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14
Jul

This spider robot moves around to keep the plant on its head alive


Tianqi Sun/Vincross

We don’t know about you, but our vision of a futuristic, robot-ran society has always entailed a bunch of highly specified machines performing everyday tasks, each a small but important cog in a greater, greased machine.

We see that to some extent today — Roomba robots that emerge from their docking stations to sweep up the floor, industrial Kuka robots fitting parts onto automobiles — but there are still tons of tasks left undone. Every now and then we’re teased with specialized examples, like the laundry-folding robot, but for the most part, these robots remain elusive. Who’s going to water my plants when we’re gone?

The answer could lie in a modified version of the Hexa robot developed by Chinese roboticist and founder of the robotics company Vincross, Sun Tianqi. In 2014, Tianqi started an installation called “Sharing Human Technology with Plants,” which explored exactly what it says on the tin. Taking that project further, Tianqi later programmed his spider-like Hexa robot to carry a succulent plant on its head, moving toward or away from the sun to make sure the succulent has adequate access to light. More than just a guide to sunlight, the modded Hexa can let its human knows when the plant needs water by stomping its legs in a little dance.

“In this project, I change a plant into an animal in a sense,” Tianqi told Digital Trends. “I help it to break free from its default limitations as put forward by nature. More simply put, I help a plant experience movement through robotics. With this curious little project that is part art installation, part robotics lab, my hope is to remind us that human beings have been constantly using technology to break the limitations of nature over the past millions of years.”

The project began with the untimely death of a sunflower. Tianqi explained: “If this sunflower could have just moved a few feet out of the shade, it could have survived. The sunflower died because of its limitation by nature. Meanwhile, we humans use technology all the time to break our natural limitations. The plant can’t walk by nature, but it can walk with technology. That’s why I named the project ‘Sharing Human Technology with Plants.’”

Hexa is a programmable, spider-like robot that’s both adorable and robust, meaning tinkerers can modify their own Hexa’s as they see fit. But be warned: Hexa models aren’t cheap. The basic version costs $950 — and that is before the programmed modifications.

Editors’ Recommendations

  • A Swiss weedkiller robot could curb our dependence on herbicides
  • Who wouldn’t want a giant walking robot that transforms into a sports car?
  • Asimo, Honda’s amazing biped, heads to robot retirement home
  • Festo’s cuttlefish-inspired robot looks like it escaped an alien aquarium
  • This robot taught itself how to walk and it’s as clumsy as a newborn deer



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14
Jul

iFixit Teardown Suggests 2018 MacBook Pro Keys Feature a Silicone Barrier to Prevent Malfunctions Due to Dust


The keys of the new 2018 MacBook Pro, which uses a third-generation butterfly keyboard, appear to be cocooned in a “thin, silicone barrier” according to a teardown that’s underway over at iFixit.

According to iFixit, the quieter typing Apple has been advertising in the 2018 MacBook Pro models is a side-effect of the new membrane, which the site believes is actually an “ingress-proofing measure” to prevent the butterfly keys from seizing up when exposed to dust and other small particulates.

To back up its claim, iFixit points towards a patent for the technology Apple may be using in the third-generation butterfly keyboard, which describes a “guard structure” that keeps direct contaminants away from the movement mechanism.

iFixit does warn, however, that while the silicone barrier is clearly in place, there’s no way to definitively prove that it’s a reliability fix rather than just a sound dampening measure, citing statements from Apple to The Verge that have said the new keyboard design wasn’t introduced to “solve [dust] issues.” Apple also told The Verge and other sites that the issue in question has only impacted a small number of customers.

iFixit speculates that Apple is avoiding sharing the complete reasoning behind the keyboard redesign because of the class action lawsuits that it’s currently facing over faulty 2016/2017 MacBook Pro keyboards.

Apple is in the middle of several class-action lawsuits for the failure of their keyboards, so of course they can’t just come out and say, “Hey, we fixed it!” That says there was a problem to begin with. But you’ve heard that clever analysis from John Gruber already. I’m just here to posit: the advertised boost in quietude is a side-effect of this rubbery membrane. The quiet angle is, quite literally, a cover up.

Since Apple unveiled the 2018 MacBook Pro with its third-generation butterfly keyboard, there have been questions about whether specific changes were made to address keyboard failure issues present in 2016 and 2017 MacBook Pro models.

Apple has been vague when answering questions about the way the sound dampening measures were implemented and if those changes also impact durability and reliability, but iFixit’s teardown offers hope for customers who have been waiting for Apple to fix the keyboard problems affecting older MacBook Pro models.

Some 2016 and 2017 MacBook Pro owners have experienced issues with sticky, unresponsive, or repeating keys, leading to significant public outcry that eventually pushed Apple to launch a free repair program for those machines.

iFixit plans to continue on with its teardown next week and may have more information to share, but given the interest in the third-generation butterfly keyboard, the site didn’t want to wait to share potential good news.

Related Roundup: MacBook ProBuyer’s Guide: MacBook Pro (Buy Now)
Discuss this article in our forums

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14
Jul

Apple’s newest MacBook Pro is now $150 off if you’re a student


Though the MacBook Pro with Touch Bar was only refreshed this week, we’re already seeing discounts on Apple’s latest laptops. The latest MacBook Pros pack in Intel’s 8th-generation processors and are described as among the most powerful notebooks Apple has ever produced, topping out with a six-core processor on the larger 15-inch model and a quad-core chip on the more compact 13-inch. If you’re a student, you can currently save $150 on the laptops from Best Buy.

Without an education discount, the 13-inch model starts at $1,799 and ships with a 2.3GHz quad-core Intel Core i5 processor with integrated Intel Iris Plus Graphics 655, 8GB RAM, 256GB solid-state drive, a True Tone Retina Display, Touch Bar with Touch ID sensor, and four Thunderbolt 3 over USB-C ports. The 15-inch model starts at $2,399 and comes with a 6-core 2.2GHz Intel Core i7 processor, discrete Radeon Pro 555X with 4GB GGDR5 memory, 16GB RAM, 256GB solid-state drive, Touch Bar with integrated Touch ID, and four Thunderbolt 3 over USB-C ports. Best Buy sells all configurations at the same price as Apple, but if you sign up for the retailer’s Student Deals, you’ll get a coupon code that will take off $150 off the retail price.

Apple is also running its own back-to-school promotion that will net you some discounts off the retail price. Like Best Buy, Apple’s back-to-school deals also apply to the newest MacBook Pro models with Intel’s 8th-generation processors. The 13-inch Touch Bar-equipped MacBook Pro starts at $1,699 with the educational discount from Apple, a savings of $100. The 15-inch model begins at $2,249. Discounts will vary depending on the configurations.

Students who bundle AppleCare through Apple’s retail channels will also receive 20 percent off of the extended warranty protection plan. As part of its summer promotion, Apple is also throwing in your choice of either a Beats Solo Wireless, Powerbeats Wireless, or Beats headphones for free. The Beats Solo Wireless is the most expensive option for the freebie, with a $300 retail value.

Depending on your needs, going with Apple may save you more money. However, if you’re a student or educator who only needs a laptop, Best Buy’s more straightforward discount may be more appealing. If you do spring for a MacBook Pro, bear in mind that Apple has not offered a permanent fix for the issue of sticky keys. Although repairs may be free with Apple’s new keyboard repair program, you may be without a laptop for a few days while Apple tries to fix your notebook if it is affected by this widely reported flaw.

We strive to help our readers find the best deals on quality products and services, and choose what we cover carefully and independently. If you find a better price for a product listed here, or want to suggest one of your own, email us at dealsteam@digitaltrends.com.Digital Trends may earn commission on products purchased through our links, which supports the work we do for our readers.

Editors’ Recommendations

  • Apple Store hints you shouldn’t buy a new MacBook Pro until after WWDC
  • The best MacBook Pro you can buy is on sale for $1,000 at Best Buy
  • New MacBook Pros are the most powerful laptops Apple has ever made
  • The best MacBook
  • MacBook DIY keyboard repairs don’t void your chance of a free replacement



14
Jul

Microsoft calls for Congress to regulate use of facial-recognition tech


Albertus Engbers/123rf

Facial-recognition technology is playing an increasingly important role in modern society. Advocates praise the technology for things like helping to locate a lost child walking down a busy street or identifying criminals, like the Capital Gazette shooter, while critics argue that its use violates privacy expectations and could lead to the formation of a surveillance state. Microsoft, one of the many tech companies working in this area, is propelling itself into the spotlight, positioning itself as the moral compass on how technologies like facial-recognition software can be used ethically to benefit society. In a detailed blog post, Bradley Smith, Microsoft president and chief legal officer, argued that use of facial recognition must be regulated by the government.

“We live in a nation of laws, and the government needs to play an important role in regulating facial-recognition technology,” Smith wrote, noting that “a world with vigorous regulation of products that are useful but potentially troubling is better than a world devoid of legal standards.”

Smith’s call to arms on the topic stems in part from a recent Microsoft controversy. After it was reported that software, potentially facial-recognition tools, was used to aid the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency amid a national crisis where immigrant families were separated at the border, critics called on Microsoft to terminate its agreement with the government. Smith took the opportunity in spearheading regulation for facial recognition by clarifying that Microsoft only provided IT support for email, calendar, messaging, and document management.

Smith argued that “the only effective way to manage the use of technology by a government is for the government to proactively to manage this use itself.” Without regulation, technology companies will continue to create tools that governments will purchase and use in ways that the public may deem unacceptable. “And if there are concerns about how a technology will be deployed more broadly across society, the only way to regulate this broad use is for the government to do so,” he said.

Microsoft believes that Congress should create a bipartisan commission of experts to create new rules governing facial recognition and machine learning. “The key is for lawmakers to use the right mechanisms to gather expert advice to inform their decision-making,” Smith said, and that the purpose of the commission is to advise Congress on the laws and regulations needed.

The committee would help Congress answer questions such as: “Should law enforcement use of facial recognition be subject to human oversight and controls, including restrictions on the use of unaided facial-recognition technology as evidence of an individual’s guilt or innocence of a crime?”

Microsoft is also evaluating its facial-recognition technology to help prevent biases and improve accuracy. And in the spirit of being an ethical technology company, a theme that Microsoft leaned into heavily at its Build conference earlier this year, the company said that it had rejected some requests for access to its technologies in instances when there are greater human rights risks.

Editors’ Recommendations

  • U.S. Customs says biometric entry and exit is coming first to this airport
  • Florida police are using Amazon’s creepy real-time facial-recognition tech
  • Apple removes apps with CallKit framework from the app store in China
  • We’re waiting! 7 technologies that sci-fi films promised us, but aren’t here yet
  • From the doctor to the DMV, blockchain can make governments swift and secure



14
Jul

Hackers allegedly used cryptocurrency in attack against Clinton campaign


An 11-count federal indictment filed against 12 Russian military intelligence officers alleges that the group used cryptocurrency to remain anonymous in a scheme against the Democratic National Committee and Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign in 2016. They are accused of using these digital coins to pay for the website used to release and publicize stolen election-related documents, keeping their true identities hidden.

A month before releasing the stolen documents, the group registered the dcleaks.com domain and leased a virtual private server through an online cryptocurrency service, according to the indictment. After that, they registered an URL-shortening account that was used to “spear phish” the Clinton campaign chairman and “other campaign-related individuals.”

From the time of the site’s launch until the end of the election, the group released emails stolen from the Clinton campaign and affiliated individuals, along with documents obtained through previous spear-phishing operations. The site claimed that it was run by “American hactivists” and received more than 1 million page views before it was shut down in March 2017.

At its core, cryptocurrency was designed to keep users anonymous … at least, in theory. In the case of Bitcoin, you can send and receive digital currency without supplying personal information, but you’re seemingly doing so under what could be deemed a pseudonym. The address (wallet) where you send and receive digital currency remains in a public ledger, so if that address is ever linked to your real name, any type of anonymity is flushed down the toilet.

According to the indictment filed by the Department of Justice, all 12 accused are members of the Main Intelligence Directorate of the General Staff, or GRU, that’s part of the Russian military. They are charged with hacking into the computer networks of the Clinton campaign, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, and the Democratic National Committee using the names DCLeaks, Guccifer 2.0, and “another entity.”

The Department of Justice lists all 12 individuals, who were officials in Unit 26165 and Unit 74455 of the Russian government’s Main Intelligence Directorate at the time of the attacks.

For instance, Unit 26165 used spear-phishing campaigns against volunteers and employees of the Clinton campaign to steal usernames and passwords, and hack into other computers to steal emails and documents. The Department of Justice claims Unit 26165 worked with Unit 74455 to release those documents.

Meanwhile, Unit 74455 hacked into the computers of state boards of elections, secretaries of state, and U.S.-based companies that supplied software and other technology related to the administration of elections.

“To avoid detection, defendants used false identities while using a network of computers located around the world, including the United States, paid for with cryptocurrency through mining Bitcoin and other means intended to obscure the origin of the funds,” the Department of Justice states. “This funding structure supported their efforts to buy key accounts, servers, and domains.”

Here are the charges:

  • Count 1: criminal conspiracy
  • Count 2 – 9: Aggravated identify theft
  • Count 10: Conspiracy to launder money via cryptocurrency
  • Count 11: Conspiracy to commit an offense against the United States

The FBI’s cyber teams in Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, and San Francisco helped with the investigation,

Editors’ Recommendations

  • The Justice Department is now cracking down on cryptocurrency scams
  • Bitcoin put him on the street. Then it made him a fortune
  • ‘World of Warcraft’ DDoS attacker gets a year in prison, nearly $30,000 fine
  • Blockchain may power future elections, but it’s no silver bullet for fraud
  • Cops use fingerprint pulled from a WhatsApp photo to nab drug traffickers



14
Jul

How to calibrate your monitor


Plenty of people stare at computer monitors all day — if you’re reading this, chances are you’re doing just that. But how many people take the time to calibrate their computer monitor? Proper calibration will ensure that your colors and black levels are true, and that your monitor is producing the best results for editing and viewing images and videos. Plus, it will be easier on your eyes!

You could take your monitor to a professional to have it done, but doing it yourself is relatively quick, hassle-free, and will greatly improve image quality. Manufacturers keep pumping out displays with new technologies like 4K UHD resolution, high-dynamic range (HDR), and curved monitors, providing a veritable feast for the eyes — but only if they are properly calibrated.

Before you begin

You’re going to want to do several things before you begin the calibration process. These steps aren’t absolutely mandatory, but they’re good to follow for best results.

  • Turn on your monitor at least a half hour before calibration so it can warm up to its normal operating temperature and conditions.
  • Set your monitor’s resolution to its native, default screen resolution.
  • Make sure you’re calibrating in a room with moderate ambient lighting. The room doesn’t need to be pitch black, but you don’t want the sharp glares and color casts resulting from direct light.
  • Familiarize yourself with your monitor’s display controls. They may be located on the monitor itself, on the keyboard, or within the operating system control panel.

Calibrate using built-in Windows and Mac tools

Both MacOS and Windows have built-in calibration tools to help guide you step-by-step through the process, which is particularly helpful if you are new to monitor calibration. These free tools should be the first stop if you’re merely a casual image junkie or working on a tight budget. Keep in mind that the adjustments will be limited by the display type and model, though.

The assorted terms — gamma, white point, etc. — may seem a bit daunting at first glance, but each utility provides a relatively simple explanation of what they all mean. Realistically, you don’t need to know the ins and outs of the jargon to calibrate your monitor.

Windows 10 display calibration tool

In the latest version of Windows 10, the easiest way to find the color calibration tool is through the Windows search bar.

Step 1: Type “Color Calibration” into the Window search bar, and click the corresponding result.

In older versions of Windows, you can find the Color Calibration utility in the Display section of the Control Panel, which is listed under “Appearance and Personalization.”

Mark Coppock/Digital Trends

Step 2: Now that you are in the calibration tool, follow the on-screen instructions to choose your display’s gamma, brightness, contrast, and color balance settings.

A sample image for you to match will accompany many of the settings. Simply make adjustments to mimic the sample as close as possible.

Step 3: Once the calibration wizard is complete, make sure to choose the “current calibration,” or return to the previous calibration if you are unsatisfied with the results.

The new calibration will be stored as a .ics file, or color calibration file, and will show up as a new International Color Consortium (ICC) Profile in the Color Management settings app. The easiest way to open this app is to type “color management” in the search box and choose the first result. Once it’s open, you can select your monitor from the device list and see which ICC Profiles are available.

Mark Coppock/Digital Trends
Mark Coppock/Digital Trends

MacOS

In MacOS, the “Display Calibrator Assistant” is located in the system preferences under the “Displays” tab. If you are having trouble finding it, try entering “calibrate” in Spotlight to scan through your computer’s various folders and files. The result should show an option to open the utility in the “System Preferences” panel.

Mark Coppock/Digital Trends
Mark Coppock/Digital Trends

Your Mac’s step-by-step instructions will walk you through the calibration process once you have found and opened the software utility. Just follow the on-screen instructions to choose your display’s brightness, contrast, native gamma, target gamma, and target white point. Click “Continue” and save the calibration profile once you are finished with the adjustments.

Calibrate using online tools

Bill Roberson/Digital Trends

There are a handful of web-based calibration tools that help you manually adjust your monitor settings. They can provide more precise, or more customized, calibration than the built-in utilities.

  • Photo Friday — Photo Friday is a simple web page that is designed to help you calibrate the brightness and contrast of your screen. Just adjust the monitor settings until the transition of tones from black to white is clearly distinguishable on the screen.
  • Online Monitor Test — Online Monitor Test is one of the better calibration websites out there. It is lined with a slew of interactive tests to help you adjust your monitor’s screen colors and to see if your monitor can produce smooth gradients. There are also tools for pinpointing damaged pixels and backlight bleeding, rendering the website one of the more robust web-based calibration tools to date. For more options, move your mouse to the top of the screen where a pop-in menu will appear.
  • The Lagom LCD Monitor Test Pages — Handy for both online and offline use, the Lagom LCD Monitor Test Pages not only allow you to adjust various things such as contrast and response time, but allow you to download the images as a 120KB zip file, so you can check any monitor in-store that you are thinking about purchasing.

Calibrate using colorimeter hardware

The built-in calibration utilities and web-based software are great for a quick fix, but they are inherently flawed because of one thing — you. These calibration processes rely on an individual’s perception of color and are therefore open to subjectivity based on how you see different colors.

Purchasing a calibrating device is one way to bypass this dilemma and better ensure your monitor is calibrated to its true potential. You will need to invest some serious money if you’re looking for greater precision and control, but there are still some affordable alternatives that work well on a tight budget and will help obtain color consistency across all your monitors.

If you’re looking to pick up a calibration tool, we recommend using the Spyder5Express ($130), the Spyder5Pro ($190), or the Spyder5Elite ($280). All three devices feature a full-spectrum, seven-color sensor to help accurately characterize a variety of wide-gamut and normal displays, but the more expensive versions are better equipped for the seasoned calibrator and are packed with more features. If you do decide to purchase one, all you have to do is attach the device to the screen, connect it to a USB port, and run the included calibration software. It will walk you through the process after that.

X-Rite’s ColorMunki series ($100 and up) is also a good alternative. Like the Spyder series, all three devices come bundled with automated calibration software, with the more expensive versions touting more features and greater customization.

Editors’ Recommendations

  • How to use a blue light filter on your PC
  • How to calibrate your TV
  • Tight on space? Here’s how to transfer photos from an iPhone to a computer
  • How to factory reset Windows
  • Start your fitness journey with the best Fitbit deals for June 2018



14
Jul

If you’re into Prime Day deals, you should be following Thrifter!


For Prime Day, there’s only one place you need to visit.

Amazon Prime Day is basically a national holiday. Seriously, you should ask your boss for the day off.

But even if you have to work on Monday, July 16, don’t sweat it, because Thrifter is the only place you need to follow to get up-to-the-minute news on the best Prime Day deals.

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Here’s how it works. Go to Thrifter right now and sign up for their special Prime Day newsletter. Then, go follow Thrifter on Twitter, because they will be posting Lightning Prime Day deals throughout the event’s 36-hours. (Yeah, these folks aren’t sleeping much over the next few days.)

Amazon is already trickling out a few great deals, and Thrifter is rounding them up for you on its dedicated deals page, so take a look there, too. Even if you’re only interested in deals during certain times of the year, like Black Friday, you should think about paying attention to Prime Day. Last year, there were some incredible discounts on Amazon products like its line of Echo speakers, Instant Pot pressure cookers, Nintendo Switch accessories, and lots more. This year, we’re expecting even better prices on some of our favorite items.

If you’ve read this far and are still not sure what Amazon Prime Day is exactly, we’ve got a great explainer, including times and dates, what discounts to expect, and tips and tricks on how to get the best prices on your favorite products. Head over there now.

Then, when you’re ready to party (and by party, we mean save some money), sign up for the Thrifter Prime Day newsletter. There’s even a LIVE chatroom for all your Prime Day discussion!

See you on the other side 👋

See at Thrifter

14
Jul

2018 MacBook Pro Features ‘Fastest SSD Ever’ in a Laptop According to Benchmarks


The 2018 MacBook Pros just went on sale yesterday, but Apple was quick about shipping them out and some customers already have the new machines in hand.

Laptop Mag was able to get one of the new 13-inch 2018 MacBook Pro models and performed some benchmarks to give us an idea of how it measures up to competing PCs. According to Laptop Mag, it the new 13-inch MacBook Pro is the “fastest system in its class.”

The site’s tests were performed on the $1,999 13-inch MacBook Pro with Touch Bar equipped with an 2.3GHz quad-core 8th-generation Core i5 processor, 8GB RAM, and a 512GB SSD.

A file copy test of the SSD in the new MacBook Pro, which Apple says supports sequential read speeds of up to 3.2GB/s and sequential write speeds up to 2.2GB/s, led Laptop Mag to declare the SSD in the MacBook Pro “the fastest ever” in a laptop. Higher capacity SSDs may see even faster speeds on disk speeds tests. A BlackMagic Disk Speed test was also conducted, resulting in an average write speed of 2,682 MB/s.

I had to do a double take when I saw how quickly the new 13-inch MacBook Pro duplicated 4.9GB worth of data. It took 2 seconds, which comes out to a rate of 2,519 megabytes per second. That’s insane.

So we also ran the BlackMagic Disk Speed test for macOS, and the system returned an average write speed of 2,682 MBps.

To be fair, Apple’s relatively new APFS file system is designed to speed up file file copies using a technology Apple calls Instant Cloning. But a win is a win.

On a Geekbench 4 CPU benchmark, the 13-inch MacBook Pro earned a score of 18,055 on the multi-core test, outperforming 13-inch machines from companies like Dell, HP, Asus, and Microsoft. That score beats out all 2017 MacBook Pro models and is faster than some iMac configurations. 15-inch MacBook Pro models with 6-core 8th-generation Intel chips will show even more impressive speeds.


The MacBook Pro took 16:57 minutes to transcode a 4K video clip to 1080p using Handbrake, faster than most competing machines and two and a half minutes faster than the 2017 13-inch MacBook Pro. It didn’t win at an Excel VLOOKUP macro matching 65,000 names to corresponding addresses, but at 1 minute 16 seconds to complete the task, it was competitive with the Dell XPS 13 and Asus Zenbook, while beating out the Surface Book 2 and the Huawei MateBook X Pro.

One area where the MacBook Pro didn’t quite measure up to other machines with similar specs was GPU performance. The 13-inch 2018 MacBook Pro uses Intel’s Iris Plus Graphics 655 with 128MB of embedded DRAM and was unable to compete in a Dirt 3 graphics test, getting only 38.8 frames per second. All Windows-based machines tested offered much better performance.


Apple did team up with Blackmagic to offer a Blackmagic eGPU for gaming purposes and system intensive creative tasks, but the device is priced at $700. It does, however, offer super fast performance with a built-in Radeon Pro 580 GPU.

Additional benchmarks and details about the 2018 MacBook Pro models will surface over the course of the next few days as orders arrive and retail stores begin stocking the machines.

The new 2018 models can be purchased from the Apple online store, with prices on the 13-inch machine starting at $1,799 and prices on the 15-inch machine starting at $2,399.

Related Roundup: MacBook ProBuyer’s Guide: MacBook Pro (Buy Now)
Discuss this article in our forums

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14
Jul

Best Android games to play with family and friends



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Technology often gets a bad rep for sucking kids and adults alike in for hours at a time, removing them from their peers and families and engulfing them into a fantasy world.

But throw in a good game into the mix and smartphones can quickly be turned into the tool that can help people connect and family members bond with each other.

With this in mind, we’ve compiled a list of some of the best family-friendly games for Android to keep family and friends entertained for hours — regardless of age.

Tic Tac Toe Glow

What it is:

The mobile version of one of the most popular games in the world. You can play against a human opponent or the computer.

Why we like it:

  • Tic Tac Tow Glow features a new cool glow design which gives this classic game a modern look and feel.
  • The game has 3 difficulty levels.
  • The app includes four other games you can play including Block Tower and Bubble Shooter. But they don’t have a multi-player option.

Install Tic Tac Glow

Where’s My Water

What it is:

A fun app for parents and children alike developed by Disney. Features cute graphics and many challenging levels.

Why we like it:

  • Fun storyline: help Swampy the crocodile to take a bath by cutting through dirt and guide fresh water to his bathtub through increasingly challenging scenarios.
  • Three more characters (Allie, Cranky and Mystery Duck) to play with.
  • Develops creativity and problem solving throughout a series of 500 puzzles.
  • New levels are added each week. Just make sure you play them before they expire.

Install Where’s My Water

Sleepwalker’s Journey

What it is:

A beautiful journey into dreams developed by 11-bit studios. The app is perfect for imaginative kids of all ages who love fantasy.

Why we like it:

  • Beautiful graphics create an immersive visual story, players of all ages will love to immerse themselves in.
  • Invites you to solve environment puzzles where you move obstacles, use elevators to create a safe path for Moonboy, so he can go to his bed.
  • Over 45 dreams to explore. More are added with updates.

Install Sleepwalker’s Journey

Party Games

What it is:

A family party app which includes a series of 12 games which you can play with up to 4 players. Developed by MalyaWka.

Why we like it:

  • Let’s you play fun games with family and friends. Available options include Squares, Collapse, Highway, Races and more.
  • Some games let you set the difficulty level.
  • Colorful and friendly graphics will ensure you and your family have a great time.

Install Party Games

Pettson’s Inventions Deluxe

What it is:

A fun, pedagogic app that helps kids of all ages boost their logic and creative skills.

Why we like it:

  • Players are tasked to help old man Pettson and his kitty Findus to build their wacky inventions.
  • Simply drag and drop the parts to the right spot. The game boasts a multi-touch layout.
  • You can compete against a friend or a clock in VS mode.

Sidenote: This is a paid app. It costs $3.99 to download.

Install Pettson’s Inventions Delux

Heads Up!

What it is:

An addictive charades-style party game that became popular thanks to appearances on the Ellene DeGeneres show. What you need to do is guess as many words as possible from themed decks of cards based on your friends’ clues.

Why we like it:

  • The app includes 18 themed decks to choose from including movies, animals, characters and lots more.
  • Drawing a card is super easy. Just tilt your phone.
  • Records your friends giving clues. You can easily share the best moments afterwards.

Install Heads Up!

Draw Something

What it is:

The game which has been described as “Pictionary” on a phone has players draw an image, while the others have to guess the word that inspired the masterpiece.

Why we like it:

  • You don’t have to be an artist to play. Simply draw as well as you can on the phone. Don’t forget to add a bit of humor to your images for extra fun.
  • Extensive library of new and updated words to draw. From Science to Pop Culture and more.
  • Unlock color packs to make your drawings even more compelling.

Install Draw Something

14
Jul

2018 MacBook Pro’s ‘Quieter’ Keyboard Compared to Previous MacBook Pro Keyboard


Apple’s new 2018 MacBook Pro models feature a third-generation butterfly keyboard, which Apple says has been improved for a “quieter typing experience.”

The difference in sound between the quieter 2018 MacBook Pro keyboard and the older butterfly keyboard in an earlier version of the MacBook Pro has been demoed in video by TechCrunch, with the difference in sound clearly audible.

The sound coming from the 2018 MacBook Pro keyboard is noticeably muffled compared to the sound coming from the previous-generation MacBook Pro, which, as TechCrunch points out, sounds much more like a typewriter.

Multiple hands-on experiences with the 2018 MacBook Pro shared by various media sites yesterday have also confirmed that the new third-generation butterfly keyboard is a good deal quieter than previous keyboards.


When it comes to feel, though, reviews have said that the keyboard doesn’t feel any different, as it’s using the same butterfly switches with the same amount of key travel.

According to Apple, the focus with the third-generation keyboard was dampening key sounds, and the company has not confirmed if specific changes were made to address keyboard failure issues present in 2016 and 2017 MacBook Pro models.

Some 2016 and 2017 MacBook Pro owners have experienced issues with sticky, unresponsive, or repeating keys, leading Apple to launch a repair program for those machines. Apple is offering free repairs for affected MacBook Pro models, but it continues to be unclear if design changes have been implemented to prevent the issue, both in earlier machines and the new 2018 machines.

More information will be available on the 2018 MacBook Pro keyboard when it’s unveiled through the teardowns that should be coming soon.

Related Roundup: MacBook ProBuyer’s Guide: MacBook Pro (Buy Now)
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