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20
Nov

Sync for Reddit: The gilded way of browsing Reddit (review)


sync_for_reddit_review

I can’t quantify the amount of hours that I’ve wasted in my life thanks to Reddit. I’m always scrolling through /r/Android looking for interesting news, or through /r/iphone to see if I find new apps, /r/soccer to see everyone making fun of Manchester United, and so on. The possibilities are endless. Some people are reluctant to use Reddit, but it can be really useful and a place where I’ve met some good people.

After trying different Reddit clients, I just keep coming back to Sync for Reddit, an app with an impressive amount of customization, delightful interface, and a constant flow of updates. Not only it is one of the best apps to consume Reddit content, but one of the top apps in the Play Store.

Developer: Red Apps LTD
Price: Free (Pro version available)

Setup

sync_for_reddit_menuThe menu is home to your profile, messages, settings, and your subreddits.

This is one of those nice developers that have understood that not everyone wants to use an app only after logging in. In fact, you could use Sync for eternity without logging in. Sure, the experience won’t be as satisfying but it’s entirely possible.

If you want to connect your account to Sync, then you can tap on the hamburger menu button at the top left and then tap on Add Account. This will open a webview in which you can input your account details.

I’ve never really thought about how the permission system works in Reddit, but every single app that I’ve tried asks for this extremely long list of permissions. Fortunately, they all sound very logical and you can see how it is being used in the app.

After logging in successfully, you will be taken to the app’s main screen again, but this time, you’ll be logged in! All of your subreddits are automatically synchronized, and you might notice that the side menu now has a couple more options to play around with. We’ll analyze them all later on.

Overview

If you don’t know about Reddit, then the easy, concise way of describing it is “a social news aggregation, web content rating and discussion website” (courtesy of good ol’ Wikipedia). Users submit content into subreddits (think of them as a category where all the content follows the same subject), be it news links, GIFs, pictures, information, and everything in between, and then other users discuss about it. If used correctly, Reddit can be an extremely useful source of information and an easy way of learning about a specific topic without going to multiple sites.

Reddit’s web interface looks outdated in my opinion, but their mobile site is clearly more suitable for our times. However, Sync takes this to another level, presenting a beautiful, yet simple interface. It is inspired by the card-style interface introduced by Google some time ago, and it works wonderfully for every kind of content.

sync_for_reddit_dark_themeA dark theme is available too!

When you start the app, you’ll see the Front Page, which is an aggregation of all the subreddits you follow. Each card shows the title of the post, the user, the date, the subreddit it belongs to and the points/comments. Also, a big picture accompanies every post, be it either the post’s featured image, the picture uploaded by the user itself, or a preview of a video/GIF.

At the top, there’s a button to enter swipe mode, in which all news will appear full screen; you swipe to the right or left to change between them. Personally, I think it’s a really slow and inefficient way to consume news, but that’s why there are options: some might like them, some might not.

By default, Sync shows you the “Hot” variant of the home page, which aggregates posts that are — wait for it –hot right now. You can also change it to New, Rising, Top (and order it from hour, day, week and even the top post of all time), and Controversial (with the same time frames as Top).

At the top right, you will see an overflow button. This is the home of several very useful functions, such as searching for subreddits/posts, switching the type of view (compact, list, full height, and so on), recently viewed, hide read posts, and sync. There’s also a very peculiar option: Random. It takes you to a random subreddit. The developer has thought of everything.

You can also filter the kind of posts you want to see. Only fancying images? In the mood for some funny GIFs? You actually want to get stuff done and read some news? Maybe a combination of them? Your wish is Sync’s command.

Post view

Selecting a post isn’t as straightforward as it sounds. Selecting the image part will always lead to the resource itself. Be it a news link, an image, a GIF, a video, or everything in between, Sync will always open the content.

For this, the app incorporates an in-app browser, a image viewer (and gallery when there’s more than one image), and a video/GIF viewer. This provides a seamless experience, keeping you in the app as long as possible instead of relying on webviews to see media. Other clients I’ve tried are very eager to take me to webviews in order to see images and videos. This is one of the strongest points of Sync for Reddit, and one that keeps me from using other clients.

sync_for_reddit_detail_viewThe detail view shows more about the content and the comments that they’ve generated.

Hitting the bottom part of a post will take you to the discussion itself. Since a comment can have multiple sub-comments, which in turn can have sub-comments by themselves, Sync uses colors to identify the level of each comment. This can be a confusing system, but Reddit itself uses it, so changing it would be unpopular among users. Fortunately, you can collapse different levels by long-pressing a comment. Commenting and replying can be done in a breeze too.

Profile, Messaging and Subreddits

sync_for_reddit_profileYour profile shows your badges, karma, and the comments you’ve made.

The overflow menu has so many things to choose from. It even changes its options depending on if you’re signed in or not. First, this is where you sync the app with your reddit account, in order to get your subreddits, messages and favorites.

The Profile menu entry lets you check out different stuff regarding your activity at Reddit, such as the comments you’ve made, posts you’ve upvoted, and links you’ve marked as favorite. Also, you can access the messages you’ve sent and received through the Messaging tab. Also, this is the place you can check your comments and posts replies. The good think about Sync is that everything is where you would expect it to be. There’s no overly complicated flows or digging through different screens.

Finally, the list of all the subreddits you follow will be here. If you follow a lot of subreddits, this can get quite long, and it’s probably the least intuitive part of the whole application. There’s also a list with multireddits (a group of subreddits joined together) at the bottom. This is another case in which having a long list of subreddits could hamper usability of these multireddits.

Options

So. Many. Options. Sync is probably one of the most customizable apps in the Play Store. There’s so many you can change that if I talked about everything, this review would look like a research paper.

Settings are divided into four categories: Appearance, Content, General and Other. All of them are pretty self-explanatory, but I will mention the most important aspects of each one.

Appearance deals with the way the app looks. Here you can change stuff like themes (light or dark), font size, animations, and customization for every view type. This last item is amazingly powerful: not only you can choose between different views to consume the app, but you can change every aspect of each view. Pretty cool stuff.

sync_for_reddit_optionsSync offers a mind-blowing amount of options to choose from.

The content category controls how you consume Reddit content. You can change the default post sort (Hot, Top, Controversial, etc.), different options for handling the comments view, notifications for messages, image/video viewer, and link handling.

General deals with more broad options, such as the data usage (through preloading of full images, thumbnails and GIFs), content filtering (NSFW posts, domain filtering, keyword filtering, and such), and backup of your current configuration. The Other category groups stuff like app version, licenses, privacy policy and similar.

As we can see, as is always a constant with Sync, everything is exactly where you expect it to be. The app has powerful options and customization, but it never strays away from dealing with a lot of information and features in a no-nonsense way.

Conclusion

For years, Sync for Reddit has been one of the most important Reddit clients in the Play Store. It’s easy to see why: a plethora of features, immensely powerful customization options, and pleasant interface are only a few of the benefits that the app presents. There’s also a Pro version if you don’t want to deal with ads, and want to support the constant updates of this amazing client. Give it a go and I’m sure it won’t disappoint you.

Download Sync for Reddit from the Google Play Store.

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20
Nov

From the Editor’s Desk: Hallelujah


google-pixel-oneplus-3-galaxy-s7.jpg?ito

It goes like this, the fourth, the fifth, the minor fall, the major lift.

I haven’t been sleeping much. You see, I got a dog last weekend — a Great Dane, Zadie, named after the incredible novelist Zadie Smith — and she’s been keeping me busy. It’s not my first dog, but the first I’ve raised from puppyhood, and the responsibility is humbling. She relies on me for everything: love, shelter, food and, of course, discipline. For a pup she’s relatively well behaved, but it takes a lot of work, and a lot of repetition, to overcome her desire to do whatever she wants, whenever she wants it, in any place she finds herself.

We humans are not too dissimilar. I’m writing this with my phone next to me, buzzing, Twitter just a Chrome tab away, and a bevy of great shows to watch on Netflix. Even as an adult maintaining a solid work ethic requires practice, and maintenance, both of the body and soul. Eat right, exercise, and yes, have some fun. It’s a hearty balance, and one that I am lucky enough to say I have access to.

Others are not so lucky. We are bombarded with stories about those less fortunate than us not having access to basic human needs, things that many of us take for granted. Here at Android Central, we write for those who love tech, embrace the way it improves our lives, without lingering on the fact that as essential as these tools are — the phones themselves, and the networks that fuel them — they are not as readily available to everyone.

Even as an adult maintaining a solid work ethic requires practice, and maintenance, both of the body and soul.

One particular example helped me see this disparity more clearly: the Google Pixel, at $649, alienated a lot of people used to Nexus phones being affordable, a tool for everyone, not just a privileged subset of the population. Google knew this — knows this — and priced the phone considerably higher than its predecessor anyway. But it had to deal with the baggage of expectation that came from years of Nexus phones — the Nexus 4 and 5 especially — being utilized not just as great smartphones, but as mass-market, affordable pieces of technology that crossed over to new and diverse segments of the population.

We praised, and continue to do so, the Pixel for its excellence, without properly taking into account a widely-held belief that Google was marginalizing, both by forgoing wide carrier support and pricing the unlocked version higher than expected, many people who found the phone to be egregiously overpriced.

We praised, and continue to do so, the Pixel for its excellence.

We still think it’s worth the money, but Google is actively ceding a portion of the market to cheaper flagships like the Honor 8 and OnePlus 3. That brings me to another short point: why does the OnePlus 3T exist? Surely it wasn’t OnePlus’s intention to replace its flagship only five months after its debut. Or if it was, why price it higher? Its predecessor’s $399 tag was one of its defining characteristics, and while $40 isn’t a huge burden on new buyers, it does expose chinks in the company’s long-term plans. It finally needs to make money, and inching upwards brings it closer to profitability.

A few more things:

  • The team worked really hard on the Holiday Gift Guide, and I’m pretty proud of everyone who participated in it. Hopefully you find something that fits within your life and your budget!
  • The HTC Bolt is such an interesting phone, and it makes me excited for Nougat on the HTC 10, which I haven’t used in some months because, well, there are just too many phones.
  • I got my hands on the Porsche Design Huawei Mate 9 this week, and plan to follow up Alex’s review with a few thoughts on it. It’s completely over the top, but like the cars from its partner brand its excess is what makes it so intriguing.
  • I’m also looking to spend more time with devices, like the Mate 9 and LG V20, that run non-Google versions of Nougat, to see how they compare to the Pixel “ideal.” I expect to be disappointed.
  • One of my favorite devices of 2016, the Moto Z, is poised to get Nougat soon. That’s one device I’ll probably put the Pixel aside for, at least for a little while.
  • RIP, Leonard Cohen. You’ll be greatly missed.

Have a beautiful Sunday, and be good to one another!

    -Daniel

20
Nov

‘Star Citizen’ team will share its schedule with the public


Of all the complaints about Star Citizen’s development, transparency is one of the biggest. Outside of basic goals, it’s hard to know how well the epic-scale space game is coming along at any given moment — there are concerns that Cloud Imperium Games is frittering away all that crowdfunding money. The company wants to put some of those fears to rest, though. As of Star Citizen’s 2.6 alpha, the studio will share its internal development schedule with the public on a weekly basis. Cloud Imperium will clean up the details to make them more accessible, but you’ll know whether or not there’s a change or setback.

You’ll see this publication continue if it’s “well received,” company founder Chris Roberts says.

Significantly, Cloud Imperium hasn’t offered a schedule for the single-player Squadron 42. There’s no mention of why, but Polygon notes that the title was originally supposed to arrive in fall 2015 and was a no-show at an event a year later. Star Citizen is the game that remains relatively on track — you’re more likely to benefit from weekly updates on its progress than something that’s on the backburner. That won’t be much consolation if you wanted more info on both projects, but at least one of them won’t seem like as much of a black box.

Via: Polygon

Source: Roberts Space Industries

20
Nov

Ben Heck’s reverse-engineered Game Boy Printer


The Ben Heck Show - Episode 263 - Ben Heck Reverse Engineers Game Boy Printer

It’s a bit late for Ben to break the warranty on this particular piece of hardware: The Game Boy Printer was released ages ago, which means it’s ripe for being reverse-engineered! First we need to know what we’re dealing with, so Ben performs a teardown to reveal the microcontroller and RAM, at which point he determines what pin-outs are needed to connect to an Arduino. That’s not all, though — we also need to know how to talk to the printer, and the easiest way to do that is with an oscilloscope and an original Game Boy Camera to snoop on the data stream. Not everything is so straightforward, however: Ben hits a snag and the printer stops partway through printing. What could he be missing?

What other hardware should Ben reverse-engineer? And what have you reverse-engineered? Let us know over on the element14 Community.

20
Nov

Android Central 315: Coming Full Squircle


This week, Andrew, Daniel and Alex get the buying season started early with their favorite gear gifts at any price point. Plus, the OnePlus 3T is now official, but why does it exist, and what does that mean for the popular and still-great OnePlus 3? And the Galaxy S7 is getting a beta version of Nougat in some countries, but when will it roll out to the rest of us?

Qualcomm quietly unveiled the Snapdragon 835 alongside Quick Charge 4.0, too, and there’s a lot of excitement around the new 10nm manufacturing process.

Finally, Samsung is selling the Galaxy Note 3 refurbished this Black Friday, but the team thinks this is a very bad idea.

Thanks to this week’s sponsor:

  • Harrys: Use promo code AC to save $5 off your first purchase — start shaving smarter.

Podcast MP3 URL: http://traffic.libsyn.com/androidcentral/androidcentral315.mp3

20
Nov

A new supersonic jet, and more in the week that was


Tesla currently makes the world’s best electric vehicles, but Jaguar’s first EV could give the automaker a run for its money. Meet the I-Pace: a svelte, stylish electric SUV that’s faster than most sports cars and can drive 220 miles on a single charge. In other auto news, a new law requires all electric vehicles to make noise by the year 2019, and VW’s new e-Golf can drive further than the Nissan Leaf at 124 miles per charge. Long-haul flights are the worst, but a new supersonic jet called the Boom could cut them in half. And Noordung launched a stylish vintage-inspired e-bike with a built-in sound system.

Tesla is attempting to merge with SolarCity, and this week the automaker’s shareholders overwhelmingly approved the move. That’s great news:The company’s new solar roof is taking off, and some installations are already cost-competitive with grid-based electricity. Scandinavia is gearing up to build the world’s largest offshore turbine array, and when it’s complete it will produce the cheapest wind power on earth. At the COP22 climate conference France announced plans to shut down all coal plants by the year 2023, and Al Gore reached out to work with Donald Trump on climate change.

Seattle is building the world’s first flexible bridge, which will be able to withstand major earthquakes once it’s finished. In other design and technology news, BIG and Heatherwick Studio unveiled plans for Google’s new London HQ at King’s Cross. This year’s James Dyson Award went to a paper bike helmet that collapses down to a tiny form factor. Adidas announced plans to make 1 million pairs of sneakers from recycled ocean plastic, and a scientist was inspired by Back to the Future to create fabric that can harvest and store solar energy.

20
Nov

After Math: Are you kidding me?


It’s been a brutal week for American democracy but there’s still plenty of face-palmingly bad news from the tech sector to go around. Apple’s trying to bilk its customers out of $300 for a coffee table book, Stephen Hawking figures we’ve got less than a millennium before we completely destroy the Earth and neo-nazis are building an army of “fake black people” with which to harass Twitter users. On the plus side, you’ll be able to take some free online courses from Oxford next year — at least until the Trump brand internment camps open.

20
Nov

GoPro compensates Karma buyers with free Hero5 cameras


We won’t blame you if you’re upset that GoPro had to recall your Karma drone over sudden power losses, but at least you’re getting compensation for your trouble. GoPro is offering American Karma buyers a free Hero5 Black camera once they return both their drones and the accessories that came with them. That’s on top of the full refund during the investigation, we’d add. While this won’t completely make up for having to go droneless (or, gasp, look for an alternative), you won’t have to go empty-handed — and GoPro won’t have to worry so much about customers holding on to their Karmas at all costs.

Source: GoPro

20
Nov

Claridge Hotel Reveals Festive Installation by Apple’s Jony Ive


Apple design chief Jony Ive and longtime collaborator Marc Newson’s take on the London hotel Claridge Christmas tree has been revealed – and perhaps not surprisingly, there’s not a bauble in sight.

Mayfair’s landmark festive tree has been drawing crowds since 2009, when notable designers began creating the seasonal decoration each year. But Ive and Newson’s interpretation takes the tradition to another level – albeit a minimalist one – by transforming the hotel’s lobby into a natural grove of unadorned birch trees as part of a cycling light and sound installation. The designers had this to say:

Our aim was to create an all-enveloping magical experience that celebrates our enormous respect for tradition while recognising our excitement about the future and things to come. There are few things more pure and beautiful than nature, so that was our starting point, layering various iterations of organic forms with technology.

Design and style magazine Wallpaper described a scene in which a series of vast four meter-high light boxes line the walls, illuminating black-and-white images of snow-capped silver birch trees, against which “towering cast models of Scots pine rise to a canopy of natural green pine”.

The accompanying forest soundscape begins with a dawn chorus and features owls, nightingales, sparrows, and foxes. Synced to the audio is specially choreographed lighting that cycles from sunrise to nighttime, creating a dappled effect in the installation space. At the center of the grove, a smaller sapling tree appears to grow in the transitions of light, which the designers describe as a symbol of the future.

The installation is open to the public and free to enter, and will remain in London’s Claridge hotel throughout the festive season.

Tags: Marc Newson, Jony Ive
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20
Nov

Amazon Echo now talks you through 60,000 recipes


Believe it or not, there hasn’t really been a comprehensive recipe skill for Amazon Echo speakers. Campbell’s skill is focused on the soup brand, IFTTT integration is imperfect and Jamie Oliver’s skill won’t read cooking instructions aloud. Allrecipes might just save the day, though. It just launched an Alexa skill that guides you through cooking 60,000 meals — and importantly, helps you find something to cook in the first place. You can ask what’s possible with the ingredients you have on hand, find a quick-to-make dish or check on measurements.

When you’re in the middle of cooking, you can pause, repeat or advance steps.

The skill is free to use, and works with any device that supports Alexa skills in the first place (including Fire TV). If it works as well as promised, it might be a crucial addition. The Echo is already the quintessential kitchen speaker for many people — it’s that much more useful if it can save you from flipping through a cookbook (or a recipe app on your phone) with your flour-covered hands.

Source: Allrecipes

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