It has been suspected for some time that there is a supermassive black hole located at the center of our galaxy, named Sagittarius A*. Now scientists have uncovered more evidence about the black hole which they shared in an announcement on October 31.
Cosmologists have used the Very Large Telescope (VLT) to observe flares of infrared radiation from the disk of debris surrounding Sagittarius A* (pronounced A-Star), which is strong evidence that it is a supermassive black hole. A consortium of scientists at the European Southern Observatory (ESO) used the GRAVITY telescope interferometer to observe three bright flares orbiting around Sagittarius A* at a tremendous speed of 30 percent of the speed of light. The flares are believed to be caused by the heated gases that orbit Sagittarius A* which interact with the magnetic fields surrounding them, and are in line with what scientists predicted would be seen around a black hole.
ESO released a video which shows a beautiful visualization of zooming into the black hole and seeing the swirling pattern of the flares that surround it:
This is the first time that material has been observed so close to the event horizon of a black hole. The event horizon is a region around a black hole from which nothing can escape — not matter or even light. Because black holes are so dense, they have very strong gravity which pulls anything within the event horizon back towards the black hole and prevents it from escaping. Just outside of the event horizon is a point called the innermost stable orbit, which is the closest that matter can come to the black hole without being dragged into it, and this is where the flares observed by the ESO originated. The innermost stable orbit is part of the accretion disk, which is the disk of gasses and other matter that forms around a black hole but which is far enough away not to be pulled inside the event horizon. The forces of friction and gravity combine to compress these gases and raise their temperature, which is how the flares form.
As a supermassive black hole, Sagittarius A* is even stronger than most black holes due to its enormous size. We now have confirmation that this cosmological giant is the center around which the entire Milky Way galaxy rotates.
- Kepler telescope shuts down, but endows all its data to the public
- Space Station on alert as crew forced to patch hole in docked spacecraft
- We’re going to the Red Planet! All the past, present, and future missions to Mars
- Space Station hole may have been made by ‘someone with a drill’
- Omega Centauri hosts 10 million stars and probably not an ounce of life
A new drone developed at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) could be the key to finding hikers lost in the woods. A challenge with search and rescue operations for people lost in forests is that helicopters and drones which fly above the tree canopy cannot see down to the forest floor to locate them, so autonomous drones which can weave between trees are a proposed alternative. However, most autonomous drones rely on GPS signals which can be weak or non-existent in heavily forested areas. Now researchers at MIT have developed a flying drone which does not rely on GPS but uses onboard computation and wireless communication instead.
The quadrotor drones have tools onboard to help them move around and plan paths, like laser-range finders which can estimate the drone’s position. Rather than downloading GPS data and using this to navigate, the drones form their own 3D maps by surveying the terrain and using algorithms to recognize areas that are already mapped. The data is displayed as a visual map in which unexplored areas are dark and already explored areas are grey, with trees shown as blocks of blue or green depending on their height. When several of these drones are used in concert, their data can be combined in a ground station which weaves all of the terrain information together to produce one large 3D map that can then be used by rescuers to locate lost hikers.
The next step in getting the drones ready for use is to equip them with object detection which they could use to tag the location of a hiker once they are found. Then the emergency services could use this location information to plan a rescue. The drones could essentially take over time-consuming searches, as Yulun Tian, a graduate student in the Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics, explained in a statement: “Essentially, we’re replacing humans with a fleet of drones to make the search part of the search-and-rescue process more efficient.”
In a real-world demonstration, the drones were able to map a 215 square foot area each and to successfully fuse their data into one collaborative map. See the drones in action in the video below:
- Eye-tracking tech lets you control a drone by looking where you want it to move
- This intelligent parachute system can bail out clumsy drone pilots
- Watch as a ‘lifeguard drone’ rescues a swimmer struggling at sea
- Tiny FlyCroTug drones can open doors and pull objects 40 times their weight
- DJI adds a bunch of extras to Mavic 2 for a new search-and-rescue drone
The Samsung Gear S2 is over two years old now, but if you’re really still loving your watch — or don’t want to spend hundreds of dollars on an upgrade — you can make your watch feel brand new without breaking the bank. The price of replacement bands has dropped so low that you can completely revamp the look of your Gear S2 for as low as $10.
Solid swappable bands
V_moro watch bands
$10 at Amazon
If you’re a fan of giving your technology a bit of personal flair, V_moro offers silicone bands available in several different solid colors, but the four-packs of solid or floral designs are the real price-performers here.
Getwow watch bands
$8 at Amazon
These rubberized bands have been so popular that from they only have two eye-catching designs left — one dark and floral, the other bright and woodsy. Some of the Amazon reviews have mentioned the band being a bit big on slimmer wrists, but it’s perfect for slim wrists.
Moretek watch bands
$11 at Amazon
There are five color combinations that you’ll be able to choose from here, and the perfectly perforated design of these fitness-oriented bands lets the two-tone color scheme shine through the gaps and add a subtle pop of color to your watch and your wrist.
MoKo milanese loop bands
$10 at Amazon
Milanese loop bands are great for those of us with wrist sizes that seem to always be between the holes on our watch bands. The classic silver version is $10, but it you’re looking for a unique and psychedelic watch band for your Gear S2 Classic, there’s a colorful anodized version that shimmers like a rainbow.
Moko silicone sport bands
$11 at Amazon
Moko has more than metal bands. They also sell silicone bands in a rainbow of colors, from Hot Pink — sorry, Barbie Pink — to Purple. These bands feature a pin-and-tuck closure rather than the traditional buckle, a style that Samsung employs on many of their original watch bands.
FanTEK watch bands
$8 at Amazon
Not everybody wants a watch band that stands out like a shiny glitter bomb. Thankfully, FanTEK comes through with affordable watch bands that sport muted designs. Unlike the bright designs on many other watch bands, you’ll find dark colors and simple designs that draw your eye to the Gear S2 without being overwhelming.
How to replace your Gear S2 watch band
I’m partial to the bolder patterns of the Getwow bands and the sweat-wicking properties of the Moretek bands, but solid color bands do go with more wardrobes and situations. Once you get your Gear S2 replacement band, it’s easy to change it out. Just follow along with our how-to video!
One of the first phones sold under the full Motorola branding in years, the Motorola One looks like a promising mid-range phone, thanks to Android One.
The Motorola One and One Power were announced back at IFA and launched in Asia, Europe, and Latin America in September. These mid-range phones featured fairly mid-range specs, but what stood out was that these phone ran Android One, meaning they don’t have much manufacturer customization — nor do they have the carrier bloat we tend to see from most phones at this pricepoint. It was disappointing to see these phones being sold seemingly everywhere except North America, but that changes this week.
Motorola has announced that the Motorola One is coming to the United States, where it will be sold exclusively by Best Buy for $399. Pre-orders are open now, the phone becomes available on BestBuy.com November 9, and the phone will be available in-store on November 11.
The Motorola One features a 5.9-inch LCD display with a resolution of 720 x 1520. A Snapdragon 625 and 4GB RAM power the phone, in addition to a respectable 3,000 mAh battery. There’s a 13MP + 2MP rear camera combo, 8MP front-facing camera, 64GB of expandable storage, a 3.5mm headphone jack, and a rear fingerprint sensor.
We got a good look at the One back at IFA, and while the notch and dual-camera placement had many screaming “iPhone X clone”, the accusation falls flat once you start looking at the phone’s actual design details. There’s still a small chin here sporting the renewed motorola branding — that’s right, folks, this is a Motorola One, not a Moto.
While these phones may not stand out much in a hardware perspective from the rest of a crowding mid-range market, at $399 — this phone is going to be fighting with the aging Moto X4, Nokia 7.1 Sony Xperia XA2 Ultra — but on the software side, Android One can lure in users. Unlike many of Motorola’s other phone that vary in software by region — and lead to many users wondering if they’re buying an Android One version or a Moto version of a phone — the Motorola One is an Android One device all over the world.
Android One phones are guaranteed three years of monthly security patches, providing some peace of mind to security-minded users. Motorola is also promising that the One will receive “two big software updates” which would take it to Android Q; Motorola’s promises on updates have been somewhat spotty over the years, but Android One should also help speed updates along since there are very few software alterations Motorola can make to the Motorola One.
As a GSM unlocked phone, the Motorola One should be somewhat compatible with AT&T and T-Mobile — the Motorola’s LTE bands are 1/2/3/4/5/7/8/28 — but Sprint and Verizon subscribers will have to look elsewhere. Best Buy has opened pre-orders for the Motorola One today at $399; the phone will become available on BestBuy.com November 9 and in-store on November 11.
$399 at Best Buy
Ever wondered how to type that Trademark ™ symbol? What about characters from other languages, like Latin? You may not know it, but there’s a whole slew of symbols and characters that you can type out just by using the keyboard in front of you. No special software is required.
Here’s our guide on how to type out symbols and accented letters, whether you use Windows or MacOS. Also, check out our picks for the best Windows keyboard shortcuts, the best MacOS keyboard shortcuts, and the best free Microsoft Office alternatives.
Typing symbols in Windows 10
Dan Baker/Digital Trends
Your Windows PC has many alt-key shortcuts programmed into it that are pretty easy to type out. However, it should be noted that if you’re using Windows and you have a keyboard with a full number pad, you can only execute these keyboard shortcuts if you use the number keys on your number pad, with the number lock key turned on. Using the number keys directly located below the row of F-keys will not work, which we discovered during independent testing.
If you don’t have a keyboard without a number pad, you can use the on-screen keyboard in Windows to perform these tasks. To find the keyboard in Windows 10, roll your cursor over to the lower right side of the screen and right click on the taskbar. Then, click on “Show Touch keyboard Button.” You can then long tap or long hold your mouse down on any given letter to find symbols and other alternate characters.
Step 1: Open your word processor and locate either alt key on your keyboard. Typically, the alt keys are located on either side of your spacebar.
Step 2: Then, scan the lists below for the symbol you want to type out.
Step 3: Make sure the cursor is located in the place where you want to insert the symbol of your choice. Then, simply enter its corresponding keyboard shortcut. For instance, holding the alt key and pressing the 1 on your numpad will insert a smiley face (☺) in your copy.
alt + 1
alt + 2
alt + 3
alt + 0169
alt + 0153
alt + 0174
Alt + 35
Alt + 241
alt + 0188
alt + 0189
alt + 0190
alt + 0247
alt + 60
alt + 62
alt + 242
alt + 243
Uppercase Accented Letters
alt + 0192
alt + 0193
alt + 0194
alt + 0195
alt + 0196
alt + 0199
alt + 0200
alt + 0201
alt + 0202
alt + 0203
alt + 0204
alt + 0205
alt + 0206
alt + 0207
alt + 165
alt + 0210
alt + 0211
alt + 0212
alt + 0213
alt + 0214
alt + 0217
alt + 0218
alt + 0219
alt + 0220
alt + 0221
alt + 0159
alt + 0142
Lowercase Accented letters
alt + 0224
alt + 0225
alt + 0226
alt + 0227
alt + 0228
alt + 0229
alt + 0230
alt + 0231
alt + 0232
alt + 0233
alt + 0234
alt + 0235
alt + 0236
alt + 0237
alt + 0238
alt + 0239
alt + 164
alt + 0242
alt + 0243
alt + 0244
alt + 0245
alt + 0246
alt + 0154
alt + 0249
alt + 151
alt + 150
alt + 0252
alt + 0253
alt + 0255
alt + 0158
alt + 0164
alt + 155
alt + 156
alt + 157
alt + 158
alt + 159
Using the character map on Windows
Character Map is installed onto every Microsoft Operating system. It allows you to copy and paste accented letters and symbols into documents, whether you use Word, WordPad, Google Docs, or another program.
Step 1: Head to the Windows Start Menu and then type in “character map” to search. After that, click it to open the application. Then, click it to open the app when it appears in the search results.
Step 2: Once opened, you’ll see a list of characters. Scroll through the list until you locate your desired symbol or letter. Once found, click the Select button next to the text field. Your selected symbol or letter will then appear in the text field labeled “Characters to copy.”
Step 3: Click Copy, then paste them in their respective places within in your document.
Data privacy has been the hot topic of this year with the introduction of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) legislation in Europe. The GDPR obliged tech companies to be more transparent about what user data they were collecting, and to give users options to view or delete their data. But legislation in the U.S. has not kept pace, with a lack of political will to crack down on data abuses by big tech companies.
Now one senator from Oregon, Ron Wyden, wants to change that. He has drafted a data privacy bill for the U.S. which proposes sweeping changes to data laws to make data use more transparent and accessible to customers. Called the Consumer Data Protection Act, the bill aims to protect Americans’ privacy by giving customers more control over the sharing or selling of their data, and by giving the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) the power to set privacy and security standards and to impose fines on companies that fail to protect data.
A proposed measure that is sure to be popular among the public is a “Do Not Track” system which allows people to opt out of being tracked on the web by companies personalizing advertisements. This is the digital equivalent of the popular Do Not Call Registry established by the FTC in 2003 which allows people to opt out of receiving phone calls from telemarketers.
Other proposed measures in the bill include hiring 175 more government staff to regulate the market for private data, and requiring that companies assess the algorithms that they use to process consumer data to determine whether they impact discrimination, privacy, or bias. This is particularly significant as algorithms become more important in processing data, but are vulnerable to the same biases as the humans that create them.
As much as there is for the public to like about Wyden’s bill, the reality is that it is unlikely to ever be signed into law. The tech lobby has a powerful influence over federal and state policy and the big tech companies will certainly resist any attempts to bring them into line regarding data privacy. But in terms of educating the public about what healthy data protection legislation could look like, Wyden’s bill provides an excellent starting point.
- Privacy is becoming obsolete, but not everyone thinks you should fear its demise
- U.S. Senate will hear Google, Apple testimony on data privacy this month
- Privacy-focused browser Brave sues Google, claims breach of Europe’s GDPR rules
- Personal info of 30,000-plus Pentagon employees compromised in contractor breach
- Twitter’s new Data Saver feature does what it says on the tin
JBL’s first Smart Display is a joy to use.
Despite being just a few months old, Google’s Smart Displays are already off to a great start. Lenovo kicked things off in July with the Lenovo Smart Display that proved to be the ultimate kitchen companion, and in early October, the Google Home Hub premiered as an adorable and compact display for your bedroom, office, and really anywhere else.
In between both of those is the JBL Link View.
The Link View has a much smaller display compared to the similarly-priced 10-inch Lenovo Smart Display, but it does something that neither Lenovo or Google have managed — it delivers truly fantastic sound in addition to the rest of the smart display experience.
Here’s our full review!
JBL Link View
$250 at Best Buy
Excellent sound in a great all-around package.
The JBL Link View may not be as stylish compared to the Lenovo Smart Display or Google Home Hub, but what it lacks in unique design it makes up for with unrivaled sound quality.
- Speakers sound fantastic
- Video camera w/ physical cover
- Display looks good
- Home View hub is a joy
- Support for audio groups
- Uninspired design
- Small screen for the price
JBL Link View What I like
Since all Smart Displays offer the same general experience, companies have to find unqiue ways to make their offerings stand out from everyone else’s. Right now, the Link View’s claim to fame is its unrivaled sound quality.
Where the Lenovo Smart Display sounds similar to the regular Google Home and the Home Hub’s speaker is more akin to that of the Home Mini, the Link View is far more powerful and rich-sounding. There are two 51mm full-range drivers on either side of the Link View’s screen, and around back JBL even managed to cram in a small subwoofer.
Music is presented with powerful bass and punchiness that you just don’t get on any other smart dipslay. It’s not as good as what you’ll find on something like the Sonos One, but it’s extremely enjoyable to listen to and works great for all sorts of songs, podcasts, and videos.
Speaking of videos, the display on the Link View measures in at 8-inches with an HD resolution. Although the Full HD panel on the 10-inch Lenovo Smart Display is still the best I’ve seen for these types of gadgets, the one on the Link View still looks really good. It gets plenty bright, text is easy to read, and unlike the new Amazon Echo Show, has an ambient light sensor that allows the screen brightness to adjust accordingly based on light of the room it’s in.
The interface that you interact with on the Link View’s screen isn’t any different than that of other smart displays, meaning that you can quickly see upcoming calendar appointments, the weather, reminders, and more. Google Assistant commands are just a quick “Ok, Google” or “Hey, Google” away, and you can use those for initiating Spotify streams, playing YouTube videos, and following recipes with a supeer sleek step-by-step UI.
As I sat down to write this review, the Link View received a software update that added support for multi-room audio groups and the new Home View feature that allows you to access controls for all of your smart home gadgets with just one swipe down from the top of the screen. Home View is a pure joy and easily makes the Link View my new favorite device for controlling all of my smart home goodies. When you don’t want to use your voice and your phone’s out of reach, Home View fills in that gap perfectly.
These are features that were first introduced on Google’s own Home Hub, and they’ll also be making their way to the Lenovo Smart Display.
Last but not least, the JBL Link View also ships with a 5MP camera on the front that can be used for making video calls with Google Duo. If you’re concerned about your privacy, JBL includes a physical cover that hides the lens for when you’re not using it.
JBL Link View What I don’t like
The JBL Link View isn’t a bad-looking smart home gadget, but it’s also not particularly pretty. The rounded corners give it a friendly appearance, but it’s a bit on the bulky side and can feel awkward when placed on a smaller nightstand or desk. Similarly, the fabric covering the two speakers and the smaller screen size means that it’s not as well-suited for the kitchen as the Lenovo Smart Display is.
The Link View fits in nicely if you have a larger surface area for it in the bedroom, living room, or office, but for more compact spots, you’ll definitely want to opt for the itty-bitty Home Hub.
JBL Link View Should you buy it?
If you want the best-sounding Smart Display money can buy, the JBL Link View is for you.
Its design may not be as functional or aestheticly pleasing as its competition, but when you add together the excellent sound quality, video camera, HD display, and snappy software performance, that one gripe quickly fades into the background.
out of 5
The Link View has a retail cost of $250, and for that price, it matces the larger 10-inch Lenovo Smart Display and costs a full $100 more than the Google Home Hub. The Lenovo option is still the best for kitchen use and the Home Hub’s minute design has yet to be topped, but for buyers that are okay sacrificing these things for a truly great audio experience, you can’t do any better than the JBL Link View.
See at Best Buy
As an ex-Lumia junkie, finding a phone that I enjoyed has been tough. But the Galaxy Note 9, along with Microsoft apps, has changed all of that.
Since the death of Windows phones (shout out to those still hanging on), I’ve struggled to find a phone that I really enjoy. The closest, up until now, was the BlackBerry KEY2, which made blogging on Word for Android completely viable with its tactile QWERTY keyboard. However, as a mid-range device, I found myself longing for more screen real estate, a better camera (literally, any other camera), and more customization options.
I bit the bullet on a Samsung Galaxy Note 9, and I am so glad I did.
It’s the little things
I’m not going to deep dive into the Samsung Galaxy Note 9 hardware, but if you’re interested, we have an excellent review over here. For me, the biggest complaint about Android has always been in the little things I miss from Windows Phone 8.1 and Windows 10 Mobile.
Personalization was a big draw for me on Windows 10 Mobile, and with Note 9, it’s like I’m back on my Lumia 950 XL.
As a relative newcomer to the Android ecosystem, one of the central criticisms of Samsung phones seems to pertain to its software. People often call it bloated and messy and decry things like Samsung’s Bixby assistant, which cannot be disabled via Samsung’s own settings. Thankfully, Android is heavily customizable, and Samsung offers OS tweaks that some other vendors simply don’t.
One of the things I miss most about Windows phone is system-level accent colors and dark modes. Samsung brings this with gusto with its Samsung Themes app, allowing me to skin system apps like Settings and the Dialer, in addition to the Notification Center. Personalization was a big draw for me on Windows 10 Mobile, and with the Note 9, it’s like I’m back on my red and black Lumia 950 XL.
Whether or not you like Samsung’s launcher experience is personal preference. Again, as a heavy Microsoft ecosystem user, simply installing the Microsoft Launcher and setting it to the default brushes away a lot of the extraneous Samsung features, such as the screen-edge navigation bar.
I was also daunted by the prospect of having such a huge phone again without Windows 10 Mobile’s one-handed navigation mode. Samsung’s phones also have these features, allowing you to either swipe up from the corner or tap the home button three times to shrink the display into the corner, allowing you to reach those pesky hamburger menus with greater ease.
Additionally, Microsoft’s SwiftKey seems to have improved leaps and bounds since I last used it, to the point where I can finally say it’s better than word flow on Windows Phone 8.1 and 10 Mobile. SwiftKey is also heavily customizable visually, allowing me to match it up to my system theme, and also making it larger for more accurate swiping. I barely miss the QWERTY keyboard on my KEY2 now, although I’m still not sure swiping on glass is reassuring enough for writing out full blog posts.
Inking on Android, wishing for Andromeda
Beyond obvious things like stellar battery life, a stunning display, and an impressive camera, one of the aspects I didn’t expect to love so much is the S-Pen.
Finding ink support in the Android world isn’t easy. Effectively, the only big-name brand doing it is Samsung, and perhaps that’s for good reason. Samsung does it bloody well.
The Note 9 makes me yearn for a world where a device like Surface Andromeda actually exists.
The S-Pen is about as powerful as Microsoft’s popular Surface Pen theoretically, stored neatly within the body of the Note 9 with 4,096 levels of pressure sensitivity. I’ve actually found it performs better with tilt shading, and the tip of the pen provides a type of resistance I’d more associate with pen and paper than what you get with the Surface Pen. The only downside is that it’s quite small, and the active button on the stylus is positioned in such a way that accidental presses happen often.
Additionally, the palm muting on the Galaxy Note 9 isn’t the best, when compared to a larger device like a Surface, but it’s completely usable for heavy note-taking and light artwork in apps like Adobe Photoshop Sketch, which work well with the S-Pen and its features. Being able to use the S-Pen as a camera shutter is also a nice touch.
The Note 9 makes me yearn for a world where a device like Surface Andromeda actually exists.
The future of mobile inking
Clearly, Microsoft is deeply invested in inking, particularly for the education sector. I certainly find that in the German classes I’m taking, the notes I made with the S-Pen have stuck better in my mind than the notes I made with the BlackBerry KEY2’s QWERTY keyboard. The issue for me is, despite how large the Galaxy Note 9 actually is, it’s still quite a cramped experience for handwriting, at least for someone like me with an “unrefined” inking style.
Samsung and Google are already reportedly working on a collaboration to make folding Android displays a reality, while we’ve known for a while Microsoft has been spamming patents related to folding tablets under the Surface Andromeda codename. I doubt Andromeda will realistically compete with the Samsung “Andromeda,” should either device ever make it to store shelves, purely because of the app gap issue. But Microsoft’s services will remain present on Android, making the marriage of Android inking and Microsoft Office a match made in digital heaven.
See at Amazon
Control it from anywhere!
You can grab this Chamberlain MyQ Smart Garage Door opener for just $59.99 at Amazon. This is a price-match from Home Depot that we shared a couple days ago. The MyQ normally sells for around $80, and it has never gone lower than $65 on Amazon before. This is one of the best deals ever, including previous Black Friday sales.
It’s compatible with most garage door openers made after 1993 that have standard safety sensors, so you won’t need to replace the whole opener to get the added functionality. Once installed, the MyQ hub can send you notifications if your door has been left open for too long and allow you to remotely open or close it from anywhere. There’s no more wondering if we closed the door when we left that morning, or if the kid is trying to be slick and sneak people in or out of the house through the garage.
See at Amazon
Student and former Apple intern Punya Chatterjee has developed a slick-looking free tvOS app called DayView that acts as a personal dashboard for Apple TV.
Similar to Today View on iPhone, the DayView interface displays widgets that hook into useful online platforms and personal services, providing at-a-glance information in a unified dashboard.
You can customize the dashboard wallpaper and select which widgets go where in the dashboard panels, plus they automatically refresh, so you could leave the app up on your TV screen during your morning routine, for example.
Currently the app includes widgets for weather, commute time, Google calendar, stocks, Twitter trends, and news headlines, but Chatterjee plans to build several more as well as improve the existing widgets, with better dashboard customization options also in the offing.
Possibilities for future updates include custom wallpapers, additional news sources for the news widget, HomeKit integration, extra calendar view options, extendable widgets, and more.
Apple Calendar support would be an obvious win, but Apple’s EventKit framework is currently only available for macOS and iOS, although the developer is looking at alternative syncing solutions in the meantime.
DayView 1.0 is a free download on Apple TV from the tvOS App Store. [Direct Link]
Related Roundups: Apple TV, tvOS 12Buyer’s Guide: Apple TV (Caution)
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