Is it really Christmas until the music starts?
It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas, and you know what that means: break out the Christmas music!! There’s so much out there to listen to, but if you don’t have your own curated holiday mixtape, check out these public playlist on Google Play Music!
You gotta kick it off with the classics, and this aptly-named Holiday Party Playlist is a real “Now That’s What I Call Christmas Music”. From Andy Williams and Bing Crosby to Michael Buble and Lady Antebellum, this playlist will hype up your holiday cheer and your nostalgia. Break out the eggnog and double the bourbon!
Holiday Party Playlist by Michael Schultz
Holiday music isn’t just big band beauties and intimate piano ballads; there’s holiday music for each and every genre, but none will pep up a party quite like Holiday Soul Music. Otis Redding, Jackson 5, and Mary J Blige, this shuffle will bring some soul back to a sometimes soulless holiday bustle.
Holiday Soul Music by Jeremy Haney
This mix, simply titled Christmas, brings some new life to the classic Holiday fare with Glee, Pentatonix, and Leslie Odom Jr. alongside the standards. It’s got life and shine to it, and we could use some fresh energy this Christmas after a long, exhausting year.
Holiday by Anonymous
Happy Holidays is a shorter playlist, but it’s got the holiday spirit through and through. It’s a quick shot in the arm, just to pep you up as you try to navigate the ridiculously crowded stores, or rush to get your home presentable before company comes up. Keep it downloaded for the car while you’re stuck in traffic when everyone makes their mad dash home.
Happy Holidays by Tae M
There’s soul, there’s orchestra, there’s classical, and then there’s pop holiday music. Now, scoff if you must, but this station is perfect for those who roll their eyes when someone puts on Andy Williams’ Happy Holidays for the one billionth time, or folks who hear Mannheim Steamroller and get flashbacks to being snowed in with their parents and nothing to do during the holidays. This station has a couple of the more recent standards, such as Josh Groban’s Noel album and Michael Buble’s Christmas, and also features newer holiday albums from Sia, fun, Hansen, and Pentatonix.
This is the station to go to if you want holiday cheer without cliche.
All I Want For Christmas is Pop by Google Play Music
With so much holiday music out there, it’s easy for much of it to get lost, and while there are hundreds of holiday classics that we pull out every year, most of them are performed by male singers. That’s a shame because there are stunning holiday albums by female artists of every decade and style, and Google is showcasing them in their Ladies of Christmas radio station. From Eartha Kitt to Peggy Lee, from Idina Menzel to Kristin Chenoweth, this station is beautiful and bright.
Ladies of Christmas by Google Play Music
I’m huge on Christmas music, so it should come as no surprise that I’ve got a Christmas mixtape that can go for hours and hours. Unfortunately, some of my favorite tracks on here aren’t in the Play Music streaming library so they won’t come across, but I add to this mix every year and it never fails to get a smile on my face. There’s a little something for everyone, from cartoons to classics to carols old and new.
Because after all, we could all use A Little Holiday Cheer.
A Little Holiday Cheer by Ara Wagoner
Hey, good morning! You look fabulous.
Welcome to the weekend. If you’re still holiday shopping (or haven’t started yet), then this might be a good time to mention that Amazon extended its free shipping before Christmas deadline through today. Now, for this week’s news.
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We hope your last away message was a good one.
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Everyone drops their smartphone at some point. Even a recovered fumble triggers that unpleasant stomach lurch as visions of cracked and shattered screens run through your mind. Broken smartphone screens are the leading cause of smartphone failure and repairs can be eye-wateringly expensive – Apple charges $279 to replace the iPhone X screen, for example.
Thankfully, glass is getting tougher all the time, and one name that has become synonymous with that trend is Gorilla Glass. It has been a decade since Corning released the first version and Gorilla Glass has been used on more than 5 billion devices since then.
“The problem we set out to solve 10 years ago was to create a strengthened cover glass material that doesn’t scratch and doesn’t break,” John Bayne, vice president and general manager of Corning’s Gorilla Glass, told Digital Trends. “That’s the aspirational goal; it’s a goal we’re still focused on today, but we’ve made tremendous progress.”
Glass still breaks
Compared to the original Gorilla Glass, the most recent Gorilla Glass 5 is much stronger. If it was used in the same phone design, today’s version would allow you to drop the phone from four times higher without damage. In testing Gorilla Glass 5 survived face drops from between 1.6 and 1.8 meters, which Bayne calls “selfie height,” onto 180 grit sandpaper, which replicates asphalt and concrete.
Gorilla Glass 5 screen protectors in different thickness levels. Christian de Looper/Digital Trends
“Our epiphany 10 years ago was finding a way to strengthen glass by putting the surface in compression,” Bayne said.
Over the years, Corning has been able to apply higher and higher compression to protect against flaws, and if there are flaws to keep them from causing a break event. That’s good because smartphone manufacturers are employing more and more glass in the latest designs. Smartphone screens are getting bigger, frames are shrinking, and glass damage is a growing problem.
Sadly, we may not be feeling the full benefit of the improvements in strength precisely because of this shift in smartphone design. Many manufacturers want to make their devices thinner.
“They give back a little bit of the benefit of the glass by slimming it down,” Bayne explains. “It’s always a trade-off when we develop a new generation, does the phone maker want to use it all for damage resistance or do they want to use it to make a sleeker, sexier design?”
“Our epiphany 10 years ago was finding a way to strengthen glass by putting the surface in compression.”
While there’s cover glass used in smartphones is getting tougher all the time, scratches and breaks are still alarmingly common.
Solid statistics are hard to come by because we get our screens repaired in a host of different locations, from official manufacturer centers to independent repair shops. Some of us even repair them ourselves, but a surprising number of people just live with the damage.
A recent O2 survey in the U.K. found that half of all smartphone owners have damaged their screen at least once, 20 percent of Brits admitted to living with a cracked screen for more than six months, and 14 percent ended up with injuries caused by the cracked screen.
When Motorola introduced ShatterShield in 2015 it released similar survey results stating that 50 percent of people globally have experienced a cracked screen and 23 percent continued to use the phone with a broken screen.
“As good as glass is, it does still break,” Bayne said. “Glass breaks when two things happen, and this is consistent for any glass in the world throughout the history of time: There’s a flaw that’s introduced and that flaw is under tension – that’s how glass breaks.”
If you drop your phone and flip it over to find the glass intact, you count yourself lucky, but you may have already sowed the seeds of disaster. A drop onto asphalt could introduce a flaw you can’t see that leads to a break later. Keys in your pocket can also cause microscopic flaws that weaken the glass. When pressure hits, like a drop onto a hard surface, it seeks out those flaws and cracks or shatters the glass.
“We break thousands of phones in our lab intentionally to see how they break and study it,” Bayne said. “Because we have done glass for 165 years, and that’s basically what we do, we have the best glass scientists in the world here at Corning, and nobody knows more about strengthening cover glass than we do. Gorilla Glass today outperforms any other glass material you’re going to find by far.”
What about scratches?
A few years back there was talk of Apple employing sapphire glass instead of Gorilla Glass in the iPhone 6. Although sapphire offers greater scratch resistance, it’s more likely to break than Gorilla Glass when dropped. Apple stuck with Corning, but the argument about scratch versus drop damage resistance continues.
“Some things we do to the glass improve both drop and scratch resistance, but with other things you do have to make a trade-off,” Bayne said. “The number one pain point for consumers is still broken devices, so we have prioritized drop with recent generations of Gorilla Glass.”
You have this gorgeous, curved glass design that feels futuristic and the look is quickly spoiled by oily smudges.
The company does also produce Gorilla Glass SR+ which offers greater scratch resistance and is aimed primarily at the smartwatch market. It was used in the Samsung Gear S3 and Acer’s Leap Ware, and Corning continues to work with other manufacturers.
“It’s a composite material, so you get the damage resistance of Gorilla and you get scratch resistance very close to sapphire,” he said. “There are also some anti-reflective properties which manufacturers are very interested in.”
The challenge is the manufacturing process is a little more complex and so the cost of Gorilla Glass SR+ is higher. However, we may see it in smartphones in the future if Corning can drive that cost down.
Beyond cracks and scratches, there are some other issues with glass that can prove annoying. Anyone who owns a phone that has a glass front and back, whether it’s the LG V30, Galaxy S8, or the iPhone X, knows all about ugly fingerprints. You have this gorgeous, curved glass design that feels like the future and the look is quickly spoiled by oily smudges.
We’ve gotten used to carrying around a microfiber cloth to polish up our phones. Corning offers an “easy to clean” (ETC) coating, usually called an oleophobic coating.
“The material repels oil, so when you do take out that cloth the oil easily wipes out. The Holy Grail there is to make it so the oil never sticks to the phone,” Bayne said. “But an effective anti-fingerprint coating has proven incredibly elusive and challenging from a technical perspective.”
Unable to prevent the marks in the first place, there is another trick that can be employed to diminish how noticeable they are.
“You can use an anti-glare treatment we call satin on the back of a glass phone,” Bayne said. “But if you use an anti-glare treatment on the high-resolution displays we use today, you end up with phenomenon called sparkle.”
The anti-glare treatment diffuses the light, reducing the effect of it being bent by oil and glass, but with displays that have resolutions higher than 200 pixels per inch (ppi), it causes bright spots to appear.
Corning has also developed an anti-microbial coating.
“We put a chemical in the glass that actually kills microbes on the surface of the glass,” Bayne said. “We’ve gotten some interest from hospitals and public displays like ATMs.”
If you’re unsure whether it’s required for phones, consider that a University of Arizona study back in 2012 found cell phones carry 10 times more bacteria than most toilet seats. More recent research examining 27 mobile phones belonging to high school students found an average of more than 17,000 bacterial gene copies per phone.
Glass screen protectors are the way to go
Returning to damage resistance, Corning continues to focus on making Gorilla Glass stronger, but if you’re worried about drop damage or scratches, then consider cases and screen protectors.
“Plastic screen protectors scratch and they don’t protect the phone from a drop, but putting on a glass screen protector if you want added protection certainly makes sense,” Bayne said.
Despite its flaws, there’s no doubt glass will continue to be a popular choice for phone makers.
Unfortunately, there’s no way to repair scratched or cracked glass, so if you do have an accident, replacement is the only way to go.
For all its flaws, glass is a great material for smartphone manufacture. It’s transparent, has a good tactile feel, it’s chemically durable, it can be shaped, it allows for a strong signal and wireless charging, and it can be treated with all sorts of useful coatings. There’s no doubt it will continue to be a popular choice for phone makers.
“Manufacturers are pursuing sleeker, thinner, more elegant designs,” Bayne said. “They’re still demanding more damage resistance in the glass, so we’ll continue to prioritize drop and damage resistance.”
Gorilla Glass 6 is still a year or so away, but it’s sure to bring a new level of durability. We may never have truly unbreakable glass, because anything can be broken under enough force, but the day when we don’t have to panic about a drop from pocket height or while we’re taking a selfie is creeping closer.
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Deck the halls with stockings full of awesome knick-nacks. From tiny arcade games to swiss army knives, these are some of Team Thrifter’s favorite gifts under $20.
Anker PowerCore 5000mAh compact chargerThis power charger is so small it fits in your purse or pocket and you won’t notice it’s there until that fateful day your phone runs out of juice at the worst possible time and Anker saves the day.Amazon$17.99WishlistBoogie Board LCD writing tabletIt is essentially an Etch A Sketch for the 21st century. Write your note, draw your picture, hit the button to clear it, and start again.Amazon$15.99WishlistRoku Express media streaming deviceCable companies are happy to over charge you, but it’s time to leave that behind. This Roku streaming stick lets you avoid the ridiculous cable costs and still consume tons of great media.Amazon$24.59WishlistOontz Angle 3 portable speakerIt’s got Bluetooth, water-resistance, big bass… and it’s a triangle. What else do you want?Amazon$24.99WishlistUSB Reading LightYou never know when you’ll need a spare light, so why not grab one that plugs right into a USB port. They are more handy than you may expect.Amazon$11.00WishlistGlamspin Fidget Spinner Lip GlossThere are few things in the world better than fidget spinners and lip gloss. Combine the two into one gadget, and you’ve got something even more amazing.Saks Fifth Ave$10.00WishlistPopSocketsPhones have gotten bigger, but your hands may not have. Make holding your phone or tablet a bit more comfortable with these stylish accessories.Amazon or BBY$10.00WishlistPoo-Pourri Before-You-Go Toilet SprayYou poop. It’s ok, we all do it. Avoid the bad smells when out and about by using some Poo-Pouri before you handle your business.Amazon$4.99WishlistGoogle Cardboard VRWhy pay $300 on equipment for something you might not even like? Test out virtual reality without emptying your wallet with Google’s Cardboard VR headset.Amazon$15.00WishlistPaint Your Own iPhone CaseThis gift only works with the iPhone 6, but if you’re tired of sifting through hundreds of boring looking cases, you can paint your own custom design with this kit from the Museum of Modern Art.MoMA$12.00WishlistAdult Card Games: Drunk, Stoned, or StupidThis is an easy game where all you do is identify which of your friends is one of the three titular adjectives. Hopefully you’re at least two out of the three when you sit down to play.Amazon$16.00WishlistAdult Card Games: Exploding Kittens NSFW EditionWith artwork by The Oatmeal, this a card game about cute, cuddly kittens who want nothing more in life than to blow you to smithereens. Don’t let them.Amazon$15.99WishlistAdult Card Games: Cards Against HumanityThe classic game for inappropriate people. CaH usually likes to increase the price over the holidays and call it savings, but we think it’s worth it anyway because that’s just part of the charm.Amazon$25.00WishlistGrilled Cheese Toaster BagsLet’s face it. We all love grilled cheese, but who’s got time for an actual grill? No one. Make your grilled cheese the way mom intended – with these toaster-safe pouches.Uncommon Goods$9.99WishlistSpatty Daddy Last Drop SpatulaLook, you paid $300 for that bottle of perfume. You might as well get every cent’s worth out of it. The Spatty and Spatty Daddy ensure that you do.Amazon$19.99WishlistVictorinox Swiss army knife classicThis utility knife has seven different tools, stainless steel construction, and a lifetime warranty against defects thanks to Victorinox.Amazon$16.48WishlistMillenium Falcon Book LightI’m not entirely sure why a space ship has high beams, but now you can clip the Millenium Falcon to your book and use its lights to guide you through your favorite stories.Think Geek$7.99WishlistCapri Blue Volcano Printed Travel CandleFill your room with the smell of tropical fruits with this Volcano travel candle that burns for 40 hours.Amazon$14.50WishlistTiny Arcade GamesWhen you were little you had to stand on a stool to play these, but now you only have your giant fingers to blame when you die.Think Geek$19.99WishlistSuper Mario Odyssey Cappy HatIt might not have that Nintendo magic that lets you control dinosaurs, but it’s still a great gift for the Mario fan in your life.Think Geek$19.99Wishlist
Uber Eats only just turned two years old, but like other “gig economy” businesses, it’s facing scrutiny over how it classifies workers. In Europe, the company is partnering with Axa to offer couriers an insurance package that covers accidents, hospitalization, property damage and third-party injury across nine countries. Starting January 8th next year, the company says all couriers with an active account — even if they work for a third-party — will be covered, and Uber is paying for it. Filip Nuytemans, the Uber Eats general manager for Europe said in a statement that “Uber Eats couriers can now enjoy the freedom and flexibility of working on their own schedule with the peace of mind provided by additional security and protection.”
On its face, that’s a bit friendlier than Deliveroo’s offer in the UK, but it’s still not making everyone happy. Independent Workers of Great Britain union couriers and logistics secretary Jim Benfield told TechCrunch the move was a publicity stunt, and said that “The offer to cover hospital costs is also meaningless in the UK, where healthcare is free at the point of use. Furthermore, this health insurance will only cover medical costs when injuries are sustained while doing a delivery and doesn’t cover the endless hours couriers spend logged on to the app desperately waiting for jobs.”
Source: TechCrunch, Reuters
Now that PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds has launched in Early Access on Xbox One, its next milestone is an official retail release out of beta on the PC. That’s expected to happen next week, but players who can’t wait have a few new tweaks to try out on the 1.0 test servers, including a brand-new replay function. The option needs to be toggled on prior to the start of a match, but it records everything going on within 1km of the player.
That way, later you can fly through and see things you may have missed, or catch a replay from the angle of the people you were fighting, and there’s a list of battles to make hopping around easy. We’ve recently seen Overwatch add broadcast-friendly tweaks, and with such a streamer-focused game it’s no surprise that PUBG is going a similar route.
The other major change isn’t ready to test yet, but now that the game features a whopping two maps, the developer says it will give players the ability to choose which one they play on. The problem is this might fragment the player base, with six different options of how to play (1-, 2- or 4-player and in either third or first person perspective) spread across two maps, and it’s possible that first-person games could be shut down in some regions if there aren’t enough people to feed 100 players in each battle royale session.
Source: PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds (Steam)
Waymo’s lawsuit against Uber for allegedly stealing technology for self-driving cars hasn’t gone to trial yet, because the judge received a letter from the Department of Justice suggesting Uber withheld crucial evidence. That letter, with some redactions, is now available for all to read and it’s not good news for Uber. It was written by the attorney of a former employee, Richard Jacobs, and it contains claims that the company routinely tried to hack its competitors to gain an edge, used a team of spies to steal secrets or surveil political figures and even bugged meetings between transport regulators — with some of this information delivered directly to former CEO Travis Kalanick.
Alphabet’s self-driving arm Waymo is making the case that Anthony Levandowski created the autonomous trucking company Otto as a scheme to steal its trade secrets and sell them to Uber. In the letter, it says that members of the Uber SSG team Jacobs worked on traveled to Pittsburgh after it acquired the company to instruct Otto employees on how to use burner phones and ephemeral communications apps to avoid discovery in an expected lawsuit.
Jacobs has since testified that his attorney was mistaken about the allegations pertaining to Waymo, but now the case has been delayed until next year as a result of these claims unearthed during the ongoing criminal investigation. In a statement, Uber said “While we haven’t substantiated all the claims in this letter — and, importantly, any related to Waymo — our new leadership has made clear that going forward we will compete honestly and fairly, on the strength of our ideas and technology.”
Source: Documentcloud, Recode, Buzzfeed, Gizmodo
Chemotherapy has a lot of terrible side effects and that’s partly because the drugs being used to fight cancer also attack healthy cells. Figuring out a way to deliver drugs to tumors without affecting healthy tissue is a challenge and a problem that researchers are trying to solve. One group working on this problem, New Scientist reports, is a team at the Leibniz Institute for Solid State and Materials Research Dresden and in a recent study, they showed that sperm could be turned into an effective drug delivery tool.
Sperm offer quite a lot of benefits when it comes to delivering drugs. They’re naturally mobile, they can encase the drug so that it doesn’t get diluted by body fluids or leak out and they protect the drug from enzymes that can break them down. They also don’t cause immune responses like other other cell types — bacteria, for example — and they don’t duplicate and form unwanted colonies.
The researchers first showed that just soaking sperm in a drug, in this case a cancer treatment called doxorubicin, will allow sperm to take that drug up and store it inside of themselves. And when those drug-loaded sperm were turned on a type of experimental tumor, they caused a nearly 90 percent reduction in living cancer cells after just 72 hours. Further, the researchers attached tiny, iron-coated hats onto the sperm cells that allowed the cells to be guided by a magnet, which let the researchers control their direction and steer them to a tumor. When the cells bumped into the tumor, the prongs of the hat spread open, releasing the sperm and allowing it to penetrate the tumor. The researchers showed that the sperm were better at fighting the cancer cells than just soaking the tumor in the drug because the sperm could get inside of the cells and deliver the drug deeper than a drug bath could alone.
You can check out the little guys in action in the video below.
The findings are preliminary but promising. Going forward, the researchers need to figure out dosage levels and how to control them with the sperm. They also need to look into how many drug-loaded sperm are ideal, what happens to their little iron-coated steering caps and if they pose a problem to humans, and whether human sperm can do the job just as well as the bull sperm used in the study did. So there’s a ways to go before this can be used in humans, but using natural cells already optimized to travel through bodies and interact with human cells seems like a really good idea.
The study was recently published in ACS Nano.
Via: New Scientist
Source: ACS Nano
We were excited to hear that 2011 detective simulator L.A. Noire was headed to modern consoles and the HTC Vive for some VR action. The title received some visual upgrades, too, making the jump to PS4, Xbox One and the Switch a bit more graphically appealing. The Vive version is now available as a set of seven self-contained cases from the original game, remade for virtual reality and titled L.A. Noire: The VR Case Files.
Rockstar Games says that it picked the seven cases for “their suitability to the virtual reality experience.” The cases include Upon Reflection, Armed and Dangerous, Buyer Beware, The Consul’s Car, The Silk Stocking Murder, Reefer Madness, and A Different Kind of War. You can grab a copy of the VR title for $30 on Steam, Rockstar’s own game store, Warehouse, or via HTC’s storefront, Viveport.
Source: Rockstar Games
The holidays are just around the corner, which means that soon enough you’ll have a lot of down time to fill with your relatives. Rather than sit around silently watching football and browsing social media in a post-meal coma, why not bust out a smartphone group game? These multiplayer games are fun, interactive, and not nearly as time consuming to set up and play as traditional board games. Because let’s be honest, a three-hour game of Monopoly kind of sucks.
Here are seven of the best smartphone group games you’ll want to download and have ready for family time. Believe me, everyone will thank you.
Looking for a quick hit of entertainment in between dinner and dessert, or during commercials of the Christmas Story marathon? Heads Up packs a playful punch in those brief, idle moments. This charades-style game challenges players to guess as many words as possible from a themed deck of game cards. The guessing player holds their mobile phone to their forehead, and their friends act out the clues on screen.
The Heads Up library boasts more than 40 themed decks of game cards, including celebrities, movies, animals and more — so there’s something for everyone, and you’ll never run out of fun.
Cost: $1, plus $1 for each additional deck of game cards.
Time commitment: A single turn lasts one minute.
iTunes Google Play
It’s Cards Against Humanity meets Pictionary in Drawful 2. This multiplayer party game challenges players to draw weird and funny prompts that are delivered to their smartphones or tablets, such as “snakes on a plane” or “poop and pee.”
When your (likely-terrible) drawing comes up on the screen, the other players type what they think it is, and those guesses become the wrong answers. Then everyone tries to pick the real answer from all the guesses.
Time commitment: A group of five players can complete one full round in about 20 minutes.
Just Dance Now
If your family likes to get up to get down, Just Dance Now is likely your style. All you need is your smartphone and an internet-connected screen to start dancing to your favorite hits.
The Just Dance Now library boasts more than 300 songs, with new songs added every month. You can play with as many people as your space allows. And if you’re looking to work off some of that big holiday meal, the HealthKit feature tallies all the calories you burned.
Cost: Free to download. You purchase songs with Coins or buy a subscription package.
Time commitment: A few minutes per song.
iTunes Google Play
Evil Apples is Cards Against Humanity for mobile, so you’ll never have to lug around that big box of cards again. And with more than 4,000 answer cards and 800 question cards, the game will never get stale.
The rules for Evil Apples are the same as Cards Against Humanity: A question card is shown to all the players. Each player selects an answer card from their hand. A judge determines the best combination and awards a point to the winning player. The first player to get seven points wins the game.
Cost: Free to download, with additional in-app purchases.
Time commitment: One to two hours.
iTunes Google Play
The best way to spread Christmas cheer, is singing loud for all to hear. So why not belt your favorite carols with Sing! Karaoke? This app’s holiday playlist includes all your seasonal favorites, like “A Christmas Song.” And with pitch correction and a studio-finished sound, Nat King Cole would approve of your rendition of his classic tune.
Cost: Free to download, with various in-app purchases.
Time commitment: A few minutes per song.
iTunes Google Play
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