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9
Mar

Don’t buy an LG G6 without a microSD card


g6-review-14.jpg?itok=OzvOFI20

Western markets are only getting a 32GB G6, so it’s time to break out a microSD for photos and music.

The LG G6 is a great phone. But what’s definitely not great is the way certain features, like the Quad DAC, wireless charging and 64GB storage model, are confined to a handful of specific regions. Of the three, the storage capacity restrictions imposed on Western G6 buyers is probably the most irksome. 32GB is only barely enough to include in a flagship phone in 2017. (I’ve laid out all the reasons against buying a 32GB phone here.)

In earlier Android flagships, a microSD card was an optional extra. With the G6, it’s a necessity.

Nevertheless, the LG G6 is a great phone, even with its relatively cramped internal storage. That means if you plan on buying the new LG flagship, you’ll want to invest in a microSD card, to offload heavier files like photos, videos and music. LG’s camera app will default to using removable storage for photos and videos if it’s available. And most popular streaming apps like Spotify and Google Play Music let you download tracks to your SD card instead of internal storage — though you’ll likely have to manually flip that switch yourself.

AC editors are currently using pre-release U.S.-spec G6s with 32GB of storage, and these come with a little under 21GB of space for your own stuff, a whopping 11GB of space having been lost to formatting and system data. (Part of that is Android Nougat’s new partition system for seamless updates working as designed.) After a little over a week with the G6, I’m down to 12GB remaining — that’s with having a 128GB microSD installed for music and photos.

Without removable storage, I’d blow through that remaining dozen gigabytes in a couple of months, easily, with a little daily music streaming and photography. Which is why a decent SD card is a necessity, lest you fall victim to storage anxiety.

Buy be careful what you use your SD card for. Some apps can be moved to external storage through LG’s software, but doing so will cause them to load more slowly and possibly impact performance in other, less predictable ways. Same deal with Android’s Adoptable Storage feature, which debuted in Marshmallow and lets you format an SD card as internal storage. All this stuff comes with a performance-related price tag, so it’s safer to just use your card for music, photos and other types of media, like Netflix downloads.

You’ll also want to make sure you get a good, fast SD card, like one of the ones in our guide below.

More: Best microSD cards for Android

LG G6

  • LG G6 review!
  • LG G6 specs
  • These LG G6 features are exclusive to some countries
  • LG forums
  • Latest LG G6 news

9
Mar

Google’s new reCAPTCHA system is so great, you can’t even see it


Google has a new, invisible-to-humans way of identifying bots on websites.

We’ve all seen the progression of different CAPTCHA systems for identifying that yes, you are indeed a human visiting a website. Google’s reCAPTCHA has been the most innovative in the past few years, getting all the way to a point where you just check a box and move on. Now, the reCAPTCHA system is ready to disappear from sight entirely while still doing its job of preventing bots from compromising sites.

Every time one of the millions of daily reCAPTCHA interactions occurs it sends data to Google to be able to better understand the difference in behaviors between people and bots when they attempted to access websites. Now that data has finally paid off, and Google feels it has enough information to be able to identify if you’re a real person visiting a site, or a bot attempting to compromise it, without any explicit actions on your part.

Same great security, with fewer user interactions.

The end result is the new reCAPTCHA system that simply lets you seamlessly continue using a website, passing a security check without even knowing it. This is incredibly important especially on mobile websites, where reCAPTCHA won’t have to take up precious screen real estate on a checkout or sign-up page where user flow is critical.

From our perspective as users of popular websites, there’s nothing new to do here fortunately. Website admins can learn more about the new reCAPTCHA from Google, and integrate it into their own sites. After they do so, their users will see fewer roadblocks to using the site while still keeping the same level of great security.

9
Mar

VSCO brings GIFs to its main iPhone app


In October, Giphy reported that it has over 100 million users every day. Yes, GIFs are huge, and camera app VSCO wants in. That’s why, back in 2015, it introduced DSCO. The iOS-only spin-off app allows users to create looping images and share them on the company’s own portal or their favorite social networks. Today, VSCO announced that it’s reducing phone clutter by bringing DSCO’s GIF-making capabilities to its main app.

The new feature appears to function very much like DSCO does: Open the in-app camera, switch to DSCO mode, hold the rainbow-colored circle to record a few seconds of video, then swipe to choose preset filters and post away. The company didn’t say whether this means the standalone DSCO app will be discontinued. What it did make clear in its blog post introducing the feature is that like DSCO, GIF creation will remain exclusive to iOS.

With the update, which VSCO says is rolling out in the next couple weeks, the app will also add some meat to its community features. The option to favorite an image will be added, although VSCO calls it “a private acknowledgment between two people,” since only an image’s creator will be able to see if their photos have been starred. Users will also soon be able to block annoying people, but not entirely: Blocked users will still be able to see a person’s images, but will be unable to follow them or interact with their posts.

VSCO’s devotion to Apple devices is clear: DSCO was introduced in late 2015 but has yet to make its way to Android. The company has previously addressed this preference, saying on its support website that “due to some device limitations found while developing for Android, there are some key features that are available for the iOS version that are not available in the Android version of VSCO.” With that in mind, non-iPhone users shouldn’t expect to see GIF capabilities on their VSCO apps any time soon, if ever.

Source: VSCO

9
Mar

iOS 10.3 Beta 5 Showing TV App in Canada for Some Users


Apple’s new TV app for iPhone and iPad is currently available in the United States only, but that may change in the near future.

TV app on iOS 10.3 beta 5 in Canada
The fifth beta of iOS 10.3 seeded to developers and public testers on Wednesday appears to include the TV app in place of the Videos app for some Canadian users, including myself. For context, my iPhone 7 Plus’s region is set to Canada and I am signed into an Apple ID account linked to the Canadian store.

While the TV app can be opened, it is not fully functional. The “Watch Now” tab directs users to the “Store” tab, which does not load properly. The main “Library” tab listing TV shows and movies in a user’s iTunes library does work, as does the “Search” tab, which integrates with apps such as Netflix.

Additionally, a few Canadian users on Reddit claim they do not see the TV app on iOS 10.3 beta 5. Given this is pre-release software, it is unclear if Apple is actually testing the TV app beyond the United States, or if there is simply a bug or glitch. We’ll know for sure when iOS 10.3 is officially released.

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Apple launched the TV app on iOS 10.2 in the United States to simplify the television-watching experience and help users discover new TV shows and movies to watch. The app provides a unified experience for accessing your TV shows and movies across multiple video apps, such as Netflix, Hulu, and HBO GO.

Related Roundup: iOS 10
Tag: Canada
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9
Mar

LG G6 vs OnePlus 3T: What’s the difference?


LG announced its 2017 flagship smartphone on 26 February in the form of the G6. The new device brings several exciting features, including a dual-rear camera, 18:9 ratio display and a premium design.

How does it compare to its competition though? This is how the LG G6 stacks up against the OnePlus 3T.

  • LG G6: Release date, specifications and everything you need to know

LG G6 vs OnePlus 3T: Design

  • LG G6 is smaller
  • OnePlus 3T is lighter and slimmer
  • LG G6 is waterproof

The LG G6 features a glass and metal design, offering rounded corners, very slim bezels around the display and a rear-mounted fingerprint sensor underneath the dual-lens rear camera setup.

It measures 148.9 x 71.9 x 7.9mm, weighs 168g and it features an IP68 water and dust resistance rating. The G6 has a beautiful premium build that far exceeds its predecessor and it is available in Mystic White, Astro Black and Ice Platinum.

The OnePlus 3T also offers a very premium finish, though it opts for all metal, rather than adding glass to the rear. Its fingerprint sensor is positioned at the front of the device within the home button, and it has a large singular camera lens on the rear, with the flash below.

Measuring 152.7 x 74.7 x 7.35mm and weighing 158g, the OnePlus 3T is larger than the G6 in terms of footprint, but it is slightly slimmer and lighter. There is no waterproofing on board, and colour options are Gunmetal and Soft Gold.

  • LG G6 review

LG G6 vs OnePlus 3T: Display

  • LG G6 has a larger display
  • LG G6 has a higher resolution 
  • LG G6 offers HDR

The LG G6 is all about its display, offering a 5.7-inch IPS LCD screen with a Quad HD+ resolution for a pixel density of 564ppi. It has mobile HDR on board, which supports both HDR 10 and Dolby Vision and it also offers an ultra-wide aspect ratio of 18:9 compared to the more standard 16:9.

The Always-On display from the G5 is on board the G6 too, allowing for quick glance time and notifications symbols without having to turn the display on fully and it is protected by Corning Gorilla Glass.

The OnePlus 3T has a 5.5-inch Optic AMOLED display with an aspect ratio of 16:9. Its resolution is Full HD, delivering a pixel density of 401ppi, meaning it is quite a bit softer than the G6, as well as smaller, despite the OnePlus 3T being the larger of the two devices. 

There are a couple of extra features on board, including Night Mode Display and it too is protected by Corning Gorilla Glass, but there is no HDR support or quick glance notifications. The AMOLED display does mean punchy colours on the OnePlus 3T though, more so than what LCD traditionally offers.

  • Mobile HDR: Dolby Vision, HDR10 and everything you need to know about future mobile entertainment

LG G6 vs OnePlus 3T: Cameras

  • LG G6 has dual 13MP rear cameras
  • LG G6 has 125-degree wide-angle lens on rear
  • OnePlus 3T has higher resolution front camera

The LG G6 has a dual-lens rear camera with two 13-megapixel sensors, one of which has a 125-degree wide angle lens that is designed to offer the same field of vision that we see with our eyes. There is optical image stabilisation on board, along with phase detection autofocus and a dual-LED flash.

The OnePlus 3T has a 16-megapixel single rear sensor with an aperture of f/2.0, phase detection autofocus and optical image stabilisation. It offers manual control, Auto-HDR and a feature called Dynamic Denoise.

There is also a 5-megapixel front-facing camera with an aperture of f/2.2 and a 100-degree wide-angle lens on the LG G6, while the OnePlus 3T has a 16-megapixel front-camera with a slightly wider aperture of f/2.0. Both have video recording capabilities up to 1080p.

  • OnePlus 3T review

LG G6 vs OnePlus 3T: Hardware

  • Both same processor
  • OnePlus 3T has more RAM
  • OnePlus 3T has bigger battery

The LG G6 has the Qualcomm Snapdragon 821 chipset, supported by 4GB of RAM and 32GB or 64GB of internal storage, with microSD support. There is a 3300mAh battery running the show, which is charged via USB Type-C with support Quick Charge 3.0.

The OnePlus 3T also has the Qualcomm Snapdragon 821 processor on board, but it features 6GB of RAM and the choice of 64GB or 128GB of storage. There is no microSD support. It also has a slightly larger battery capacity than the G6 though, at 3400mAh, charged via USB Type-C again with support for Dash Charge, which is OnePlus’ version of Quick Charge.

Both the LG G6 and the OnePlus 3T retain the 3.5mm headphone jack.

LG G6 vs OnePlus 3T: Software

  • Both Android 
  • OnePlus 3T has OxygenOS
  • LG G6 has UX 6.0

The LG G6 features Android Nougat with LG’s UX 6.0 software over the top. The software offers a range of features and functions on top of Android, including upscaling content to take advantage of the 18:9 display and several camera options like a Food Mode.

The OnePlus 3T runs on OxygenOS 3.5, which is a customised version of Android. It offers features inspired by Nougat but with a couple of tweaks and additions, such as multi-window view, custom gesture controls and adjustable buttons.

Despite Android being the basis for both user interfaces, the experience will be different on both these devices.

LG G6 vs OnePlus 3T: Price

LG hasn’t announced how much the G6 will cost as yet, but it is likely to be more than the OnePlus 3T.

The OnePlus 3T starts at £399, while the G6 is likely to cost around £500, or more. 

LG G6 vs OnePlus 3T: Conclusion

The LG G6 and the OnePlus 3T both have lovely premium designs, along with powerful hardware. They have the same processor, but the OnePlus 3T pulls it out of the bag when it comes to battery and RAM, as well as in terms of the front-facing camera.

The G6 is waterproof though and it also has a fantastic rear camera, as well as a lovely big display in a manageable and compact body. It will be more expensive though, probably by at least £100. 

The decision between these two handsets will therefore come down to budget, design or which software experience you are likely to prefer. Both are excellent devices in our opinion so neither should disappoint.

9
Mar

The strange life of video game voice actor Ashly Burch


It took two years for Ashly Burch to record all of Aloy’s dialogue in Horizon Zero Dawn.

This was after about a year of auditioning for a mysterious new project from the creators of the Killzone series — Burch had no idea what this new game was or even which role she was auditioning for. She had no idea it was the beginning of a new mainstream, multi-million dollar franchise from Sony Interactive Entertainment, and she didn’t even realize she was reading for the lead role.

“I think I’m just extremely lucky,” Burch says. “I had no idea what Life is Strange was going to be when I auditioned. I had no idea what Horizon was going to be when I auditioned.”

Oh, right: Burch is also the voice of Chloe in the hit narrative adventure game Life is Strange. She also has roles in Borderlands 2, Mortal Kombat X, Team Fortress 2, Gravity Ghost and a handful of other mainstream and independent games. Before even that, Burch was a regular name in the gaming world with her online series, Hey Ash, Whatcha Playin’?, which she still produces with her brother, Anthony Burch. They have more than 280,000 subscribers on YouTube alone.

“The intention was not for it to be the thing that led to all the other things,” Burch says. “It kind of just happened that way.”

However, this isn’t where Burch’s story begins. She blames her entire career path on one moment in one game that she played around the age of 12: When Metal Gear Solid’s main character, Solid Snake, is introduced, his name appears in text alongside that of his voice actor, David Hayter.

Pre-teen Burch had no idea who Hayter was, so she looked him up and realized he was the man behind the blocky 3-D animations. He was Solid Snake.

“It was the first time it sort of clicked in my head that these characters have real adult humans who are voicing them,” she says. “That was kind of the thing that made me realize I wanted to do that, too.”

Burch got her start in acting on a public scale around 2008 with Hey Ash, Whatcha Playin’?, and her first role in a video game came in 2012 with Borderlands 2. Burch voices Tiny Tina, a hilarious demolitions expert who eventually starred in her own DLC pack.

Borderlands is a high-profile franchise — not a bad gig to kick off an emergent voice-acting career. Of course, Burch had a man on the inside at Gearbox Studios: Her brother, Anthony, was hired as a writer on Borderlands 2, and halfway through his creation of Tiny Tina, he realized he was writing the part for his sister. He didn’t offer direct nepotism, but he suggested Ashly try out for the role.

She did. In a blind audition process, Burch read for Tiny Tina, and Gearbox hired her.

Nowadays, Burch is a BAFTA-nominated voice actress (for her work in Life is Strange) and an Emmy-nominated writer (she helped pen the Adventure Time episode “The Hall of Egress”). She’s most well-known as the voice of Chloe, a deliciously rebellious teenager in Dontnod’s sci-fi infused drama, and Aloy, the star of Horizon Zero Dawn.

By virtue of her gender, Burch has the privilege of playing powerful women in a field dominated by masculinity and male protagonists. At one point she mentions her admiration for Jennifer Hale, the actor who plays the female version of Commander Shepard in the Mass Effect series: “I was in awe of her performance and the ability she had to make every dialogue choice feel organic.”

Burch says it’s an honor to act in similar roles.

“Chloe alone from Life is Strange is the role of a lifetime, and the fact that I was able to be Chloe and then also have the opportunity to play Aloy — it’s incredible,” she says. “It’s a gift. It’s truly a gift.”

Burch creates rich characters by ruminating on the place of women in the video game industry and infusing her roles with rich backstories and complex motivations. As a writer, she understands the nuances that make a compelling character, and as an actor, she attempts to bring these subtleties to life.

“When we create female characters, I think often there is a tendency to kind of make female characters emotionally bulletproof,” Burch says. “You’ve heard people talk about the ‘capital-S Strong Female Character’ who’s sort of humorless and doesn’t really have a spark and is sort of flawless in their execution.

“They just don’t feel like fully fleshed out, real characters. And I really didn’t want Aloy to feel that way. I really wanted Aloy to feel strong and resilient but also have a rich emotional psychology and be able to feel afraid and feel curious.”

Horizon is one of the first breakout hits of 2017, garnering glowing reviews for its rich narrative and visuals. Aloy is a supremely skilled hunter who’s raised on the outskirts of a matriarchal tribe settled among the ruins of modern civilization. Dinosaur-like robots prowl the valleys ,and pieces of advanced technology are scattered throughout the world, lending a mysterious sci-fi air to the entire experience.

Horizon is easily a 30-hour game for the main quest alone, not including all of the optional missions that players can complete. Burch recorded every branching line of dialogue, gasp of amazement, throwaway comment and reaction sound over the course of two years, in complete secrecy.

This long, isolated production process allowed Burch to get inside Aloy’s head. Alongside the directors, Burch spent much of her time in the recording booth simply figuring out who Aloy was and why she would react in certain ways.

“We spent a lot of time finding her,” she says.

Burch found Aloy’s spark in a wry brand of humor and sense of fearless adventure, two traits that she hoped to infuse into the character. Aloy is fundamentally a strong person, but her life has been lonely and difficult, and these insecurities occasionally bubble to the surface as Aloy makes her way across Horizon’s vast landscape.

“What I hope is conveyed when people play the game is that she’s a deeply strong and resilient person,” Burch says. “She’s lived as an outcast her entire life, and she’s become a survivalist, and she’s really good at taking care of herself and at fighting for things that she believes in. But there’s also a bit of loneliness and a weariness to her, and also a deep curiosity and an excitement about going into this new world and exploring these places she’s never been able to go before.”

Burch wanted to convey these traits with every line, keeping Aloy’s character true and steady throughout the entire adventure. However, she realizes most players probably won’t even hear the bulk of her work. Horizon is a huge game with multiple branching quests, miniature storylines and hidden secrets; it’s possible to complete the game and still have dozens of hours of content left to explore. Not to mention, many players have a hard time finishing games in general.

“Some of the work that I’m proudest of in that game — there are a couple of moments in particular that I think a very, very small percentage of players are going to find,” Burch says.

Without spoiling anything: Burch’s favorite scenes involve Aloy visiting the gravesite of a lost loved one and discussing her journey. It’s a truly human thing to do, Burch says.

“Even though she is an extremely mature and capable young woman, she’s still a young woman,” she explains. “And this is still something that she doesn’t really know how to deal with. She can take down a huge giraffe robot, but she can’t necessarily parse how she’s feeling about the grief that she’s experiencing. That was a really powerful scene for me.”

Burch is particularly enthused about Horizon because it’s a huge, new franchise from Sony, one of the biggest names in gaming — and it stars a woman. As more attention is paid to diversity within the video game industry, there are more roles for women to go around, but mainstream titles are still dominated by male protagonists.

Horizon bucks that trend.

“I think it’s extremely special that there’s a new IP coming out for a major AAA game that has a female protagonist,” Burch says. “And she’s surrounded by other strong women, specifically women and men of color. …It’s such a big deal.”

Burch never expected to end up as the lead voice actor for a major new gaming franchise, and she certainly didn’t think her silly sketch comedy show would lead to a BAFTA nomination, let alone a fulfilling voice-acting career. But it has.

Sometimes, life is strange.

9
Mar

EPA head suggests CO2 isn’t a ‘primary contributor’ to climate change


If you want a good example of why American environmental scientists are in such a state of despair these days, you just got it. When asked by CNBC whether or not he thought carbon dioxide was the “primary control knob” for global warming, new EPA chief Scott Pruitt suggested that it wasn’t a “primary contributor.” The answer is a bit fuzzy (it’s merged with a broader attempt to cast doubt on the human role in climate change), but it’s still far from flattering — either he’s trying to downplay basic climate science for the sake of his fossil fuel industry friends, or he genuinely doesn’t know how it works.

To put it simply: CO2 is at the very heart of climate change, whether or not you believe the scientific consensus that humans make a significant contribution to that change. It’s the most common greenhouse gas after water vapor, and it has a clear effect on planetary temperatures by trapping heat. Venus likely became a hellscape because of CO2, and the chemical may well have contributed to mass extinction events in Earth’s past. If CO2 levels spike, whether it’s due to coal power plants or volcanoes, the planet gets warmer.

Regardless of the motivations, the remarks don’t bode well for attempts to curb CO2 emissions. If the head of the country’s environmental regulator doesn’t think of excessive CO2 as a serious problem, he’s not going to embrace policies that deal with it, is he? You could see a statement like this coming from a mile away given Pruitt’s past and proposals that would gut the EPA, but that’s not much comfort to anyone hoping that the current US administration would have even a remote interest in taking climate science seriously.

EPA chief Scott Pruitt says carbon dioxide is not a primary contributor to global warming https://t.co/pYlXvtrIII pic.twitter.com/caTvHc1aVo

— CNBC (@CNBC) March 9, 2017

Via: Reuters

Source: CNBC, Twitter

9
Mar

Bead screen depicts atomic life in glorious low resolution


In an era where virtually flawless 8K screens are a reality, it’s easy to forget that low-resolution displays have their own appeal — a flickering tube TV can exhibit more character than most modern sets. And a team of artists and scientists (at France’s Millimètre and Harvard University) are taking full advantage of that emotional pull. Their Life in Picoseconds exhibit uses an “Atom Screen” made of thousands of beads to depict a protein molecule in a purposefully low resolution. The project uses 70 software-guided fans to suspend beads between plastic panels, turning them into pixels when you shine light on them. The effect is fuzzy, jittery and tenuous, as if the energy and fragility of the atoms is reflected in the display itself.

Suffice it to say that this isn’t really a general-purpose display. And if you want to see it in person, you’ll have to visit Le Laboratoire in Cambridge, Massachusetts no later than June 10th. Even so, it’s a good example of how purposefully crude technology can be more engaging than the latest and greatest hardware.

Via: Wired

Source: Le Laboratoire, Millimetre

9
Mar

Designers dream of electric dresses at Paris Fashion Week


In the middle of Paris Fashion Week, Ghost in the Shell “Prototype” (hosted by Paramount Pictures and Tumblr) aimed to show off cutting-edge fashion that makes use of technology. Weirdly, the event actually didn’t have much to do with the movie at all, other than trying to demonstrate how humans can enhance themselves via smart clothing, much like in Ghost in the Shell’s fictional near-future.

Rather, it gave us an up-close look at the future of couture, including Intel’s “Adrenaline” dress that gets “upset” when you do, a “Smart Coat” that warms you up with infrared tech and fabrics that can sense the amount of air pollution. The showcase was provocative, and designers were excited to work with the new creative formats offered by wearable tech, but it also demonstrated why wired-up clothes aren’t quite ready for prime-time.

9
Mar

WikiLeaks offers to work with tech firms to fix CIA exploits


Founder Julian Assange says that WikiLeaks will offer tech companies access to CIA’s leaked hacking techniques and code. During a news conference held at The Embassy of Ecuador in London on Thursday, he said that it would allow firms time to “develop fixes” before further details about the techniques are revealed to the public. Assange said the CIA tools could be used to tap into servers, smartphones and even your TV.

The WikiLeaks founder said that he didn’t want the organization’s own sources to be hacked with these tools, which meant offering companies like Apple and Google access to them in order to patch and fix exploits and security flaws. “We have decided to work with them, to give them some exclusive access to some of the technical details we have, so that fixes can be pushed out,” Assange said. (Then again, if Wikileaks were so concerned for the safety of its sources, it could have reached out to tech companies ahead of the first leak, right?)

Apple has already patched many of the 14 iOS exploits that were revealed in the first wave of documents leaked from the CIA’s Centre for Cyber Intelligence. Assange said that some companies had asked for more details about the cyber-espionage toolkit when it leaked earlier this week. He added that once companies had patched their products, more details would surface on WikiLeaks.

The FBI has started investigating the public release of the document cache. An official told USA Today that the bureau was looking to figure out whether the leak was due to an attack from the outside or a leak from within.

Via: USA Today

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