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20
Aug

Don’t miss out on this one-day sale full of awesome Nerf guns and gear


Stock up now!

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Amazon has a variety of Nerf guns and accessories on sale today as part of its Gold Box deals of the day. From popular guns like the Nerf Rival Phantom Corps to the Zombie Doublestrike Blaster, face masks, and even the Vortex Aero Howler football, there’s something in this sale for everyone.

Some of these are add-on items, meaning they only ship with qualifying orders of $25 or more, but with prices starting at just $4.89 you will want to check them all out.

Some of our favorite deals include:

  • 20-pack Elite MEGA dart refill – $8 (Was $12)
  • N-Stroke Elite Firestrike – $8.11 (Was $12)
  • Phantom Corps Kronos – $10.05 (Was $15)
  • Negotiator Blaster – $13.81 (Was $20)
  • Rival Deadpool Apollo – $20.98 (Was $35)
  • Double Dealer Blaster – $27.37 (Was $40)
  • Rival Prometheus – $139.99 (Was $200)

This is just a small selection of what’s available, so be sure to check them all out now and grab some before the deals disappear.

See at Amazon

20
Aug

Drive back the forces of hell in DOOM Eternal for PlayStation 4


id Software doubles down on DOOM’s gory renaissance.

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At E3 2018, id Software announced a new entry in the DOOM franchise. Dubbed DOOM Eternal, it’s a continuation of the 2016 reboot that set the franchise on a new path. Here’s everything you need to know about it.

What is DOOM Eternal?

For quite some time, DOOM was an IP that existed in a state closely resembling limbo. Sure, the games haven’t been totally terrible, but it was clear how far removed we were from the glory years. That changed with the reboot of the franchise in 2016.

Aptly and succinctly titled DOOM, it was a huge success. It was one of the best feeling shooters to launch on contemporary consoles, and the game didn’t shy away from the blood and gore that made the series what it is. (It also helped that the storyline wasn’t cheesier than a box of Velveeta.)

DOOM was a huge success, so it’s no surprise the developers want to take that formula and keep it going with DOOM Eternal. It’ll be the first game developed with id Tech 7, which features 10 times the graphical fidelity that the previous engine was capable of. We’re not even sure if that sort of leap will be possible for the PlayStation 4 version of DOOM Eternal to pull off, but it sounds like we’re in for big improvements regardless.

What’s going on in DOOM Eternal?

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One of the things id Software wanted to do with the series is take it back even further. While DOOM was a nice ode to the classic no-frills shooting gallery, it didn’t attempt to drum up cheap sales with overindulging nods to the original. It was a nice balance of a classic concept with modern gameplay, graphics, weapons, and devastating finishing moves.

Now that it can stand on its own merit, DOOM Eternal isn’t afraid to be the fanservice game that’ll rope in any remaining holdout players who didn’t believe the reboot would do the series justice. There will be references to many of the classic elements of the original DOOM games, including throwback weapons and newer takes on veteran enemies such as the Zombieman, Arachnotron, Archville, and Pain Elemental. Those guys will be joined by newcomers known as the Marauder and Doom Hunter, among others.

The story picks up where DOOM (2016) left off, with you — playing as the menacing DOOM Slayer — to try and stop a demonic uprising. You find yourself on Mars, and your goal is to stop the man responsible for all of the chaos. His name is Samuel Hayden, a scientist who somehow bridged the gates of hell to Earth.

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He was mostly genuine in his endeavor, as the only reason his research facility even attempted something like this was to help solve an energy crisis on Earth. Somehow, it never occurred to him that summoning a demon apocalypse was the wrong way to go about that.

Scrambling to come up with a solution, he released the DOOM Slayer to end the invasion, but he knew it was a dangerous creature that threatened all in the universe, and that he had to dispatch it once the deed was done. His failsafe was to banish the DOOM Slayer instead of killing it, but that plan doesn’t seem like it’ll end up working out in the long run.

What do you do in DOOM Eternal?

Take the first gun you can find and go absolutely nuts on a horde of demons. Seriously, DOOM Eternal is all about killing. Kill as much as you can, as often as you can.

There will be no shortage of ways to go about doing that. Some of the weapons you can wield include a combat shotgun, a rocket launcher, a plasma rifle, a super shotgun, a heavy cannon, and even a whole ballista. Melee weapons will probably be the most fun, though.

The Crucible Blade is an energy sword imbued with demonic power. Or you could just wield the trusty old chainsaw. Your choice. Once your foes are weakened enough, you can finish them off with insanely cool Glory Kill executions, which lets you get your hands dirty and kill the things without the use of a weapon.

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OK, so killing isn’t all you do. There’s still the matter of story objectives to tend to. These objectives typically don’t amount to much more than “run here, press Square, run back, shoot demons along the way,” but that’s fine. DOOM Eternal should make that cycle a lot more interesting, however, with a twisted world to traverse in new ways. You can run up walls, zip around with a grappling hook, and dash around to get where you need to go, which means the level design should be even more interesting than it was in DOOM.

New to DOOM Eternal are “extra lives,” which grant you a brief period of invincibility in moments where you’d otherwise die. These can be found at random and picked up by the player. It eliminates a pain point from the original game where dying meant you had to be whisked back to the beginning of a level to do it all over again.

Some hardcore DOOM players may not accept that help with open arms, though it does sound like you can refuse to pick these extra lives up if you’re more of a purist. Really, it sounds like they were meant more for DOOM Eternal’s Invasion mode, which we’ll touch on right now.

Invasion Mode

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DOOM Eternal will feature an exciting new mode known as Invasion. Invasion mode allows other players to join your game, but it’s not what you think. They won’t be helping you stop the demon army — they are the demon army. They’ll be among the crowd of uglies looking to take you down and will have access to their own combat abilities to help them in that goal.

You don’t have to play with this mode turned on if you just want to chill out and enjoy the campaign, but it should offer a nice change of pace for players who tire of dealing with the AI. And, of course, all the other usual multiplayer modes return, including Team Deathmatch, Warpath (King of the Hill), Domination, and Clan Arena.

Is SnapMap coming back?

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DOOM featured an interesting level creation tool that allowed you to create custom hellacious funhouses to share with folks all around the globe. Unfortunately, id Software doesn’t deem it crucial to DOOM Eternal’s featureset, so they’ve axed the feature to focus their efforts elsewhere.

Part of those efforts includes more post-launch single player content. Story-driven DLC should be more plentiful as a result, and we’re sure more than just a fair share of that extra time went into the creation of the Invasion mode.

When can you play it?

DOOM Eternal is currently in development for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC, and Nintendo Switch. There’s no exact release date yet, but with Amazon showing a December 31st, 2019 placeholder date, it’s safe to say we won’t be seeing it until sometime that year.

See at Amazon

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20
Aug

4 things that’d make the Lenovo Smart Display even better


Lenovo’s Smart Display is great, but there’s still some work to be done.

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I’ve been living with the Lenovo Smart Display for a few weeks now, and during that time, it’s quickly become one of my favorite gadgets of 2018. As a huge fan of the Google Home, it’s been a dream come true to have that same functionality brought over to a form factor with a large, crisp 10-1-inch screen.

I genuinely love using the Smart Display, but for all the things it gets right, there are a few pain points that I’d like to see get worked out sooner rather than later.

Without further ado, here are 4 things that’d make the Lenovo Smart Display better!

Portrait orientation for the entire UI

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One of the most unique aspects of the Lenovo Smart Display is its wedge design on the back. Because of this, you have the option of standing it either horizontally or vertically on your kitchen counter, table, etc. Unfortunately, at the time of publishing this editorial, the vast majority of the interface can only be used in that horizontal orientation.

You can set the Smart Display vertically during Google Duo calls and have the interface rotate as it should, but outside of these calls, everything is set to the standard horizontal layout no matter how the Smart Display is sitting.

Lenovo’s already said that this will be fixed in a future software update, but for the time being, it makes the wedge aspect of the Smart Display feel underutilized.

Support for audio groups

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If you’ve got a Google Home, Home Mini, or any other smart speakers that are powered by the Google Assistant, you can add them to audio groups and play music on all of them simultaneously — allowing you to hear your music or podcast no matter which room you’re in.

It’s an incredibly handy feature and one that I use daily, but for whatever reason, the Lenovo Smart Display can’t be added to these groups.

Although the form factor is different due to the display, there shouldn’t be anything holding it back from playing music with other Assistant speakers. The Lenovo Smart Display lives in the Google Home app along with your other speakers, uses the Assistant, and has access to all of the same voice commands/features.

Yet, for some unknown reason, Google still doesn’t allow it to to be added to audio groups.

That may not sound like a huge deal to some readers, but it makes the Smart Display feel entirely separate from its speaker cousins when it should feel like an extension of them.

Deeper app controls

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As it currently stands, the Lenovo Smart Display doesn’t run traditional apps. There are UI elements that are designed specifically for Spotify, YouTube, Google Express, and more, but you get to all of these via voice commands rather than tapping on an app icon.

That implementation is fine, but for the interfaces we do get for these services, I’d like to see more controls added at some point down the road.

Being able to pull up recipes is great, but it’d be even better if there was a way to quickly add all of the required ingredients to my shopping list. YouTube videos stream without a hitch, but I’d like to be able to browse through my subscription feed and manually choose what video I want to watch. The Google Express interface that we do have is fine, but there’s no way to easily peruse through all of the available products like there is on the Android app.

The idea of Google’s Smart Display platform is to have UI elements that complement your voice controls rather than being entirely touch-focused, but some of the experiences that are available right now feel a little too barebones at times.

A more consistent ambient mode

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When you aren’t actively using the Lenovo Smart Display, you can swipe to the right and set the display to an ambient mode where the screen turns completely back and just shows the time in the bottom-left corner. It’s a great mode for when you’re sleeping and know you won’t be using the Smart Display for a while, but in my experience, the performance of this has been all over the place.

Manually swiping over to this screen works fine, but I’ve noticed that it occasionally goes to this mode on its own, too.

For example, if I turn off all the lights as I’m heading out of my apartment, the Smart Display will gradually dim its brightness and eventually go to the ambient mode on its own. If I walk by the Smart Display while it’s like this, the screen will magically come to life without having to touch it or anything.

Unfortunately, these automatic transitions are incredibly inconsistent.

I’ve noticed that they properly work maybe 50% of the time, and for the times that it doesn’t work, it does this for no rhyme or reason. This certainly isn’t a deal-breaker or anything on its own, but the inconsistency can quickly become rather annoying.

What do you want to see?

If you’ve got a Lenovo Smart Display, what would you like to see added/fixed? Most (if not all) of my complaints can be resolved with software updates, so here’s to hoping those make their way to the device in a timely manner!

See at Best Buy

20
Aug

Fitbit announces Charge 3 fitness tracker, coming this October for $150


Pre-orders for the new tracker are live starting today.

Fitbit’s been hitting the smartwatch market pretty hard over the past few months with its Ionic and Versa, and following those two wearables, the company’s now going back to revive one of its most popular fitness tracker series with the all-new Fitbit Charge 3.

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The Charge 3 is an evolution of the Charge 2 that came out before it, and while it has the same general form factor as its predecessor, Fitbit spent a lot of time making sure that the Charge 3 is a more comfortable and stylish tracker. Aerospace aluminum was used for the Charge 3’s case while Corning Gorilla Glass 3 covers its display, and speaking of that display, the one on the Charge 3 is a gray-scale OLED panel that’s 40% brighter and sharper than the screen on the Charge 2.

There’s also a lot more you can do on the display. The dashboard from the Ionic and Versa is now on the Charge 3, too, allowing you to quickly see your steps, calories-burned, most recent exercises, heart-rate, and your current cycle if you’re using Fitbit’s female health tracking tools.

On the non-fitness side of things, the Charge 3 can also showcase all notifications you receive from your phone, supports apps such as Uber, Facebook, etc., and can make contactless NFC payments using Fitbit Pay if you pick up the Special Edition version of it.

Other highlights of the Charge 3 include up to 7 days of battery life, over 15 goal-based exercise routines you can follow, water resistance up to 50M, a new Swim Mode that allows for better tracking while in the water, and more. Along with the Charge 3, Fitbit’s also launching a new platform called Sleep Score that aims to provide better insights on data tracked while you’re sleeping.

If you’re interested, the Charge 3 is up for pre-order today and will be released at some point this October. Pricing starts at $149.95 for the base model and goes up to $169.95 for the Special Edition.

See at Fitbit

20
Aug

From the forums: Should you get the Note 8 now that the Note 9 is out?


Depending on who you are, the Note 8 might still be a great buy.

On August 24, the Galaxy Note 9 will officially exit the pre-order stage and be released out in the wild for everyone to buy. Our full review of the phone left us rather impressed, and although it’s not a drastic upgrade from the Note 8, there are a lot of subtle improvements here and there that create for an excellent user experience.

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The Note 9 is obviously a great buy, but if you’re rocking a smartphone that’s a couple years old, is the Note 8 still worth considering now that its successor is here?

Here’s what some of our AC forum members had to say!

avatar3022800_5.gifmethodman89
08-19-2018 08:03 AM

I think I will be on the lookout for a good deal on a used note 8 once the n9 is out.

Reply

avatar514680_6.gifyarnsrj
08-19-2018 10:48 AM

Note 8 is still an excellent phone, but if both you and the misses need new phones, look at the current BOGO deals for the Note 9. That way both of you can have brand new phones for about the same price with this buy one get one free deal. Take a look at Verizon’s offers on their website.
PS. I tried to post a link but it’s not looking to Verizon page.

Reply

avatar4763_8.gifo4liberty
08-19-2018 06:45 PM

Absolutely would not hesitate to purchase a note 8 works well no issues at all. I looked at the note 9 yesterday at best buy and can see any reason to update.

Reply

avatar847760_3.gifmusic_man185
08-19-2018 08:08 AM

I’m hoping the prices of the note 8 will be slashed even more when the note 9 is finally released.

Reply

What do you think? Is the Galaxy Note 8 still worth getting even though the Note 9 is here?

Join the conversation in the forums!

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20
Aug

Light up your home with two new collections from Philips Hue


The perfect lights.

Philips announced the new Signe and Play collections, which add indirect lighting to your entertainment space. The Signe Collection will feature a table light around 24 inches tall and a floor light around 59 inches tall. Both are designed to be pointed at a wall to give off indirect, ambient light that reaches up to the ceiling. They will have the full range of Philips’ White and Color Ambiance, similar to current starter kits, so you can choose between one of 16 million colors. The lights are only capable of one color at a time, but with multiple devices you can mix and match.

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The Play Collection features a nine-inch bar that lays horizontally or vertically and creates light in a very similar way to Signe. These bars come with a base kit that you can plug the Play into, which helps reduce the electrical outlets you need according to Philips Hue.

Philips Hue has gotten into bias lighting in the past with light strips that can also be connected to your smart home, and both of these collections are designed so they can provide that same element for a TV when placed nearby. They can also be added to your smart home setup and be controlled using your voice with Alexa, Google Assistant, or Siri. Philips Hue also has a redesigned app you’ll be able to use to control the new lights from your smartphone.

All of these lights will be available for pre-order in September and fully released in October. The Play single base kit will retail for $69.99, and the double base kit with two fixtures will go for $129.99. The Signe Table Light will set you back $159.99, and the Floor Light will cost $249.99. Of course, we’re pretty confident we’ll be able to find them on sale eventually so you should probably just follow us on Twitter and wait for the discounts to roll in.

20
Aug

Google’s working on a new Chromecast that has Bluetooth and better Wi-Fi


For better or worse, the design is staying exactly the same.

It’s been a hot minute (read, 3 years) since Google updated the Chromecast, but according to a new FCC listing, it would appear that a new model could be on its way in the near future.

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According to the filing, this new Chromecast will be the first to support Bluetooth. The current model does have a Bluetooth chip, but it’s only used during the initial setup process and can’t be enabled by users afterward.

The FCC documents show that Google thought about just sending a software update to the exisitng Chromecast to enable this functionality, but “because this new model requires a new equipment code (DSS) not covered by the original certification for FCC ID A4RNC2-6A5, the new version of device requires a new FCC ID.”

Along with Bluetooth functionality, the new Chromecast will also offer improved Wi-Fi reception with 5GHz networks:

This device has been changed to include a 0.5 mm trim on the 5GHz PCB antenna trace that increases the 5GHz maximum antenna gain from 2.1 dBi to 4 dBi.

Google might announce the new Chromecast at its upcoming Pixel 3 event that’s expected to take place in early October, but seeing as how the design for the updated model will be identical to the current one, it’s entirely possible it’ll simply be sold in place of the existing Chromecast with no fanfare surrounding it.

Here’s why the NVIDIA Shield TV is still being updated after three years

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20
Aug

How to protect your Wi-Fi network from hackers


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It’s your house and your network, filled with your stuff. Nobody wants some random intruder snooping around in it.

The digital information age is pretty awesome. I can find the answer to almost anything in just a few seconds, I can look at a screen small enough to carry in my pocket to know where to go and why I need to go there, and I can even make the lamp brighter by telling Alexa or Google to do it instead of reaching over to the fixture and swiping its tiny touch panel. A big part of the reason why, as well as why it’s only going to get even more awesome, is because everything is connected.

If you’re a network engineer you’ve got all this covered. The rest of us have to actually try.

For us, there is usually only one small part of that connection we need to worry about — the last 20 meters or so. Once all those digital signals make their way into our home they spread out over a Wi-Fi network that we control. The other gazillion meters of any connection have trained folks who are very good at keeping it all private and secure working to do just that, but that last 20 depends on us making the right decisions. If we don’t, the consequences can range from the embarrassing to the criminal — if it happens on our network, we’re the ones with our feet at the fire when judges and lawyers and Sony get worked up about the things that have passed through it.

That means it’s important to keep hackers out of your Wi-Fi network. It’s incredibly simple to get into about half of the Wi-Fi networks in any given town. Drive around and wait for a $12 gadget to blink green, pull over somewhere safe and start scanning and typing the right things in the right places and you are in. Any of us are fully capable of using the simple tools and a few online resources to break into a poorly secured Wi-Fi network. Here are a few easy things you can (and should) do to make sure yours isn’t.

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The username and password

If I wanted to get inside a secured Wi-Fi network the first thing I would do is try to determine what hardware is there and acting as a router. With WPA2 being compromised, it’s fairly easy to crunch enough numbers to crack a Wi-Fi password (WPA3 mostly fixes that) and once I’m connected there’s a 50-50 chance that the router still uses the default username and password for its admin utility. The number of Linksys routers in use that the word admin can grant you access to their setup is staggering. Seriously.

Don’t make things easier than they already are.

Once I have control over the things like open ports and it’s set up for me to get in anytime I like without being in Wi-Fi range, I’d turn off any automatic update feature and change the login details so another jerk can’t screw around in there. If a user didn’t bother to change the default login, they’ll never know that they can reset the router to undo everything I did or that I even did anything.

I’m not some sort of hacker-dood. You don’t need to be a hacker to do exactly what I described to a router that still has the default admin credentials. Your smartphone, a laptop, and a couple of free utilities make it easy as pie.

If you haven’t already done so, grab the manual that came with your router or Google its model to read it online and see how to reset the router, reconnect it to your modem, and then change the admin password. While you’re at it, change the Wi-Fi password, too. then put everything into your favorite password manager because you’ll never remember all those random passwords.

Change the default SSID

SSID stands for Service Set Identifier but we know it better as the Wi-Fi network name. When you set up your Wi-Fi router it prompted you to create a network name and a password, but the network name was probably already filled in with the default. Like the admin credentials, a whole lot of people just left it that way.

Even an SSID named “Mom click this for internet” is better than XFINITYWIFI.

Changing the default name from something like Linksys doesn’t make your network more secure or do anything to thwart bandwidth piggybackers (unless you name your SSID something like “c:WinSystem32cmd-virus.bat” which will scare a lot of people away) but it does stop advertising what hardware you’re using. That’s easy to figure out another way but it means that utilities that search for specific brands using the SSID aren’t going to work. Doing anything to make a hacker single you out instead of advertising to him or her is a good thing.

Use a good password for everything

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Just a few years ago something like SeaToShiningSea22$ would have been a great password. It’s easy to remember but complex enough that it’s not going to be in any password cracking dictionary and using any brute force methods to crack it would have taken months or years of computing time. Those days are gone.

You need a password of reasonable length that includes upper and lower case letters, numbers, and symbols. They all need to be in some random order that doesn’t mean anything to even you, and if you can you’ll even want to use spaces. Computer processors have come a long way and billions of clock cycles no longer take months or years, they take hours and days. Don’t be that unlucky person who gets their network password cracked in just an hour and make it hard as hell by adding complexity.

Reasonable means different things to different encryption schemes. Generally, 8 to 10 characters are pretty good and 15 is even better because we are only interested in making the password more complex so a tool that tries to crack it needs more time. You don’t need to write some sort of random character novella, just use a password generator that comes with your password manager. It’s better at this stuff than we are.

Beware of MAC filtering and firewall settings

Using these tools to keep access to your Wi-Fi a bit more controlled can be tempting, but if you’re not sure what you’re doing you probably shouldn’t. Take some time to read and understand what things are, what they can do, and how it all works together, first. A fun way to play around is to set up a second Wi-Fi router on your Wi-Fi to play around with — just be sure to unplug it when you’re not playing until you’re sure you can keep it from being exposed to traffic outside your own network.

Sometimes fixing things makes them more broken — be sure you know what you’re doing in these settings.

MAC (Media Access Control) address filtering uses a device’s “unique” network signature to build a list of which devices are allowed to access any router. It’s not a failsafe way to keep anyone out because a MAC address can be faked but it’s another way to make sure it’s not easier to break in than it needs to be. You can find a devices MAC address through its own network interface (Google instructions for the device) or through a router’s control panel, and you whitelist the devices you want to let in and blacklist everything else. Know that MAC addresses aren’t necessarily unique or permanent — they can be changed. And anytime you connect something new you’ll need to add it to the whitelist.

Firewall settings on most consumer routers aren’t very comprehensive, but you will usually find settings for port forwarding and domain blocking. Both can be great tools as long as you know how to allow the right ports to connect to the outside world and how (and why) to block a domain.

I monkey around with these settings because I almost remember everything I learned about them during some software administration certification classes (if you’re the head of a Fortune 500 company who wants to spend a lot of money and you still use RHEL 9 on your servers, call me). They’re worth learning more about if you’re curious or if you live next door to a house filled with CS students who will try to monkey inside your Wi-Fi just to see if they can. They will, and someone in the comments will verify that (don’t make me look bad my computing scientist friends).

If you just have no desire to learn about this sort of thing — and none of us here will blame you — it’s better not to touch any of these settings.

Make sure you have a good router

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This is the easiest and most important item on our list. You want a router that can put good Wi-Fi everywhere you need it, is dependable, and updates regularly and automatically. Full stop — if your router doesn’t do all three of these things you should look into replacing it.

Google Wifi is easy. I like easy and recommend easy whenever i can.

Nobody likes to spend money if they don’t need to do it, but having dependable and secure equipment powering your Wi-Fi network really is more important than any of the things we can do to help keep it safe. Every piece of hardware connected to the internet is exploitable. Every Wi-Fi network is hackable. It’s crazy to not do everything you can to patch exploits and make it more difficult for hackers. Timely and automatic updates are a lifesaver here — a system that emails you and lets you know there is an update that needs to be applied to your router’s firmware is also acceptable if you’re the kind of person who hates automatic anything — because you don’t have to worry about looking for an update and applying it yourself.

A reliable and strong network is also important because it takes away the temptation to do something like adding more equipment that you need to secure — repeaters and APs can be exploited, too. Thankfully, there are plenty of routers to are strong, reliable and automatically updated on time whenever it’s needed. They’re all pretty good, too, and your favorite brand (do people have a favorite brand of router?) likely makes one. As most of us here are Android users and have already sold our life’s information to Google in exchange for its great services, I’d recommend Google Wifi as a great option for most folks. But Netgear, Linksys, ASUS and names you might not know like Eero and Amplifi make great stuff, too.

More: Google Wifi vs. Orbi vs. Eero vs. AmpliFi: Wireless Mesh Network Face-off

An unsecured network is better than a poorly secured network. You won’t have a false sense of security that way, and you can tell a judge that lots of people use your Wi-Fi and it wasn’t you who downloaded that pirated music, and he or she might buy it. But the best thing to do is try and make things as secure as you can.

Stay safe, Y’all.

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20
Aug

Popular PC strategy game ‘Stellaris’ warps onto PlayStation 4 soon


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Get ready, console owners.

Stellaris is an evolution of the grand strategy genre with space exploration at its core. It features deep gameplay, a rich and diverse selection of aliens, and emergent storytelling. According to publisher Paradox Interactive, Stellaris contains engaging moments that reward interstellar exploration as you traverse, discover, interact, and learn more about the species you encounter during your travels. There are a lot of mechanics to master here, so be prepared for a somewhat steep learning curve when you first dive in. It takes some time to get familiar with the gameplay, but it’s quite satisfying once you do.

Stellaris has only been available on PC ever since it launched in 2016, but that’s about to change soon. Today at Gamescom 2018, the publisher announced that the title was coming to PlayStation 4 and Xbox One “soon”. The popular space exploration game will be the first ever grand strategy experience to hit consoles.

Stellaris: Console Edition is made with thumbstick input in mind. There will be a few different versions to choose from when the game goes on sale. For example, if you pick up one of the deluxe editions, you get access to a few upcoming expansions. Just like the PC release, the console port will be regularly updated with new features and improvements.

Hopefully Stellaris will be a polished experience on PlayStation 4 and Xbox One at launch. We’ll keep you posted as soon as we receive a concrete release date. Since the game’s release in May 2016, it has sold over 1.5 million copies on PC. While success on PC doesn’t guarantee success on consoles, it’s still a good metric to gauge interest.

See at Green Man Gaming

20
Aug

Huawei Mate 20 renders show a tiny notch and three rear cameras


Huawei’s next flagship family is looking awfully exciting.

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It can be difficult to keep up with all the phones Huawei releases over the course of a year, but one that continues to stand out from the pack is the Mate 10 Pro.

The Mate 10 Pro is a gorgeous and powerful piece of tech that made a splash in various countries but was unfortunately held back from greatness in the U.S. thanks to continuous pushback from the government.

Huawei’s expected to follow-up on the Mate 10 Pro’s greatness with the Mate 20 Pro and two other versions to accompany it, and even if it once again gets heat from the States, it’ll still likely be one of the best phones you can get early next year.

The latest Mate 20 news

August 20, 2018 — New Mate 20 renders show an incredibly small notch

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After getting a good look at the affordable Mate 20 Lite a few days ago, the folks at XDA Developers have now provided device renders of the more premium Mate 20.

Looking at the front of the phone, the thing that sticks out the most is the notch. Despite housing a front-facing camera and speaker grill that’ll likely support stereo audio, it’s considerably smaller than notches we’ve seen on the OnePlus 6, Pixel 3 XL, etc. The top of the phone is home to a 3.5mm headphone jack and microphone while the bottom is where you’ll find the USB-C port, another speaker grill, and another microphone.

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Moving over to the back of the Mate 20, the camera housing holds three rear cameras and an LED flash in one compact area. The renders are based off photographs that XDA obtained, and since the pictures in question didn’t show the entire back of the Mate 20, it’s unclear what the rest of this side will look like or where the fingerprint sensor will be located.

August 14, 2018 — Huawei Mate 20 Lite appears in a leaked render

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The Huawei Mate 20 Lite, the cheapest of the Mate 20 trio, is the first of this phone family to rear its head in a leaked press render.

Evan Blass shared the above photo early in the morning on August 14, and to not much surprise, the Mate 20 Lite looks like any other phone that’s been released in the past few months. There’s an all-glass back, dual cameras on the front and back, rear-mounted fingerprint sensor, a bezel-light display, and a notch.

Even if this design isn’t breaking any new grounds, the Mate 20 Lite does look like a fairly attractive phone. It’s unclear if this design language will carry over to the regular Mate 20 and Mate 20 Pro, but we’ll let you know as soon as we learn more.

August 1, 2018 — Leaked firmware suggests the Mate 20 will ship with Android P, have a 4,200 mAh battery, and use the Kirin 980

We’re likely a couple months out from an official announcement from Huawei regarding its Mate 20 phones, and just in time, the rumor mill has kicked into full gear with a ton of info that was recently shared in firmware files obtained by XDA Developers. The files outline three phones — the Mate 20 Lite, Mate 20, and Mate 20 Pro — but focuses mostly on the mid-tier option

The Huawei Mate 20 will reportedly ship with a large 6.3-inch OLED display, and as expected, use Huawei’s next-generation Kirin 980 processor. To accompany this, we’re expecting 6GB RAM, 128GB of internal storage, and a seriously huge 4,200 mAh battery.

And, to help you charge that battery pack, Huawei is finally going to jump on board the wireless charging train.

Not much is detailed about the other two phones, but there is mention of the Mate 20 Pro including an in-display fingerprint sensor similar to what we’ve seen on the Mate RS and Vivo X21.

All three phones will likely ship with Android P and Huawei’s EMUI 9.0 skin on top of it.

All the big details

How many phones will there be?

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Similar to last year, we’re expecting three different versions of the Mate 20 family — including the Mate 20, Mate 20 Lite, and Mate 20 Pro.

The Mate 20 will be the mid-tier option, whereas the Mate 20 Lite is the most affordable and the Mate 20 Pro is the most expensive/powerful.

If Huawei follows a similar launch pattern compared to the Mate 10, we’ll only get the Mate 20 Pro in the U.S.

What are the specs?

Although specifications for the Mate 20 Lite and Mate 20 Pro have been mostly non-existent, we already have a pretty good idea of what to expect from the regular Mate 20. Here’s what we know so far!

Operating system Android 9 Pie EMUI 9.0
Display 6.3-inch AMOLED 2240×1080
Processor HiSilicon Kirin 980
Storage 128GB
RAM 6GB
Rear cameras Three sensor setup
Audio Stereo speakers 3.5mm headphone
Battery 4200mAh
Charging USB-C Wireless charging

How much will the Mate 20 cost?

Before we can speculate about how much the Mate 20 family will cost, we need to first look at last year’s pricing.

  • Huawei Mate 10 Lite — £280
  • Huawei Mate 10 — £699
  • Huawei Mate 10 Pro — £799

The Mate 10 Pro started off with a $799.99 price in the U.S., but right now, can be purchased on Amazon directly from Huawei for just $549.99.

I expect we’ll see similar pricing for the Mate 20 lineup, with an increase of £20 – £50 here or there thanks to the rumors of a 4,200 mAh battery and in-display fingerprint sensor.

When will it be released?

As for when we’ll be introduced to the Mate 20 series for the first time, we’re likely looking at an announcement within the next couple of months.

The Huawei Mate 10 family was announced on October 16, and a year before that, the Mate 9 was unveiled on November 24.

Huawei Mate 10

  • Huawei Mate 10 Pro review
  • Huawei Mate 10 series specs
  • Huawei Mate 10 Pro U.S. review: Close to greatness
  • Join the discussion in the forums
  • More on 2016’s Mate 9

Updated August 20, 2018: Added a new section regarding the Mate 20’s specs.

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