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10
Jan

Best Android apps for building better habits in 2018


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New year, new habits, new you.

Trying to build yourself better habits isn’t always an easy process. It’s easy to forget or lose motivation halfway to your goals. Of course that’s unless you’ve got a decent app in your pocket that makes it easier to remind yourself to stick to that resolution. If you aren’t sure what apps will work, have no fear. We’ve done the work for you.

We’ve got the best habit building apps on Android for you right here!

  • Google Calendar
  • Habitica
  • Habit Tracker

Google Calendar

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When it comes to trying to build a new habit, one of the most difficult parts can just be remembering to try and fit it into your schedule every day. If you’re trying to figure out how to fit in time at the gym each day, or where to cram in 20 minutes for yoga when your schedule already seems fit to burst, then your salvation may come from an unlikely place: Google Calendar.

You can add recurring events to your calendar and tell it roughly what time of day you want to do it, then the app will automatically find a place to fit it into your schedule. If you swear by Google Calendar already, then you’ll be able to rest easy when you get an alert telling you it’s time for that new habit you’re trying to work into your routine that you aren’t missing something else important.

Download: Google Calendar (Free)

Habitica

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Trying to motivate yourself into building new or better habits isn’t always as easy as you’d hope it might be. One way humans do make progress is by making and hitting goals, and that’s where Habitica comes in, trying to gamify habit making. You’ll make an avatar, fulfill a variety of tasks, and level up as you go.

When you get started, you’ll input the tasks and goals that you have for yourself, including those new habits you want to build. It literally turns the dreaded task of building a habit into something that is fun and that you want to check in on.

Download: Habitica (Free)

Loop Habit Tracker

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For some people, the best way to build new habits is by tracking behavior and monitoring it as the days go by. If that’s what you’re looking for in an app, then Loop Habit Tracker is the one to take a peek at.

You’re able to load up all of the habits that you want to keep an eye on, and then check in each day to see your streaks grow as you build those habits. Once you’ve started to build a patter, you’ll get access to some awesome analytics that let you see where you’re succeeding and where you’re failing. This app is open source, 100% free, and perfect for the folks who like to track their habits as they build them.

Download: Habit Tracker (Free)

Are you keeping track?

Whether you’re trying to break bad habits you already have or you’re trying to make new strides by building better habits, there is an app out there that can help you get the job done. From calendars to habit trackers, you’ve got options when it comes to getting some help in making positive changes in the New Year. Are you using an app to keep to New Year’s resolutions or make new habits? Let us know about it in the comments below!

10
Jan

Future Samsung phones will have a working FM radio chip


Coming to residents in the U.S. and Canada via NextRadio.

Between downloading local files and the vast array of streaming services, your options for listening to music while on the go are more abundant than ever before. Now, thanks to a new partnership with NextRadio, future Samsung phones will ship with a working FM chip so you can access and listen to local radio stations.

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Most phones have the tech to support FM signals, but they’re unfortunately often disabled from doing so due to pressure from wireless carriers. LG, Motorola, and Alcatel have previously joined NextRadio in offering active FM chips to their customers, but Samsung is definitely the biggest name to be added so far.

In other words, expect the 3.5mm headphone jack to stay on future Samsung phones.

Listening to music on a radio station through FM signals might sound archaic compared to streaming your favorite tunes on Pandora or iHeartRadio, but there are serious benefits that it brings. You can still listen to FM stations even when you’re without a reliable data connection, and in addition to music, they’re also a great source for local news, weather, and other information.

Also as a fun side note, this announcement is also pretty much a guarantee that Samsung will be keeping the 3.5mm headphone jack on at least some of its phones for the foreseeable future. Wired headphones serve as the antenna used for picking up FM signals, and seeing as how we’re already expecting the Galaxy S9 to keep the 3.5mm port, this seems like further reassurance of what we were already hoping for.

Upcoming Samsung phones in the United States and Canada will have access to these working FM chips, and you’ll be able to tap into them with the NextRadio app on the Play Store.

Huawei announces Q2 mesh Wi-Fi system with max speed of 1867 Mbps

10
Jan

Don’t worry about running out of juice with Anker’s $36 PowerCore II 20000mAh charger


Power everything in your world!

Anker’s Powercore II 20000mAh portable charger is down to $35.99 with code Y18A1260 on Amazon. This charger normally sells for $50, and this is one of the lowest prices we’ve ever seen. The only price lower was a deal we shared when it dropped to $30 on Black Friday.

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The PowerCore II has two PowerIQ USB ports for output and one microUSB port input for recharging. It can identity the device plugged into it and deliver the best possible charge as a result.

Features include:

  • PowerIQ 2.0: Our brand-new exclusive technology. Intelligently identifies your device to deliver the fastest possible charge.
  • Ultra-High Capacity: Packed to the brim with days of power—charges the iPhone 7 over 6 times.
  • Rapid Recharge: Top up the battery in as little as 5 hours using a Quick Charge charger.

All Anker products are covered by an 18-month warranty.

This charger comes with a microUSB cable, but you can add an $8 Lightning cable, $5 microUSB cable, or $8 USB-C cable to charge whatever you need.

See on Amazon

10
Jan

Two-factor authentication: What you need to know


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You should use two-factor authentication on every account that offers it. Here’s an explainer of what it is, and why you want it.

You see a lot of talk on the internet about two-factor authentication (or 2FA as it’s commonly called) but most times its just people like us telling you to use it. And we’ll continue that trend and start this bit of prose by telling you to use 2FA whenever and wherever you can. But we’re also going to let you know what it is, and why it’s important that you use it. Read on.

What is two-factor authentication?

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To put it in simple terms, two-factor authenticat (2FA) means that you need to present two different things from two different sources that prove who you are. Generally, there are three different types of ID that can be used for 2FA purposes when it comes to online accounts:

  • A thing that only you should know. Things like a password, a PIN, an account number, your street address or even the last four digits of your Social Security number fit the bill here.
  • A thing that you can hold in your hands. This means your phone, an authenticator fob, or a USB security key.
  • A thing that is part of you like your fingerprint, retina pattern or voice pattern.

When you have 2FA enabled on an account, you need two of these three things to get access.

You’ve been using 2FA for most of your adult life. The companies who process credit card payments for online retailers usually force you to enter the three-digit code on the back of your credit card as well as the card number, then provide the billing address. The numbers on the card (both front and back) are a way to make sure you have the card in your possession for the first method of authentication, then the address you provide has to match what the card issuer has on file as a second way to prove who you are. That’s 2FA. Back when the world still used checks to pay for things, most businesses wanted two forms of physical ID from a well-recognized place like your state DMV or your school as a way to make sure you are the person whose name is on the top of the check. That’s also 2FA. And to get those IDs usually requires multiple things from different places to prove who you are.

You’ve been using 2FA all along and probably didn’t realize it.

Using 2FA for your online accounts is a little bit different, but still uses the same principle — if you can provide more than one method to prove who you are, you probably really are who you claim to be. For an account somewhere like Google, or Facebook or Amazon you need to supply a password. Your password is something only you should know, but sometimes other people can get hold of it. When you add a 2FA requirement — like an authentication token sent to your phone or a USB security key that you plug into your computer — a password is no longer enough to get into your account. Without both pieces of authentication, you’re locked out.

Is two-factor authentication secure?

Yes and no. Using 2FA on an account is a lot more secure than not using it, but nothing is really secure. That scary thought aside, using 2FA is usually sufficient protection for your “stuff” unless you’re a high-profile target or really unlucky.

Using 2FA is usually sufficient protection for your onlione accounts and services.

On the positive side, if you’re using 2FA and some fake phishing email manages to get you to supply your password they still can’t log into your account. The way most people use 2FA for online accounts is to have a token sent to an app on their phone and without that token, the email scammer isn’t going to have any luck getting access. They will enter your account user name or ID, then the password, and then they need to supply that token to go any further. Unless they have your phone, the work involved in bypassing the second ID requirement is enough to get the bad guy to say “forget it!” and move to someone else.

On the other hand, if you are someone like President Obama or Mick Jagger, it’s worth it to try and get into your accounts. And there are ways. The communication between the people supplying the authentication token and your phone are safe for the most part, so attackers go after the website or server asking for the credentials. Auth tokens and cookies can be hijacked by very clever folks, and as soon as one method gets patched they start looking for another. This takes a lot of knowledge and hard work so that means that the end result has to be worth it all. Chances are you and I aren’t worth the trouble, so 2FA is a good way to secure our accounts.

How do I use two-factor authentication?

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It’s easier than you might think!

Setting up 2FA on an account is a three step process. You need to provide your current credentials by typing in your password again (this helps keep someone else from adding it to your account), even if you’re currently logged into the service. Then you go into the account settings and enable 2FA on your account. This lets the server that manages your login know that you want to enable it, and they will get everything ready on their end after they ask what type of authentication you will be using — most common are codes sent to your phone as an SMS message or through an authenticator application. Finally, you affirm the change by supplying a token back to the server. If you’re using an app this might be a barcode you have to scan or manually entering some information into the app. If you chose to use SMS a code will be sent that you need to enter on the website to finish things up.

The next step happens when you want to log into that account again. You’ll enter a username or ID, then a password, and then be asked to supply an authentication number. That number is sent as an SMS if that’s how you set things up, or in the app on your phone if you decided to go that route. You type that number into the text field and you have access.

Most services will store an authentication token on your phone or computer, so the next time you want to log in you won’t have to supply the code again. But if you want to set up access from another place, you’ll need a code.

Read more: How to set up 2FA on your Google account

The process for each service that offers 2FA will be slightly different, but this is a good example of how things will work.

Wrapping it up

Now that you know a little more about 2FA, we hope you’re inspired to set it up and use it wherever you can. Most popular services — Google, Facebook, Twitter, Amazon, Steam and more — offer 2FA. It’s fairly easy to set up and the peace of mind you’ll have makes it well worth it.

Updated January 2018: In light of the recent round of security issues, we have refreshed this page with the most relevant information.

10
Jan

Black Box VR plans to open a boutique, high-tech gym


When I was in high school, my workout regime involved marching band, Denise Austin VHS tapes and copious rounds of Dance Dance Revolution. Not only did I play DDR in bowling alleys and arcades whenever I had the chance, but I had a metal dance pad at home (PlayStation 2 with a converter to make it run on my Xbox 360). Late last year, a decade after graduating high school, I bought a plastic dance pad and busted out my PS3 just to play DDR again, with the idea of incorporating it into my workout routine.

All that said, I’m no stranger to the idea of video games as exercise. Neither is Black Box VR.

Black Box VR is taking this idea to a ridiculous new level using HTC Vive and proprietary exercise hardware that turns working out into an immersive, competitive video game — or it turns video games into a workout, depending on your perspective.

Black Box VR intends to open its first boutique gym this year in San Francisco (think SoulCycle, but with more VR headsets), and the demo it brought to CES is a bite-sized example of what it plans to offer. Patrons will step into a literal black box, no bigger than 8 ft x 8 ft, and strap on an HTC Vive headset and motion-tracking forearm bands. And then the game begins: You’re standing in the middle of a stadium packed with cheering fans, facing oncoming attackers and, eventually, giant mythical creatures. You throw projectiles at the enemies by doing standing chest presses. The crowd cheers, the score ramps up and it’s all a lot of fun. In the demo, the tension ramps up rapidly to demonstrate the system’s ability to dynamically add weight over time, as players get stronger.

Eventually, Black Box VR wants to add the ability for players to compete live against other people working out across the world, but for now, the company plans to incorporate user profiles and local leaderboards into the gym.

Click here to catch up on the latest news from CES 2018.

10
Jan

Astronaut apologizes for ‘fake news’ about his height increase


On January 8th, Japanese astronaut Norishige Kanai caused some concern when he tweeted that he’d grown about 9 cm (around 3 and a half inches) in his three weeks about the International Space Station. Well, it turns it that’s not actually the case. Kanai, who is a tweeted an apology last night, saying that he re-measured himself after the media flurry surrounding his announcement, and he’s only grown about 2 cm.

Typically, astronauts grow between 2 cm and 5 cm in space — their height may increase by as much as 3 percent. This is because in a zero-gravity environment, the lower back doesn’t have to do the work of carrying an astronaut’s body weight. This results in what’s called spinal unloading. Scientists still aren’t quite clear on the precise mechanics of how and why this happens, but it’s been studied in depth among the denizens of the ISS. Once back on Earth, and subject to the forces of gravity, astronauts’ spines once again compress and they return to their original height.

Kanai’s report of such a dramatic height increase was remarkable for multiple reasons. It would have been an outlier, compared to what other astronauts have described, and something that definitely needed to be studied. But there would also have been a more serious consideration, if it had been true.

Russian Soyuz capsules are currently the only spacecraft capable of ferrying astronauts to and from the International Space Station, and they are quite the tight fit. According to NASA, the Soyuz spacecraft can accommodate astronauts up to a height of six feet three inches. It’s possible that, if Kanai’s reported height increase had been accurate, it could have jeopardized his ability to fit inside the spacecraft that is supposed to return him to Earth in a few months.

jsc2017e138117 - At the Integration Facility at the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan, the Expedition 54-55 prime crewmembers pose for pictures Dec. 13 in front of the Soyuz MS-07 spacecraft during pre-launch training. Norishige Kanai of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA), Anton Shkaplerov of the Russian Federal Space Agency (Roscosmos, center) and Scott Tingle of NASA (right) will launch Dec. 17 on the Soyuz MS-07 vehicle for a five month mission on the International Space Station...Andrey Shelepin/Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Center.

The current commander of the ISS, cosmonaut Alexander Misurkin, raised questions about Kanai’s reported 9-cm height increase, which prompted the Japanese astronaut to take some new measurements. That’s when he discovered he had grown just 2 cm: Kanai reported his current height as 182 cm, or almost 6 feet.

It’s most likely an honest mistake, and Kanai was heartfelt in his apology, calling it “terrible fake news,” according to Reuters. However, it isn’t clear how the original measurements were taken and what led to the error. While it shouldn’t be necessary for NASA or other world space organizations to vet every single tweet, this is a good reminder that pretty much anything to do with space and astronauts is considered news. It’s a good idea to double and triple check everything before putting it out there.

The original tweet:

みなさま、おはようございます。今日は重大なご報告があります。

実は、宇宙に着いてからの身体計測があったのですが、な、な、なんと、身長が9センチも伸びていたんです!
たった3週間でニョキニョキと。こんなの中高生のとき以来です。

帰りのソユーズの座席に体が収まるか、ちょっと心配です。

— 金井 宣茂 (@Astro_Kanai) January 8, 2018

The apology:

計測ミス(?)なのに、大変な話題になってしまったみたいで、とんだフェイクニュースを大変失礼しました。

腰や背中は痛くないし、むしろ肩こりがなくなったくらいなので、やっぱり9cmは伸びてないと思います。さすがベテランのシュカプレロフ飛行士。
帰りのソユーズにも乗れそうで、少し安心です。

— 金井 宣茂 (@Astro_Kanai) January 9, 2018

Via: Reuters

Source: Twitter (1), Twitter (2)

10
Jan

CES 2018: Satechi Announces 75W USB-C Multiport Travel Charger


Satechi today announced the launch of a new 75W USB-C travel charger that’s equipped with multiple ports to charge all of your devices with one simple power adapter.

The 75W Multiport Travel Charger offers four charging ports, including a USB-C power delivery port, two USB 3.0 ports, and one Qualcomm Quick Charge 3.0 port.

The USB-C port can provide up to 60W of power, making it suitable for the 12-inch MacBook, the 13-inch MacBook Pro, and similar USB-C devices. It can also charge a 15-inch MacBook Pro, but as that machine accepts up to 87W of power, it may not charge fully with the Multiport Travel Charger when under a heavy workload.

While charging a MacBook or MacBook Pro, the Travel Charger can also charge your iOS devices at the same time, with up to 75W of total power provided.


When using the USB-C port with a USB-C to Lightning cable, the Travel Charger enables fast charging on supported devices like the iPhone 8, iPhone 8 Plus, and iPhone X.

Satechi says the Travel Charger features an input range of 100-240V, allowing it to meet the voltage requirements of multiple countries. It has also been designed with a compact size to make it easy to fit into a backpack or luggage.

Satechi’s USB-C 75W Multiport Travel Charger can be purchased for $60 from Amazon.com or directly from the Satechi website for $64.99.

Tags: Satechi, CES 2018
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10
Jan

Ingestible gut sensors reveal potential new immune system


Ingestible technology — the stalwart theme of medical sci-fi — has been in the works for decades, but now researchers are closer than ever before to taking it mainstream thanks to successful trials of gas-sensing capsules. The swallowable sensors, designed by RMIT University in Australia, could revolutionize the way gut disorders and diseases are diagnosed and treated, offering a potential game-changer for the one-in-five people worldwide who will suffer from gastrointestinal problems in their lifetimes.

The capsule is the size of a vitamin pill and works by detecting and measuring gut gas in real time, then sending data to a mobile phone. Trials have uncovered bodily mechanisms never seen before, including what could be an entirely new immune system. “We found that the stomach releases oxidising chemicals to break down and beat foreign compounds that are staying in the stomach for longer than usual,” said study lead and capsule co-inventor Professor Kourosh Kalantar-zadeh. “This could represent a gastric protection system against foreign bodies. Such an immune mechanism has never been reported before.” The researchers also found evidence that the colon contains oxygen, contradicting previously-held beliefs that it’s an oxygen-free area of the body.

The technology also provides a more effective way of measuring and analyzing activities in the gut. Scientists would previously have to rely on faecal samples or invasive surgery, which Kalantar-zadeh noted is “not a true reflection of the gut microbiota at that time”. The capsule has now passed human trials, and the team is exploring ways of commercialising the technology, partnering with development company Planet Innovation to bring the product to market.

Via: Science Daily

Source: Nature.com

10
Jan

Jimmy Iovine denies reports he will leave Apple in August


Beats co-founder Jimmy Iovine has squashed rumors that he’s leaving his post as Apple Music chief — and leaving Cupertino altogether — in August. At a Q&A event held to promote The Defiant Ones, the HBO documentary delving into his partnership with Dr. Dre, he announced that there’s still more he’d like to achieve in the streaming biz. “I am committed to doing whatever Eddy [Cue], Tim [Cook] and Apple need me to do, to help wherever and however I can, to take this all the way,” he said, contradicting Bloomberg’s report that he hasn’t been getting along with services chief Eddy Cue.

According to Iovine, most of his stocks vested long ago and he’s not delaying his departure only because he’s waiting for the rest of his stocks (a tiny portion, he said) to vest in August. He admitted that his contract is up that month, but he insisted that his time with Apple wouldn’t end when that contract expires. As for how long he’ll stay with the company, he could only say that he doesn’t see himself still doing music at 75 — the exec is turning 65 in March.

Before he retires, he first wants to help the company grow its streaming service and to get it right. Iovine once explained that he wants Apple Music to be more than just songs and playlists, leading to the launch of original shows like Planet of the Apps and Carpool Karaoke. He’ll likely come up with more projects while he’s still around in an effort to grow the service’s 30 million user number to something closer to Spotify’s 70 million.

Source: Variety

10
Jan

Sting is the narrator in ‘Where the Water Tastes Like Wine’


When the story trailer for Where the Water Tastes Like Wine dropped in August, it featured the voice of one of the most prolific and famous singers of the past forty years — and no one noticed. Sting, the lead singer and bassist of the Police and a successful solo artist in his own right, voices the wolf in Where the Water Tastes Like Wine, which basically makes him the narrator of the entire game.

Developers Dim Bulb Games and Serenity Forge revealed the voice cast today and it includes a lineup of gaming’s heavy hitters, including Dave Fennoy (Lee in Telltale’s The Walking Dead), Cissy Jones (Delilah in Firewatch) and Kimberly Brooks (Ashley Williams in Mass Effect 3). And then there’s Sting.

Where the Water Tastes Like Wine is a surreal, poetic journey through American legend and fantasy, featuring hand-drawn art and original folk music. It spans a century of US history, introducing players to a vast cast of drifters, fortune tellers and magical creatures — which makes the inclusion of Sting, a British rock musician, even more unexpected.

Where the Water Tastes Like Wine is developed by Dim Bulb Games and Serenity Forge, and published by Good Shepherd Entertainment. Look out for it on PC in early 2018 — we certainly are.

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