The iOS and Android game show app HQ Trivia gives anyone the chance to win big bucks by answering trivia questions, but the app came with a catch: You could only collect your payout after winning at least $20. With prizes split up based on how many users got all questions correct, this could leave some winners unable to get paid, but HQ Trivia has eliminated that stipulation.
“It’s payday, baby! We’ve removed the minimum balance required to cash out your HQ winnings,” HQ Trivia said on Twitter. “Put that money in the bank today!”
HQ Trivia is an elimination-style quiz show available to play every night at 9 p.m. ET, as well as 3 p.m. ET on weekdays. Players must answer a series of progressively more difficult questions, and once you get a question wrong, you’re out of the game and must wait for the next event to try again. Depending on how many players get all questions correct, the prizes can be substantial. In December, player Casey Donahue won $6,000 in a single game. Typically, several people will be able to get all questions correct, resulting in more modest winnings.
The app has managed to catch on for more than just the potential cash, however. Host Scott Rogowsky’s high-energy personality has won over fans, and the show has also used guest hosts during certain days, including The Game Awards producer Geoff Keighley.
As of now, HQ Trivia doesn’t make a profit, as founders Rus Yusupov and Colin Kroll are focused on building its user-base to increase the company’s valuation. Though brand-based questions might seem like they were sponsored, this actually isn’t the case for now, with funding coming through venture capitalists, instead.
HQ Trivia was first released for iOS in 2017 before making its way to Android in January. The game is only available to play on phones, likely to avoid cheaters quickly using their search engines and to simplify payout — you don’t need to make an account with the game, as your winnings are tied to your phone number. You can collect your winnings using PayPal, and we certainly hope they are higher than $20.
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According to a report from Nikkei, Apple will be halving its initial production estimates for the iPhone X in the three-month period that began in January.
The initial estimates, set during the November launch window of the iPhone X, were for 40 million units. According to Nikkei’s unsourced report, the company informed suppliers that the number has been revised to 20 million units after international sales during the holiday season were less than anticipated. Not long after the news broke on Nikkei, the stock market responded to the news and Apple’s share prices fell 1.9 percent — a loss of $45 billion.
This isn’t the first we’ve heard of issues surrounding the iPhone X. Last week, an analyst from KGI Securities predicted that the iPhone X would be permanently retired in the summer of 2018, following sales that were less than expected.
Interestingly, production numbers for the iPhone 8, 8 Plus, and iPhone 7 have not been altered, with Apple still expecting to maintain a production target of 30 million units for the cheaper, less advanced models. This tallies with another previous report from analysts Cowen & Co. that customers preferred cheaper iPhones to the more expensive iPhone X and blamed the extremely high $999 iPhone X price tag as the reason that many Apple consumers were gravitating to the other models.
The reason for the high price tag is likely for a handful of reasons. Apple’s iPhone has always been a premium brand but the iPhone X broke new ground even in that marketplace. Most commentators point to the price of OLED displays as being a large part of the reason that the iPhone X’s price was so inflated above the market average. The OLED screen on the iPhone X was Apple’s first, and with mobile competitor Samsung being the only supplier who could supply enough displays for Apple’s needs, the iPhone giant would have likely been paying top dollar for each display.
Regardless of this news, Apple’s iPhones continued to sell well toward the tail end of 2017. While $45 billion may also be a large sum of money, it’s not a massive relative drop for Apple, which is on track to becoming the world’s first company valued at $1 trillion.
- Analyst suggests customers prefer cheaper iPhones to the iPhone X
- Apple iPhone 11: News, rumors, specs, and more
- Samsung could make $22 billion from OLED displays for the iPhone X
- Is the iPhone X too expensive for you? Rumored price cut may change that
- The all-screen Apple iPhone X is here, and it’s the new iPhone you’ll want
The last few weeks have been rough for technology manufacturers and users alike, with the Meltdown and Spectre exploits making headlines and requiring fixes that can slow down our gadgets. Intel issued microcode fixes for its own CPUs meant to address the issue and then quickly retracted them due to system reboots and instability. Now, Microsoft has concluded that fixes meant to address the Spectre Variant 2 exploit are bad enough to cause data loss, and its issued its own fix.
For now, this fix comes via a support bulletin that it issued the following statement:
“Intel has reported issues with recently released microcode meant to address Spectre Variant 2 (CVE 2017-5715 Branch Target Injection) — specifically Intel noted that this microcode can cause “higher than expected reboots and other unpredictable system behavior” and then noted that situations like this may result in “data loss or corruption.” Our own experience is that system instability can in some circumstances cause data loss or corruption. On January 22, Intel recommended that customers stop deploying the current microcode version on impacted processors while they perform additional testing on the updated solution. We understand that Intel is continuing to investigate the potential impact of the current microcode version and encourage customers to review their guidance on an ongoing basis to inform their decisions.”
Microsoft’s response, for now at least, is to simply turn off the mitigation against Spectre Variant 2. It provided an update that users can run at the Microsoft Update Catalog site, along with steps to manually disable and enable the mitigation by modifying the registry. The registry is a finicky thing, though, and so be careful if you choose the latter route.
While it’s usually a bad idea to turn off security measures meant to protect against known exploits, in this case, the damage that Intel’s bad microcode can cause clearly outweighs what Microsoft considers to be a negligible potential for harm. According to the company, there have been no known attacks based on Spectre Variant 2, at least as of Thursday, January 25.
Microsoft will likely issue a more widely available update once its official Patch Tuesday update rolls around next month. This emergency out-of-band update might be worth running in the meantime, though, particularly if any of your PCs have been acting a bit crazy since being updated with the Spectre fixes.
- Qualcomm is working on patches to address Meltdown and Spectre flaws
- Updates addressing Meltdown security issue are causing a number of PC reboots
- Intel’s 9th-generation ‘Ice Lake’ CPUs will have fixes for Meltdown, Spectre
- Apple protects MacOS Sierra, El Capitan from Meltdown, lists Google bugs
- Nvidia’s latest software update helps protect your system from ‘Spectre’
If you asked most fans what the hallmark of Apple products was, you would probably receive a few different responses. Many though, would likely cite how homegrown they can be. They use Apple-approved software, bought through Apple marketplaces, and, in some segments, use Apple hardware, too. According to one report, that is going to become more common in the near future, with as many as three new Mac models, possibly launching as soon as the end of 2018.
The most common place to spot Apple hardware is in its mobile devices like the iPhone and iPad. However, in 2016 and 2017 Apple introduced the T1 and T2 co-processors, which offloaded some of the functions from the Intel CPU to the Apple design.
The report from Bloomberg highlights that only two Mac lines currently use those custom Apple processors: The MacBook Pro with Touch Bar and iMac Pro. However, it claims that Apple is working on “at least three” new Mac models that are built using its own custom processors, with plans to release them as soon as this year. The source is said to be someone “familiar with the matter.”
Where the report wasn’t specific is in what models we can expect to see refreshed with Apple hardware inside. It does suggest that it will include “updated laptops and a new desktop,” but doesn’t cite a range or model. It could be that with the MacBook Pro with Touch Bar utilizing an Apple T1, that we’ll see more MacBooks introduced using Apple co-processors. It is unlikely to relate to the MacBook Pro though, as previous reports suggested that we wouldn’t see anything meaningful from the MacBook Pro range in 2018.
Apple’s Jony Ive did recently state that Apple was well aware of concerns Mac fans had about the various Apple hardware ranges though, lending more credence to the rumor of a 2018 hardware refresh of some ranges.
Steve Jobs was a big fan of Apple building its own chips to put in its own products. Not only does it give Apple more control over the supply chain, but if it does the job right, it should mean better products and higher profit margins for Apple. Considering how dangerous the recent Spectre and Meltdown bugs proved to be, too, it may be that using its own hardware could make its products more secure.
- Apple is ‘listening,’ but won’t release a major MacBook Pro upgrade this year
- Apple could be ditching the MacBook Air as early as this year
- Apple iMac Pro news: everything you need to know about the professional desktop
- 2018 Apple iPad Pro: News and rumors
- The Apple iPhone X is a game changer, but is it worth a grand?
Do you remember the color-changing dress that proved especially divisive when it made the rounds a couple years back. Was it black and blue or white and gold? The Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL) is looking to stir up a similar controversy — although this time it may be possible for the dress in question to be both black and blue and white and gold.
No, we’re not talking about any kind of “Schrödinger’s cat” thought experiment, but rather a new system called ColorFab that allows 3D printed objects to change color, courtesy of special dyes that can be activated and deactivated when exposed to different wavelengths of light.
“ With the amount of buying, consuming, and wasting that exists, we wanted to figure out a way to update materials in a more efficient way, which was largely the motivation behind this project,” MIT professor Stefanie Mueller, who led the project, told Digital Trends. “We’ve developed a system for repeatedly changing the colors of 3D-printed objects after fabrication in just over 20 minutes. Specifically, we can recolor multicolored objects using a projector model and our own 3D printable ink that changes color when exposed to UV and visible light.”
According to Mueller, the technology could allow users to change the color of different items of clothing in order to accessorize them, or for a retail store to be able to customize its products in real time if a buyer wants to see an item in a different color. It currently takes 23 minutes to change an object’s color, but they hope it will be possible to speed up the process as the project advances. The hope is that it could one day be used like the color-changing nails in the movie Total Recall, in which a receptionist is able to change the color simply by touching her nails with her pen.
“This is just a research prototype at this point, so there are no immediate plans to commercialize,” Mueller said. “As a next step, we hope to speed up the printing process by using a more powerful light and potentially adding more light-adaptable dye to the ink. We also hope to improve the granularity of the colors so that more nuanced patterns can be printed.”
A paper describing the work has been accepted to the ACM CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems, which takes place in April in Montreal.
- New 3D-printing technique uses UV light to print working electronic circuits
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- Eat your heart out, ‘Avatar’ fans: MIT just figured out how to make plants glow
- Experimental 3D printer uses laser holograms to crank out objects quickly
Now we can actually talk to you while streaming.
As most of you know, Twitch has become a huge part of most gamers lives. We love to share our games, and lots of folks enjoy watching. Doing this in front of a television is one thing, but when you’ve got a PlayStation VR headset on things get a little complicated. Whether its Star Trek: Bridge Crew or a Sparc workout it’s fun to watch people play, especially in VR. Until now there have been certain features lacking in the PlayStation broadcast settings for VR, the biggest being comments.
When playing in VR in the previous PlayStation version you couldn’t see what anyone was saying to you which made the stream a little one-sided. With the latest update of the PS4 to 5.0 and the PSVR to 3.1 that has changed. You still can’t use the camera to stream yourself playing, which makes sense as the camera is busy making VR magic but you can now set the PlayStation 4 to show your messages on screen as you play. Here’s how to set it up.
Make sure you have the right software. If you are unsure head to your PS4 settings and check for the update. You should be receiving the 5.0 update and, once the 5.0 is installed and turn your PSVR on, the 3.1 update for it as well.
Step by Step
Make sure to install the 5.0 and 3.1 updates to the PS4 and PSVR.
Open the game you want to stream and press the Share button.
Check the Allow Messages button in the top left corner.
Press options again for the Advanced settings to add voice messages and set up communities.
Stream and enjoy.
Start as if you intend to stream
Load your game of choice as you normally would, in our case Sparc, and press the share button on the controller or Move Controller. This will open the standard share window, from there choose your streaming service, in this case, Twitch and move to the next screen.
From here you can see the option in the top right-hand corner to “Display Message to spectators and spectators messages.” Make sure the checkbox is selected. As you can see the video option is shaded out so you can’t select it while in VR.
Hit the Advanced Button for More Options
It’s worth heading to the advanced tab to double check all your settings. There is a checkbox that is supposed to allow the PS4 to speak the comments to you but I have yet to see this work. Make sure while you are there that all your communities are connected to your stream as well as your microphone is set up correctly.
Are you streaming?
You will now see the name of the person sending the message as well as the message itself pop up as you play the game. It really does make a huge amount of difference when you can interact with your followers and answer their questions as you play. Will you be checking messages while streaming? Are you excited about this feature? Let us know in the comments below!
- PS4 vs. PS4 Slim vs. PS4 Pro: Which should you buy?
- PlayStation VR Review
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The leading smart doorbell is about to get a huge competitor in the form of the Google-owned Nest Hello.
Ring isn’t the only company that makes a smart doorbell. It hasn’t been for a long time, actually. But the number of competitors that it’s had to deal with have been few and far between. And for the most part, almost no one has come out with anything that looks remotely acceptable as a way to greet a stranger at your home. (If I had to answer, I’d say it’s the Ring Pro, then the SkyBell Trim, in that order. And that’s it.)
In a month or so, though — Nest Hello is slated for release in February 2018, and I’d look for it in the latter part of the month — that’s going to change in a big way.
I admit I’d completely forgotten about Nest Hello. Announced back in September 2017, it’s Nest’s take on the venerable ding-dong button. And just like it did with the simple home thermostat and smoke detector before it, Nest Hello not just has the opportunity to make your front door a whole lot smarter — it’s going to look really good while it’s doing it.
Ring has done wonders for my peace of mind for the past few years, particularly as I was traveling a lot. I can’t overstate that. But Nest Hello has me excited in a new way, because I think it’ll do many of the same things even better.
Ring Pro and Nest Hello are priced similarly — with the former $249, and the latter $20 less. So here are the things I, as a longtime user of a Ring Doorbell — I’ve used the original Ring, Ring 2 and Ring Pro — will be looking for when Nest Hello is released next month.
See at Nest
A better camera
Nest Hello is surprisingly coy about the resolution of its camera. It doesn’t list the resolution in any of its top-level promotions on the Nest website.
Normally that would worry the hell out of me. If it doesn’t say 1080p, chances are it’s only 720p. A higher resolution is almost always better, of course, and 1080p is what you find in current top-shelf products like the Ring Pro.
And it turns out Nest Hello isn’t 1080p. It’s actually using a 1600×1200 resolution. While that’s actually fewer total pixels than a 1080p camera (1.9 megapixels versus 2.1 megapixels), Nest says there’s good reason for that.
1080p cameras have a wider view with extra horizontal space that’s great for keeping an eye on a large area. But the view isn’t as good for seeing visitors head to toe from a lower angle. UXGA gives you the expanded vertical view that you need in order to see someone standing right in front of the camera as well as packages on the ground.
Fair enough, and there’s definitely room to improve on the image quality we’ve had with Ring.
No, really — who’s there?
These smart doorbells show you someone is there just fine. But Nest promises to actually be able to tell who is at your door.
Nest currently has “Familiar Face Alerts” available with its top-end Nest IQ cameras. It’s bringing that same tech to Nest Hello. You’ll need a Nest Aware subscription for that, which is $100 a year for the first camera in your home, and $50 a year on top of that for every additional camera, and that’s for the 10 days of video history. The 30-day plan takes things up to $300 and $250, respectively. (I’d really love to see Nest consolidate that into a one-size-fits-all plan, and it’s gotta come down on that price a bit.)
Once you’ve ponied up the cash you’ll be able to teach Nest whose face belongs to whom, to better suss out the, well, familiar faces from those you really want to worry about.
Nobody else does that.
I love that my Ring Doorbell notifies me when it sees motion, so I get an alert before someone even makes it to the door.
I hate that my Ring Doorbell notifies me when it sees motion over and over again when my kids are playing in the yard, or when I’m doing yard work. It’s kind of dumb like that. It’s *just now* rolling out fixes for this, but I’ll have to wait and see how well it works before rendering a verdict.
In any case, one of the best things Nest’s suite of products can do is actually recognize when you’re home, and when you’re away, thus giving all of its products a general “Home” or “Away” status.
This is guesswork on my part, but I’d be willing to bet that you can tailor notifications for when you’re home versus when you’re away. Sure, I like to see who’s coming when even when I’m home. But there has to be a smarter way of going about this. Fewer notifications when I’m at my house. More when I’m away.
I’ve used a lot of connected home equipment and services. It’s pretty easy to tell which has a more native “feel” to it, and which is more like a web service all wrapped up in an app, with the lag to go along with it.
That’s something Nest does as well as anyone, and definitely better than Ring. If you’ve used Nest’s thermostat before, you’ll immediately know what I’m talking about — especially if you’ve also used a janky web interface for some other thermostat. (I’m gritting my teeth at my own electric utility here.) Same goes for Nest’s cameras. Scrubbing through a timeline is akin to video editing software — not some clunky web player.
That’s not to knock Ring. It’s come a long way the past few years, and its software continues to improve. But Nest is just in another class.
Canned responses are quick, and canned
At launch, Nest Hello is going to come with three “Quick Responses,” so you can reply with a quick touch on your screen instead of actually having to talk.
It’s like quick replies to incoming phone calls, and it’s going to be a welcome addition.
What else I’ll be looking for
A few more quick hits of things I’ll want to see, or that I’m worried about not seeing.
- Doorbells are small. It’s hard to cram a lot of electronics in there, and there’s not a lot of power to work within low-voltage wiring. Nest Doorbells have been a little finicky when it comes to Wifi strength — and that pretty much affects everything. Hopefully Nest Hello will impress here.
- Ring has these cool little “Chimes” that connect to your network and plug into an outlet, so you can hear the doorbell from anywhere in your home. That’s great for a large home. And its Chime Pro acts as a network extender for Ring products. Nest, at least for now, doesn’t have anything like this.
- Back to the low-voltage wiring for a second. Like the Ring Pro, you’ll need to make sure you have a low-voltage transformer that can put out enough juice. (I actually had to upgrade mine for the Ring Pro.) This is something a homeowner can probably do without professional help. But if not, there’s the whole “Nest Pro” thing.
- A reminder that Google’s coming out with a slew of “smart displays” — some named exactly that, others with more awful product names — this summer, and they’ll work hand-in-hand with Nest products.
Nest Hello is available for preorder now and ships in February.
See at Nest
T-Mobile is expected to save $100 million in energy costs over the next 15 years.
T-Mobile often markets itself as the Un-Carrier in the United States, and now the company is aiming to position itself as the Un-Non-Renewable Electricity User. Bad jokes aside, T-Mobile just announced that it’ll be joining the RE100 initiative to start using 100% renewable energy sources.
The Un-Carrier’s current goal is to move to 100% renewable electricity by 2021, and as a result of this, it’s estimated that T-Mobile will cut down its total energy costs by $100 million over the next 15 years. Per CEO John Legere:
It’s the Un-carrier way to do the right thing by our customers, and moving to renewable energy is just a natural part of that.
To kick this new initiative off, T-Mobile finalized a contract with Infinity Renewables’ Solomon Forks Wind Project for 160 MWs worth of renewable energy that’ll start generating power for the carrier at some point in early 2019. T-Mobile’s first use of wind-powered electricity occurred this past December when it made a deal with Red Forks Wind Power. Combining these two deals together, T-Mobile already has plans to generate 320 MWs of power – enough to sustain 60% of the company’s nationwide energy use.
Commenting on this announcement, RE100 Head Sam Kimmins said:
It’s great to see T-Mobile US shifting to renewables for its power consumption. As a large electricity consumer in the US, they can truly transform energy systems by bringing significant renewable capacity online – all of that while delivering real value to their customers. I congratulate them for a great commitment.
T-Mobile offers free data and calls in South Korea during the 2018 Olympics
Move over iTunes – Spotify is now the first name in music.
Spotify has been around for 9 years now, and for at least the last five, the service has fairly well dominated the music subscription scene. Apart from being the first real name in music streaming, Spotify’s real claims to fame are how easy it is to use and how their student subscription lured in millions of young subscribers that stuck around long after their discount vanished.
Whether you’re finally moving from CDs to a streaming library or you’re considering jumping to Spotify from another service, here’s what you need to know about joining and using Spotify.
Joining is as easy as clicking the Facebook icon
Joining Spotify for most users is as simple as hitting the “Sign Up With Facebook” button, which will connect to your Facebook account and pull in your name, email, and birthday. Should you not have a Facebook or wish to keep the two separate, you can enter your email, name, birthday, and desired password manually, you barbarian.
You then click the captcha to ensure that you aren’t a robot — you’re not a robot, right? — and you’re instantly taken to the main page of the Spotify web interface, where you can click on one of the featured stations or start browsing to your heart’s content. There are a variety of stations and mixes displayed on the tabs of the main page, but if you’ve already got a hankering for something specific, you can search for it and get your groove on.
Start establishing your music history
There’s a lot you can do when you start with Spotify, but I suggest searching for some of your favorite songs or artists and starting your music history off with what you listen to the most. This will also give you a chance to ease yourself into Spotify’s layout by searching for albums and songs you like as opposed to leaving yourself and your music history at the mercy of what you can find browsing.
Your music history is very important in Spotify, as it’s what the service will base your weekly “Discover” selection on, as well as your periodic listening statistics. Keep this in mind before you use Spotify to appease your niece and nephews demands to listen to the Moana soundtrack a billion times.
While on a Free account, keep in mind that everything you play on the app will be stuck on Shuffle, and the playing queue you see will not be the actual order the songs play in. You also won’t be able to skip to a particular song, and you are limited to six skips an hour. Use them wisely.
Use the web app for the heavy lifting
While you’re on a Spotify Free account, the web app is going to offer a superior experience to the Android, as you are stuck on Shuffle Play on the mobile app until you upgrade to Premium. The web app also allows you to see more search results at a time and seems to play ads a tad less frequently, so use the web app on your desktop or Chromebook while you’re building up a playlist or doing a lot of library management.
There will be ads
Ads are part of the free experience. Spotify has to make their money somehow. While using Spotify Free, a couple ads play every 4-8 songs, though tend to get repetitive. I’ve been listening to a Disney shuffle and have heard the same Walmart grocery pickup ad 5 times in 45 minutes. Oh, and whoever thought these “unexpected” Geico ads were a good idea needs to be locked in a room listening to them “it’s a small world”-style for a few days.
Especially the beatboxing one.
If you want to forgo the ads, as well as Free’s other limitations, you’ll want to consider one of Spotify’s premium plans.
Where do we go from here?
Once you’ve got a few playlists under your belt and you’ve started building up your library and history, the sky’s the limit. You can start sharing your playlists with friends, start digging into stations to find your new favorite songs, or you can rediscover your old favorites again while recreating your old CD library. Speaking of your old library…
How do I upload my music to Spotify?
The short answer here is you don’t. I’m sorry.
Spotify’s just not built around a personal music locker like Google Play Music, Amazon Music and iTunes/Apple Music are. There are ways to use Spotify to combine music you have downloaded on your computer using Spotify’s local files feature, but it’s not especially friendly, it doesn’t carry from device to device, and for most of us, it’s just not worth the hassle.
Kiss your CD-buying days goodbye.
Pick a weekend, a bottle of your preferred stress-relieving elixir, and just replicate your library yourself with Spotify search. It’s a natural time to prune your library, anyway.
Sign up for Spotify
Unfortunately, there’s no word on availability in other markets.
The Moto X4 may be a very different phone compared to past entries in the X-series, but even so, it’s one of the best mid-range Android phones on the market right now. The X4 has been available in India through Flipkart for a few months now, but a new version with 6GB of RAM is right around the corner.
One of Andrew’s biggest complaints with the Moto X4, when he reviewed it in October, was its sometimes slow performance. The X4 isn’t a slouch in its current form, but the limited 3GB of RAM “means you’re just a bit more likely to see apps dump out of memory than on other phones with 1-3GB more.”
This new version of the Moto X4 with 6GB of RAM is launching in India through Flipkart once again on February 1, and it’ll set you back ₹24,999. That’s expectedly more expensive than the 3GB RAM model which costs ₹20,999, but for that much more RAM, that’s not a bad deal.
You’ll also get upgraded storage from 32GB up to 64GB, but everything else about the Moto X4 remains the same. It’s unclear if/when this model of the phone will make its way to markets outside of India, but you sure wouldn’t find me complaining if it does.
See at Flipkart