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18
Feb

The Mophie Power Capsule ensures your Bluetooth headphones are protected and charged


We’ve all been there before. You’re either at the gym or out and about listening to your favorite music with your Bluetooth headphones, and then suddenly the music stops. Crap. You forgot to charge your headphones or thought there was more juice left.

One option is that you could pack a portable charger in your gym bag or plug them into your car charger. But that doesn’t help keep your expensive headphones protected. That’s where the Mophie Power Capsule comes into play.

Design:

Mophie is well known for providing some of the best high-quality portable chargers for numerous devices, whether they are cases or the good ole’ charging blocks. The Power Capsule is a bit different as it provides a case for your headphones, while making sure that you can charge your headphones or fitness trackers on the go.

As a fan of high-quality products, I became more and more enamored with the Power Capsule as I used it. The matte feeling on the outer casing makes for easy handling, and I have yet to have it slip from my hands.

Inside the zipper, the Capsule features the same matte texture, while providing enough room for your headphones to be plugged in. If you have a super long cable, like what’s found on the Jaybird Freedom’s, you may run into some issues keeping everything contained. However, that wasn’t the case here with the Jaybird X3’s.

Looking at the bottom of the Power Capsule, you’ll see one button, along with 4 white LEDs. This will allow you to check out the remaining battery life on the charger, so you’ll know when you need to plug it in.

Of course, the Power Capsule won’t be able to withstand being driven over by a truck, however, it will withstand much of the day-to-day damage that our accessories receive. Meanwhile, it will do an excellent job at protecting your headphones or portable accessories while charging.

Battery Usage:

Packed into the Power Capsule is a 1,400mAh battery, which will charge your devices via the built-in USB charger. Now, if you look past your Bluetooth headphones and focus on your fitness tracker, you may have some issues using the Power Capsule. This is because of the design, as you can plug in your USB cable, but are provided with a limited amount of space.

To put that 1,400mAh battery into perspective, let’s take a look at the battery of the Jaybird X3 Bluetooth headphones. I was able to charge the X3’s to 100% at least 3 times, with a little bit of battery left over. Of course, you can use an portable charger to do the same thing, but if you want to keep your Bluetooth headphones protected, the Power Capsule is the best option.

Once the 1,400mAh battery has been drained in the Power Capsule, you’ll need to recharge it. That’s where the built-in microUSB charger comes into play. This is placed on the side of the outer case, and can recharge in about about an hour or so.

Overview:

If I’m honest, I never knew there was an accessory which would double as a case for either fitness tracker, smartwatch, or Bluetooth headphones. So needless to say, I’ve been rather impressed with this little charging case. If you’re like me and do a fair amount of traveling and don’t want to risk ruining your headphones, the Mophie Power Capsule will be your best option, hands down.

If you’re looking for something to keep your Bluetooth headphones or wearables protected while charging, you won’t have to worry about breaking the bank. The Mophie Power Capsule is just $40 from Amazon with free Prime shipping.

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18
Feb

Chromebook Diaries: Chrome apps vs. Android apps


Should I be using Chrome apps or Android apps? And why is so much choice such a burden?

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Every good operating system that’s worthy of its users has an app story. After all, if you think about those mobile OSes that have nearly failed — webOS and Windows Phone are the first that come to my mind — you’ll recall that their app stores were hardly worth delving into. They were, effectively, a boring story. That’s certainly not the case with the Google Play Store, so then why does Chrome OS operate under a different narrative?

Since I’m new to this platform, I don’t know what life was like with a Chromebook before Android apps were available on Chrome OS (this feature, by the way, is still in beta). And I’m sure I’m luckier for it because I didn’t run into the same limitations as some of Chrome OS’s forbearers. If there isn’t a Chrome app or an extension that can function as I want, I can simply go to the Play Store and find an Android app that can. I have a choice.

  • Chromebook Diaries Part 1: How I learned to live with Chrome OS
  • Chromebook Diaries Part 2: Discovering the intricacies of Chrome OS

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I am still not entirely sure where to start looking when I’m hankering to download an app: the web, Chrome Store, or Google Play?

There are plenty of caveats to using Android apps on Chrome OS — it’s still a very nascent feature. Most Chrome OS apps are optimized for a laptop, while Android apps are made with the touchscreen in mind and are often optimized for smaller, narrow phone screens. And in the instances that the Android app had a tablet mode, tracking was sometimes off on the Chromebook touchscreen display.

Then there’s the issue of which version of an app to use. I had this issue with Spotify, for example; the web app through the browser is better than the Chrome app, while the Android version has all the bells and whistles, including offline capabilities and options to organize playlists. You could see why I chose to use the latter. Conversely, Google Docs is better online than the Chrome OS app and the Android app because of its more easily navigable menu hierarchy.

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And lastly, there’s the issue of actual app availability. I am still not entirely sure where to start looking when I’m hankering to download an app. Do I go to the Chrome web store, or should I try the Google Play Store first? My primary inclination is to check for Chrome OS app first, then search for an extension, and then relegate myself to whatever made-for-the-smartphone version might be available. At this point in the Chrome OS ecosystem, it seems like anything is better than nothing.

I really hope that the future of Chrome OS involves cross-platform interoperability and that developers of both platforms see Chrome OS as the natural extension for their Android app. I want perfect synchronization between Android devices and Chromebooks so I can be even more sucked into the Google world. Our ecosystem is almost there, folks. I can see it on the horizon.

Other thoughts:

  • The “games story” on Chrome OS is laughable. I know the platform wasn’t initially primed for that — save for educational games — but I didn’t think it’d be this…limited? I’m not too interested in playing Android apps, either, save for the ones that are best played on a tablet yesterday. I’ve got my Pokemon TCGO and Rollercoaster Tycoon installed, so at least there’s that.
  • Related: you know what would be cool? I’d like to see some sort of port available for older PC games. Wouldn’t it be neat to be able to relive through some of the classics, like Heretic II or maybe even just an old PopCap game? If something like this exists, please direct me. Otherwise, I’ll keep wishing to live the glory days of PC gaming on this weird little laptop that’s not quite sure of its identity.
  • I received a couple of comments wondering why I’d bother using Chrome OS to do what my Mac and PC are already capable of. But I’m struggling to find the controversy. Mobile apps are almost as adequate as some desktop apps — I’m talking about relatively simple apps like photo editing and sketching, not ones that facilitate 3D rendering and intense video processing — so I should attempt to see if they can indeed replace the programs that I use daily. And with life becoming more mobile anyway, I might as well get into the groove of learning to use apps in that manner.
  • Besides this agonizing-to-use trackpad (Anyone aware of an app that can tweak mouse settings on Chrome OS?), the Chromebook Flip is the perfect computer for riding the San Francisco Bay Area’s BART. I have it in laptop mode on the way to the city to finishing filing my work, and then flip it tablet mode on the way home to catch up on my Play Movies & TV library.
  • I filed this entire article using just my Chromebook Flip. 🙂

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

18
Feb

The AT&T Galaxy S7 is getting its long-awaited Nougat update


Android 7.0 Nougat is rolling out to the Galaxy S7 and S7 edge on America’s second-biggest carrier.

After T-Mobile, it is now AT&T’s turn to roll out Android 7.0 Nougat to the Galaxy S7 and S7 edge. Last year’s most popular flagship is also one of the last to get updated to the not-exactly-the-latest-but-better-than-nothing version of Android, after a length beta period that began in late 2016.

Along with Nougat’s requisite improvements, including a native multi-window mode and improvements to notifications, Samsung has also toned down some of its more garish colors, opting for simple whites and blues, and the phone now defaults to 1080p to save some much-needed battery.

The update is rolling out to AT&T customers now, and with T-Mobile already on its way, we just have Verizon and Sprint (and a few of the smaller carriers) to go before the rollout is complete.

Samsung Galaxy S7 and S7 edge

  • Galaxy S7 review
  • Galaxy S7 edge review
  • U.S. unlocked Galaxy S7
  • Should you upgrade to the Galaxy S7?
  • Best SD cards for Galaxy S7
  • Join our Galaxy S7 forums

Unlocked
AT&T
Sprint
T-Mobile
Verizon

18
Feb

Google tests LTE phone calls on Project Fi


As nice as Google’s Project Fi service is for the data-hungry crowd, it’s not so hot for voice — switching to Fi frequently means giving up pristine-sounding LTE voice calls with some of your friends. You might not have to make that sacrifice for much longer, thankfully. Google tells subscribers that it’s testing voice over LTE with a “subset” of its customer base. This is likely only going to function when you’re on T-Mobile’s network (it’s the only one of Fi’s three partners with VoLTE as of this writing). However, you’ll definitely know when it kicks in between the improved quality, faster mid-call data speeds and a quicker connection time.

The company hasn’t said when all subscribers can expect LTE calling. However, it won’t be surprising if a full rollout is contingent on Google’s other two wireless partners hopping aboard the VoLTE bandwagon. Sprint already has “HD” calling, but it’s still working on VoLTE support that could go live later in 2017. US Cellular, meanwhile, is looking at a similar time frame. Until at least Sprint is onboard, access to the feature could be inconsistent — you wouldn’t want to revert to muddier conventional calls just because you’re in the ‘wrong’ coverage area.

Via: VentureBeat

Source: Project Fi Help Forum

18
Feb

Twitter and Showtime stream a boxing match at 9PM Eastern


Twitter is no stranger to livestreaming sports, but it still has opportunities to break new ground. The social network is teaming up with Showtime to stream its first-ever boxing match. Tune in to Twitter on desktop or mobile tonight (February 18th) at 9PM Eastern and you’ll see a trio of fights, headlined by former champion Adrien Broner squaring off against Adrian Granados. You can only watch in the US and Canada, but you won’t have to log in to watch the pugilists in action.

Don’t expect to see boxing on a regular basis. Showtime is using the Twitter stream as a complement to a free preview weekend — it’s a sales tool for the TV network rather than a new delivery method. Still, the deal is something of a coup for Twitter, whose partnerships with broadcasters tend to involve news networks. It suggests that Twitter could be a go-to online destination for channel previews, and not necessarily in sports. And that could be particularly important for a company that’s still struggling to turn a profit and grow its user base.

Via: TechCrunch

Source: Showtime Boxing (Tumblr), Twitter

18
Feb

W is for white balance: 18 Lightroom keyboard shortcuts that are as easy as elementary


Lightroom is designed to be fast, and while the user interface is pretty quick, there’s still another way to make those edits faster: the keyboard. But there’s a problem. Adobe’s list of Lightroom shortcuts is somewhere in the ballpark of 300 combinations – pretty impressive for a laptop’s 80-some keys.

More: Keys to the kingdom: The most useful Windows 10 keyboard shortcuts

Unless you use a keyboard skin or you have a photographic memory, you’re probably not going to be whizzing through your edits using every memorized hot key anytime soon. Thankfully, several of the most helpful keyboard shortcuts aren’t too difficult to remember. Here are 18 of our most-often used Lightroom shortcuts, and an easy way to remember them.

Shortcuts for organizing and flagging photos

Many photographers who start with digital, shoot many more photos then they actually need (I’m so guilty of this that my first newsroom editor nicknamed me, Pepper). Keyboard shortcuts make quick work of picking out the best shots. Most users know that you can use the arrow keys to navigate to the next image and the backspace or delete key to remove photos, but there are a number of other commands that are (almost) as easy to remember.

Action
Windows Command
MacOS Command
Memory Trick
Switch to the compare View, to see two photos side-by-side
C
C
C is for for Compare
Zoom
Z
Z
Z is for Zoom
Add a Flag
P
P
P is for Pick
Unflag
U
U
U is for Unflag
Select all flagged photos
Control + Alt + A
Command + Option + A
Control or Command A works in a number of apps to select everything — just add an Alt or Option to select only the flagged photos
Reject photo
X
X
Cross out that photo
Delete all rejects
Control + Backspace
Command + Delete
Just add control or command to the delete keyboard shortcut to control all those rejects
Add a star rating
Number keys 1-5
Number keys 1-5
This one really is as easy as 1-2-3
Add a color label

6 – Red

7 – Yellow

8 – Green

9 – Blue

6 – Red

7 – Yellow

8 – Green

9- Blue

Color labels are used in the order of the rainbow: Remember ROY G. BIV? Just skip the vowels.
Add a keyword
Control + K
Command + K
K is for Keyword

One more handy trick — Hold down shift to move to the next photo after marking, this trick works for flagging, star ratings, color labels and rejecting a photo.

18
Feb

Thicker or thinner: 2017 HP Spectre x360 15 vs. 2016 15-inch MacBook Pro


The introduction of the 2016 MacBook Pro was met with a fair amount of criticism, not to mention excitement over the introduction of the Apple’s OLED Touch Bar. The new MacBook Pros are thinner than ever, and, in turn, give up legacy ports, opt for a second-gen keyboard, and house smaller batteries.

More: Apple’s MacBook Pro is too thin, and HP can prove it

HP went in the opposite direction with its refresh of the Spectre x360 15, however, outfitting the Windows 2-in-1 with a thicker chassis designed to accommodate a larger battery, thus allowing it to power the machine’s 4K UHD display. Adding thickness also lets HP outfit the machine with an excellent full-travel keyboard and a few legacy ports to go along with the device’s USB Type-C connections.

Which approach — thicker or thinner — results in the best machine, though? Read on to find out whether it’s the HP Spectre x360 15 or the 2016 15-inch MacBook Pro that benefits the most from the recent design changes.

Specs

MacBook Pro 15-inch

HP Spectre x360 15

Dimensions
 13.75 x 9.48 x .61 (in)
14.00 x 9.88 x .70 (in)
Weight
 4.02 pounds
4.42 pounds
Processor
 6th Generation Intel Core i7 quad-core
7th Generation Intel Core i7 dual-core
RAM
 16GB LPDDR3
8 or 16GB DDR4
Display
15.6-inch IPS display
15.6-inch IPS touchscreen
Resolution
2,880 x 1,800
3,840 x 2,160
Storage
256GB, 512GB, 1TB, 2TB PCIe SSD
256GB, 512GB, 1TB PCIe SSD
Networking
802.11ac, Bluetooth 4.2
802.11ac, Bluetooth 4.2
Ports
4 x Thunderbolt 3, 3.5mm
1 x USB 3.0, 1 x USB Type-C, 1 x USB Type-c with Thunderbolt 3, 1 x HDMI, Headset, SD Card reader
Webcam
720p FaceTime HD
1080p webcam with IR camera and Windows Hello support
Operating System
MacOS Sierra
Windows 10
Battery
76 watt-hours
79.2 watt-hours
Price
$2,399+
$1,280+
Availability
Available now
Available late-February
Review
Hands-on
4 out of 5 stars

18
Feb

How to record calls on your iPhone


In a time when our smartphones can help order pizzas, hail cabs, and detect heartbeats, you’d think it’d be easy to record a simple phone call. Sadly, it’s not. Despite what you may think, recording a call isn’t as easy as merely pressing a button on your iPhone, so in order to get it done you’ll need to install an app. There are tons of these littered across the Apple App Store and the web, and while many of them promise crystal-clear quality at a nonexistent price tag, very few live up to the claims. To help you pinpoint the right app for your needs, we’ve scoured the internet in search of the best call recorders and offered up a quick overview of our favorites in the paragraphs below. Just try not to forget about the whole legality thing.

More: Store your Skype calls for later reference with these free and paid tools

Editor’s Note: There are federal and state laws pertaining to the recording of phone calls. As a general rule of thumb, though, you shouldn’t run into any legal trouble if you capture both parties verbally consenting to the recording. Some states require that only one party consent, however, feel free to check your state or local laws if you need further clarification.

Record an incoming call using Google Voice

Surprisingly, Google Voice will record incoming calls for the stellar price of zero dollars. The only setbacks are that Google doesn’t allow you to record outgoing calls — only incoming ones — and you have to port your phone number over to Google to get access to the recording feature. This makes it rather inconvenient if you’re hoping to record any conversations that you yourself need to initiate, or if you like your current carrier.

Pro tip: The website GetHuman is a great workaround for recording customer service calls. The site allows you to notify a specific company that you’d like a rep to contact you.

To start recording incoming calls with Google Voice, you first need to set up an account. This is extremely easy — just head to voice.google.com and follow instructions. Once your account is up and running, the next step is to enable call recording so you can actually record and automatically save your conversation as an MP3 file.

Step 1: Navigate to the main Google Voice homepage.

Step 2: Click the gear icon in the upper-right and select Settings from the resulting drop-down menu.

Google Voice Settings

Step 3: Select the Calls tab and check the box directly beside Enable Recording, near the bottom of the page.

Google Voice Call Options

Once you do this, you can record incoming calls by pressing the number “4” on your phone’s keypad during the call. Doing so will trigger an automated voice notifying both parties that the call is being recorded. To stop recording, simply press “4” again or end the call as you would normally. After you stop recording, Google will automatically save the conversation to your Inbox, which is where all your recordings can be found, listened to, or downloaded.

If you want to listen to your recorded phone calls on your iPhone, you’ll need to download the Google Voice app.

Launch the Google Voice app as you would normally.
At the top left of the app, Tap Menu in the top-left corner of the app.
Select Recorded.

Find the call you want to listen to, and touch the recording to open it.
Tap the play icon in the bottom-left corner.

18
Feb

Airbnb sued by major US apartment landlord


Here’s a huge one for the ever-growing pile of lawsuits filed by and against Airbnb. Apartment Investment & Management Co. (AIMCO) has sued the rental service for “helping tenants breach their leases,” according to The Wall Street Journal. Denver-based AIMCO, one of the biggest landlords in the US, owns and manages over 50,000 apartments across the country. Real-estate research firm Green Street Advisors told the WSJ that this is the first time Airbnb has been sued by a major landlord. Other apartment owners might now feel emboldened to follow suit if the service refuses to cooperate with them.

The plaintiff says short-term rentals are against their leases, and Airbnb is helping its tenants break that rule. It also says the practice of renting to transients creates unsafe conditions for other tenants and that it has suffered loss of income, property damage, nuisance and disturbance.

AIMCO Chief Executive Terry Considine said in a written statement:

“It is not acceptable to us that Airbnb actively promotes and profits from deliberate breaches of our leases, and does so in utter disregard of the disrespectful and unsafe situations created for our full-time residents and their families.”

Last year, the company tried to make the service more palatable to landlords by giving them a cut of the revenue, but that was apparently poorly received. We’re guessing AIMCO was one of those who weren’t particularly moved by the attempt at building a relationship. The apartment owner now seeks an unspecified amount of damages and wants the court to forbid Airbnb from listing any of its properties on the website.

Source: The Wall Street Journal

18
Feb

The Morning After: Weekend Edition


Letter from the Editor

We live in a time when what previously would have been surreal is now reality. And I’m not even referring to the fact that our president fails to see the need to secure his smartphone, nor that the new head of the Environmental Protection Agency is probably less concerned with the environmental than with serving the oil industry — though these and other governmental actions would have been appropriately Kafkaesque fever dreams in an earlier decade.

What I’m talking about is Mat Smith’s exploration of the dining delights set forth in the latest installment of one of the biggest game franchises of all time. You see, acquiring ingredients and learning recipes is a significant part of Final Fantasy XV’s gameplay, and the digital food looked so good, Mat had to make some for himself in real life. It won’t be long before children dream of slaying wayward cactuar — not for the thrill of victory and resulting EXP, but to find out what it tastes like poached in extra virgin olive oil with lemon and thyme.

On the opposite end of the bizarre culinary spectrum, Andrew Tarantola ventured to McDonald’s to test out the most over-engineered straw the world has ever seen. That’s right, y’all, Mickey D’s tapped some engineers (the same ones who designed Google’s Project Ara modular smartphone) to create a straw that could simultaneously pull from the chocolate and mint layers of its Shamrock Shake in equal amounts, to deliver a perfectly balanced mouthful with every sip. Why go to all that trouble? To get suckers like me publishing paragraphs like this.

While that straw is an ultimately useless marketing ploy, Verizon rolled out a new unlimited data plan of great utility to its customers. The question Nathan Ingraham tried to answer this week is: Why now? Big Red is clearly feeling the heat from its competitors, and it was time to give the people back their all-you-can-eat mobile buffet. Time will tell whether getting back into the unlimited game reverses the trend of customers migrating to T-Mobile.

This is not a drillDrone flying cars are coming to Dubai

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This week Dubai’s Roads and Transportation Agency announced the Chinese EHang 184 passenger drone would begin “regular operations” in July. That’s right, soon real human beings will be zipping through the skies aboard one of these Personal Flying Vehicles. Oh, and EHang is seeking FAA approval to operate in the US too.

Nature‘Planet Earth II’ starts airing tonight

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Ten years after the original documentary series seared our HDTVs, the BBC is bringing Planet Earth II to the US for our viewing pleasure. Set your DVR for 9PM, and make sure to check out the 4K / HDR version if you have a compatible TV and Dish Network or DirecTV. Or, you can watch the NBA Slam Dunk contest and 3-point shootout. Life is about choices.

Game streaming is for PS4 and PC onlySony pares down PlayStation Now support

Hopefully, you weren’t relying on Sony’s cloud gaming service to play on your Vita, PS3 or PlayStation TV, because as of August 15th, they will no longer have access. That should give you plenty of time to wrap up any games you’ve been working on since access will be limited to just PlayStation 4 and PC platforms going forward. The real bad news is for Bravia TV owners (are any of you using the feature? Let us know.), since those devices are getting cut off April 1st.

Pre-life chemistryNASA’s Dawn probe spots organic materials on Ceres

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Using the Dawn spacecraft’s visible and infrared mapping spectrometer (VIR) scientists say they’ve spotted organic compounds on the dwarf planet’s surface. That doesn’t mean we’re going to find any little green men there but could open up the possibility of microbial life, or at least a life-friendly environment.

New recordIndia launched 104 satellites on a single rocket

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The Indian Space Research Organisation had a busy Valentine’s Day, launching “the biggest fleet of Earth-imaging satellites — and of satellites in general — in human history.”

But wait, there’s more…

  • Henrietta Lacks will be immortalized in an HBO special
  • The Engadget Podcast Ep 28: Disconnection Notice
  • But you can’t even get a text back
  • The NBA’s ‘House of Legends’ VR app is now live on Google Daydream
  • NASA wants to send a life-detecting lander to Europa
  • Apple’s WWDC starts on June 5th in San Jose
  • Watch SpaceX’s Falcon 9 launch live at 10:01AM ET

The Morning After is a new daily newsletter from Engadget designed to help you fight off FOMO. Who knows what you’ll miss if you don’t subscribe.

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