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18
Aug

Apple’s rumored entry-level MacBook may appear in September starting at $1,200


Lilly Rum/Unsplash

Apple is expected to reveal new products in September including an entry-level 13-inch MacBook based on Intel’s seventh-generation processors. Industry sources claim that Apple originally intended this MacBook to rely on Intel’s upcoming 10nm “Cannon Lake” processors for a late 2017 release, but Intel delayed mass production of these chips until the end of 2019. Apple thus reconfigured this “affordable” MacBook to work with Intel’s current processors.

Originally, we presumed Apple would introduce new MacBooks during its developer conference in June, but that never happened. Instead, Apple merely refreshed its 13- and 15-inch MacBook Pro with Touch Bar units without any fanfare. The changes weren’t significant enough for a full-blown on-stage presentation, but sources now point to an entry-level MacBook with a $1,200 starting price hitting the stage next month.

The current status of the next MacBook Air is … up in the air. The thin-and-light laptop was supposedly set to enter production in the second quarter of 2018, but the company reportedly had to make changes due to a problem with a “key component.” That very component was likely a 10nm “Cannon Lake” chip that’s currently not scheduled to appear until the end of 2019.

That said, the MacBook Air may still arrive in late 2018 despite naysayers citing its death. It would be part of Apple’s assault on the entry-level market, arriving with a starting price of $800 while the 13-inch MacBook would be a step up with a $1,200 starting price. It will likely replace the current 13-inch MacBook without the Touch Bar with a starting price of $1,300.

If tablets are your cup of tea, Apple will supposedly introduce two new models next month. First, the third-generation iPad Pro will take notes from Apple’s iPhone X to sport an edge-to-edge design and a narrow, thinner body. The other iPad Pro will replace the 10.5-inch model currently on the market with a larger 11-inch screen. Both will reportedly ship with a new 18-watt USB-C power adapter so you’re not waiting forever for the Pro’s battery to recharge.

Apple’s plans for the 9.7-inch iPad and the 7.9-inch iPad Mini are unknown for now. Both will still be made available when the newer iPad Pros hit the market later this year, but sources tell DigiTimes that Apple has no plans to further continue the iPad Mini family (currently at Gen 4). Apple refreshed its 9.7-inch iPad in March packing the company’s A10 Fusion chip and support for the Apple Pencil, so don’t expect anything new on that front in September either.

Of course, we can’t spin the Apple rumor mill without talking about phones. The company is expected to reveal three new iPhones, one of which will be the iPhone X Plus with an edge-to-edge 6.5-inch display. The other two phones will consist of a 5.8-inch OLED screen (iPhone 9?) and a 6.1-inch LCD display (iPhone XS?), the latter of which will be sold at an affordable price.

Finally, Apple may introduce its AirPower wireless charger for a 2018 availability. Sources tell DigiTimes that the price will be somewhere between $161 and $193.

Editors’ Recommendations

  • Apple’s new MacBook Air with Intel’s 8th-gen processors expected this year
  • Intel’s 10nm ‘Cannon Lake’ processors won’t arrive until the 2019 holiday season
  • Here’s everything new with the 2018 MacBook Pro
  • Mac Mini could make a comeback this year with a rumored refresh
  • Apple registers 10 unannounced MacBook and iPad devices overseas



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18
Aug

Apple’s rumored entry-level MacBook may appear in September starting at $1,200


Lilly Rum/Unsplash

Apple is expected to reveal new products in September including an entry-level 13-inch MacBook based on Intel’s seventh-generation processors. Industry sources claim that Apple originally intended this MacBook to rely on Intel’s upcoming 10nm “Cannon Lake” processors for a late 2017 release, but Intel delayed mass production of these chips until the end of 2019. Apple thus reconfigured this “affordable” MacBook to work with Intel’s current processors.

Originally, we presumed Apple would introduce new MacBooks during its developer conference in June, but that never happened. Instead, Apple merely refreshed its 13- and 15-inch MacBook Pro with Touch Bar units without any fanfare. The changes weren’t significant enough for a full-blown on-stage presentation, but sources now point to an entry-level MacBook with a $1,200 starting price hitting the stage next month.

The current status of the next MacBook Air is … up in the air. The thin-and-light laptop was supposedly set to enter production in the second quarter of 2018, but the company reportedly had to make changes due to a problem with a “key component.” That very component was likely a 10nm “Cannon Lake” chip that’s currently not scheduled to appear until the end of 2019.

That said, the MacBook Air may still arrive in late 2018 despite naysayers citing its death. It would be part of Apple’s assault on the entry-level market, arriving with a starting price of $800 while the 13-inch MacBook would be a step up with a $1,200 starting price. It will likely replace the current 13-inch MacBook without the Touch Bar with a starting price of $1,300.

If tablets are your cup of tea, Apple will supposedly introduce two new models next month. First, the third-generation iPad Pro will take notes from Apple’s iPhone X to sport an edge-to-edge design and a narrow, thinner body. The other iPad Pro will replace the 10.5-inch model currently on the market with a larger 11-inch screen. Both will reportedly ship with a new 18-watt USB-C power adapter so you’re not waiting forever for the Pro’s battery to recharge.

Apple’s plans for the 9.7-inch iPad and the 7.9-inch iPad Mini are unknown for now. Both will still be made available when the newer iPad Pros hit the market later this year, but sources tell DigiTimes that Apple has no plans to further continue the iPad Mini family (currently at Gen 4). Apple refreshed its 9.7-inch iPad in March packing the company’s A10 Fusion chip and support for the Apple Pencil, so don’t expect anything new on that front in September either.

Of course, we can’t spin the Apple rumor mill without talking about phones. The company is expected to reveal three new iPhones, one of which will be the iPhone X Plus with an edge-to-edge 6.5-inch display. The other two phones will consist of a 5.8-inch OLED screen (iPhone 9?) and a 6.1-inch LCD display (iPhone XS?), the latter of which will be sold at an affordable price.

Finally, Apple may introduce its AirPower wireless charger for a 2018 availability. Sources tell DigiTimes that the price will be somewhere between $161 and $193.

Editors’ Recommendations

  • Apple’s new MacBook Air with Intel’s 8th-gen processors expected this year
  • Intel’s 10nm ‘Cannon Lake’ processors won’t arrive until the 2019 holiday season
  • Here’s everything new with the 2018 MacBook Pro
  • Mac Mini could make a comeback this year with a rumored refresh
  • Apple registers 10 unannounced MacBook and iPad devices overseas



18
Aug

Stay safe on the web and save up to $70 with McAfee Total Protection


Have you been following the news lately? It seems like there’s a new cyberattack or credit card breach every week. Protecting yourself from cyber criminals, viruses, and identity theft is no easy task, but there are ways to do so. Think of it this way, if you don’t currently have some sort of protection on your phone, tablet, or computer, you’re basically leaving the door open for anyone looking to do some cyber burgling. Important information about yourself is stored on your devices and constantly at risk, which is why so many people choose to protect themselves. And with this awesome sale on McAfee Total Protection, now is a great time to do so.

McAfee Total Protection is more than just antivirus software, it’s an all-encompassing cybersecurity package. If you want to keep your passwords and private files safe, this program can help. With a powerful firewall, Network Manager, as well as a Web Safety tool, you can browse freely without fear of getting infected by malicious entities on the web. The addition of Wi-Fi protection for android tablets and smartphones will be able to safeguard you if you’re browsing anywhere within your home network. You also receive free 24/7 support for the life of your subscription if you need any questions answered about how you’re being protected.

This sale offers three different options to choose from and each is based on the total number of devices being protected. Each offer is valid for the first year only, so the savings won’t roll over to the next year should you choose to renew your subscription. If you’re looking to get the most protection possible for your money this year, these McAfee deals are definitely an excellent option. From now until Wednesday, August 22, you can save up to $70 on your first year of security. That’s an entire year of Total Protection, including the 24-hour support, all for just $30. A chance to get quality protection at a price like this only rarely comes around, so make sure to take advantage while you still can.

$30 | McAfee

Looking for more great stuff? Find tech deals and more on our curated deals page, and be sure to follow us on Twitter for regular updates.

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

  • The best iPad Pro 9.7 cases and covers
  • 30 of the best iPhone 7 cases
  • The best waterproof iPhone 7 cases
  • The best iPhone 8 cases and covers
  • The best camera bags for every budget



18
Aug

Netflix is testing video promos in between episodes for some users


Educate yourself on the world’s biggest video streaming service 📺

When it comes to video streaming companies, few are as iconic as Netflix. What started out as a DVD rental service quickly turned into the world’s largest platform for binging old movies, classic TV shows, and a heap of original programming.

netflix-logo-pixel-2.jpg?itok=vMn-qygj

No matter if you’re looking to cut your cable cord or simply want some extra content to supplement it, Netflix can be a great addition to any household’s entertainment needs.

To ensure it has exactly what you’re looking for in a video service, here’s everything you need to know!

The latest Netflix news

August 17, 2018 — Small video promos (aka commercials) are playing between episodes for some users

Unlike Hulu, Netflix’s cheapest plan includes ad-free content. That means no annoying commercials or advertisements while watching your favorite shows. However, as part of a test Netflix is currently running, that’s not the case for some users.

On August 17, Netflix confirmed to TechCrunch that it’s playing video promos of its original shows and other content in between episodes while folks are streaming. If you don’t want to watch the promo, you can click the Continue button to get on with your show.

This is currently being tested with a small percentage of Netflix users around the globe with no definite plans to roll it out to everyone. It’s possible Netflix decides to keep this around, but it’s just as likely the feature gets thrown to the curb and never sees the light of day.

August 13, 2018 — Netflix CFO David Wells is stepping down

On Monday, August 13, Netflix issued a press release announcing that its CFO David Wells is planning to depart the company.

Wells will leave Netflix after helping the company pick someone to replace him, and during the search for the perfect candidate, Netflix will be looking both internally and externally for the right match.

Commenting on his departure, Wells said:

It’s been 14 wonderful years at Netflix, and I’m very proud of everything we’ve accomplished. After discussing my desire to make a change with Reed, we agreed that with Netflix’s strong financial position and exciting growth plans, this is the right time for us to help identify the next financial leader for the company. Personally, I intend my next chapter to focus more on philanthropy and I like big challenges but I’m not sure yet what that looks like.

David Wells first joined Netflix back in 2004 and has been serving as CFO since 2010.

August 10, 2018 — Galaxy Note 9, LG G7, Honor 10, and more officially support HDR Netflix playback

Netflix regularly updates its list of devices that support HDR playback to ensure everyone has the best streaming experience possible, and today, the company brought HDR video to the following gadgets:

  • Samsung Galaxy Note 9
  • Samsung Galaxy Tab S4
  • LG G7
  • LG V35
  • Honor 10

All of the above phones are also supported for HD playback, in addition to the Huawei MediaPad M5 10 Lite, MediaPad T5 10, and Nova 3.

July 25, 2018 — New profile images are coming

It’s been five years since Netflix introduced multiple profiles on a single account. And today they’re getting a little face-lift. That is, the face of your profile is getting a face-lift. Your profile icon is changing. If you want it to.

You’ll soon have the ability to use characters from some of your favorite (or most hated) shows to represent each of up to five profiles in your account. If your kid wants to be, say, Pablo Escobar from Narcos, your kid can be Pablo Escobar. If your 5-year-old daughter has a thing for Luke Cage, well.

Read more at CordCutters.com

July 5, 2018 — A new “Ultra” tier is being tested

netflix-ultra-test.png?itok=4kJJu5EO

Get ready to (possibly) start paying more for your Netflix subscription. As first spotted by TuttoAndroid, a new “Ultra” plan is being tested in Germany right now and has been seen with both €16.99 and €19.99/month prices (or $16.99 and $19.99 if it was being offered in the U.S.)

With this Ultra tier, Netflix removes HDR from the current Premium plan and makes it an exclusive for Ultra. In some cases, Netflix is also restricting Premium to just 2 simultaneous streams while making Ultra the go-to choice if you need 4.

In a statement to CNET, Netflix said:

In this case, we are testing slightly different price points and features to better understand how consumers value Netflix. Not everyone will see this test and we may not ever offer the specific price points or features included in this test.

It’s possible that Ultra may never get past this testing stage, but it is interesting to see Netflix dabble with plans as expensive as this.

June 13, 2018 — Netflix will begin streaming games this year

Netflix’s next big thing might be the world of game streaming. On June 13, a report came out claiming that the company is partnering with developer Telltale Games to launch Minecraft: Story Mode on the service by the end of the year.

The game is said to function similar to the interactive movie Puss in Book: Trapped in an Epic Tale in the sense that players make various choices that determine where the narrative goes.

According to TechRadar, Netflix is hoping to build a setup similar to the gaming environment found on Amazon’s Fire TV platform.

May 17, 2018 — HDR playback comes to four new Android phones

Netflix is constantly supporting more and more phones for HDR playback, and most recently, the company rolled out this functionality to four new handsets.

This time around, HDR playback is coming to the Huawei P20 and P20 Pro, Huawei Mate 10 Pro, and the Sony Xperia XZ2.

April 19, 2018: Mobile Previews are Netflix’s take on Snapchat Stories

netflix-mobile%20previews.jpeg?itok=OPPd

Ever since Snapchat popularized the Stories format, we’ve seen it expand to Instagram, Facebook, and even Google search. On April 19, Netflix announced it was launching its own take on stories with its Mobile Previews feature.

Launching first on iOS and coming soon to Android, Mobile Previews will show up as circles at the top of the Netflix app and showcase a 30-second vertical preview of recommended shows. According to Netflix –

The previews are shown like a slideshow, so if you see something you like, you can tap to play or add to your list. If not, you can swipe or tap the screen to advance to the next preview.

All the important details

Plans start at just $7.99/month

Netflix has three main plans to choose from, including Basic, Standard, and Premium.

Basic is the cheapest plan with a subscription fee of just $7.99/month, but since it’s limited to Standard Definition and only allows you to have one stream going at a time, you’ll likely want to upgrade to the Standard tier for $10.99/month. With Standard, you’ll get access to HD streams and can watch Netflix on up to 2 screens at once.

netflix-pricing-april-2018.jpg?itok=LyT6

If you’ve got a 4K television and/or have a big family that wants to use one account, Netflix’s Premium plan will likely be the best fit. For $13.99/month, you’ll get access to Ultra HD video content and can watch any shows you’d like on 4 different screens at once.

New members can sign up for a 1-month free trial of whatever plan you’d like, and you can cancel at any time as there’s no commitment required.

T-Mobile customers get the Standard plan for free!

Netflix’s current pricing is more than reasonable, but if you happen to be a T-Mobile customer, you’ll get it for free!

T-Mobile subscribers get Netflix’s Standard plan bundled with their cell service at no extra charge, and if you want to upgrade to the Premium tier, you’ll pay just $3/month extra.

It’s available on pretty much everything

In addition to its excellent library of content, one of Netflix’s strong suits is its wide availability across pretty much any gadget you can think of.

For watching Netflix on the big screen, you can download its official app on Android TV, Amazon Fire TV, Roku, Apple TV, cast it from your phone using Chromecast, and access built-in apps across a variety of smart TVs and Blu-Ray players.

You’ll also find the Netflix app on Android, iOS, Windows Phone, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and from your desktop/laptop at netflix.com.

Netflix’s official list of all supported devices

The Android app recently got a big overhaul

Netflix’s Android app is one of the best ways to access the service, and it recently got a big update that makes everything look much more polished.

The old navigation menu on the left-hand side has been replaced for a simple navigation row at the bottom for Home, Search, Downloads, and More. Home is where you’ll be taken upon opening the app and tapping the TV Shows, Movies, and Originals tabs near the top will allow you to quickly filter the content that’s presented to you.

netflix-android-app-pixel-2-april-2018.j

The Search and Downloads sections are pretty self-explanatory, and More is where you’ll be able to switch profiles, customize notifications, and adjust all of your other account/app settings.

Everything works about the same as it did before, but the new layout is still greatly appreciated and considerably easier to understand.

New content’s being added (and removed) all the time

Every month, Netflix changes its content library by adding and removing titles from its lineup. The company’s taken a big bet on original movies and TV shows over the last few years, but you can still find a wide array of third-party content, too.

The Netflix app does a pretty good job at highlighting new/trending content as it’s released, and Joseph Keller at iMore does a regular roundup of the best shows you should be watching at any given time.

Best TV shows and movies on Netflix right now

Some Android phones support HDR playback

The displays on our smartphones are crispier and more colorful than ever before, some of which go as far to support High Dynamic Range (more commonly known as HDR). HDR offers more vivid colors and higher contrast, and Netflix supports this type of content on the following phones:

  • Huawei Mate 10 Pro
  • Huawei P20 / P20 Pro
  • LG V30
  • Razer Phone
  • Samsung Galaxy Note 8
  • Samsung Galaxy Tab S3
  • Samsung Galaxy S9
  • Sony Xperia XZ Premium
  • Sony Xperia XZ1
  • Sony Xperia XZ2

You can still rent physical DVDs

Although renting physical DVDs to customers may not be its primary focus anymore, this is something that Netflix does still offer.

Netflix-DVD-Header_0.JPG?itok=cy_zX0g4

The DVD business has since been moved to DVD.com, but it’s just a full-featured as ever before. Plans start at $4.99/month to rent one disc at a time with a cap of two discs per month, or you can step all the way up to $11.99/month to have two discs out at once and rent as many movies as you want each month (prices are increased to $5.99/month and $14.99/month respectively for HD Blu-Ray).

Netflix finally brought its DVD app to Android in October of 2017, and while the service may not be nearly as popular as the on-demand streaming platform, it’s still alive and kicking for anyone that wants to see that iconic red envelope in their mailbox.

What are you waiting for?

If you somehow still haven’t checked out Netflix, you owe it to yourself to at least sign up for a free trial. My fiance and I use Netflix just about every day, and whether you’re using it to re-watch The Office for the eighth time or catch up on the latest Marvel movies, it’s well worth every penny.

See at Netflix

18
Aug

How to unlock free Rainbow Six Siege charms with Twitch Drops


rainbow-six-siege-storm.jpg?itok=JZtBnVH

You can claim free Rainbow Six Siege charms this weekend with Six Major Twitch Drops.

While Ubisoft is gearing up for the next major update to Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six Siege, a major tournament is on the horizon. Mid-August marks the “Six Major Paris 2018,” bringing together the world’s top players for a week of tense tactical shooter gameplay.

Dedicated live streams show the unmissable action as it happens, but Ubisoft is offering further incentives to tune in. Watching the final days on the Six Major Paris grants access to exclusive cosmetic rewards – all completely free.

Here’s how to enable Twitch Drops and claim your free charms this weekend.

See at Amazon

What are Rainbow Six Siege Six Major Twitch Drops?

rainbow-six-siege-twitch-drop-charm.jpg? Exclusive charms were previously distributed for the USA Pro League 2018 finals.

“Twitch Drops” is a reward system integrated into livestreaming website Twitch, dealing rewards to viewers of select channels. For Rainbow Six Siege, Ubisoft is distributing exclusive in-game items on the platform, serving as a memento for major esports events. These can be earned on Xbox One, PlayStation 4, and PC.

Rewards are available across Pro League Finals, Six Majors, and Six Invitationals streams, with the next opportunity being the Six Major Paris 2018. While the entire week-long event is streamed online, Twitch Drops rewards will be enabled from August 17 to August 19 during the quarter, semi, and grand finals.

Rainbow Six Siege Six Major weapon charms

rainbow-six-paris-major-2018-charms.jpg? Each of these Six Major charms will be available from August 17 to August 19.

As with previous Rainbow Six Siege Twitch Drops streams, six universal weapon charms have been made for the Six Major. All charms will be available exclusively over the three-day period, making for a coveted item in coming years. Copper, Bronze, Silver, Gold, Platinum, and Diamond variants of the charm are available, matching with the game’s multiplayer ranking system. The longer you watch, the more charms you’ll earn, making higher-tier charms harder to obtain.

Ubisoft hasn’t been transparent with required watch time for each charm, though Diamond charms have unlocked after a single day of streaming in previous events. We recommend leaving the stream constantly open to be safe, ensuring the Twitch tab remains active and unmuted throughout the show.

How to earn Rainbow Six Siege Twitch Drops charms

twitch-drops-siege.jpg?itok=2myxBm0_

To earn Twitch Drop rewards for Rainbow Six Siege, you’ll need to prepare beforehand with your Ubisoft account. This means the account used with Uplay on PC, or your linked Ubisoft account on Xbox One or PlayStation 4.

Follow the steps below the enable Twitch Drops for your account:

Visit Ubisoft’s Twitch Drops portal.
Click Login to begin the setup process.
Enter your Twitch account credentials when prompted.
Click Log In.
Enter your Ubisoft account credentials when prompted.
Click Log In. (A confirmation message will be displayed on-screen.)

Ubisoft promises to deposit awards August 20, 2018, after the Six Major weekend concludes. Upon their debut, earned charms will appear in your Twitch Inventory, alongside notifications pushed to your Twitch account.

To access the Six Major charms in Rainbow Six Siege, there are no further steps to complete. All unlocked charms will be available when customizing weapon charms in-game. If your charms don’t appear, we recommend contacting Ubisoft’s support team.

How to watch the Six Major Paris stream

rainbow-six-siege-paris-major-2018-sched

Ubisoft is streaming the Six Major Paris across 16 different regions in their respective languages, via dedicated Twitch channels. Twitch Drops can be earned from any of these 16 outlets, provided the above steps are completed.

Related: How to watch Rainbow Six Siege Operation Grim Sky reveal

To watch the stream in your region, check out the full list of channel links below.

  • English
  • French
  • German
  • Spanish
  • Italian
  • Brazil
  • Netherlands
  • Russian
  • Polish
  • Korean
  • Australia
  • Japan
  • Taiwan
  • Hong Kong
  • Thailand
  • SEA

For those uninterested in cosmetics, streams are also hosted on YouTube and Mixer.

Over to you …

Will you be watching the Six Major in Paris? Drop into the comments section below with your thoughts. In the meantime, for more details on Operation Grim Sky, including its upcoming Operators, reworked map, and fixes, check out our cohesive breakdown below.

Rainbow Six Siege Operation Grim Sky: Everything we know

See at Amazon

This article was originally published on Windows Central. Check out Windows Central’s Rainbow Six Siege hub for in-depth coverage of upcoming content, latest updates, and tips to improve your gameplay.

18
Aug

Experiment suggests that the best robot bosses could be jerks


Provided they don’t put humans out of business altogether, there is a good chance that, at some point in your lifetime, you will find yourself working for a robot boss. But if you think you will have an easier time working for a machine than you do working for your current flesh-and-blood boss, you may be setting yourself up for disappointment.

At least, that is the takeaway from a new piece of research coming out of France’s University of Clermont Auvergne, where investigators have been examining the best way that robots can coax the most productivity out of us as employees. The sad answer? Quite possibly by behaving like jerks.

Their experiment involved the so-called Stroop test, in which different color words appear on a screen, and subjects must identify the color without getting fooled by the word itself. (For example, identifying the word “brown” written in pink as pink, rather than brown.)

For this robot boss variation on the test, participants were first made to have a chat with a robot, which either gave positive (“I think we could become friends”) answers or negative ones (“I do not value friendship”) to questions. The test subjects then took the test. Those who made fewer mistakes, and answered more rapidly, were the folks paired with the meaner of the machines. These subjects performed better than either people paired with friendlier robots or with no robot at all.

As Nicolas Spatola, one of the researchers on the project, told Digital Trends, this effect is not limited to robots; more callous human bosses also prompt similar test results from subjects. However, it can vary according to the difficulty of the tasks, meaning that there’s no one-size-fits-all answer. “There is a theory of challenge and threat from [psychologist Jim] Blascovich that explain this very well,” Spatola said. “The idea is that the presence of others increase our arousal, and according to the difficulty of the task it can be positive or negative.”

Unfortunately, it does mean that whatever more jerk-like traits we see in some human bosses are likely to continue into the age of automation. Heck, it might even be in roboticists’ interest to program them in. Jerkiness could be a feature, rather than a bug. Not that Spatola is necessarily endorsing that idea.

“Even if we show that a bad robot can have a positive effect, we do not know what could happen to individuals if they were monitored by a bad robot during a long period,” Spatola continued. “I’m not sure that it would be good for their well-being.”

A paper describing the work was recently published in the journal Science Robotics.

Editors’ Recommendations

  • ‘Can I book a table for Thursday?’ Google Duplex duped me, but I didn’t mind
  • Forget Roomba, your most important house robot could be the one that hugs you
  • Replaced by robots: 10 jobs that could be hit hard by the A.I. revolution
  • What is Google Duplex?
  • From picking to pollinating, agribots are pushing farming into the future



18
Aug

VR experience shows caregivers what it’s like to live with Alzheimer’s disease


When many of us think of virtual reality, the immediate association is with gaming. VR is capable of transporting us to amazing other worlds totally unlike anything we experience here on Earth. But VR can do so much more than that — as we’ve explored through previous stories looking at virtual reality as a tool for everything from treating post-traumatic stress disorder to helping people empathize with others in different life situations.

With this in mind, Los Angeles-based VR studio Embodied Labs recently developed a virtual experience intended to put users in the shoes of a person with Alzheimer’s disease, the most common type of dementia in the United States. Called The Beatriz Lab: A Journey Through Alzheimer’s Disease, it’s designed as a training tool to give caregivers the ability to better understand the important role they play in the lives of those people they are looking after. The VR experience follows Beatriz, a fictitious math teacher in her 60s, who is experiencing the effects of Alzheimer’s.

“The goal behind The Beatriz Lab is to allow someone who cares for, or cares about, a person with Alzheimer’s disease to experience what life is like — not just by putting people into situations that focus on how Alzheimer’s negatively affects quality of life, but by showing them the ways that you can enjoy and find meaning in life alongside Alzheimer’s disease,” Erin Washington, co-founder at Embodied Labs, told Digital Trends. “Using the Embodied Labs application, learners are guided into putting on the headset and becoming Beatriz, experiencing what it is like to shop, go to the park, cook, bathe, talk, be in familiar places that become unfamiliar, and spend time with loved ones — all as a person whose brain is becoming increasingly entangled with amyloid beta plaque, which increasingly interferes with communication in the brain.”

Embodied Labs is offering its technology as a training tool around the world. So far, it has been used to help teach more than 2,000 caregivers across 50 organizations. The headset retails for $2,000, with a monthly subscription fee of $250 to $600, depending on the size of the organization. The team has created similar tools based around hearing and vision loss, as well as end-of-life conversations.

“So far, our subscribers come from academic institutions training doctors, nurses, physician assistants, social workers, certified nursing assistants, [and] physical therapists, in addition to long-term care facilities, home health organizations, hospices, and nonprofits,” Washington said.

Editors’ Recommendations

  • Fussy, hungry, or in pain? This app accurately translates your baby’s cries
  • iOS 12’s best new features
  • Samsung’s moon-hopping VR experience in NYC is like space camp for adults
  • Buying on a budget? Here’s the best gear and gadgetry you can get for under $20
  • It’s easy to get serious about self-care with the quirky, fun Aloe Bud app



18
Aug

Which Amazon Echo should you buy?


Which Amazon Echo is best for you? I have no idea. But here’s how I’d approach each one.

amazon-echo-review-2017-1.jpg?itok=sMaZP

I own too many Amazon Echo speakers — from the original Echo to the Echo Dot and the newfangled Echo Show with its screen and camera. Plus there’s the Amazon Tap and Echo Look, which you can’t even buy without an invitation (and you probably shouldn’t but it, for reasons I’ll get into in a second).

This isn’t a cookie-cutter list of all the Echo speakers and why you should buy them. Hell, a couple I think you probably should stay away from. This is a list of how I see things after having used them all for months and months. Hit the links below to jump on down to the Echo that tickles your fancy.

  • Echo Dot
  • Echo Dot Kids Edition
  • Echo
  • Echo Plus
  • Echo Spot
  • Echo Tap
  • Echo Show
  • Echo Look

Echo Dot: The best Amazon Echo for starting out

Start simple. If you’re just not sure about this whole Alexa thing and really don’t know how much you’ll get out of an Amazon Echo, it’s best to not spend a lot of money. So start with an Echo Dot!

The Echo Dot costs $49 retail, but it’s not uncommon to see it on sale for as low as $30. At that price it’s kind of a no-brainer. Buy one and give it a go.

Another pro tip here is to buy more than one at a time. Amazon typically has deals if you buy multiple Echoes Dot at one time — $20 is the usual savings. So if you’re like me and you know you’ll want to stash a few of these around the house, save yourself a few bucks and take advantage.

See at Amazon

The redesigned Amazon Echo: A great mid-range option

Amazon has completely redesigned the basic Echo for 2017. It’s shorter than the original, squatter in nature, and you can get one clad in fabric for $99. That’s not a bad buy, and it’s what I’d recommend for someone who wants to get something better than the Dot, but still not spend more than a hundred bucks. The sound quality is decent for that price. Can you get something better? Yeah. But not for less money.

If you want to spend a little more, though, $119 will get you a new Echo with a wood veneer, or in matte plastic. I’ve found the fabric version to be plenty good, though.

See at Amazon

Amazon Echo Dot Kids Edition: You know, for kids

Amazon has a new Echo Dot that is made especially for kids. Really, it’s a perfectly ordinary Echo Dot that comes with a nice little case (because kids apparently will be prone to breaking these sorts of things that aren’t really meant to be moved in the first place) — and a free year’s access to Amazon Freetime Unlimited.

That’s the part that actually justifies the $70 price tag, which is $20 more than the Echo Dot at retail, and $30 more when it’s on sale. Amazon Freetime Unlimited gives you (and your kid) access to a whole bunch of kid-friendly content, including books, music, games, and more. Plus parents get access to the Amazon Parent Dashboard, which lets you set how long the kid can use any of this newfangled tech. It’ll also block non-kid-friendly content, shut off the Echo Dot at bedtime, and teach your kids to remember to say please and thank-you to not-quite-sentient tech (we have a feeling that’ll be more important than we realize).

See at Amazon

Amazon Echo Plus: The best-sounding Echo yet

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Amazon decided to keep the tried and true Echo design, but give it better internals. That gives us the $149 Echo Plus. It sounds a little better than the previous-generation Echo, and definitely better than the current 2017 model. It comes in the same matte plastic, but now you can get silver in addition to black and white.

Also new for the Echo Plus is the ability to serve as a smart home hub — if the devices you’re looking to support use Zigbee to connect (you’re forgiven if you don’t know what Zigbee is — it’s not something an end user should ever have to worry about). It likely won’t solve all your smart home problems, but it’s a nice little addition nonetheless.

See at Amazon

Amazon Echo Spot: An expensive, but cool, bedside Echo

If you take the Echo Show and shrink it down, this is what you’d get. It’s a $99 Echo clock with a decent (but not overly great) speaker and a 2.5-inch display. You’ll get the time, of course, along with weather information and the same semi-useful headlines as on the Echo Show. Plus it’ll make phone calls and video chat with other Spots or Shows. (Yes, that means there’s a camera pointed into your bedroom.)

This is a great-looking device. It’s fun. And $99 is the right price for it.

See at Amazon

Amazon Tap: Smaller, portable, expensive

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This isn’t officially an “Echo” device, but whatever. It does 99 percent of the same stuff. But — and this is something of which you should be aware — it’s no longer available first-party from Amazon, but you can get a refurbished model for $70.

The Tap has a charging base that allows you to just pick up the speaker and take it wherever you want. It sounds decent — not great, but good. Good enough for $129 retail, though? Eh, now Amazon is starting to ask a lot — particularly when you can get a portable battery base for the original Echo for just $50 and get a much better speaker for your troubles. Or you could stick an Echo Dot in this little cordless speaker and get a decent experience — again, for just $50.

Personally, I don’t really see the necessity of a portable Alexa speaker — especially since the speaker itself needs to be connected to the Internet at all times for the Alexa stuff to work. And hotspotting to your phone just isn’t something I want to bother with.

Your money probably is better off with any other Echo — or just a traditional Bluetooth speaker.

See at Amazon

Echo Show: Will it ever get better?

I was an early fan of the Echo Show — the potential for an Alexa-enabled device with a large touchscreen is enormous. Unfortunately, it’s yet to pan out in the first few months. The headlines you get are pure fluff, with very little actual news, if ever and Amazon says it’s done this on purpose.

Then Google decided to not let YouTube videos play on the Echo Show — likely because Amazon’s implementation was doing so without advertising. That killed one of the few reasons I’d actually recommend the Echo Show.

And then there’s the fact that very few Alexa Skills actually take advantage of the display in the first place. It’s a novelty at this point, not a necessity, even though making video calls on the Echo Show is still a great experience.

All that said — the Echo Show normally is $229. If you can pick it up on sale, do it.

See at Amazon

Echo Look: How much do you care about what you wear?

There’s a pretty good chance you shouldn’t buy the Echo Look. Unless you really care about fashion — to the point that you want to take a picture of what you’re wearing and send it to Amazon for cataloging and analysis — then you’ll just want to ignore this. For that’s what Echo Look is good at. It’s got a camera and its own app for taking your picture from head to toe, and it does a nice job of highlighting you while downplaying everything else.

From there it lets you flip back through what you’ve worn day after day, and you can have it compare two outfits and decide which it thinks looks better on you (to varying degrees of success, I found).

You very much will get out of Echo Look what you put into it. I don’t care so much about what I’m wearing, so this wasn’t really $200 well spent for me. Your wardrobe mileage may vary.

And in case you missed it, the $199 Echo Look has graduated from invite status and is now available for anyone to purchase.

See at Amazon

Which Echo do you prefer?

Anything we missed? Sound off in the comments below.

Updated August 2018: Updated pricing and availability.

Amazon Echo

  • Tap, Echo or Dot: The ultimate Alexa question
  • All about Alexa Skills
  • Amazon Echo review
  • Echo Dot review
  • Echo Spot review
  • Top Echo Tips & Tricks
  • Amazon Echo vs. Google Home
  • Get the latest Alexa news

See at Amazon

18
Aug

What’s new on Amazon Prime Video for September 2018


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New Amazon Prime Originals abound, including Pete the Cat and Shakespeare’s King Lear.

Summer’s just about over, but the fall TV schedule is just heating up. September sees the return of the NFL on Amazon Prime Video on Thursday nights, starting with the Minnesota Vikings at the L.A. Rams on Sept. 27. Earlier in the month, however, we’ll see a slew of Amazon Prime Originals, including the return of kid-favorite Pete the Cat, and the premiere of Forever, from Emmy-winning writers Alan Yang and Matt Hubbard.

And there’s a world of your favorite movies and TV series coming to Amazon Prime Video, free with your Prime subscription. The Original Ghostbusters is back, as is the excellent 2006 adaptation of Miami Vice.

Get a free Amazon Prime trial today!

Here’s more on the Amazon Prime Originals coming in September:

  • Six Dreams S1: The Prime Original series is a behind-the-scenes look at Spain’s top football league, LaLiga. It follows six contrasting storylines revolving around three players, one coach, one sports director and a club president from various teams, who all offer unique insights into the daily challenges of professional football. Six Dreams will be available in HDR and UHD on compatible HDR devices. (Sep. 7)
  • Wishenpoof S2b: The Prime Original series chronicles the life of Bianca and her magical power of making wishes come true. This season, Bianca learns how to care for others when her best friend teddy bear gets sick and helps the community fix its favorite slide at the local playground. More sing-along music and Wish Magic adventures await, including a family camping trip to Mt. Wishmore and a special dinner with Bianca’s grandmas. (Sep. 7)
  • Pete the Cat S1a: The Prime Original series is based on The New York Times #1 best-selling children’s books about exploring your world and trying new things while being smart, accepting, and optimistic. Whether you’re making new friends, or facing all of life’s ups and downs, Pete highlights the groovy lessons life can teach you. (Sep. 7)
  • Forever S1: The Prime Original series created by Emmy Award-winning writers Alan Yang and Matt Hubbard follows a married couple living a comfortable, but predictable suburban life. For 12 years they haven’t changed their daily routine, but when they decide to shake things up with a ski trip, the pair finds themselves in completely unfamiliar territory. Forever will be available in HDR and UHD on compatible HDR devices. (Sep. 14)
  • King Lear S1: The Prime Original series is a Shakespeare tragedy set in the fictional present and follows King Lear’s gradual descent into madness after he disposes of his kingdom, giving bequests to two of his three daughters based on their flattery of him and with terrible consequences for all. King Lear will be available in HDR and UHD on compatible HDR devices. (Air date to be determined.)

Here’s what else is coming up on Amazon Prime Video in September 2018:

New series on Amazon Prime Video on September 1

  • Asylum, Season 1
  • The Blue Rose, Season 1
  • The Broker’s Man, Seasons 1-2
  • The Field of Blood, Seasons 1-2
  • Golden, Season 1
  • The Kevin Bishop Show, Season 2
  • London Irish, Season 1
  • The Palace, Season 1
  • Parents, Season 1
  • Rocket’s Island, Seasons 1-3
  • Sam’s Game, Season 1
  • Texas Rising, Season 1
  • The Triangle, Season 1
  • Trust, Season 1
  • Westside, Seasons 1-3
  • Wild at Heart, Seasons 1-8

New movies on Amazon Prime Video on September 1

  • 1492: Conquest of Paradise (1992)
  • A Field in England (2013)
  • A Good Woman (2006)
  • A Love Song for Bobby Long (2004)
  • A Murder of Crows (1999)
  • A Turtle’s Tale: Sammy’s Adventures (2010)
  • A Turtle’s Tale 2: Sammy’s Escape from Paradise (2012)
  • All You Can Eat Buddha (2017)
  • Bandits (2001)
  • Beowulf (2007)
  • Big Top Pee-wee (1988)
  • Blow Out (1981)
  • Bolero (1984)
  • Can’t Stand Losing You: Surviving the Police (2012)
  • Chinatown (1974)
  • Cool It (2010)
  • Double Impact (1991)
  • DragonHeart (1996)
  • Dressed to Kill (1980)
  • Fall Time (1993)
  • Fighting Temptations (2003)
  • Ghostbusters (1984)
  • Ghostbusters II (1989)
  • Going Overboard (1989)
  • Gutland (2017)
  • Hard Rain (1998)
  • Harry and Paul’s History of the 2s (2014)
  • Harry Price: Ghost Hunter (2015)
  • Hotel for Dogs (2009)
  • House of D (2004)
  • Hustle & Flow (2005)
  • Ingenious (2009)
  • Jerry Maguire (1996)
  • Joyride (1997)
  • Kill Me Again (1989)
  • Lea to the Rescue (2016)
  • Luk’Luk’I (2017)
  • Miami Vice (2006)
  • Over the Top (1987)
  • Paycheck (2003)
  • Poltergeist II: The Other Side (1986)
  • Prancer (1989)
  • Primal Fear (1996)
  • Pumpkinhead (1988)
  • Pumpkinhead II: Blood Wings (1994)
  • Resurrecting the Champ (2007)
  • Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves (1991)
  • Roger Dodger (2002)
  • Rustlers’ Rhapsody (1985)
  • Senorita Justice (2004)
  • Sleepless in Seattle (1993)
  • Small Town Saturday Night (2010)
  • Smokey and the Bandit (1977)
  • Stealth Fighter (1999)
  • The Amityville Horror (1979)
  • The Dark Half (1993)
  • The Eagle (2011)
  • The Great Outdoors (1988)
  • The Longest Yard (1974)
  • The Man Who Lost His Head (2007)
  • The Perfect Weapon (1991)
  • The Score (2001)
  • There Will Be Blood (2007)
  • Tonightly (2008)
  • What’s Eating Gilbert Grape (1993)

New movie on September 2

  • Future World (2018)

New movies on September 4

  • Beirut (2018)
  • Crescent (2017)
  • Strangers Prey at Night (2018)

New movies on September 6

  • Pistorius (2018)

New series on Sept. 7

  • Pete the Cat, Season 1a (Prime Original series)
  • Six Dreams, Season 1 (Prime Original series)
  • Wishenpoof, Season 2b (Prime Original series)

New Movie on September 7

  • Cesar Chavez (2014)

New Movies on September 8

  • From Paris with Love (2009)
  • Stronger (2017)

New movie on September 12

  • Grace Unplugged (2014)

New series on September 14

  • Forever, Season 1 (Prime Original series)

New movie on September 14

  • High Fantasy (2017)

New movie on September 15

  • On Chesil Beach (2018)

New movies on September 16

  • Baby Mama (2008)
  • I Am Wrath (2016)
  • The Good Shepherd (2006)

New movies on September 20

  • Jugnu (1973)
  • This is Home: A Refugee Story (2018)

New movies on September 21

  • My Little Pony (2017)

New movies on September 22

  • For Colored Girls (2010)
  • Hot Summer Night (2018)

New movies on September 27

  • Escape Plan 2 (2018)

New movies on September 28

  • Hannah (2017)
  • Plonger (Diving) (2017)
  • Suburbicon (2017)

New movie on September 29

  • Jigsaw (2017)

New to purchase on Prime Video in September

September 4

  • Jurassic World Fallen Kingdom (2018)

September 11

  • Uncle Drew (2018)

September 26

  • This Is Us, Season 3, NBC

September 27

  • Modern Family, Season 10, ABC

September 28

  • Grey’s Anatomy, Season 14, ABC
  • The Good Place, Season 3, NBC

Available for Streaming on Prime Video Channels

September 8

  • UFC 228: “Woodley vs Till,” UFC

September 9

  • Kidding, Season 1, Showtime
  • Shameless, Season 9, Showtime

September 14-16

  • AVP – Honolulu

September 16

  • Warriors of Liberty City, Mini-Series, Starz

September 21-23

  • Laver Cup – Chicago

September 24

  • Magnum PI, Season 1, CBS All Access

September 25

  • FBI, Season 1, CBS All Access

September 27

  • Murphy Brown, Season 1, CBS All Access
  • Thursday Night Football: Minnesota Vikings vs Los Angeles Rams, Game 4, Prime Video

September 30

  • God Friended Me, Season 1, CBS All Access

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18
Aug

Save $30 on Amazon’s latest streaming hardware, the Fire TV Cube


This discount won’t last long!

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Amazon currently Fire TV Cube streaming media player for $89.99 today as part of Amazon’s off to college deals. This matches the pre-order discount that Amazon ran when it first announced the hardware and its Prime Day pricing.

CordCutters did a full review of the Fire TV Cube. Essentially, imagine the way you use an Echo Dot now to control all the wirelessly connected appliances around your home. Then imagine that control plugged into your TV so you can control everything plugged in there with your voice as well. That’s what you get with this new device. It’s a way to turn on the TV, play your favorite DVD, adjust the volume on your home audio system, dim the lights, and get your microwave to cook some popcorn all without moving from the best spot on the couch.

This is just one of the many items on sale right now. Be sure to check them all out now!

See at Amazon

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