Skip to content

Archive for

19
Dec

AmpliFi’s new Teleport aims to warp you back home (review)


Home networking has come a long way in recent history with the addition of things like mesh networks; Ubiquiti’s AmpliFi has been right at the forefront of that development. In the past, we have reviewed the AmpliFi Router as well as the Amplifi Mesh Point. The most recent expansion of the AmpliFi line is a crowd-funded device they have dubbed Teleport.

The Teleport connects you to your home network no matter where you are, as long as you have access to an internet connection. What does this do? It allows you to access any devices on your internal, home network as well as skirt some of those pesky regional settings for services like Netflix, Hulu, HBO, etc. We will talk more about its advantages later.

Setup

The previous iterations of AmpliFi equipment have been minimal in their setup, well Teleport is no different. Step number one is to get your AmpliFi router set up. The review unit we were provided with came with a router but if you are already a follower and user of AmpliFi equipment then you can use your existing AmpliFi router, provided it is upgraded to the latest firmware

The next step is to synchronize the router and Teleport. This is done by first plugging in the teleport into a wall outlet. Once the light begins flashing in a circle connect to the Teleport’s default Wireless network with any wifi enabled device. Once connected, you will be asked to connect to a network, Connect the Teleport to the network that comes from your AmpliFi router. Once connected you will be asked to confirm the connection between the router and the Teleport (this will happen within the AmpliFi app so make sure you have it up on your phone).

The final step is to connect the teleport to a different wireless network (at a hotel, friends house, or wherever you may find yourself) and watch the connection to your home network appear before your eyes.

What does it all mean?

Put simply, the Teleport device is establishing a Point-to-Point connection from wherever you are to your home network. It is essentially the same tools that allow large corporations to have the same network across facilities in many states or even countries. The Teleport simply accomplishes this on a much smaller scale with less expensive hardware.

What does this mean for you? Technically speaking, you now have access to your entire home network. Anything you do on the internet will appear as though you are doing it from your home. Additionally, you will have access to any device or files that are on your local network (ie. security cameras, thermostats, network storage for videos or music).

Impressions

Being a self-proclaimed nerd, there have been many occasions where I have wanted an easy way to connect to my home network, to troubleshoot something for my wife while I was out of town, to access some local files on one of my computers, or just to get around those pesky site blockers at hotels — ughhhh, am I right?

There are, however, a few things that you need to keep in mind when using this device. Anything you do or stream from your home network is using your network’s upload speed. Many plans here in the US have much slower upload speeds than they do download speeds. This may affect the quality of your stream or interrupt something else that is happening on your network at the same time. It is also important to remember that the connection you are using for the Teleport needs to be fast enough to support what you are trying to accomplish.

My experience with the Teleport was an overall success. I was able to access devices on my local network and confirmed that the internet thought I was at home when using it. Pulling down images and streaming music off of my network storage was a breeze and played with no issues. I was even able to access the Hard Drive of my laptops at home and open any documents that were available there which could be nice for those who forgot to copy a document to their cloud drive before heading out to that meeting. Now, if we could just get AmpliFi to make use of that USB port in the back for network storage or network printing that would be awesome!

As of today, you can preorder your Teleport from the AmpliFi Store for $99 as a stand-alone unit or $229 for the router/Teleport combo.

Advertisements
19
Dec

Were AirPods on your holiday wish list? You might have to take them off


If you have yet to do your holiday shopping, you’re not exactly in the market for bad news about your gift lists. But please don’t shoot the messenger when we inform you that your shopping may be tougher than you thought, now that Apple’s AirPods are pretty much sold out.

Clearly a popular holiday item, the wireless ear buds from the iEmpire are reportedly no longer available at several major retailers, including Amazon, Best Buy, Target, and Walmart. Worst of all, it’s these retailers’ online inventories that appear to be depleted, so if you were hoping to do all of your shopping from the comfort of your own home … don’t hold your breath.

Although Apple’s AirPods certainly aren’t a new product (they’ve been around for over a year, ever since the company got rid of the headphone jack on its iPhones), they’re suddenly reaching a new high in terms of their popularity. Apple itself can’t seem to keep its earbuds in stock, and the company’s website currently notes that January 5 would be the soonest shipment date for them. And that’s no good if you’re attempting to get a gift in before Santa arrives.

But don’t get too nervous. If you’re willing to actually walk, bike, or drive out of your home, reports note that some brick and mortar locations are still carrying the accessory. Unsurprisingly, it’s the big cities like New York that appear to have inventory left in stock (in physical stores, that is).

There is one more option for folks desperate to get a pair before the weekend — Ebay is also selling (or perhaps reselling) the AirPods, but you’ll have to be prepared to pay quite the pretty penny. If you want to get them before January, you may be asked to pay somewhere in the $230 range, which is 44 percent more than you’d pay if you were willing to wait.

To be fair, this is actually par for the course when it comes to getting AirPods. Back in August, Apple CEO Tim Cook admitted that the headphones are often out of stock. “We have increased production capacity for AirPods and are working very hard to get them to customers as quickly as we can, but we are still not able to meet the strong level of demand,” he said. And this holiday season, that’s truer than ever.

Editors’ Recommendations

  • Google Pixel Buds vs AirPods: Two very different sets of Bluetooth earphones
  • Google Pixel Buds review
  • Apple AirPods review
  • You definitely don’t need this Jim Beam smart decanter. But you’ll want it
  • Easily settle your debts with these 11 money-transfer apps




19
Dec

Crazy-wide Samsung CHG90 curved display is the first DisplayHDR device


Although Samsung’s CHG90 curved display hit the streets in August, it now serves as the very first display that is officially certified as a DisplayHDR compliant product by the Video Electronics Standards Association. The non-profit organization developed the DisplayHDR standard earlier this year to establish requirements necessary to define the quality of high dynamic range levels in displays. The organization established three performance tiers: DisplayHDR 400, 600, and 1000.

In the case of Samsung’s CHG90, it’s a mid-level DisplayHDR certified device, aka DisplayHDR 600. Tiers are based on white level performance, black level performance, and color depth performance. You can see the numbers here, but according to Samsung, HDR technology was used to increase the display’s contrast to 3,000:1. The panel is also an “industry standard-setter” with its vibrant presentation and color accuracy.

Let’s take a look at the hardware:

Screen size:
49 inches
Display type:
Vertical alignment
Resolution:
3,840 x 1,080
Maximum refresh rate:
144Hz
Curvature:
1800R
Aspect ratio:
32:9
Brightness:
350 nits typical
250 nits minimum
Contrast ratio:
3,000:1 typical
2,400:1 minimal
Response time:
1ms
Color spaces:
sRGB 125 percent (120 percent minimal)
Adobe RGB 92 percent (88 percent minimal)
Color support:
1.07 billion colors
Color gamut:
NTSC 1978 88 percent (84 minimal)
GPU sync tech:
FreeSync 2
Ports:
2x HDMI
1x DisplayPort
1x Mini DisplayPort
1x 3.5mm Audio in
3x USB 3.1 Gen1
Price:
$1,300

As the specifications show, Samsung’s desktop display is massively wide, and sports an 1800R curvature to boot. That number simply means that if the panel were to create a complete circle, the radius would be 1,800mm. It’s the typical curvature seen with desktop displays, and should encompass your entire desktop field of view given the panel’s billboard-style width.

But at its root, the CHG90 is a display designed for gamers. It supports AMD’s new FreeSync 2 technology, which will synchronize the panel’s refresh rate with the output of AMD’s Radeon graphics cards and discrete GPUs. This tech eliminates screen tearing, reduces stuttering, and minimizes the “lag” between receiving images and rendering on the screen. AMD announced FreeeSync 2 in January, which supports HDR content.

“Qualifying FreeSync 2 monitors will harness low-latency, high-brightness pixels, excellent black levels, and a wide color gamut to display high dynamic range (HDR) content.1 In addition, all FreeSync 2 monitors will have support for low framerate compensation (LFC),” the company said.

As for other game-centric features, Samsung’s CHG90 includes a game-style OSD dashboard to access display modes optimized for first-person shooters, role-playing games, real-time strategy games, and more. These modes automatically adjust color value, sharpness, black gamma levels, and contrast ratios for an optimized viewing experience while playing titles based on these genres. The display even includes backlighting that grows brighter as the game’s audio level rises.

Outside of gaming, Samsung’s display aims to eliminate your multi-monitor setup. With multiple inputs, you can view the desktops of multiple PCs on a single screen. For instance, you can partition the screen to create two equally sized windows, or create different portals of different sizes to meet your multi-tasking needs. This multi-screen feature is backed by Samsung’s Picture-by-Picture technology promising no degradation in image quality.

To purchase Samsung’s $1,300 CHG90 desktop display, head here.

Editors’ Recommendations

  • Best gaming monitors
  • HDMI 2.1 is coming: Here’s what you need to know
  • How does fast charging work? Here’s every fast charging standard compared
  • Super-efficient Windows laptops powered by Qualcomm phone chips are here
  • LG 38UC99 38-inch ultrawide monitor review




19
Dec

Acer Swift 3 gets the AMD APU treatment, adding power to the bargain machine


The Acer Swift 3 is a solid budget notebook that we’ve lauded for its combination of performance and price. With its recent injection of Intel’s eighth-generation quad-core CPUs, it’s an even better value. But Acer isn’t leaving well enough alone: it’s also introducing models utilizing AMD’s newest Accelerated Processing Units (APUs) based on the newest Ryzen CPUs and Vega GPUs.

As reported by Liliputing, Acer is introducing two new Swift 3 models, one with the Ryzen 5 5200U APU that retails for $750 and one with the Ryzen 7 2700U APU that comes in at $950. So far, Acer hasn’t released availability information on either system, but given that HP is also releasing a system using the new APU soon, the Envy x360 15, we’re likely to see the new models sometime in the next few months.

As we reported in our review, the Swift 3 is a solidly built notebook that mixes in some strong performance. It sports a display that is lacking in contrast and brightness but nevertheless offers strong real-world performance. The keyboard is well done, with comfortable travel, and the touchpad is serviceable. Perhaps best of all, Acer has sourced PCIe solid-state drives (SSDs) for the machine, a nice touch at such budget prices. The Swift 3’s biggest weaknesses revolve around poorer battery life than we’d like to see, which the new APU-based systems might help address, and a design aesthetic that’s a bit boring and understated.

The addition of AMD’s newest APUs promises to provide some serious competition to Intel for systems without higher-end discrete GPUs. According to AMD, the new Vega-powered chips compete well even against the combination of Nvidia GeForce GTX 950M discrete graphics and Intel Core i7-7500U CPUs. Of course, that means that while they may not match Intel’s eighth-generation processors, the new APUs are going to perform significantly better in the graphics department than Intel’s integrated GPUs.

Competition is a good thing that typically results in some real advantages to buyers, and we’ll be looking forward to seeing how these new Acer Swift 3 notebooks perform in the real world. If they’re as good as promised, then they may very well define a new level of value.

Editors’ Recommendations

  • AMD crams desktop performance into ultra-thin laptops with its new Ryzen APUs
  • AMD CEO shows off first laptop packing a Ryzen-branded chip at Best Buy
  • AMD’s upcoming Ryzen refresh won’t require a new motherboard, company confirms
  • AMD is more than the Threadripper. Here are the best AMD CPUs on any budget
  • Asus Strix doubles down on AMD with first eight-core Ryzen laptop




19
Dec

Nokia 9 passes through the FCC with questionable specs


The Nokia 9 is shaping up to be a very modest improvement over the Nokia 8.

The Nokia 8 was Nokia’s flagship phone for 2017, and while it’s a commendable device, there are certain areas where we’d like to see improvements on for its successor. The Nokia 9 recently passed through the FCC with many of its specifications on full display, and it’s, unfortunately, a mixed bag of old and new.

nokia-9-1.jpg?itok=JY97Hhe-

Starting off with the improvements, the 5.5-inch OLED display on the Nokia 9 should offer more vivid colors and deeper blacks compared to the Nokia 8’s IPS panel and the battery has been increased from 3,090 mAh up to 3,250 mAh. There are dual cameras on the back once again, and while the resolutions are slightly lower on the Nokia 9 with a 12MP and 13MP sensor, megapixel count isn’t the end all be all when it comes to image/video quality. Also, just like the Nokia 8, there will be 128GB of UFS 2.1 storage with an option to expand it via a microSD card.

The absence of the Snapdragon 845 is a shame.

Looking at the front-facing camera, the Nokia 9 is said to ship with a 5MP sensor. That’s not necessarily bad, but it is an interesting change when you consider that the Nokia 8 has a 13MP one.

In addition to this, the Nokia 9 also appears to be using the Snapdragon 835. This is the same processor found on the Nokia 8, and while the 835 isn’t slow by any stretch of the imagination, it is disappointing that Nokia’s opting for it over the Snapdragon 845. Nokia could be choosing to go this route as a way to cut down on costs or to ship the phone out as early as possible, but in any case, it’s a shame none of the 845’s many advantages will find their way on Nokia’s latest.

With these specifications in tow, what are your early impressions of the Nokia 9?

Nokia 9 CAD renders reveal a curved design, dual cameras, and no 3.5mm jack

19
Dec

Can you use a Sprint phone on the Boost Mobile Network?


boost-mobile-box.jpg?itok=2Vut8eq6

Everything you need to know about using a Sprint phone on Boost Mobile.

Boost Mobile is one of the most popular MVNOs powered by Sprint’s network, and with plans starting out as low as $35/month for unlimited calling, texting, and 3GB of 4G LTE data, it’s also one of the best deals around for those that are covered best by Sprint compared to the other big carries in the U.S.

There’s a decent selection of phones to choose from on Boost, but for those that like having as many options to choose from, it is noticeably slimmer compared to what you can get directly from Sprint. Thankfully, as long as you know what to do, you don’t have to rely solely on Boost’s offerings.

If you have a Sprint handset or want to purchase one to use with Boost Mobile, here’s what you need to do.

Make sure you have an eligible phone

Boost Mobile does allow you to use Sprint phones with its service, but not every single phone that’s sold by Sprint is compatible. Boost has an online tool that allows you to type in your phone’s ID to see whether or not it’ll work, and supported devices include the likes of the Moto X4, Galaxy Note 8, Moto G5 Plus, Essential Phone, and others.

Your best bet is to stick with devices that are listed on Boost’s website as being compatible with the network, but if you don’t see your phone mentioned, we recommend contacting customer support seeing as how Boost’s main list of compatible Sprint devices is looking a bit outdated these days.

Once you’ve confirmed that you have an eligible device, you’ll want to make sure that it’s not currently active on a Sprint account and that it’s been unlocked for use on other carriers.

Take your phone to a Boost Mobile store

Now that you’ve confirmed your phone is compatible, your next step is to take it to your local Boost Mobile store. You can search for stores in your area on Boost’s website, and once you’ve found the one you want to go to, take your Sprint phone there and tell whoever’s working that you’d like to activate it on Boost.

What’s important to note here is that other retail stores that sell Boost phones, such as Walmart and Best Buy, won’t be able to help you out here.

Sprint phones can be used with any Boost Mobile plan

One of the nice things about using Sprint phones on Boost Mobile is that any of Boost’s plans will work with eligible devices. So, whether you want the basic $35/month plan or want to pay $50/month for unlimited everything, your plan choices aren’t limited just because you’re using a Sprint phone.

Not all services are guaranteed to work

Eligible Sprint phones that are used on Boost are confirmed to support voice, text, and data services, but Boost can’t guarantee anything beyond this. MMS (picture and video text messages) should work, but since Boost doesn’t directly sell Sprint phones, you’re taking the risk of any features beyond basic calling, SMS, and data not working.

Learn more at Sprint

1x1.gif?tid=mobilenations&subid=UUacUdUn

19
Dec

A peek into how NextVR captures football games for VR


NextVR has figured out how to work fast in VR without sacrificing quality, and it’s incredible.

next-vr-camera.jpg?itok=xM0YZ1PJ

The folks at NextVR have been assembling quality videos for VR audiences longer than most, but what sets this team apart from the rest is the ability to deliver sports. These events typically make you feel like you’ve got a seat ringside or courtside for live Boxing or Basketball experiences, but the work they do with the NFL takes a slightly different shape. These shows are more like post-game analysis with a killer VR highlight reel, complete with show hosts to walk you through all the best plays of the game.

These shows are typically live in the NextVR app within an hour or two of the game ending, which is incredibly impressive when you consider all the work that goes into creating one of these events.

Read more at VRHeads

19
Dec

Double Dragon Trilogy delivers on action and nostalgia


double-dragon-trilogy-gamestash-hero.jpg

Relive all the glory of the early Double Dragon games on Android!

If you ask me, Double Dragon is the definitive arcade beat ’em up game from the late 80s era of gaming. It’s such an iconic franchise that kicked all sorts of ass back in the arcades and on the NES.


Play Double Dragon Trilogy for FreeGAMESTASH

Porting classic games like Double Dragon to mobile should be a straightforward affair, but as we all know these games can be buggy and often are poor representations of the source material. That’s why it’s so heartening to know that the team behind bringing the Double Dragon Trilogy to Android managed to do a pretty bang up job here — you get the first three Double Dragon games all wrapped up into one app.

double-dragon-1-screens.jpg?itok=qwN7um1double-dragon-1-screens-02.jpg?itok=fx1r

For those who are unfamiliar with the series, Double Dragon is a side-scrolling street-fighting beat ’em up game, wherein you play as Billy and Jimmy Lee, two martial arts experts who are looking to clean the streets of the deadly gangs terrorizing the city. While the controls are fairly basic — you get a digital joystick and buttons for jumps, kicks, and punches — you’re able to pull off a good variety of cool martial arts moves like spinning kicks, tosses, and elbows to the head. But be careful, because your enemies are also just as capable of pulling off devastating moves, too.

Making things even cooler is the inclusion of weapons. Some enemies come armed with melee weapons like chains and baseball bats, or even throwing knives. With a carefully timed punch, you’re able to disarm an enemy and then pick up their weapon to use against them. Weapons can ultimately make the difference in battles, as like other games from this era of gaming Double Dragon is really tough — especially if you’re stuck struggling with the on-screen touch controls.

double-dragon-2-screens.jpg?itok=Y3o1jLm

But that’s the other aspect that makes Double Dragon Trilogy a real winner. The support for Bluetooth controllers is an absolute godsend here. I struggled mightily to make progress with the touchscreen controls, which are serviceable but just not quite as responsive as you might hope. But with a Bluetooth controller in hand? It’s a total gamechanger. These games were always meant to be played with physical controls and while you’ll manage alright with the touchscreen controls, a Bluetooth controller lets you kick ass like you remember from your childhood

double-dragon-3-onscreen-controls-screendouble-dragon-3-screen.jpg?itok=7_B1_bGO

Now, as for the games themselves, the story is pretty basic and is just there to justify the ensuing street fights. The plots of all three games are centralized around Billy and Jimmy fighting to save Billy’s girlfriend Marian from the clutches of mysterious gangs. The gameplay remains consistent throughout the trilogy, with the graphics and some elements evolving over time. As you would expect, Double Dragon 3 has the best graphics but they come at the expense of the animations, which seem a bit clunkier than the first two. It also finally changes up how your character’s health is displayed — as a number rather than an ambiguous bar. The Third also has a bit more of a developed story, which revolves around finding the three sacred stones that are scattered around the world — although you’re still tasked with saving Marian.

All three games are challenging and fun, featuring a great mix of enemies and boss battles throughout. I’d definitely recommend playing with a Bluetooth controller for the best experience. You can buy it from the Google Play Store, or find it in the GameStash subscription library.

Download: Double Dragon Trilogy ($3.49)

19
Dec

Google Chrome’s ad-blocking feature launching in February


Get ready for a cleaner Internet.

Following a report that came out in April, Google announced in June that it’d be introducing a new feature to its Chrome web browser that blocked obtrusive advertisements. The company originally stated that Chrome’s ad-blocker would launch at some point in early 2018, but we now have a specific date of February 15, 2018, as the official launch of it.

chromebook-diaries-hero.jpg?itok=HVzxI-E

As a quick refresher, Chrome’s ad-blocker will help filter out advertisements that don’t meet new standards that have been created by the Coalition for Better Ads. The Coalition for Better Ads has a list of rules and guidelines that online advertisements need to follow so they don’t get blocked from Chrome, and violations include the likes of pop-ups, ads that take over your entire screen, automatically playing videos, etc.

Following the launch of the ad-blocker on February 15, any advertisements that have a status of “failing” in the Coalition’s Ad Experience Report for more than 30 days will be blocked from Chrome. The idea of the whole thing is to prevent online ads from becoming too aggressive or in your face, and I’m sure that’s something anyone who’s ever gone online can stand behind.

coalition-for-better-ads-mobile-ads.jpg?

A few examples of “least preferred ad experiences” that the Coalition is fighting against.

Chrome’s ad-blocker doesn’t appear to be launching with a new version of the web browser, so it’s likely a server-side feature that Google will be able to turn on for all users over the course of a few days. The ad-blocker will be available for both desktop and mobile, and it’ll be quite interesting to see how the online landscape changes following its release.

Google, an ad company, will soon block ‘bad ads’ in Chrome

19
Dec

White House temporarily shuts down ‘We the People’ petition site


The “We the People” site was launched back in 2011 as a way for the rank and file citizens to get a response from the Obama administration if they were able to get 100,000 signatures on any given petition. The site will now be unavailable until late January, and the Associated Press reports that all existing petitions and responses will be restored next year.

A White House official told the AP that the temporary shutdown will save taxpayers $1.3 million per year, though there’s no detail on how. The current petitions — 17 that have met the signature threshold — have not been responded to in the year Trump has been in office. According to the AP, they include calls for Trump to release his tax returns, preserve (and cease) funding for the National Endowments for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Humanities. While the petition site is down, individuals can contact the White House through a web form.

Via: The Verge

Source: Associated Press

%d bloggers like this: