mobikin
- Cost: $29.95 for full version (free trial version is available)
The application itself works with any Android or iOS device and is fairly easy to work with. Android devices generally work better, however, as they can enable USB debugging easier through the developer options. There are two ways to connect your device to MobiKin Assistant for Android: USB or WiFi. The WiFi option works surprisingly well, but for the sake of more consistent connection, I’d suggest sticking with USB.
Setup is fairly easy, all you need to do is run the app, plug in your phone and let it work. MobiKin Assistant for Android installs a .APK file to your device for facilitating the transfer of data, and that’s all it takes.
Once your device is recognized, the program gives you a nice visual menu that lists all your data by category and allows you to import and export them, delete them, or make save files for backup and restore. It’s simple, straightforward, and does everything quickly.
Everyone should back up their data from time to time. It helps keep your device safe, and also allows you to clear out storage so you can add even more. Those without expandable storage phones could especially benefit from data backup and device management software. That is the primary focus of MobiKin Assistant for Android. It is a PC application for device management that allows you to backup everything from contacts and text messages to applications and photos to an easily recoverable file for safe-keeping or as a device restore option.
MobiKin Assistant works well and has a good set of features for managing the storage space on your device, including external storage on supported devices. It does, however, come at a price, and the free trial version really doesn’t give the full picture on what this software can really do.
MobiKin Assistant for Android can be a powerful tool for a lot of people who want to make a reliable local copy of their data, and the free trial should do a better job of showing just how useful it can be.
The user interface is simple and doesn’t have a lot going on. It just has a few tabs for your assorted data, and what you can do with it. Also, it offers some extensions that you can download to add additional functionality but I don’t necessarily think you’d need them.
There is not too much to say about the actual look and feel of the program, as it just does the job plain and simple. The mobile app the PC version installs does even less, as it only runs when your phone is plugged in and in USB debugging mode, only showing you a static screen. You can’t use it to do any sort of data management from your device itself, which is a bit of a disappointment.
One other thing I have to complain about is the price, as the free version only lets you see the data and not manipulate it in any way, so in order to get any features, you have to shell out thirty bucks or more.
I would have liked to see a bit more from the free version, especially since there are definitely other options out there for Android data management. Also, a lot of people may not see the point of a backup program in general, seeing as there are other options as well as built-in backup from Google and other apps through the cloud. A physical backup is never a bad idea, however, and this app is a great tool for those who like to have a reliable local backup of all their data and info.
Really, this app may be the most beneficial for those who root their devices and want to create a more easily accessible backup of their data in case they mess up. For those who are just looking to make space, I’d recommend the cloud storage options available as they are easier and can be set to back up automatically.
MobiKin Assistant for Android is a fine option for those looking to back up data or increase their storage capacity in their devices. However, it’s definitely not the cheapest option for data backup, and the cloud is slowly becoming more popular and is a reliable, usually more affordable way to back up your data.
If you need to use your PC to manage your Android device data and don’t mind dropping the cash on some decent software, then I’d definitely recommend MobiKin Assistant for Android. It works, and it’s easy enough for almost everyone to use.
Download MobiKin Assistant for Android from their website here
Make someone’s PlayStation 4 experience better.
If you’re shopping for someone who is a huge PlayStation 4 fan and you’re not totally sure what that means, know that you are not alone. Shopping for a gamer isn’t always the easiest thing in the world, especially if they’re the type to go out and buy the latest game the day it is available. If your PlayStation 4 fan has switched to full digital, you may not even be able to see what games they have without tipping them off, so what do you do for gifts?
We’ve got a quick starting guide for you, with a list of things every PlayStation 4 fan would enjoy adding to their gaming setup.
Nyko Modular Charge Station
Charging PlayStation 4 controllers isn’t complicated, but it rarely looks nice. Sony wants you to connect a USB cable to the front of the console and connect your controller, which means loose wires. That’s not a great look, so there’s a lot of third-party charging stations available to clean that mess up a little.
Nyko’s charging station attaches to the top of the PS4 itself, so you’re not taking up a lot of extra space on your entertainment center in order to get your controllers charged when you’re not using them. It also looks better than loose wires, so there’s that.
See at Amazon
PlayStation Gold Wireless Stereo Headset
Every gamer has the perfect set of headphones, but not a lot of them work with the PlayStation quite like the ones made by Sony. These headphones will redirect all the audio from your television wirelessly, making it so you can get the full PS4 experience without disturbing anyone in the house. These headphones also have a microphone, so you can enjoy multiplayer gameplay wire-free as well.
They sound nice, they work well, and the battery will get you several days of gameplay without needing to be recharged. Sony’s headphones are also collapsible and store much easier than most good gaming headphones.
See at Amazon
Most people don’t have more than one PlayStation 4, but what if everyone could do so without dropping the cash on an entirely separate console? PlayStation TV offers up a series of basic apps and games for gamers to enjoy, but the real feature is the Remote Play mode that lets you operate your PlayStation 4 across your Wi-Fi network.
This setup will allow you to play even when your primary TV is being occupied, which is a great feature for everyone to enjoy!
See at Amazon
Lots of people who play games enjoy feeling immersed in story and graphics, and PlayStation VR is Sony’s effort to take that feeling a step further. It’s a VR headset that lets people enjoy looking around from inside the game, with a whole new set of games to experience. This headset works with Sony’s PlayStation Move controllers, which allows you to reach out with your hands and interact with the VR worlds seen in the headset.
Check out our full review for more details, and take a look at our favorite games to go with PSVR as well!
See at Amazon
Headphones make a massive difference in your Daydream View experience.
Few things improve your Daydream View experience quite like a good set of headphones. It’s the difference between having a mediocre VR trip through a game and feeling totally immersed in the world around you. Sometimes that immersion can be a little too real, like when you’re having the daylights scared out of you, but in most situations you need some good headphones to really complete the experience!
Read More at VR Heads!
Sometimes all-in-one is perfect. Other times you need to spread out a bit.
Despite how much work happens inside their soft plastic casings, few people look at routers as computers that can complete multiple tasks. These are boxes you plug in, set up once, and forget about until something goes wrong. It’s nice to know you can do that and have your internet behave itself most of the time, but there are a couple of companies wondering out loud if routers can not only be smarter, but exist in a way that we as users look on them to do more.
One of these companies is Securifi, and for a little while now this team has been working on Almond, a smarter router that also controlled all of your connected home tech. Their latest efforts exist in the new Almond 3, which adds new mesh networking skills and a suite of Almond-branded connected home tech to turn your router into a hub for your whole house.
See at Amazon
Like previous versions of Securifi’s hardware, Almond 3 looks like a chunky tablet with a bad screen to bezel ratio. The little touch screen in the middle of this router allows you to access everything you could possibly want to do with this equipment, including launching a built-in browser to check on web settings. It’s not a big enough screen to really enjoy swiping and tapping with your thumbs as you hold the router in your hand, which is why there’s a little stylus baked in to the top of the box. If you’re planning on typing on this thing, you’re going to want the stylus to get you through it.
More: Router vs. Mesh Networking: What’s best for your home Wi-Fi network?
Almond 3 couldn’t be much easier to set up. Connect Ethernet and power, wait a minute while the OS fires up, and you’re ready to input a name and password for your network. Where things get interesting is in deploying multiple Almond units in a mesh network. There’s a lot of flexibility offered here, which is a breath of fresh air compared to a lot of other consumer mesh kits. You can set your mesh up entirely over Ethernet so every access point has the same kind of connection, and if your house isn’t fully wired for that you can set up wireless mesh to extend your network to other parts of the house. The Almost software treats it all the same way, which means adding is simple, regardless of your configuration.
Once you’ve set the network up how you like, you can start adding your connected home tech. Network discovery on Almond detected obvious things like my Hue lights right away, and the connected home kit Securifi sent included several important security tools. Door sensors, connected outlets, and trigger buttons for custom programming are all possible through this setup, but if you already have connected home gear in your house you’ll be able to add some of that as well. Basically anything that uses the Z-Wave mesh protocol can be connected to Almond 3, and the router treats all connected gadgets equally.
Network discovery on Almond detected obvious things like my Hue lights right away
Unfortunately, a simple set up process and feature-filled connected home tools are not the same thing as quality networking equipment. My deployment failed to deliver the same level of performance I usually get with my single Apple AirPort Time Capsule, both in speed delivered over the network and signal strength throughout the house. In almost all of out tests, smartphones and laptops failed to jump from the central router to any of the external mesh routers, which meant quality suffered. When connected directly to the router via Ethernet, my desktop pulled down only 96/80 megabits instead of the 150/150 I usually get from my Verizon FIOS connection. When I asked Securifi about these issues, I was asked to send them logs to help diagnose the issue with a note of assurance that my experience was unusual.
Put simply, every router should be as feature-complete as the Almond 3. From the router itself you can look at what devices are connected and heaps of details about the hardware. You can name each device to make it easier to look for later should something go wrong, and you can set those devices to act as “presence sensors” capable of triggering connected home scenes from within your connected home. I was able to create an IFTTT trigger that added the date and time my daughter connected to WiFi into a spreadsheet, which on its own is kind of awesome.
The best part is that none of this needs to ever be done from the software on the Almond 3 itself. The Almond app offers nearly every feature you can find on the router itself, and you don’t even need to be connected to the network in order to access the router. From your phone you can monitor what devices are connected to your networks, change the SSIDs and passwords on the fly, set up guest networks, and trigger an away command that restricts network functionality when you aren’t home. It’s a robust system, perfect for houses that have a lot of people going in and out.
Combined with IFTTT integration, there’s a ton of flexibility in creating the exact home experience you want.
For the connected home enthusiast, you also have the ability to create scenes. If you want the lamp in the living room to light up when you get home, or set alarms to go off from the routers, you can do so from the Scenes tab. This tab grows more capable as you add hardware to Almond 3, which in turn helps make this an actual connected home hub for your setup. Combined with IFTTT integration, there’s a ton of flexibility in creating the exact home experience you want.
More of this, please
Despite my issues with performance, I’m a fan of the way Almond 3 functions. I like the idea of a router being the actual hub of the house. Something controlled from your phone that allows you to monitor the network when necessary and make adjustments quickly. All of the quality of service monitoring I appreciate as a more technical user, with a user interface simple enough that everyone in my family can appreciate it if need be. It’s a fantastic way to jump into a new kind of home networking, assuming Securifi can deal with the performance issues I’ve encountered so far.
See at Amazon
I think we can all use a little magic right now.
Magic brings a gleam to our eyes, a thrill to our hearts, a lightness to our souls. And while I may not have some hand-made robes nor an Ollivander wand, I can always turn back to the books, and the art, and the fan fiction (yes, fan fiction) to bring a glimmer of the wizarding world back into my mundane one. And with these wallpapers, I can bring some of that magic to the closest thing I have to a magic wand: my Android phone.
I remember reading Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them back when it came out 15 years ago– sweet Nimbus, does that make me feel old. Anyhow, this vintage-looking poster makes me want to dig out my old paperback again and brush up on my beasts before I make my way to a screening. Don’t you agree?
Fantastic Beasts Poster by someorangegirl
One thing I do remember of the old paperback was it wasn’t half as exciting as this movie looks. We’ve got magical beasts running amok in Manhattan! We’ve got layers upon layers of secret societies and bureaucracies! We’ve got Eddie Redmayne running around with a wand, a magical case, and a smile that could light all of Broadway! Who’s ready for more wizarding world hijinks?!
Fantastic Beasts MACUSA Poster
The Ministry of Magic didn’t look quite like this in the movies, but I like this version more. There’s a warmth to this place, and look at all the memos literally flying around! Who wouldn’t want to work there? Well, maybe not at the Department of Mysteries, but maybe we could find something with the Aurors, or maybe Mr. Scamander could use some aides after his shenanigans in New York.
Ministry of Magic by Emmanuel-Oquendo
Patronuses are freaking awesome. It’s like a silvery spirit familiar that embodies your style and soul. They drive away Dementors and Lethifolds and can even run errands for you! Well, I’m not sure sending a message via patronus would beat a text message, but it’d look so cool. Patronuses take the form of the animal you most embody or admire. And while there are a lot of cool patronuses in Tribalchick101’s gallery, you can’t beat this silvery spirit-y owl, ready to swoop in for the save!
Owl Patronus by Tribalchick101
Okay, Quidditch is a weird game and I don’t envy the athletes who gear up for league games all over the country, but even I can’t deny the appeal of this wallpaper. Also, now that we can have drones in the palm of our hands, I am quite frankly stunned we haven’t seen snitch drones being sold anywhere yet? I want a self-flying snitch that’ll fly around the house while I try and fail to catch it!
But a Snitch Ain’t One
If only all messengers were this customizable.
I like Allo. Granted, I’m forcing my husband to use the app as our primary means of communication, but it’s because I genuinely enjoy the variety of customization as we’re typing messages back and forth.
Google has updated Allo with more friendly functionality. There’s now a feature called Smart Smiley that pops up relevant emojis as you’re typing. Additionally, you can now choose from a variety of themes to spice up your chat windows.
Allo has also added a new Fantastic Beasts sticker pack for those who are fans of J.K. Rowling’s fantasy empire. And if a pal sends over a sticker from a pack you don’t currently have, you can tap on it in the chat window to download it and reciprocate the sentiment.
The new Allo features begin rolling out today for both Android and iOS devices.
More: Everything you need to know about Allo
The virtual whole-Earth model that Google has been perfecting for over a decade has finally reached its next big step: Google Earth is now available in virtual reality. For the first time, users can walk through real city streets, fly through canyons and teleport to anywhere in the world all in an completely immersive VR experience.
Google Earth VR covers the entire 196.9 million square miles of the planet, so if you can’t decide where where to take your first virtual trip, Google has helpfully included cinematic tours and curated destinations through places like the Amazon River, downtown Manhattan, the Grand Canyon and the ruins of Rome. While there’s no Google Sky yet, you can still zoom out and fly through the edges of spaces as you look black on our virtual blue marble.
The initial release is free and available now on Steam, so users with compatible HTC Vive headsets can explore the red planet and the blue one without ever leaving their living room. According to the release notes, Google Earth will be coming to even more platforms (and presumably Google Daydream) sometime next year.
Source: Google Blog, Steam
OnePlus’s latest device – the OnePlus 3T – is the successor to the OnePlus 3 announced earlier this year bringing with it a faster processor and beefier battery.
The new device will go against the likes of the Samsung Galaxy S7 edge and the Google Pixel XL when it arrives on 22 November in the US and 28 November in the UK, but how does it compare?
Read on to find out the differences between the OnePlus 3T and Google Pixel XL.
OnePlus 3T vs Google Pixel XL: Design
- OnePlus 3T is lighter and smaller
- Both predominantly aluminium bodies
- Both have fingerprint sensors and USB Type-C
The OnePlus 3T features an all anodised aluminium build that measures 152.7 x 74.7 x 7.35mm and weighs 158g. There is a fingerprint sensor built into the front of the device, a large camera lens positioned on the rear and USB Type-C is on board for charging.
The OnePlus 3T comes in Gunmetal and Soft Gold colour options.
The Google Pixel XL has an aluminium body too, but the top third of its rear has a glass panel. It measures 154.7 x 75.7 x 7.3mm and weighs 168g, meaning it is slightly larger and heavier than the OnePlus 3T, but just as slim.
A fingerprint sensor is on board again only it is rear-mounted, keeping the front of the Pixel XL clear of any physical buttons, while the rear camera sensor is more subtle on the Pixel XL than the OnePlus 3T.
Th Pixel XL uses USB Type-C like the OnePlus 3T and colour options are either Quite Black, Very Silver or Really Blue, with the latter only available in select countries.
- Google Pixel XL review
OnePlus 3T vs Google Pixel XL: Display
- Both have AMOLED displays
- Both 5.5-inches
- Pixel XL has higher resolution
The OnePlus 3T has a 5.5-inch Full HD Optic AMOLED display, which delivers a pixel density of 401ppi. Like its predecessor, the OnePlus 3T is protected by Corning Gorilla Glass 4.
The Google Pixel XL also has a 5.5-inch AMOLED display with Corning Gorilla Glass 4 protection, but it ups the resolution to Quad HD. This results in a pixel density of 534ppi, meaning the Pixel XL will deliver sharper and crisper images compared to the OnePlus 3T.
As both have AMOLED displays, colours on both devices will be vibrant and punchy with inky blacks but the higher resolution on the Pixel XL will make Google’s device the more suitable for VR.
- OnePlus 3T vs Samsung Galaxy S7 edge: What’s the difference?
OnePlus 3T vs Google Pixel XL: Camera
- OnePlus 3T has higher resolution front and rear cameras
- Pixel XL has larger pixels on both front and rear cameras
- OnePlus 3T has OIS and manual control
The OnePlus 3T has a 16-megapixel rear camera with 1.12µm pixels and an aperture of f/2.0. There is optical image stabilisation, phase detection autofocus, Auto-HDR and manual control on board.
The Google Pixel XL has a 12.3-megapixel rear camera with 1.55µm pixels and an aperture of f/2.0. Google uses a combination of phase detection autofocus and laser autofocus, but it skips optical image stabilisation and there is a lot less in terms of manual control.
OnePlus puts a 16-megapixel sensor on the front of its OnePlus 3T too, with 1.0µm pixels and an aperture of f/2.0. Meanwhile, Google opts for an 8-megapixel snapper with 1.4µm pixels and an aperture of f/2.4. Both devices have fixed focus on the front.
- OnePlus 3T: Release date, price, specs and everything you need to know
OnePlus 3T vs Google Pixel XL: Hardware
- Both have Qualcomm SD821
- OnePlus 3T has more RAM and more storage in base model
- Pixel XL has slightly larger battery
Both the OnePlus 3T and the Google Pixel XL have the Qualcomm Snapdragon 821 processor under their hoods, but the OnePlus has 6GB of RAM, while the Google has 4GB.
The OnePlus 3T comes in 64GB and 128GB storage options, while the Google Pixel XL comes in 32GB and 128GB options, and none offer microSD support for storage expansion.
A 3400mAh battery capacity sits under the hood of the OnePlus 3T, while the Pixel XL has a slightly larger capacity of 3450mAh. Both devices support quick charging and both have USB Type-C, as we mentioned previously.
OnePlus 3T vs Google Pixel XL: Software
- OnePlus 3T on Android Marshmallow
- Pixel XL has latest Android 7.1 Nougat
The OnePlus 3T runs on OxygenOS, which is a customised version of Android Marshmallow, while the Google Pixel XL runs on the latest version of stock Android, which is currently Android Nougat 7.1.
OnePlus has said the Nougat update will arrive before the end of the year, though the experience will still be different to that of the Pixel XL. Even without the update, the 3T has the enhanced doze mode, along with other features like the Shelf that gives you a snapshot of important events and widgets, as well as a redesigned file manager and resized app icons.
Pixel XL users on the other hand will have a seamless Android experience with no bloatware, along with Google Assistant built-in.
- Google Assistant tips and tricks: Master your Android assistant
OnePlus 3T vs Google Pixel XL: Price
- OnePlus 3T starts at £399
- Pixel XL starts at £719
The OnePlus 3T will be available from 22 November in the US and 28 November in Europe, starting at £399. This is for the 64GB model.
The Google Pixel XL is available now from the Google Store, Carphone Warehouse and EE, starting at £719. Bear in mind that this price is for the 32GB model, which is half the storage of the OnePlus 3T base model.
OnePlus 3T vs Google Pixel XL: Conclusion
The OnePlus 3T is smaller and lighter than the Google Pixel XL, it has higher resolution front and rear cameras, OIS, more RAM and a larger starting storage capacity.
The Google Pixel XL on the other hand, has a higher resolution display, a larger battery capacity and it runs on pure Android, meaning quick updates to the latest software as and when they appear.
The Pixel XL is an excellent device and the OnePlus 3T is likely to be too if its predecessor is anything to go by so the choice between these two is likely to come down to budget. The OnePlus 3T has a starting price at nearly half that of the Google Pixel XL so you have to ask yourself if a higher resolution display, bigger battery and pure software experience are enough to justify the extra.
When a kid with a good idea asks you for $20 to fund their new startup, you give that money in the hope they’ll do some good. That can sting, however, when they become a multi-billionaire and you don’t even get a note of thanks with $20 stapled to it. Indiegogo is working to remedy the issue by incorporating equity crowdfunding into its platform. That way, instead of getting a lousy t-shirt as a reward for your patronage, you could actually get a share in the future success of businesses that you back.
Indiegogo has teamed up with MicroVentures to actually run its new platform, which will let anyone over 18 invest in a business. Indiegogo will do the enabling, but much of the nuts and bolts will be handled by MicroVentures, and Indiegogo says it’s not liable for any mishaps. The minimum for an individual investment of $100, while the limit will depend on each business. You’ll be required to paw through certain SEC forms, too, so that you know that you could get nothing back for your cash.
It’s not likely to become a core component of Indiegogo’s business, so you won’t be able to invest in every project available. At this early stage, there’s only a handful of startups that’ll give you shares for your money, including a cocktail bar in Washington DC and a social marketplace for music. That’s likely to expand in the future as more companies look to secure investment without having to offer you crappy rewards in exchange.