Established software maker Nero AG has been around for over 20 years–and over those years Nero has made a large variety of unique software. Starting with media software for PCs in the mid-to-late 90s, and eventually moving to mobile platforms, Nero knows how to build smart and stable software.
Nero’s solution to Android users is Nero TuneItUp Boost & Clean. While the name doesn’t quite roll off the tongue with ease, it does do a good job of explaining what the application offers. This Android app for smartphones and tablets is designed to quickly and effectively free memory and boost battery life. But how well does it work?
The overall look of Nero TuneItUp is clean with basic colors overlaying white tiles. This makes it easy to understand what each tile is used for while navigating about the main screen. I found it to be so simple that almost any basic user should understand the layout of each section.
The overall design leaves a lot to be desired
The main screen has four options to choose from upon booting the application. Here you can choose to ‘SPEED UP SYSTEM’, ‘CLEAN UP STORAGE’, ‘DELETE TRACES’, or ‘SPEED UP PC’. As you can see, one of these options doesn’t quite belong here. The last option (SPEED UP PC) is essentially an ad, or more appropriately, a link to Nero’s website that allows you to purchase Nero TuneItUp for your PC.
SPEED UP SYSTEM
Upon opening the first selection titled ‘SPEED UP SYSTEM’ you will see the current “processes” that are running on your device. At the top of the screen, Nero TuneItUp will indicate how “limited” your system currently is. What Nero is looking for here is how many applications (or processes) are currently running and how much resources are being used by these applications. At the bottom of the screen, you will see a button that will show ‘SPEED UP SYSTEM (CLOSE ALL PROCESSES)’ followed by the number of processes that will be closed.
Nero TuneItUp will warn you if your speed is severely limited–but is it right?
Here’s where things get tricky. If you ask Google (the creators of the Android operating system) if you should consistently close processes, they will tell you are only hurting your device in the long run. Closing processes can actually slow down your system and drain your battery. Android, and iOS for that matter, both use algorithms to determine which applications and processes should lie dormant and which ones should remain in memory. If you are stopping processes that may be used in the future, you may just use more time and battery to reload them back into memory. This is counterintuitive and not recommended. So, what else does Nero TuneItUp offer?
CLEAN UP STORAGE
The next tile available on the main screen of TuneItUp is ‘CLEAN UP STORAGE’. Like the previous option, this section of TuneItUp will indicate how “healthy” your device is. Once you open the ‘CLEAN UP STORAGE’ submenu, you will see different options to clean up storage space on your device. Options can include ‘App Data’, ‘Downloads’, and ‘Large Files’, and each option will show approximately how much storage is being used in each category.
Here you can see what is using the most of your storage space
A lot of this data that is being used is cache data. If your phone or tablet is low on storage, you can delete cache data off of your device to give you more space for music, apps or videos, etc., but again, it is not recommended to delete cached data. Removing cache data may slow down applications in the future as it is intended to reduce internet fetching of basic information. Regardless, always use caution when deleting data off of your Android device, as recovering lost data can be a little tricky.
So, the final feature of Nero TuneItUp is ‘DELETE TRACES’. Upon opening this menu you will be given a handful of options to clear out history, location and call data. This will not necessarily offer any speed or performance gains, but is more geared towards users that are paranoid about another person or agency accessing identifiable personal data. I can see where some might find these features handy, but I don’t believe most general users will find many benefits in clearing their call histories.
Feel like someone is watching you? Use Nero TuneItUp to erase your tracks!
Nero TuneItUp is an interesting piece of software. No part of it can be highly recommended in use on a regular basis. However, where TuneItUp may come in handy is in a specific use. For example, if you were looking for a large file that you downloaded, Nero TuneItUp could possibly find it in your downloads folder faster than digging through your download history or file system. Or maybe you have a process that is causing stability issues on your device and you want to try to isolate it. The possibilities are there.
Overall, all things work as intended within TuneItUp. The app is fairly bland in design, which is fine but does nothing for the loading speed of each function. I was surprised at how slow some functions took to gather initial data. Once loaded, it was quick to switch between functions but left me unimpressed. Nero’s TuneItUp | Boost & Clean looks to be somewhat of a trojan application designed to push users to use the PC version of TuneItUp. Nero identifies TuneItUp as ad free, which is not entirely true. Save your time and storage space and skip this application, unless you really need it for a quick solution to a small problem.
What better way is there to spread a little holiday cheer than to give you an easy way to save 20% on your favorite accessories? You probably have a bunch of gifts that you want to buy for others, as well as a few things you want for yourself, so saving money anywhere you can is always good. Whether you are in need of a new charging cable, a new case to protect your phone, or even a Bluetooth speaker, we’ve got you covered.
There are tons of great accessories in stock for a variety of different phones right now. From the HTC 10 to the Google Pixel, Galaxy S7, and even the OnePlus 3T, you can find what you need at ShopAndroid. You can save now through December 16, so don’t wait too long to pick up what you need.
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Disney World does mobile payments right.
I went to Walt Disney World at the beginning of December. It was absolutely glorious. And each day, while in the parks, I did not take a wallet with me. I stuck my driver’s license in the back of my phone’s clear case, and that was all I brought. And while I bought tons of keepsakes and food, my credit cards stayed safely in my hotel room.
Did I use Android Pay? Samsung Pay? Apple Pay? No; I used something even better.
This is a MagicBand. There are many like it, but this Limited Edition Very Merry Christmas Party one is mine. MagicBands are how Disney revolutionized their ticket system, turnstile and FastPass system, hotel key system, and hotel room charging system. MagicBands are waterproof, wearable tickets/keys/credit cards for resort guests that function over RFID, have a two-year battery, and work almost everywhere on park property.
Coming into the Magic Kingdom? Tap your MagicBand to the turnstile and press your fingerprint to verify your identity. Going back into your room? Tap your MagicBand to unlock your door. Paying for your oh-so-delicious Mickey Bar? Tap your MagicBand to the contactless payments pad, type in your PIN, and be on your way. No fussing with PINs and fingerprints on my phone, no messing with figuring out where the NFC tag on this damn thing is (I swear the sensor on my HTC 10 moves between transactions). It. Just. Works. 100% of the time.
In the course of a week no one using mobile payments systems besides MagicBands — and trust me, I saw a LOT of Apple Watches.
These same Mickey-shaped terminals that take MagicBands also take Android Pay, Samsung Pay, and Apple Pay. In the course of a week, during one of the busier times of the year, I saw a grand total of no one using mobile payments systems besides MagicBands, and trust me, I saw a LOT of Apple Watches at Walt Disney World. No one wanted to hassle with a system that had failed them so often back home; no one wanted to suffer than embarrassment and hold up the long lines at the registers.
This isn’t the fault of Android Pay and the others. Not entirely anyway. This is on the businesses we patronize, and it’s on us for not politely asking them to turn on NFC every time we use the terminal. Yes, I ask H-E-B almost every time I buy groceries when I can start paying with my phone. I got a new Target card out of their hack, I’ve gotten a new credit card out of a gas station skimmer, and I want businesses to know that turning on mobile payment systems can limit their liability and protect them just as much as it protects our customers.
It’s also on the banks, which is a damn shame because wearable and mobile payment systems have such huge potential for them. Mobile payments systems mean that, yes, there is a potential for you to rack up mobile fees if people use your system, but that’s not nearly the end of it. Most mobile payments systems use one-time tokens, meaning no actual card/account numbers can be stolen by infected POS terminals or card skimmers, potentially eliminating millions of fraud cases and the costly process for replacing a compromised account.
I want businesses to know that turning on mobile payment systems can limit their liability and protect them just as much as it protects the customers.
Supporting mobile payments systems mean that you have a greater potential to be the primary card your customer uses. When we have to pull out a wallet, all cards are equally in reach to be used. When you use Android or Samsung Pay, the primary card is the first, meaning switching to another card takes more steps that most users won’t bother with.
The other problem here is an Android problem: if we truly want to make these systems more convenient, they need to be on wearables, not just on phones. If I have to dig into a pocket, the wallet is easier. If my card is already on my wrist, I’m far more inclined to tap that than to pull out my wallet. Sure, we have tap-to-pay on the wrist for Samsung Pay, but Android Wear is still sorely lacking in that department. Maybe not for much longer, but for too long already.
MagicBands were glorious, and when I had to stick my wallet back in my pocket and go to the airport, I felt a small pang of sadness. I’m still wearing my MagicBand today, wishing I could tap it to that little Mickey-shaped reader when I’m in line for groceries or out grabbing dinner. I glimpsed a mobile payments utopia… and now I’m back in the real world, wondering how long it’ll take us to bring that magic here to Texas.
More: Samsung Gear S3 review
Seidio is currently offering a pretty huge sale on all of its great cases, saving you 30% off your entire purchase with coupon code nations30. Whether you are looking for a new case for yourself, a family member, or a friend for a Secret Santa exchange, you’ll save on your whole purchase. Seidio has been making great accessories for years, and offers everything from basic to protective cases, charging cables and much more.
The sale runs through December 25, but if you want the gifts in time for the holidays you’ll want to order it sooner than later. What will you be picking up with this discount? Let us know!
See at Seidio
Amazon is once again offering some pretty sweet savings on its Alexa-powered Echo, Dot, and Tap. You can save as much as $40 on the purchase, dropping the starting price here down to just $40. Over the course of the last year Amazon has made Alexa even smarter, allowing the speakers to now understand a wide variety of voice commands from ordering items on Amazon to telling you the weather, sports scores, and much more.
Not sure whether you should check out the Amazon Echo or Tap? Check out our great comparison to see which may work best for your needs. These deals won’t last long, so be sure to grab one sooner than later.
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Pick up a nice little bill credit for referring friends to join Project Fi.
Google likes to give you little tips about your account when you open up the Project Fi app, and now you’re going to start seeing a reminder to “refer a friend.” It’s really simple: just tap “refer a friend” in the app, and you’ll see a unique code. When someone signs up using that code, both you and the person you referred get $20 toward your account once the new account has been active for a month.
The referral system will be active until January 11, and if you send out a code before then the person will have to activate by that date in order for you both to receive the account credit. The one caveat here, it seems, is that additional members on a group plan are not eligible to be referred (which kind of makes sense).
I’m not sure how many people are going to be swayed to trying Project Fi by the promise of a whopping $20 when the likes of the big carriers in the U.S. are offering hundreds in switching bonuses. But this is of course yet another clear point that Google is working to grow the Project Fi subscriber base. Add to it the big announcement recently that there are new group plans, and you can be sure that Project Fi is growing.
So if you’re going to be giving Project Fi a try this holiday season, be sure to ask around if anyone you know has a code — you might as well save a few bucks on your first bill by getting a referral.
Google Project Fi
- What is Project Fi?
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- Sign up for Project Fi
Just a few weeks after Instagram announced that it’s adding live video broadcasting to the app, the feature is now, well, live. To start broadcasting, just head over to your Stories camera and swipe over to “Live” mode. Viewers will know you’re live with the “live” badge over your Story icon. From what we can tell, the interface is very similar to that of Periscope and Facebook Live. You can leave comments and tap the Heart button to send floating hearts into view.
The big difference seems to be that unlike Facebook Live and Periscope, the live videos captured by Instagram are truly ephemeral — you can’t access archived videos for later viewing. So if you don’t want to miss those Instagram Live videos, you generally have to be following those accounts and be tuning in at the right time. That said though, Instagram is also populating its Explore page with “Top Live” videos that it hopes will highlight the most popular live stories at any given time.
In a way, Instagram Live seems to be something of a hybrid between Facebook Live and Snapchat. It’s mobile-only unlike Facebook Live, and appears to be geared mostly toward personal video sharing, whereas Facebook Live has so far been mostly used by media companies and publishers. It’s not entirely clear yet if there’s a market for this kind of live video sharing, but Instagram’s sheer popularity could prove to be a great testing ground for it.
Live video on Instagram will roll out starting today, and should be available to all US users in the coming days.
Apple has held talks with SoftBank about investing up to $1 billion in the Japanese telecommunication giant’s global technology fund, according to The Wall Street Journal. A deal has not been finalized, while the current status of the talks could not be determined, according to the report.
President-elect Donald Trump and Softbank CEO Masayoshi Son (Image: LA Times)
The so-called “SoftBank Vision Fund,” expected to launch next year, will be valued at up to $100 billion, which will be invested into emerging technologies like artificial intelligence and connected internet devices. SoftBank itself will invest at least $25 billion in the fund, while the Saudi Arabian government will pledge up to $45 billion.
Apple’s own investment would allow it to gain insight on emerging technologies, according to the report.
Such a move also would reflect a shift in Apple’s investment strategy, which until recently focused on small stakes in young technology companies. Earlier this year, Apple invested $1 billion in Didi Chuxing Technology Co., China’s homegrown ride-sharing competitor to Uber Technologies Inc. SoftBank is also an investor in Didi.
Last week, SoftBank CEO Masayoshi Son said he would invest $50 billion of the fund in the United States and create 50,000 new jobs in the country following a meeting with President-elect Donald Trump. SoftBank is the parent company of U.S. carrier Sprint, which employs about 30,000 people.
Note: Due to the political nature of the discussion regarding this topic, the discussion thread is located in our Politics, Religion, Social Issues forum. All forum members and site visitors are welcome to read and follow the thread, but posting is limited to forum members with at least 100 posts.
Tags: wsj.com, Softbank
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While Amazon and Netflix are now regular names during awards season, the Golden Globes helps provide a good benchmark for how the wider industry rates their output. For the 2017 Globes, TV honors are even, with both companies securing five nominations each. As for movies, Amazon drama Manchester by the Sea has a whopping five nominations.
Amazon paid $10 million for Manchester by the Sea, a Kenneth Lonergan drama that stars Casey Affleck as a handyman dealing with family woes, at Sundance and that investment seems to be paying off. It’s up for Best Motion Picture, Best Performance by an Actor, Best Performance by an Actor (Michelle Williams), Best Director and Best Screenplay. The Salesman also earned a nod in the foreign language film category.
Two of Amazon’s most successful shows — Transparent and Mozart in the Jungle — received another couple of nominations in the Best TV series and Best actor in a TV series categories for comedy, courtesy of Gael Garcia Bernal and Jeffrey Tambor. Billy Bob Thornton is also in the running for Best actor in a TV series for his role as Billy McBride in legal drama Goliath.
Netflix, which has relied on mainstays like House of Cards and Orange is the New Black in the past, could see some its newer shows getting the recognition they deserve. Sci-fi hit Stranger Things and royal drama The Crown are in the running for best drama TV series, with Winona Ryder and Claire Foy receiving nominations for best actress. John Lithgow was also picked as one of the five “best supporting actors in a series, limited series or TV movie.” As for movies, Netflix picked up a lone nomination for Divines.
Last year, Netflix trumped Amazon in the nomination stakes, but it was Amazon that prevailed on award night, taking home two Golden Globes for Mozart in the Jungle. Transparent and Mozart are up against Atlanta, Veep and Black-ish this year, but the retailer-cum-streaming-giant will fancy its chances in those categories due to sheer strength of numbers. We’ll have to wait a month to find out who wins and who doesn’t, however, as the ceremony airs January 8th on NBC.
Source: Golden Globes
If you grew up in North America during the early 1990s, there’s probably one color you associate with Nintendo: Purple. The SNES had a distinctly violet tinge in the region, while European and Japanese customers were treated to a grey, slightly more curvaceous model (the controller had multi-colored face buttons too.) If the purple model has a special place in your heart, you might be interested in the Hyper Clack Tactile Mechanical Keyboard by Kyperkin. It costs $99.99 and comes with Gaote Blue switches, which should suit serious but not too serious gamers and writers.
While Nintendo’s classic consoles have always been iconic, they’ve recently found new prominence in the cultural zeitgeist. The NES Classic Mini has been a smash hit (even if people can’t buy it), re-introducing fans to the company’s 8-bit games and design ethos. There’s also the SNES-inspired 3DS — one of the better limited edition variants — and countless other merchandise inspired by the system. Hyperkin isn’t known for its keyboards, having built its brand on retro consoles and replacement controllers instead. The Retron 5 is a decent bit of kit, however, so maybe some of that hardware expertise will translate to PC peripherals.