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Oct

‘No-selfie zones’ suggested to prevent fatal accidents at tourist spots


Have you ever taken a selfie where, as you try to maneuver yourself into position to get the best shot, you momentarily forget about your immediate surroundings?

Such lapses in concentration, mixed with a determination to score your next awesome Instagram shot, have led to some unlucky folks ending up in hospital, or, in the most tragic cases, losing their life.

The figures are startling, with at least 259 people around the world losing their life while trying to take a selfie between 2011 and 2017, according to researchers at the India Institute of Medical Sciences in New Delhi.

After analyzing the cases, the team has recommended that popular tourist spots introduce “no-selfie zones” to try to improve safety when it comes to taking self-portraits using smartphones.

Led by Dr Agam Bansal, the team said there had been “an exponential increase in the number of selfie deaths from 2014–2015 to 2016–2017.” It put the rise down to the “increased usage of mobile phones, enhanced selfie features on mobile phones, increased availability of selfie sticks, and also promotion of the phenomenon of selfies through events like ‘best selfie prize.’”

About 75 percent of the selfie deaths comprised males, the team said, with most fatalities involving those in their teens and aged up to 30. Selfie-related fatalities are most often caused by drowning, which includes being “washed away by waves on a beach, capsizing of boats while rowing, clicking selfies on shore while not knowing how to swim, or ignoring warnings.” Other common causes include falling from an elevated location, being hit by a vehicle, and fire.

Most selfie deaths currently occur in India, partly because it has such a huge population and also because it has a high share of young people. Russia and the U.S. rank second and third, respectively, for selfie-related deaths.

In a bid to tackle the issue, some tourist locations in India have already begun designating no-selfie zones. In the Indian city of Mumbai, for example, 16 places have banned selfies, while signs started showing up on cliffs and beaches in the Indian state of Goa, which attracts millions of tourists each year. Meanwhile, on Mount Merapi in Indonesia, local officials are preparing a “safe selfie spot” for visitors in a bid to reduce the chance of people risking their lives with shots in precarious spots on the mountain.

The team sensibly underlines the fact that “selfies are themselves not harmful, but the human behavior that accompanies selfies is dangerous.” It adds: “Individuals need to be educated regarding certain risky behaviors and risky places where selfies should not be taken,” and suggests that “no-selfie zones areas should be declared across many tourist areas, especially places such as water bodies, mountain peaks, and tall buildings” to prevent future accidents.

Editors’ Recommendations

  • Selfies don’t usually descend into brawls, but this one did
  • How to take the perfect selfie
  • Samsung Galaxy S8 camera tips that will make you a better photographer
  • 6 pro tips for taking amazing portrait photos with the Huawei P10
  • What is portrait mode? How tech helps smartphones capture a better you



1
Oct

A Best Buy flub sheds light on a new Chromecast. Here’s what we know so far


It appears certain Google will announce a brand-new Chromecast streaming device at its October 9 event in New York City, alongside a slew of new hardware, including Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL smartphones, new Pixel Books, and possibly new Pixel Buds headphones.

First reported by Android Police, a Redditor was accidentally sold a third-gen Chromecast at Best Buy. The Reddit thread creator, GroveStreetHomie, says the item didn’t pop up in Best Buy’s point-of-sale system, so the customer service representative used the SKU from a current-gen Chromecast in order to force the sale through. As such, the streaming dongle was sold for $35. Though we do not expect the new Chromecast to go up in price, the accidental sale is not necessarily indicative of what the final street price might be for the new version.

The new streamer doesn’t come as a surprise, though this Best Buy gaff does reveal a few new details. Since it has been a couple of years since the Chromecast Ultra was announced, we expected a replacement, and aside from confirming the dongle’s existence, an FCC filing reveals the new Chromecast will support Bluetooth outside of utilizing it solely for setup.

Product packaging and the Redditor’s comment shed no light on the Chromecast’s new use of Bluetooth, but it is possible the connection could be used to support wireless keyboards and other peripherals like gamepads. Overall, the details about the new device remain scant. The Reddit poster indicates the device requires a firmware update out of the box, and we don’t anticipate this changing until the device is shipping to the public.

What we do know is that the new Chromecast is slightly thicker than the current version, replaces glossy plastic with a matte-black finish, and uses Google’s ‘G’ logo instead of the company’s Chrome moniker.

This is increasingly looking more like an incremental update and less like the next big thing in streaming. Meanwhile, Roku and Amazon have been busy bringing new devices like the impressively capable $40 Roku Premiere and the cutting-edge Fire TV Cube. The only way the new Chromecast could make significant waves this year is if it housed Android TV on-board. Currently, the Chromecast is basically a dumb dongle — one which requires its users to use their smartphone, tablet, or PC to control the device.

Stay tuned to Digital Trends for updates on Google’s October 9 event and the new devices we expect to see.

Editors’ Recommendations

  • Battle of the streaming sticks: Chromecast vs. Roku vs. Fire TV Stick
  • Roku adds Google Assistant support as Amazon makes bigger TV moves
  • The best streaming devices
  • Google has a new Chromecast on the way, but don’t expect a major leap forward
  • Google Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL: Everything we know



1
Oct

HP Chromebook x2 vs. Google Pixelbook


Mark Coppock/Digital Trends

After a couple of years during which Chrome OS powered mostly low-priced notebooks and the occasional premium 2-in-1, things are starting to look up for Chromebook buyers. A new wave of laptops is arriving over the next several months that promise to be more well-made, innovative, and powerful.

HP has kicked off this new wave with the first Chrome OS tablet that’s not aimed at the education market, and the company obviously designed it to compete with the Chromebook blue blood. That means that HP’s $580 Chromebook x2 takes on Google’s high-end Pixelbook that starts at around $750 on sale. Does the Chromebook x2 has a chance against its entrenched and well-connected competition?

Design

The Chromebook x2 certainly looks and feels the part of a genuine challenger to the Pixelbook. It’s well-built, with its all-metal tablet portion giving off that “solid chunk of metal and glass” feeling that exudes quality. It also has a forward-thinking design, with a keyboard base that the tablet magnetically snaps into and creates a traditional clamshell notebook that’s stable in the lap.

HP also gave the Chromebook x2 some great aesthetics, with the back of the tablet sporting a “ceramic white” color scheme that’s, in fact, an anodized electrodeposition (AED) coating promising to help the tablet stay scratch-free and lovely. The tablet mates with a keyboard base that’s also attractive, with a rubberized surface that looks good and feels great.

The Google Pixelbook also aims for a premium look and feel. It’s blend of metal, plastic, and glass that stands out as well thanks to a design that essentially mimics the company’s Pixel smartphones. The same sort of glass cutout adorns the upper quarter of the chassis’ backside, identifying the Pixelbook as a member of Google’s lineup while simultaneously improving wireless connectivity.

Both 2-in-1s sport bezels that are a little larger than usual, which should make each more comfortable to hold onto in tablet mode. They both also have great keyboards and touchpads for traditional input and control, along with responsive touch displays and active pens.

Frankly, if they both cost the same, we’d call this category a draw. But the Chromebook x2 makes its elegance and robust build available for significantly less money.

Performance

Mark Coppock/Digital Trends

The Chromebook x2 is equipped with a 7th-generation low-power Intel Core m3-7Y30 CPU, 4GB of RAM, and 32GB of eMMC storage. Those components are plenty fast for Chrome OS, which is a relatively lightweight OS that doesn’t put the same demand on the processor, RAM, or storage (thanks to the integrated Google Drive cloud service) as Windows 10. During our review testing, we found the Chromebook x2 to handle whatever we asked of it with alacrity, whether that was running Chrome, Chrome OS apps, or Android apps.

The Pixelbook is even more powerful, with low-power 7th-generation Intel Core i5 and i7 CPUs, up to 16GB of RAM, and up to 512GB of very fast NVMe solid-state drives (SSD) storage. That’s fast enough for Windows 10, and handles Chrome OS like a walk in the park.

Both of the notebooks enjoy 12.3-inch IPS displays running at 2,400 x 1,600 (235 PPI) resolution in the 3:2 productivity-friendly aspect ratio. Both displays are bright, offer excellent contrast and colors, and are joys to use for both working and consuming media.

The Chromebook x2 is plenty fast for Chrome OS, but the Pixelbook is faster, hands-down. Google stacked the deck when it comes to performance, and there isn’t a Chromebook out yet that can keep up.

Portability

The Chromebook x2 packs in 48 watt-hours of battery life, which isn’t a lot for a traditional notebook but it’s at the high end for a tablet. It lasted a solid four hours and 23 minutes on our aggressive Basemark web benchmark battery test, an excellent score the promises all-day battery life. It’s also thin and light as just a tablet at 0.33 inches and 1.62 pounds, although weight jumps to 3.07 pounds with the keyboard attached (it’s a bit heavy, to balance the display in clamshell mode).

The Pixelbook has a smaller 41 watt-hour battery, which nevertheless managed to power the 2-in-1 for a very good four hours and 1o minutes in our Basemark test. That’s only slightly behind the Chromebook x2, and the Pixelbook also ran for a full workday and then some. The Pixelbook is 0.40 inches thick and weighs 2.4 pounds, meaning it’s easier to carry around than the HP unless you leave the latter’s keyboard behind.

The Chromebook x2 and Pixelbook are both highly portable 2-in-1s that can last a long time without being plugged in. We give the nod to the HP, though, because it’s just much more comfortable to use as a slate — particularly if you want to use the pen to draw or take notes.

The cheaper HP Chromebook x2 has the edge

Mark Coppock/Digital Trends

We had some difficulty ranking either of these high-quality and good looking Chrome OS 2-in-1s higher than the other, except in terms of performance. There, the Pixelbook was faster, but the Chromebook x2 was no slouch either. Chrome OS doesn’t ask as much of its hardware as Windows 10 or MacOS, and the Pixelbook’s edge is mostly theoretical at this point.

But the Chromebook x2 beats the Pixelbook in one crucial area: Price. At $580 with the keyboard and pen included, the HP is significantly less expensive than the Pixelbook’s starting retail price of $1,000 (although it’s often on sale for as low as $750). We can’t say with confidence that there’s a compelling reason to spend more when the Chromebook x2 is likely to meet just about any Chrome OS user’s needs.

Editors’ Recommendations

  • HP Chromebook x2 Review
  • Lenovo ThinkPad T480s vs. Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon
  • The best Chromebooks of 2018
  • Samsung Galaxy Note 9 vs. Apple iPhone X: Battle of the ultra-premium smartphones
  • The Nokia X5 is a budget phone with a premium glass body and a notch



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