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24
Jan

Stereotypo – Life is all about stereotypes and associations (App Review)


A smartphone, a set of keys, and a wallet. What do all these things have in common? They are all the things I take with me when I leave the house. If you could figure that out then Stereotypo, a picture/word puzzle game from imbaLab, would be right up your alley. In the sea of puzzle games that are available on the mobile marketplace, what really makes this one stand out?

Pictures, associations, coins, and cats.
Check. Let’s take a look.

Developer: imbaLab
Price: Free/IAP
Download: Google Play/iOS

All the images are beautifully illustrated as you contemplate the relation between the clue the pictures you can choose from.Which of these things belong in a park? Well, a lion would certainly make any trip unforgettable.

Graphics & Sounds

The entire game is beautifully illustrated. There are hundreds and hundreds of illustrations all throughout the game that all have a similar, minimalist design. There hasn’t been a time when I was looking at the board of pictures and was left wondering what something was. The whole game has a crisp and clean look to it.

The music throughout the game is fun and groovy. Yes, groovy. The bass line is steady and with each different page you go to, different instruments and sounds are added. There are great sound effects that pop-up every once in a while, from crowds cheering when you solve a puzzle, to the little cats that pop-up when you need a hint. Everything sounds clear and isn’t over-the-top.

Gameplay

The game is broken up into broad categories and in each category are around 20 puzzles to solve. The puzzles start off easy, with only 3 or 4 pictures to choose from. All you need to do is tap the pictures to highlight them. Once everything is highlighted that fits the category, tap the button at the bottom to check your work. If everything is good, you get rewarded with a cool picture based on the puzzle and move on to the next puzzle. The puzzles get harder quick, having well over 20 pictures to choose from for just one puzzle.

If you get stuck there are a bunch of different hints to choose from, such as removing a wrong picture, showing a right picture, or additional text clues. You have to buy these with the coins that you earn from solving puzzles or watching ads. You also have the typical system of buying coins using real money.

Ah, it's great to be rewarded.Ah, it’s great to be rewarded.

Longevity

At the time of this writing, there are 10 categories available, each with at least 20 puzzles to solve. You can blow through the first category pretty quick, but the ones after that will leave you scratching your head, analyzing and overanalyzing every picture, and asking your friends what you could possibly be missing. When you finally figure out that one puzzle that’s been holding you back, it’s a very satisfying feeling. When you do get stuck, you have a great number of hint options to get you through. You don’t earn coins all that fast, however, so if you really get stuck and aren’t able to figure out a puzzle or two, you might find yourself stuck coinless and looking to in-app purchases to solve your problems.

Conclusion

Stereotypo is a really fun game loaded with great graphics, easy gameplay, and lots of challenging puzzles. If you are good at figuring out what images all fall under certain categories, then you’ll be great at this game. The only downside is how slowly you earn coins and how pricey the hints are if you do get stuck, but apart from that, this game will keep you playing for a long, long time.

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24
Jan

Video: Latest Samsung Galaxy S8 leaks + rumors


A new Samsung flagship is inevitably one of the biggest Android launches of the year — and that’s especially true this year, as Samsung looks to move on from the Galaxy Note 7 debacle with an all-new flagship. Although we’re not expecting the Galaxy S8 to hit until some time after Mobile World Congress, there’s already plenty of unconfirmed info floating around online, including valuable clues about what the GS8 will look like and the technology lurking within.

Check out our video feature for a primer on what we know about the Samsung Galaxy S8 (and S8 Plus!) so far.

  • Samsung Galaxy S8 rumor roundup
  • Android Central on YouTube
  • Latest LG G6 rumors!

24
Jan

Adobe is optimizing its most popular Android apps for Chromebooks


Some Android apps take to Chrome OS just fine, but others need a little extra help.

Adobe is making sure its suite of extremely popular apps have a smooth transition to Chromebooks with an announcement today that it’s optimizing many for the laptop form factor. Updates to the Android apps will come in the next few weeks with various under-the-hood optimizations for use on Chromebooks that will make the apps run smooth just like on any phone or tablet.

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The apps included in this optimization effort are Photoshop Mix, Lightroom Mobile, Illustrator Draw, Photoshop Sketch, Comp CC and Creative Cloud Mobile — just about all of the Adobe apps you’d want to use at this point. Adobe isn’t explaining exactly what’s being improved on the back end to make these apps run better on Chromebooks, but we won’t turn down any acknowledgement from a big company that native apps on Chromebooks are important.

Adobe is rolling out these changes and illustrating their importance in the education market, but of course anyone can use these apps on their Chromebook to help further their creative efforts. You can install the various Adobe apps from the links above, and when the updates arrive they’ll be loaded up on your Chromebook and ready to go.

Chromebooks

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  • The best Chromebooks
  • Should you buy a Chromebook?
  • Google Play is coming to Chromebooks
  • Acer Chromebook 14 review
  • Join our Chromebook forums

24
Jan

Save 25% on select Anker accessories for a limited time only!


Anker is currently offering 25% off a variety of its products for a short period of time. The 48-hour sale can save you on charging cables, portable batteries, and even a Bluetooth speaker. Anker makes a number of different types of products, most of which have great reviews on Amazon, so you are looking at high-quality accessories here. Whether you are looking for a gift for yourself or something for a friend, you won’t want to miss out on the savings here.

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The deals include:

  • Astro E3 portable charger – $19 with coupon 7CJ0QVJJ
  • PowerPort+ 6 charging hub – $29 with coupon CHDOTM77
  • PowerLine+ USB-C cable – $10 with coupon NY586VQA
  • Dashboard magnetic car mount – $10 with coupon CVN9832T
  • Bluetooth stereo speaker – $44 with coupon OX6ESK2U

These deals are only good through January 25, so you’ll want to act quickly if you are interested in any of these items. Be sure to check them all out, and use the corresponding coupon codes to get the full savings on the items you want!

24
Jan

How to change the Amazon Echo ‘wake word’ using Alexa app


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How can I address my Echo as “Computer”? Just follow these steps!

There’s a new way to address your Amazon Echo, and it’s about as fun as wearing Combadge — only with fewer stares in public. Amazon has updated the Echo and Echo Dot to respond to the wake word “Computer,” instead “Alexa” or “Echo,” and it’s easy to change. Here’s how to do it!

See at Amazon

How to change your wake word on Amazon Echo

Open the Alexa app on your Android device.
Tap the three-dot menu “hamburger” button in the top left corner.
Tap on Settings.
Select your Amazon Echo from the list.

Scroll down and tap on Wake Word.

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Tap on Change your wake word.
Select “Computer” (or any other wake word you want).
Wait until the Echo accepts the changes and tap Close.

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That’s it! Now you can live your Star Wars Trek dreams through your Echo!

Amazon Echo

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  • Amazon Echo review
  • Echo Dot review
  • Top Echo Tips & Tricks
  • Tap, Echo or Dot: The ultimate Alexa question
  • Amazon Echo vs. Google Home
  • Get the latest Alexa news

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24
Jan

Vertu’s new Constellation has modern specs, stunning materials … and Marshmallow


You can have a phone that’s made of exquisite materials but also has high-end specs.

Vertu is a name we often like to poke fun at for offering ridiculously overpriced phones that are more about luxury than practicality, but its latest phone, Constellation, actually aims to come closer to offering both. Vertu calls the Constellation “The Luxury Performance Smartphone,” and to that end it actually has a set of high-end specs you’d expect to find on a modern phone: 5.5-inch QHD display, 12MP camera (with 1.55-micron pixels), Snapdragon 820, 4GB of RAM, 128GB storage, 3220 mAh battery, USB-C charging, stereo speakers, wireless charging and a fingerprint sensor.

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And then, of course, you get that unmistakable Vertu design. The Constellation has all of Vertu’s typical calling cards, being handmade in England with a polished sapphire display, fine leathers (just look at that blue one) and metal placed together with hand-turned screws on the back. A ruby key on the side connects you to a 24-hour concierge service to help you with anything you’d like.

The Constellation is also running Android 6.0.1 Marshmallow, as you would expect considering its software customizations, big focus on hardware and customer base that frankly probably doesn’t care all that much.

You can “register your interest” in the Constellation Collection over on Vertu’s site, which you’ll have to do in order to find out how much this thing is going to set you back eventually. Vertu says it’ll be on sale in boutiques from mid-February where you’ll actually be able to see one in person, if you’re so inclined.

24
Jan

Pokémon Duel brings your favorite characters to a strategy-based board game


Finally, a new Pokémon game that doesn’t require walking.

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Riding the incredible success of Pokémon Go, The Pokémon Company has released a new game for Android and iOS called Pokemon Duel — and it’s available today. The game isn’t in any way like Pokémon Go, and is instead a strategy-style battle game inspired by board games.

You can get a pretty good sense of how the game works by watching the trailer above and reading the Pokémon Duel website, but the basic mechanics settle around creating a deck of Pokémon figurines to do battle against the opposing team and take over their side of the board. You go head-to-head against other figurines throughout the game, and can play multiplayer online games as well.

As expected the game is free to download but includes in-app purchases ranging from $1 to $79 for gems and various items. The game is sure to turn heads for those who just can’t get enough of the Pokémon franchise, and will certainly appeal to those who found the activity of walking around with Pokémon Go tedious months later. You can download it in the Play Store already.

Pokémon Go

  • Join our Pokémon Go forums!
  • How to deal with GPS errors in-game
  • Which team should you choose?
  • How to play without killing your battery
  • The Ultimate Pokémon Go Game Guide!
  • Listen to the Pokémon Go podcast!

24
Jan

FTC finds ‘Shark Tank’ connected breathalyzers are inaccurate


Accuracy is a big issue with wearables and all sorts of connected devices. Despite marketing claims of “government-lab grade testing,” the Federal Trade Commission found that Breathometer’s app-connected breathalyzers weren’t as accurate as the company promised. Government regulators said the company didn’t have the scientific evidence to back the claims it was pitching to consumers who were looking for a way to stay safe after drinking.

In addition to the lack of testing, the FTC explained Breathometer was aware that its second version, the Bluetooth-enabled Breeze, regularly understated the users blood-alcohol level, but failed to notify customers. The company sold two different devices, starting with a $50 namesake model that plugged into your phone’s headphone jack. The wireless version followed for $100 and both used an app to display a BAC reading within a few seconds of blowing into either device.

“People relied on the defendant’s products to decide whether it was safe to get behind the wheel,” said the director of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection Jessica Rich. “Overstating the accuracy of the devices was deceptive — and dangerous.”

Breathometer received funding for its breathalyzer products by pitching its ideas on the TV show Shark Tank. According to the FTC’s complaint, the company’s sales of both models totaled $5.1 million, but the original or the Breeze are no longer available for purchase on Breathometer’s website. The company is now selling Mint, a device that looks similar to the Breeze that monitors oral health.

As part of its settlement with the government, Breathometer has to notify customers of the issue and offer full refunds to anyone who purchased one of the products. It’s also prohibited from making accuracy claims for a breathalyzer product in the future unless it has sufficient lab testing to back them up.

Via: Palm Beach Post

Source: FTC, Breathometer

24
Jan

‘Metamaterial’ can switch from soft to hard – and back again


University of Michigan researchers have developed a technique for a new ‘metamaterial’ that can change its level of solidness, but without damaging or changing the material itself. Metamaterials are man-made materials whose properties come from the way it’s constructed rather than what it’s composed from. Scientist can then tinker with its structure to affect its properties. Those effects can be very broad: researchers were able to create a camera that doesn’t require a lens to work using different man-made materials. This one’s different again.

This time, researchers in Michigan have made something that can be easily manipulated to increase the stiffness of its surface, and the difference could be significant: the researchers say it’s comparable to the difference between rubber and steel. Even better, because the property comes from the total structure, shifting between hard and soft states doesn’t damage the material.

It’s all to do with structural hinges inside the metamaterial which, as any sensible group of scientists would (or should), they decided to macro-model from a kids’ toy — some K’nex:

This demonstrates what’s happening inside the material: depending on the forces that come in touch with the sides (and how the material is constructed, or its “topological polarization”), it’ll give or it won’t. The unusual hinges within the metamaterial are what gives it this unusual property — you can watch the whole, slightly confusing, video here, hosted by Nature.

Xiaoming Mao, Assistant Professor of Physics, says the way an object comes in contact with the edge of the metamaterial changes the geometry of the material’s structure, and how it responds to stress at the edge. Because this all happens at the surface, the inside of the metamaterial remains damage-free. The team suggests cars or rocket launch systems as possible future uses, helping to absorb damage from collisions and crashes. It could even prove useful for bicycle tires that self-adjust depending on the surface you’re riding on. It certainly won’t look like a bunch of K’nex at that point.

Via: University of Michigan

Source: Nature

24
Jan

Trump administration freezes grants and contracts at the EPA


Donald Trump’s administration has frozen all grants and contract operations at the Environmental Protection Agency, ProPublica reports. The freeze could disrupt critical, ongoing projects such as toxic cleanups and water quality testing, and it may impact the EPA’s budget allocations. The EPA currently has $6.4 billion worth of federal contracts, which it uses to organize clean-up and testing services across the country. It’s unclear how long the freeze will be in place or whether it will impact only new grants.

The person tapped to lead the EPA, Scott Pruitt, has indicated that he doesn’t accept the science behind climate change, and as Oklahoma attorney general, he has sued the EPA multiple times. The Trump administration has vowed to eliminate a range of federal protections against climate change, including the Climate Action Plan and Waters of the US Rule. All references to climate change have been scrubbed from the White House website, as well.

An EPA contracting officer said in an internal email obtained by ProPublica that the agency was in “a holding pattern.”

“The new EPA administration has asked that all contract and grant awards be temporarily suspended, effective immediately. Until we receive further clarification, this includes task orders and work assignments,” the email said. Other employees indicated that this was an extreme move, ProPublica reports.

Myron Ebell, who led the transition at the EPA, confirmed the freeze to ProPublica but said it was similar to what previous administrations have done.

“This may be a little wider than some previous administrations,” Ebell said.

On top of the EPA freeze, multiple federal agencies — including the US Department of Agriculture and Department of Health and Human Services — have been banned from sharing information about research findings or new initiatives with the public, according to multiple outlets. On Monday, the USDA’s main research branch, the Agricultural Research Service, was told to stop communicating about taxpayer-funded work, BuzzFeed News reports.

“Starting immediately and until further notice, ARS will not release any public-facing documents,” ARS Chief of Staff Sharon Drumm said in an internal email obtained by BuzzFeed News. “This includes, but is not limited to, news releases, photos, fact sheets, news feeds, and social media content.”

Source: ProPublica

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