The DJI Spark is an entry-level drone from the world’s top manufacturer. You’re able to control the Spark using your smartphone and the DJI GO 4 app, but physical controls are always better than touchscreen controls — especially when we’re discussing $500 of flying technology. The DJI Spark Remote Controller is your best bet, but since DJI now supports third-party controllers through its smartphone app, we’ve rounded up your best options for controlling your Spark.
Dedicated DJI controller
DJI Spark Remote Controller
Specifically designed for the DJI Spark, this controller pairs to your smartphone with the DJI GO 4 app, features a built-in smartphone holder, and will allow you to get the best performance out of your DJI Spark.
$110 at Amazon
For Samsung Galaxy Gamers
This gaming controller is designed to work with the latest Samsung phones (Galaxy S8/S8+, S9/S9+ and Note 8) and adds physical controls to the sides of your phone. DJI recommends this as a great option for controlling the Spark and it’s also a great pick because it folds down to a compact size for traveling.
$70 at Amazon
Best Bluetooth Controller for Android. Period.
SteelSeries Stratus XL
Since DJI now lets you use Bluetooth gaming controllers to pilot your drone, we’ll recommend our favorite for Android gamers. You may also want this Foldable Smartphone Holder, too.
$44 at Amazon
If we had to pick one…
It’s great that DJI offers so many ways to control the Spark — using your phone, using a Bluetooth controller, or even using hand gestures — but if you want to spend less time mucking around in settings and more time flying, we suggest going with the DJI Spark Controller. It’s the more expensive option but it’s specifically designed to work exclusively with the DJI Spark and lets you fly the drone up to 30 mph in Sport Mode.
We’re a virtual company made up of tech experts from across the globe. We’re just as passionate about smart home tech as we are about Android phones, and we research as many smart gadgets as we can to give you the best insight on what to buy.
$50 at Amazon
- Provides omnidirectional lighting
- Fits in most lamps and hanging fixtures
- BR30s cast more directional light
If you’re replacing a traditional light bulb in a floor lamp or hanging lighting fixture, the A19 shape will be a better fit for you. The shape disperses light across a wider area than the more directional BR30, and the smaller size fits into more sockets.
$50 at Amazon
- Great as a single ceiling light
- Equally good for can lights
- Larger shape doesn’t always fit into fixtures
For ceiling lights, can lights, and outdoor floodlights, the BR30 is an ideal shape that casts light more directly than the A19. Designed to serve almost as a downlight, the BR30 can still easily light up an entire room with a single bulb.
Most people would be fine with either bulb for most purposes, but there are a few key factors that may swing your decision one way or the other. Generally speaking, the A19 is a more universally applicable bulb that easily replaces the standard bulb shape, but the BR30 can be more ideal if you’re shopping for a floodlight.
What’s the difference?
If you’re not well-versed in light bulb standardizations (and let’s be honest, not many of us are), you’d be forgiven for mistaking A19 and BR30 as the names of different LIFX products — but in reality, they’re just two of the most popular standardized shapes for light bulbs, regardless of the manufacturer.
You’re simply choosing between two shapes of the same bulb.
Most of LIFX’s smart bulbs come in either size, including the Color 1000 and LIFX Plus, and your choice won’t affect the price, specs, or features of the bulb. Instead, when choosing the shape of your bulb, you’ll want to consider how that shape affects the directionality of the light the bulb emits.
Though LIFX’s A19 and BR30 bulbs both feature flat ends, the A19 is narrower and fits more easily into small lighting fixtures. A19 bulbs are omnidirectional, meaning they’ll disperse light evenly all across their surrounding environment. This makes them great for floor lamps and hanging ceiling fixtures, where you’re more concerned with lighting the entire room, rather than focusing the light on a particular area.
If you’re after more directional lighting, on the other hand, the BR30 is a better choice. BR stands for “bulge reflector,” which the bulb uses to point light straight ahead from its flat end. This makes BR30 bulbs ideal for floodlights where you’d want more light in a concentrated area, as well as ceiling and can lights where the bulb can face directly downward and illuminate the room.
$50 at Amazon
Buy this for your floor lamp or hanging fixture.
While it isn’t great as a floodlight, the A19 shape disperses light more evenly than the BR30. This is the bulb to buy for lamps or ceiling fans, especially if you need more than one.
Perfect for outdoor and ceiling lights.
$50 at Amazon
Due to the flatter, wider shape, the BR30 is a floodlight with more directional output, making it ideal for areas where you want a lot of concentrated light.
I, for one, welcome our new vacuum cleaning overlords.
The iRobot Roomba, with models like the Roomba 690 and Roomba 980, has become the standard when it comes to autonomous robotic vacuum cleaners. It’s a growing and competitive market, however, and iRobot needs some new features to stay ahead of the pack. Well, the new Roomba i7+ will have all the vacuum cleaning and obstacle avoidance of previous generations, but it will also include something new. The i7+ will empty its own dust bin. And thank goodness, too, because that was really the last bit of work required on our part for vacuum cleaning.
Other new features include Imprint Smart Mapping. With this new ability, the Roomba i7+ doesn’t just learn a floor plan and adapt to it. The machine can now learn multiple floor plans at once as well as names for individual rooms. You will be able to customize the robot’s cleaning path by specific rooms. Use the iRobot Home App or connect it to Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant and you’ll be able to control the Roomba without getting up. Imagine being able to say “Clean Billy’s Room!” and it just goes to the room and starts a sweep. That’s nifty. And because it can learn multiple floor plans, you’ll be able to use one Roomba i7+ for different floors of your house. Once iRobot teaches these things to go upstairs without being carried, you may never have to pay attention to cleaning again.
The new Clean Base Automatic Dirt Disposal is where the i7+ will empty its dust bin when it’s full. This doubles as the charging station, so it’s also where the Roomba will go when its low on power. The iRobot cleaners are already designed to recharge their batteries and continue the work without any interruption, so it makes sense they drop the dirt off at the Clean Base, too. All of the dirt gets stored in a closed bag, and you will get a notification through the app when it’s full. Just pull out the bag, replace it with a new one, and throw the old one away.
The Roomba e5 is another robotic vacuum cleaner iRobot announced, and it’s meant to be a budget version still packed with features. At $449, it’s definitely going to be less expensive than the i7+. Still, there are a lot of budget options out there. The Eufy RoboVac 11S is just $230 and has earned a lot of praise from users and critics. The Ecovacs Deebot series also has a lot of praise and usually sells for around $200.
The new Roomba i7+ will retail for around $949.99. You can pre-order it right now through iRobot, and it will start shipping September 12. You can also order the Roomba i7 for $699.99, which is the same robot vacuum without the Clean Base, but considering the Clean Base will sell for $299.99 on its own, that’s probably not the best idea.
See at iRobot
These tablets are fiiiiiire.
Today Amazon announced its new generation of Fire tablets. Packed with new features and upgraded specs, the tablets are still highly affordable, which is a huge plus.
First up is the new Fire HD 8. It features up to 10 hours of mixed use battery life, an 8-inch HD display, a quad-core processor, and — newly — hands-free access to Alexa. That’s something that the Fire HD 10 tablet has had for awhile, but this is a first for the Fire HD 8. You can upgrade the storage, too, up to 400GB depending on what microSD card you go with.
In addition, the tablet now has Show Mode. This gives your tablet some of the same features that the Echo Show has. You can use your voice to ask Alexa to show you the news or weather, play a song, call a family member, control your smart thermostat, and more. If Show Mode sounds like something you’ll use frequently, you can pre-order the Fire HD 7 with a Show Mode dock for $94.99. The dock will automatically switch your tablet to Show mode.
There are four different color options to choose from, all starting at $79.99. You can pre-order the new Fire HD 8 and it’ll start shipping around October 4th.
Next up, there’s a new addition to the Fire Kids tablet lineup. The new Fire HD 8 Kids Edition, which is available for $129.99 as a pre-order, has lots of upgrades to enjoy. It features the same display and specs as the Fire HD 8, but with more kid-friendly software. There are multiple customizable profiles, up to two for adults and up to four for kids. This is $30 more than the Fire 7 Kids Edition, but the upgrades are worth it.
The purchase includes a year of Amazon FreeTime Unlimited, which can now be used in Spanish, which gives kids access to over 20,000 books, videos, apps, and games that are all age-appropriate. The newly-designed FreeTime makes it easier for kids to use it, and it has awesome parental controls too. You can set time limits, bedtimes, age filters, and the content that kids can see. You can even disable the web browser. You’ll also be able to view screen time statistics and restrict non-educational content until they’ve met their learning goals for the day. After your free year runs out, you can get FreeTime Unlimited for $3 per month.
By far the most alluring feature of these tablets is the kid-friendly warranty. For two years, Amazon will replace your tablet. No questions asked. Did they throw it out the car window? Step on the screen and shatter it? Leave it outside in the rain? Amazon gets that kids are hectic, and this warranty makes your life a little easier should something happen.
Head over here to pre-order the new Fire HD 8 or the new Fire HD 8 Kids Edition.
See at Amazon
The Arlo Q is capable of recording when motion or sound is detected and is down to its best price ever right now.
Netgear’s Arlo Q 1080p HD Security Camera is on sale for just $141 at Amazon Canada for a limited time. This deal saves you almost $60 off its usual price and brings the camera down to the lowest its ever been.
This camera allows you to live stream 1080p HD video from anywhere in the world using your smartphone, tablet, or computer, while its enhanced night vision ensures you can see clearly even in total darkness. You can set it to record when motion or sound is detected and then access your recordings from anywhere using the Arlo app. The camera features a built-in microphone and speaker so you can talk back and forth with people using the app as well. Arlo allows you to keep seven days of footage and audio in the cloud for free automatically and you can opt to back up your last 30 or 60 days’ worth of footage with a monthly subscription starting from $10.75.
The coolest thing about this camera however is that it works with Alexa for voice control, allowing you to pair it with a device like the Echo Dot.
These deals expire at the end of the day, so act fast to make sure you don’t miss out.
For more Canadian deals coverage, be sure to keep an eye on Thrifter CA, sign up for the Canadian newsletter and follow the team on Twitter.
See at Amazon Canada
The European Commission today announced it has approved Apple’s proposed acquisition of music recognition service Shazam.
“After thoroughly analyzing Shazam’s user and music data, we found that their acquisition by Apple would not reduce competition in the digital music streaming market,” said Margrethe Vestager, European Commissioner for Competition.
The regulatory body concluded that Apple and Shazam mainly offer “complementary services” and “do not compete with each other,” and that a merged Apple-Shazam entity would not adversely affect competitors in the European Union:
In particular, access to Shazam’s data would not materially increase Apple’s ability to target music enthusiasts and any conduct aimed at making customers switch would only have a negligible impact. As a result, competing providers of digital music streaming services would not be shut out of the market.
The regulators were concerned that the merger could reduce choice for users of streaming music services in Europe. In particular, they were concerned that Apple might gain access to sensitive data that would allow it to directly target competitors’ customers and encourage them to switch to Apple Music.
While the Commission did not name any specific companies, Apple Music’s biggest rival in Europe is Spotify, headquartered in Sweden. Shazam is currently integrated with multiple services, including Apple Music, Spotify, and Deezer.
Apple announced its plans to acquire Shazam in December, describing the two companies as a “natural fit” with “exciting plans” ahead. In February, however, the Commission received requests from Austria, France, Iceland, Italy, Norway, Spain, and Sweden to assess the deal under European merger law.
Shazam is a popular service that can identify the name and lyrics of songs, music videos, TV shows, and more. It has apps across iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch, iMessage, and Mac, while the service has been built into Siri since iOS 8.
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In March, Feral Interactive announced that its latest video game port for macOS would be the adventure game Life is Strange: Before the Storm, and at the time said it would launch in the spring. After a delay, the prequel is set to release next week on Thursday, September 13 on macOS and Linux.
Life is Strange: Before the Storm was originally developed by Deck Nine and published by Square Enix on consoles and PCs in August 2017. The story takes place three years before the events of the original Life is Strange, tracking the friendship between rebellious sixteen-year-old Chloe and a popular schoolmate named Rachel.
Gameplay puts players in the shoes of Chloe as she must make choices that ultimately shape a branching story with multiple endings influenced by every decision. One of the main gameplay hooks of the game is “Backtalk,” which the developers describe as a “risk and reward-based system” in which Chloe uses her wit to provoke NPCs or get her way.
The game requires macOS High Sierra 10.13.5 or higher, an Intel Core i5 2.0 GHz processor, 8GB RAM, and 28GB of hard drive space. Required graphics cards include 1GB Nvidia 650M or better, 2GB AMD Radeon R9 M290 or better, or 1.5GB Intel Iris 5100 or better. The full list of supported Macs can be found below:
- All Mac Minis since Late 2014
- All 13″ MacBook Pros released since 2013
- All 15″ MacBook Pros released since mid 2012 with a 1GB graphics card or better (Mid 2015 models with an AMD 370X are not supported.)
- All 21.5″ iMacs released since late 2013
- All 27″ iMacs released since late 2013 (Late 2012 models with Nvidia 675 or Nvidia 680 graphics are also supported.)
- All 27″ iMac Pros released since late 2017
- All Mac Pros released since late 2013
Life is Strange: Before the Storm includes three episodes that make up the base game, and will also come in a Deluxe Edition that includes all three episodes as well as all available additional content, including the bonus episode “Farewell.” The Deluxe Edition will be priced at $24.82 and is available to pre-order beginning today on the Feral Store.
Tags: Mac App Store, Feral
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Apple has temporarily halted plans to launch Apple Pay in India after facing troubles with regulators in the country and a few technical hurdles, according to The Economic Times. Specifically, Apple is said to be concerned about the Reserve Bank of India’s recent data localization rule, which requires companies to store all of their payments data for local users only in India.
Because of this rule, numerous companies — including Apple, Amazon, PayPal, WhatsApp, Visa, and MasterCard — have faced uncertainties regarding the rollout of their respective mobile wallets in India. Apple is said to have gone so far as to meet with a few leading banks and the National Payments Corporation of India, which manages the country’s Unified Payments Interface platform.
In addition, Apple has reportedly encountered a few technical and design hurdles surrounding Apple Pay’s India launch, relating to the inclusion of Touch ID as a mode of authentication for payments in India on supported iPhones. The NPCI did not agree to this plan, because the country’s UPI is based on a six or four-digit passcode to authenticate transactions and does not have support for smartphone-based biometric security features yet.
Following these hurdles, plans as of now have been shelved, according to two people familiar with the matter.
“Apple will not launch payments in India yet. They are waiting to see how the regulatory landscape shapes up,” one of them said.
The Apple Pay news is just the latest in a string of negative reports regarding Apple’s attempt at expansion in India, one month after the company faced a potential legal threat over noncompliance with the Indian government’s anti-spam iPhone app. Otherwise, the company has had trouble in the country due to ever-increasing taxes on imported smartphones, rising iPhone prices because of such taxes, and user frustration with poor Apple services like Apple Maps.
In an attempt to finally rectify these issues, Bloomberg in August reported that Apple is planning a completely revamped India strategy led by Apple executive Michel Coulomb. This includes better and longer-lasting retail deals with higher sales targets, the opening of official Apple retail stores in India, “overhauling” the company’s relationship with independent retailers, and improving apps and services “aimed more closely at Indians.”
Apple Pay was never mentioned as part of that strategy, so it doesn’t appear that users in India will have a chance to use the company’s mobile wallet anytime soon. Otherwise, Apple Pay is available in over two dozen countries, including the United States, the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, Singapore, Switzerland, Hong Kong, France, Russia, China, Japan, New Zealand, Spain, Taiwan, Ireland, Italy, Denmark, Finland, Sweden, UAE, Brazil, Ukraine, Norway, and Poland.
Related Roundup: Apple PayTag: India
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With the latest Apple Pay promotion you can get 10 percent off your next order from Under Armour through Wednesday, September 12. If you’re in the United States, you can shop in the Under Armour app and then place your order before next Wednesday to see the discount automatically applied when you check out using Apple Pay.
Apple is promoting the beginning of football season with the new Apple Pay offer, which also points users towards apps like Fanatics, Gametime, and Grubhub, offering sports apparel, tickets, and food respectively.
The last few Apple Pay promotions have included partnerships with Postmates, Nike, StubHub, TGI Fridays, and Adidas. As we enter the fall, users can likely expect some of the same promos we saw last holiday season, potentially including free Postmates subscriptions, savings on Fandango tickets, free Instacart deliveries, and more.
Related Roundup: Apple PayTag: Apple Pay promo
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Apple this week announced it will be launching a dedicated web portal for authenticated law enforcement officers to submit lawful requests for data, track requests, and obtain responsive data from the company by the end of 2018.
Photo: Alejandro Mejía Greene via Flickr/Creative Commons
Apple also said it is building a team of professionals dedicated to training law enforcement officers, which the company believes will improve its ability to reach smaller police forces and agencies around the world. This will include the development of an online training module for officers.
The web portal will be available globally as part of Apple’s new Law Enforcement Support Program, which the company detailed on the Government Information Requests page of its privacy website this week.
Apple says the program will allow it to uphold its fundamental commitment to protect the security and privacy of its users:
We believe that law enforcement agencies play a critical role in keeping our society safe and we’ve always maintained that if we have information we will make it available when presented with valid legal process. In recognizing the ongoing digital evidence needs of law enforcement agencies, we have a team of dedicated professionals within our legal department who manage and respond to all legal requests received from law enforcement agencies globally. Our team also responds to emergency requests globally on a 24/7 basis.
We publish legal process guidelines for government and law enforcement agencies globally and we publish transparency reports twice a year detailing the types of requests we receive and how we respond. In addition, we regularly provide training to law enforcement officers on the types of data available from Apple and how to obtain it consistent with our legal process guidelines.
By the end of 2018 we will begin the launch of an online portal for authenticated law enforcement officers globally to submit lawful requests for data, track requests, and obtain responsive data from Apple.
We are building a team of professionals dedicated to training law enforcement officers globally, which will significantly increase our ability to reach smaller police forces and agencies. This will include the development of an online training module for officers. This will assist Apple in training a larger number of law enforcement agencies and officers globally, and ensure that our company’s information and guidance can be updated to reflect the rapidly changing data landscape.
Apple is committed to protecting the security and privacy of our users. The above developments and the work we do to assist investigations uphold this fundamental commitment.
Apple requires law enforcement and government officials to follow applicable laws when requesting customer information and data. If they do, Apple complies by providing the narrowest possible set of data relevant to the request.
That information can include device identifiers, customer service records, and iCloud content such as emails, stored photos, documents, contacts, calendars, bookmarks, Safari browsing history, Apple Maps search history, iMessages backups, and iOS device backups, according to Apple’s guidelines.
Where and when legally required, Apple may also provide basic customer information such as name, physical address, email address, phone number, and IP address, along with customer service records and Find My iPhone logs.
Apple ensures that it has never created a backdoor or master key to any of its products or services, and never will. Perhaps the biggest example of this was Apple’s refusal to create a loophole for the FBI to brute force their way into the passcode-locked iPhone owned by the shooter in the 2015 San Bernardino attack.
Twice per year, Apple publishes a transparency report that outlines how many data-related requests it has received from law enforcement, government, and private party officials, both in the United States and abroad.
In the United States, during the second half of 2017, for example, Apple received 4,450 requests for 15,168 devices. Apple provided data in 3,548 cases, or approximately 80 percent of the time. Worldwide, Apple received a total of 29,718 requests covering 309,362 devices, providing data 79 percent of the time.
Note: Due to the political nature of the discussion regarding this topic, the discussion thread is located in our Politics, Religion, Social Issues forum. All forum members and site visitors are welcome to read and follow the thread, but posting is limited to forum members with at least 100 posts.
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