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15
Apr

Recommended Reading: Technology hasn’t improved the airline experience


How Technology Has
Failed to Improve
Your Airline Experience

Farhad Manjoo,
The New York Times

It hasn’t been a great week for United, but that massive incident served as a harsh reminder that the airline industry has a long list of customer service issues. The New York Times’ Farhad Manjoo details how technology has improved ride sharing, vacation rentals and more while the process of booking a flight and air travel still leaves a lot to be desired.

The Definitive ‘Fast & Furious’ Movie Rankings
Andrew Gruttadaro and Shea Serrano, The Ringer

This is an amazing look at the inner workings of the Fast & Furious franchise, including why you can just pretend Tokyo Drift doesn’t exist.

A Lizard With Scales That Behave Like a Computer Simulation
Steph Yin, The New York Times

Researchers studied cellular automaton in ocellated lizards with a little help from Alan Turing.

Saber-Toothed Cats Paid a Stiff Price for Lunch
Nicholas St. Fleur, The New York Times

New findings suggest saber-toothed cats suffered a number of injuries during the process of hunting prey.

Q&A: Walt Mossberg on the Future of the Tech Beat
Shelley Hepworth, Columbia Journalism Review

Respected tech journalist Walt Mossberg announced his retirement this week and the Columbia Journalism Review sat down to get his thoughts on tech and the media.

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15
Apr

Making hard-boiled eggs isn’t so hard — here’s how to do it perfectly every time


Why it matters to you

It may be easier to hard boil an egg than to poach one, but there are still some ways to screw it up.

Everyone has an opinion on the way to make perfect, peelable hard-boiled eggs. Whether you’re making deviled eggs or are dipping them in dye for Easter eggs, you want your pre-birds to come out right. Why not sous vide or pressure cook them? Maybe you don’t have an appliance solely dedicated to eggs, but there are still plenty of methods that will have you ready to decorate or devour in no time.

On the stove

If you’re doing things the old fashioned way, don’t worry. You can still get perfect hard-boiled eggs on your stove. For this recipe, we took a page from J. Kenji López-Alt’s The Food Lab. He suggests pouring 2 quarts of water into a 3-quart pan and bringing it boil over high heat. Once you’ve carefully lowered in your eggs, cook them for 30 seconds. Add 12 ice cubes to the water then let it boil again. Lower the heat just above a simmer (about 190 degrees Fahrenheit) and cook for 11 minutes. Drain them and peel under running water.

For a simpler method, the Betty Crocker Cookbook suggests covering eggs with water, putting a lid on the pan, and bringing the water to a boil. You then immediately remove the pan from the heat and leave the eggs sitting for 15 minutes.

Over at the Prairie Homestead, there’s an explainer for how to use a metal colander to steam your eggs instead. This method supposedly works for easier-to-peel eggs.

Egg cooker

Cuisinart ($34) and Chef’s Choice ($40) both make dedicated egg cookers. They let you make eggs several ways, including poached and hard-boiled. They’re particularly foolproof. While the Cuisinart can make 10 at a time, Chef’s Choice is limited to seven. However, the Chef’s Choice cooker doesn’t require you to piece the shell before hand, so it definitely works better for Easter eggs. If you want something you can microwave, there’s the Nordic Ware option.

Sous vide

Anova, Nomiku, and Joule are just a few of the popular immersion circulators on the market. Clip them to your pot, and they will heat the water to a precise temperature. For hard-boiled eggs, one recipe at Anova suggests cooking them at 170 degrees Fahrenheit (76.7 degrees Celsius) for an hour. ChefStep has a whole egg calculator, based on firm you want both your whites and yolks. Perhaps it’s something about this method of cooking, but separating the eggs from their shells does tend to be a bit trickier.

Pressure cooker

Whether you’re using an Instant Pot or less-hip pressure cooker, the results should be similarly quick and painless.The Kitchn has instructions for hard-boiling eggs at low pressure: Add a cup of water, put in something to lift your eggs out of the bath, close the lid, set it on low pressure, and wait eight or nine minutes. Pressure Cook Recipes has Instant Pot-specific recommendations: eight minutes for high pressure, 12 for low.

15
Apr

10 essential accessories for your Galaxy S8 or S8 Plus


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Your smartphone is probably the star of your devices, so you’ll want a decent supporting cast to ensure that you get the most from it. We’ve already looked at the best Galaxy S8 cases and the best Galaxy S8 Plus cases, but there are some nifty alternative S8 accessories that are worth checking out. We’ve got docks, headphones, cameras, and more to add useful functionality to your S8 or S8 Plus.

Gear VR Headset and Controller ($130)

If you haven’t dipped a toe into the waters of virtual reality yet, then this is a great place to start. The latest version of the Gear VR works with the Galaxy S8 or S8 Plus to take to you to new worlds. It’s the most comfortable design yet, and Samsung has added a handy controller into the mix to make navigation easier and bring new control options to games. There are more than 600 different apps, games, and experiences that will immerse you in all kinds of virtual realities.

Buy one now from:

Samsung

Samsung Wireless Charger Convertible ($90)

Samsung Wireless Charger Convertible

Although it’s pricey compared to some of the other wireless chargers on the market, Samsung’s Wireless Charger is probably worth springing for because it supports the fast wireless charging capability in the S8 and S8 Plus. It’s a stylish-looking pad, finished in a leather-like material that comes in black or tan. Unusually, it can be adjusted to prop your S8 up, which is ideal if you want to use your phone while it charges. It comes with a Samsung Fast Charge wall charger in the box.

Buy one now from:

Samsung

Anker PowerCore Speed Battery Pack ($32)

Anker PowerCore Speed Battery Charger

Offering a whopping 10,000mAh of power, this is one of our favorite portable battery chargers. It’s fairly compact, so you can sling it into your bag and forget about it until you need it. You can expect around two full charges for your Galaxy S8, maybe a little less for the S8 Plus. It also supports Qualcomm’s Quick Charge 3.0, so it will fill your S8 battery quickly. You will have to snag a USB to USB Type-C cable, because it ships with a Micro USB cable.

Buy one now from:

Amazon

Maxboost Type-C Car Charger ($22)

Maxboost Type-C Car Charger

If you’re using your Galaxy S8 to navigate or you just want to charge it up while you drive, this car charger is ideal. No need to fiddle with cables because it has a USB Type-C cable built-in. There’s also an additional USB port in case you want to charge another device, or use a longer cable, and a clever, soft-glow LED ring, making it easy to use, even in the dark. It supports QC 3.0 for fast charging.

Buy one now from:

Amazon

Samsung Gear 360 ($250)


Les Shu/Digital Trends

The 2017 version of the Gear 360 enables you to capture 4K 360 degree videos and photos with your Galaxy S8 or S8 Plus. You can capture footage and shots, then review and share them via the app on your S8. You can even stream live from the dual-cameras in real-time. It’s a lightweight device with a handy grip that doubles as a stand and it can be mounted on tripods easily. The MicroSD card slot takes cards up to 256GB in capacity.

Buy one now from:

Samsung

Samsung DeX Station ($150)

Samsung DeX docking station
Julian Chokkattu/Digital Trends

If you liked the look of Microsoft’s Continuum, which enables you to use your smartphone as a desktop PC, then you’re going to love the DeX Station for the Galaxy S8 or S8 Plus because it does something similar. The adjustable dock looks like Samsung’s Wireless Charger, but it allows you to connect a monitor, mouse, keyboard, and Ethernet cable to your phone. Optimized app support is limited right now, but you can use it to work with Microsoft’s Office suite, and some Adobe and Samsung apps.

Buy one now from:

Samsung

Samsung Gear S3 ($300)

Samsung Gear S3
Julian Chokkattu/Digital Trends

The beautifully designed Samsung Gear S3 smartwatch, with its clever rotating bezel is the best smartwatch you can currently buy to pair with your Galaxy S8 or S8 Plus. It runs Tizen, which is fast and accessible, and it’s packed with Samsung services like Samsung Pay, S Voice, and S Health. There isn’t an overabundance of apps, but you’ll find things like Uber, Nest, and Nike+ Running. It also offers more than a day of battery life, it’s water resistant, and the 22mm bands are very easy to switch.

Buy one now from:

Amazon

Samsung Pro Plus 64GB MicroSDXC Card ($54)

Samsung Pro Plus 64GB MicroSDXC Card

We’re pleased to see that Samsung has bumped the base level of internal storage up to 64GB with the S8 and S8 Plus, but some of you will still need more space. There are definitely cheaper MicroSD cards out there, but we’re recommending this one because it offers high performance for 4K video recording and it’s extremely reliable. If you’re willing to wait a little longer, then keep an eye out for the new A1 spec MicroSD cards which are specifically designed to work as adoptable storage in Android phones.

Buy one now from:

Amazon

Plantronics Backbeat Pro 2 ($200)

Plantronics Backbeat Pro 2

You get a decent set of AKG earbuds worth $100 in the box with your S8 or S8 Plus, but if you want a proper set of headphones, then you might consider the Plantronics Backbeat Pro 2. You can pair with your S8 or S8 Plus via Bluetooth (Samsung’s new smartphones can actually stream to two sets of Bluetooth headphones at once) and there’s a mic for calls and a button to trigger Google Assistant on the right earcup. You’ll find controls for music and volume on the left. They also produce a decent sound with support for noise cancellation and solid battery life.

Buy one now from:

Plantronics

Samsung USB-C to HDMI Adapter ($50)

Samsung USB-C to HDMI Adapter

We can’t help feeling this is overpriced, but if you want to be able to play 4K videos from your Galaxy S8 or S8 Plus on your big TV smoothly and easily, it’s going to be worth the investment. Plug the USB-C end into your phone and plug an HDMI cable into the other end to connect with your TV, projector, or monitor. Whether you want to play video from your vacation, watch a movie, or play a game on the big screen, this adapter lets you do it lag-free and without the need for Wi-Fi.

Buy one now from:

Mobile Fun

15
Apr

The best cases, covers, and sleeves for your Macbook


You may be tempted to keep your new MacBook naked, so you and everyone else around can gaze at it, but you should let common sense prevail. This is a gorgeous laptop that deserves to be well-protected. You’ve got to look after it, especially if you expect it to stay pretty. That’s why we’ve tracked down the best MacBook cases, covers, and sleeves. Whatever you need in terms of protection, style, function, or price tag – there’s something here for you.

Note: If you have a newer MacBook that includes a Touch Bar, it’s important to pick a newer case to match it. Many older cases will not fit onto new Macs that include bars, because their dimensions are different from the previous MacBook line. Sleeves, on the other hand, are usually a better bet because they tend to have more wiggle room.

Pad & Quill Cartella Linen Case ($100)

Pad & Quill Cartella Linen Case

Fancy disguising your MacBook as an actual book? The Cartella Linen is designed to look like an old paper journal. Your MacBook sits in a wooden, Baltic Birch cradle with cut-outs for the ports, and the cover can be folded back to create a comfortable angle for typing. There’s an elastic closure that’s practical and adds to the aesthetic. Inside the cover, you’ll also find a slim pocket for papers. The linen buckram cover comes in three different color combos, and each case is handmade in St. Paul, Minnesota.

Buy one now from:

Pad & Quill

Moshi Muse Sleeve ($45+)

Moshi Muse Photo

This sleeve is a smart design that eschews zippers or Velcro in favor of a something that Moshi calls “SlipGrip.” You can turn it upside down and the MacBook still won’t fall out. Open the flap and you’ll find a soft microfiber lining that cushions your device and cleans off smudges. There’s room for your MacBook to wear a close-fitting case and still slide in here. There’s also a pocket in the front that’s almost as deep as the main one. It proves handy storage for accessories and cables. It looks quite stylish, finished in Sahara beige or graphite black, with the flap providing a color contrast in both cases. It’s ideal for stowing your MacBook quickly and sticking into a larger bag or backpack to carry.

Buy one now from:

Amazon B&H

Inateck MacBook Sleeve ($14)

Inateck MP1500

Here’s a great option if you’re feeling the pinch after buying your MacBook. It’s a simple, unassuming felt pocket with a nice, soft flannel lining on the inside. There’s a Velcro closure to keep it closed and it’s not too snug. There’s also another large pocket when you open the flap, and it’s big enough for an iPad or a big book. On the back, you’ll find two smaller pockets which could be used for accessories or even your iPhone, though there’s no closure on them. This sleeve is great value for the cost, and it also comes with a strange little extra – a small felt pocket with an elastic strap that’s just the right size for a mouse.

Buy one now from:

Amazon

Waterfield Zip Brief MacBook Case ($180)

Waterfield Zip Brief

There’s no escaping the fact that this is an expensive option, but it could be ideal for about town and air travel. The zippers allow you to open it and lay it completely flat quickly, so it’s TSA-friendly. There’s a plush pocket inside that will fit a MacBook, even with a close-fitting case on it. Two additional interior pockets can be used for accessories. You’ll also find an easy-access pocket on the outside. It’s finished in waxed canvas or ballistic nylon, and you can order it in a variety of different color combos. To finish off, there’s a comfortable pair of hand straps and a removable shoulder strap for carrying.

Buy one now from:

WaterField Designs

Booq Taipan Spacesuit 12 ($40)

Booq Taipan Spacesuit

Here’s an interesting-looking neoprene sleeve with a honeycomb structure that promises to safeguard your MacBook from damage. The interior is seriously plush, and there are two zippers that can open the sleeve all the way round so it can be laid flat. You can get this sleeve in gold, gray, or black. You get two removable leather zipper pullers to match the sleeve color, and three brightly colored contrasting extras you can use, if you prefer a splash of color. This will work well if you want a protective sleeve before you sling your MacBook into a backpack or bag.

Buy one now from:

Amazon Booq

STM Dux Rugged Case ($43+)

STM Dux Rugged MacBook Air 13" Case

STM’s Dux Rugged case provides a safe choice for even the most accident-prone consumer. The rubberized poly-carbonate brackets protect the sides and corners of your laptop from falling damage, while the textured rubber feet help prevent your computer from sliding on slick surfaces. The transparent cover also allows stickers and customization to shine through, and the minimalist design ensures your MacBook can always breathe through the built-in hinge. The case is currently available in black, chili, or Moroccan blue.

Buy one now from:

Amazon

Mosiso Leather-Style Book Cover ($18)

Mosiso Leather-Style Book 2

You might find this polyurethane case a practical solution. Your MacBook slips into a pocket, with a cut-out for the trackpad, and there are elastic straps at the top to hold the screen in place. It’s made from fake leather, finished in brown, gold, red, blue, or black. There’s a magnetic closure that seems pretty secure, and soft-padding on the inside. There’s also a clever, small fold out panel on the back that allows you to prop your MacBook at a comfortable angle. It’s not the greatest quality in the world, but that’s reflected in the price.

Buy one now from:

Amazon

Runetz Neoprene Sleeve ($18)

Bag 72

Here’s a basic neoprene sleeve that won’t break the bank. It has two zippers and can be opened and laid flat. There’s also a front pocket with a separate zipper that’s handy for accessories. It’s soft inside and has padded bumps to cushion your laptop from blows. You can pick this one up in a variety of different plain color combinations, or opt for the chevron pattern pictured. The fit is nice and snug.

Buy one now from:

Amazon Runetz

Twelve South BookBook ($80)

BookBook

For the most hardcore bibliophiles, Twelve South has created the BookBook, a case made of genuine leather that looks like — you guessed it — a book. With reinforced corners and a cushioned spine designed to absorb impacts, it’s a perfect blend of protection and class. Each BookBook is individually distressed, so each case is unique, and for an extra $20 you can upgrade to the Rutledge edition. The latter comes with hand-dyed “sunburst” designs on the outside.

Buy one now from:

Amazon Twelve South

Thule Vectros Bumper Case ($60)

Thule Vectros

Clumsy Macbook owners will thank themselves for purchasing the Thule Vectros Bumper case. This bad boy will protect your computer from just about anything, as long as you don’t drop it off a roller coaster or throw it in a lake. The beveled edges and shock-absorbing ridges keep your laptop safe in the event that you drop it, and the invisible shields that snap between the edge casings will protect the top and bottom surfaces of your computer from unwanted scratches or, say, spilled coffee.

Buy one now from:

Amazon

UAG MacBook ASH Military Drop Tested Case ($67)

Are you looking for a case that’s more openly ruggedized? This UAG case is designed to deal with rougher conditions, with an armor shell and impact bumpers to help the MacBook survive occasional drops and bumpy environments. The unit also includes the necessary vents for cooling and airflow. It’s an ideal case for outdoor work. However, the one downside is that it is only limited to the MacBook Pro 13-inch third generation, and options with the Touch Bar are just too large to fit.

Buy one now from:

Amazon

Speck SeeThru MacBook Case ($31)

Like the idea of a case but not the look? Check out the SeeThru case, which tries to be as invisible as possible while still offering hardshell protection for the MacBook Air. The case is divided into two pieces that quickly snap together, and includes all the necessary openings for various connections. If you like the style of this translucent case but not the clear version, there are a few primary color options to choose from as well.

Buy one now from:

Amazon

MoKo Sleeve Bag ($15)

MoKo’s stylish sleeve bag is made from PU leather, or a leather substrate with a vinyl covering. It gives you a better look without a high price, especially if you prefer one of these minimalistic sleeves to a full case. The sleeve also includes a card slot for storing cards or small electronic devices. The cover is magnetically sealed when you put it in place, and the inner surface is line with felt. However, there’s not much protection here, so you’ll still need to be careful when handling this bag.

Buy one now from:

Amazon

Mujjo Sleeve – ($69)

Mujjo’s elite sleeve is one of the best available for the MacBook. It is made from felt and vegetable-tanned leather, with snap-in-place buttons for the cover. It can carry the 13-inch MacBook or an iPad Pro with keyboard, no problem. The design is good enough to be at home anywhere, and you’ll probably feel good showing it off. It comes with a card pocket, but not many other extras.

Buy one now from:

Amazon Mujjo

This article was originally published on December 8, 2015, and updated on April 5, 2017, by Tyler Lacoma to remove models no longer available and include the UAG, Speck, MoKo, and Mujjo models.

15
Apr

Color By Disney review: premium subscription for a not-so-premium coloring app


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Back in college, if I’d been caught coloring in my secret stash of Disney coloring pages, I’d have some explaining to do.

Nowadays, though, coloring books need no explanation, as they’ve seen a massive resurgence among adults who are looking for an easy way to escape daily stress and find some inner peace. But you can’t exactly carry around your 128-color case of pencils and that big book of mandalas for coloring on the train, during your lunch break, or wherever the urge strikes you. Enter a slew of coloring apps, all promising the same fun and calming without leaving pencil shavings everywhere or without you ruining a page by coloring outside the lines.

Disney decided to get in on the action with premium coloring app Color By Disney, and while their efforts are certainly good… I wouldn’t go running to the app store just yet.

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It’s not cheap, and it’s hard to change your subscription.

Color By Disney is a subscription app, and without one, you have only four images you can color. If you want a subscription, you should think long and hard about which one you want before you sign up, because once you pick a subscription, it’s not easy to change it. There are three subscription types: Weekly ($2.99), Monthly ($7.99), and Yearly ($39.99). The longer you commit to, the cheaper the subscription, so if you’re someone who thinks they’re going to spend a lot of time coloring here, then you should definitely consider the longer subscriptions. That said, the yearly subscription is $40. You could buy two movies for that money. They’d probably last longer, too.

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Price aside for the moment, let’s look at the app itself. You can browse curated collections like so-called “Simple” artwork, or you can tap Find and look for art based on the Disney franchise it belongs to. When you search for art this way, two things quickly become apparent: there aren’t a lot of actual coloring pages here, and most of them belong to a choice few franchises, like Frozen, Moana and Beauty and the Beast, while most other franchises on the list only get three to four pages, if they get more than one.

There are only six new pages added a week, and depending on the week’s subject and complexity, you can burn through them in a matter of hours. If you want to spend hours and hours coloring Disney artwork in, you’re going to want some diversity in the work, and Color By Disney’s portfolio isn’t nearly there yet.

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Many images have incomplete lines that lead to colors bleeding and patterns breaking.

Once you select a piece to color, the process is fairly straightforward and, indeed, very relaxing. You select colors from one of three palette types, then tap sections to color them. If you tap where you didn’t mean to, you can either tap the undo button in the top corner, or you can tap the miscolored area again to turn it back to white. You can pinch and pull to zoom in on the artwork for detailed coloring, which also helps prevent missed taps. Your color picker at the bottom can remember your last three used colors, but unfortunately, it doesn’t compile a palette for all of the colors you’ve used on an image, which can help tremendously on detailed, time-intensive pieces. You can also change the filter for the image, which can give the image marker lines, pencil texturing, or it can cover your work in glitter, put your piece underwater, or invert the white and black of the base image for a unique “Dark Shine” look.

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Coloring these roses is not without few thorns. The first is that while all of the artwork looks beautiful, many images have incomplete lines that lead to colors bleeding and patterns breaking, which can be excruciating on mandalas and detail-oriented pieces. Another glaring flaw when dealing with color patterning and shading is that the color picker at the bottom of the screen can be a bit lackluster. The “Inspired” color collections only deal with a few of the more popular franchises, and some “Shades” palettes are out of order or lacking in certain spectrums. There’s no option to pick your own colors, so if you’re missing a shade, you’re just out of luck.

Once you’re done with an image, you can download it to your device’s internal storage or share it out across social media to show off your coloring prowess to friends and family. Even if you’re not going to print out the finished work to hang on your fridge, I recommend saving your finished works in case you decide you want to color them again, as these coloring pages are reusable. If you want to clear a coloring page and start over, tap the trash can and you’ll be able to start over with empty lines.

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Color By Disney can provide hours of coloring fun without the hassle of art kits and papercuts, but the selection is still rather small, and the coloring pages tend towards a few favored franchises. The color system itself also needs some work, and until both the colors and the coloring page selection expand a fair bit, I’d just as soon grab a hardcover Disney coloring book and break out the pencil sets while I buy a movie I bought with my savings.

Ease and convenience come at a price… you just have to be willing to pay it.

15
Apr

How to deal with nausea when playing PlayStation VR


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PlayStation VR might make you nauseous, but we’ve got some things to help.

VR has a habit of causing people to feel sick, or dizzy while playing. While it might be the newest kid on the VR block, even PlayStation VR can cause nausea, which can be a real bummer. However there are a few things you can do to help curb feeling sick while gaming, and we’ve got the details below.

Read more at VR Heads!

15
Apr

These GO-X3 Bluetooth headphones let you get active with your favorite tunes


Bluetooth headphones; sure, they’re convenient in that they have no wires to contend with, but most aren’t designed for an active lifestyle. As soon as you start running or jumping, they fall out. They also aren’t usually designed to deal with sweat or outdoor conditions.

Grab these ARMOR-X GO-X3 Bluetooth headphones at 50% off! Learn more

You need a pair of Bluetooth headphones that won’t fall out of your ears and won’t be affected by rain or sweat. Right now, Windows Central Digital Offers has a deal on a pair of ARMOR-X GO-X3 Bluetooth headphones. Instead of the usual $60 price tag, you’ll pay only $30. That’s 50% off the regular price.

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These headphones connect to your device with Bluetooth 4.1 and offer deep bass and clear treble. Silicone hooks on each ear ensure the headphones don’t slip out of your ears, and a seven-hour battery means you can listen longer before charging. If a call happens to come in while you’re wearing the headphones, you’ll be given a voice notification with call information.

Listen to your favorite songs while you workout for only $30! Learn more

Tired of cheap earbud headphones that fall out of your ears and have a cable that snags while you’re working out? The Bluetooth beauties from ARMOR-X are the answer. Grab them soon; this sale won’t last long.

15
Apr

Google Maps location sharing is an amazing feature you should consider using


Location services are the handiest smartphone feature to have on in the case of an emergency.

Last weekend, my mother totaled her car of 18 years. She’s fine, though she came out with a few scratches because of how tightly the seat belt had buckled her in during the impact. And though we’re still mourning the loss of a car we had made so many memories with, I also can’t help but think about how thankful I am for location sharing. If it wasn’t for this simplistic little smartphone feature, my husband and I may not have located her as quickly as we did.

We had used our smartphones to fill in the blanks where our brains could not.

My mother’s voice was noticeably shaky when she had initially called us after the crash. I could tell she was struggling to hold back tears over the loss of her beloved car as it lay in front of her, wrecked beyond repair. I wanted to get to her as quickly as possible to comfort her and to get her out of the rain storm that had made the roads so perilous to drive on in the first place.

My husband had asked her for landmarks around where the impact had happened so that we could drive out to pick her up, but she was having a difficult time orienting herself. That’s when I remembered that the Verizon’s Messages+ app on my mom’s Galaxy S6 Edge offers a native “drop pin” functionality that sends your approximate location in a text message. “Send me your location!” I shouted over the phone. She knew exactly what I meant. I had her coordinates within minutes, complete with a link to Google Maps.

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My mother’s text message to me with her location information.

It took us twenty minutes to get to her and, thankfully, a tow truck and the California Highway Patrol were already with her when we arrived. As my husband drove us home in silence, I could only think about how thankful I was that we were able to get to her so quickly. We had used our smartphones to fill in the blanks where our brains — effectively stunned by the emotion of the situation — could not. This very simple smartphone trick kept our family connected in a time of relative crisis.

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What a smashed 18-year-old car looks like.

How to keep loved ones privy to your whereabouts

Google Maps offers a helpful new location sharing feature that keeps whoever you want privy to your whereabouts. If you’ve updated the app recently, you’ll see an option in the menu to share your location. Tap it, and you can choose which friends and family members with Google accounts to share your location with.

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Look for this feature next time you open up Google Maps.

Why not also rely on Google Maps to keep me informed of whether my family is doing okay?

I’d understand if you wouldn’t want to broadcast your location to everyone at all times, but surely there’s one person who wouldn’t mind tuning into your whereabouts from time to time — at the very least to ensure you’re safe. At present, I’ve only shared my location with my husband, but I plan to teach both my parents how to turn on this ability on their respective devices over Easter weekend so that I can keep track of them. I certainly hope something like this doesn’t happen again anytime soon, but I want us to be prepared in the event of another emergency.

I often hear lamenting from smartphone users about how location services are such a battery suck, and I don’t deny that’s an unfortunate setback of having the ability always turned on. But I’m already relying on Google Maps throughout the day to get me to wear I’m going. Why not also rely on it to keep me informed of whether my family is doing okay?

15
Apr

The Morning After: Weekend Edition


Hey, good morning! You look fabulous.

Welcome to the weekend! We have news on the Microsoft Windows zero-days that weren’t, and a teaser trailer for the next Star Wars movie.

Watch this first, then come backThe first trailer for ‘Star Wars: The Last Jedi’ is here

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As part of the annual Star Wars Celebration event, Disney showed off its first trailer for the next movie in the series. Star Wars: The Last Jedi will pick up right where Episode VII left off when it premieres in theaters December 15th.

Twist ending.What do you call a zero-day hack that’s already patched?

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Yesterday, the world of infosec turned upside down when “The Shadow Brokers” — a group claiming to have stolen gear from an NSA operation — released information including tools for hacking many versions of Windows (and details on an allegedly-targeted Middle Eastern bank). Early Saturday morning, things took another turn when Microsoft responded, noting that of the tools released, other than the ones that targeted already-obsolete versions of its OS, every vulnerability mentioned is addressed by an existing patch.

Since four of the vulnerabilities were fixed at once just a month ago it appears that Microsoft got an inside tip about the leak. Whatever happened, the company isn’t saying, and conspicuously failed to credit a source for that particular vulnerability in its patch notes. As for end users, all you need to know for now is that if you’re running Windows 7 or later and have the current updates, then you don’t have to fear these attacks.

You know you want to.Live your Kamehameha-blasting dream with ‘Dragon Ball Z’ VR

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The bad news: It’s only available in Japan.

Swipe right to get in the friend zone (intentionally)The Hey Vina! App is like Tinder for BFFs

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Making friends as an adult can be difficult, but maybe an app can fix that. Hey Vina! started as a monthly “Ladies Who Vino” meetup before turning into a service that takes the mechanics of Tinder and applies them to women looking for a new BFF or two.

Mark your calendarA ‘brand new’ Google Earth will arrive April 18th

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“Just in time for Earth day,” Google promises a new experience for Google Earth. Since it’s 2017 we’ll assume that includes some kind of VR hook, but we’ll have to wait until Tuesday to know for sure.

Treat yourselfEngadget Buyer’s Guide update

Our Buyer’s Guide has received one of its regular refreshes and is ready to give advice on your next electronics purchase. Whatever excuse you need to engage in some casual consumerism, we can provide reasoning for it.

But wait, there’s more…

  • ‘Planet Earth II’ on 4K Blu-ray will make you want a new TV
  • One word: teledildonics
  • The Engadget Podcast Ep 36
  • The time for Uber leadership to step down is long overdue
  • Here are the Nintendo Switch games on deck for 2017
  • Details on Microsoft’s Project Scorpio dev kit

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.

15
Apr

Uber saw rapid growth in 2016, but it still bled cash


Uber has revealed part of its financials for the first time, perhaps in effort to distract you from all the controversies it’s involved with. The privately held ride-hailing company, which isn’t required to publicize its earnings, has told Bloomberg that its sales growth is outpacing losses. Its gross bookings (or how much it collects from drivers) in 2016 apparently amounted to $20 billion, which is double the total from the year before. The company took home around $6.5 billion from that amount after adjustments.

That’s not bad at all, except its net losses for the year were $2.8 billion, excluding the $1 billion it lost in 2016 from its failed venture in China. Add those two figures, and its net revenue doesn’t sound that impressive anymore. MarketWatch even pointed out that Uber would’ve been one of the top 10 biggest money losers in 2016 if it were public.

While the company didn’t give Bloomberg a detailed picture of its earnings, it told the publication that its gross bookings for the last three months of 2016 were 28 percent higher than the previous quarter’s. As a result, its revenue ($2.9 billion) was 74 percent higher. Unfortunately, the last quarter of 2016 followed its earnings’ overall trend for the year, and the losses for that period were 6.1 percent higher at $991 million. As Columbia University business professor Evan Rawley told Bloomberg: “That’s a lot of cash to burn in a quarter.”

Further, its $6.5 billion net revenue might not even be accurate, considering it doesn’t account for employees’ stock compensation, some real estate investments, car purchases and a few other expenses. Uber also considers the entire amount of UberPool fares as revenue, including the part taken by drivers. For normal Uber rides, it only counts its portion of the fare.

Money, however, isn’t Uber’s sole or biggest problem. It has to deal with the fallout from various issues, including the sexual harassment allegation by a former engineer who said Uber’s HR repeatedly ignored her complaints. Uber is also embroiled in a court battle against Alphabet after the tech titan sued the company for stealing its self-driving technology. Plus, reports that it employs sleazy business practices recently came to light. It apparently uses a tool called Greyball to prevent local authorities from grabbing a ride and ran a program called Hell to spy on Lyft’s drivers for two years.

Source: Bloomberg

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