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21
Sep

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


Everyone likes Apple 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. 

ChainWise

Choose your favorite restaurants and then quickly find them nearby or in any city. ChainWise is perfect for traveling or just choosing a restaurant near home.

Available on:

iOS

Storm It

Storm is a simple app that allows you to add or collect your ideas and thoughts and share them as a tweetstorm on Twitter.
So if you have thoughts and comments that are just too long for the 140-character limit, this is the app for you.

Available on:

iOS

Cheerleader

Get the positivity flowing! Procrastination begone. We all need that little boost to get through our day. With Cheerleader, you will have your own cheerful, miniature promoter.

Available on:

iOS

RadOnc Reference

This is the first comprehensive iPhone reference application for Radiation Oncologists. This project is intended to be a collaborative effort. Feedback and suggestions from the RadOnc community will directly inform new development efforts.

Available on:

iOS

Blue

Blue provides 36-hour weather forecasts relevant to your location in a fast and fun interface. Swipe up to see each hour represented in a beautiful gradient visual—whether in Fiji, or just at work.

Available on:

iOS

InstaWeb

InstaWeb is a powerful tool for iPhone and iPad to convert any website to PDF very quickly and easily. InstaWeb also features a clutter remover to create clean and ready-to-read PDFs.

Available on:

iOS




21
Sep

Budweiser and Lyft want you to get home safely for free


Why it matters to you

Be responsible about having fun and take a free ride home courtesy of Lyft and Budweiser.

Getting home this weekend is about to get a lot easier, and it’s thanks to a surprising source. While Budweiser isn’t generally in the business of making you a more responsible driver (quite the opposite, in fact), the beer maker is now ensuring that you can have your fun while being safe. For the second year in a row, Budweiser and Lyft are teaming up to stand against drunk driving by giving you a free ride home.

The two companies are offering up to 150,000 total round-trip rides starting today and lasting through the end of the year. So even if you don’t have a designated driver, you can still rest assured that you’re not putting anyone in danger when you make your way home at the end of the night.

Beginning today, September 21, Budweiser will broadcast a unique ride code on its Facebook and Instagram pages, which individuals over the age of 21 can use on rides between the hours of 5 p.m. and 5 a.m. on Thursday, Friday, or Saturday night. Last year, Lyft and Budweiser only offered a one-way ride, but following the huge success of the pilot program, this year’s iteration will now include your trip to the party and back (for $10 each). Moreover, the offer will be made available in a total of 10 states: Washington D.C., New York, Colorado, Illinois, Florida, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, Missouri, Texas, and Georgia.

Last year, 35,000 folks across six states took advantage of the program, and the companies hope that 2017 will be an even more resounding success in keeping drunk drivers off the road.

“We are proud to continue our partnership with Lyft to implement evidence-based solutions that can have a real impact on reducing drunk driving,” said Katja Zastrow, vice president of corporate social responsibility at Anheuser-Busch, in a statement. “Making it home safe at the end of the night starts with getting a ride at the beginning of the night, so we want to encourage people to plan ahead.”

So go ahead and have your fun. And when you’re ready to call it a night, call your Lyft and make sure that you (and those around you) are still around to do it all over again the next week.




21
Sep

LG’s cool, flexible OLED lamp works like one massive OLED pixel


Why it matters to you

Thin, flexible, long-lasting lights provide amazing opportunities for cool lamp designs.

LG Display is already well-known for its OLED screens, seen on some of the most stunning televisions around, and on the new LG V30 smartphone. However, it’s also utilising OLED in lighting, and the unusual lamp light you see here basically operates like a single OLED pixel ripped from your OLED screen, and then enlarged many times over. The result is a lamp that provides a beautiful soft light in a flexible style, that will last for years and years.

This isn’t the first OLED lamp LG has promoted. The last came from LG Electronics in 2014, a basic concept of a potential consumer product. Now, it’s LG Display — which sells components and hardware to other manufacturers, while LG Electronics sells products to you and me — that’s taken charge of the project. During these last few years, the technology behind the OLED lamp has evolved considerably. It started out being made using a second generation production process, and is now made on more efficient fifth generation production lines.

The super thin OLED panel is covered in plastic, so it’s very flexible. LG Display’s making three different light panels. A square version, and two oblong versions with different lengths. The wattage is higher than the earlier 2014 version, and the lifetime of the light has been extended. LG Display showed the lights at the London DesignJunction show, and told Digital Trends the oblong versions should return between 30,000 and 40,000 hours before the light deteriorates to the point where it can’t be used. That’s more than 13 years used for ten hours a day, everyday. Realistically, the driver unit will stop working before the light does.

Like other LED lights, the color temperature can be adjusted to suit the environment, time of day, or use. The flexibility also offers plenty of creative opportunities for design. It’s not just in the home we’ll likely see these lights either. LG Display is working with car manufacturers to incorporate red and amber versions into tail lamps.

LG Display isn’t responsible for getting these lights on sale, and while early examples of consumer products are out there to buy now, the fifth generation OLED lights seen here will be ready for full production early next year.




21
Sep

Best smart lights for Amazon Alexa


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Which smart lights are the best if you’re rolling with Amazon Alexa? It’s a trick question. All of them are great. (OK, some are better than others.)

We’re starting to get to the point where smart lights are a dime a dozen. OK, they’re not anywhere near that cheap yet. But prices are continuing to drop. And perhaps more important is that they basically all work with Amazon Alexa — and that means if you have the Echo or Echo Dot or Echo Show or any offshoots, you’re good to go. And they all generally work the same. Hook in whatever you account you have with an Alexa Skill, and you’re up and running.

Commands are generally the same. Grouping lights into rooms is generally the same. The future, boys and girls, is pretty much here. Or something.

The real question, then, is which one should you get? We’ve got a new few favorites, and one old favorite.

Philips Hue

philips-hue-white-color.jpg?itok=kZ8O3A4Look, there’s a reason these things are so popular. They just work. And they work very, very well. And it’s not like there’s just one kind of Philips Hue light. There are all sorts of them.

Start with the standard A19 bulb. (That’s your regular sort of lightbulb shape, for those of you who don’t commit such things to memory. You’re forgiven.) In fact, start with a couple of them. And you’ll need a hub, too. So in that case, start with one of the Philips Hue starter packs.

And then prepare for the fact that you’ll be buying many, many more. The color bulbs are a lot of fun, as are the Bloom accent lights. Or a spotlight. Or my personal favorite, the bendable light strip, which looks great when tucked behind a TV.

The only real issue here is that you’re going to get addicted really fast. (And also that it means you’ll have one more hub to plug into your router.)

See at Amazon

Eufy Lumos Smart Bulb-Tunable White

eufy-lumos.jpg?itok=H3TDTm2uStick with me here. … Anker is the company that makes all sorts of mobile accessories. And it has an offshoot called Eufy that’s looking to take over your home. There’s the Amazon Echo Dot clone, and now they’ve got (relatively) inexpensive smart bulbs. There’s the “Tunable White” — a 9-watt bulb that ranges in temperature from 2700K-6500K for about $25 each — and the plain white, which runs about $16 each.

The really cool thing here (in addition to the color of the bulb itself) is that these don’t require a central hub. Instead you’ll set it up (like all things Eufy) through the Eufy Home app on Android (or on iOS).

And, of course, these will work just fine with Amazon Alexa. And the Eufy Genie.

See at Amazon

TP-Link Smart LED Light Bulb

tplink.jpg?itok=oaltEzz1TP-Link is best known for its routers. But, yes, the’ve got smart LEDs, too. They’re a little more expensive than Eufy’s offerings, but they’ve got a larger range.

You can go with a basic dimmable white bulb for $20. Or a tunable white bulb (that is, you can dial in different temperatures) for $30, or a multicolor light for $40.

These’ll work with Amazon Alexa as well as with Google Home via Google Assistant.

See at Amazon

21
Sep

NVIDIA announces Shield Android TV without game controller for $179, shipping Oct 18


If you don’t need accessories, you won’t want to pay for them.

In order to keep things fresh in an increasingly competitive set top box market, NVIDIA is announcing a new version of its Shield Android TV that drops the price by $20 to just $179. The casualty in the process is the controller, meaning this version comes with just the TV-style remote for those less interested in playing games but want to enjoy the Shield Android TV’s serious power and 4K HDR support.

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It may not seem like a great deal to skip out on a full-featured controller just to save just $20, but if you weren’t ever going to use the controller in the first place, there’s no reason to overpay for that extra hardware. At the same time, getting the Shield Android TV’s starting price down to $179 a handful of months after launch is good as new Fire TVs, Rokus and Apple TVs hit the market.

Pre-orders for the new Shield Android TV with just a remote will be available over at NVIDIA’s online store, with a shipping date of October 18. NVIDIA is saying that this particular configuration will also be available at other retailers before that date, so you can keep an eye on Amazon, Best Buy and others if you prefer those stores.

See at NVIDIA

NVIDIA Shield Android TV

  • Read our Shield Android TV review
  • The latest Shield Android TV news
  • Shield vs. Shield Pro: Which should I buy?
  • Join the forum discussion
  • Complete Shield Android TV specs

Amazon

21
Sep

Bose QC 35 II with Google Assistant are now available for $350


The first headphones with Google Assistant built-in are now available.

In the year or so since launching, Google Assistant has come to more and more form factors. Starting with the Pixel phones and Google Home, Assistant has expanded to most Android-powered devices. Starting today, the service will be available on headphones as well.

QuietComfort_35_wireless_headphones_II_-

Bose says that the the QC 35 II headphones are now available to purchase. These are mostly the same as last year’s highly praised QC 35’s, with mostly the same button layout, same (glorious) Active Noise Cancellation (ANC), and same basic construction. The one addition is a button on the back of the left earcup, specifically to trigger Google Assistant.

The headphones will still be reliant on whatever phone they are connected to, as Assistant on the headphones will only be used for speeding up voice processing and delivering notifications. The Assistant button can be remapped to toggle different ANC settings for those who don’t care for having an assistant on their headphones. According to Bose, these will get the same 20 hours of battery life as the first generation QC 35’s, so it seems like Google Assistant doesn’t impact battery life. Finally, these are not the same headphones as the rumored pair that are likely to be announced at Google’s October 4 event.

Are you interested in the Bose QC 35’s II? Let us know down below!

Buy at Bose!

21
Sep

What’s the difference between Tango and ARCore?


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Google has one Augmented Reality platform, but it comes in two great flavors.

Techies have been getting very excited about Augmented Reality over the last year, from discussions surrounding why Pokémon Go continues to be so popular to the recent excitement developers have drummed up with Apple’s ARKit platform. Naturally, Google fans look at something like ARKit almost mockingly. These demonstrations pale in comparison to Tango, the fully spatially aware platform from Google’s [x] division. And yet, after the launch of Android Oreo this year, Google surprised a lot of people with the launch of ARCore as a new kind of Augmented Reality experience.

On the surface, ARCore and Tango feel like entirely unique approaches to augmented reality. But if you take a closer look with us, you’ll see these two things are part of the same larger system Google has been working on for years.

Demystifying Tango

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Where most think about Augmented Reality as a way to add information to the real world, Tango takes a step back and asks what the computer needs to do this more effectively first. The answer, essentially, is to provide the computer with a lot more information about the world around it. Tango phones accomplish this by adding multiple specialized cameras to help create a more complete picture.

When you use the camera on the back of your phone, you see the same flat 2D image every other phone produces. When asking a Tango app to scan the room, it uses a fisheye lens to warp the world into something closer to what a person could see and uses infrared to help scan all of the different surfaces to create a map. Combine this with accelerometers and gyroscopes in the phone, and you have something capable of understanding it position in a room in a way your average phone can not do.

There really aren’t that many great apps for Tango that people are going to want to use every day.

What does this mean for Augmented Reality? It depends on the developer. NASA has been working with Google on making its SPHERES system more capable on the International Space Station. With Tango sensors, these satellites can travel the entire station instead of just the areas currently equipped with Infrared sensors for tracking. Some museums have been using Tango for guided tours as well, because Tango allows the phones to guide people up and down steps without special hardware mounted in the museum or QRCodes all over the place.

This all sounds great, but there’s a great big hitch in this plan. There really aren’t that many great apps for Tango that people are going to want to use every day. You can create a map of the Wi-Fi strength throughout your house, and you can put an AR Spider-Man next to someone for a photo, but there’s not much in the Google Play Store that pushes the limits of what Tango is capable of. Considering Tango has been available to consumers for over a year now, that’s a problem. Even with the Lenovo PHAB 2 Pro aimed at businesses and the ASUS ZenFone AR offering Daydream support as well, it’s not easy to convince developers there’s a lot of money to be made making Tango apps right now.

The ARCore Puzzle Piece

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Instead of needing specialized hardware for super accurate Augmented Reality, which raises the cost of the phone, what if you could use already existing Android phones for simpler forms of AR? That’s the whole point behind ARKit. It removes the hardware component, but uses a lot of the Tango smarts to make these simpler AR constructs look and feel more realistic. The big benefit here is it runs on millions of Android phones, which is a huge deal compared to the existing number of Tango users.

It’s difficult to look at Google announcing ARCore as anything other than a knee-jerk reaction to Apple announcing ARKit, but the overall strategy here is important. Google has been using parts of Tango for months in another project, Daydream Standalone. Google’s “Visual Positioning System” that was announced alongside this new Daydream system has its roots in Tango.

ARCore and Tango are parts of the same plan for Google, and that’s an important thing to keep in mind.

The ability to move around an AR object without it moving around, and the ability to adjust how that thing is lit compared to everything else in the room, is a big part of how Tango helps ARCore stand apart from ARKit. But the Tango parts are only part of the story. Google is also pushing AR-ready web browsers as the next phase of this experiment, so you don’t have to install apps to see an AR object.

Right now, getting someone to use AR means having them install a new app and learn how to use it. Considering half of all Smartphone owners install an average of 1.5 apps per month, it’s a much better idea to get someone to use something they already have installed for a new AR experience. If the next big update to Chrome lets you tap on an event and have turn-by-turn navigation to your friends at that event just appear on your screen, you’re way more likely to use and enjoy it.

The overall goal of ARCore is the same as ARKit, to become something everyone can use so many more data points can be collected all at once. Google wants this information to make the entire portfolio of things that come from Tango to be more accurate and useful, which is good for everyone.

Choice is important

ARCore and Tango are parts of the same plan for Google, and that’s an important thing to keep in mind. There are more Tango phones coming, and ARCore is never going to be as capable as Tango because the physical hardware is an important part of how that technology works. But it’s also true that no one is using Tango right now, and ARCore opens up a lot of developers to the possibility of pushing the envelope and seeing just how far they can go with Augmented Reality when moving from ARCore to Tango.

Even though the first public Tango phone has been around for a while, the Tango ecosystem is still very new. Tango apps are going to be quickly outnumbered by ARCore apps, but the most capable experiences are still going to happen with these hardware-enabled phones. It doesn’t mean we’re going to see a Pixel with Tango sensors anytime soon, but it does mean Google’s plans for Augmented Reality are taking shape in a lot of different ways over the next year.

21
Sep

This is the time to start your own media server with Synology DiskStations dropping in price


Synology is discounting at least four different models of very popular DiskStations.

A whole bunch of Synology network-attached storage devices are on sale right now, and there’s a wide range of features and prices based on what you need to start your own media server.

  • Synology DiskStation DS216j 2-bay network-attached storage device is down to $149.99 on Amazon. That’s a $20 drop from its regular price and a match for its lowest price on Amazon.
  • Synology DiskStation 2-bay DS216+II for $259.99. That’s a drop of $40 from its street price. This is an upgrade over the above model because it adds on-the-fly transcoding.
  • Synology DiskStation DS916+ 2GB 4-Bay NAS Enclosure for $499. This is a $50 discount and this NAS adds two more bays and another gigabyte of RAM over the previous models. This price is matched on Amazon but the shipping is delayed.
  • Synology DS916+ 8GB 4-bay enclosure for $549 at B&H. This is a new sales price from Synology and you can find it at a couple other retailers, too, like Newegg and Jet. This is the ultimate pick-up for people who just want to go all-in on a great media server.

synology-2bay-ds216j-diskstation.jpg?ito

NAS systems let you create your own media server at home. If you have a lot of digital music and movies, you can use a NAS like this one to put all those files in a central location and access it from any system in your home. It’s also a good thing to have for small businesses where multiple people might need access to the same files. And this one is perfect because it’s smart enough and powerful enough to let you do all that without breaking the bank in the process.

All of Synology’s DiskStations come with a two-year warranty.

You’ll need to fill those bays with something! Get WD Red 2TB hard drives for $85 each.

See at Amazon

More from Thrifter:

  • 8 weird things you probably have in your house that sell on eBay
  • How to save money when driving

For more great deals be sure to check out our friends at Thrifter now!

21
Sep

Samsung Gear Sport vs. Gear S3: What’s the difference?


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The wearable landscape is heading toward fitness, and there are plenty of choices.

Samsung offers a nice three-pronged approach to wearables, starting at the bottom with the fitness-driven Gear Fit 2 Pro, notching up to the fence-sitting Gear Sport and impressing at the top with the all-around performer Gear S3. For someone who wants comprehensive fitness tracking but also a bigger screen that can handle more traditional smartwatch functions, they will instantly narrow down to just the Gear Sport and the larger Gear S3.

So which of these two Tizen-powered smartwatches is right for you? We’re here to lay out the details and help you decide.

What’s the same

Despite a few spec and size differences, Samsung uses the same software and interface paradigm across its Gear S2, Gear Sport, and Gear S3. It’s the same Tizen OS we’ve been using for a couple of years now, with an emphasis on maximizing its circular interface and rotating bezel (plus a couple side buttons) for navigation.

Both watches offer you the same apps, core software capabilities, connection to your phone directly via Bluetooth or remotely via Wi-Fi, and some standalone features. They have the same 768MB of RAM, 4GB of storage, and a 1GHz processor inside. The screen resolution between the two is even the same, 360×360, though the diameter is different.

The core specs, experience, and even design, is shared between these two.

As you can see in the photos, the Gear Sport very much feels like a shrunken version of the Gear S3 Frontier. There isn’t a “Classic” version of the Gear Sport, but if you compare directly to the Frontier, you get most of the same design cues. The gunmetal exterior and combination of a couple different textures looks good, and the rotating bezel remains with a slightly different knurl to it.

Even though the Gear Sport is smaller and therefore has a smaller battery, Samsung’s battery claims remain consistent with the Gear S3. That’s thanks to a smaller screen size, and it’s great to see that you can use either one for a couple solid days without rushing for the charger. With simple use and turning off always-on watch faces, you could stretch that out for three whole days on either one.

What’s different

The differences between these two smartwatches effectively come down to size. The Gear Sport, as its name implies, is more focused on being a fitness tracker and therefore had to shrink down in size to keep from being cumbersome. Compared to the Gear S3 Frontier, the Gear Sport is 3mm narrower, 4.5mm shorter, 1.3mm thinner and 12g lighter (sans strap). Talking about millimeters and grams doesn’t seem like much, but not a watch it makes a big difference: the Gear Sport stays closer to your wrist and isn’t as likely to get in your way when you’re on a run or hitting the gym. It also has more heavy-duty water resistance, staying safe up to 5 ATM, with included swim tracking if that’s your exercise of choice.

It really comes down to overall size and some relatively fringe features.

Being an overall smaller watch, the Gear Sport also uses a smaller watch band attachment. It will still let you use any standard watch bands you’d like, but you’ll need to shop for 20 mm straps rather than the 22 mm you can currently find for the Gear S3. Outside of the dozens Samsung will make available designed to specifically match the Gear Sport, you should have no trouble finding other great-looking bands from retailers like Amazon

In that smaller package, the Gear Sport misses out on a few hardware features you can find on the Gear S3. It notably offers Samsung Pay, but only via NFC and not the neat MST technology that enables payments at any swipe-style card terminal. It doesn’t have any LTE option, so you’ll be on Bluetooth or Wi-Fi only. It has a smaller screen, 1.2-inches instead of 1.3, and a corresponding smaller battery.

Which should you buy?

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Unfortunately the Gear Sport isn’t yet on sale, and we don’t have a specific date for its release — we’re only working on the information that it will be available in plenty of time for the holidays. And naturally that means we also don’t have a price yet. That, of course, makes this whole decision difficult.

The Gear Sport offers the same core experience in a smaller package at a lower price.

No matter what the price ends up being, we can make a safe bet that it’ll be less than the Gear S3 — which currently sits at $349. Retailers mark it down a bit here and there, but the Gear Sport should still come in comfortably under it at the $249-299 range if we had to guess.

For less money, in the Gear Sport you’re getting the same core software experience as its larger sibling surrounded by a smaller casing that’s easier to exercise with but also simply more compatible with a wider range of wrist sizes. It lacks a few extra features like full Samsung Pay support, LTE connectivity and a larger display, but that’s probably a worthwhile trade-off for many people.

The Gear S3 Frontier and Classic will still stand as the top-tier options for people who are less focused on fitness but would prefer to have something big and even more capable on their wrist. If you’re going to spend more time moving through on-watch apps and managing dozens of notifications rather than tracking a gym workout, the Gear S3 may be worth the extra money.

21
Sep

Hololens is helping Ford designers prototype cars quicker


When Google released Glass Enterprise, it took a consumer-oriented product written off as privacy-invading nonsense and made it incredibly useful for businesses. Microsoft is effectively doing the same with its $3,000, not-yet-for-consumers Hololens by introducing it to designers who find that price a relative bargain. Take Ford, which has been testing Hololens over the last year to help stylists and engineers visualize and test products, considerably shortening the design phase.

Ford normally builds clay vehicle models at full scale, but has to re-sculpt them if a design doesn’t work out. Hololens can blend 3D holograms with real cars or models, letting designers test numerous designs in near real-time. At the same time, engineers can incorporate the physics and check to see how new features perform. Much of this can be done on a computer, of course, but the advantage of Hololens is seeing the designs in stereoscopic 3D from all angles on a real vehicle.

In one case, Ford said that it used to take weeks to perfect a grille design, but “Hololens allows designers and engineers to explore a variety of different iterations in a matter of hours.” In another, stylists played with external mirror models to get a pleasing design nearly in real-time. “At the same time, engineers can see through the headsets what drivers see when they look through the mirrors,” said Systems Engineering VP Jim Holland in a Medium post.

Another advantage is collaboration, as multiple Hololens users can see the same thing and share voice and written notes around the world. “If HoloLens can help us test ideas without worrying about the cost of expensive clay models or prototypes, then we can liberate teams to be as creative as possible,” says Holland.

These novel business applications could still end up benefiting gamers, content creators and others. By commercializing it for enterprises first (and making money) Microsoft and Google can develop and perfect the tech. Once it’s robust enough, it might finally give us the real-world, FPS monster-blasting games we’ve dreamed of and not just VFX fake-up jobs.

Source: Ford, Microsoft

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