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26
Jan

World Series of Poker-WSOP provides fast-paced, high-quality poker fun (review)


While there are tons of casino & poker games available in the Play Store, there are only a few that can provide a quality gaming experience nearly every time. One such option is World Series of Poker – WSOP by the developer Playtika. You may be a fairly experience digital poker player, or you may be a newbie looking for a good entry into this gaming land without getting burnt. Let’s take a tour of this game to see just how it works.

Setup

Screenshot_20170120-205601Setup couldn’t be easier; simply download from the Play Store. Upon downloading, you’re shown several options; though, at the beginning, only the “Play Now” option will likely be available. This takes you right to a live table ready to buy-in on the next hand. As you gain experience (and digital money), other options will become available in the form of tournaments with varying locations, purses, and buy-in levels. It should go without saying that Las Vegas is the biggest tournament you can enter (and the most costly, with a buy-in of $2.6 billion dollars…yes, billion).

Gameplay

Screenshot_20170120-210704One of the highlights of WSOP is the “clean” gameplay. I know that’s quite the term, but it might just be the best one for describing the experience of this game. Upon entering a game or tournament, you appear at a poker table with a varying amount of other players already there (people jump in and jump out, but it’s not as random or as quick as other poker games, in my opinion). You are asked to wait until the next hand to play (duh), and then, you are dealt in. Most people play Texas Hold-Em, but Omaha (where you are dealt four cards in lieu of two) is an option as well.

Screenshot_20170120-211300Upon deal-in, you should be paying attention because, for the most part, other
players certainly are. The gameplay is brisk, and you’ll find little waiting-around for your next turn on any given hand. To me as a reviewer, this is a great thing. I’m the type that gets bored easily, and there is little in this gaming world worse than being stuck in a poker game where the other players are taking the maximum amount of time possible to make their decisions coupled with an annoying amount of lag from the game itself.

WSOP suffers from neither of these. Your fellow players are generally pretty quick on the draw, and the game is excellent (a term I don’t use lightly in my reviews) with it’s speed and consistency. Rarely will you encounter any kind of lag from the game (at least in my experience across multiple WiFi and cellular networks and devices).

Screenshot_20170120-213036In game, you are positioned at the bottom of the table (and therefore the bottom of the screen). There, you can see your cards and your play options. These depend of the stage of the hand, but generally vary between fold, check/fold, check, call X amount of dollars, bet, or call-any. You can pre-select an option so that when your turn comes up the game automatically grabs your selection and moves to the next player.

If you choose to wait until your turn, then there is a timer that burns around your avatar quickly counting down to zero. You need to make a selection or upon hitting zero you are hereto folded. The beginning game tables usually start out at a lower minimum bet, but quickly climb as your digital experience and wealth grows. It doesn’t seem to take much to find yourself at a $20,000 table.

Visuals/Sound

If I had to ding the game anywhere, it would be here, but only because I have to. The visuals could probably use a slight refresh as the screen can get a tad busy as times with small text and lots of things often flashing around. Perhaps an overhaul to larger texts and more rigid text locations would help with this. The overall color scheme is a rather cooling blue, which is nice.

Screenshot_20170120-215454One more niggle is the amount of splash pages you’ll encounter from time to time touting all kinds of bonus chips, money, and such. This is particularly the case if you sign up for an account tied to your Facebook. I simply do not trust this so I can’t speak to the consequences of doing it, but I can only guess that your Facebook page would start to show quite a few gaming app ads. No thanks.

Sound is good, but that’s because it’s pretty muted (which is a good thing). There are standard sound effect for card dealing, button presses, and money movement, but it’s nothing revolutionary and generally keeps to the background. I personally play with the sound off and don’t feel I’m missing anything in terms of experience.

 Overall

I can only recommend World Series of Poker-WSOP and do so wholeheartedly. If you can get past the splash pages (which are part of most gaming apps), I’m sure you’ll enjoy the look, feel, and speed of this option.

Download World Series of Poker-WSOP from the Play Store here.

26
Jan

Charge your smartphone with a strong, stylish Paracable


There’s no such thing as having too many cables for charging up your devices. Yes, even in the age of wireless charging, we like to have physical cables on hand. Why? Because it’s super fast in 2017! While processors and batteries continue to evolve, the microUSB and USB Type-C cables are still going to be necessary — at least for the time being.

Pretty much every other cable you see is a generic black, white, or grey cord. It doesn’t matter if you’re talking about the one that comes in the box or if you’re picking up something from the store; chances are the cable is routine and uninspiring.

Paracables, on the other hand, have much more personality. What’s more, they’re also tough enough to handle moderate use and abuse. If you’ve ever felt parachute cable, then you know exactly what these cables feel like. Actually, scratch that, these are a little more rugged.

1 of 9


Features

  • Sleek and durable aluminum end housing
  • Wrapped in our beautiful patented ’32 bit’ paracord fabric
  • Premium 1 year warranty
  • 5 feet long
  • Qualcomm Quick Charge compatible
  • Charges faster than inferior cables; capable of 2.0+ amps of charging power

Available in a variety of colors and cable types, you’ll find plenty to admire in Paracable. We’ve been testing the Glacier and Continuum schemes in microUSB and simply love them. At five feet long there’s plenty of cord to play with, even when plugged in behind the dresser or desk.

Pricing shakes out to roughly $16-18 for cables in microUSB; Lightning cables are also available for about $24 a piece. It’s not much more than what you’d pay for a generic cable and it’s definitely worth the extra. Given the last couple of weeks and the little bit of abuse we’ve thrown at them, we see no reason they’ll not stand the test of time.

Editor Note: We were sent the cables for promotional consideration and were under no obligation for coverage.

26
Jan

Google Allo’s second bot, Lucky, tosses GIFs into your conversations


Why it matters to you

Feeling lucky? If you like GIFs and use Allo, Google just made sending GIFs a little more like Russian Roulette.

Google Allo, a messaging app that first debuted the company’s artificially intelligent Assistant, now lets users chat with another “bot.” That bot, named “Lucky,” won’t give you daily news or weather updates like the Assistant, but it will toss a GIF into your conversations.

Lucky is a bot that finds you GIFs based on what you ask it for, and you can call upon it the same way you trigger the Google Assistant. Type “@Lucky,” and then write what you want to find as a GIF. For example, if you write “@Lucky Hello,” the bot will likely toss a GIF of someone waving.

More: Got an idea for a Google Daydream app? You can make it!

A part of Lucky’s charm is that the GIFs it produces are random, unlike GIF search on Facebook Messenger where you can choose something specific to your liking. It looks like the bot just runs a Google search for a related GIF to the phrase, rather than pulling one from a GIF service like Giphy.

You can still search for GIFs in Allo without the use of Lucky via the Google Keyboard, but you’ll need to be on a phone with Android 7.0 Nougat or higher. The bot’s name certainly alludes to the “I’m feeling lucky” option in Google Search, which takes you straight to the first result.

At present, Lucky is the only other bot you can call upon after the “@Google” Assistant. But this seems to be what Google’s larger strategy is for Allo — the ability to use several different bots on the platform for various tasks.

It’s unclear which version of Allo you need to be on to use Lucky — we didn’t receive an update, so it may simply be a server-side switch. Still, to get it, you can update your app to the latest version on the Google Play Store as well as on the iOS App Store. You may have to wait a few days to see the new bot.

26
Jan

Report: Apple will join Google, Microsoft, and IBM in the Partnership on AI


Why it matters to you

If Apple does join the Partnership on AI, the consortium will be an even more prominent force in the development of the technology over the years ahead.

It’s being reported that Apple is set to join the Partnership on AI, an organization that was formed in 2016 to institute best practices in the field of artificial intelligence. It’s thought that the company could officially announce its intention to become part of the group before the end of the week.

The Partnership on AI was announced in September 2016, with Amazon, Facebook, Google, Microsoft, and IBM all being named as founding members. Even at the time, Apple was somewhat conspicuous by its absence, given its status as one of the biggest companies in the tech industry.

Apple has long been involved with projects that are related to AI. The company’s virtual assistant Siri made her debut in 2011, well ahead of when Microsoft’s Cortana program made its debut, or the relatively recent launch of Google Assistant.

More: Apple, Samsung, LG, Xiaomi, others plan to ‘double down’ on artificial intelligence

We’ve also seen signs that Apple wants to dive even further into this area of research in recent months. In October 2016, it was revealed that the company was preparing to open a new research and development center in Yokohama, Japan that would primarily focus on AI.

This development comes alongside further changes to the way that Apple goes about conducting its research behind the scenes. The company has a reputation for being secretive, but a recent change in policy allowed one of its AI researchers to publish their findings publicly for the first time in late 2016, according to a report from Bloomberg.

It seems likely that Apple is beefing up its involvement in the forward march of AI to benefit the iPhone. When CEO Tim Cook announced plans for a research facility in Yokohama, he suggested that the technology could help the device better manage its resources to enhance battery life, and that it could make improvements to the content recommendation systems used across the company’s digital storefronts.

26
Jan

Report: Apple will join Google, Microsoft, and IBM in the Partnership on AI


Why it matters to you

If Apple does join the Partnership on AI, the consortium will be an even more prominent force in the development of the technology over the years ahead.

It’s being reported that Apple is set to join the Partnership on AI, an organization that was formed in 2016 to institute best practices in the field of artificial intelligence. It’s thought that the company could officially announce its intention to become part of the group before the end of the week.

The Partnership on AI was announced in September 2016, with Amazon, Facebook, Google, Microsoft, and IBM all being named as founding members. Even at the time, Apple was somewhat conspicuous by its absence, given its status as one of the biggest companies in the tech industry.

Apple has long been involved with projects that are related to AI. The company’s virtual assistant Siri made her debut in 2011, well ahead of when Microsoft’s Cortana program made its debut, or the relatively recent launch of Google Assistant.

More: Apple, Samsung, LG, Xiaomi, others plan to ‘double down’ on artificial intelligence

We’ve also seen signs that Apple wants to dive even further into this area of research in recent months. In October 2016, it was revealed that the company was preparing to open a new research and development center in Yokohama, Japan that would primarily focus on AI.

This development comes alongside further changes to the way that Apple goes about conducting its research behind the scenes. The company has a reputation for being secretive, but a recent change in policy allowed one of its AI researchers to publish their findings publicly for the first time in late 2016, according to a report from Bloomberg.

It seems likely that Apple is beefing up its involvement in the forward march of AI to benefit the iPhone. When CEO Tim Cook announced plans for a research facility in Yokohama, he suggested that the technology could help the device better manage its resources to enhance battery life, and that it could make improvements to the content recommendation systems used across the company’s digital storefronts.

26
Jan

Keep your Facebook account safer with a physical USB key or NFC-enabled phone


Why it matters to you

A physical key is one of the safest ways you can secure your accounts, and now the world’s biggest social network supports the method.

Facebook has joined the likes of Google and Dropbox with support for physical security key authentication on PC, as well as NFC-capable Android mobile devices. The social media giant has announced it now offers an alternative security measure to two-factor authentication that users can employ starting today, provided they have the necessary hardware, like a Yubikey.

On PC, the process of logging into Facebook this way is as simple as plugging a USB key into your computer and tapping on it after you’ve entered your password. The latest versions of the Opera or Chrome browsers are required to add a key to an account. On Android, you’ll need to have Google Authenticator installed, along with a device and key that both support NFC. The mobile app does not currently support security key login, however, so for the time being, opening the webpage in Chrome is the only option.

More: Security researchers warn against using shady VPN Android apps

facebook-key-3-1404x721.jpg

At left, the security settings screen on PC. At right, the same screen viewed in Chrome on Android.

Facebook

Facebook security engineer Brad Hill stipulated the benefits of physical authentication in a post on Facebook. The company’s implementation relies on the FIDO Alliance’s open Universal 2nd Factor standard already put in practice by a wide variety of companies and services, including Bank of America, Salesforce, GitHub, and Samsung Pay. This means the same key you use to log into Facebook will be interoperable with many other accounts as well.

What’s more, a physical key is a foolproof deterrent against phishing, because it doesn’t require the user to enter a code. “The hardware provides cryptographic proof that it’s in your machine,” Hill explains.

The only potential roadblock for Facebook users or companies looking to further secure their accounts on a PC is that many new ultraportable notebooks — including Apple’s MacBook and MacBook Pro — infamously lack USB Type A ports, the standard format by which most security keys operate. There is a dearth of USB-C-compatible keys on the market right now, though that should soon change. Yubico has announced it will begin selling one in February, which makes Facebook’s news rather well-timed.

26
Jan

Keep your Facebook account safer with a physical USB key or NFC-enabled phone


Why it matters to you

A physical key is one of the safest ways you can secure your accounts, and now the world’s biggest social network supports the method.

Facebook has joined the likes of Google and Dropbox with support for physical security key authentication on PC, as well as NFC-capable Android mobile devices. The social media giant has announced it now offers an alternative security measure to two-factor authentication that users can employ starting today, provided they have the necessary hardware, like a Yubikey.

On PC, the process of logging into Facebook this way is as simple as plugging a USB key into your computer and tapping on it after you’ve entered your password. The latest versions of the Opera or Chrome browsers are required to add a key to an account. On Android, you’ll need to have Google Authenticator installed, along with a device and key that both support NFC. The mobile app does not currently support security key login, however, so for the time being, opening the webpage in Chrome is the only option.

More: Security researchers warn against using shady VPN Android apps

facebook-key-3-1404x721.jpg

At left, the security settings screen on PC. At right, the same screen viewed in Chrome on Android.

Facebook

Facebook security engineer Brad Hill stipulated the benefits of physical authentication in a post on Facebook. The company’s implementation relies on the FIDO Alliance’s open Universal 2nd Factor standard already put in practice by a wide variety of companies and services, including Bank of America, Salesforce, GitHub, and Samsung Pay. This means the same key you use to log into Facebook will be interoperable with many other accounts as well.

What’s more, a physical key is a foolproof deterrent against phishing, because it doesn’t require the user to enter a code. “The hardware provides cryptographic proof that it’s in your machine,” Hill explains.

The only potential roadblock for Facebook users or companies looking to further secure their accounts on a PC is that many new ultraportable notebooks — including Apple’s MacBook and MacBook Pro — infamously lack USB Type A ports, the standard format by which most security keys operate. There is a dearth of USB-C-compatible keys on the market right now, though that should soon change. Yubico has announced it will begin selling one in February, which makes Facebook’s news rather well-timed.

26
Jan

Oculus wants to help you set up the perfect virtual reality room


Why it matters to you

VR early adopters may struggle with roomscale set-up, especially as the tech evolves. Oculus aims to help.

Oculus today published the first in what the company’s official blog says will be a four-part series on setting up the perfect home VR room.

In the post, titled “Oculus Roomscale: Tips for Setting Up a Killer VR Room,” the virtual reality company laid out everything from the basic principles of sensor placement to using 3D-printed wall mounts to house the sensors high up near the ceiling.

More: The 12 best Oculus Rift games of 2017

For many VR users it’s challenging enough simply to clear enough space in any room to optimize their virtual reality experience. Even with multiple sensors, furniture can get in the way, and people in smaller homes might not be able to put enough distance between themselves and the sensors. The tips that Oculus outlined are for users who don’t have these problems — “enthusiasts” whose set-ups are pretty great to begin with and who want to “push the limits.”

The post went into great detail on the Oculus sensor’s field of vision, which should prove interesting to all Rift owners. It also described what each sensor sees with various configurations of one, two and three sensors, including two sensors side-by-side in front of the user (on their computer desk) and sensors on opposite sides of the room from one another. The more sensors you add, the larger an area in which you can effectively use the Oculus Touch controllers — though using more than three can apparently create “more technical and performance issues than it’s worth.”

The best option, Oculus said, is to mount the sensors high up on your walls, pointing downward into the center of the room.

“We recommend experimenting with your available space and sensor positions to find the best results,” the post said. Granted, all Rift users will still be limited by the length of the cables connecting their headset to their PC, unless they choose to use a cable extender, for which there’s currently no official option.

Further articles set to be published this week will cover USB sensor bandwidth, host controllers, and additional extra equipment, the post promised.

26
Jan

Mozilla’s Firefox 51 will soon alert you to unencrypted web pages


Why it matters to you

Mozilla wants to make entering sensitive information safer for you, so Firefox will start letting you know when a site is not secure.

Online security is a function of a wide range of technologies, from the security of your internet connection to the operating system you use to your chosen browser. And making sure that all of the resources under your control are safe isn’t enough — there’s also the safety of the web sites you’re visiting.

One of the key technologies aimed at ensuring a safe environment is visiting HTTPS-secured sites as often as possible. While that’s not always under your control, you can at least try to stay informed on whether or not a site uses encryption. The latest version of Mozilla’s Firefox browser, Firefox 51, makes it more clear than ever if you’re on a potentially unsafe web page.

More: If a site is not HTTPS, Google Chrome will tell users it’s not secure

In the past, Firefox simply added a green lock icon to designate sites that use HTTPS, with a neutral, or no lock icon, address bar used for sites without encryption. Keeping your eye out for that green icon was your only option when visiting sites that ask you to enter banking information, passwords, and other sensitive information.

Firefox 51, however, will use a gray lock icon with a red slash to indicate non-HTTPS sites whenever a page askes for a password, giving you a more active means to identify potentially unsafe sites. If you click on the “I” icon for that site, you’ll be notified that the site is not secure and that your login information could be handed over to nefarious parties.

Future versions of Firefox will be even more description, as Mozilla indicates on its security blog. At some point, users will start receiving notice of unsecure connections whenever they enter sensitive information such as usernames and passwords. Also, Firefox will eventually start displaying a crossed out gray lock icon on all sites that don’t use HTTPS, not just those that ask for passwords, and Mozilla plans to continue to encourage developers and web site owners to implement HTTPS.

While we users are ultimately responsible for ensuring that we’re only entering sensitive information in the right places, the companies that provide the tools we use can also lend us a hand. Mozilla is doing just that with its plans to both push the continued adoption of HTTPS and keep us informed when we’re on a site that isn’t encrypted.

26
Jan

Pocket-sized gluten sensor aims to make life easier for celiac disease sufferers


Why it matters to you

With its one-time use capsules and quick results, Nima makes life for the gluten-free that much easier.

The gluten-free sensation is a trendy diet phase for some people, but is a serious health matter for others. For anyone with gluten on the brain, it can be tough to tell when the threatening compound is present in trace amounts that are small, but still threatening. Say hello to Nima, a handheld gluten detection device created by 6SensorLabs to save individuals with celiac disease from dangerous meals and awkward dinner parties.

For those who take gluten allergies seriously, it’s risky to assume that food prepared by anyone else is truly safe to eat. Trace amounts of gluten can still pose a threat to people with celiac disease or severe gluten allergies, so Nima is designed to remove the guesswork by testing liquids, solids, or any other edible material for gluten.

After placing a small food sample into the pre-prepared capsule, screwing on the lid grinds the sample for a better testing surface. Nima then conducts an antibody-based test that mimics scientific lab testing. It works by exposing the ground food sample to a chemical mixture contained in each disposable capsule. As the mixture saturates a test strip within the Nima device, sensors detect whether or not any gluten is present.

Related: Scientists have developed a pill that could allow celiacs to eat gluten

A simple smiley face or a frown appears on the Nima display to indicate the test’s results. In under two minutes, the device can detect up to 20 parts per million (ppm) of gluten. In more common food quantities, that works out to the same as 20 milligrams of gluten per 1 kilogram of food. Nima’s single use testing capsules are also disposable, so the Nima device itself is always ready for a new sample without having to clean or refill any components. In just three minutes, you’ll know if your food is safe to eat.

Nima’s mobile app also stores your test results and keeps track of foods you find frequently, in addition to its community platform that lets you communicate with other gluten-concerned users. Nima is also developing a database of gluten-free results that could integrate with restaurant discovery apps like Yelp.

After making waves at last year’s CES, Nima is now available for purchase. For $270, you can get the Nima Starter Kit, which comes with one Nima sensor, three one-time-use test capsules, one micro-USB battery re-charging cable, and a carrying pouch.

Article originally published in January 2016. Updated on 01-26-2017 by Lulu Chang: Added news of Nima’s availability.