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22
May

FLI Charge’s conductive wireless charging could revolutionize classroom tech


Bretford

A new product called Juice Mobile Power has just received FCC and ETL certification to roll out into classrooms and offices across the country. Developed by power delivery experts FLI Charge and educational tech manufacturers Bretford, Juice Mobile Power is designed to deliver safe, efficient power to environments with a shortage of outlets.

“At FLI Charge we’re really focused on bringing power closer to people,” CEO Cliff Weinstein explained to Digital Trends. “Schools are looking for a convenient way to move power around in a code-compliant fashion, and this offers significant savings over retrofitting power outlets.”

Retrofitting a new power outlet in a school or an office building can be very expensive, especially if you want it in the middle of a room. You may have to drill through concrete, old buildings could present structural or asbestos concerns, and the cost can easily run into the thousands of dollars.

The answer up until now has been overloaded power strips and extension cords, which can be dangerous, or charging carts, which don’t deliver power where it’s needed at the desktop. But that could be about to change.

Juice Mobile Power can deliver up to 300W, enough to power up to 20 devices from a single outlet, and a starter kit costs less than $1,500.

Digital Trends got a demo of the new technology in action, and the potential is exciting.

A brick-sized power supply is plugged into a wall outlet, and it converts power from AC to DC, sending it to thin, 6-foot-long extension tracks that can be placed anywhere on the floor. When someone wants power, they drop a pod on top of the track with a cord that attaches to the plugs you want — for example, a series of USB plugs that can sit on the desktop powering tablets and laptops.

Bretford

The pod lights up when it’s ready to deliver power and, since everything in the modular system attaches magnetically, there’s no tripping hazard. Pods can be dropped anywhere on the track, then the onboard circuitry goes through a handshake procedure with the power management module (PMM) and pulls in the precise amount of power needed to charge up attached devices.

Juice Mobile Power can simultaneously charge up multiple devices with different power demands.

There’s also foreign-object detection that instantly powers down the surface, which Weinstein demonstrated for us by placing his palm on the extension track. The pod light went out immediately and then powered up again a few seconds after he removed his hand.

It’s easy to see the potential for Juice Mobile Power beyond the classroom, such as in conference rooms, office buildings, or anywhere there’s a power requirement and not enough outlets to go around.

FLI Charge showed us the technology embedded into a desk and powering a laptop, but it could also be used to power a monitor or another modified device — anything with FLI Charge’s circuitry inside.

“Surface is a static thing, and we make that surface functional,” says Weinstein. “There are just two limitations: We have to create contact because it is conductive … and the other limitation is power supply.”

We first came across FLI Charge when the company ran a successful Indiegogo campaign with charging pads and phone cases that worked a lot like Qi wireless charging, but much faster and more efficiently.

While most of us are sold on the convenience of wireless charging and power over distance, there are concerns about its safety, inefficiency, and slow speed.

“We are not a wireless charging company,” Weinstein told us. “I believe wireless charging and power over distance will exist, just not the way people think it will due to the power restrictions and safety and efficiency issues, but we’re all under the same umbrella — we’re all trying to bring power closer.”

Early Qi chargers were around 60 percent efficient, and though they’ve climbed up to 75 percent in some cases, there’s still a lot of power being lost. Even the best Qi wireless chargers are also still a lot slower than wired charging.

All the power-over-distance technology we’ve seen so far is extremely inefficient, in terms of putting out a huge amount of power to get a small amount to the device — 20 to 30 percent within five feet would be a good return.

Safety is also a concern. Energous has won FCC approval, but is currently delivering very small amounts of power over very short distances — a few hundred milliwatts over three feet.

“Moving power over distance is not a challenge, but to do so efficiently and safely is a near impossibility,” Weinstein suggests.

Conductive wireless charging, by contrast, can juice up mobile devices at the same speed and efficiency as the wall outlet, but it requires contact between the device and the charging surface.

Weinstein’s ambitions for FLI Charge go well beyond the classroom. The Indiegogo campaign was a proof of concept and competence that enabled FLI Charge to win the confidence of potential partners and sign some licensing deals.

“Our business model has always been: B2B will drive B2C, and we think power and charging has applicability in every sector,” says Weinstein.

We’ve already seen the technology used to power in-room iPads for a New York hotel, and it’s about to roll into classrooms and offices, but FLI Charge has a lot more in the pipeline.

Sadly, the need for a conductive surface and the success of Qi probably rules out smartphones for the foreseeable future, but you can expect to see the technology integrated into laptops, power tools, drones, and other devices, with power delivery built in to furniture and other new form factors.

“2018 is the year for commercialization and getting it out there,” Weinstein says. “Long term, we see it replacing the plug altogether and our surfaces replace the outlet.”

For now, Juice Mobile Power solves a tangible problem in a clever way and it gives FLI Charge a chance to showcase the advantages of conductive wireless charging. Only time will tell if it will take off in the way Weinstein envisions, but having seen Juice Mobile Power in action, we wouldn’t bet against it.

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  • BMW to bring smartphone-like wireless charging to cars


22
May

Android Things has a chance because it’s not very open


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Android Things could never work if every company did it their own way.

Google makes a handful of mostly well-received hardware products, but is much better known as a software company. There’s plenty of room to argue that they are really an advertising company, and I couldn’t disagree, but the things it does that we love are mostly software products.

Around here, we think Android is one of Google’s greatest achievements and there are plenty of other people who would agree. Maybe even you. Android is everywhere, and you can’t go anywhere without seeing someone staring into their Galaxy phone screen.

Android is free, supported and wide open to customization. Phone manufacturers and carriers love it.

Much of Android’s success as phone software is owed to Samsung. Other companies make fine phones that sell in the millions, but none come close to Samsung; it’s the biggest phone manufacturer in the world and almost all of their phones run Android, even though Samsung plays a big part in the development of Tizen, which it uses for wearables.

There’s good reason for this — Google gives Android away as a complete package that Samsung can work with and maintains the code very well with monthly updates. Google also provides all the services a smartphone needs, including an app store, that Samsung can use in their phones for free.

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Samsung also has one huge bonus when making Android phones — it can customize most of it to their liking. Samsung can tweak it for different regions or customize it for a carrier as they wish. Add all these things together, and you see why Android is so popular. Not only Samsung is able to do all of this, but every company that manufactures phones.

North America is filled to the brim with carrier-branded Samsung Galaxy phones and everyone involved — Google, Samsung, and the carrier itself — couldn’t be happier. That sort of openness is what made Android become the world’s most used operating system.

But Android Things isn’t that way. It’s more like Chrome, or WearOS and Google gets to say how it’s used and what its capabilities are. It’s very different from Android used on phones, and that lack of openness is why it might succeed.

Internet of Sh*t

You probably have seen this play on words. It’s funny because it’s slightly taboo and because it’s true. What everyone refers to as the Internet of Things (IoT) is a huge group of small devices that are all proprietary, don’t work very well with each other, and use software that’s old as Methuselah and riddled with security holes. It’s completely broken and it’s a wonder that some products have been as successful as they are.

But the IoT seems like it’s made of things that most folks don’t want or need, regardless of how cool they may be. For it to grow into what sci-fi writers from the 1950s imagined, it needs to be fixed.

It’s not just you. Adoption of Internet of Things devices lags far behind every other category of electronics.

To fix it you need cohesiveness. There needs to be a platform flexible enough for anything and everything, but rigid enough to avoid becoming fractured and broken all over again. That’s what Android Things could be.

Imagine if every company that makes smart gadgets were to take Android Things and do whatever they pleased to it. You would lose the rigidity required to keep the software that powers them all running and working together. We actually saw this early in Android running on phone’s lifetime.

When the first Galaxy phone was released, you had three major players in the Android hardware world — HTC, Motorola, and Samsung. I remember talking to a developer who was very frustrated over a simple clock widget — the three companies all did something different and a clock widget written for Android as it comes from Google didn’t work on any of those phones.

Google had to step in and reimagine what’s called a compatibility agreement to force the companies making phones to work with Android apps from the Android Market (the original name of Google’s Play Store). All of them.

Android on your phone was quickly broken, then quickly fixed by Google.

That was good for us, the end users, as well as developers. You could have the same apps on your Motorola Droid X as I did on my HTC Desire and the developer didn’t have to jump through a million hoops or write different versions of the app to make it happen. Now imagine 300 developers making smart sprinkler controllers and bedside alarm clocks and tire pressure sensors or anything else and none of them are truly compatible with each other. We would be right back where we started.

For the IoT to change from what it is today to the ubiquitous thing we all imagine, everything has to use the same protocols, be able to talk to the same “master” controllers, and most importantly, remain as secure as it can be with regular software updates. That means google has to maintain control of Android Things if it is to fix everything.

Not Just Google

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We also need to see other companies being equally aggressive with software designed to control small, low power devices. Apple needs to adapt Homekit, Samsung needs to advance SmartThings, and smaller companies like Wink need their partners (GE and Home Depot in this case) to get serious and push forward.

I’d like to see Amazon acquire some smaller companies that make those things that “work with Alexa”, too. We already have a standards body that companies use for wireless communications, and it needs to adapt so that all of these companies are making products that work 100% with each other.

Nobody wants a world where Google controls everything. Not even Google executives.

Competition is what drives a market. Remember, we were all happy with BlackBerry or Windows CE phones before Apple debuted the iPhone. And companies can compete even though they all follow practices that force interoperability. We don’t want the future of smart things to become a Google-only product for many reasons. I doubt even Google wants complete domination and would rather have several strong players like we see in the smartphone and computer sectors. It’s just not healthy for any market when that happens.

Google and Apple and Microsoft and Samsung competing to sell you a lock for your front door means better features, better security, and an all-around better product.

Nothing is certain

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The odds that nothing will change and the Internet of Sh*t will stay just like it is are as strong as the odds that Android Things will make a dent in changing it. Maybe even stronger. But Android Things is a step in the right direction, and by maintaining control over the platform, Google is giving it a fighting chance.

Google learned a lot from Android on your phone. They won’t make the same mistakes again, and if it takes restricting the Android Things platform even more with regards to licensing, that’s exactly what it should do.

22
May

Best PlayStation 4 Controllers in 2018


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A great PS4 experience deserves a great controller.

The stock controller for the PlayStation 4 is very good, but it’s not for everyone. Fortunately, there are lots out there that offer a different experience and cater to different markets. Whether you’re a competitive gamer, buying for your kids to play with or just want to sharpen up your experience, a good controller is important. Pick up one of these options if you’re looking for something to change up your controller.

Scuf Impact

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Scuf controllers are used by a large portion of the pro-gamers who play on console, and the Impact is the company’s latest and greatest effort for the PlayStation 4. The basic shape is the same as the regular PlayStation DualShock 4, but the grips are longer and the whole thing is less angular.

As a result, you get the room for four paddles on the back which can be remapped with Scut’s EMR technology to whichever of the face buttons you wish. There are also trigger stops for faster reactions in shooters and wireless charging over a regular micro USB cable.

None of the major features of a PS4 controller are lost, you get the headset jack at the bottom and the trackpad remains where it should be. As it’s a Scuf, though, you can customize the dickens out of it with wild paint jobs and different style or size analog sticks. It isn’t cheap, starting at $140, but it’s as close to the ultimate PS4 controller as you can get right now.

See at Scuf Gaming

Razer Raiju

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Razer doesn’t mess around when it comes to making gaming peripherals and the Raiju is designed for esports and the pro players that compete in them. While the main layout is the same as you’d find on a standard controller, that’s pretty much where it ends.

Like the Scuf Impact, the shape is less angular and really comfortable to hold. This one is a wired controller, so you have to bear that in mind, but you do get a nifty audio control bar at the bottom to manage your party chat and in-game audio levels.

Around the back, you’ve got a couple of additional triggers and two more buttons on top next to the bumpers. These are a staple on pro-class controllers and while Razer’s implementation is pretty unique to the Raiju, the end result is the same. It’s tough and feature packed, albeit a little pricey at $150.

See at Amazon

Sony DualShock 4

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If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it, right? The DualShock 4 is the standard controller that comes in the box with every PS4 controller and continues the evolution that is clearly visible right back to the very first PlayStation.

That means analog sticks in the center, D-Pad to the left and buttons to the right, with bumpers and triggers where you’d hope to find them. The DualShock 4 is the first to implement a touchpad, and you get a neat glowing lightbar, too, which has applications beyond just looking pretty.

If you like it already but wish it were a little more interesting, Sony has an entire range of different colors available. The red one here is pretty hot at $44, but new variants keep appearing all the time.

See at Amazon

Nacon Revolution

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Some folks love PS4 but wish the controller was more like the Xbox One’s with it’s offset analog sticks. Many find this layout more ergonomic, which makes the Nacon Revolution a great controller to try. It’s wired, so you can’t sit too far away, but the shape and layout are pretty similar to that which you’d find on the Xbox.

It’s also another pro-grade controller, which means around the back you’ve got additional buttons so you can keep on firing without taking your thumbs off the sticks.

In advanced mode you can switch between four different profiles, the buttons can be remapped, sensitivity and dead zones can be adjusted and you can even assign macros, useful in games like Street Fighter V. It’s also cheaper than other pro-grade controllers at $94.

See at Amazon

Hori Mini Wired Gamepad

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Need a solid controller for younger, smaller hands that doesn’t cost a lot? Or maybe you’re a traveling PS4 gamer that needs something compact to throw into a bag. That’s where the excellent Hori Mini Wired Gamepad comes in.

As the name implies, this is a wired controller, and it’s also mini. It’s a good deal more compact than a regular controller, with a flat profile rather than the angled design of the standard controller. The touchpad is missing, which is OK, but there’s a button in place for the times you’d click it.

The cable is 10-feet long, so you can get a decent distance away from your console, and it comes in a lovely shade of blue. It’s also only $20, which makes it a no-brainer if you have kids.

See at Target

What controller did you pick up for your console?

Let us know which one is your favorite down in the comments below!

Updated May 2018: We’ve updated this with the best options for PlayStation 4 controllers!

PlayStation 4

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

Amazon

22
May

Alcatel 3V launching in the U.S. for $150 with 2K screen and face unlock


The phone is launching on Amazon next week.

Formally unveiled at MWC this past February, Alcatel’s announced that it’s bringing the Alcatel 3V to the United States next week.

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The 3V is very much so a budget phone with a price tag of just $150, but you’re getting a lot of phone for the money.

Right on the front is a large 6-inch screen with an 18:9 aspect ratio touting a TCL-made 2K (2160 x 1080) display. Surrounding that screen is a glossy plastic body with Alcatel’s SIMGANIC design language that apparently “offers a balance of organic and simplicity from a human centric perspective.”

Flip the 3V over and you’ll find two cameras — including a primary 12MP sensor and a secondary 2MP one that allows for bokeh portrait shots and enables you to refocus photos after you’ve taken them. Also included is a 5MP selfie camera that comes with its own flash.

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Rounding out the 3V is a rear-mounted fingerprint sensor, Face Key facial unlock system, MediaTek MT8735A 1.45GHz quad-core processor, 3,000 mAh battery, and Android 8.0 Oreo.

You’ll be able to purchase the Alcatel 3V at Amazon next week, and following that, the phone will make its way to Best Buy and Walmart online and in-store “in the coming weeks.”

Best Cheap Android Phones in 2018

22
May

Every PlayStation 2 games you can play on your PlayStation 4


Get the classics back.

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There are loads of amazing games that came out when the PlayStation 2, but after the PlayStation 3 and the PlayStation 4 came out, not many of the games were able to be played on those consoles. Sometimes you need some nostalgia in your life, if only to play all of the previous Kingdom Hearts games before the new one is released later this year.

Now, you have access to loads of PlayStation 2 games that you can play on your PS4. With games like Destroy All Humans! and Star Wars: Bounty Hunter, you can grab all of these classics for your console.

  • ADK Damashii
  • Ape Escape 2
  • Arc the Lad: Twilight of the Spirits
  • Art of Fighting Anthology
  • Bully
  • Dark Cloud
  • Destroy All Humans!
  • Destroy All Humans! 2
  • Eternal Ring
  • FantaVision
  • Fatal Fury Battle Archives: Volume 2
  • Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas
  • Grand Theft Auto: Vice City
  • Harvest Moon: A Wonderful Life Special Edition
  • Harvest Moon: Save the Homeland
  • Kinetica
  • The King of Fighters ’98: Ultimate March
  • The King of Fighters 2000
  • The King of Fighters Collection: The Orochi Saga
  • Manhunt
  • The Mark of Kri
  • Max Payne
  • Metal Slug Anthology
  • Okage: Shadow King
  • PaRappa the Rapper 2
  • Psychonauts
  • Puzzle Quest: Challenge of the Warlords
  • Red Dead Revolver
  • Red Faction
  • Red Faction II
  • Resident Evil -Code: Veronica X
  • Rise of the Kasai
  • Rogue Galaxy
  • Samurai Shodown VI
  • Star Ocean: Till the End of Time
  • Star Wars: Bounty Hunter
  • Star Wars: Jedi Starfighter
  • Star Wars: Racer Revenge
  • Twisted Metal: Black
  • War of the Monsters
  • The Warriors
  • Wild Arms 3

ADK Damashii

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Head to the arcade with this classic game that came from PlayStation 2, taking it back to the side scrolling days of fighting.

See at the PlayStation Store

Ape Escape 2

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Become Hikaru, a primate who has a few gadgets up his sleeve, and take on other monkeys as you make your way throughout the world.

See at the PlayStation Store

Arc the Lad: Twilight of the Spirits

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Humans and the Deimos have been at war for years over the Great Spirit Stones, and this game is all about how you unfold the story of this war.

See at the PlayStation Store

Art of Fighting Anthology

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Here’s another great fighting game that will take you back to the arcade days once again, with the classic side-scroller style.

See at the PlayStation Store

Bully

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Become a schoolboy who takes on his bullies and his entire school, and see if you win the girl or if you end up in the principal’s office.

See at the PlayStation Store

Dark Cloud

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Two completely different worlds unknowingly collide in this game, one rampant with technology while the other is centered around nature, as they have to take on this evil force coming for them.

See at the PlayStation Store

Destroy All Humans!

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The title describes the entire game, you’re an alien who wants to destroy the human race and become the master race of all of the earth.

See at the PlayStation Store

Destroy All Humans! 2

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This is the sequel to the first Destroy All Humans!, and the premise of the game is exactly the same as you kill of humanity…again.

See at the PlayStation Store

Eternal Ring

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This game is all about the kingdom of Heingaria as it falls under turmoil due to the elders and the king try to take over the whole kingdom.

See at the PlayStation Store

FantaVision

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This game is all about pyrotechnics and how to make all the fireworks go off with certain buttons throughout this game.

See at the PlayStation Store

Fatal Fury Battle Archives: Volume 2

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This is another game that will take you back to the arcade days of video games with a great side-scroller fighting style.

See at the PlayStation Store

Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas

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Head to the city of San Andreas in this version of the Grand Theft Auto series, which is an open world game where you can do just about anything.

See at the PlayStation Store

Grand Theft Auto: Vice City

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Another game in the Grand Theft Auto series that takes place in a different city, an open world as well with many different activities you can do along with the adjectives.

See at the PlayStation Store

Harvest Moon: A Wonderful Life Special Edition

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Plant crops, raise a child, and raise up animals in this game as you try to teach your kids to take over the family farm.

See at the PlayStation Store

Harvest Moon: Save the Homeland

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Save your village and your family farm in this game as you try to prevent a resort from coming in on your land.

See at the PlayStation Store

Kinetica

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Put on the Kinetic suit and be able to scale walls, do crazy stunts, and go faster than you ever have in Kinetica.

See at the PlayStation Store

The King of Fighters ’98: Ultimate March

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Play as 64 different characters throughout this game, whether you play it in the 2D setting or in the 3D setting, in the classic side-scrolling style.

See at the PlayStation Store

The King of Fighters 2000

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This is another side-scroller fighting game that’s based off the other King of Fighters games, full of wonderful pixel art.

See at the PlayStation Store

Manhunt

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Manhunt is a game where you have just been brought to life, and it’s now your mission to find the people who took that life away from you.

See at the PlayStation Store

The Mark of Kri

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Become the hero Rau who tries to uncover his families darkest secret in order to save his people from the evil that has crossed into his home.

See at the PlayStation Store

Max Payne

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Watch your back as you try to find the person who framed you as a murderer without being killed by the cops or the mob themselves.

See at the PlayStation Store

Metal Slug Anthology

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This military-style game is a wonderful side-scrolling shooter that has you take control of different armored vehicles in order to take down your enemies.

See at the PlayStation Store

Okage: Shadow King

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Help Ari and her friends become released from the grips of the Evil King’s spirit in order to let your village no longer be kept captive.

See at the PlayStation Store

PaRappa the Rapper 2

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Stick with the beat as the best rapping puppy throws down some rhythms for you to keep up with.

See at the PlayStation Store

Psychonauts

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Try to find all of your fellow campers after you realize that a mysterious villain has taken all of them.

See at the PlayStation Store

Puzzle Quest: Challenge of the Warlords

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This is a great puzzle game where you have to match up multiple tiles of the same color in order to solve each puzzle level.

See at the PlayStation Store

Red Dead Revolver

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Become a lawless bounty hunter who’s looking to find the people that killed his entire family so that he can seek revenge.

See at the PlayStation Store

Red Faction

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Take down the Ultor Corporation and start the revolution in order to get things to the way they’re supposed to be.

See at the PlayStation Store

Red Faction II

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After the rebellion, a strict dictator is taking over, but you have to do everything in order to make sure he is no longer in power.

See at the PlayStation Store

Resident Evil -Code: Veronica X

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Scrounge around for weapons and ammo in this abandoned building as you try to fight and survive your way through zombies and different kinds of monsters.

See at the PlayStation Store

Rise of the Kasai

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Protect the dark magic of Kri with all four of the characters who each have unique weapons that will help you in your journey.

See at the PlayStation Store

Rogue Galaxy

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Fulfill your dream of becoming a space pirate and find the hidden glories and treasures that await you in your journey.

See at the PlayStation Store

Samurai Shodown VI

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With the Sunpu tournament starting, you’ll have to fight other warriors in order to win the entire tournament.

See at the PlayStation Store

Star Ocean: Till the End of Time

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Star Ocean is a great RPG fighter that has been optimized for the PlayStation 4 for the best experience.

See at the PlayStation Store

Star Wars: Bounty Hunter

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Play as Jango Fett who has to fulfill a bounty that is set on a deranged Dark Jedi while fighting off the rest of the scum attacking himm on the way.

See at the PlayStation Store

Star Wars: Jedi Starfighter

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Fly throughout the galaxy as you fight on the side of the rebellion in your ship in order to stop the Empire.

See at the PlayStation Store

Star Wars: Racer Revenge

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Become the best podracer you can by beating the other 18 opponents in every race you compete in.

See at the PlayStation Store

Twisted Metal: Black

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This is a car combat game where you do everything you can in order to take down the other cars you’re combating.

See at the PlayStation Store

War of the Monsters

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Fight the monsters that have started to plague the world so that humankind can live in peace once again.

See at the PlayStation Store

The Warriors

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Take the Warriors through New York without losing anyone to other gangs or the police in order to escape the city.

See at the PlayStation Store

Wild Arms 3

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See what’s outside of the town’s boundaries to see what roams outside the unknown.

See at the PlayStation Store

What game are you most excited to grab for your PlayStation 4?

Let us know which game from the PlayStation 2 days that you can’t wait to play again.

PlayStation 4

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

Amazon

22
May

How to manage the YouTube app for Android


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There so much to do and see in YouTube, so see the settings less.

Watching videos and subscribing to channels is what YouTube’s all about, but there’s so much more you can do. You can upload your own videos, message and share with other YouTubers, and there are so, so many settings that’ll help make your experience more enjoyable and help keep your data usage to a minimum.

Here’s how to manage YouTube so that it works for you.

  • How to change upload network preferences
  • How to limit mobile data usage
  • How to manage notifications
  • How to disable Autoplay
  • How to use Restricted Mode

How to change upload network preferences

You can set whether or not you want to upload videos when not connected to Wi-Fi. If you don’t want to eat up too much data, you’ll want to upload only when connected to Wi-Fi.

Open YouTube.
Tap your avatar in the top right corner of the YouTube home feed.

Tap Settings.

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Tap General.
Tap Uploads.

Tap Only when on Wi-Fi.

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How to limit mobile data usage

Most of us are watching YouTube far, far more than we’re uploading to it, and while you can’t tell YouTube not to stream over cellular data, you can keep it from blowing your data cap completely by forbidding it from streaming HD video on cellular data.

Tap your avatar in the top right corner of the YouTube home feed.

Tap Settings.

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Tap General.

Tap Limit mobile data usage to toggle it on.

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While lower-quality video isn’t the sexiest thing in the world, you’ll still be able to see your videos and you won’t eat a month’s worth of data in a three-hour YouTube binge.

How to manage notifications

YouTube has a lot of notifications for a lot of different activities, from comments to channels to shares and recommendations. Thankfully, you can control just about all of YouTube notifications from one menu inside YouTube’s settings and get everything under control.

Tap your avatar in the top right corner of the YouTube home feed.
Tap Settings.

Tap Notifications.

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Once you’re here, we have a number of options to pursue. Scheduled digest is the most recent addition to YouTube’s notifications, and it combines all of the other notifications you’d get from YouTube throughout the day into one notification that you’ll receive at a designated hour of your choosing. With this turned on, you will only receive one YouTube notification a day. Tap the toggle to turn it on, tap the text to set the hour.

Subscriptions is a master toggle that can shut off all subscription notifications. If you’ve felt overloaded by YouTube notifications recently, use this to take a break from your subscriptions without having to turn them all off individually. To change individual channel settings, tap Channel settings right below it to get an easy-to-see list of all the channels you subscribe to and their current notification settings.

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Go ahead and turn off Recommended videos, Activity on other channels and shared videos. It’ll cut down on some of the more spammy YouTube notifications. You can also disable Activity on my channel/comments if you want, but you’ll probably want to keep Replies to your comments on.

Hiding at the bottom of the list, Disable sounds & vibrations is another setting you should absolutely turn on. This will silence notifications during user-defined hours, like a built-in Do No Disturb mode. This can keep YouTube from waking you if your comment blows up overnight, or during school hours. You can only set one quiet period, so pick the time frame that matters most to you.

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How to disable Autoplay

Autoplay might be one of the worst inventions of the last 20 years, and while this plague may never quite be contained, YouTube at least gives you two quick, easy ways to stop it:

While on a video’s screen, Tap Autoplay next to Up next to toggle it off.

You can also turn it off in Settings:

Tap your avatar in the top right corner of the YouTube home feed.

Tap Settings.

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Tap Autoplay.

Tap Autoplay next video if it’s not already in the off position.

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You have to turn off Autoplay on every device you use, so remember this setting for future use. You’ll also need to Disable Autoplay while casting a video.

YouTube has also begun to autoplay videos silently on the Home page. This is a great tool for evaluating videos before you decide to watch them, but it can also eat up data, so YouTube allows you to disable it unless on Wi-Fi or disable it completely.

Tap Autoplay on Home.

To have videos only Autoplay with Wi-Fi, tap Wi-Fi only. To disable Sutoplay on Home, tap Off.

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How to use Restricted Mode

Restricted Mode is a way to filter content that has been flagged as inappropriate by users and the YouTube system. It’s not quite Parental Controls, but if you don’t have YouTube Kids installed, it’s something to help keep your kid from finding something they don’t need to see. Restricted mode also hides comment sections on all videos, which is an added bonus.

Tap your avatar in the top right corner of the YouTube home feed.

Tap Settings.

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Tap General.

Tap Restricted Mode to toggle it on or off.

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Questions?

Let us know in the comments below!

Updated May 2018: We’ve completely rewritten this guide to help better explain YouTube’s settings and features, especially with regard to notifications.

22
May

How to check the battery percentage on your Oculus Go controller


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Keeping track of the playtime you have available

The Oculus Go came with its own battery for the controller. Now, I’ve been using mine for about 3 weeks now (spanning over an hour of gameplay a day) and I’ve been just fine with 80% of battery still left. But, at some point, I’m gonna have to change the battery to keep on keeping on.

Here’s how to check the percentage of the battery you have left so you can ensure that your controller never dies when you’re playing some intense horror games and don’t want to get got by a horde of zombies.

Checking right from the menu bar

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As you can see from the menu bar, there are two different battery percentages shown. The one on the right shows the battery percentage of your headset, and the one on the left shows the battery percentage of your controller.

These are separated by the icons to the left of the numbers. Headset battery levels are shown by your usual run-of-the-mill battery bar. The controller percentage, however, has a battery level in the shape of the controller itself to make it even easier for you to tell the difference.

Checking through the menu options

If for some reason your battery percentage is not appearing on the main menu bar, or you’re in disbelief about what the status of it really is, you can also check it through the menu options.

If the percentage is not showing on the main menu or is different than what the menu options show, check in with Oculus Support to see why you might be experiencing this.

Go to the Settings option on the main menu bar.

Select “See all”

Select “Controller” from the menu that will appear on the left.

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The center piece should now show the battery percentage.

Changing your battery

Battery getting low? If it’s time to change it out for a fresh new friend, here’s how you can get that done.

Guess it’s a good thing you can get a 48 pack off of Amazon for about $13

See on Amazon

Remove the cap from the controller by firmly grabbing both ends and pulling.

Remove your old battery.

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Put your new battery in.
Replace the cap to your battery.

Did this help you out?

Let us know how long your batteries last and what your preferred brand is in the comments section below!

Oculus Go

Oculus Go

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  • Best Battery Backup for Oculus Go

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22
May

U.S. and China reportedly close to undoing ban on ZTE


Are ZTE’s troubles finally coming to an end?

ZTE’s had a rough few weeks recently, but it would appear that the company may be due for some good news. According to two new reports, the United States and China are very close to finalizing a deal that would lift the Denial Order issued against ZTE.

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According to sources that spoke with Reuters —

Washington neared a deal to lift its ban on U.S. firms supplying Chinese telecoms gear maker ZTE Corp, sources said on Tuesday [May, 22], and Beijing announced tariff cuts on car imports, further easing trade tensions between the world’s two largest economies.

As part of this agreement, China would eliminate tariffs that are currently placed on goods imported from the United States, including agricultural products, and begin purchasing additional farm goods from the U.S.

Along with this, The Wall Street Journal also notes that –

The U.S. and China have agreed on the broad outline of a deal that would save imperiled Chinese telecom giant ZTE Corp., according to people with knowledge of the matter in both countries, as the two sides move closer to resolving their trade dispute.

While this deal would lift the Department of Commerce’s Denial Order against the company, ZTE wouldn’t be walking off scot-free. According to WSJ –

Instead, ZTE would be forced to make big changes in management, board seats and possibly pay significant fines, the people said.

Although the United States and China haven’t officially agreed to the terms quite yet, it is encouraging to see that steps are being taken to dig ZTE out of its newfound grave. The House Appropriations Committee may try to fight whatever comes of this, but we’ll have to wait and see what happens.

ZTE is DOA, but has the U.S. government gone too far?

22
May

Castro Podcasts Updates With Quicker AirPlay Controls, Cleaner Layout, Apple Watch App, and More


Podcast app “Castro” updated to version 3.0 this week, introducing a collection of notable additions like a rebuilt player engine, cleaner layout, Apple Watch app, and more.

Developer Supertop Software says that Castro 3 is “much faster” when users start streaming a podcast and the app’s controls are more responsive thanks to a simpler layout on the player screen. Users can now star the current episode they’re listening to from the player by double tapping the artwork, and in this screen there are also newly accessible AirPlay controls for streaming podcasts to other devices with fewer steps.

Additionally, Supertop has rolled out an Apple Watch app for podcast playback, letting users control their podcasts and choose new episodes from their queue to play.

Castro is a free app to download [Direct Link], and the app supports in-app purchases for Castro Plus at $8.99 per year or $2.99 per quarter. Castro Plus offers advanced features like mono-mix, chapter skipping and selection, trim silence and enhanced voices for an improved listening experience, and more.

Many users have grown frustrated with Apple’s own dedicated Podcasts app, despite an update last year that Apple said was aimed at introducing a “richer” user experience. As more and more companies begin looking into the podcast market, Apple has been making moves that should beef up its own app, including the acquisition of podcast search startup Pop Up Archive last December.

Tags: Podcasts, Castro Podcasts
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22
May

YubiKey Gains iOS SDK to Enable Secure 2FA Logins in Select Apps Using NFC


Yubico is a company that sells the “YubiKey,” a small piece of hardware that protects access to computers and online accounts by providing strong two-factor authentication in lieu of receiving a text message code on a smartphone or other 2FA steps. With the NFC-equipped YubiKey NEO, Android users have been able to authenticate their log-ins with a tap, and this week Yubico announced that ability has launched for iPhone users as well (via The Next Web).

With the launch of the YubiKit 1.0.0 iOS SDK, the company is allowing developers to add support for the YubiKey NEO into their iOS apps, starting with sole support from LastPass. Once set up with a LastPass account, the YubiKey NEO generates a one-time password, and when the user gets to the 2FA log-in screen, they simply tap the NEO near the back of the iPhone to authenticate.

It has been possible for developers to integrate with YubiKey NEO since iOS 11 launched in September, but the debut of the SDK should lead to wider adoption since it will be far easier for developers to introduce support for the device’s NFC abilities.

The NEO does not require a battery to function, nor does it need network connectivity, and Yubico says that it is “four times faster” than typing a traditional one-time passcode. In addition to NFC, the device has a dongle for USB-A connectivity so it can double as an authenticator on laptop and desktop computers, and Yubico says that it’s crush resistant and waterproof.


The YubiKey NEO is supported on iPhone 7 devices and newer, and for LastPass the feature is supported under the Premium, Families, Teams, and Enterprise subscription tiers. Yubico hasn’t yet revealed which apps might next launch support for the YubiKey NEO on iOS devices. YubiKey can already securely log users in on macOS 10.12 or later, and the product integrates with hundreds of services and applications online.

Those interested can purchase the YubiKey NEO from the company’s website for $50.

Tags: Two-Factor Authentication, YubiKey
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