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15
Dec

Your 2017 Xbox One playing stats are likely nowhere close to Major Nelson’s


Want to see a nifty trick with your Xbox One console? Microsoft is now providing owners with a cool, personalized look at their gaming habits of 2017, specifically from the first day of 2017 to Halloween. It’s not exactly a “gaming year” given it doesn’t cover a full 12 months, and apparently omits two of the most-played months in the year: November and December (the holidays!). Still, it’s neat information nonetheless.

By heading here and logging into your Microsoft account, you’ll see a dollar bill-style page displaying your ten-month stats. Slapped in the middle is your Xbox avatar surrounded by your current Gamescore total (bottom), and the points you earned during 2017 (top).

To the left of your avatar, Microsoft lists your five most-played games, your total number of achievements, and the highest achievement in your most-played game. To the right, you’ll find your most-played genres by the hour (RPG, Action Adventure, Shooter, etc), your most-played month, and the number of friends you have (if any).

Scroll down, and you’ll find another section called “You And The Community.” Here you will see the number of achievements and Gamescores earned in your region during 2017 versus what gamers landed globally for the year. Here’s what the data reveals for 2017:

North America
Global
Gamerscore:
33,157,400,629
62,803,602,648
Achievements:
1,685,369,873
3,226,848,458

The data goes on to compare your rank versus your region, with this writer landing in the top 13 percent of the region’s Gamerscore, the top 10 percent of its achievements, and the top 33 percent of all hours played. Other information includes your total hours played, the region’s average for hours played (219 hours), and the world’s hours played average (191 hours).

Admittingly, this author could have contributed more hours to the national pool were it not for a great number of awesome PC games released in 2017, and the Nintendo Switch (cough Zelda cough). If anything, all this data serves as fuel for Xbox One owners to re-double their efforts for 2018 to increase their regional Gamerscores, achievement numbers, and hours played.

At the same time, the existence of these numbers is slightly creepy. Microsoft is keeping track of what games Xbox One owners are playing, the overall amount of time spent, the time spent in each genre, and the exact month gamers are playing the most. We already knew Microsoft collects this data (to some degree), but the Year In Review statistics is a stark reminder of that information gathering.

The Xbox One saw huge releases in 2017, including Resident Evil 7: Biohazard, Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus, Mass Effect: Andromeda, Star Wars Battlefront II, Prey, Assassin’s Creed: Origins, Destiny 2, and more. Unfortunately, none of these were nominated as 2017’s Game of the Year, which The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild for the Nintendo Switch grabbed without much effort.

Finally, if you’re feeling the social vibe, you can share your 2017 stats on Facebook and Twitter. Larry “Major Nelson” Hryb posted his results on Twitter, revealing a 5,701 Gamerscore for 2017, and a huge 101,765 Gamerscore to date. If you thought a 30,000 Gamerscore total was a major accomplishment, Hyrb definitely has you beat. So does Raymond Cox.

Editors’ Recommendations

  • Unbeknownst to most fans, chips embedded in footballs help NFL gather more stats
  • 2018 Jaguar F-Type 400 Sport first drive review
  • Do you really want Alexa buying your socks? Why voice assistants suck at shopping
  • Ball ’til you fall (asleep) with ESPN Plus, a stand-alone streaming service
  • Fill those stockings! Xbox One owners can now gift their favorite games




15
Dec

The official YouTube VR app is here … with mixed results


Closing in on two years since the release of the two big mainstream virtual reality headsets on PC, Google has released an official YouTube VR application. As much as this is a welcome addition to the existing methods of viewing 3D and 360-degree YouTube videos in a VR headset though, early reviews suggest it still needs a lot of work.

Ever since the first developer kit VR headsets were released by Oculus, one of the more common activities people have been keen to do in VR is watch videos on impossibly enormous screens in bizarre places, YouTube videos included. There are a ton of apps that let you do that today and considering the response to Google’s attempt to officially support VR through a YouTube app, they may be the better alternative.

Available now on Steam, it is fair to highlight that the YouTube VR app is in Early Access. It supports traditional 2D videos, as well as 180 degree and 3D 360 videos, giving users access to a near-infinite amount of content — some of it better suited than others to viewing in virtual reality. That is where the compliments end, though.

Unlike most VR games, the minimum specifications for using the YouTube VR app are actually higher than that of the headsets themselves. You need an Nvidia GTX 980 or AMD R9 Fury to run the app, according to the Steam listing and even then, there are problems. Highlighted issues by early reviews include a lack of dual-controller support, the controller is only invisible when held in an unnatural vertical position, and the controls are said to be finicky and require too much precision.

Oculus Rift owners also report that the controller shown in VR is a Vive wand regardless of headset, there is a lack of quality control settings on all platforms, and the search bar is difficult to use.

This is all somewhat of a surprise to most users, as Google has been behind some of the most well-received VR experiences and applications, like TiltBrush and Google Earth VR. It’s also at the forefront of hardware development with its Daydream platform and yet to quote one reviewer, YouTube VR feels like it was “created by someone, who does not use VR on a regular basis.”

For a better alternative to watching YouTube videos in VR, BigScreen is one of the most well-loved. For a look at some of our favorite VR apps, check out the list here.

Editors’ Recommendations

  • Oculus Rift vs. Oculus Go — is it still better to be tethered to a PC?
  • Google Daydream View 2 vs. Oculus Go — which will be the better VR experience?
  • Google Daydream View (2017) review
  • Windows Mixed Reality news: Here’s everything you need to know
  • Everything we know about the Oculus Go virtual reality headset




15
Dec

For only $2.75 a month you can use NordVPN to secure your browser’s connection


Security is important.

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Have you ever stopped to think about how much of your day you spend connecting to networks that aren’t your own? Whether you’re working at a Starbucks, trying to finish something up at the airport before your flight, or sitting in the public library, odds are you’re connected to a network that isn’t the most secure without even thinking about it. Daily we do things like accessing our bank account, pay bills, send personal emails, and much more, all while not knowing if someone is tracking these moves and getting ready to steal your information.

Sounds a bit scary, huh? Well, personal information is something that should be kept personal, and luckily there are some easy ways to protect yourself. Odds are, by now you’ve heard of Virtual Proxy Networks, or VPNs, but you may be wondering why you would want to invest in one, right? Some of them can be a bit expensive, and others are unusually cheap, leaving you wondering which to end up with. NordVPN is one of the many great services out there (it’s on our list of favorites), and right now you can grab a three-year subscription to it for just $99.

If you could protect yourself, and the information on your computer, from unprotected networks for just $2.75 a month, would you be interested? You should be! NordVPN offers double data encryption, which encrypts your data twice (and is the only company offering it), fast speeds, a strict no logs policy, automatic kill switch in case your VPN session drops off, and much more. The company has server locations in 57 different countries and covers every continent except for Antartica (because penguins don’t browse the web!). Don’t take our word for it, though. Check out this great review from the folks at Windows Central.

Purchasing a three-year subscription to the service scores you the discounted $2.75 a month rate, which equals a $99 one-time payment. You may be worried about investing in something you’ve never used before, but don’t worry. NordVPN offers a 30-day money back guarantee, so there is no risk in trying its service. You won’t know if a VPN works for you until you give it a shot. Here is a way to try it without worrying about losing a boatload of cash, and if you like it then you score a sweet deal on the next two years of protection!

See at NordVPN

15
Dec

Facebook now lets you snooze annoying posts from your friends for 30 days


Also works with Pages and groups.

Facebook is one of the best ways for staying in touch with friends and family members, but as anyone who jumps on the service from time to time knows, there are always those people that don’t know when to stop posting. Whether they’re re-sharing countless videos or refuse to keep quiet during an election season, Facebook’s got your back with a new snooze option.

facebook-snooze.jpg?itok=CfDn0U34

If there’s a friend, group, or Page that you’re getting too many posts from in your timeline, you can now tap the three dots near the top right of any of their posts, and choose “Snooze [name] for 30 days.”

You’ll still be friends with that person or be a part of that group or Page, but any content they post won’t show up in your timeline. Posts from these snoozed subjects will show up once again after those 30 days have passed, but if you decide you want to keep the silence coming, you can just snooze one of their posts after 30 days like you did before.

Facebook is rolling out the snooze option now, and based on my experience with the service, I’m sure a lot of you will find a good use for this.

Facebook Messenger now supports sharing of 4K pictures

15
Dec

Zooper Widget is no longer in the Google Play Store


Both Zooper Widget Free and Pro are nowhere to be found.

Widgets are one of the best ways to customize and make the most of your Android homes screen, and while there are a lot of applications that come with bundled widgets, there are also ones that are made solely for creating widgets for making your setup look as fresh as can be.

zooper-widget.jpg?itok=miYi7U1M

Zooper Widget has long been one of the most popular widget creation apps on the Google Play Store, but for whatever reason, both the Free and Pro versions are no longer available.

Zooper Widget first debuted around three years ago, and during that time, the Free variant accumulated over one million downloads while its Pro cousin got over 100,000. The only other big app from Zooper Widget developer MYCOLORSCREEN is Themer, but neither it or the now deceased Zooper have received updates in years.

It’s currently unclear why Zooper has been removed, but if you’re now at a loss for what to do with your home screen customization, KWGT appears to be the best alternative. This is sad news for sure as a previous user of Zooper Widget, but just looking briefly at KWGT, it appears to have a much better design and is actually being updated on a regular basis.

RIP, Zooper ❤️

15
Dec

How to set up the Navigation Dock on the Huawei Mate 10 Pro


huawei-mate-10-pro-navigation-dock.jpg?i

This is one of the Mate 10 Pro’s best features. Here’s how it works.

The Huawei Mate 10 Pro is a big phone with a large 6-inch screen, so why not take advantage of that entire display? With EMUI 8.0 on the Mate 10 Pro, Huawei has included a new feature called the navigation dock, a free-floating, moveable translucent button that goes anywhere you want it to. Its intuitive set of gestures recreate the standard back/home/multitasking dynamic of a traditional Android phone without tethering you to the bottom of the display. Here’s how it works.

How to enable the navigation bar on the Huawei Mate 10 Pro

On the home screen, swipe down on the navigation bar.
Tap the menu button (cog icon).

Scroll down and tap Smart assistance.

huawei-mate-10-pro-navigation-1.jpg?itok

Tap System navigation.
Tap Navigation dock.
Enable Navigation dock.
Once enabled, cycle through the various commands.

  • The actual navigation dock can be moved around the screen. Tap and hold to move it around.
  • Touch once to go to the previous screen.
  • Hold for a moment on the navigation dock to return to the home screen.
  • This is the hardest one: hold & slide to activate multitasking menu.

huawei-mate-10-pro-navigation-2.jpg?itok

How to hide the navigation bar when navigation dock is enabled

On the home screen, swipe down on the navigation bar.
Tap the menu button (cog icon).

Scroll down and tap Smart assistance.

huawei-mate-10-pro-navigation-1.jpg?itok

Tap System navigation.
Tap Navigation bar settings.
Disable Navigation bar,

  • This doesn’t eliminate the navigation bar completely, but hides it until you swipe up from the bottom of the screen.
  • This should be used alongside the navigation dock (above).

huawei-mate-10-pro-navigation-3.jpg?itok

That’s it! The beauty behind this system is its flexibility: it allows you to put the static home screen navigation buttons practically anywhere on the screen, opening up the entire 6-inch display of the Mate 10 Pro to whatever you want, from productivity to creativity to movies. It takes a bit of getting used to, but the navigation dock feels like second nature after a few minutes.

Huawei Mate 10

  • Huawei Mate 10 Pro review
  • Huawei Mate 10 series specs
  • Huawei Mate 10 Pro U.S. review: Close to greatness
  • Join the discussion in the forums
  • More on 2016’s Mate 9

15
Dec

Watch free HD TV with this $10 25-mile AmazonBasics antenna


For all you cord-cutters out there.

This AmazonBasics Ultra Thin 25-mile indoor TV antenna is only $9.98 on Amazon. Over the last six months it has sold as high as $13 with occasional drops. This deal is about 70 cents above the lowest price ever.

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Because of the limited range on this antenna, this is not going to serve you well in a rural place. You’ll get a lot more out of it if you live in a downtown, urban environment. Features include:

  • 25 Mile range to access from broadcast tower; receives free HD channels including ABC, CBS, NBC, PBS, Fox, Univision and more
  • Reversible with black or white sides to match your home’s decoration; antenna can be painted over to achieve a more personal touch
  • Supports 1080 HD and includes 6 foot coaxial cable
  • Multi-Directional and Reversible: No “pointing” needed

This antenna has 3.6 stars based on more than 2,000 reviews.

See on Amazon

15
Dec

It’s time to hang your Black Friday TV using one of these discounted wall mounts


From the floor to the wall!

Now that you have the TV you bought on Black Friday in your home and set up, it’s time to consider mounting it on the wall. In the past, wall mounts could run you hundreds of dollars, but luckily that isn’t the case anymore. Right now you can take your pick between two great AmazonBasics wall mounts, with prices starting at just $13.98. You can opt for a standard tilting mount that keeps it flush to the wall and allows for a little angle, or you can go with the full motion mount to be able to pull it away from the wall or mount it into a corner.

wallmount-6ot8.jpg?itok=ut02o_tL

  • Tilting AmazonBasics Wall Mount (37 to 80-inch TV) – $13.98 (Was $19.99)
  • Full Motion Articulating Wall Mount (22 to 55-inch TV) – $16.77 (Was $24.99)

You can’t go wrong with either option. Be sure to pick the one that works best for your preferences, and of course double check that it is for the correct size TV that you have.

15
Dec

Best Gifts to Experience Virtual Reality


playstation_vr_-_project_morpheus_mockup

Invite someone to step into a new reality for a while.

There’s nothing wrong with a good old fashioned escape. Some people use books, some binge watch all of Westworld in an afternoon, and of course we all know someone who gets sucked into a game for a while. The key to any good escape is feeling immersed in the world you’re gazing into, and that’s one of the things you’ll find is much easier to do inside virtual reality.

This past year has been filled with all sorts of VR headsets, and choosing which headset is right for you has become a challenge. It’s even more complicated if you’re interested in giving VR as a gift. This guide will make that a little easier, ultimately making it so you can give the best possible gift this year!

Samsung Gear VR — For the Samsung Fan

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Do you have someone in your life who is always ready to jump on the next Samsung phone? Someone who sees Lil’ Jon pouring champagne on his phone and says “Why not me?” while checking to see how long they have to wait for their next upgrade? There’s a good chance you’d make their whole year with a Gear VR headset.

Check out our Samsung Gear VR Review!

This VR headset was built specifically for top-of-the-line Samsung phones. When the phone is snapped into the headset, it turns into a full VR experience. You’ll find a great assortment of games, apps, and tons of video to watch. It’s like taking your living room with you everywhere, and when it’s paired with the right gamepad that headset turns into a killer gaming experience.

See on Amazon

Google Daydream — For anyone who loves to share

russell-daydream-2017-controller.jpg?ito

Not all VR headsets require complicated PC setups. In fact, if you know someone with a Google Pixel 2 or a Note 8, they already have almost everything they need to have a great VR experience that travels with them! The only thing missing is Google’s Daydream View headset, which also happens to make a fantastic gift.

Check out our Google Daydream Review!

Daydream View comes in three great colors, and includes a controller that makes every VR experience feel totally unique. It allows the user to move their hand around in the real world and see that controller move in VR, so they can solve puzzles and move around with surprising realism. Just don’t let anyone accidentally walk into any walls, and it’s a great time that can easily be shared with friends no matter where you are!

See on the Google Store

PlayStation VR — For the gamers

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Know someone with a PlayStation 4? There’s a good chance you’d make their year by adding a PlayStation 4 to their gaming experience. Sony made this VR headset just for feeling like you are actually in the game, and there’s a ton of amazing games ready for the gamer in your life to dive into.

Check out our PlayStation VR Review!

PlayStation VR requires you to have a little bit of space to move around in, so make sure whoever you’re gifting to has a sizeable living room or game space that will let them dodge flying objects in VR without accidentally taking out the corner lamp. Otherwise, for $300 you can sit back and watch as your gift becomes a whole new way to experience games!

See at Amazon

Update December 2017: This post has been updated with all the latest VR excitement!

15
Dec

Facebook tests option to bypass profiles and only post to News Feed


Facebook appears to be testing different options for how users share posts. The Next Web’s Matt Navarra tweeted tests of two new ways to post content that let you bypass posting to your profile.

In one image shared by Navarra, a status update asks if you want it to show on your profile. If you don’t select that option, the post would just show up in News Feed. In a second image, there’s an option to share to News Feed and/or Facebook Stories and not a user’s profile.

Facebook tests posting only to profile or to News Feed to spur more sharing https://t.co/WoR8zAjq51 pic.twitter.com/unRpH1ZpKB

— Matt Navarra (@MattNavarra) December 15, 2017

Facebook is also testing a new option to share a new post ONLY to News Feed and/or Stories (not your profile)

h/t @AlHasanps pic.twitter.com/hcIruuvwsF

— Matt Navarra (@MattNavarra) December 15, 2017

Allowing users to choose where their posts show up could lead to more overall sharing and Facebook has been working on a couple of other features that could help improve the user experience. Today, Facebook launched its “snooze” feature that lets you temporarily mute friends, groups or Pages for 30 days and in October it was reported that the company was testing a split News Feed that separates Page-generated posts from ads and content shared by friends. Facebook also recently launched a polling feature and is currently testing a “breaking news” tag for developing stories.

We’ve reached out to Facebook for more information about the sharing options being tested and we’ll update this post when we learn more.

Via: Mashable

Source: Matt Navarra (1), (2)

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