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1
Jul

Love Waze’s incident reporting feature? Lucky you, it’s coming to Google Maps


Android Police

The thing you love best about Waze is coming to Google Maps — and it’s about time. Five years after the tech giant acquired the Israeli navigation app, it’s finally adopting some of Waze’s most popular features, most notably incident reporting. Users began spotting the new option on their Android apps a few days ago, and on Friday, Google confirmed that the rumors are true.

If you’re one of the lucky users who already have access to this tool within Google Maps, you’ll be notified as to road work, accident report times, and whether another Waze user knows that a previously reported traffic jam is still affecting your route.

Incident reporting has long been one of the most popular aspects of Waze, and indeed, is key to its crowd-sourced traffic information. It allows its 100 million active monthly users to send in tips about road closures, accidents, police cars, and other traffic snarls. About two weeks ago, Android Police noticed that the feature appeared to be coming soon in a Google Maps APK teardown, and now it’s rolling out to users. In fact, Google told The Verge that the feature has been available for “several months” to some folks on Android.

Users will soon (if not already) be able to see what sort of incident is causing a slowdown, and when the incident first took place. You’ll also have the option to add information yourself, keeping data as up to date and as useful for your fellow drivers as possible. After all, this whole system depends upon folks saying something when they see something, so bringing the feature to Google Maps should make incident reporting more accurate than ever.

The Waze feature comes hot on the heels of another neat update to Google Maps: personalized restaurant recommendations, shown off at Google I/O 2018 in early May and rolled out earlier this week. That change could help make Google Maps a whole lot more useful than it already is. The overall interface is relatively similar to the old Google Maps, but you’ll now find two new tabs at the bottom of the screen — “Explore,” and “For You.”

As it stands, reports are available only for road work and closed roads, though crashes, speed cameras, and speed traps should be supported soon as well. It’s not entirely clear when the feature will roll out widely for all Android users, nor do we know when iPhone owners will be able to reap the benefits of incident reporting. But seeing as it could be a game changer for Google Maps, we’re hoping the answer is “soon.”

Editors’ Recommendations

  • How Google’s Pixelbook broke the laptop mold with a Swedish design
  • Here’s everything we know about the Samsung Galaxy S10
  • Waze on iPhone just landed on your Ford’s infotainment screen
  • China nabs world record for biggest drone display, but it’s a bit of a mess
  • The new ‘Terminator’ movie: Everything we know so far



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1
Jul

Confusion in a land with no digital manners


We shouldn’t be shocked when adults with no communication skills behave as such.

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We’ve started summer vacation here in the U.S., which means every couple of days right around 6:45am my phone rings. It’s the young woman who lives about a mile and a half away, looking to talk to my middle daughter about the things they are going to do together today. This call always starts and ends the same way — with my frustration at the lack of phone etiquette on the other side of the phone at its peak.

This young woman never introduces herself, is frequently silent if she is concerned the tone of my “hello” is not entirely pleasant, and if my daughter isn’t around to chat the other end of the call ends immediately. As someone who was raised with phone etiquette as a daily lesson in my youth, these calls make my teeth hurt from all the grinding. Which is a shame, because in person this young woman is nothing but polite and friendly.

I found myself thinking back to these interactions as I read this article about a frustrating new trend in the hiring world called Ghosting. People will go through the entire hiring process, develop a rapport with the person trying to hire them, and then cease all communication just as the offer letter is being drafted for signature like a bad breakup. And it is exactly like a bad break-up, because that’s the only thing close to a guilt-free end of communication many of these people have ever known.

Those basic set of social constructs for how messages on any platform are to be generally treated in a polite environment has never really existed.

One of the more curious take-always I had from Google I/O was on how difficult it is to predict (and thereby communicate behavior in the new Digital Wellbeing effort coming to Android P. Socially, we have no codified etiquette for how to communicate online. I’ve worked in offices where not responding to every single email was seen as a sort of offensive behavior, but I’ve also worked in offices where emails were throwaways that required no confirmation of receipt. It was just assumed that you got and understood the message immediately, which raised several of its own problems. We joke about these same problems in social messaging environments, especially people who get upset when you don’t reply to a message right away and become angry or insecure because what else could you possibly be doing with your time right now. Those basic set of social constructs for how messages on any platform are to be generally treated in a polite environment has never really existed. Some people imported their behaviors from elsewhere, but the same rules never really applied.

As a result, what some consider basic etiquette in professional conversation is tossed out the window as the generation raised in this basically standards-free communication environment enters the workforce in larger numbers.

The technology itself is partially to blame in this as well. Messaging as a platform has evolved so rapidly over the last couple of years, any concrete set of social rules wouldn’t really apply anyway. Five years ago, tossing a few emoji into the report I send my boss at the end of each week would have gotten my Millennial self mocked and taken far less seriously. Today, an email from me without emoji or GIFs would indicate to several of the people I work with that something was wrong or that I was in a hurry to be out of this conversation. There are dozens of other examples, but it all comes down to what is generally considered “appropriate” behavior within the smaller group instead of the codified social construct many of us grew up with when it came to the rules of the home phone. Don’t even get me started on punctuation in messages, or my younger sister’s incessant use of lol as punctuation.

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Weirdly, this is one of the things I like most about my kids using the Republic Relay this past week. No screen means no texting, which means my kids have to actually talk like they are using a phone and demonstrate some of the skills they so infrequently are asked to use these days. Even in this activity, the discrepancy in use between my three children has been fascinating. My middle daughter loves to sit on the phone and talk about everything, whereas my oldest daughter gets off the phone as quickly as possible and prefers to catch me up on details in person or over text message. There’s no right or wrong way to use these adorable little hockey pucks, but it’s a fascinating microcosm of the kinds of things that separate what we consider polite and impolite forms of communication in the different spaces of our lives.

This is a fascinating week for the Android Central team, and indeed Mobile Nations as a whole. Our company is spread to the four corners, which means many of us are celebrating Canada Day this week while many others are preparing for Fourth of July. Some of us are spending this holiday in service to our country, while others preparing for gatherings and barbecues and probably a colorful explosion or two. While you celebrate, whatever you celebrate, give some thought to the way you view those who don’t communicate in the exact same way you do.

Some final thoughts for your Sunday:

  • Don’t forget your pets when the fireworks are happening. There’s a good chance they are pretty unhappy and might need some extra care when you get home.
  • I love seeing Jerry doing video reviews, and hope we can talk him in to doing a lot more of them.
  • Journalists are not enemies of the state, even when they say things you don’t like. No one deserves to live in fear for their lives, plain and simple.
  • Annapolis is a strong, supportive community which cares for those in need and it makes my heart soar every time we demonstrate it.
  • Niantic is now competing directly with Google, its former parent company. That’s kind of fascinating, and the tech they showed off this week is going to be a big deal.
  • We have officially entered Galaxy Note hype season, and I hope Samsung does something more than a slight bump over the S9.

That’s it for me, time to fire up the smoker and get some burnt ends going. Have a great week!

1
Jul

Jump Force: Hands-on impressions from E3 2018


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After dazzling with its trailer at E3 2018, this demo was sadly lacking.

Fans of Dragon Ball Z, Naruto, One Piece, and more delighted in the announcement from Bandai Namco at E3 2018 that a variety of characters from popular manga and anime would congregate in Jump Force for one massive fighting game. The trailer certainly looked impressive, with soaring scenes of our world littered with refuse from theirs, and six iconic characters duking it out amid the rubble.

Unfortunately, if you saw the demo, you saw almost as much of Jump Force from E3 2018 as I did when I went hands-on. The incredibly short demo only allowed me to play a single match (I went through the line twice) and with only two maps, six characters, and zero story to be seen, the whole affair felt like a shallow dive into a limited exhibition match of hype-inducing anime faces.

See at Amazon

What is Jump Force?

Jump Force is a 3D, tag-team fighting game featuring characters from across popular Shonen Jump manga. The premise of the game is that the various manga worlds these characters hail from have somehow collided with our real world, and certain of their number want to use this to their advantage to subdue the human race. It’s up to heroes such as Goku, Naruto, and Luffy to stop them.

That’s all we know of the plot so far. Currently, confirmed characters are:

  • Naruto
  • Goku
  • Monkey D. Luffy
  • Frieza
  • Sasuke
  • Zoro

We also know that Light and Ryuk from Death Note will appear in the game, but it has been confirmed that they won’t be playable. This means we’ll likely see more cameos of various characters who aren’t themselves playable.

How does it play?

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In my brief hands-on demo, I was able to select teams of three from the six playable characters listed above and fight in a 1v1 match against another tag team of three. As with other tag team fighters, you can swap out mid-match (though it does not extend your health pool as it might in other tag-team games) for a different set of moves or to finish an interesting combo.

As a bit of a novice to fighting games, it was tough for me to tell whether or not Jump Force was just set to the easiest mode possible or if it’s truly accessible to new players. The enemies were mostly polite enough to let me wail on them for a bit, which felt silly but also gave me the opportunity to try out different combos. It’s easy enough to chain together move after move from short and punchy physical attacks to more aggressive grabs and throws. Each team has a special bar that fills, too, that can then be unleashed for a devastating finisher move (if it lands)–for example, Goku goes Super Saiyan and Naruto unleashes his Nine-tailed Fox. You can also call in your teammates to toss a supportive move in here and there without actually swapping to them.

Both maps I played on (one an open, grassy field with a spaceship crash-landed in the corner and the other the ruin of a city seen in the trailer) felt enormous for the kind of match we were playing, which made it easy to run around and catch my breath if things got a little too crazy. There were a few times where I felt like we were just senselessly running around, but the characters I tried had a few decent distance closing moves to help alleviate that, too.

How does it look?

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While I don’t feel there was enough meat to the demo to come down on whether or not it plays great, there’s no denying that Jump Force is pretty. The characters all have lovely, detailed 3D models that form an interesting bridge between the manga designs we know and a more realistic design in keeping with the game’s story. Naruto is a bit taller and more filled out, and Freiza, though still very alien, has a certain fleshiness to him that was interesting to see. The environments are vibrant, though the grassy field I fought in was a little sparse if you weren’t looking at the crashed space craft. There’s plenty more room for exciting design here, and of course one of the game’s highlights will be seeing new characters and how they translate to the world of Jump Force.

Overall

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With more space and constant character swapping, I do feel that Jump Force doesn’t quite have the depth of, say, Dragon Ball FighterZ or other more technical fighting games. For the most part, I think that’s okay. With a solid tutorial and some good story matches to practice on, Jump Force could be a welcoming entry point in a genre Bandai Namco is famous for doing well. But to please both newcomers and fighting veterans alike, Spike Chunsoft and team will need to impress a bit more in trailers and demos in the future. If all I had seen was this demo, I’d think of Jump Force as “just another anime/manga fighting game.”

When can I join the fight?

Jump Force will launch sometime in 2019 for PS4, PC, and Xbox One. It will cost $59.99.

See at Amazon

I must know more!

Any questions about Jump Force? I’ll do my best to answer them if you toss them at me in the comments!

1
Jul

Getting lost (and found) with a Land Rover phone built for the woods


Google Maps showed nothing but green surrounding me, and one nameless road some distance away. We’d taken a wrong turn winding our way up Leith Hill in Surrey, U.K., and while lost would be a strong word to use, Google Maps didn’t provide the detail and information needed to get back on the right path. Is this the beginning of a tale of survival? Eating berries, drinking dubious liquids, and sleeping under nettles with varying multi-legged creatures?

Sorry to disappoint, but no. In our hand was the Land Rover Explore, a phone designed for those who regularly get off the beaten track, wander about on hillsides, don’t see another person for 48-hours, and enjoy every minute of it. Owning it is like choosing a Land Rover vehicle. It’s not going to let you down when the going gets muddy. We wanted to try one out, however due to its very specific skill set, we decided to test its strengths on a day out, hence our excursion.

Finding your way back

The moment it became clear we took a wrong turn, Google Maps was no use. The Land Rover Explore comes with the ViewRanger app pre-installed, where we had downloaded Ordnance Survey maps of the area, and plotted a walking route. An arrow in the bottom right of the screen permanently points in the direction of travel, and a crosshair on the map indicates your exact position. We know it’s exact, because on the back of the Explore was the Adventure Pack, an extended battery with a large 25x25mm Ceramic Patch GPS antenna, so you don’t need phone reception.

The combination of the Explore’s GPS antenna and the ViewRanger app is formidable, and the difference between navigating with it and Google Maps in remote or not easily mapped areas is considerable. We did a three mile circuit, completely unmapped by Google, and easily found our way around.

The combination of the Explore’s GPS antenna and the ViewRanger app is formidable.

The idea of taking the Explore up a mountain, or right out into the wilderness, is comforting. We were lucky to have cell reception, that it was in the daylight, and it was possible to retrace our steps. If reception was non-existent, it was dark, and we were trudging through unmarked territory, we’d have been pretty stuck without the Land Rover Explore. It felt like a trusty companion, adept at finding its way around when you’re at a loss.

Having spent three hours, with various stops for photos and video, with GPS running constantly and flicking between the camera and other Explore apps; you’d expect the battery to have taken a hit, right? We also used it with Google Maps to navigate to the starting point in the car, and again on a return journey to another destination. The internal 4,000mAh battery stayed fully charged thanks to the 3,620mAh Adventure Pack, and even the day after it still had enough juice to keep it topped up. We’d say three or four full days use would be possible using the Adventure Pack and internal battery only.

It’s a phone, too

What else makes the Explore a good outdoor companion? We like the Explore Hub, which collects special widgets useful for different outdoor pursuits — ranging from an altimeter and a compass, to weather reports and a button to quickly share your location — which is easily found with a floating quick access button. We weren’t out at night, but there is a cool night mode that gives the screen a vision-boosting red tint that won’t shine like a beacon and blind you. It’s also water resistant with an IP68 rating, super tough, and even has an H-4 screen protector fitted at the factory. A massive rubber case that holds the phone and the battery pack, complete with a carabiner hook, is included in the box to keep it safe and secure, while the screen can be used with gloves too.

That’s before you consider its strengths as an all-in-one device for exciting excursions. It’s a phone for a start, displays local emergency broadcasts, has an FM radio, access to Google Play for your app needs, and won’t give up at the first sign of cold, hot, or humid weather. Would you need to carry any other device? Probably not.

It’s difficult to argue with the Land Rover Explore’s prowess as an outdoor companion. However, it’s similarly difficult to make a case for it as an everyday use phone. With the Adventure Pack attached — the Explore uses an effective magnetic modular system, similar to Motorola’s Moto Mods, which we liked — it’s a massive brick of a thing. Take it off and it’s more manageable, but the screen is only 5-inches and has a basic HD resolution.

It’s difficult to make a case for the Land Rover Explore as an everyday use phone.

It’a a MediaTek deca-core processor inside, and it’s not the smoothest experience. Scrolling through the web or Twitter wasn’t that fast or slick. Our review phone came with Android 7.1.1 installed, so it’s sadly out of date for a brand new device, but the May 2018 security update was a welcome sight. Happily, there is little visual or theme modification to Android, and it’s simple to operate.

You’ll forgive these things when the Explore is making sure you don’t end up on a missing person report, but considerably less so if you’re planning to watch some Netflix, or manage a day’s work. The 16-megapixel camera on the back is decent, and won’t disappoint on a sunny day. At night, it’s not so great. Also, while the design of the Explore takes on elements of the Land Rover Discovery — the camera lens and grill below the screen for example — the rest is a flashback to phones released three years ago, and not the best looking ones either. The bezels, for example, are gigantic.

Hefty price tag

Then we come to the price. The Land Rover Explore is sold with the Adventure Pack for 600 British pounds, or near $800 (a U.S. release date hasn’t been confirmed yet). That’s a lot of money for a phone we don’t see anyone wanting to use everyday, and the same amount most will pay for their primary phone. Yes, there’s plenty of tech and engineering in the Land Rover Explore, plus that no doubt pricey brand name, but you’re regularly going to have to give Bear Grylls a run for his money to justify purchasing it.

We consider the Explore a phone for those wild weekends away.

If you’re serious about outdoor pursuits and want a phone that does “tough” right, the Land Rover Explore is an excellent choice. From the textured buttons on the side that are easy to locate and press, to the genuinely useful and well-thought out features, it’ll fit right in with your lifestyle and your Discovery, if you’ve bought one of those too. However, we consider the Explore a phone for those wild weekends away, and imagine it being relegated to the sidelines once you’re back to civilization.

It did everything we asked on our short hike, easily surpassing the usefulness of a regular smartphone in this situation, and we imagine its high initial price will quickly be forgotten if it saves you from certain (or at the very least, vaguely possible) doom in the wilderness just once. We’d just quickly return to our regular smartphone to tweet about our adventures.

Editors’ Recommendations

  • The best hiking GPS devices of 2018
  • Stay connected outdoors without cell signal or network access with GoHeart
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  • 2019 Porsche Cayenne E-Hybrid first drive review
  • The best cheap phones you can buy



1
Jul

DirecTV Now to increase its prices on all its plans


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Get ready to pay more on all of DirecTV Now’s plans, folks.

From our friends at CordCutters.com: DirecTV Now is increasing each of its its plans by $5 a month, starting in August — if not a few days sooner. That’s according to marketing emails sent out to customers late Saturday evening. (You know, when people are expecting to learn about price increases.)

This is the first price increase since AT&T merged with Time Warner. Surely, a coincidence.

From CordCutters:

This is coming from AT&T/DirecTV Now marketing and not PR, so that’s all we’ve got for now. But the email we received does mention that we can now add a third simultaneous stream for another $5 a month, and it mentions the new Spanish-language plans DirecTV Now rolled out earlier in June.

Also, we can expect to see in future releases: An option for 100 hours of cloud-based DVR. (Currently 20 hours is free); Parental controls; “More ways to stream on your favorite devices”; And more local channels.

DirecTV Now is available on Apple TV, Roku, in web browsers, and through Chromecast. (There’s still no official Android TV app.)

Get the full lowdown at CordCutters.com

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  • All about streaming services
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  • How to watch sports
  • Join the discussion

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1
Jul

Japanese space probe to begin exploring asteroid Ryugu


After a 42-month journey through space, the Japanese probe Hayabusa 2 has finally reached its destination — a rocky little cube named Ryugu, formally known as Asteroid 162173, some 200 million miles from Earth. The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) confirmed the arrival of the spacecraft in an announcement earlier this week.

During its 18-month mission, the space probe will analyze the tiny rock with a series of tests, deploying three miniature rovers to the surface. Before leaving, it will even blast a new crater into the surface, gather up some of the material dislodged, and then return to Earth with the samples aboard.

Rise and shine @MASCOT2018 ! It's a new day and we have arrived at #Ryugu! Take a look… #hayabusa2 pic.twitter.com/5erImiqeOi

— haya2kun (@haya2kun) June 28, 2018

The asteroid was named after a dragon’s palace from a Japanese folk tale. In the story, a Japanese fisherman emerges from the undersea lair with a box filled with treasure.

It’s technically classified a near-Earth object (NEO), as it orbits in an elliptical path from Mars to Earth and back again. There’s no chance it will strike the Earth, however, at least not in the next few hundred years.

The spacecraft used its thrusters to maneuver into a stable orbit within 12 miles of Ryugu, where it began to analyze the asteroid for the rest of its mission. Ryugu, strewn with boulders, is roughly diamond-shaped and features an equatorial ridge. As Earth Sky points out, it’s similar in appearance to the asteroid Bennu, the target that the NASA Osiris-REx mission will encounter in 2020.

The mission, which was launched in December 2014, carries four small landers. Three are from Japan (called MINERVA-II) and one is from Germany (called MASCOT-1, for Mobile Asteroid Surface Scout). These aren’t the conventional rovers you’re familiar with, like the ones taking selfies on Mars. Because the half-mile-wide Ryugu has very low gravity, the small landers have only the weight of a drop of water here on Earth.

So the landers don’t have wheels — instead, the small foot-wide boxes have internal offset weights that allow them to “flop” across the surface with short hops.

Hayabusa 2 will also get to blow some stuff up while it’s there. Using a “space cannon,” the probe will blast a copper projectile at the surface to create a landing crater and expose material from beneath the surface. During a brief touch-and-go landing on the surface, the probe will scoop up some of the debris and store it for the return voyage.

In 2020, the probe will drop the samples in a saucer-shaped reentry capsule which will land via parachute in Australia.

“Together with all of you, we have become the first eyewitnesses to see asteroid Ryugu,” said project manager Yuichi Tsuda. “I feel this is an amazing honor as we proceed with mission operations.”

Editors’ Recommendations

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  • ‘Mars, here I come!’ NASA’s InSight launches on a six-month journey
  • China is creating a ‘magpie bridge’ to the far side of the moon



1
Jul

Throw some shade at your office space with voice-controlled, self-tinting glass


Alexa, darken the windows please.

Glass that tints itself according to light exposure has been around for a while. Transition lenses already do that for people with eyeglasses, for example. And one Minnesota-based company has found a new way to expand this notion.

Sage Electrochromics has been around since 1989, and in recent years showed off a prototype of its dynamic glass called SageGlass LightZone — capable of creating up to three tint zones within a single pane of electrochromic glass. In the three years since, Sage has further developed its revolutionary product to allow users to control the dynamic tinting of the glass. Its latest innovation comes in the form of integration with Amazon Echo, which means that you can now control your actual window with your voice.

So what exactly is SageGlass? At its core, it’s a dynamic glass designed to tint on demand based on the position of the sun in the sky. Available in a variety of shapes (including trapezoid, parallelogram, and triangle) and colors (clear, blue, green, and gray), SageGlass can be produced in sizes as large as 5 × 10 feet. This allows you to let in exactly the right amount of light and block the sun only where it needs to be blocked.

Depending on where you want natural light to flow through your room, this dynamic window could be helpful. Say you only want one corner to be illuminated, while the rest of the room stays shaded; SageGlass could leave a triangular portion of the window untinted to permit a ray of light.

Not only could the product suit your lighting preferences, but it could eventually help you reduce energy costs, as well. The need for shades and blinds may also decrease, depending on how many you install, and indeed, SageGlass could be an effective option in residential and commercial spaces alike.

Previously, tinting and shape selection were accessible only through a smartphone app. Professional designers and architects would create the shapes and patterns available to consumers, and the glass itself was programmable. But now, with the Amazon Echo integration, the glass is far more flexible (not physically, of course). Instead of being tied to their smartphones, office managers with SageGlass (alas, Amazon Echo integration is available only in the commercial product) can now control the dynamic glass’ tint with a simple voice command. That means you can now optimize the amount of sunlight you receive or prevent heat gain and glare, all without lifting a finger — or buying blinds.

“The use of IoT technologies such as voice in buildings is growing in popularity as building owners place more emphasis on occupant comfort, convenience, and productivity,” SageGlass CEO Alan McLenaghan said in a statement. “SageGlass can already be integrated with most building management systems and controlled via mobile app, so the next natural technological progression for our dynamic glass is the use of voice commands as an added convenience to building owners and occupants.”

With the Echo integration, customers can now issue commands such as, “Alexa, ask SageGlass to reduce glare,” or “Alexa, ask SageGlass to let the warm sunshine in,” and watch the glass tint in response.

“We feel voice control can empower occupants by providing them with command over the lighting conditions in their building. Providing this sense of empowerment has been proven to have a positive impact on all occupants, from increasing patient recovery rates in the health care setting to improving productivity in the workplace,” McLenaghan added.

The Echo integration is available for all commercial SageGlass installations completed after May 2018.

Updated on June 30 to provide additional clarity regarding SageGlass offerings. 

Editors’ Recommendations

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  • We tried some of the RED Hydrogen One’s crazy tech: Here’s what you need to know
  • Dish’s devices just got easier to control with new Alexa voice commands
  • Felix Gray adds prescription lens option to its stylish computer glasses
  • These deals on computer reading glasses will help you put an end to eye strain



1
Jul

Microsoft relaunches the classic mouse that changed gaming forever


When it debuted in 1996, the original Microsoft IntelliMouse was nothing short of revolutionary. Gamers in particular loved it because of its ergonomic design, responsive buttons, and the introduction of the scroll wheel.

Although today’s gaming mice tend to feature industrial designs, garish colors, and multiple programmable buttons, the latest IntelliMouse promises a new generation of the same features that made it so popular when it debuted.

The last iteration of this classic peripheral was the IntelliMouse 3.0 back in 2003. “We’ve reached a point where tracking and switch technology and price has matured immensely,” said Simon Dearsley, a design director at Microsoft, in a Q&A blog post announcing the new mouse. “We saw this as an opportunity to improve on an icon by updating it with modern technology.”

Only a wired version is available, which reduces latency in gaming, and the red “taillight” has been replaced with a softer white light. According to PC World, its specs are comparable to the Microsoft Surface Precision Mouse, with a BlueTrack sensor that registers movements 1,000 times per second and a dpi setting up to 3,200.

The mouse features five buttons, three of which are programmable. “We were really careful to keep the same Omron switches for the left and right click, and have added three Kailh switches for the middle wheel button and side buttons,” said Dearsley. “We also made a huge improvement to the two side buttons. They now feel snappy and crisp and have just the right force and click to them.”

Although it’s designed to operate with everything since Windows 7, it doesn’t work with Mac OS, because it’s not compatible with the button configuration options in the Mouse and Keyboard Center software.

The announcement video features a clever Rube Goldberg contraption that traces its gaming lineage back to classics like Minesweeper and Microsoft Flight Simulator.

There’s no southpaw version and no wireless option, but the $40 price is sure to be attractive to fans of the retro styling. “I would say it’s the shape and the form,” said Dearsley. “The shape was originally sculptured by hand by some of the most experienced mouse designers in the world, which has proven to last the test of time.”

Editors’ Recommendations

  • The best gaming mouse of 2018
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  • What kind of mouse do you use most on a daily basis?
  • Nintendo Switch Online paid service will feature cloud saves, 20 free games
  • Nintendo Switch review



1
Jul

A look into Bitcoin’s troubled year


Last year, Bitcoin seemed nearly unstoppable. The world’s most popular cryptocurrency rose to just under $20,000 and saw people investing heavily in the cryptocurrency rather that be through buying directly or simply buying the hardware needed to mine it. This, in turn, saw GPUs rise to absurdly high prices though Nvidia largely downplayed Bitcoin’s role in the company’s fortunes. This year, however, has seen the cryptocurrency’s fortune’s take a turn for the worst.

Currently, the coin is valued at $6,331, according to CoinDesk, but, on the 28th, it fell as low as $5,800 which is the lowest the coin has been this year. Even this month’s highest price point of more than $7,300 is still nearly $10,000 lower than it was near the beginning of this year when the coin was still worth more than $17,000.

Along with declining prices has came a decline in consumer interest in the currency. Looking at Google Trends search data, we can see that the currency hit its peak search popularity during the week of January 14th and fell off rather sharply since that time period. The first couple of weeks of June appear to be the coin’s low point in terms of search popularity, but the coin’s rebound has been a sluggish one. Using Google’s own scale, we can see that it recently hit a low point of 13 in terms of search interest and is currently hovering around 18.

It is difficult to say rather the low value led to a loss of consumer interest or the other way around. More than likely, it is a mixture of multiple factors that have led to the coin’s decline. Chief among them are a number of recent hacks which have seen cryptocurrency exchanges lose millions of dollars in coins. While Bitcoin itself was rarely the target of these hacks, they likely shook consumer confidence in the security of cryptocurrencies especially considering the fact that there is no central organization to insure such currencies.

Of course, just because the government isn’t insuring Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies, doesn’t mean it isn’t willing to tax and regulate it. This year, the IRS announced it would begin taxing Bitcoin. In a lot of ways, it seems that Bitcoin is assuming many of the risks of being an unregulated currency while losing many of the benefits in regards to taxation and oversight. It’s too soon to declare Bitcoin or cryptocurrencies “dead,” but many experts are advising investors to use caution when considering the currency.

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