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17
Jan

Real Baseball – Batter up! (App Review)



Keep your pitches low and on the inside and you'll be golden at least 80% of the time.Keep your pitches low and on the inside and you’ll be golden at least 80% of the time.

They say that imitation is the most sincere form of flattery. Then there are people who try and imitate to gain success off of other people’s work. Italy Games has several apps on the app store that are heavily influenced by other popular apps. Real Baseball seems to take most of its cues from another popular baseball app available on iOS, but does it add enough of its own flair to hold it’s own on Google Play? Let’s take a look.

Developer: Italy Games 
Price: Free/IAP
Download: Google Play

The Setup

The game starts off walking you through a brief tutorial that teaches you the basics of batting and pitching. The basic controls are to just tap when you want to swing the bat or aim the ball on a grid, then tap to throw the ball. There are multiple modes to choose from, but only quick play and season are open from the start. The rest are unlocked from completing season games.

Overview

Keep your eye on the ball. It's all about timing.Keep your eye on the ball. It’s all about timing.

Quick game or season games are fairly quick. Each game only consists of one inning, so even seasons go by pretty quickly. Most of the AI opponents are pretty easy to trick while pitching. They are pretty good at picking off fastballs but seem to be incapable of hitting change-ups if they are pitched straight down the middle. Batting is a little more challenging as you have to time your tap just right depending on the speed of the ball, but you don’t have to aim towards the pitch or anything, just tap.

Batter Challenge is a typical home run contest. You get points depending on how far you hit the ball, with home runs being the most valuable and increasing your score multiplier. All the pitches fly straight and at a moderate speed, so there’s nothing to trip you up other than your own timing. There’s nothing that is gained through Batter Challenge except for some in-game currency, so to make progress, Season games are the preferred way to go.

Overall, the gameplay is rather dry. You don’t need to aim your bat swings, just tap. You do aim your pitch but you aren’t timed, there’s no skill required, just drag and tap. You can strike out every batter with any pitch aimed low and near the batter. They will miss 99% of the time and if they do hit, they will usually have a poor hit and be out by first base. Batting is just a matter of timing and taping when the ball is just before the base. After a game or two, it becomes mindless.

Can't wait to catch a Gibnts game this summer!Can’t wait to catch a Gibnts game this summer!

There are a large number of outfits to purchase, upgrades that improve your batting and pitching, and draft picks that unlock players with better stats, but until you are very deep in the game, these upgrades aren’t necessary at all. There are a few in-app purchases to remove ads or to gain currency fast. Apart from the ad removal, purchasing in-game currency hardly seems worth it because by the time you’ll actually need any upgrades, you’ll be sitting on a pretty big mountain of cash, assuming the game can hold your interest for that long. The only fun part of buying new outfits is the funny translation errors and knock off names of the teams, my favorite being Gibnts in place of Giants.

Conclusion

Real Baseball is a mediocre baseball game where timing your taps is key to success. The AI is very unskilled and will fall for the same tricks time and time again, which causes the game to grow stale fast. While there are a number of upgrades available, none of them are necessary at all, as the game simply provides little in the way of challenge. Between mediocre gameplay and laughable translations, this is a game that can easily be passed up.

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17
Jan

How to save your Vine videos before they disappear


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Vine is going away. Here’s how to download all of your loops in video format!

Twitter is doing some housecleaning, and is [getting rid of its Vine social network in the process](http://www.androidcentral.com/twitter-shutting-down-vine-video-sharing-app. On January 17, the app will no longer allow users to upload new Vines, and is purging its extensive database of 6-second masterpieces.

If you’re looking to hold onto your Vines, here’s how to download them, or get them emailed to you, in video format.

Open Vine for Android.
Log in using your Twitter account or another email.
Tap the Profile icon on the right of the tab.

Tap Save Videos.

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Decide whether you want to receive an email with the download link or to save the videos to your phone.
If saving to your phone, decide which videos you want to save.
Tap Save.

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That’s it! Now your Vines will be saved to a special folder under the same name in your gallery. Each file will have a long string of numbers with no file extension, but they can be renamed to .mov or .mp4 — they’re simply H.264 files at 480×480 with AAC audio.

Have fun!

17
Jan

Kano Computer is the best gift I have ever given!


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This is the educational software overhaul I’ve been looking for.

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It’s not hard to get most kids excited about programming. You say “Hey, how cool would it be if you could make your own games?” and watch their faces light up. The problem is often what comes next.

There’s a handful of fun and educational apps online that will help a child establish the core thought patterns needed to actually write a program, but most of them really need that guiding hand from someone who has written code before to push those patterns into something useful. If your idea of writing code is that one time you customized a theme for your MySpace page in 2005, chances are you don’t have the tools needed to help a child become a programmer. That’s not on you, in fact it represents a real problem with accessible education in this space.

I recently stumbled across a clever combination of hardware and software that may not be the perfect answer for everyone, but gets closer than any solution I’ve used yet to truly encouraging kids to learn how to code almost entirely on their own. It’s called Kano Computer, and it is very likely going to be my go-to gift for any kid under age 15 for quite a while.

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I loved learning about that machine, and wanted to share a piece of that experience with my son.

My decision to purchase a Kano Computer came entirely from a desire to give my son a different kind of computer. When my aunt and uncle gave me my first computer, I spent days taking it apart and learning everything I could about it. When I had to give it back to them to replace the power supply a few months later, it took me less than a day to notice new drivers on the system for the CD-Rom drive they were giving me for my birthday. I loved learning about that machine, and wanted to share a piece of that experience with my son. Building a PC isn’t likely to be a skill he’s going to need in 10 years, so instead of a full desktop I started looking at something a little more compact.

Kano Computer is a Raspberry Pi with a speaker built into the enclosure and a wireless keyboard that includes a trackpad. Assembly is simple, but detailed enough that you learn along the way there’s more you can do with this computer than what is available in the box. Connect your Kano Computer to any HDMI display with the included cable, connect a power cable, and you’ve just “built a computer” with your kid.

The impressive part of Kano Computer isn’t the hardware, it’s the software. From the moment you start your Raspberry Pi, Kano OS is built to be as child-friendly as possible. I don’t mean large, friendly text bubbles with giant colorful icons either. Kano OS offers simple explanations for tasks and walks you through completing them — starting with a command prompt. Once your child creates an account, they’re taken to a Legend of Zelda-esque video game world full of people in need of help. Each person offers a challenge, and each challenge requires some form of programming knowledge.

If you’re interested in exposing your child to the beginnings of software development, this is the environment you want them learning in.

The Kano OS map breaks down each group of challenge out to make it easier for your child to pick what they want to learn. This includes vector art, Python, and basic if/do blocks for beginners. The challenges mostly involve learning inside of a game, which means your child is actively changing the game they are currently playing. They alter a line of code and immediately see the effect, followed by the ability to save the version they’ve edited to be shared with friends and family.

Even things like system management are part of this game environment. System updates are achieved by walking to the service station and asking for an update, as though it’s part of the game being played. The whole Kano OS setup is highly functional, but it’s also a ton of fun. It encourages an entirely new level of exploration for would-be software developers, and for parents that don’t have that strong software background it’s very easy to follow and participate with your kids.

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I’ve never been so happy with a gift I’ve given before. Kano OS is entirely open source, and Kano Computer is exactly the kind of compact and portable system a child should have. If there’s ever a point where my son has outgrown the software but the hardware is still useful, it’s just as easy to replace the software on this as it is any other Raspberry Pi. If you’re interested in exposing your child to the beginnings of software development, this is the environment you want them learning in.

See on Amazon

17
Jan

How to hide VR porn on your Gear VR


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Hiding VR porn your Gear VR is far easier than you think, and we’ve got the details on how to do it!

By now, you’re probably well acquainted with Gear VR and the fact that you watch and enjoy porn using it. The problem crops up if you don’t want somebody to accidentally stumble across your downloaded porn videos while scrolling through your phone. This is especially true if you like to hand over your phone to your children. Thankfully, it’s super easy to make sure that this never happens by doing a few small things to hide your porn.

Read more at VRHeads.com

17
Jan

Google+ update adds new comment moderation, brings back events


Hey, Google+ is still a thing!

The pace of updates to Google+ has dwindled over the last year, but in a reminder that the platform is very much still alive Google has rolled out three solid updates. The changes, which will come via app and web updates in the next couple of weeks, center around handling comments, seeing more in your feed and bringing back events to the community.

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First and perhaps most importantly for brands and people with large followings, Google+ will start automatically filtering out what it considers “lower quality” comments from your posts. You’ll be able to hit the overflow menu and tap “show low quality comments” to view what it selected, but chances are the new leaner view will be preferred.

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Speaking of cleaner, Google+ is also giving us all a more compact feed to look at with less white space and more content. Google+ has tried a few different strategies on mobile, but a common theme up until now was you couldn’t even see a whole post without scrolling — this update will undoubtedly aim to change that. At the same time, photographers get a cool little feature allowing zooming in on photos.

Finally, Google+ is bringing back its “events” feature. Starting January 24, you’ll be able to create, manage and join events on Google+ (starting on the web) once again. Considering the strong use of communities on Google+, it only made sense to have events be a part of the experience as well.

17
Jan

Google+ revives one of its most useful features: Events


Google overhauled Google+ from top to bottom in late 2015 to shift the focus to communities. The company has been tweaking the social platform since that change and today its announcing the latest updates. First, events are back on Google+. Starting January 24th, one of the more handy features the social network had to offer will return. The means you will be able to create and join events on the web, but the tool won’t be part of G Suite right now.

Google+ will now hide “low-quality” comments by default. You will still be able to see them if you want to view all of the feedback on a post, but Google says hiding some allows you to focus on the ones that “matter most.” The company says it tweaked the app to more efficiently use screen size, too. This means you should notice less white space and more posts. There’s also a new zoom tool for Google+ on the web that will let you take a closer look at the finer details of an image.

While Google continues to keep Google+ afloat, it’s still adding features that seem really useful. Last week, the company revealed its RASIR image compression tool that replicates large photos using a quarter of the pixels. For now, that tech is only available inside Google+, but it should make its way to other apps in the future.

Lastly, if you’re still using the old Google+ on the web, you won’t be able to do so after January 24th. Google says it’s shuttering the old version of the platform on that date, but promises it’s still working on a shiny new one.

Source: Google

17
Jan

Apple Releases Supplemental Security Update for OS X El Capitan


Apple today released a new version of OS X El Capitan Security Update 2016-003, fixing an additional kernel issue that could cause Macs running the operating system to freeze up and become unresponsive.

The 2016-003 Security Update for OS X El Capitan was originally released on December 13 alongside macOS Sierra 10.12.2, but was today reissued with the fix.

Customers who have not downloaded the security update at all will get the new version when updating their machines, while customers who previously installed the security fix will receive a supplemental update to address the freezing problem.

The OS X El Capitan Security Update 2016-003 Supplemental Update fixes a kernel issue that may cause your Mac to occasionally become unresponsive.

Mac users who are still running OS X El Capitan can download the update through the Software Update mechanism in the Mac App Store, and direct download links are also available (Standard Update/Supplemental Update).

The original 2016-003 update fixed a number of security vulnerabilities in the OS X El Capitan operating system.
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17
Jan

Live video comes to Instagram Stories in the UK


While Facebook and Instagram are fundamentally different platforms, that doesn’t mean they aren’t taking inspiration from each other. About a month ago, Instagram adopted live video streaming, a feature that has been blowing up on Facebook, but it was only available to users in the US. Today, the feature is making its debut on this side of the Atlantic — as well as in Germany, France, Brazil, Canada and Japan — helping to build out Instagram’s burgeoning Stories platform.

Instead of just adding new photos and video to Stories, Brits can now swipe across into the camera and select “Live” mode. Real-time videos are designed to be ephemeral, which means they’ll disappear as soon as recording ends. Instagram says this is designed to make users “feel comfortable sharing what [they] want.” Comments can also be switched off, ensuring things stay fun.

17
Jan

Smart air freshener lets you select scents with your phone


Thanks to the internet of things, we have the ability to control our home’s lighting and temperature at the touch of a button. But what about the smell? For that, we’re left with shoving a Glade plug-in air freshener into a socket or opening a window. That’s set to change with the introduction of Moodo, a SensorWake-esque device that’s designed to customize your home’s scent at will.

Moodo is, essentially, a diffusion machine that’ll blow air through up to four capsules at a time, each one full of differently-scented crystals. The capsules will come in various flavors, such as “Precious Spices,” “Eucalyptus Nights” and “Sandal Wood.” Users will then be able to use the companion app to blend each of the scents to create a unique aroma. You can also buy pre-set scent families that set a specific mood, from cozy cottage (Cozzzy) through to a floral scene (Gardens of Isphahan).

Much like other smart home devices, like Philips’ Hue, Moodo comes with a variety of pre-set patterns for your ease of use. But if your custom concoction is good enough, you can share it with the community and receive other patterns back. In addition, you can set “fragrance playlists” that’ll change your room’s general pong across an evening should you be throwing a party.

Obviously, like any outlandish gadget, Moodoo is debuting on Indiegogo looking for your cash to begin production. Early birds looking to snag the gadget on the cheap can do so by throwing $139 for a box and four capsules, while two devices and 48 capsules will set you back $518 — rather than the $1,000 it’ll cost at retail. How much is a bottle of Febreze again?

Source: Indiegogo

17
Jan

Astronomers more accurately calculate the Milky Way’s mass


It’s impossible to arrive at an exact measurement for the billions of stars and other objects that make up the Milky Way. However, a group of astronomers say they have calculated the most accurate estimate to date. In a paper that will be published in The Astrophysics Journal, the scientists estimate the mass of the Milky Way to be 9.5 x 1041 kilograms or 95 followed by 40 zeros. For reference, that’s 4.8 x 1011 times the mass of the sun. Astronomers use the so-called “solar masses” as a standard unit of measure, comparing other objects and formations to the sun.

The scientists used some super complex math and stats calculations to arrive at that estimate. More specifically, the team employed a combination hierarchical Bayesian analysis along with direct measurements of the velocity of globular clusters. Astronomers can estimate the mass of the sun by observing its gravitational pull on the Earth. The same can be done for the Milky Way by measuring its gravitational pull on those globular clusters. This new estimate includes stars, planets, moons, dust, dark matter and more that make up the galaxy.

Researchers say the key to this calculation is that they include any uncertainties in the estimate. Gwendolyn M. Eadie, a doctoral candidate at McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario, explained to The New York Times that the methods used here could have wider implications for future research. The methods have been employed in other fields before, but they’re becoming more useful to astronomers now that computers have enough processing power to handle the complex calculations.

Via: The New York Times

Source: Cornell University Library

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