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28
Dec

Best Cases for the Blu Advance 5.0


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Get a quality case for your Blu Advance 5.0.

The Blu Advance 5.0 is a low-budget Android sporting a 5-inch display, dual-SIM card slots and a $60 price tag. You get what you pay for with these devices, making them ideal for kids, or as a cheap phone to take on your international travels.

Whether you’re handing it off to someone young, or relying on it to keep in touch with friends and family back home, you’ll probably want to buy a case to keep it protected. Here’s some of the best case options from the Blu Advance 5.0, ranging from thin and light to tough and leather.

  • Miady PU Leather Wallet Case
  • BNY-WIRELESS Transparent TPU Rubber Gel Thin Case
  • Tough Hybrid Armor Shock Resistant Case
  • KuGi Ultra-Thin PU Leather Case

Miady PU Leather Wallet Case

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If you use your Blu 5.0 Advance for your international travel needs, this wallet case ought to make things that much easier. With four slots for cards or IDs, a pocket for storing cash, and kickstand functionality for media watching, this is one functional case.

Featuring polyurethane leather for a stylish look, this is a great case for keeping your phone and cash all in one handy place.

See at Amazon

BNY-WIRELESS Transparent TPU Rubber Gel Thin Case

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If you’re a sucker for thin cases, this TPU case is your best bet for the Blu 5.0 Advance. It has precise cutouts for the charging port and headphone jack up top and the speaker on the back panel. And because it’s TPU, it’ll add some extra grip to the phone.

We’ll clear up one thing here though — when they say “transparent,” they mean to say “not quite fully opaque.” The black case, for instance, is pretty much solid black.

See at Amazon

Tough Hybrid Armor Shock Resistant Case

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The Tough Hybrid Armor case is for someone looking for a more rugged option, especially if you’re handing the phone off to a younger person as their first phone. This case offers full protection for the back and sides of the phone, with a lip around the front display to help cut down on scratches and scuffs. There are precise cutouts for the charging port, headphone jack, and speaker.

You can get this case in your choice of color, with some options featuring a card slot on the back, or a kickstand.

See at Amazon

KuGi Ultra-Thin PU Leather Case

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This folio case features a smart, leather look that wraps around to protect most of the front screen. There’s a window that will let you spy in to see notifications or widgets, and there’s precise cutouts for the front camera, along with the ones you’d expect for the charging port, headphone jack and speaker on the back.

This case also conveniently folds up to act as a kickstand for media viewing and is available in five colors.

See at Amazon

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28
Dec

Best PlayStation VR shooters


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What are the best shooting games for PlayStation VR?

Shooters are a mainstay and favorite among many gamers, and the style of play is only heightened in PlayStation VR thanks to motion tracking and intense immersion. The list of shooters for PSVR is ever-increasing, but here are the ones we think you should try first.

Read more at VR Heads

28
Dec

NES Classic is a throwback to Nintendo’s best days


For a kid who never had a Nintendo growing up in the 1980s, the NES Classic is a perfect retro console at the perfect price.

Once upon a time — say, a couple hundred years ago — we didn’t have smartphones or tablets for gaming. I’m talking life before Mirror’s Edge. Before Pokémon Go. Way before the new Super Mario Run. Instead, those of us of a certain age were born into the era of the earliest consoles. When 8-bit was king. And while Nintendo wasn’t the first to crack that market, it absolutely became the hottest thing an ’80s kid could have.

I, however, was far from a hot ’80s kid. And it’s probably because I never owned a Nintendo. … Until now.

The NES Classic is a reboot of the classic console. It’s a little smaller than the original. And we don’t need cartridges any more to get our game on. And we now know just how bad those boxy controllers were.

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But, man, this is some serious fun. And for $59, it’s priced just right.

See the NES Classic
See the NES Classic controller extension

Music credit: “Sweet Self Satisfaction” by RoccoW

28
Dec

Hulu works deal with Disney to stream classic family movies


Disney fans have a new place to watch family favorites.

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Hulu has signed a multi-year deal with Walt Disney Studios to bring on-demand streaming of much of its back catalogue to the service. That makes Hulu the exclusive streaming provider of family films like The Nightmare Before Christmas, Hercules, Air Bud, Lilo & Stitch and the rest of the true classics.

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The deal will also bring over 50 of Disney’s blockbusters over the years to Hulu, including Con Air, Gone in 60 Seconds, Pearl Harbor and more. Some of the biggest names with plenty of re-watch value are in that shortened list alone, and they’ll all be included in your Hulu subscription.

Snagging this big back catalogue from Disney is a huge deal for Hulu as it fights the likes of Netflix and Amazon for streaming dollars, especially as that competition picks up the pace on creating their own original content in addition to their robust set of older movies. Together with Hulu’s current crop of Disney original movies and shows, this new addition of the big Disney titles may move the needle for some families to give Hulu a look over the others.

28
Dec

Samsung’s stylish speakers upgrade your audio to 32-bit


Samsung’s latest speakers aren’t just classy AV units that complement your furniture, they also deliver 32-bit audio. The company is promising listeners a new level of clarity thanks to its new Ultra High Quality (UHQ) audio tech, which upscales both existing 8-bit and 24-bit sound to output at 32-bit. Targeting audiophiles who might be able to tell the difference, Samsung’s 32-bit audio should deliver sound closer to the original recording. The new tech works with both wireless and wired speakers, and Samsung’s upcoming H7 Wireless Speaker and MS750 Soundbar are both compatible. Even if you can’t hear the difference in audio quality, the speakers are pretty darn… pretty.

With a sleek metal design and wheel control, the H7 Wireless Speaker is a surprisingly stylish speaker for Samsung. Yet the company’s not just hoping to lure in fans of high-end hi-fi systems with pretty aesthetics. The H7 attempts to bridge the gap between clarity and full-bodied sound, using a combination of UHQ audio with a bass response that allows it to play frequencies as low as 35Hz.

It’s not just Samsung’s new wireless speaker that’s embracing the low frequencies; Its new MS750 Soundbar also adds subwoofer-quality bass. Targeting the home cinema market, this new array aims to make those explosions rumble without consumers having to shell out for an additional sub. The company also says that the MS750 will be easy to connect, thanks to its single-body design. This means the soundbar can be mounted onto your TV, sharing space by connecting the two units with a single power cable connection.

With no prices available for any of these new ranges, however, we still don’t know how much bang you’ll be getting for your buck. Alongside Samsung’s recent announcement of a new UHD Blu-Ray player, the company’s full new range will be shown off at CES next month.

Source: Samsung

28
Dec

Pros and cons: Our quick verdict on the OnePlus 3T


Usually phone makers refresh their flagship models on schedule, once a year. In a break with tradition, though, OnePlus didn’t even wait six months: The 3 came out in June, with the 3T arriving not even six months later. While people who bought the OnePlus 3 this summer might be annoyed to see it made obsolete so quickly, those in the market for a new phone will be pleased to find that the similar-looking 3T brings a faster, top-of-the-line chip, an improved camera setup and much longer battery life. While it still has some tradeoffs compared to traditional flagships (see: it’s relatively low-res 1080p display), it’s still a great deal for $440.

28
Dec

Samsung’s second-gen UHD Blu-ray player helps simplify HDR


Next week at CES Samsung will debut its second Ultra HD Blu-ray player, along with new “Ultra High Quality” (UHQ) audio hardware. The M9500 Ultra HD Blu-ray player looks like any other deck, however, Samsung says it will be able to automatically set TV and audio levels by optimizing the content playing. That goes for HDR video, as well as Atmos or DTS-X audio. It also has built-in Bluetooth for private audio streaming to headphones, which is a nice touch, but already supported by a number of new TVs, and display 360-degree photos or videos streamed from mobile devices.

Samsung M9500 UHD Blu-ray player

The biggest bullet point could be its ability to give “users the flexibility to enjoy their favorite Blu-ray titles on their mobile device,” but Samsung isn’t saying how that works just yet. We’ve been waiting to hear about Managed Copy for years, but so far digital copies via Ultraviolet compatible stores like Vudu, or iTunes digital codes have been the go-to route. More recently, there’s also the option of downloadable movies via Vidity, but that has yet to take off widely. We’ll ask more about all of those next week, when the show starts.

Source: Samsung

28
Dec

Twitter spent 2016 pouring gasoline on its fires


Twitter isn’t a single entity, but a conglomeration of communities that use the same platform for various purposes. There’s weird Twitter, political Twitter — hell, there’s even a cute animal pictures Twitter. Beyond communication in 140-character snippets, there’s only one other thing that the service’s disparate users can agree on: the fact that the site has failed to fix any of the fundamental problems that have dogged it for years.

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Discussing the toxicity of Twitter’s culture is tired beyond cliche, but it’s clear that its reputation precedes it. It’s seen as a place where people abuse and get abused by strangers on a daily basis. Now, most ordinary companies would have, at some point, attempted to resolve this problem by taking positive action. Twitter’s response was, pretty much, to do nothing for a very long time, only to recently start banning users on a seemingly ad-hoc basis.

Twitter’s failure to consistently enforce its own rules only serves to undermine its position, showing how reactive it is. Last month, professional attention-seeker Tila Tequila was banned from the site for her Nazi tweets, including one in which she offered a 45-degree salute. And yet, the official account of the actual American Nazi Party remains active, mostly because it cloaks its intentions behind more inventive language. Of course, these bans play into the hands of those who would use the site to burnish their own celebrity. When one famous white supremacist was banned, he described the experience to journalist Laurie Penny as “fantastic.”

Technically, this is probably the easiest of Twitter’s problems to fix, because the only thing it requires is a spot of courage. The site could easily build the algorithm described by MIT’s Karthic Dinakar in 2014 that identifies keywords in tweets you’re about to send. If a word that folks agree isn’t polite is found, a pop-up could appear asking if the writer is really intending to hurt someone else. The Anti-Bullying League’s Luke Roberts told the BBC that simply prodding people into remembering that people have feelings can help. Even better is that there’s no censorship — just an appeal to users to remember common decency.

By comparison, Twitter’s “meaningful” efforts at reducing hate speech still put the onus on harassment victims to deal with it. For instance, people suffering abuse can now mute keywords and whole conversations, though it’s unclear how many people will actually do so preemptively. In many ways, it’s a Band-Aid over a very large bullet hole; it won’t do much to cleanse Twitter’s toxic culture.

TechCrunch Disrupt NY 2013 - Day 3

Anthony Noto, the power behind the throne (Brian Ach /Getty)

Twitter’s troll problem was enough to put off several buyers who were interested in rescuing the service from its current malaise. At the tail-end of the summer, various big-name bidders began having discussions about a potential purchase. The list of would-be suitors included Google, Salesforce and Disney, but each one kicked the platform’s tires, sniffed the oil and ran away screaming. If the rumors are true, each of these companies was turned off by the inherent risk of inheriting Twitter’s trolling problem. Although it was Jack Dorsey’s preference for Twitter to remain a standalone company, he now couldn’t sell it if he tried.

Twitter’s stock price lurched almost constantly downward in 2016, with a buyout rumor the only thing to briefly reverse that trend. Much of the company’s gloom is laid at the feet of Dorsey, whose passive, discursive leadership style left employees cold. In this power vacuum, Bloomberg reported that the former NFL executive Anthony Noto stepped in to assert de-facto control over the company. Noto pushed Twitter to sign video-streaming deals with Bloomberg and the NFL, much to Dorsey’s apparent chagrin.

To cut its losses, Twitter fired 350 employees and killed off Vine, which had once been a rising star in the social-media world. For around two years, it was the home of a new generation of comedy talents, some of whom secured TV deals off the back of their six-second sketches. But Vine’s engineers were content to rest upon their laurels while younger, nimbler rivals like Snapchat developed new tools. At a crisis meeting, “Viners” begged for comment-filtering, advertisement tools and cash, while Snapchat innovated with live filters and promotional tie-ins. As such, the stars left the platform, and it quickly sank into irrelevance.

The end of 2016 can’t come quick enough for Twitter as it suffers another wave of negative press surrounding the departure of COO Adam Bain. The executive was responsible for building Twitter’s advertising business that generated so much of its revenue. With his exit, it feels as if Twitter’s chance to regain its credibility is beginning to slip away.

Or is it? For all of Twitter’s faults, it has a dedicated and loyal user base, including America’s next president. It is beloved by news organizations, political groups and celebrities, who use the platform to connect with their various supporters, readers and fans. If Jack Dorsey can keep the money rolling in, Twitter will be fine. It just might never be as beloved, smart or fun as it could be.

Check out all of Engadget’s year-in-review coverage right here.

28
Dec

Soylent relaunches its troubled powder, adds new drink flavors


Soylent had a pretty terrible 2016. After recalling its meal bars after reports of vomiting and diarrhea from its users, the company also had to withdraw its debut product: the powder used to make meal-substitute shakes. While Soylent relaunched the powder for sale online last week, the bars are still MIA. However, if you like your meals shapeless and mono-colored, the company has doubled down on its pre-made ‘drink in a bottle’ beverages, adding two new flavors. These drinks apparently didn’t contain the algal flour that’s suspected of causing all that tummy trouble.

You can now pick up bottles in new cacao and nectar flavors over at Amazon and the upgraded powder is back on sale at Soylent’s own online store. The company says that Powder 1.7 “will no longer include algal flour.”

“With these changes, our team believes we have responded to the issues a small number of community members experienced after consuming Powder 1.6.” Soylent adds that user feedback has led it to also slightly reduce the sweetness of the powder, and made the consistency slightly less thicker. Which is great and all, but we’re more concerned with those ole’ gastrointestinal reaction. Who’s interested in a taste test?

Via: Gizmodo

Source: Amazon, Soylent

28
Dec

Tesla Autopilot avoids a crash before it happens


Tesla’s Autopilot 8.0 has a particularly clever feature: it uses radar to track road activity two cars ahead, helping it avoid danger that you wouldn’t normally see. And it now appears that this tech just averted a disaster. Dutch Model X owner Frank van Hoesel has dashcam footage showing his electric crossover reacting to a bad highway crash before it even starts. As you can hear in the video, the Model X’s Forward Collision Warning system starts braking when it detects the SUV two vehicles ahead coming to an abrupt stop, even though the driver of the car directly behind it is unaware. The result? Van Hoesel’s EV remained untouched when it could easily have contributed to a pile-up.

Thankfully, there were no serious injuries for the occupants of either vehicle involved in the crash.

It’s important to note that no modern collision avoidance system is so foolproof that it will always avoid crashes like this. There’s a good reason why Tesla still wants you to be ready to take the wheel at a moment’s notice. And of course, a system like Autopilot will only protect you if it’s turned on in the first place. Still, it’s close calls like this that explain why advocates for self-driving car technology are so vocal — it’s potentially safer overall, and can make the difference between driving home and needing a tow.

Original video, authorisation from the owner. Essential, no one could predict the accident but the radar did and acted by emergency braking. pic.twitter.com/70MySRiHGR

— Hans Noordsij (@HansNoordsij) December 27, 2016

Via: TechCrunch, DVHardware

Source: Hans Noordsij (Twitter), Electrek

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