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Gear Up: Keep powered with a myCharge portable charger solution

Take a moment to think about how many devices you use which require charging on a regular basis. Be it a phone, tablet, wearable, or even a Nintendo Switch, you’ve got something that needs an occasional, or daily charging. What happens if you’re out and about and don’t have access to a wall or auto adapter? Reach for a myCharge portable charger, that’s what.

We’ve long been a fan of myCharge portable charging solutions, having had the privilege of reviewing them over the years. The 2018 selection is no different; it’s bigger capacities, faster charging, and smaller footprints. Not only that, but myCharge has a few new tricks, too.

For your consideration

Our team has spent a few weeks using a number of myCharge portable charger options, each of which speaks to a different type of user. Here’s a couple that we’re more than happy to recommend.

AdventureMax | $49.99

adventuremaxThe myCharge Adventure Max (left), features a carabiner clip for convenience.

The sort of charger you’ll want to pack for a weekend of camping or a day at the beach, the AdventureMax offers up 10,500mAh of juice. More than enough to charge your phone a few times over, it has two USB ports. So, throw your Bluetooth speaker on there and charge the handset at the same time.  The carabiner clip lets you fasten to your backpack or belt loop so it’s always within reach.

HubPlus C | $79.99

hubplus cThe HubPlus C features internal microUSB and Type C cords.

Although this isn’t a new product line, this marks the first time we’re seeing it feature a USB Type-C port. In fact, it’s got a built-in cord for convenience. This is great news for those of you with a recent flagship phone like the Pixel 2 or Samsung Galaxy Note 8. Don’t need the new plug? Pull out the microUSB cord instead and charge up pretty much everything else.

At 6700mAh, there’s enough power to get multiple phones charged up multiple times. There are four light indicators to tell you how much is left in the tank so you’re not surprised when it gets depleted. Once it is, though, simply plug the entire unit directly into the wall via its wall prongs.

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hubplus c

AdventureUltra | $129.99

mycharge adventureultraThe AdventureUltra let you charge up to four devices at once, including laptops.

If you need even more peace of mind, opt for the AdventureUltra. Not only do you get 13,400mAh of battery life, but you get a host of ports, too. Included are two USB ports, a USB Type-C port, and an AC port (45 watts). Now you’re talking about four devices at once, including anything that would normally plug into the wall. Read our full review.

Output by Port

  • USB-C Port: 3.0A
  • USB-A Port #1: 2.4A
  • USB-A Port #2: 2.4A
  • Total Shared: 3.4A
  • AC Port: 45W

Keep an eye on exactly how much power is left inside of the myCharge portable charger with a full display. Moreover, you have the ability to power the outlets on and off. And, thanks to the pass through charging, you can charge the power bank and any devices plugged in at the same time.


Rocket League Rivals brings absurd car-based soccer to the real world

This week Hot Wheels unveiled Augmoto, an AR-enhanced course that makes the brand’s track races a lot more video game-like. However, in the other direction it’s also introducing Rocket League Rivals, a remote control vehicle kit that brings the popular console game’s madcap soccer-but-with-cars action into the real world. Based on the number of times our cars flipped over or ran off the track while playing at this week’s Toy Fair, it seems to have captured the spirit of the game, at least.

The version on display this weekend is a bit rough, but it has the basics down: There’s a garish stadium with goals at each end, and a giant ball you have to push with your car. Each goal tracks the ball via an infrared sensor and has an LCD scoreboard above it, reminiscent of the point tickers you’d find on an air hockey table. The whole kit has a den or playroom feel to it; the kind of thing you can leave out for the kids to play whenever they’re in the mood. If you don’t have the space, Rivals can be easily packed away or put back together — the target audience is eight and up, after all.

The cars are controlled from the Android or iOS app via Bluetooth, and recharge on the included base station, which also has a slot to store the ball in. Aside from basic directional controls, the app also offers a turbo boost for when you want to make a big push (or get out of a pinch). The cars handle well, but if you have trouble steering it’s easy enough to ride along the curved edges of the stadium to get back on track. You can’t drive on the walls or shoot rockets, sadly.

"Dominus" car

The basic set comes with two cars, Octane and Dominus. The app didn’t make a distinction between models, but in real world matches there’s definitely a difference. My colleague Devindra took control of the spritely Octane, driving circles around my substantial-but-slow Dominus. It was a bit of a blowout, at least until a solid impact knocked Octane right over and left Devindra unable to defend his goal.

Octane and Dominus were chosen for the basic set because they’re the most popular bodies in the actual game, but there are plans to make more models available after launch. Rivals supports up to eight vehicles at a time, which should definitely give it a more Rocket League feel as cars fight over the ball in a space smaller than a typical dining room table. As for the basic set, Rocket League Rivals will be available some time this fall to the tune of $180.


Labor board says Google legally fired diversity memo writer

James Damore may claim Google was wrong to fire him over his memo criticizing the company’s diversity culture, but a federal government overseer begs to differ. The National Labor Relations Board has published a January memo recommending a dismissal of Damore’s then-active complaint. Board attorney Jayme Sophir found that Damore was protected under federal law when he criticized Google, but that he wasn’t protected when he suggested that women were biologically inferior at programming. His remarks were likely to create “serious dissension and disruption” in the workplace, Sophir said, and that actuallly happened — women pulled their candidacy for engineering positions after hearing of Damore’s memo.

Companies should have the freedom to stop the “kinds of employee conduct that could lead to a ‘hostile workplace,’” Sophir said. The lawyer also rejected Damore’s attempts to mask his views with pseudo-scientific claims and “not all women” disclaimers, arguing that they still represented discrimination.

Damore filed the complaint in January in a belief that Google had not only fired him for criticism, but was allegedly discriminating against conservative white men through a left-leaning “monoculture.” He dropped the NLRB complaint shortly after filing it to focus his attention on a class action lawsuit over the issue. The memo doesn’t bode well for his chances, however. While it’s not legally binding (it would have only held weight if Damore kept his NLRB complaint), it shows a court might rule against him.

Via: Wired

Source: NLRB (PDF download)


Sling your suds in style with this DIY beer caddy made from a pallet

If you’re just getting into woodworking, this pallet wood beer carrier is a fantastic project to cut your teeth on. In addition to having a rugged look, it’s sized to accept all sizes of bottles and cans, from old-school shorties up to 22-ouncers, and even wine bottles. It’s also dead simple to put together, and can easily be completed in a few hours.

You’ll only need the most basic tools for this project, though there’s just one specialized piece of gear we recommend: a Forstner drill bit or a hole saw. These will help you make the holes for the dowel, though you can use almost any kind of saw to cut out the pieces (we recommend a jigsaw). In the end, it all goes together with a hammer and nails. Despite the simple tools, materials, and techniques (or maybe because of them), the end result looks awesome.

Below, you’ll find a step-by-step breakdown of how to build one yourself. Along the way, you’ll learn some cool techniques, like using one part to trace another, and making bridle joints: the simple interlocking notches that connect the parts of the interior grid. Your jigsaw is the big star here, as it can cut make every cut needed in this entire project — even the tight notches in the grid. Here’s everything you’ll need:

Tools and Materials
  • Wood pallet (1x)
  • Oak slat, 1/4 in. thick by 3-1/2 in. wide
  • Jigsaw
  • Drill/driver
  • 1-1/8 in. Forstner bit
  • Hammer
  • Compass
  • Small box of 16-gauge panel nails
  • Bottle opener

Pro tip: Replace your all-purpose jigsaw blades with blades designed for smooth cuts in wood, and you’ll be amazed at the results.

Step-by-step instructions

Cut out one end and use it to trace the other

Square up the board for the ends of the caddy. We used a miter saw to get a square cut on both ends of this 3/4-in.-thick board, so we could get both ends of the tote from this one board. A jigsaw or handsaw would also work well here.
Lay out one of the ends. Mark the width (6-3/8 in.) all the way down the board, measuring over from its straightest edge. Then mark where the top ends, 13 inches from the end of the board. Now measure down 1-1/4 inches from the top and place your compass point there, centered on the width of the workpiece. Set the compass to mark the dowel hole, then set it to 1-1/4 inches to mark the parallel arc at the top. To finish the layout, draw in the angled edges of the ends. The angles start 7-1/2 inches from the bottom, and connect to the arc at the top.
Drill the hole for the handle. Clamp the board onto a piece of waste wood, which will prevent splintering on the back side of the hole while you drill through. Then use a big bit to make a hole that matches your dowel diameter. A cheap spade bit will work here, but we went with a more specialized Forstner bit because it makes a smoother cut.
Cut out this end piece. With the hole drilled, cut out the entire end piece. You are cutting the extra width off the board here, as well as the angles and the curve near the top. Two handsaws (backsaw and coping saw) will do the job, as will a bandsaw — but a jigsaw is arguably the cheapest, most effective option.
Sand it smooth. Use 80-grit paper, backed with a wood or rubber block, and smooth the curves and angles for a clean, finished look.
Trace one end onto the other. To lay out the second end of the caddy, just trace the first one onto the other end of your board. Be sure to trace the hole too. Then just drill, saw, and sand this end like the first.

Cut the side slats and handle, then assemble the caddy

Cut the other parts to length. The side slats, bottom slats, and dowel are all 11-3/8 in. long, which makes things easy. A jigsaw or handsaw will make all of these cuts, but feel free to use bigger power tools if you have them. For each of these parts, cut one end square before measuring and cutting the other end to length. Be aware that the side slats need to be trimmed down to 2 in. wide, and at least one of the bottom slats needs to be cut narrower as well. This is another instance where a jigsaw or handsaw would work just fine.
Start the assembly process with the round handle. Put the dowel in place in the holes you drilled into the end panels of the caddy, and drive the 16-gauge panel nails into it to hold the dowel in place. Be sure to drill 1/16 in. pilot holes first, so the wood doesn’t split (pallet wood is notoriously prone to cracking).
Nail on the side panel boards next. Once again, drill 1/16-in. pilot holes first, which will help keep the nails on track and keep the wood from splitting.
Now attach the bottom slats. The bottom slats are nailed on the same way.

Build the divider grid and drop it in

Note: You can simplify this project by leaving out the divider grid, but we don’t recommend it. The snazzy gridwork serves an important function: it keeps bottles and cans from banging around, especially when the caddy isn’t full, and it adds an overall feeling of quality.

Cut the parts to size and knock off the corners. The thin slats are already cut to the right width, so cut them all to length now and make a 45-degree cut on the upper corners. These little chamfers look nice along the sides of the caddy where the dividers show. Again, almost any saw will do here.
Lay out the joints. Start by laying out one side of each notch. Then use another slat to lay out the other side of each notch, lining it up with the first layout line and tracing the second along the other side with a sharp pencil. That way, you can be sure the slots will be the right size.
Cut the notches. The jigsaw (or a bandsaw) works great here. Saw along each side of the notch — using a jigsaw blade designed for wood — and then nibble away the waste and square off the end of the notch. Lastly, try to fit the mating piece into the notch you just cut. If it’s too tight, take tiny slices off the sides of the notch.
Assembly is simple. Try the assembly first without glue to be sure it comes together properly and will drop into the caddy afterward (If it won’t, you might need to cut some of the slats just a hair shorter). It’s all right to tap on the parts with a hammer and a protective piece of wood to get them to slide home, but if you need to bang on them, you have more work to do with the jigsaw. To finish, add some yellow glue to the little mating surfaces before sliding the pieces together for the last time.
Drop in the grid and admire your handiwork. The grid just drops into the bottom of the box, where it will happily sit and do its job. Now drop in some cold bottles and cans and grab that Instagram pic.

Important measurements (for reference)
  • Ends of caddy: pallet wood, 3/4 in. thick by 6-3/8 in. wide by 13 in. high.
  • Side slats: pallet wood, 3/8 to 1/2 in. thick by 2 in. wide by 11-3/8 in. long
  • Bottom slats: pallet wood, 3/8 to 1/2 in. thick by 6-3/8 in. wide total by 11-3/8 in. long
  • Dowel hole: 1-1/8 in. dia., centered 1-1/4 in. from the top. Feel free to use a 1-in.-dia. dowel if a 1-in. drill bit is easier to find.
  • Radius of top curve is 1-1/4 in.
  • Angles start at 7-1/2 in. mark and connect to arc at the top.
  • Interior divider grid: oak slats from home center, 1/4 in. thick by 3-1/2 in. wide
  • Center slat is 9-3/4 in. long
  • Cross slats are 6-1/4 in. long
  • End spacing, 3-1/6 in.
  • Middle spacing, 3-1/8 in.
  • Joinery notches are 1/4 in. wide by 1-7/8 in. tall.
Bonus tip: The easy way to harvest pallet boards

When you lock horns with your first wood pallet, your inclination will likely be to start pulling nails and harvesting whole boards. Good luck with that. Aiming for strength at all costs, pallet-makers often use ring-shank nails that are very tough to pull out. We’ve heard tell of pallets joined with staples, making the boards a cinch to remove, but we haven’t found one of those unicorns yet.

There are a few ways to defeat the nails (just ask Google), but none are fun, and you’re likely to split or damage as many boards as you save. If you can avoid pulling nails or pounding boards loose from the back side, we say do it.

Our favorite way to harvest pallet wood is the simplest: Just run a circular saw along the top of the slats, as close as possible to the frame pieces below, and the slats will drop free. You end up with pretty short pieces, but for projects like this one, those are fine.

The Weekend Workshop is our weekly column where we showcase a badass DIY project that you can complete with minimal skills and expertise.


Where to buy the new PlayStation Gold Wireless headset

Looking to get yourself one of the new PlayStation Gold headsets? Here are the places you can currently order it from.


Sony’s Gold Wireless headset is widely considered one of the best for its price, but it was due for a refresh. The new model offers better surround sound, a slimmer profile to better fit with PlayStation VR headsets, and custom audio profiles for some of the best games on your PlayStation 4. It’s shaping up to be a worthy upgrade in every way, which means all you need now is a list of places where you can pick one up for yourself.

Here, let me help you with that!


If you’d rather order yours online and not have to leave the comfort of your own house, then Amazon is the way to go. The luxury of having it shipped to your home might balance out the $100 price of the headset for you.

If you’re a Prime member, you could get it to your house faster with free two-day shipping, as opposed to the free 5-8 day shipping for non-Prime members. It will be released on Amazon February 22nd, so it should be in your hands shortly after that.

Pre-order at Amazon

Best Buy

Best Buy is one of the greatest places to order your electronic needs, and you can also pick it up in the store on the release day if you please. Best Buy has a rewards program called the Gamer’s Club, which is a great perk if you shop there often and you’re looking to save some money on future gaming purchases.

You can pre-order the headset now, and either pick up in store on the 25th or get it shipped to your home for free by the 26th.

Pre-order at Best Buy


Walmart is another great place to pickup your headset right now. Otherwise, you can get it ordered, shipped, and have it by the 20th. Call to make sure your local store has it available for pickup, or you can order it on the Walmart website for in-store pickup. Grab it for $100 before they sell out, and start your matches right.

See at Walmart

Where will you be getting your new PlayStation Gold headset?

Let us know where you’ll be picking yours up in the comments below!

PlayStation 4


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



The U.S. government’s beef with Huawei isn’t really about phones


One-liner quotes from intelligence agency officials aren’t telling the whole story about the U.S. government’s feud with Huawei.

In case you missed it this week, the heads of the FBI, NSA, CIA, and others recommended that we (meaning you and me and all consumers in the U.S.) stop using products from Chinese companies Huawei and ZTE. None of the speakers had any explicit reasons why we should heed their advice, but FBI head Christopher Wray offered this non-answer when pressed for one.

We’re deeply concerned about the risks of allowing any company or entity that is beholden to foreign governments that don’t share our values to gain positions of power inside our telecommunications networks. That provides the capacity to exert pressure or control over our telecommunications infrastructure. It provides the capacity to maliciously modify or steal information. And it provides the capacity to conduct undetected espionage.

While this doesn’t address why consumers should stop buying phones from any company, it does offer the real reasons the U.S. is worried about Huawei in particular.

Number 3 tries harder


Huawei is the third largest smartphone manufacturer in the world behind Samsung and Apple. It is also the ninth largest technology company (by revenue) worldwide with 180,000 employees and an average annual revenue of $78.8 billion. In other words, Huawei is as “big” a company as Microsoft. That’s good news for Huawei, and usually seeing a company move up the ladder to challenge the market leaders is good for consumers, too. Officially, Huawei is a subsidiary of Huawei Investment & Holding Co., Ltd. in Shenzhen, China and that’s where the real issues the U.S. has with Huawei start.

Huawei is big and China’s government is big and together they scare U.S. officials.

Unofficially, everyone thinks the Chinese government is in control of Huawei. While I’m not an expert on foreign affairs or the history of the Chinese Communist Party, I am smart enough to know that the Chinese state surely does have a financial interest in one of the biggest companies inside its border. The chance that the state has a controlling interest in Huawei doesn’t surprise me, either. There has been no evidence offered, and not surprisingly there isn’t much on the public record to clear things up, so we have to assume that it could be true. Intelligence agencies, as well as economic agencies and trade officials, have a problem with this. A big problem for several key reasons.

Some backdoors are more important than others

I’m also not an intelligence official, but that does give me the freedom to be frank about why the U.S. might be concerned with Huawei gaining a significant foothold in the States. Economically, it means money is going back to China, and right now our government has a love-hate relationship with the world’s fastest-growing economy. It (meaning the U.S. government) does not want to see a Chinese company gaining any steam using American dollars and especially one that has strong Chinese government ties. That’s how global politics work — you want to be at the top and be strong enough on all fronts to stay there forever.

A backdoor in your phone is bad but a backdoor on a network switch on a company like Sprint’s network is a lot worse.

From an information technology and security standpoint, the worries of Huawei being an arm of the Chinese state brings some serious concern. Not because Huawei makes phones that are worth buying and has designed a model Americans will love, but because Huawei also makes enterprise-grade network hardware that works well and is cheap. That’s the kind of stuff an American business will want to buy when the bottom line matters more than anything else, and that describes almost every American business. Having a company you suspect of being part of a semi-hostile government building the equipment the country’s network infrastructure is built upon is terrifying to every U.S. spy agency.

All our important and sensitive information travels across the internet infrastructure. So does sensitive and important information from the NSA, or CIA, or FBI. Those agencies have to communicate just like we do. Certain government networks are hardened and completely isolated from any other network, but this information still has to pass hands and can touch the public infrastructure from time to time. It’s surely heavily encrypted on multiple layers, but it’s still not something the U.S. wants China to have. If Huawei has built methods for China to intercept any of this information, a potentially critical situation is born.

The NSA and the rest of the three-letter intelligence agencies aren’t worried that Huawei is spying on us via a backdoor in a phone. They are worried that Huawei is spying on them through equipment that powers the internet.

Having a company you suspect of being part of a semi-hostile government building the equipment the country’s network infrastructure is built upon is terrifying to every U.S. spy agency.

And they should be. That is, after all, one of their primary objectives. The controversial actions these agencies have taken make headlines, but day-to-day, week after week, employees at the NSA or CIA are there to do their duty to keep us safe. We might not agree with their idea of “safe”, or how they go about their duties, but until they are changed things are what they are. And that means there is always going to be information that’s classified and secret, someone will need to send that sort of information to someone else, and it may come in contact with equipment made by Huawei. If that equipment is compromised by China, there is a valid concern there.

Back to the phones. Having everyone in the U.S. rush out and buy a Mate 10 Pro, making Huawei richer (and putting a backdoor in every American’s hands according to U.S. spooks and their bosses), isn’t going to make trade officials happy. Having AT&T and Sprint and Level 3 and RCN and every other company that provides the U.S. internet infrastructure use potentially compromised equipment from a country that is in all but name an enemy of the state makes intelligence officials very concerned.

So what the hell should we do?


Spies gonna spy and corporations gonna corporate. There’s not much a normal person who just wants to get their money’s worth when they buy a new phone can do about that. Continue to vote, both at the ballot box and with your wallet, to try and shape the country the way you think it should be. All this aside, we can and should be concerned that we’re making the right decision when we buy a phone. Nobody wants a phone that spies on them, and nobody deserves to get stuck with one.

I’ll come out and say it plainly: I do not think the Chinese government, or any other entity, has placed a backdoor in any Huawei phone that would enable it to steal your data.

Huawei clearly responded to this latest accusation saying their phones and networking equipment is sold worldwide and “poses no greater cybersecurity risk than any ICT vendor” and there is no reason to doubt its word when it comes to its phones. In fact, there is some evidence that supports Huawei here. There are “rules” in place when a foreign country wants to sell electronic or connected products inside the U.S. and Great Britain. The public isn’t privy to the exact details, but there is a rigorous inspection when a device is able to transmit encrypted data to make sure these rules are followed. Huawei has apparently been found to be following them as you can buy their products both here in the states and in Great Britain.

Further (but even more circumstantial) evidence is that plenty of people already have a Huawei phone and some of those people are the type who can monitor what their phones are sending and where it is going. So far, we’ve heard nothing to make me think Huawei is sending private data back to China or is building a bot-net to terrorize Americans over the internet. If Huawei was doing anything fishy with our data, Reddit would know and Reddit would be on fire.

I’m not saying you should take my word over that of FBI Director Christopher Wray. I take my word over his, but can’t ask you to do the same. But I can ask you to consider one thing: we have been offered zero proof that buying a Huawei phone is a bad idea. Not a lick. Like you, I read multiple articles and news stories about the Senate Intelligence Committee testimony and I think ZDNet’s Matt Miller says it the best.

As for myself, I will continue to use the Huawei Mate 10 Pro until there is evidence that shows I should be concerned.

But you can’t let me make that decision for you. Make sure you’re informed and choose wisely. Meanwhile, the Mate 10 Pro is one hell of a phone.

Buy the Mate 10 Pro at Amazon

Huawei Mate 10

  • Huawei Mate 10 Pro review
  • Huawei Mate 10 series specs
  • Huawei Mate 10 Pro U.S. review: Close to greatness
  • Join the discussion in the forums
  • More on 2016’s Mate 9


These Sleep Innovations 12-inch memory foam mattresses are heavily discounted today only

A better night’s sleep.

Amazon has Sleep Innovations’ 12-inch memory foam mattresses on sale for as little as $259 each today. This is a one-day deal and drops them to some of the lowest prices we’ve ever seen.

Each has 12 inches of memory foam with DuoComfort Design including a SureTemp memory foam top layer and Support-Plus foam bottom. You’ll be comfortable in any position that you sleep in, whether it be your back, side, or even stomach. These come with a quilted cover, but you can opt for a smooth cover for an additional fee.


The options available include:

  • Twin Size 12-inch Mattress – $259 (Was $370)
  • Full Size 12-inch Mattress – $289 (Was $415)
  • Queen Size 12-inch Mattress – $299 (Was $450)
  • King Size 12-inch Mattress – $469 (Was $660)
  • California King Size 12-inch Mattress – $479 (Was $660)

These prices are only good for one day, so don’t miss out. Amazon also has 25% off this Sleep Innovations 4-inch mattress topper and a heavily discounted air mattress with DreamCoil support.


Pros and cons: Our quick verdict on DJI’s Mavic Air

If you have a checklist for a camera drone, it probably includes things like portability, image quality, battery life and cost. DJI has been in the game long enough to know the things you want, and the result is the Mavic Air. Not to give you any spoilers, but the Mavic Air does well on all the above, and offers a whole lot more to boot. It’s not all up-sides though (okay, it is mostly upsides, but you’ll probably want to watch our “pros and cons” video above all the same).


The Morning After: Weekend Edition

Hey, good morning! You look fabulous.

Welcome to the weekend. Once you return from Wakanda, you can check out SpaceX’s next rocket launch and revisit our Apple HomePod review.

Blame Getty.Google removes ‘View Image’ button from image search


Now it will take a couple extra clicks to snag that meme you were looking for.

The ‘stock market for rare sneakers’ wants to sell everything.Why sneakerheads are leaving eBay for Detroit startup StockX


StockX was founded in 2015 after Quicken Loans founder and CEO Dan Gilbert bought Campless — an online repository for sneaker sales data — from Josh Luber. Last October, the website offered resellers and industry insiders a peek behind the curtain at its first ever StockX Day in Detroit and showed off how it manages to guarantee authenticity for resold shoes.

That’s different.Apple employees keep walking into their new HQ’s glass walls


Sources told Bloomberg that some individuals stuck Post-It notes on glass doors and walls of Apple’s new HQ to make them more noticeable, but they were ultimately taken down because they distracted from the spaceship’s design.

The investigation is ongoing.US indicts 13 Russian nationals for alleged election tampering

The office of special counsel Robert Mueller announced that a federal jury has indicted 13 Russian nationals on charges of conspiracy to commit wire and bank fraud, aggravated identity theft and conspiracy to defraud the US. According to the indictment, Russia’s Internet Research Agency registered with the Russian government as a corporation in 2013 and proceeded to work through various other business entities thereafter in an attempt to hide its actions conducting “information warfare against the United States of America.”

The company’s first smart speaker sounds great, but is that enough?Apple HomePod review: A great speaker that’s not so smart


For Apple, being late to the smart-speaker party isn’t necessarily a sin. The company’s ethos — as explained by CEO Tim Cook time and again — is that Apple cares more about being the best than being first. The $349 HomePod is proof that’s not always true. Apple put considerable time and effort into making its first smart speaker sound better than its rivals, and Chris Velazco argues they succeeded. After a few solid days of testing, he says the HomePod is the best smart speaker he’s ever heard — it’s just not all that smart compared to the rivals.

Settings that set on their own.Intel is making gaming easier for people without graphics cards

A new driver update for Intel’s 6th-gen Core processors and above will configure games to your rig’s specs automatically. It’s similar to what NVIDIA’s GeForce Experience does on PCs equipped with discrete graphics chips, while some of the first games to support it include Overwatch, League of Legends, Dota 2 and GTA V.

You can turn them off.Facebook: Two-factor authentication spam was caused by a bug

A Facebook exec said notification texts sent to people who used their phone number only for two-factor authentication were a mistake. It plans to roll out a fix in “the coming days.”

The last new color before its next phone arrives.Essential’s Amazon-exclusive phone comes with Alexa onboard

Essential announced that a new, so-called Halo Gray model is now available to purchase exclusively from Amazon. Unlike the other, limited-edition versions of the PH-1, this new model goes for $449 rather than $599 and it ships with Amazon’s Alexa app pre-installed.

But wait, there’s more…

  • SpaceX plans to launch its satellite internet prototypes Sunday
  • ‘Black Panther’ is unlike any blockbuster film you’ve seen
  • The best desktop photo-editing apps
  • Google is making it easier for 911 to find you in an emergency
  • Elon Musk promises Model 3 safety tweaks after crash report
  • Twitter is dropping support for its Mac app

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littleBits launches more accessible $40 ‘Hall of Fame’ kits

littleBits kits are a great way to teach kids how to build their own toys and electronics, but they’re not exactly cheap. The Star Wars Droid inventor set, for instance, will set buyers back $100, while others could cost as much as $300. Now, the startup is lowering the barrier of entry by debuting four “Hall of Fame” kits priced at only $40 each. Upon taking a look at littleBits’ offerings on its website, we only saw one set priced at $40, and it’s only a three-module hardware development bundle for more experiences users. All the others cost $80 and more. These products will give more people the chance to get one for their kids or themselves and to try out the company’s electronic building blocks.

The Hall of Fame kits, which are based on inventions submitted by the littleBits community, can be used to create some pretty cool gadgets. Crawly Creature, for instance, has the Bits to create a creepy-crawly pet or a moving collage. Bubble Bot has the building blocks for a bubble-blowing robot or a Fan of Fortune that can predict the future (for fun, of course) like a Magic 8 Ball. The Night Light set gives kids the parts needed to make their own night light or “laser-blasting” wrist cuff. Finally, Arcade Game Hall has all the Bits needed to build a pinball machine or a catapult.

While all four sets come with templates and instructions, kids can customize their creations to come up with something truly their own. They’ll be available for sale in May, but not in any brick-and-mortar store. These are e-commerce exclusives, so those interested in buying one may want to visit littleBits’ website a few months from now.

Source: littleBits

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