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What is the Marco Polo app?

If I say “Marco,” you may feel the urge to call back “Polo,” and in this case, you’d be half right. While Marco Polo is indeed a call-and-response game enjoyed by people around the world, it is also a video messaging app in the same vein as Snapchat and Instagram’s Stories feature.

Released in 2016 by Joya Communications, Marco Polo has been dubbed a “video walkie-talkie.” The app allows you to send short video messages to your friends and family, and respond to them much in the same way you would with Snapchat.

There are actually a lot of similarities between the two apps. Both sport visual and voice filters, and give you the option to draw or add text to any of your videos. Where Marco Polo differs from other popular messaging apps, however, is that the messages — know as “Polos” — won’t disappear after they’re viewed.

There is nothing worse than trying to make concrete plans via Snapchat or forgetting the contents of your last message. With Marco Polo, that’s not a problem. You can only send videos through this application, though — not photos.

You can, of course, chose to delete your less-than-flattering videos, but unless you (or the person you’re contacting) makes the conscious decision to remove videos from the app (you can also only remove the ones that you’ve created), you won’t have to worry about forgetting their contents, because you can easily look back and rewatch any of the videos you’ve sent or received.

Another unique feature of this app is that it is not tied to any larger social network like Facebook or Google, making the whole experience a whole lot less noisy. You can also only add people you already have in your phone’s contact list, making it easier to stay safe online. No one has public access to your account or the ability to seek out strangers and send them videos.

There are also a variety of notifications you can get while using the app (which can be turned off in your device’s settings if they become too annoying) such as when someone is viewing your Polo, while they are recording one that is viewable, even when their internet connection is spotty and causing a transmission delay. All videos are stored online, so they don’t take up space on your device. Just be aware that this means the app will eat up a pretty large amount of data if you are using it a lot, so make sure to use it sparingly or only when you are connected to Wi-Fi.

That’s basically it! While Marco Polo isn’t revolutionary considering the other messaging apps out there, it’s a good alternative to most and addresses a lot of common problems with its competitors. You can download the app for free from the App Store or Google Play.

Editors’ Recommendations

  • How to use Apple’s Business Chat on your iPhone or iPad in iOS 11.3
  • The best text messaging apps for Android and iOS
  • IGTV is sweet — but you probably don’t need the dedicated app. Here’s why
  • How to save Instagram videos with these eight free apps and tools
  • The best iPhone apps available right now (August 2018)


AMD’s new 32-core Ryzen Threadripper chip is out, and you can get one for free

As revealed last week, AMD’s new 32-core Ryzen Threadripper 2990WX desktop processor for enthusiasts is now available for a hefty $1,800. It’s compatible with motherboards packing the TR4 socket and the X399 chipset. The only other new Threadripper chip arriving this month will be the Ryzen Threadripper 2950X 16-core desktop chip costing half the price.

If you’re just tuning in to the Threadripper channel, the 2990WX is now AMD’s flagship processor with 32 cores zooming along at a base speed of 3.0GHz and a maximum speed of 4.2GHz. It also supports 64 threads, 64 PCI Express 3.0 lanes, and packs 3MB of L1 cache, 16MB of L2 cache and 64MB of L3 cache. Rounding out the package is a 250-watt power requirement.

“All second-generation Ryzen Threadripper CPUs are supported by a full ecosystem of exciting new motherboards, as well as all existing X399 platforms with a simple BIOS update, with designs already available from top motherboard manufacturers including ASRock, ASUS, Gigabyte, and MSI,” the company says.

To celebrate the 2990WX’s arrival, AMD teamed up with Maingear to launch a contest where the grand prize is a custom workstation based on the new Ryzen Threadripper 2990WX processor. The contest begins on Monday, August 20, at 9 a.m. ET (6 a.m. PT) and presents a series of hidden clues that will lead one lucky winner to a secret code for claiming the workstation. This contest is only valid within the United States.

As for the three other second-generation Threadripper chips, the 16-core 2950X arriving later this month will have a base speed of 3.5GHz and a maximum speed of 4.4GHz. It will also support 32 threads, 64 PCI Express 3.0 lanes, and pack 32MB of L3 cache. The chip will draw 180 watts of power.

Meanwhile, the remaining two won’t appear until October. The 2970WX will be a 24-core chip with a base speed of 3.0GHz and a maximum speed of 4.2GHz. It will support 48 threads, 64 PCI Express 3.0 lanes and include 64MB of L3 cache. Like the 2990WX, this chip will draw 250 watts of power for a lower $1,300 price tag.

AMD’s fourth and final Ryzen Threadripper chip for 2018 will be the 2920X packing 12 cores, 24 threads and 32MB of L3 cache. It will have a base speed of 3.5GHz, a maximum speed of 4.3GHz and support 64 PCI Express lanes. It arrives sometime in October for a mere $650.

To purchase the Ryzen Threadripper 2990WX desktop processor, head over to Amazon, Fry’s, Micro Center and Newegg. You can also get the chip already installed in M-Class and L-Class desktops assembled by Origin PC.

While you’re shopping, you’ll need a cooler to chill out that monster CPU while it’s under heavy pressure. AMD lists an arsenal of solutions here provided by Cooler Master, Corsair, EVGA, Noctua, NZXT, Thermaltake and six other hardware partners. And no, the Ryzen Threadripper 2990WX does not ship with its own CPU cooler despite the monster $1,800 price. You don’t even get a chocolate mint.

Editors’ Recommendations

  • AMD’s new 32-core Ryzen Threadripper desktop CPU rips into wallets at $1,800
  • AMD’s second-gen Ryzen Threadripper CPUs could rip into stores in August
  • AMD Threadripper 2 with 32-cores and 64-threads one ups Intel
  • AMD vs. Intel
  • Intel “forgot” to mention its 28-core CPU demo was bogus


Google may launch two Pixelbook 2 laptops in October

Google may have two new Pixelbook laptops in the works with a planned October debut for them both. Although not announced by the search giant, recent commits in the Chromium repository point to two new designs that may well be iterations on the same model — one that makes use of a specialized mainboard that appears to be built around Intel’s eighth-generation Kaby Lake architecture.

The original Pixelbook received a mixed response when it debuted in October 2017. Although easily the most powerful Chromebook ever released, it came with a price tag of $1,000, which is a hard sell when that puts it in the same price bracket at laptops running desktop operating systems like our favorite, the Dell XPS 13. Perhaps that’s why we may be looking at two second-generation Pixelbooks, so that there is more of a variation in price.

If the commits dug up by ChromeUnboxed are to be believed, both the code-named “Atlas” and “Nocturne” devices could be based on the same motherboard, currently code-named “Krabbylake.” That would suggest that Intel will be using Kaby Lake hardware for its new design. The first generation of that architecture made up the base of Intel’s seventh-generation CPUs, but Kaby Lake has also been used in the eighth-generation, especially with the Kaby Lake R and Kaby Lake G ranges, which offer medium to high-performance chips.

Another suggestion that Nocturne is a Pixelbook iteration is a commit about an attachable keyboard, code-named “Whiskers.” That keyboard is said to have an “Assistant” key and a “Control Panel” key. Both of those are currently only found on one Chromebook keyboard: The Pixelbook.

This news backs up previous rumors we’ve heard that Google was working on a newer, more powerful Pixelbook to release in 2018. We’ve been told that it would sport smaller bezels surrounding the display and would enhance its internal hardware to Intel’s eighth generation.

Considering the original Pixelbook was recently discounted by $250, it could be that Google is looking to clear stock of its older model before the new-generation device arrives. ChromeUnboxed thinks we’ll see it (and perhaps two variations of the design) at the #madebyGoogle event which takes place on October 4.

That may come just days after an announcement of brand-new Intel CPUs, so October is shaping up to be an exciting time for new hardware.

Editors’ Recommendations

  • Google could release the most powerful Chromebook ever this year
  • Intel’s 10nm CPU finally makes it to retail in a refreshed Lenovo IdeaPad laptop
  • The Pixelbook could soon run Windows 10
  • Apple’s new MacBook Air with Intel’s 8th-gen processors expected this year
  • Intel’s ninth-generation CPUs could launch on October 1


The top reasons to use a VPN on your phone


It never hurts to be a little more secure.

You’ve probably heard your security-conscious friends talking about their favorite VPNs from time to time, and why using one is so important — or maybe you are the security-conscious friend having these conversations — but what exactly is a VPN, and why should you be using it?

VPN stands for Virtual Private Network. It’s basically a way for you to connect to the internet without your ISP or anyone else seeing what you’re doing. By using a VPN, you’re connecting to a separate network that works as a middleman between you and the sites you’re visiting, typically encrypting your sensitive information like passwords and banking info.

What is a VPN and should I use it on my phone?



It’s pretty much a no-brainer that encrypting your information is a good idea. Whether you’re on a public WiFi network at your local coffee shop or hotel lobby, or your job is extra concerned with security, using a VPN can be the only thing standing in the way of an unwanted third party gaining access to your data.

VPNs aren’t perfect, and using one doesn’t guarantee that your information is perfectly safe, but it’s far better than not having any kind of protection at all. Most good VPNs feature end-to-end encryption so that even if someone were to intercept your data, they’ll have a hard time deciphering it. The important thing is finding a VPN you trust, since they’re the ones handling your info back and forth.

Who It’s For Everyone Everyone Everyone Everyone
Free Version? 7-day Money Back 3-day Trial 30-day Trial 7-day Money Back
Lowest Price $6.49/​month $3.29/​month $8.32/​month $2.91/​month
Ad Blocking? No Yes No Yes
Server Count 1000+ 4000+ 1500+ 3000+
P2P Allowed On P2P Servers Allowed Allowed
Connections 5 6 3 5
Router? Yes Yes Yes Yes
Anonymous Payment? Yes Yes Yes Yes

Just keep in mind that this back and forth handling can be slow, since you’re adding an additional step in the browsing process. VPNs let you choose your simulated location, so play around with your options until you find a decently fast connection.

Outside access


Choosing your location isn’t just useful for finding faster VPN connections, it’s also the best way to experience the internet from other users’ perspectives. Maybe you’re visiting China and need to access Google services. Maybe you’re trying to watch a TV show on that streaming service that isn’t available in your country. There are plenty of reasons you might want to browse the web from different regions of the world.

You might be surprised to learn how many services are region-locked — especially if you live somewhere like the U.S. that rarely misses out on features and services. Whether it’s something you think about every day or hardly even a passing thought, there are plenty of ways to experience the internet differently than you might be used to.



There are plenty of torrenting apps are on phones these days, and if you’ve ever taken advantage of them, you might have received an email notice from your carrier or ISP who, along with the company that rightfully owns your pirated media, wasn’t too happy with your recent activity. There are plenty of legitimate reasons to download torrents — you might already own a legal copy of the file or it might not be copyrighted in the first place — but without getting into the legality of it, torrents happen.

So do plenty of other forms of downloading content, and to avoid getting on your ISP’s bad side for it, you can use a VPN, which replaces your IP address with a completely different one based on the location you chose to use.



Do you use a VPN?

Not everybody needs to use a VPN, especially if you only browse from a desktop at home. But when you’re using an unsecured network on your phone, it can be a huge help in making your online experience a bit safer and more private. There are plenty of great VPN services out there, from NordVPN to Private Internet Access, IPVanish, and TunnelBear. Most (but not all) will run you a small monthly or annual fee, but it’s well worth it for the peace of mind they’ll provide you with.

See at NordVPN

Do you use a VPN service on your phone? And if so, which one is your favorite? Let us know in the comments below!


Are you getting the 128GB or 512GB Galaxy Note 9?

Do you want lots of storage or lots and lots of storage?

With the Galaxy Note 9, Samsung ticked off a lot of boxes that Note fans have been wanting for years. Huge 4,000 mAh battery? Check. An S Pen that can be used as a remote control? Yep. Large storage configurations? You betcha.


Looking specifically at that last point, Samsung’s selling the phone with two storage makeups — 128GB and 512GB.

Both should be more than enough for most people, and looking through the AC forums, it appears that folks are pretty much split down the middle in regards to which version they’re buying.

08-09-2018 04:53 PM

128GB, cheaper and still nearly 10x my current storage amount with an extra 2GB of RAM which should be a noticeable difference, the 512GB with the 8GB RAM will be a good choice for those who are constantly multi-tasking etc but the 128 is plenty enough for me.


08-09-2018 06:08 PM

Was debating, but with Verizon’s BOGO and bestbuy offering 100 off makes sense to get the 512gb and 128gb for the free one.


avatar3043574_1.gifMr Segundus
08-09-2018 06:10 PM

512GB. I don’t need that much storage, but I want it. Plus the extra 2GB of RAM will be awesome. I just hope it doesn’t kill the battery quicker. =/


avatar1170236_1.gifCarrie Greicar
08-09-2018 08:24 PM

Considering T-Mobile wants an arm and a leg down, I’m probably only getting the 128gb


What about you? Are you getting the 128GB or 512GB Galaxy Note 9?

Join the conversation in the forums!

Samsung Galaxy Note 9

  • Samsung Galaxy Note 9 hands-on preview
  • Galaxy Note 9 vs. Note 8
  • Where to buy the Galaxy Note 9
  • Galaxy Note 9 specifications
  • Is the Note 8 still a good buy?
  • Join our Galaxy Note 9 forums



Should you upgrade your headphones for PlayStation VR?


Great audio experiences are a huge part of VR.

No matter what VR headset you are using, you want to make sure you have decent headphones. That full immersion experience, where your physical world is replaced by the virtual one, has a lot to do with hearing things from all around you. Knowing that when you turn your head you’ll see something coming from the direction you just heard it is a big deal, but if you can hear the real world as well it takes away from this experience.

Since PlayStation VR does come with wraparound earbuds, wired headphones may not seem like a big deal. However, the higher quality the headphones, the better the immersion is in the VR World.

Killer headphones are going to be a big deal with PlayStation VR, so here’s what you should be looking for if you’re planning an upgrade.

  • Best overall: PlayStation Gold Wireless
  • Best runner up: Bionic Mantis
  • Best on-a-budget- option: iJoy Premium

PlayStation Gold Wireless


Wired headphones also mean another cable dangling from your body while you’re playing, though, and that could be a problem when furiously moving around with PlayStation Move controllers in each hand. If you’re thinking about going wireless, Sony already makes a fantastic headset specifically for the PlayStation 4 that sounds great and will play nice with PlayStation VR. It’s called PlayStation Gold Wireless, and you can pick them up today for $98.50!

See on Amazon.

Why is PlayStation Gold the best option?

Why are these headphones the best? They’re headphones that were built for gaming on the PlayStation and it definitely shows. They support 7.1 surround sound so you never miss a thing, and have an internal noise-canceling microphone to make sure your friends can always clearly hear what you are saying when you game together. If you prefer a wired setup, these headphones rock a 3.5mm headphone jack which means you do have the ability to plug them in physically. You even have the option to customize these headphones by swapping out the faceplate for something more suited to your style.

Go integrated with Bionic Mantis


For those of you that want something designed just for PlayStation VR, there is one last option. The Bionic Mantis headphones. Designed specifically for use in VR, these headphones look more like earbuds and deliver an awesome experience. They clip right onto your headset and then rest against your ears. This means you won’t get the uncomfortable feeling of an earbud jammed into your ear canal, or the discomfort of headphones digging into the top of your head. For only $49.99 there’s no hefty price tag hitting your wallet

See at Bionik Gaming.

What makes Bionic Mantis so cool?

Bionic Mantis has hit our number two on the list for quite a few reasons. These headphones click directly into your PlayStation VR, which ought to also help with sound quality. These are some of the first headphones built specifically for VR, and they were created with PlayStation VR users in mind. Heck, they even match the color. These are a great option for anyone who is looking for an awesome pair of headphones to use in VR. You get the superior audio quality of headphones with PlayStation VR, without wires to get in your way or earbuds that will fall out in the process.

Spare your waller with iJoy Premium


iJoy headphones are perfect for when you’re working on a budget. For only $15.99 on Amazon, you can get yourself a pair of these over-the-ear headphones that will work just fine for your PlayStation VR usage. This way you can give yourself a more controlled audio without having to break your bank.

See on Amazon.

Why is iJoy Premium the best option for my budget?

Aside from price, there are a few awesome features these headphones have. Not only do you have the comfort of over-the-ear, but you can connect them through BlueTooth. This means there are no cords when you are attempting to run from the zombies in your face. There are 7 different options of colors for you to choose from and over 4 hours of battery life! The package is complete with a 6-month warranty option, so you don’t have to worry if you get a defective pair. Your money is still protected. You won’t get the best noise-canceling options, but they’ll definitely get the job done.

What kind of headphones are you rocking?


Are you using a different pair of headphones than what we’ve listed above? Tell us what you’re using and why you love or hate them in the comment section below! Or shoot me a tweet about it @originalsluggo.

Updated August 2018: We’ve added iJoy to our list so you also have an option for when you’re on a budget!


The Alcatel 7 is now on sale at MetroPCS for $130

The phone has an 18:9 display and dual rear cameras.

The Alcatel 7 is finally making its way to the United States after first being announced at MWC in February, and for its U.S. debut, the phone’s being sold exclusively through MetroPCS.


Like so many other phones this year, the Alcatel 7 features a narrow 18:9 6-inch display with a resolution of 2160 x 1080. Powering the phone is a MediaTek MT6763T octa-core processor, 2GB RAM, and a 4,000 mah battery — the same capacity found on the much more expensive Samsung Galaxy Note 9.

Other specs for the Alcatel 7 include a 12MP + 2MP rear camera combo, 8MP front-facing camera, 32GB of expandable storage (up to 128GB), rear-mounted fingerprint sensor, and Android 8.1 Oreo.

The Alcatel 7 is available for purchase at MetroPCS now and has a retail price of $179.99. That’s a fair price as is, but MetroPCS is making the phone even more affordable by making it free after porting your exisitng number and signing up for an unlimited LTE plan. Along with that, customers can also get it for just $129.99 when adding a new line of service or upgrading an exisitng line.

See at MetroPCS



Doing just enough [#acpodcast]


Daniel Bader, Andrew Martonik, and Jerry Hildenbrand unwrap all the details from “Samsung Unpacked 2018” event and discuss the flagship of the fleet: Galaxy Note 9! There were two other additions to the Galaxy product line as well — Galaxy Watch and Galaxy Home.

Galaxy Watch is mostly an evolution of the Samsung Gear smartwatches we’re already familiar with, but Galaxy Home brings Bixby into the smart speaker market. Join us!

Listen now

  • Subscribe in iTunes: Audio
  • Subscribe in RSS: Audio
  • Download directly: Audio

Show Notes and Links:

  • Samsung Galaxy Note 9 hands-on preview: $1000 well spent
  • Samsung Galaxy Note 9: Everything you need to know!
  • Samsung Galaxy Watch: Everything you need to know
  • Samsung Galaxy Watch hands-on preview: Another Gear in all but name
  • Samsung’s first Bixby smart speaker is the Galaxy Home


  • All the best deals from Amazon, Best Buy, and more, fussily curated and constantly updated.


Grab a SanDisk 200GB microSD card for just $48 today

Expand the capacity.


This 200GB card normally sells for closer to $70 and this is one of the best prices we’ve ever seen on it. You can use it to expand the storage in your phone, tablet, action camera and much more. It has transfer speeds of up to 100MB/s and it is shockproof, waterproof and can even withstand X-rays.

If you are looking for more storage, Amazon has the 400B variant of this card down to just $171 today. You can’t go wrong with either option here, but just make sure you pick one up before the discount ends!

See at Amazon


4 things the Galaxy Home must do to challenge the Echo, Home, and HomePod

The Galaxy Home could be a total flop, but it doesn’t have to be.


On Thursday, August 9, Samsung hosted its Unpacked event in New York City to talk about its three biggest gadgets going into the second half of the year.

The Galaxy Note 9 was the star of the show, and while the Galaxy Watch wasn’t a huge focus, it was something we were expecting to make an appearance. What did catch us off guard, however, was the unveiling of the Galaxy Home.

The Galaxy Home is Samsung’s first ever smart speaker, and it looks like it’s designed to take the Apple HomePod and Google Home Max head-on. There’s still a lot that Samsung’s yet to reveal about the Galaxy Home, but if the company really wants this to succeed, there are four key areas that it needs to focus on.

Sound fantastic


Of the little time Samsung spent talking about the Galaxy Home during Unpacked, one thing the company did seem to emphasize was the sound quality of the Home’s speakers.

Samsung notes that it set out to create “high-quality sound” when designing the Galaxy Home, and as we see with many of Samsung’s other audio products, the Galaxy Home’s been stamped with AKG’s tuning approval.

You’ll find six speakers throughout the Galaxy Home that aim to kick out sound from every angle (similar to the HomePod), and these are accompanied by a subwoofer that provides “deep, rich bass.” We’ve also got things like “natural sound processing”, “SoundSteer”, and plenty of other buzz-words to hype it up.

If Samsung can live up to the bar it’s set for itself and offer a listening experience that’s comparable to the HomePod and noticeably better than the regular Google Home, it can use that in conjunction with the other below points to win the hearts (and wallets) of those looking for a speaker that’ll make their music sound as good as possible.

Bixby 2.0 has to deliver


Among all of the Unpacked madness, Samsung also took some time to talk about Bixby 2.0.

Bixby 2.0 promises to be more useful than previous versions, allowing users to make restaurant reservations, books rides with Uber, find nearby concerts/events, etc. This is all pretty typical virtual assistant stuff, but one big change coming to Bixby is that it’ll finally allow for more natural conversations.

If anything can hold the Galaxy Home back from greatness, it’s Bixby.

In one demo of Bixby 2.0, the assistant was asked what the weather would be like during Labor Day weekend. After the question was answered, it was followed up with “What about the first weekend in October?” The key detail here is that the user didn’t need to specifically mention the weather — Bixby just knew that that’s what it was being asked about.

This is something the Google Assistant’s been able to do for a while, but any improvements that make Bixby feel less like a robot are welcome.

Samsung’s demonstration of Bixby 2.0 on the Note 9 revealed that it’s still quite a bit slower compared to Alexa and Google Assistant, but it’s possible this could just be a bug that’ll be worked out before Bixby 2.0’s official release.

If it isn’t, and Bixby does continue to be as slow as it’s always been, the Galaxy Home is going to look a lot less appealing to anyone hoping to make frequent use of its smart features.

Unique integrations with other Galaxy products


On a related note, the Galaxy Home should offer compelling reasons for Galaxy S9 and Note 9 owners to purchase it instead of a Google Home, Sonos One, etc.

Apple offers a lot of reasons for iPhone owners to use the HomePod, but does so to a fault by blocking out anyone else from using it.

With the Galaxy Home, Samsung can offer a middle ground by making it accessible to everyone while giving owners of other Galaxy devices even more goodies. It should be simple to set up controls for Philips Hue lights, but using devices part of Samsung’s SmartThings collection should be even easier to manage.

Users should have the option of streaming from whatever music service they want, but thanks to Samsung’s partnership with Spotify, even more powerful voice controls and features could be offered with it.

Get the price right


Lastly, Samsung has to get the price right for the Galaxy Home.

The Apple HomePod and Google Home Max — arguably the best-sounding smart speakers on the market — cost a very pretty penny at $349 and $399, respectively.

I’m not sure if this is possible from a business perspective, but if Samsung can deliver the high-quality audio it’s promising at a $249 – $299 price tag, it’ll be the clear winner for customers that want a high-end audio experience while stretching their dollar as far as possible.

What would you like to see?

That’s what I think Samsung needs to do for a successful Galaxy Home, but what about you? Sound off with your hopes/wishes in the comments below!

Samsung’s first Bixby smart speaker is the Galaxy Home

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