Headphones, and now Bluetooth wireless speaker, manufacturer V-Moda has announced a sequel to the Crossfade Wireless headphones we reviewed in October 2016. Appropriately called the Crossfade 2 Wireless, the new pair of over-ear headphones takes the same overall design, but adds high-resolution audio certification for improved sound quality, along with several other upgrades.
- V-Moda Crossfade Wireless review: Big on the bass
Fitted inside each ear cup is a new 50mm dual-diaphragm driver with a CCAW (Copper Clad Aluminium Wire) high-resolution coil. The result is a pair of headphones that have been certified to meet a hi-res audio standard set by the Japan Audio Society (JAS) when in wired mode.
V-Moda says with the Crossfade 2 Wireless, you’ll be able to listen to lossless music streaming services or up to 24-bit/96kHz audio sources with “increased dynamic range, more precise and sparkling high-frequency definition”.
While the Crossfade 2 Wireless can’t be certified high-resolution when you ditch the wire and connect via Bluetooth, V-Moda says you’ll still be able to get the company’s award-winning sound. The Rose Gold model gets the added benefit of aptX Bluetooth for near CD-quality wireless streaming.
The ear cups are coated in a new memory foam for added comfort, and thanks to their fit and combination of materials, claim to be able to isolate noise to a high degree. V-Moda has purposefully not added active noise cancellation as the company believes the technology negatively affects sound quality.
The built-in rechargeable battery promises up to 14 hours of playback time and like other pairs in V-Moda’s arsenal, the Crossfade 2 Wireless can be personalised with different shields and BoomPro Mic for gamers. V-Moda’s new headphones are also designed to be portable, and feature a new, patent-pending CliqFold design which sees them fold down and fit into a small travel case.
- Best Bluetooth headphones 2017: 10 of the best on/over-ears for wireless listening
The V-Moda Crossfade 2 Wireless are available now in Matte Black or Matte White for £300, or Rose Gold with aptX Bluetooth for £330.
I have what has been described as a “really crappy guitar.” It’s not even mine. It belongs to my friend who, before handing it to me, said, “yeah, I let my kid hit this thing with stuff. Also, I’ve never changed the strings.” It seemed like the perfect test subject for a new peg-turning auto-tuner from the makers of the Roadie. Typically the older the strings, the more an instrument slides out of key. Basically, if you even looked at this guitar the wrong way it sounded horrible.
The $129 Roadie 2 tuner builds up on the original Roadie’s ability to automatically twist tuning pegs to make your guitar sound like it’s supposed to. The biggest update is that it no longer needs a smartphone to listen to your stringed instrument. Instead, it uses the vibrations generated when a string is plucked to adjust the pitch. This new version is a completely standalone device. But, just because you don’t need an app, doesn’t mean you should ignore your smartphone because the companion app will track all your guitars and their string health.
While tuning with the Roadie 2, I found the onboard display easy to navigate. There are clear options for different stringed instruments (ukulele, acoustic, electric etc) just a knob turn and button tap away. I simply stuck the Roadie 2 onto the tuning pegs, plucked and it started twisting until the string was in tune. The device vibrated and I continued to the next peg until the instrument was ready to play. It was a relatively painless experience except for one thing: the guitar.
The prototype unit brought into the Engadget office by Band Industries, the makers of the Roadie, had its work cut out for it. The acoustic guitar I brought from home had tuning pegs that were rusted and difficult to twist. But even though the tuner wasn’t a production model and it struggled to get the key just right, it delivered on the promise of making my out-of-tune acoustic sound good. Well, goodish. It’s still a crappy guitar. That would be enough for someone jamming in their living room, but it’s not powerful enough for gigging musicians.
The combination of audible, visual and haptic feedback when a string is finished being adjusted means that the Roadie 2 will work on a noisy stage. Which, if you’ve ever played a live show before, you know is every stage. Basic retuning is easy enough to accomplish with a pedal, but the new Roadie really shines by its ability to quickly restring a guitar, ukulele or banjo so it has the potential to make a lot of guitarists and guitar techs happy.
It’s not just the hardware that’s helpful onstage. Band Industries said updated app (which was unavailable for testing) will keep track of things like when a guitar got new strings and how times it’s been tuned to alert the player when it’s time for them to be replaced. It does this for over 150 different instruments. That’s probably more than the average guitarist would own, but for a tech dealing with a band on tour, it could be a game changer.
But it’s going to be a while before the $129 Roadie 2 and its app are on shelves. Band Industries is launching a Kickstarter campaign for pre-orders of the Roadie 2 and its more powerful brother, the $149 Roadie Bass. They’ll sell for $79 and $99, respectively, during the campaign and are expected to ship in October.
Source: Band Industries
Nintendo’s DSi portable console, the precursor to the 3DS, was released way back in early 2009. Amazingly enough, the DSi’s online shop is still up and running, even though Nintendo stopped selling the console years ago. But those days are about to end. As Nintendo announced a year ago, the DSi Shop will shut down on March 31st, 2017 — that’s this Friday, for those who don’t have a calendar handy.
Nintendo already stopped letting you purchase the points you need to use the shop this past September, so the store has effectively been dead for a bit. But anyone who has a stock of unused points should use them this week or lose them. To be honest, we’re rather surprised the shop hadn’t shut down already — the 3DS came out way back in 2011, so the DSi has been outdated for a good six years at this point. Kudos to Nintendo for keeping support running for so long.
If you’re still using your DSi, Nintendo says you’ll be able to re-download purchased items for a bit longer as well. But eventually, that’ll be discontinued as well, at which point your DSi will be stuck with the games you’ve downloaded and whatever cartridges you’ve hoarded. Such is the life of internet-connected consoles — sooner or later, the manufacturer is going to have to move on.
Over the last couple of decades, Amazon has slowly conquered the online retail space. The Seattle-based e-commerce company has made it possible to purchase any thing from books to live ladybugs within seconds. But the site hasn’t seen the same success with groceries. With AmazonFresh, a monthly subscription for pantry items, the one-click convenience became available for food but consumers continue to stay skeptical of purchasing fruits and veggies online. Now, the company has launched AmazonFresh Pickup, essentially a drive-through, so shoppers can grab their groceries in-person but they never have to leave their car.
You can order the items online, pick a time to drive up to an AmazonFresh location, and an Amazon employee will bring the groceries to your car when you get there. The service, which requires a Prime membership, is limited to two outlets in Seattle for now.
The Pickup locations are indicative of the company’s online efforts to make a mark on the booming supermarket industry, which it had struggled to make a dent in with AmazonFresh alone. The company’s overall goals are also not restricted to the digital space. Amazon has been inching forward toward building brick-and-mortar stores across the U.S. According to a recent New York Times report, Amazon’s ambition to take on the retail market is now starting to take physical form. In addition to groceries, the company is starting to think about stores for home appliances and furniture, too.
In the quest to smart-up your analog home, interactive door locks present a distinct conundrum: If things go screwy, you might not be able to get into your home. August Home’s Smart Lock lets you lend out virtual passes for temporary guests but doesn’t fully replace your existing deadbolt, meaning your metal key still opens your door the old fashioned way. While the product has been around since 2014, the company started integrating voice control last year, integrating Apple’s Homekit last May and Amazon’s Alexa support a month later. Today, they’re rounding out the trio by enabling Google Assistant on the Smart Lock.
Users can lock their doors through the Google Home app and check its status, but won’t be able to unlock it remotely just yet. In a press release, August Home said they were working with to find a “safe and secure way” to enable that functionality, which should come later this year (it took them eight months to add an “unlock” command to Alexa). You’ll need the August Connect WiFi bridge to link the Bluetooth-controlled Smart Lock to a device with Google Assistant installed first.
Source: August Home
A number of connected home devices already work with Google’s smart speaker and today a few more are being added to the fold. Logitech’s Harmony line and Wink’s lighting gear and thermostats can now be controlled with voice commands from Google Home. “Ok Google, ask Harmony to…” can control your connected speakers, fire up a specific app on Roku, skip forward/backward on content and more for devices that work with Logitech’s smart home platform.
You can also use you voice to trigger Harmony’s “Good Morning” activity that does things like set Hue lights to a warm color, adjust your thermostat and begin playing music at the same time. Logitech says its Harmony Elite, Companion and Hub smart home tech can be used with up to 270,000 devices. That’s a lot of things you can now control with your voice and Google Home. Of course, Harmony devices also play nice with Amazon’s Alexa.
If you have a Wink smart home hub, you now have another way to control connected lights and thermostats. That included the company’s light bulbs, switches, dimmers and outlets. It’s now compatible with Google Home speakers, so all you’d have to do is say “Ok, Google” and follow that up with a voice command. The hub has been compatible with Amazon’s Alexa assistant for quite some time — now you can enjoy the same perks if you have a Home instead of an Echo.
You can tell Google’s speaker to switch Wink-connected lights on or off, or to dim or brighten them. If you want to adjust or set the temperature, simply control your thermostat by saying “Ok Google, turn up the temperature by 10 degrees” or “set the temperature to 70 degrees.” You’d have to link your speaker with the hub before you can do any of that. But once that’s done, you can go wild issuing one command after another.
Billy Steele contributed to this report.
A team of scientists from Boston University have found a way to hack into mammalian cells — human cells, even — and make them follow logical instructions like computers can. While they’re not the first researchers to program cells to do their bidding, previous successful studies mostly used Escherichia coli, which are much easier to manipulate. These researchers were able to program human kidney cells into obeying 109 different sets of instructions, including responding to particular environmental conditions and following specific directions.
They were able to accomplish something other teams failed to do so by using DNA recombinases, genetic recombination enzymes that can recognize and stitch together two targets in a DNA strand and cut out anything in between. To trigger the recombinases, they inserted another gene in the same cells to start the cutting process.
Here’s one sample of how it works: The researchers programmed cells to light up when they did NOT contain the DNA recombinase they used. In the future, they could use proteins associated with specific diseases to use technique as a diagnostic tool, since the samples would light up if the patient has the illness.
Wong says their current sets of instructions are just proofs of concept. Other potential applications include manipulating T cells into killing tumors by using proteins that can detect two to three cancer cell biomarkers. The technique could also be used to turn stem cells into any cells they want by using different signals, as well as to generate tissues on command. Wong and his team are only exploring those possibilities at the moment, though, and it’ll take time before we see them happen.
Source: Wired, Science, Nature Biotechnology
Nearly two years after V-Moda introduced a wireless version of its popular Crossfade headphones, the company’s back with a set that promises to be much better all around. Looks-wise, the new Crossfade 2 Wireless model is almost identical to its predecessor, though the cushions and headband have been redesigned to be more comfortable and keep bad noise out of your ears. The new cans also have upgraded dual-diaphragm 50mm drivers, which V-Moda claims make for its best sound yet, and an improved battery life that can get you over 14 hours of music playback. For those keeping track, that’s a couple hours longer than the original version.
V-Moda’s pricing the Crossfade 2 Wireless at $330 if you want them in matte black or matte white, and they’re shipping starting today. There’s a rose gold model too, but that’s priced at $350 because it features support for Qualcomm’s aptX audio codec, which it says will give you “near CD-quality sound” even as you’re listening to tunes over Bluetooth.
In many survival-themed games, the ecosystem doesn’t change much. Predators are always out to kill you, while prey just wants to mind its own business. However, you’ll have to be much more thoughtful with the just-released Rain World. Videocult’s long-in-the-making PS4 and Windows action adventure (its crowdfunding campaign started in 2014) has you fighting for life in a wilderness where animals learn from their interactions with you. Seemingly docile critters may start treating you as a threat if you play too aggressively, while hostile beasts might back off if you figure out what they need. Some enemies have their own predators to worry about, so you’re not the only threat.
You might also want to give this a look for its beautiful yet strange setting. The game has you playing as a “slugcat” (yes, just what it sounds like) in an overgrown, ruined landscape where you fend off neon lizards and gnaw on bats for food. And as the name suggests, there’s a lot of rain — you have to find shelter from periodic floods. Combine that with extremely fluid animations, the 16-bit retro visuals and a mysterious plot and it promises to be memorable, if more than a little unforgiving.
Source: PlayStation Blog, Steam
Amazon has launched another grocery initiative, this time for Amazon employees in Seattle. The service is called AmazonFresh Pickup and it allows customers to order groceries from the Amazon mobile app on iOS and Android, or on the web, select a pickup time, and show up at the AmazonFresh Pickup location to get their items bagged into their vehicle by an Amazon worker.
Although it’s limited to Amazon employees right now, when it opens to a wider audience AmazonFresh Pickup will be available to Prime members (who are near a location) as a free addition to their membership (via TechCrunch).
The service has no minimum order requirement, so customers can create grocery lists for dozens of items or for a single bottle of mouthwash, for example — whatever is ordered will be waiting for them when they drive up. Customers can order fresh produce, meats, bread, dairy and a range of household items off of AmazonFresh Pickup, which currently has two locations in Seattle’s SODO and Ballard neighborhoods.
Amazon previously tested out “Amazon Go” pop up stores, which let customers walk in, purchase groceries, and walk out of the store without needing to go through any lengthy check out process. That service worked by having customers scan their smartphone when entering, and the Amazon Go app tracked every item taken from the store’s shelves and tallied it all up in a virtual cart, which charged a customer’s connected payment card.
Recently, it was reported that Amazon is delaying a wider launch of Amazon Go locations to “work out kinks” related to the cashierless technology that charges customers automatically. Amazon is constantly testing out and slowly launching neat new ideas that could see a wider debut for its customers in the future — like Amazon Prime Air, which has evolved from futuristic reveal to small-scale, working delivery drone in just over three years. With today’s announcement, it appears that AmazonFresh Pickup is the next in line.
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