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24
Mar

Apple CEO Tim Cook Calls for Stronger Privacy Regulations Following ‘Dire’ Facebook Data Scandal


Apple CEO Tim Cook attended the annual China Development Forum in Beijing on Saturday, during which he called for stronger data privacy regulations following the “dire” Facebook and Cambridge Analytica scandal (via Bloomberg). Last week, it was revealed that the social network let Cambridge Analytica amass data on 50 million Facebook users without their consent, in an effort to target messages to voters during the 2016 presidential election.

Photo of Tim Cook by Giulia Marchi via Bloomberg
On the topic, Cook called for “well-crafted regulation” to protect users:

“I think that this certain situation is so dire and has become so large that probably some well-crafted regulation is necessary,” Cook said after being asked if the use of data should be restricted in light of the Facebook incident. “The ability of anyone to know what you’ve been browsing about for years, who your contacts are, who their contacts are, things you like and dislike and every intimate detail of your life — from my own point of view it shouldn’t exist.”

Cook went on by stating that Apple has “worried for a number of years” that something like the recent Facebook data scandal might happen. “Unfortunately that prediction has come true more than once,” he said.

“We’ve worried for a number of years that people in many countries were giving up data probably without knowing fully what they were doing and that these detailed profiles that were being built of them, that one day something would occur and people would be incredibly offended by what had been done without them being aware of it,” he said. “Unfortunately that prediction has come true more than once.”

A #DeleteFacebook campaign arose quickly on Twitter following news of Cambridge Analytica’s actions, which WhatsApp co-founder Brian Acton took part in. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg made an official statement on the events this past week, saying that the company has “a responsibility to protect your data,” and that if it can’t “then we don’t deserve to serve you.” He continued, “We also made mistakes, there’s more to do, and we need to step up and do it.”

Repercussions have begun to hit Facebook, including a lawsuit from Facebook shareholder Fan Yuan, who alleged the company had some knowledge of Cambridge Analytica’s data siphoning and made “materially false and/or misleading” claims regarding Facebook’s handling of user data. The first step Facebook has taken to attempt to address the issue is a new tool at the top of the News Feed which will let people see which apps have their info and offer up an easy way to revoke permissions.

In other topics at the Beijing forum on Saturday, Tim Cook also briefly touched upon the recent decision by President Trump to place tariffs on Chinese goods. Although the details on the tariffs have yet to be finalized by the U.S. government, Cook said: “The countries that embrace openness do exceptional and the countries that don’t, don’t…It’s not a matter of carving things up between sides. I’m going to encourage that calm heads prevail.”

Note: Due to the political nature of the discussion regarding this topic, the discussion thread is located in our Politics, Religion, Social Issues forum. All forum members and site visitors are welcome to read and follow the thread, but posting is limited to forum members with at least 100 posts.

Tags: Facebook, Tim Cook
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24
Mar

How to master the art of ship combat in ‘Sea of Thieves’ and rule the high seas


You have access to a pistol and a sword in Sea of Thieves, but the majority of deadly encounters you face will take place between two ships on the high seas. To plunder loot from other players, and to keep it, you need to get the hang of naval combat. It will take some practice, but with a little help, you will be ruling the sea in no time. Here is how to get the most out of ship combat.

The ships and their components

Depending on the size of your crew in Sea of Thieves, you will be sailing with one of two ships. Crews of three or four players sail in a galleon, a large ship that requires each player to focus on a different task to guide it through the water. Duos and solo sailors crew a sloop, which is smaller and streamlines the sailing process. In order to stand a chance in ship combat, you must be familiar with how the ships work and what must be done to maneuver them.

Both sets of ships use sails and a steering wheel to maneuver. You use the wheel to turn left or right, and adjust sails to alter speed — even if the wind is pulling to one side. To get where you’re going quickly, you must drop the sails completely and angle them to go in the same direction as the flag at the top of your lookout post. On a galleon, you need one crew member to steer and a second to adjust the sails. On the sloop, the captain can do both without much trouble.

To drop the sails, find the small anvils located on the side of your boat, select them, and push down on the left control stick. To angle them, select the small wheel-like device next to it and move the left control stick to the left or right. If you want to decrease your speed or need more visibility, raise the sails up. This is particularly useful when you need to line up some shots from your cannon on another player, as you can quickly turn your ship is moving slowly. Both ships also have an anchor to completely stop your movement. It’s located in the front half of the deck on the Galleon and directly behind the steering wheel on the Sloop.

Galleon

Cannons

  • The galleon has eight cannons, four on the right and four on the left. Each of these can turn a considerable amount to the left and to the right, but crew members will still have to hop between the cannons on each side in order to line up shots as enemy ships move.
  • Make sure you pre-load your cannons in advance with the galleon. By preparing for battle in advance, you will have eight possible shots ready without having to reload or get more cannonballs.
  • If/when you do need to reload, you will find 45 of them down on the middle deck, in the barrels in front of you and to the left as you come down the stairs.
  • In both three-person and four-person crews, have one member ready to take aim with the cannons at a moment’s notice. Lining up and hitting a few shots before your enemy has a chance to react will force them to either flee or begin patching their ship, giving you an opening to move in for the kill.

Repairs

  • To the right of the barrels are wooden planks, which you use to patch up any holes. With a three-person crew, the person manning the sails should be the first to go below deck and begin patching holes, and/or filling up buckets of water to throw overboard. In a four-person crew, your “extra” crew member can do this as well. More often than not, you will often need two people to patch the ship together.

Sails

  • The galleon has three sails — one in the very front of the ship, one near the middle, and one directly behind the steering wheel. To steer efficiently and well, one crew member should steer and adjust the front sail, and a second crew member should devote themselves specifically to adjusting mid and rear sails.
  • In order to pursue other galleons, you need to have all three fully deployed and pointed in the direction of the wind. When chasing sloops, your best move is to raise your middle sail to about its halfway point. This will allow your captain to see the hazards in front of the ship, including enemies as well as rocks.

Sloop

Cannons

  • The sloop is designed for two occupants at most, and it shows: There are only two cannons are on the ship, one on each side. Pre-loading them is helpful, but not necessary — you will need to reload them constantly.
  • Extra cannonballs are located in the left-hand corner of the deck. You get fewer of them than the galleon, as there are only two barrels instead of three.
  • If you’re sailing alone, you have to drop the steering wheel and take a few shots from your cannons before returning to control the ship. It takes some getting used to, but it’s possible to take out other sloops this way — even if you have two crew members, however, you should never engage a galleon directly. You will lose.

Repairs

  • Head into the area below deck and you will find a barrel filled with wood planks directly in front of the stairs. You use these to patch your ship just as you would with the galleon.
  • With a two-person crew, the gunner goes below deck to repair your ship as the captain continues to steer. If you’re alone, we suggest fleeing before patching up your ship.

Sails

  • There is only one sail on the sloop, and the captain can adjust by moving just a few feet from the steering wheel.

Best practices for ship combat

Turn off your lanterns

Even during the daytime, the lanterns located around and inside your ship will give your position away to enemies. This not only makes you easier to initially spot, but it also makes it easier for an enemy to gauge your distance and hit you faster. With the lamps off, you will be much harder to see.

On the other hand, make sure you keep an eye out for ships that don’t follow this rule! Always keep a lookout for lights on the horizon.

Get extra cannonballs when you’re anchored, and don’t waste them

A full store of 35 to 45 cannonballs sounds like enough for even the largest ship battles, but you will blow through them quickly against skilled opponents. Whenever you are exploring on foot, make sure to store all your own cannonballs in your barrels so you can collect any you discover. (The same goes for wooden planks, though you won’t run out as quickly).

It’s also wise to be economical about using cannons when you can. After hitting a ship several times in a row, start slowing the pace of your cannon fire. Your first reaction will be to keep firing, since the ship is still afloat, but it isn’t always necessary. As the enemy ship takes on water, it will eventually sink. As long as you hit it four or five times, and you keep the enemy on the move, they won’t be able to repair it before it goes down.

Learn how to angle your shots

A good gunner knows you need to arc your shots to hit distant targets. Take your best possible guess when firing your first shot, and then raise or lower your cannon based on where the cannonball lands until you find the “sweet spot.” Make sure to actively keep track of what angles you’ve fired from as you go — you have to readjust your aim every time, as the cannon shakes considerably when it’s fired.

If you’re right up against another ship, you should aim your cannons slightly lower than their default position, as they aren’t tuned for close-range encounters. Should your Galleon and another ship crash into each other in a parallel formation, quickly run down the line of four cannons on the side of your boat and fire them low in order to devastate your enemy before they can even react.

Be prepared for boarders

When you see a ship — particularly a sloop — making a direct line toward your ship from a close distance, there is a good chance they are going to try ramming you. The collision will damage your ship, but that is rarely the goal in this situation. When one ship steers close to the other, chances are their real objective is to board you and kill your crew before they can fight back.

Sinking the enemy before they can hit you is always preferable, but make sure your gunner is prepared to leave the cannons and attack any boarders with their pistol and their sword. Your other crew member(s) may also want to abandon their posts to help fight off the attackers in this situation. One sailor should always head below deck to fix any leaks, or you will sink anyway.

Editors’ Recommendations

  • ‘Sea of Thieves’ hands-on preview
  • Who needs a crew? How to sail solo in ‘Sea of Thieves’
  • Join us as we live-stream our ‘Sea of Thieves’ adventures
  • Join us as we live-stream the ‘Sea of Thieves’ closed beta
  • Who cares about loot? For ‘Sea of Thieves,’ Rare hid the real fun in the hijinks


24
Mar

Best Chromebook as of March 2018


  • Best overall
  • Best on the go
  • Best on a budget
  • Best for the pro

Note: These are the best Chromebooks you can buy today, but that could be changing. We’re excited about seeing new Chromebooks from companies like Acer, ASUS, and Lenovo that have what it takes to make our list.

Best overall

Samsung Chromebook Plus

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See at Amazon

Samsung and Google have built the best Chromebook you can buy with the Samsung Chromebook Plus. It’s incredibly well built, has one of the best displays of any laptop and is the first Chromebook with the new Pen that adds pressure sensitive drawing.

The bottom line: For anyone who wants to use a Chromebook on a regular basis, and values getting extra performance and hardware quality at an added price, Samsung has made the Chromebook for you.

One more thing: There’s also a Samsung Chromebook Pro, built with a stronger Intel processor and available for a bit more money.

Why the Samsung Chromebook Plus is the best

Samsung has built a beautiful Chromebook with an incredible display.

The display on the Samsung Chromebook Plus is a 12.3-inch 2400×1600 IPS touch panel that steals the show. It’s beautiful to look at and supports a stylus, which makes it the first Chromebook with a pen.

That doesn’t mean everything else isn’t great, though. You’ll have plenty of power for the browser or to pull up spreadsheets and presentations in Google Docs and Android apps while you’re working. Or play something from Netflix on the gorgeous screen when you’re not.

With a more power-hungry screen than many other Chromebooks, the Chromebook Plus still had great battery life. It will last most people a full workday (8-10 hours) on a single charge. And when it’s time to charge the battery, you’ll appreciate the standard USB-C charging instead of a proprietary input. With the right cable, your Chromebook Plus will charge anywhere your phone does.

The Samsung Chromebook Plus is a great all-around package, and right now it’s the best Chromebook available.

Best on the go

ASUS Chromebook Flip (C101)

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See at Amazon

The ASUS Chromebook Flip was rather unassuming and a little confusing when it was first unveiled, but turned out to be a hit and spawned a great successor with the Flip101. This little laptop with its 10.1-inch display and folding design that turns it into a pseudo-tablet is the go-to choice for anyone that wants a good, inexpensive and hyper-portable Chromebook.

For less than $300 you’re getting a 1280 x 800 touch screen, a metal build, great battery life and solid performance. If you’re always on the move and looking for a great Chromebook, you can’t do much better than this.

Bottom line: The Chromebook Flip is also one of the first models slated to pick up Android app compatibility through the Google Play Store, which could tip the scales a bit for folks looking to be ready for the new feature addition.

Best on a budget

Acer Chromebook R13

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See at Amazon

The Acer Chromebook R13 is a mid-range offering that seems like it should cost more. It has a 1080p IPS touchscreen for interaction with Android apps, can fold back into various modes for an all-touch experience, and charges using the new USB-C standard rather than an older connector.

The standout feature of the Chromebook R13 is the great way it’s built. It’s solid and well machined and not something you would expect from a sub-400 dollar laptop. The Chromebook R13 is an excellent choice for anyone who wants a premium product without a premium price.

Bottom line: The Acer Chromebook R13 looks and feels like a laptop that would cost a lot more, and is a great choice for savvy shoppers.

Best for the pro

Google Pixelbook

Pixelbook-Design_0.jpg?itok=MTSz-Osh

See at Best Buy
See at Google

Anyone who needs a dependable laptop to use all day, every day, and wants it to be a Chromebook should have a look at Google’s Pixelbook.

It’s thin and sleek, and oozes “premium” when using it, has the best keyboard and trackpad of any Chromebook (and as good or better than you’d find on a MacBook) and a gorgeous touchscreen. It was also designed from the ground up for Google Play and use as an Android tablet, and it excels at it.

If you want or need the very best and are willing to overpay for it, the Pixelbook was made for you.

Bottom line: You’re paying double the price of the Samsung Chromebook Plus, but for some it will be worth it.

Conclusion

There’s a Chromebook to satisfy most any need that you may have. Whether you’re buying for yourself, as a gift, or giving guidance to someone else for their own purchase, be sure to start here before making a buying decision. For most people, though, most of the time, the Samsung Chromebook Plus is the overall best bet.

Best overall

Samsung Chromebook Plus

samsung-chromebook-pro-table.jpg?itok=x1

See at Amazon

Samsung and Google have built the best Chromebook you can buy with the Samsung Chromebook Plus. It’s incredibly well built, has one of the best displays of any laptop and is the first Chromebook with the new Pen that adds pressure sensitive drawing.

The bottom line: For anyone who wants to use a Chromebook on a regular basis, and values getting extra performance and hardware quality at an added price, Samsung has made the Chromebook for you.

One more thing: There’s also a Samsung Chromebook Pro, built with a stronger Intel processor and available for a bit more money.

Update, March 2018: The Samsung Chromebook Plus is still our top pick, but new models are coming soon.

24
Mar

The best Wear OS Apps


You’re going to want to install these.

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It’s a new day for Wear OS. Apps are no longer sidecar-style programs that share data back and forth from your phone. Instead, the apps are installed directly on the watch and run completely independently of the phone. This means apps need to be able to do everything on the watch, so design and functionality matter more than ever. Here’s a look at the Wear OS apps that work best in this new world!

More: The definitive Android Wear 2.0 review!

Note: This list will be constantly updated with new great Wear OS apps when they’re made available!

Citymapper

citymapper.png?itok=If0IetLI

Citymapper is the ultimate transit app. With offline maps and real-time departure listings, you’ll be able to go anywhere and get there using any means you like — bus, subway, train, ferry, taxi, car share, bike share and walking are all covered.

Covering a long list of cities on six continents, CityMapper is great for travelers as well as locals. It’s also a stand-alone Wear OS optimized app so you can leave your phone at home or in your bag. That explains the Editor’s Choice award in Google Play and the placement on the Best Apps of 2017 list!

Download: Citymapper

LookBehind

Your phone has a camera and your watch has a pretty nice display. Pair the two together and you have a remote camera you can view from your wrist.

With LookBehind you have full control over your phone’s camera, including zooming, rotation, and flash. It even shows the phone’s battery level so you know if you need to plug things in. the app costs $0.99, but it’s totally worth it!

Download: Lookbehind

Google Fit

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Google Fit has received a substantial update with Wear OS, and it’s great for everything from basic daily step tracking up to runs and gym workouts. The interface is very well situated to show you snippets of information on the small watch, then give you deeper looks at everything in the Fit app on your phone.

After using the new Fit it’s clear to see why Google is so proud to promote it in Wear OS.

Download: Google Fit

Recordr

recordr.jpg?itok=FAZv3IcB

It doesn’t matter if you need to take a quick note for yourself or you’d like to document something discretely, the ability to use the microphone on your wrist can be powerful.

The Recordr app makes it super easy to grab audio, and when it’s recorded you can keep it on the phone or quickly transfer it to the watch in case you need to share or push to Drive.

Download: Recordr

Google Keep

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The ability to quickly check off boxes in Keep is not only great for feeling productive, it’s a solid reminder system that doesn’t require a calendar.

As great as Keep can be on the phone, on the wrist you get a quick glance at lists when the Always-On display is enabled and plenty of space to check off boxes when you’re mobile.

Download: Google Keep

Facebook Messenger

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This app is one of the few set up to act as an advanced receiver instead of a smaller version of the app. Instead of the full Facebook Messenger experience, this watch app shows up as a normal notification but gives you more options when responding to people hitting you up on Facebook.

The only downside here is you get a Messenger icon taking up space in your drawer that doesn’t actually do anything, but that’s a small price to pay for more Messenger features.

Download: Facebook Messenger

Find my Parked Car

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Finding your car in a big parking lot has never been easier with GPS on your phone, and the only way that can happen faster or more conveniently is from your watch!

This setup is simple and leaves little to the imagination. Drop a pin to mark your parked car, and if you’re far enough away that you need GPS there’s a button to throw you immediately into Google Maps for navigation.

Download: Find my Parked Car

Wear Casts

Wear-Casts-Playback_0.jpg?itok=Lj-I3OxH

We highlighted Wear Casts in late 2017, and with good reason: this is the first standalone podcast app for Wear OS. There’s still a companion on the phone side to make it easier to subscribe to certain podcasts, but everything else can be handled from the watch side. You can download episodes, control playback, and change your sync settings. If you’re a heavy podcast listener with a Wear OS watch, give Wear Casts a try!

Download: Wear Casts

Update March 2018: Added more great apps to our list!

Android Wear

  • Everything you need to know about Android Wear 2.0
  • LG Watch Sport review
  • LG Watch Style review
  • These watches will get Android Wear 2.0
  • Discuss Android Wear in the forums!

24
Mar

Best 3D Blu-Ray movies to watch on your PlayStation VR


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Take watching movies to a new level

With your PlayStation VR (PSVR) you have the option to immerse yourself in your favorites shows and movies, and this time with better equipment. So get your popcorn ready, plug in your PSVR and get ready to experience these amazing titles like you never have before! I’m talking about 3D Blu-Ray, a high definition experience to make you feel like you’re actually inside some of your favorite titles.

If you’re not sure where to get started check out our line-up for the best titles to start with!

The line-up

  • Avatar
  • Star Wars: The Force Awakens
  • Ghostbusters (2016)
  • Guardians of the Galaxy
  • Coraline 3D
  • Honorable mentions

Avatar

No, we’re not talking about the Last Airbender (and how disappointed we are with it), we’re talking about Pandora from Alpha Centauri star system. Words can not describe the emotions that ran through me watching this movie in theaters, let alone how star-struck and speechless I was experiencing it in #D Blu-Ray. There will not be a movie that will break my heart as much as Avatar did when we see the screams of the Na’vi people as their village is threatened by the humans attempting to inhabit it.

You can find this title as a combo deal with Titanic for $31.22. Prepare yourself for a whirlwind of emotions from the joy of flying, the pain of loss, and the pride of triumph as you experience Pandora from a first-person perspective. Keep your tissues ready, it’s gonna be a wild ride.

See on Amazon

Star Wars: The Force Awakens

“Chewie… we’re home.” Well, you most certainly won’t need a garbage chute or a trash compactor for this title. For $29.96 you can find Star Wars: The Force Awakens on Amazon and get your midichlorian count ready for some serious action because you’re gonna need as much of the Force as possible.

Follow this epic story of a battle far, far away and you’ll get to experience the adventures of Rey, Po, and Fin on their mission to defeat Kylo. Then, when you get to the part where Leia comes out… pause the movie and give Karrie Fisher one last salute. Most things will pale in comparison to putting yourself in the stars.

See on Amazon

Ghostbusters (2016)

For $29.63 you can find the 2016 remake of the Ghostbusters on Amazon and really show people that you ain’t afraid of no ghost! So strap on your PSVR headset and watch the new team get together in iconic scenes like watching the new crew test their brand new weapons.

Besides, seeing them jump into action against the ghosts is truly a remarkable experience up close and personal. This all-female crew of Ghostbusters took the world by storm showing anything you can do, we can do just the same. So when you’re ready to jump into the Ecto One, go on Amazon and prepare yourself for one of the most empowering movies of 2016.

See on Amazon

Guardians of the Galaxy

Get your groove on with Star Lord Peter Quil as he rocks out in space with his new companions: Groot, Rocket, Gamora, and Drax. For $49.95 on Amazon, you too can prove that your reflexes are too fast to allow something this awesome to go over your head.

Watch as some of your favorite heroes take on the Power Stone and stow it away for the betterment of mankind. Or, you know, take this time to swoon over baby Groot dancing up close and in your face. You can also pop this movie on to get yourself MAJORLY HYPE for Marvel’s Inifinity Wars movie coming out.

See on Amazon

Coraline 3D

“They say even the proudest spirit can be broken, with love.” Get to see everything the Other Mother has to offer without having to make the decision of sewing buttons into your eyes. Instead, the only thing you have to put on your eyes is your PSVR headset! Tag along with Coraline in her epic adventures from a side-show circus to a forever growing garden.

Here you’ll get to experience all the colorful and illuminating adventures of the world through the little doorway and fully realize just how amazing all the graphics of this movie really is. Find this title on Amazon for $14.21 and get ready to start running. (Cause what’s more terrifying than a giant spider Mother?!)

See on Amazon

Honorable mentions

These titles are also pretty awesome! From amazing horror to silly and fun, you should totally check these titles out! Click on the links below to find them on Amazon and get your 3D Blu-Ray adventures going!

Doctor Strange
Journey to the Center of the Earth and Journey 2: Mysterious Island
Tron Legacy
Resident Evil: Afterlife and Retribution
IMAX Hubble 3D
Jurassic Park 3D
The Martian
Predator 3D
Titanic
House of Wax

What do you think?

What are your favorite movies in 3D Blu Ray? What would you like to experience? Let us know in the comment section below!

24
Mar

Nest Hello vs. Ring Pro: Say hello to the new best connected doorbell


nest-hello-ring-pro.jpg?itok=QzV3vHkaNest Hello, left, and Ring Pro.

And just like that, I have a new favorite video doorbell.

Ring has made quite the name for itself the past couple years thanks to its stable of video doorbells, DIY security cameras — and I’d say some damned good marketing. So good, in fact, that Amazon reportedly scooped up the company for something like $1 billion.

But Nest Hello is here. It’s the first doorbell from the company that brought you the world’s sexiest smart thermostat, with all the back-end power that a Google-owned organization can possibly through at it.

The result? I now have a new favorite doorbell.

Subscribe to Modern Dad on YouTube!

Tale of the tape

Price $229 $249
Camera 1600×1200 1080p
Field of view 160 degrees 160 degrees
Wifi 802.11ac 802.11n
Live view Yes Yes
Continuous recording Yes No
Face recognition Yes No
Subscriptions Start at $3 a month Start at $5 a month
Where to buy Nest Amazon

Why Nest Hello wins

Installation is a wash. Nest Hello and Ring Pro install with nearly identical processes. You’ll need a low-voltage doorbell system already in place — because how else would you get power to the thing, right? And if you’re handy and basic home improvement wiring stuff, you can get either doorbell up and running in about 20 minutes or so. (Maybe a tad longer — I’ve installed a half-dozen of these things at this point and have gotten pretty quick about it.)

In terms of pure looks, Nest wins out. Both doorbells are the only ones I haven’t looked at with a sense of disgust — seriously, there are some bad video doorbells out there — but Nest is just a sexier piece of hardware, hands down.

But it’s in the operation where things really stand out.

Most important, it’s the camera. Nest Hello has some HDR processing, and it’s readily apparent. My covered front porch tends to be backlit a lot, and Nest Hello handles that much better than Ring Pro.

nest-isa-day.png?itok=8A7Sa9jPnest-phil-day.png?itok=phH82-8Hnest-phil-night.png?itok=IeFNgGXvring-day.png?itok=nGau3R8Xring-night.png?itok=5D2mJmUU

Then there are the notifications. Ring is pretty aggressive with them, though it does have an excellent (new) snooze functionality. But Nest Hello wins out with facial recognition. It sees a face, you give it a name, and then you get smart notifications, telling you who’s at the door.

Ring Pro is pretty darn good. Nest Hello is better.

Ring has optional chimes, so you can hear notifications throughout a home. Nest Hello can use any of the three Google Home speakers. That means a $29 Google Home Mini can do that much more. And if someone the doorbell recognizes rings the bell, it’ll announce them by name. Which is ridiculously cool.

Then there’s the connection. I don’t know if it’s the difference between Ring Pro being an 802.11n device and Nest Hello being 802.11ac-compatible, or if it’s some other server magic from a Google-owned company, but Nest Hello hasn’t suffered from anywhere near the lag or outright disconnections that Ring Pro has.

Ring wins out in terms of subscription service, at least as far as price is concerned. Just $3 a month (or $30 a year) stores recorded events (motion, rings, and live viewing) for 60 days. Nest Aware starts $5 a month (or $50 a year) and gives you five days of recording. That’s five days of continuous recording, though. Not just events.

The bottom line

I’ve used every doorbell Ring has produced. At the time of this writing, I’ve had Nest Hello for a week. And while I still say ecosystem wins out — if you have a bunch of Ring equipment already, stay with a Ring doorbell — Nest Hello wins the head to head competition.

See at Nest

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24
Mar

iOttie car mounts are 30% off today only, like this $35 wireless charging version


Tell your Saturday to hold up while you grab one of these deals.

As part of its Deals of the Day, Amazon is offering 30% off select iOttie Easy One Touch car mounts including a QI wireless charging option. It’s down to $34.97 right now – its lowest price ever and a $7 drop from the last deal we saw on it about a week ago. It regularly sells for $50.

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That mount, including the rest of the ones on sale, is adjustable allowing it to fit most smartphone and case combinations. It can even pivot up to 225 degrees so you can find the best viewing angle. There’s an option of this mount that doesn’t support wireless charging that’s down to $17.47 today.

There are also two smaller options that you could mount via your air vent or CD player for $13.97 each. These deals are all set to last today only though, so make sure to grab one while you can.

See at Amazon

24
Mar

Get the training required to pass the CompTIA Security+ exam for just $59!


When it comes to data security, CompTIA is the golden standard of certification. If you’re interested in a career in data security, there’s a lot of material to learn.

The problem here is that the training covers a broad range of topics and the courses required are usually not cheap. Right now, however, Android Central Digital Offers has a deal on the The Complete 2018 CompTIA Certification Training Bundle. Instead of paying the regular price of nearly $5000, you’ll pay just $59. That’s 98 percent off the regular price!

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See at Android Central Digital Offers

24
Mar

The CLOUD Act and Google: How it affects your data


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What is the CLOUD Act and what does it mean when it comes to my privacy as a Google customer?

The CLOUD Act — Clarifying Lawful Overseas Use of Data — is a set of regulations handling how data stored in one country can be accessed by an entity in a different country. It was signed into law on March 23, 2018 as part of the Omnibus Spending Bill.

It’s been praised by technology companies and a joint letter from Apple, Facebook, Google, Microsoft, and Oath (Yahoo!) lending support to the bill was published on February 6, 2018. it states, in part:

The new Clarifying Lawful Overseas Use of Data (CLOUD) Act reflects a growing consensus in favor of protecting Internet users around the world and provides a logical solution for governing cross-border access to data. Introduction of this bipartisan legislation is an important step toward enhancing and protecting individual privacy rights, reducing international conflicts of law and keeping us all safer.

But privacy and civil rights organizations have a different opinion of the legislation. The ACLU had this to say:

The CLOUD Act represents a major change in the law — and a major threat to our freedoms. Congress should not try to sneak it by the American people by hiding it inside of a giant spending bill. There has not been even one minute devoted to considering amendments to this proposal. Congress should robustly debate this bill and take steps to fix its many flaws, instead of trying to pull a fast one on the American people.

The Electronic Frontier Foundation has a list of objections as well:

  • Includes a weak standard for review that does not rise to the protections of the warrant requirement under the 4th Amendment.
  • Fails to require foreign law enforcement to seek individualized and prior judicial review.
  • Grants real-time access and interception to foreign law enforcement without requiring the heightened warrant standards that U.S. police have to adhere to under the Wiretap Act.
  • Fails to place adequate limits on the category and severity of crimes for this type of agreement.
  • Fails to require notice on any level – to the person targeted, to the country where the person resides, and to the country where the data is stored. (Under a separate provision regarding U.S. law enforcement extraterritorial orders, the bill allows companies to give notice to the foreign countries where data is stored, but there is no parallel provision for company-to-country notice when foreign police seek data stored in the United States.)
  • The CLOUD Act also creates an unfair two-tier system. Foreign nations operating under executive agreements are subject to minimization and sharing rules when handling data belonging to U.S. citizens, lawful permanent residents, and corporations. But these privacy rules do not extend to someone born in another country and living in the United States on a temporary visa or without documentation.

The two sides seem to take the language in the CLOUD Act very differently. That’s to be expected with almost any legal document, and most bills introduced to Congress are written in the same type of language. It purposefully leaves things open to the interpretation of the reader, and in the case of laws, the enforcing body. We all will have our own opinion on the bill, and that’s a healthy discussion to have. But it’s important to know what this means for your data stored on Google’s servers.

Why would Google support this?

It’s important to remember that organizations like the ACLU and EFF exist to examine the worst-case scenario surrounding any rules or laws that govern our personal data. They help create a balance so that courts and legislators can make informed rulings and seeing their objection to the CLOUD Act isn’t a surprise because it makes some major changes to the existing laws. It’s very difficult for a foreign government to gain access to data saved on a U.S. server and for the U.S. government to obtain data stored on a foreign server because the laws vary from country to country.

An example of this in action is currently happening, as the U.S. Supreme Court is deciding if Microsoft needs to turn over data stored on an Irish server that the Department of Justice wants as evidence in a case that dates back to 2013.

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Companies like Google would rather see a single set of rules adopted by the U.S. and many other countries that they do business in that might prevent this sort of costly hearings and procedures. They feel the language in the CLOUD Act serves to provide access to our data when a genuine need arises but also protects our privacy against requests that don’t show a legitimate need.

A set of universal laws that protect our privacy is a great idea as long as the laws are sound and enforced.

Civil rights organizations would also like to see a single set of rules adopted around the world, but do not think the CLOUD Act sufficiently protects our information from foreign governments. They take issue with how it changes the judicial review process and the ways it may circumvent the 4th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, as well as how the bill was introduced and packaged into a larger spending bill which won’t have the scrutiny and publicity a change like this deserves before it’s written as law.

Taken at face value, both sides here seem to be correct. That’s because both sides are fulfilling their intended purposes. Google’s legal team and privacy experts want a simple set of rules that apply in every country it operates in and thinks that circumventing a court hearing or obtaining multiple individual warrants can be done in a way that still protects it’s users personal data under the CLOUD act. The ACLU and EFF are against anything that circumvents a judicial process for each individual request and they feel that the current system provides better privacy standards. It’s important for lawmakers to hear both arguments.

What does this mean for me and my data?

There is no language in the CLOUD act that changes the way Google stores your data or the data it can collect. Nothing there strips away the protections of encryption nor does it prevent you from deleting your data from Google’s servers at any time. The only thing the CLOUD act affects is how your data stored on a server in your country, can be shared with another nation’s government. But that is something we all should be concerned about, too, so let’s look at some specifics.

Are my civil liberties being protected?

The CLOUD act requires the Secretary of State and the Attorney General of the United States to certify that any country entering into the CLOUD ACT “affords robust substantive and procedural protections for privacy and civil liberties.” Some specifics are mentioned in the bill to protect our rights as Americans. They include:

  • Protection from arbitrary and unlawful interference with privacy
  • Fair trial rights
  • Freedom of expression, association, and peaceful assembly
  • Prohibitions on arbitrary arrest and detention
  • Prohibitions against torture and cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment or punishment.

This means any country that participates in the CLOUD act can’t trample the basic civil rights afforded to us as citizens of the U.S. — and that rights of citizens in other countries can’t be trampled by the U.S. government. Protections against a foreign government requiring Google to place a backdoor into Android or Chrome are also in place under the CLOUD act and that Google can’t be asked by any government to perform surveillance on us while we use their products.

Does the CLOUD act give the executive branch complete control over our data rights?

No. While it does allow the State Department and Attorney General’s office to make agreements with foreign nations there is some Congressional oversight built in. Congress will have the power to:

  • Review new bilateral agreements for up to 180 days.
  • Review changes to existing agreements for up to 90 days.
  • Require written certification and explanation for how countries pass certification.
  • Fast-track disapproval of bilateral agreements.

It also states that a surveillance order issued by any member country be individually based and “subject to review or oversight by a court, judge, magistrate, or other independent authority,” and that this review must be “prior to, or in proceedings regarding, enforcement of the order.”

It would be better to have these protections in place as part of the way agreements between participating countries are made, but they are there, and in language that’s surely enforceable should a country be found to be overstepping its bounds.

Does the CLOUD act make it easier for foreign nations to access my U.S.-based data?

Yes. The CLOUD act removes many of the obstacles currently in place when another country wants your data stored on a Google server inside the United States. This is where civil rights organizations and Google disagree on the merits of the law.

Because of how any data requests must go through the court system, then be subject to appeal or approval from a higher court, countries are forming their own laws that try and force companies like Google to hand over data without any court involvement if the company wants to do business there out of frustration with the process. The U.S. also tries to claim that U.S. law requires a U.S. company to hand over data even when it’s hosted outside the country like we’re seeing in the Microsoft case presented to the Supreme Court.

Some countries provide civil liberties that are equal or better than what the Constitution offers, but others do not.

The CLOUD act is designed to stop these laws from being enacted and enforced by building a process all countries can agree on and adhere to when it comes to requests for our private data. This is where Apple, Google, Microsoft and other tech companies see the benefit of it. They will know what the laws are and how to follow them in all the countries that participate instead of being subject to individual laws or fighting them in courts.

Civil rights organizations take issue that the CLOUD act can force data hosted inside the U.S. to be handed to another nation without being subject to our existing privacy laws. Some countries provide civil liberties that are equal or better than what the Constitution offers, but others do not. They feel that your data hosted in the U.S. should be protected by your rights as a U.S. citizen and not subject to laws and rights another country observes no matter what the review or admittance process entails.

Does the CLOUD act give foreign countries more power to surveil U.S. citizens and target their data for collection?

No, and yes. Broader power is granted for intelligence gathering but there are restrictions and rules in place that cover any wiretapping or surveillance.

  • Foreign governments are “explicitly forbidden from surveilling a U.S. person directly or indirectly”.
  • Surveillance orders must be of a fixed and of limited duration.
  • Surveillance can only happen when it has been shown to be “reasonably necessary” and there is no other way to get the information.

When collecting data for approved cases, there are rules in place that aim to protect our individual rights:

  • Direct targeting of a U.S. citizen’s data by non-U.S. governments is prohibited.
  • Asking a CLOUD Act certified country to target a U.S. persons’ data is prohibited.
  • The targeting a non-U.S. persons’ data for the purpose of collecting a U.S. persons’ data is prohibited. (A country can’t target me to see the conversations you and I have in Facebook Messenger, for example.)
  • The “dissemination of a U.S. persons’ data” is prohibited unless there is evidence of a serious crime presented.

There is a lot of room for legal maneuvering in these regulations, which leads us to the biggest question — how will this be enforced? Who will be there to make sure France (for example) follows the laws and regulations about collecting my data inside the U.S.? That’s worrisome. Even more so when you replace France with Afghanistan, or if you live in Europe and replace France with the United States. Current laws are in place to protect our data and we’ve grown accustomed to having them. the CLOUD act would replace many of those protections.

Do I need to worry, and should I delete all of my data and go dark?

I’m not a legal expert so I can’t form an opinion on the legality of the CLOUD act. That’s what we elect officials to do. But I can express a few thoughts on it all. I’m of the opinion that my data stored in the U.S. is protected under the laws of the U.S. and secured with my rights as a U.S. citizen regardless of what France (or Afghanistan) thinks of those protections.

Guaranteed liberties like the 4th amendment (the protection against unreasonable search and seizure defined as an individual right of every U.S. citizen) or its equivalent in other countries should always apply and supersede any type of unilateral act between governments. Every instance where my privacy is to be breached is deserving of its own review in the U.S. courts, especially if I’m not proven guilty of any serious crimes.

My data is deserving of a review process every time a person or nation requests access. So is yours.

But I also see the value that Google sees in the CLOUD act. A legitimate set of rules that apply across the board for all member nations could be a great thing; not only to save money and time in courts but so that I know in advance how my data is protected both inside and outside of the U.S.

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We should be able to trust our elected officials to make the right choices, and if you do then there isn’t much to be concerned about here. It seems that Google trusts the “right” way to guarantee our privacy will be put in place, as does Apple and Microsoft. These three companies may have a very different set of offerings to present to us, but one thing they all have in common is the willingness to fight to protect our data. That’s a good reason to assume the sky isn’t falling.

The ACLU and EFF, as well as other privacy and civil rights groups, have also done a great job of making sure we know when our rights may be subject to abuse. We should pay attention to their warnings even if we think they are reaching the worst conclusion. This is a good reason to be against the CLOUD act in any form.

Right now, all we can do is watch the process in action and hope everyone involved is thinking about our individual rights when they make their decision. Once that decision is reached, we can decide how to react. What’s most important is that we know and understand when the laws surrounding our personal data are going to be changed, and what the consequences may be.

24
Mar

Ask Engadget: What’s the best way to clean my touchscreen?


The support shared among readers in the comments section is one of the things we love most about the Engadget community. Over the years, we’ve known you to offer sage advice on everything from Chromecasts and cameras to drones and smartphones. In fact, our community’s knowledge and insights are a reason why many of you participate in the comments.

We truly value the time and detail you all spend in responding to questions from your fellow tech-obsessed commenters, which is why we’ve decided to bring back the much-missed “Ask Engadget” column. This week’s question is straightforward and concerns touchscreens. Weigh in with your advice in the comments — and feel free to send your own questions along to ask@engadget.com!

What’s the best way to clean a smartphone screen (or touchscreen)?

Devindra Hardawar

Devindra Hardawar
Senior Editor

Use a microfiber cloth. If there’s dirt, spray a bit of water on the cloth first, then rub until clean. That’s it!

OK, maybe it’s a bit more complicated than that, but those are the key concepts to keep in mind. When cleaning any piece of electronics, you never want to spray water or a cleaning solution on it directly. Water and a bit of elbow grease are usually enough. For stubborn stains, you can also cut the water solution a bit with vinegar. If you don’t have a microfiber cloth around, a soft piece of moistened paper towel will do as well.

The process is a bit tougher if you want to truly sanitize your phone’s screen. For traditional LCD screens, you should never use an alcohol-based cleaner. But with glass touchscreens, you can get away with a bit on a microfiber cloth. Even Apple doesn’t recommend using an alcohol-based cleaner, but if you step into an Apple store, you’ll find workers using pre-moistened alcohol wipes left and right. Go figure, right? While I wouldn’t recommend doing this daily, a quick wipedown with an alcohol-based solution is the best way to kill all the germs nesting on your phone.

Cherlynn Low

Cherlynn Low
Reviews Editor

I totally agree with Devindra: Microfiber cloth is the way to go. If you don’t have one, a wet wipe from Grime Boss or similar designed-for-touchscreen napkin works as well. And if you’re on the go and need something quickly, I find that most fabrics work well, as long as they are at least slightly textured. Ribbed sweaters or rougher napkins are good examples, and your shirt sleeve can work in a jiffy too. Not ideal, but good in a pinch!

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