Skip to content

Archive for

26
Jan

Felix Gray glasses reduce eye strain from all of those damned screens you stare at all day


How much of your day is spent looking at a display of some sort? We’re talking not only computers, but tablets, smartphones, and televisions, and more. Just about everything you work with, including the device you’re using right now, has some form of a screen.

Next question: How many times have you gone to bed feeling like your eyes were going to burn right through the eyelids?

How often do you find yourself rubbing your eyes as you try to power through another few hours of work? Eye strain sucks. Unfortunately, a lot of us spend most of our waking life staring at pixels and lights. It’s almost impossible not to feel burned out or mentally exhausted from so many LCDs and LEDs.

For a lot of devices we have the ability to toggle off blue light. That’s a pretty big deal, and goes a long way to helping you wind down at night or start to turn off your brain. It’s not a perfect cure-all, but it beats the alternative.

We were recently introduced to a company called Felix Gray. This outfit specializes in creating computer glasses and aims to help reduce headaches, blurred vision, and everything else that comes with today’s lifestyle.

Our team was sent a pair of glasses so that we can test them out and find out whether the technology is real. After a few weeks of wearing and not wearing them we were convinced that they deliver on the promise.

Available in a variety of styles and colors, Felix Gray eyeglasses have a very modern and hip design to them. To most people we ran into they looked just the same as any prescription or fashion glasses.

Trying them on we found the glasses to be very light — lighter than most reading glasses. At first blush you don’t notice that that the lens is any different from your standard readers. Look a little closer, or at the right angle, and you’ll see the slight color variation.

Just as you’ll find when toggling off blue light on your phone, the Felix Gray glasses filter out blue and harmful light without impacting the color spectrum. Start your day off with these and you won’t even notice them by the end of your first cup of coffee. Moreover, they help to cut down on glare so working by the window doesn’t have the same impact as it normally would.

We tried these for a few days at a time, sometimes wearing them all day, and others off and on for a couple of hours. We also took a few days off every once in awhile just to see if there was some sort of placebo effect happening. Suffice it to say, these are exactly what they set out to be.

It took us all of three days to find ourselves reaching for them the moment we hit the office. The first couple of days told us they were working, but we wanted to ensure it wasn’t in our head. After a couple of off days we were getting anxious to put them back on. They were not only comfortable, but seemed to be helping us in little ways.

Results will vary from person to person, but the benefits are legit. We’re not here to evangelize the product, but side effects can include better sleep, reduced eye strain, improved focus, and fewer headaches. We experienced a little bit off all of these and a lot of some of these.

Time and again we got to the end of our day without anxiousness, irritability, and mental fatigue. It’s quite strange to realize what you do to your body on a regular basis.

You know how great you feel when you come off of an illness? You feel like a million bucks, right? That’s how you are supposed to feel when you’re not sick.  That’s your every day. The same effect happened for us when we were wearing the glasses regularly. We felt remarkably better than on the days when we don’t wear them.

Is it all in our heads? Maybe a little bit. But, we had to ask ourselves how we felt at the end of work days. On days when we didn’t wear them, we often ended up having to blink through blurred vision or rub our eyes and temples from the strain.

To be clear, these aren’t a perfect scenario and aren’t going to change your life.  You won’t come away immediately feeling like you’ve been healed of all your ailments. Really, it likely comes down to your lifestyle.

If you wear prescription glasses, you’ll have to make sure to order the proper reading magnification. Contact wearers need not worry, though. Almost all models are available in at least two colors, prescription or not. Moreover, you can opt for a slight magnification, too

With prices starting around $100, these are definitely something we’d recommend to those of you who work at a desktop. You could get away with other, cheaper types of glasses but these are a more fashionable alternative. A lot of the models are unisex and can be shared with members of the family or co-workers on different shifts.

Find yourself going from the computer to the phone on a commute and then to a TV for a few hours before crashing? Give these a try. There’s a 30-day return policy so that’s more than enough time to see if they work for your needs.

Advertisements
26
Jan

Track people and things across your albums with Microsoft’s A.I.-powered Photos


Microsoft has updated its Photos application beyond the Fall Creators Update version with new A.I.-powered functionality. It is now able to identify individual people across your entire collection of images, making it easier to categorize shots by their content and create customized slideshows of pictures with a particular person as their focus.

Automated face tagging has been a feature on sites like Facebook for some time now. While that is usually for the purpose of highlighting photos to their subjects, the new update to Microsoft’s Photos app is aimed at those making story videos with a focus on certain people in them. Photos can now let you select individual people to highlight, bringing images where those people are the focus to the fore.

That feature is in turn designed to augment the slideshow video function of the Photos app, which was originally Microsoft’s Story Remix stand-alone program. You can now select the photos you want in the video, the style and tone of it, what music to use as a backdrop and the “star” of the film. The story will then focus on them.

“With today’s update, you can take your filmmaking to the next level by selecting yourself or nominating someone to be the star in your automatically generated creation,” Microsoft said in a blog post. “The new feature allows you to follow your child across the field in a montage of their soccer game, or highlight a friend at their birthday party reel. You can also choose yourself and start working on your award acceptance speech.”

Once you’re done making your homage to your child’s success or your own demo reel, you can share it straight to social media right from within the updated Photos app.

To take advantage of the new Photos app features, all you need to do is run the latest version of Windows 10 with the Fall Creators Update installed. Photos itself is a free application included with Windows 10.

Fall Creators Update also introduced a more fluid aesthetic to the Windows 10 operating system in the form of the “Fluent Design” update (previously known as Project Neon) as well as an overhauled Edge browser.

Editors’ Recommendations

  • YouTube joins the party by launching its own version of Snapchat Stories
  • Microsoft brings muted tabs, quick sharing in new Windows 10 Insider Preview Build
  • Alexa will soon boot up personal app preferences based on a user’s voice
  • Sticky Notes get stickier with a new update squashing bugs and packing bullets
  • Insider build doesn’t want you to freak out about Windows Timeline privacy


26
Jan

Acer is tight-lipped about its Chrome OS tablet pictured at Bett 2018 Show


An image posted to Twitter of an unannounced Acer tablet seen at the Bett Show 2018 education convention is no longer online. The big deal is that the device relied on Chrome OS, not Android, and the removal of the image indicates that the product is indeed real, but Acer isn’t quite ready to make an official launch. We reached out to the company for comment. 

Based on the removed image, the mystery Chrome OS tablet spotted at the convention was a 7- or 8-inch class device based on its size measured against a hand holding it for the photo. At first glance, we thought it could simply be one part of a Chrome OS-based detachable, but the front camera’s position mounted on one of the shorter ends indicated a small, vertically held device instead. 

Although tablets are seemingly a dying breed, giving way to 2-in-1s, detachables, and crazy huge smartphones, they are not quite dead just yet. Even more, news of a Chrome OS tablet isn’t anything new; the elusive “Scarlet” keeps leaving trails of its existence all over the internet. Up until now, the manufacturer was unknown, but based on the image taken during the convention, Acer appears to be the source. 

Scarlet’s unofficial details are slim. It supposedly sports a 7.9-inch screen with a 4:3 aspect ratio and a 1,024 x 768 resolution. Powering this screen will be RockChip’s RK3399 processor, the same chip used in Samsung’s Chromebook Plus. It’s a six-core chip containing four “little” cores to handle mundane tasks and two “big” cores that do the heavy processing. 

Other notable features spotted in rumors include a 5MP camera on the front (OmniVision OV5695), an 8MP camera on the back (OmniVision OV8858), and a stylus you can store in a special slot on the tablet. The model seen at the convention showcased this stylus, backing previous rumors. Staedtler was the company providing this pen, who just happened to be at the convention showcasing its Noris Digital concept for Chromebooks at Google’s booth. 

According to reports, Acer was not simply displaying an unannounced product at its booth. How the individual responsible for the Twitter post grabbed a snapshot of the mystery device is unknown, but the image is now gone, save for appearing in related news posts. “Grade 1, 2, 3 look what’s coming your way… Not official released but a ChromeOS tablet,” the original tweet said with a link to the uploaded image. 

Acer currently sells two sets of tablets: The stand-alone Iconia Tab 10 and three Iconia One models, One 7, One 8, and One 10. Acer’s unannounced tablet could seemingly slip in beside the Android-based Iconia One 7 as a Chrome OS alternative. The current Iconia One 7 is cheap, packing a 7-inch screen, a four-core processor, 1GB of memory, and 16GB of storage. The $99 version increases the screen resolution to 1,280 x 720 versus the 1,024 x 600 resolution in the $89 model. 

Editors’ Recommendations

  • Acer updates the Chromebook Spin 11 with a slimmer figure and Pentium CPU
  • Acer’s new laptops include a liquid-cooled 2-in-1, $250 fanless Chromebook
  • Acer Chromebook 15 review
  • Acer Windows Mixed Reality Headset review
  • The magnificent six: These awesome laptop deals can save you up to $1,273


26
Jan

Acer is tight-lipped about its Chrome OS tablet pictured at Bett 2018 Show


An image posted to Twitter of an unannounced Acer tablet seen at the Bett Show 2018 education convention is no longer online. The big deal is that the device relied on Chrome OS, not Android, and the removal of the image indicates that the product is indeed real, but Acer isn’t quite ready to make an official launch. We reached out to the company for comment. 

Based on the removed image, the mystery Chrome OS tablet spotted at the convention was a 7- or 8-inch class device based on its size measured against a hand holding it for the photo. At first glance, we thought it could simply be one part of a Chrome OS-based detachable, but the front camera’s position mounted on one of the shorter ends indicated a small, vertically held device instead. 

Although tablets are seemingly a dying breed, giving way to 2-in-1s, detachables, and crazy huge smartphones, they are not quite dead just yet. Even more, news of a Chrome OS tablet isn’t anything new; the elusive “Scarlet” keeps leaving trails of its existence all over the internet. Up until now, the manufacturer was unknown, but based on the image taken during the convention, Acer appears to be the source. 

Scarlet’s unofficial details are slim. It supposedly sports a 7.9-inch screen with a 4:3 aspect ratio and a 1,024 x 768 resolution. Powering this screen will be RockChip’s RK3399 processor, the same chip used in Samsung’s Chromebook Plus. It’s a six-core chip containing four “little” cores to handle mundane tasks and two “big” cores that do the heavy processing. 

Other notable features spotted in rumors include a 5MP camera on the front (OmniVision OV5695), an 8MP camera on the back (OmniVision OV8858), and a stylus you can store in a special slot on the tablet. The model seen at the convention showcased this stylus, backing previous rumors. Staedtler was the company providing this pen, who just happened to be at the convention showcasing its Noris Digital concept for Chromebooks at Google’s booth. 

According to reports, Acer was not simply displaying an unannounced product at its booth. How the individual responsible for the Twitter post grabbed a snapshot of the mystery device is unknown, but the image is now gone, save for appearing in related news posts. “Grade 1, 2, 3 look what’s coming your way… Not official released but a ChromeOS tablet,” the original tweet said with a link to the uploaded image. 

Acer currently sells two sets of tablets: The stand-alone Iconia Tab 10 and three Iconia One models, One 7, One 8, and One 10. Acer’s unannounced tablet could seemingly slip in beside the Android-based Iconia One 7 as a Chrome OS alternative. The current Iconia One 7 is cheap, packing a 7-inch screen, a four-core processor, 1GB of memory, and 16GB of storage. The $99 version increases the screen resolution to 1,280 x 720 versus the 1,024 x 600 resolution in the $89 model. 

Editors’ Recommendations

  • Acer updates the Chromebook Spin 11 with a slimmer figure and Pentium CPU
  • Acer’s new laptops include a liquid-cooled 2-in-1, $250 fanless Chromebook
  • Acer Chromebook 15 review
  • Acer Windows Mixed Reality Headset review
  • The magnificent six: These awesome laptop deals can save you up to $1,273


26
Jan

The best bitcoin alternatives


Bitcoin might still be considered the flagship cryptocurrency, upon which many of the other alternative currencies sail in the wake of, but that’s not to say it’s the only viable one. With more than 1,300 different cryptocurrencies out there now though, knowing which ones to put your money into isn’t easy.

Do you opt for one with a low price so you can buy a lot of them in the hopes of making a fortune? Do you buy the ones with low transaction fees or confirmation times to speed up transfers? This guide isn’t about giving you investment advice, but we’ll give you the best bitcoin alternatives based on features and current values. Whether you’re looking to use your cryptocurrency to pay for items online or simply want to put some aside to create a crypto-nest egg, these are the best bitcoin alternatives.

There’s no sure thing

Before we get into actually recommending alternative cryptocurrencies to bitcoin, it must be stated that investing in any cryptocurrencies, be they new or established is more akin to gambling than traditional investing. Prices can be extremely volatile and though we don’t think regulation is going to cause any real problems for the scene, it could and nobody knows for sure.

If you look around online though, you will find plenty of people looking to advise people to invest in ‘sure things.’ It might be something as niche as Dentacoin, or a new initial coin offering looking for funding. That’s not what we’re be doing here.

While the ceiling for profit is certainly higher on new cryptocurrencies which you can pick up at a fraction of a dollar, in this guide we’ll be recommending tried and tested coins which are less likely to bottom out and ruin your investment. We’ll be looking for established coins that have proved themselves over time as viable stores of value and transactional mediums.

The best

Ethereum (ETH)

BTC Keychain/Flickr

As much as bitcoin had a great 2017, Ethereum’s year was just as impressive. It went from a currency worth single digits at the start of the year to being worth more than $1,200 in the early days of the next. It also proved itself to have a greater ceiling (at least for now) than bitcoin in terms of handling transactions. In early 2018 more than four times the number of Ethereum transactions take place every day and they still happen far faster than bitcoin. Transaction costs are much lower too.

Although some experts we spoke to still believe that bitcoin will remain the defacto posterchild of cryptocurrencies, rising in value and usefulness in the years to come, there’s no denying it faces some difficulties. Ethereum and newer altcoins have fixed some of those potential problems, at least in the short term. Ethereum hasn’t yet hit the scaling issues that bitcoin has encountered, sending fees skyrocketing. It also incorporates additional features like smart-contracts, which could make Ethereum and its currency, Ether, the preferred cryptocurrency for a variety of industries in the future.

The rest

Litecoin (LTC)

Like many other the altcoins on this list, there are many cryptocurrency investors who wished they’d bought a lot of Litecoin at the start of 2017. In January, you could buy individual litecoins for $4 a pop, but they would grow to more than $350 each at their peak at the end of the year. Although there is no guarantee (as with any cryptocurrency) that Litecoin will one day reach or even exceed that height, its relatively low-price at the time of writing could make a decent investment opportunity.

When compared with the likes of bitcoin, Litecoin is preferable for regular transactions, featuring a block time a quarter-that of bitcoin and transaction fees at a fraction of a dollar. More and more developers and merchants are beginning to accept Litecoin too.

Although Litecoin doesn’t have the same potential as Ethereum in terms of building new transaction platforms, as one of the longest-running cryptocurrencies (created in 2011) it’s an established altcoin with great name-recognition. It’s one of the top-10 cryptocurrencies by market cap and has a larger trading volume than all but bitcoin, Ethereum and Ripple.

Ripple (XRP)

Luke Descryptive/Flickr

Although Ripple certainly has its detractors for being a rather centralized cryptocurrency in a famously decentralized space, there’s no denying that Ripple has some real potential thanks to its rising value and industry support.

Ripple’s value spiked at the end of 2017, moving from around $0.20 at the end of October, to more than $2.50 at the close of the year. It often stands out from some of the other large market-value cryptocurrencies, in that it tends to rise when they fall and vice versa.

As much as Ripple and its transactional protocol, XRP, show a lot of potential for those looking to make money from their investment, Ripple has a unique place at the near-top of the cryptocurrency pile, for its support from major banking organizations. Backed by the likes of Santander, RBC, American Express, and other financial institutions, Ripple technology is already being leveraged by some groups for international wealth transfers. Money Gram recently announced a partnership with Ripple Labs to use XRP for some of its “payment flows.”

Digital Cash (DASH)

Luke Descryptive/Flickr

Dash had a similarly positive 2017 to the rest of the major altcoins out there, rising from $10 per token to a peak of more than $1,200 towards the end of the year. It’s settled down to around $800 since then, but that still represents a huge rise over the past 12 months and brings it squarely into the top 20 cryptocurrencies in terms of market-cap.

Originally called Xcoin and then Darkcoin, Dash has been around longer than most, having been officially launched in 2014. It quickly gained popularity early in its lifecycle and has maintained much of it since, for its advocacy of owner privacy, through its “PrivateSend” function. Effectively acting like an official tumbler, it makes it possible for Dash transactions to be further obfuscated and thereby provides an additional layer of anonymizing privacy for owners.

When compared with bitcoin, Dash is also much quicker and cheaper to transact with. Fees at the time of writing are at their highest yet and are still barely $0.40. Thanks to its “InstantSend” feature, transaction times can be near instantaneous too.

Monero (XMR)

Info/Flickr

A single Monero token is worth around $315 at the time of writing — a significant increase over its roughly $9 value at the start of 2017. Although considered an alternative coin, Monero is based on a different hash algorithm to bitcoin. That ultimately means that it has greater privacy for owners as a core component of its technology.

Enhanced privacy with Monero is achieved through hiding certain elements of a transaction like the receiving address and the amount being transmitted. That’s rather different from bitcoin, which has an entirely public ledger which makes tracing bitcoin across the network rather easy, although time-consuming.

For those who like the privatizing elements of Monero, it can be used to make direct purchases from fellow evangelists and on some websites, though the range of mainstream purchase solutions is limited for the time being.

ZCash (ZEC)

ThomasShaw9688

Much like Monero, ZCash is a cryptocurrency with privacy and owner security as its core tenet. It allows for the obfuscation of transaction details such as sender, recipient, and the amount being transacted. That privacy focus and the general upswing of interest in cryptocurrencies in 2017 saw ZEC rise in value from around $50 at the start of the year, to near-$900 at its peak. It has since settled to around half of that, but has still demonstrated real financial growth over the past few months.

Founded in October 2016, ZCash is the youngest cryptocurrency on this list but has shown impressive growth of adoption in that short time. It is backed by the ZCash Company, which gives it some similarities to Ripple, but its nodes are not privately owned in the same way. 10 percent of the total potential 21 million ZEC that will be mined throughout the currency’s lifetime will be given to the original founders and investors, though.

As a transactional medium ZCash is far faster and cheaper than bitcoin, with a blocktime a quarter that of the more well-known cryptocurrency. Fees are substantially less too, currently costing a fraction of a penny.

Editors’ Recommendations

  • How to trade bitcoin for other cryptocurrencies
  • Ethereum vs. bitcoin: What’s the difference?
  • Bitcoin is still soaring. What’s the limit?
  • Bitcoin’s latest boom sends it scorching past $9,000
  • Bitcoin Cash surpassed Ethereum as world’s second most popular cryptocurrency


26
Jan

Meet the Japanese grandmother whose Instagram fame led to a Beck music video


Japanese grandmother “Tamanegi” never set out to create a hugely popular Instagram feed. And she certainly never imagined it would lead to a meeting with indie rock legend Beck and a starring role for her family in his latest music video. So how exactly did it happen?

For Tamanegi (which, incidentally, is Japanese for “onion”), it all began back in 2015 when she started posting pictures on Instagram. Her daughter had recently gotten married and her son-in-law had come to live with them in Yamagata prefecture, about 200 miles north of Tokyo.

“A friend of Beck really liked the photos and told him about them.”

“I wanted to record life with our new family,” Tamanegi told Digital Trends, though it quickly became apparent that Qoo and Riku, their poodles, were going to be the stars of this particular Instagram account. And when granddaughter Mame came along in 2016, Tamanegi really got into her photographic stride.

Her pictures are the epitome of cute, with the fluffy dogs often appearing in various costumes, while the adorable Mame cuddles and plays with the mutts as if they were toys brought by Santa.

And Instagrammers took notice: In the summer of 2016, Tamanegi’s Instagram account went viral, a happening that eventually led to one of Beck’s buddies stumbling upon the photos.

“A friend of Beck really liked the photos and told him about them,” Tamanegi said. Beck liked them too, in fact he was so taken by them that he decided Mame and her four-legged friends would be perfect for his next music video.

A post shared by たまねぎ (@tamanegi.qoo.riku) on Dec 24, 2017 at 5:39am PST

Now, you won’t be surprised to learn that Beck isn’t known to have a strong following among Japanese grandmothers, which explains why Tamanegi was caught off-guard when his team got in touch.

Beck’s people explained that the multi-award-winning artist had an idea to feature Mame, Qoo, Riku, and a new addition to the family, Gaku (yes, another poodle), in the video for Fix Me, a track from Beck’s latest album, Colors.

After doing some hasty research online, Tamanegi realized this was something big, telling Digital Trends she felt “so honored and happy” that such an acclaimed artist had taken an interest in her Instagram photos. She was even more amazed by the music video request.

Beck isn’t known to have a strong following among Japanese grandmothers, which is why Tamanegi was caught off-guard.

As Beck had no plans to appear in the video, it seemed unlikely Tamanegi would have a chance to meet the musician she’d heard so much about. Until, that is, he came to play Tokyo’s famous Budokan venue in October 2017 and invited the family along. It was, by all accounts, a fun encounter, with Beck happy to pose backstage with the stars of Tamanegi’s Instagram photos. Mame’s grandmother described Beck as “very kind and charming.”

The following month, a film crew of three people, together with a translator, descended upon Tamanegi’s home to shoot the video. People say never work with animals or children, so this particular cast looked like something of a challenge.

“Mame-chan is only one year old, so she was moving all over the place, and it was hard to control her,” Tamanegi said. “As for the dogs, Qoo, and Riku are well trained, so they behaved properly. But Gaku is only nine months old, and he’s full of energy and wants to play, so it was harder to control him.”

Fortunately, there were no major mishaps during the shoot, which took a total of two days from start to finish.

In January, the video for Fix Me, starring Mame, Qoo, Riku, and Gaku, was released to the world. You’ll quickly see it has a similar feel to Tamanegi’s Instagram shots, with several costumes used to recreate various scenes from her photos.

Now with more than a quarter of a million followers, Tamanegi says of her recent Instagram experience, “I’m just so surprised, I can hardly believe it even now.”

It’s certainly a story she’ll be able to dine out on for years, though admittedly she may have to explain to some of her friends precisely who Beck is.

Editors’ Recommendations

  • Escorts, filmmaking, and ‘Stranger Things’ secrets with actress Amy Seimetz
  • Let’s pause and give thanks for our favorite video game families
  • Emma Stone is the highest paid actress of 2017, according to annual Forbes list
  • REI launches new search engine to help us #OptOutside on Black Friday
  • Don’t listen to the guy at the mall. How to pick the best smartphone data plan


26
Jan

Google begins testing Bulletin app, allows anyone to share hyperlocal news


Google is currently testing out a new lightweight app called Bulletin, that allows users to contribute hyperlocal stories about their community straight from a smartphone. Bulletin aims to give users a platform to easily post stories about what’s happening around them.

With Bulletin, the stories are both public and easy to discover. You’ll be able to discover them on social media networks or Google search, and can also send them using links through email or messaging apps.

A report from Slate includes a link to a launch event in Nashville, Tennessee where a Google spokesperson introduced Bulletin. The spokesperson describes the app as an effortless way to instantly share local news — that’s also accessible to the community around you.

Since it’s a Progressive Web App, you don’t have to go to the app store to download it in order to upload content or see other posts. The app is also free, and doesn’t require a specific setup as does creating a blog or building a website.

To create a post, you’ll be asked whether you want to start with either text, a photo, or video. Once you post the initial content, it’s immediately public on the web and you can then share it to specific channels. From there, it acts like a live blog — where you can continue to add to it as the event goes on or a news story develops.

For those keeping tabs on the story as you update it, all they’ll need to do is keep the browser open for more information. But as a public document it also gives those searching for the specific event or news the opportunity to find your post and follow along as well.

For example, if you’re at a local sports event you can start a running document at the beginning of the game and continue to add scores, photos, and videos as the game progresses. By posting the link to your social media accounts or sending it via text message, anyone with the link can follow along as you update it live.

Bulletin is currently being piloted in only Nashville, Tennessee and Oakland, California. To test it out, you can request early access via a sign-up sheet from Google.

Editors’ Recommendations

  • Snapchat’s redesign lets you share public Stories outside of the app
  • Instagram users could soon cross-post Stories to WhatsApp
  • YouTube joins the party by launching its own version of Snapchat Stories
  • Relive your top Snapchats of the year with a Story for all of 2017
  • ‘Call of Duty: WWII’: Everything we know so far


26
Jan

An update to watchOS 4.3 brings several new features to the Apple Watch


Apple announced the latest update for the Apple Watch, watchOS 4.3. Currently available as a developers’ beta, the watchOS 4.3 update brings some subtle, but welcome changes to the Apple Watch.

Unlike updates for many Apple devices, watchOS updates are only available to developers. Although it seems like a disappointment that you can’t give the update a test drive a few months before its release, it makes a lot of sense: Uninstalling a watchOS beta is pretty difficult and, at times, it even requires you to send the watch to Apple for service.

While you won’t be able to get your hands on watchOS 4.3 for the next few months, we are already learning lots of details about the update. Here’s what we know so far.

Music app

One of the biggest disappointments when Apple released watchOS 4 in 2017, was the change to the Music app. While previous versions allowed you to control music on your iPhone, watchOS 4 removed the feature and limited you to controlling the music on your Apple Watch.

Well, with the watchOS 4.3 update, you can once again use your watch to control music on your iPhone. Now you can easily use your Apple Watch to connect your iPhone to AirPlay speakers and play music anywhere in your house.

There is also another interesting update in watchOS 4.3. You now see a “Speaker” option when you access AirPlay from the Control Center. The new option is almost certainly meant to connect the watch to Apple’s new HomePod.

Charging and nightstand

chrisalcntra / Reddit

While relatively minor, the watchOS 4.3 update brings some minor changes to the charging and nightstand animations.

First up is the nightstand feature. The watchOS 4.3 update supports nightstand mode in portrait orientation; previous watchOS versions have only supported the feature in landscape. While the update is pretty minor, it’s a major hint that the release of Apple’s new AirPower wireless charger is imminent.

You’ll also see a new charging animation in the watchOS 4.3 update. It’s not a huge change, but it definitely looks a little sleeker.

Watch face

refine_and_refine / Reddit

The Siri watch face, first released in watchOS 4.0, pulls information from more than a dozen sources to show you relevant content throughout the day. While the watch face can provide tons of useful data, it was never able to show you activity data. A Reddit user is reporting that watchOS 4.3 will now allow you to add the Activity complication to the Siri watch face.

Bugs

Like most updates, watchOS 4.3 will bring bug fixes and performance improvements. Since the update is currently only available through a developers’ beta, we don’t have a ton of details on what improvements you can expect. We will continue to monitor and update our reporting as we learn more.

Editors’ Recommendations

  • Apple iOS 11.2.2 update offers a fix to the Spectre security vulnerability
  • Apple’s WatchOS 4.1 update adds phone-less music streaming, GymKit
  • Imgur adds looping GIF feature, new iOS news feed before big desktop redesign
  • Bang & Olufsen looks to the future with new headphones and Airplay 2 support
  • High Sierra beta makes using external graphics on Macs much easier


26
Jan

Best Universal Remote for NVIDIA Shield Android TV


nvidia-shield-android-tv-and-shield-pro.

Shield TV is the best Android TV box you can get. You need a remote control that complements it.

So you’ve got an NVIDIA Shield TV. Congrats — you own the own Android TV box I think you should consider purchasing. And along with Shield TV comes a sexy little remote control. So little, in fact, that I can’t find mine anymore. It’s probably somewhere in the house — but damned if I know where.

The good news is that there are some really good replacements for it.

Let’s take a gander, shall we?

The NVIDIA Shield Game Controller

shield-tv-gaming-controller.jpg?itok=-87This is sort of a two birds, one stone sort of thing. NVIDIA’s own gaming controller runs $59 and does everything that the candy bar remote does. Well, it does way more, actually, since it’s got a D-Pad and a couple sticks and more buttons than you’ll know what to do with.

If you’re at all considering gaming on the Shield TV, I’d just pick up one of these first things and maybe put the included remote control in a drawer for safe-keeping.

See at Amazon

Logitech Harmony Companion

This little $140 wonder is my favorite universal remote, hands-down. It comes with the Harmony Hub, so it’ll hook into the internet via your Wi-Fi and do all the connected home stuff. And it also does Bluetooth connections, which is important because that’s how it’ll end up talking to the Shield TV. (Not everything out there does that.)

Yeah, this thing is nearly as expensive as the Shield TV itself. But it works with all of your devices. In fact, I’ve yet to find something that doesn’t work with it at this point in 2018. And you can set up groups of things to turn on along with the Shield TV, so you can game with some great lighting, or set the mood when you’re watching a movie.

See at Amazon

Logitech Harmony Elite

This remote is silly. It’s a huge upgrade (mostly) from the Companion, with a price tag to go with it. Repeat: $300 for a remote control is nuts. But you not only get a remote that can do everything, but man, it looks so cool with that color touchscreen.

It’s big, though. A lot bigger than the Harmony Companion. It’s one of those things that sort of becomes a focal point if you leave it out where folks can see it. (And because you’ll need to charge it, you’ll also almost certainly have it out where folks can see it.)

But, damn. It’s cool. And it works great with Shield TV.

See at Amazon

Your pick

What’s your favorite universal remote? Let us know in the comments below!

NVIDIA Shield Android TV

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

Amazon

26
Jan

Best Strategy Games for PlayStation 4


ps4-strategy.jpg?itok=Hg84N0iH

If you’re looking to scratch the strategy itch on your PS4, check these titles out.

Once upon a time strategy games and consoles didn’t really get along. If you wanted to play great strategy games your best bet was to stick to a PC. However, things have changed. Consoles are far more powerful than they once were and various developers have created solid strategy games which you can experience from the comfort of your couch. If you enjoy getting down to the nitty-gritty, looking for any advantage, and tactical planning, then strategy games might just be what you’re looking for.

Here are some of the very best strategy games that the PlayStation 4 has to offer.

  • XCOM 2
  • Shadow Tactics: Blades of the Shogun
  • Valkyria Chronicles Remastered
  • Banner Saga
  • Cities Skylines
  • Battlestar Galactica Deadlock

XCOM 2

xcom-2.jpg?itok=AjVN4a1Y

Firaxis games have been churning out stellar strategy games for the better part of 2 decades. XCOM 2 is their second entry to the long-running series which was launched in 1994. Not unlike other installments, you take on the role of a commander in the military organization known as XCOM. It is your job to defend earth from occupying alien forces. XCOM 2 represents one of the purest military strategy experiences available on PS4. It actually feels like a PC game that was picked up and placed lovingly on your console. Head over to Amazon and you can get a copy for 30 bucks.

See at Amazon

Shadow Tactics: Blades of the Shogun

shadow%20tactics.jpg?itok=1jYhJhwh

If you’re not into the idea of a science fiction based strategy game then maybe samurais are more your cup of tea. Shadow Tactics: Blades of the Shogun, developed by Mimimi Productions is set in Japan’s Edo period. Using real-time tactics you will command a squad of characters with various special abilities. It is your charge to investigate and take down a new warlord whose actions are serving to destabilize a unified Japan. It’s a great real-time strategy game and the addition of stealth elements brings interesting depth and tactical possibilities. It can be yours for $30 over at Amazon

See at Amazon

Valkyria Chronicles Remastered

valkyria-chronicles-remastered.jpg?itok=

While strategy games can be tons of fun to play, they are often not the most beautiful games in the world. So many games tend to default to a ¾ top-down view of the world with relatively unimpressive graphics. Valkyria Chronicles went another way entirely. With an anime-influenced painterly visual style, it is a joy to look at. Not only that, but the remastered version really puts a shine on the graphics. Aside from being a good looking game, it’s also a joy to play. As you control your characters you will move them in third-person and choose your shots. This element helps the game avoid the rinse and repeat feel that some tactical strategy games can fall victim to. If you missed this game when it was first released in 2008, now is a great time to check it out for 30 bucks at Amazon

See at Amazon

Banner Saga

banner%20saga.jpg?itok=CFy-Sa6U

Speaking of beautiful games, Banner Saga most certainly is one. First, imagine the beauty of Dragon’s Lair but then imagine a game that is actually fun and isn’t designed for the sole purpose of stealing your quarters. That game you just imagined is Banner Saga. By pairing one of my favorite strategy combat systems in recent years with beautiful graphics, you end up with one heck of a game. Banner Saga was developed by Stoic games and originally released in 2014 with a port to PS4 two years later. If you enjoy turn-based combat and have a soft spot in your heart for Norse mythology, then this game is square in the middle of your wheelhouse. The other great thing is that if you love it, you can jump right into its sequel and there is a third installment planned for 2018. You can pick it up at the PlayStation store for only $20.

See at PlayStation

Cities Skylines

cities.jpg?itok=BVD54Sq_

Strategy games don’t always have to be about fighting, shooting, and blowing stuff up. Sometimes you want to create and build rather than smash and destroy. City management games have long been an option for those looking for a more peaceful experience. For those looking for that type of game, SimCity was the go-to for many years. Then in 2013, industry darlings, EA dropped the most recent in the SimCity series. Without going into too much detail, this made a lot of people very angry and was widely regarded as a bad move. Developer Colossal Order saw the fumble, picked up the ball, and ran. In 2015 they release Cities Skylines, the answer to everything wrong with SimCity. If you want to dip your toe into the world of city management then you can’t do much better than Cities Skylines for 47 dollars.

See at Amazon

Battlestar Galactica Deadlock

battlestar.jpg?itok=IhOSVVh_

I have no doubt that there are people out there who have been waiting for this game. Unfortunately, it just seemed to slip under the radar without so much as a hint of dradis contact. The new Battlestar Galactica TV series ended in 2009 but we didn’t see a great tie-in video game until 2017. Fans of the show will absolutely love this game. This is your opportunity to take control of the colonial fleet and give those dirty toasters what for. With a laser-like attention to the details that made the TV series great, it’s like playing the show in many ways. If you loved Battlestar Galactica and you enjoy space combat strategy then you should certainly give this game a whirl for 30 bucks.

See at PlayStation

What are some strategy games that YOU love on PS4?

Why are we reviewing PlayStation 4 games on Android Central? Let us explain.

PlayStation 4

ps4-controllers.jpg

  • PS4 vs. PS4 Slim vs. PS4 Pro: Which should you buy?
  • PlayStation VR Review
  • Playing PS4 games through your phone is awesome

Amazon

%d bloggers like this: