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12
Jul

Apple Releases Safari Technology Preview 35 With Bug Fixes and Performance Improvements


Apple today released a new update for Safari Technology Preview, the experimental browser Apple first introduced more than a year ago in March of 2016. Apple designed the Safari Technology Preview to test features that may be introduced into future release versions of Safari.

Safari Technology Preview release 35 includes fixes and improvements for Media, Web Inspector, JavaScript, Accessibility, WebAssembly, WebCrypto, Web APIs, and CSS. Today’s update also includes two performance-related bug fixes for MotionMark Suites and Speedometer.

With Safari 11 now available to developers through the macOS High Sierra beta, Apple is providing two versions of Safari Technology Preview, one for macOS Sierra users and one for those using macOS High Sierra.

The Safari Technology Preview update is available through the Software Update mechanism in the Mac App Store to anyone who has downloaded the browser. Full release notes for the update are available on the Safari Technology Preview website.

Apple’s aim with Safari Technology Preview is to gather feedback from developers and users on its browser development process. Safari Technology Preview can run side-by-side with the existing Safari browser and while designed for developers, it does not require a developer account to download.

Tag: Safari Technology Preview
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12
Jul

Apple Releases Second iOS 11 Public Beta to Beta Testing Group


Apple today released the second public beta of iOS 11 to its public beta testing group, allowing non-developers to download and test the new operating system ahead of its fall launch. The second public beta of iOS 11 comes a little over two weeks after Apple released the first public beta and it corresponds to the third developer beta that was released earlier this week.

Beta testers who have signed up for Apple’s beta testing program will receive the iOS 11 beta update over-the-air after installing the proper certificate on an iOS device.

Those who want to join the beta testing program can sign up on Apple’s beta testing website, which gives users access to iOS, macOS, and tvOS betas. Step-by-step instructions for downloading installing the public beta can be found in our how to. Betas should only be installed on a secondary device as the software is not stable and can include many bugs.

iOS 11 introduces subtle design changes to the operating system, including a new Lock screen experience and a customizable, redesigned Control Center. Siri is smarter, has a more natural voice, and can do more, Messages features person-to-person Apple Pay, Notes has searchable handwriting and document scanning, and Music lets you share playlists with your friends.

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A new Files app improves file management on iOS devices, and on the iPad, there’s a new Dock, an App Switcher, and support for Drag and Drop, all of which improves multitasking on the device. An entirely revamped App Store is coming in iOS 11, photos and videos take up less space, iMessages can be stored in iCloud, and developers are getting new tools like ARKit for creating impressive new augmented reality apps and games.

In the developer beta released this week, Apple introduced a handful of changes, including new TV Providers, new locations for the Files app, changes to the iPad App Switcher, and more. Details can be found in our beta 3 tidbits post and the video below.


For full details on all of the new features included in iOS 11, make sure to check out our iOS 11 roundup. Apple plans to release iOS 11 to the public in the fall following several months of testing and refinement.

Related Roundup: iOS 11
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12
Jul

Apple Seeds Second Public Beta of tvOS 11 to Public Beta Testers


Apple today seeded the second beta of an upcoming tvOS 11 update to its public beta testing group, two weeks after providing testers with the first beta. The tvOS 11 public beta marks the first time public beta testers have had access to pre-release tvOS software.

Prior to tvOS 11, public betas were limited to iOS and macOS software likely due to the slightly more complicated tvOS beta installation process, but now public beta testers can access all software platforms with the exception of watchOS.

The second public beta of tvOS 11, build number 15J5324f, corresponds to the third tvOS 11 update made available to developers.

The tvOS 11 public beta can be obtained by going to the Settings app on the Apple TV and navigating to the Software Updates section. “Get Public Beta Updates” will need to be toggled on, and once it is, the Apple TV will download the beta software.

Compared to iOS 11, macOS High Sierra, and watchOS 4, tvOS 11 is a minor update that brings few changes to the tvOS operating system. It’s minor enough that it received no time on stage at the Worldwide Developers Conference aside from a mention of an Amazon Prime Video app coming to the Apple TV this fall.

According to Apple’s release notes, tvOS 11 introduces automatic light/dark appearance switching based on local time, Home screen syncing options for syncing content between two or more Apple TVs in a household, new background modes and notification support, plus new tools for developers and improvements to Mobile Device Management.

Additional tvOS 11 features may be unveiled ahead of the operating system’s public release, which is expected in the fall alongside other software updates.

Related Roundups: Apple TV, tvOS 10
Buyer’s Guide: Apple TV (Don’t Buy)
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12
Jul

How to connect your Xbox 360 controller to a PC


Typical keyboard and mouse got you down, PC gamer? No worries — these days, you can use just about any gaming controller on your computer. Even older controllers (like the one that came with your Xbox 360 and is now gathering dust) are compatible, so long as you’ve got the relevant hardware and a few minutes to spare. Learning how to connect an Xbox 360 controller to a PC might sound intimidating, but the process is actually pretty simple.

Whether you’ve got a wireless or wired controller, functionality is identical — though many players insist that a wired controller is a must, since there’s basically no input lag. Either way, we’ve got you covered below. In case you’ve got a different controller, here are our guides to connect them with PCs:

  • How to connect a PS3 controller to a PC
  • How to connect a PS4 controller to a PC
  • How to connect an Xbox One controller to a PC

Plug in your wireless receiver

This section only applies to those with wireless controllers. If you’ve got a wired Xbox 360 controller, skip straight to Install software.

For those of you that own wireless Xbox 360 controllers, connecting to a PC isn’t as straight forward as simply plugging the device in. First off, you’ll need to purchase a capable receiver, then run the proper setup wizard.

If you don’t already have a receiver, they typically cost between $10 and $20. The official Microsoft version will cost a bit more than that, but there are many third-party versions available that work perfectly well.

After purchasing the wireless receiver, connect it to a compatible USB port on your computer (see Figure A below). Once plugged in, a green light will appear on the receiver indicating the device is working properly.

In some cases, the Add New Hardware Wizard may start automatically once you’ve plugged the wireless gaming receiver in. If this is the case, you’re set — just follow the steps. If not, proceed to Install software to learn how to download the required software using an installation CD or via Microsoft’s online repository of drivers.

Install software

In order for the wireless gaming receiver and the wireless Xbox 360 controller to properly sync with one another, users must download the necessary software via Microsoft’s website, or the bundled installation disc packaged with their receiver.

If you have the aforementioned installation CD (probably not, but it’s possible), insert it into your PC’s main optical drive and follow the on-screen wizard. You may need to restart your computer.

For those without the installation CD, you can easily access the software download online by visiting Microsoft’s website and navigating to the Software Downloads section. Once there, scroll down to the Gaming drivers section. If you’re using a wireless controller, select the Xbox 360 Wireless Controller for Windows link; if wired, select Xbox 360 Controller for Windows instead. Choose which version of Microsoft Windows you’re using — the Windows 7 drivers will work for Windows 8 and Windows 10 — select the operating system language, and click Download.

Once the download screen pops up, hit Run and allow the Xbox 360 Accessories Setup program to install the required files. Again, you may be required to restart your computer upon completion of the install.

Syncing the controller

If you’re using a wired controller, just plug it in. You’re good to go. Scroll down to Testing the Controller to make sure everything is working correctly.

If not, you’ll need to connect the wireless Xbox 360 controller with the receiver plugged into your computer. To do so, first turn on the controller by holding down the Xbox Guide button in the center of the controller, and wait for the green backlight to turn on. Afterward, press the connect button on top of the wireless receiver (figure B) until it begins to flash green, then press the corresponding button on your controller (figure C).

The pairing process should only take a few seconds, after which the light on the receiver will return to solid green and one of the four corners around the controller’s Guide button will light up (figure D). If you’re still having issues, check Microsoft’s support page for more help.

Testing the controller

Once the necessary software is installed and the controller plugged in or synced, it’s time to test the connection. Open the Start menu on your PC, open the Run utility, and type “joy.cpl” in the entry field before clicking OK. Next, select the controller and click Properties.

Now, press the controller’s buttons, pull the triggers, and move the joysticks to ensure the controller is functioning properly. If it is, you’ll see the correlating action highlighted in the application. Don’t worry about which area is lighting up — as long as the system recognizes each button, you’re good. If the application does not recognize the controller, you can troubleshoot via Xbox’s support website.

Congratulations! You’re now all set to use your Xbox 360 controller with your PC. Happy gaming!




12
Jul

Protect your Google phone with one of the best Pixel XL cases


With unparalleled Android integration, an excellent camera, and your own artificially intelligent assistant built-in, Google’s Pixel phones are tempting. The larger sibling offers a sharper display and a bigger battery, which makes it even more attractive if you can stomach the higher price tag. However, big phones can be hard to handle. Aluminum and glass is a slippery combination and it’s not known for its durability. The smart play is to invest in one of the best Google Pixel XL cases before an accident happens.

The cases below are designed specifically for the XL. If you have Google’s smaller handset, then you’ll want to check out the best Google Pixel cases instead. We’ve also put together a roundup of Google Pixel tips and tricks, which is applicable to both phones.

UAG Composite Case ($30)

There’s no need to panic when your Pixel XL slips from your grasp if it’s wearing this rugged UAG case. Fully drop tested, this blend of hard and soft cushions your phone, providing your device with ample protection. The case utilizes a shock-absorbent core wrapped in a translucent shell, one outfitted with additional skid pads, corner protection, and side grips. It’s rather bulky, but it doesn’t interfere with NFC, so you can still use Android Pay when you forget your wallet. There are also tactile button covers and accurate cut-outs, which leave enough room for most headphones and charging cables.

Buy one now from:

Amazon

Supcase Unicorn Beetle Case ($13)

If you’re interested in 360-degree protection but you’re working with a limited budget, then this angular offering from Supcase might be the answer. It employs a typical mix of hard polycarbonate and shock-absorbent TPU. There are also openings for easy access to your phone’s fingerprint sensor, ports, and camera. A built-in lip and screen protector work to guard the 5.5-inch display on your Pixel XL, and there’s also a clear panel on the back to show off Google’s design. We’re not keen on the fact the button covers are flush on the side, but they are textured, so you can find them without looking.

Buy one now from:

Amazon

Seidio Dilex Kryptek Case ($55)

Seidio has been churning out solid cases with kickstands and holsters for years now, but they’re typically limited to a few solid colors. Thankfully, the latest Seidio offerings come in black, blue, and red, along with several unique patterns. The case itself is solid, with an interior that’s designed to dissipate shock and a hard shell on the outside that comes with a soft-touch finish. The built-in kickstand is magnetic, too, so it stays out of the way until you need it. If you don’t want the holster, you can also get the case for $10 less.

Buy one now from:

Amazon

Caseology Vault Series Case ($12)

There are lots of TPU shell cases on the market. They provide a decent level of protection, for a reasonable price, in a flexible package that’s easy to fit and comfortable to use. Caseology stands out because of the stylistic flourishes, so in this Vault Series case we have a brushed metallic finish on the back and a carbon fiber highlight around the camera. The cut-outs are generous and accurate, the button covers work well, and there’s a lip around the display.

Buy one now from:

Amazon

Olixar Ultra-Thin Gel Case ($7.50)

This is one of the most basic Pixel XL cases we’ve seen. It’s a thin, transparent layer that’s really flexible. It has openings for all your Pixel XL’s features and functions and very slim button covers. There’s a slight lip around the front to help protect the screen. It should guard against scuffs and scratches, without cramping your phone’s style too much, but it’s not going to offer real drop protection.

Buy one now from:

Mobile Fun

Krusell Malmo Folio Case ($32)

If you prefer a wallet case, then you might like this one. It’s finished with a durable, textured plastic material with cut-outs for the camera and speaker. Open it up and you’ll find a transparent, flexible shell to slot your Pixel Xl into. It has well-defined button covers and openings for everything. The inside of the cover is very soft and there’s a single slot for an ID or credit card, though you could probably get a couple in there if you had to.

Buy one now from:

Mobile Fun

Carved Wood Case ($24+)

You’ll find a wonderful selection of wood cases for your Pixel XL at Carved. You can opt for plain finishes in mahogany, redwood, or another wood, but the engraved and printed cases are well worth the extra money. You’ll find lots of different designs from talented artists. The case itself is flexible rubber with ridged sides for extra grip. It’s pretty thin, and there are accurate cut-outs for everything.

Buy one now from:

Amazon Carved

Poetic Affinity Series Case ($10)

Here’s a cheap, protective case with an interesting dual material design. The main body is clear, hard polycarbonate, but there’s TPU inside to dissipate shock and a TPU exoskeleton in black to provide some drop protection at the corners where you need it most. The button covers and cut-outs are all present and correct, and there’s a raised bezel around the screen. The only drawback is that the polycarbonate scuffs easily, but the frame should protect it most of the time, just don’t put it in your pocket with keys.

Buy one now from:

Amazon

OtterBox Commuter Series Case ($20)

If you want good protection against falls, bumps, and shock, then OtterBox is usually a safe bet. Since the Google Pixel XL is already a big phone, you might prefer to opt for the Commuter Series case over the bulky Defender. It still provides two layers of protection, port covers to keep dust out, and a raised edge around the screen. You’ll find the chunky button covers easy to use and the openings are accurate to prevent any obstruction of the camera, fingerprint sensor, and other features. It’s only available in black right now.

Buy one now from:

Verizon Otterbox

12
Jul

Research suggests glasses-free 3D videos could be coming soon to home TVs


Why it matters to you

Ditch those paper glasses — and still get loads of 3D content — thanks to a new program that converts existing videos to a format compatible with glasses-free TVs.

Third-dimensional movies could soon be venturing outside the theaters — and ditching those red and blue paper glasses too. New research out of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL), published on July 12, devises a way to watch 3D movies at home, without the need for glasses. Called Home3D, the new platform converts existing stereoscopic 3D movies by using artificial intelligence, rather than using a new camera system for natively recording the content.

The 3D glasses correct a pair of offset, polarized images to create a sense of depth. Home 3D, however, uses what’s called an automultiscopic display. The display is actually three (or more) images, but those images are presented in a slightly offset way that looks different when the screen is viewed from different angles. That allows the brain to see a coherent image with depth information, creating a 3D effect without the glasses.

Automultiscopic displays have already allowed for glasses-free TVs. While the display type recently introduced is promising, it requires creating a 3D video using 30 different cameras. The unusual format creates a sort of chicken-and-egg problem: Producers aren’t going to create this 30-camera content when no consumers actually own a automultiscopic TV, but no consumers are actually going to buy a automultiscopic TV when there’s no content being produced for it. Companies like Toshiba already have glasses-free displays on the market, but they’ve failed to grow in popularity because of limited content.

What the latest MIT/CSAIL research does is to create a way to convert existing, glasses-required 3D content into the proper format for automultiscopic displays (the study is based off a similar work that focused on glasses-free viewing at movie theaters last year). By converting content that already exists into the new glasses-free format, automultiscopic TVs could actually wind up in homes since it only requires some software to convert content to the new format. That’s why when YouTube announced a new 180-degree format, they launched a way to view the content and, with manufacturing partners, a way to create the content at the same time.

“Automultiscopic displays aren’t as popular as they could be because they can’t actually play the stereo formats that traditional 3D movies use in theaters,” said  Petr Kellnhofer, lead author on the Home3D research. “By converting existing 3D movies to this format, our system helps open the door to bringing 3D TVs into people’s homes.”

The MIT/CSAIL study isn’t the first to try computerized conversions to the new format, but reverses some of the current limitations. Phase-based rendering is a quick and accurate method for converting to the video type, but it can’t handle every type of 3D image. A technique called depth image-based rendering can handle those types of images, but is low-resolution and loses finer details like in transparent objects or motion blur.

The new software uses AI to mix the two conversion methods, creating a high-resolution 3D result without the glasses and without the limitations of earlier methods. The software can convert videos in real-time, running on a graphics processing unit (GPU), which means that the program could run off existing gaming devices like an Xbox or PlayStation, effectively mixing existing videos with existing hardware through software conversion. Future media players or smart automultiscopic TVs could integrate a GPU to enable the conversion as well, the research group says.

When Home3D-converted movies including The Avengers and Big Buck Bunny were presented to a study group, 60 percent of participants said the quality was better than existing 3D videos.

As we mentioned in our DT10 series on the future of the television, glasses-free 3D TVs will be a future technology manufacturers tap into, and this research backs up this trend. While the new method brings glasses-free home TVs closer to reality, the researchers say the current program does create some ghosting, or offset images, an issue the team plans to continue to refine through software.




12
Jul

Best iOS app deals of the day! 6 paid iPhone apps for free for a limited time


Everyone likes apps, but sometimes the best ones are a bit expensive. Now and then, developers put paid apps on sale for free for a limited time, but you have to snatch them up while you have the chance. Here are the latest and greatest iOS app deals available from the iOS App Store.

These apps normally cost money and this sale lasts for a limited time only. If you go to the App Store and it says the app costs money, that means the deal has expired and you will be charged. 

Mnemosyne

Mnemosyne generates passwords from a passphrase of your choice and a user name. Generated passwords are never stored to the device; they are recreated from the passphrase that you memorize and your user name.

Available on:

iOS

WikiLinks

WikiLinks is the most fun and powerful way to discover everything Wikipedia has to offer, in a multilingual and multimedia experience including an exclusive mind-map of your navigation, suggested YouTube videos, and more.

Available on:

iOS

Thunderspace 5K

During the day, Thunderspace won’t let you be distracted by all the noise around you. And at night, it will make you very sleepy. Do not use while operating a machine, vehicle, or star destroyer.

Available on:

iOS

Beginner Runner

Get off your couch and start your journey toward running your first 5K feeling strong, confident, and ready for the challenge, all with Beginner Runner.

Available on:

iOS

Simpler Pro

Simpler Pro is a completely redesigned contacts app that makes your address book light, smart, and user friendly. Back up everyone in your phone with just one tap.

Available on:

iOS

Cloud Hub

Cloud Hub is a simple documents reader and manager for the iOS platform. It allows you to download or upload files from clouds services like Box, Dropbox, OneDrive, Drive, and iCloud.

Available on:

iOS




12
Jul

VSCO sunglasses photo filters show your shots through Oakley-colored shades


Why it matters to you

Make your pics look like the view from a pair of Oakley sunglasses with the VSCO photo editing app’s new filters.

Mobile photo app VSCO is allowing mobile photographers to see the world through Oakley-colored sunglasses. On Tuesday, VSCO launched a partnership with Oakley to create sunglasses photo filters to match the eyewear brand’s Prizm lenses with enhanced clarity and contrast.

VSCO worked with Oakley to simulate the look of the brand’s lens technology digitally within a smartphone photo editing app. The three new filters are all designed after specific Prizm lenses, which are all created to enhance the view in certain scenarios. The Oak 1 filter is a universal filter that makes natural colors, including greens, more colorful. The Oak 2 is designed to bring out details on the road, including road signs and pavement, while Oak 3 is designed for keeping the details intact in snowy scenes with maxim clarity and a strong color tint.

“The VSCO x Oakley presets are great for all kinds of images,” said Gene Paek, vice president of marketing at VSCO, “but they are particularly designed to enhance landscape images and images of environments that Oakley’s Prizm technology is designed for (e.g., mountains and roads and streets).”

All three filters are designed to bring out details that might otherwise be overlooked by enhancing clarity, contrast, and color. The Prizm filters are free to download inside the VSCO app, but only for a limited time, the developer says.

“Oakley came to VSCO to connect with VSCO creators to produce content and develop a preset that would celebrate the Oakley Prizm campaign,” Paek explained. “As brands need increasingly more authentic content for their marketing campaigns, VSCO offers a way for brands to connect with creators who produce curated, storytelling content based off their campaign needs.”

Along with launching the new presets, the social side of VSCO’s app is celebrating the new one-tap edits with a #CantStop campaign that encourages athletes to share shots from their perspective.

VSCO, or Visual Supply Co., is the company behind the photo-editing app with the same name as well as downloadable Lightroom presets. Along with a wide range of filters, the app also includes advanced tools including shooting in RAW and split focus. The company says 70 percent of their users are active every day, making it one of the most active creative apps in the world.




12
Jul

Microsoft app uses AI to help visually impaired interact with the world


Why it matters to you

As artificial intelligence improves, there will be even greater potential for apps like Seeing AI to really make a difference for users with accessibility needs.

Microsoft is using artificial intelligence to tackle a huge problem — helping visually impaired users interact with the world around them. To that end, it has developed Seeing AI, an iPhone app that recognizes people, places, documents, currency, and more to narrate your surroundings.

Open the app and point your phone’s camera at a friend, and Seeing AI will tell you who you’re looking at and the expression on their face. Point it at a can of soup in the grocery store, and it will read off the brand as well as the directions. The app can also translate printed text to speech, whether it’s on a paper or a label on a door. It can even tell dollar bills apart from one and another.

Seeing AI isn’t only intended for your phone’s camera, either. You can import images to the app through iOS’ share menu, and it will describe the picture and read text if any is contained.

The app sports a few experimental features as well, though they require you to have a data connection to function. There’s a “scene” mode, which will literally describe your environment, rather than simply reading text. Another mode can decipher and read out handwriting.

One of the more impressive aspects of Seeing AI is that everything the app can do — outside of those last two features — is handled locally on the device. Most of the time, you’ll never need the cloud’s help to use Seeing AI, which is a massive benefit. Everyone expects to be able to connect to the internet wherever they go, but the reality is much spottier — so it’s reassuring to know Microsoft has planned for the inevitable.

Microsoft’s latest project comes at an interesting time for the company, just a day after it ended support for its Windows Phone 8.1 operating system. While Microsoft may have struggled in building its own mobile devices, it’s currently producing some of its most interesting, unique, and helpful apps for other platforms.

Seeing AI is debuting on iOS, and can be downloaded for free. Microsoft has not disclosed when or if Android users can expect the app.




12
Jul

Now there’s a KFC-branded Huawei smartphone


Limited edition Colonel phone to celebrate 30th anniversary in China.

KFC is celebrating its 30th anniversary in China, and that means one thing: Limited edition promotional products. Like this bright red Huawei smartphone bearing the face of Colonel Sanders.

kfc-phone.jpg?itok=mAib83Ec

As AdAge, KFC was among the first Western brands to arrive in China, and the inaugural year of 1987 is emblazoned alongside the image of the Colonel on the back of the handset.

Specs and price are unclear at the moment, and the phone doesn’t appear to directly match any Huawei phone we know. The nearest resemblance would perhaps be the Honor 8 Pro.

kfc-phone2.jpg?itok=RPjyV7ZV

The phone was announced by both brands at an event in China; news reports didn’t say how much it would cost or where it would be sold. KFC has a shop on e-commerce giant Alibaba Group’s TMall platform, where it already sells food deals that you can pick up in-store, so that might be a possible sales channel.

No word on whether the rear-mounted fingerprint scanner works with greasy, chicken-soaked fingers.

Update: The Verge is reporting that the KFC phone will feature a 5-inch screen, a Snapdragon 425 processor, 3GB of RAM, 32GB of storage plus microSD, and a 3,020mAh battery. Prices start at 1,099 RMB, a little under $162 at the current exchange rate.

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