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Posts from the ‘News’ Category

26
Apr

Nintendo’s Switch is a moneymaking hit and the future looks good


The last time Nintendo opened its books, we learned that the Switch had already sold more in nine months than the Wii U had in its entire lifetime. But it’s only natural that after a spike in interest over the holiday period, things would start to slow down. And that’s exactly what we’re seeing today in Nintendo’s latest earnings, marking the end of its financial year. Over the past three months, Nintendo has shifted 2.93 million Switch consoles. That’s nowhere near the 7.23 million figure for the three months prior, but it still pushes total sales up to a tasty 17.79 million.

An update on the Switch’s biggest games shows nothing out of the ordinary. Software sales have slowed in general, of course, but Super Mario Odyssey has now crossed the 10 million mark, and Mario Kart 8 Deluxe had a particularly good three months with nearly 2 million more people taking the Rainbow Road. The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild and Splatoon 2 haven’t fallen out of grace either, selling roughly 1.5 and 1 million units over the same period, respectively.

Since Nintendo’s wacky Labo cardboard peripherals for the Switch have just gone on sale, we’ve no idea yet whether they’re proving successful, and there’s nothing much to talk about on the mobile front. Mario Kart Tour is the next big title destined for phones, and that’s unlikely to be out before next year. The 3DS is a little long in the tooth these days, but just over half a million of the handhelds were sold in the last three months, taking the total for the financial year to 6.40 million units. Meanwhile, the SNES Classic Edition unsurprisingly “proved to be a hit in every region,” with sales of the retro console totally 5.28 million for the last 12 months.

While momentum may have slowed over the past three months, there’s no doubt the Switch is Nintendo’s new golden goose. This financial year, the company took home 177,557 million yen in profit, which works out to over $1.6 billion. To put that into perspective, in the last financial year (pre-Switch), Nintendo recorded a mere 29,362 million yen in profit (just shy of $270 million). In addition to publishing its latest earnings today, Nintendo also announced that current President Tatsumi Kimishima, who took over from the late Satoru Iwata in 2015, will be stepping down. He will be replaced by Shuntaro Furukawa, who’s held various executive positions during his career with Nintendo, which started in 1994.

It’s not a bad time to be in charge, and Nintendo is confident about the year ahead. There are already a bunch of high-profile game launches in the calendar, including the Mega Man Legacy Collection next month, Mario Tennis Aces in June, Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker in July, and another installment of Super Smash Bros. sometime later this year. And I haven’t even mentioned all the indie titles also in the pipeline. Nintendo will start charging for the Switch’s online features starting in September, too, creating another new revenue stream.

The only problem Nintendo might have to deal with in the foreseeable future is hackers figuring out how to get pirated games running on the Switch, which is beginning to look increasingly possible — and we all know what that did to the Dreamcast and Sega. Anyway, game of Night Trap anyone?

Source: Nintendo (1) (PDF), (2), (3), (4) (PDF)

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26
Apr

Spotify streaming comes to Sky Q boxes


Spotify is available on Sky Q from today, letting you play music via your Sky Soundbox or stream music to your TV speakers via AirPlay or Bluetooth. It’s the first high-profile app to come to the platform since it launched two years ago, and its arrival kickstarts the raft of new features — including machine learning, additional voice commands, a new kids mode and a wide-screen user interface — which were announced for the service earlier this year.

26
Apr

How to Look Up a Word Definition in iOS 11


iOS 11 includes a neat built-in dictionary feature that lets you quickly look up the definition of words on your iPhone or iPad, even if an internet connection is unavailable.

It’s a handy recourse if someone breaks out a “big word” during a conversation, or you come across an expression in a book or on the web that you don’t quite understand.

There are a couple of ways to access the dictionary which we’ve outlined below. Keep them in mind, and with a little luck, you won’t have to consult a physical dictionary, a third-party dictionary app, or an online definition service the next time you want to know the meaning of a word.

How to Get a Word Definition in iOS 11

On your iOS device, swipe right on the Lock screen or Home screen to display the Today view. Alternatively, swipe down on the Home screen to invoke the Search screen.
Tap the search field if it isn’t already active, and begin typing the word that you want to define. (You can also tap the microphone icon and say the word – if you know how to pronounce it.)
Read the dictionary definition preview that appears in the search results, or tap it to see the extended definition.
In our experience, these definitions can occasionally get mixed up with Wikipedia suggestions from Siri. If you want to increase the chances that you get a dictionary definition first, go to Settings -> Siri & Search and toggle off Suggestions in Search.

How to Look Up a Word Within an App in iOS 11

If you come across a word you don’t know in a document or email, or even when browsing the web, use the following method to look up its definition.
Tap and hold your finger on the word to highlight it.
Tap Look Up in the pop-up menu.
Read the dictionary definition preview that appears in the Look Up results, or tap it to see the extended definition.
If you don’t see any word definitions in the search results, it’s likely you haven’t got any dictionaries installed on your iOS device.

To remedy this, scroll down to the bottom of the results screen and tap Manage Dictionaries. You’ll be presented with a list of dictionaries available to you. Simply tap the ones you want to download and they’ll be automatically installed on your device.


The next time you look up a word, you’ll get individual definitions from every dictionary that’s installed. Note that you can add and remove dictionaries at any time by ticking/unticking them in Settings -> General -> Dictionary.

Finally, if you’re seeking a more feature-rich lexical resource to explore words and phrases, check out the Terminology app for iPhone and iPad. [Direct Link]
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26
Apr

Facebook appoints ex-FCC chief as head of public policy


Now that Facebook is facing the possibility of stronger government oversight, it’s putting someone who knows how the government works in charge of public policy. The social network has appointed former FCC chief Kevin Martin, who led the agency from 2005 to 2009 under the Bush administration, as interim head of US public policy. Martin isn’t a new recruit — he joined Facebook back in 2015 as VP for mobile and global access policy — but now he’s replacing Erin Egan, who used to be head of public policy and Chief Privacy Officer.

Egan, a well-known privacy and data security lawyer, will stay as Chief Privacy Officer. Facebook didn’t exactly explain why Martin is taking over one of her roles, but according to The Information, Egan has become less influential within the company in recent months. It’s no secret that Facebook needs all the help it can get ever since it was revealed that Cambridge Analytica got its hands on 87 million users’ data without their knowledge. Facebook chief Mark Zuckerberg even had to appear before Congress, where he was grilled about the company’s privacy practices. Martin’s Republican and Washington friends could become invaluable allies to the company as it faces more scrutiny in the days ahead.

Source: CNBC, Axios

26
Apr

Samsung shows record profits despite weak demand for mobile OLED


With its latest earnings report, Samsung notched its fourth straight quarter showing record operating profits of $14.4 billion. As predicted, that’s mostly due to the memory chips it makes that go inside its phones as well as many other devices, but the most notable element of the report might be its warning of slow OLED sales.

Samsung makes the OLED screen fronting Apple’s iPhone X, and like other iPhone suppliers, its results imply that shipments and demand have been lower than anticipated. Still, Samsung appears to be expecting a follow-up version in the second half of this year when “OLED panels in the smartphone industry are expected to see a rebound in demand.” Apple will report its earnings May 1st, although it doesn’t usually provide information on sales of specific iPhone models.

As far as its own devices, sales of the Galaxy S9 family were strong along with unexpectedly high numbers for the outgoing Galaxy S8. That’s all while Samsung prepares for its next flagship phone later this year, which should be a new Galaxy Note.

In TVs, sales were slightly down, but we’re keeping an eye on updates about the stunning 8K and MicroLED Wall displays shown off at CES. According to the report, those are both still in the works for a launch in the second half of this year.

Source: Samsung

26
Apr

Snapchat will test unskippable ads in May


Snapchat is considering a new-but-familiar way to profit from its content: According to DigiDay, the company will start testing six-second TV commercial-like ads starting around May 15. By “commercial-like,” we mean you can’t skip them at all — as it is, you can easily tap on a Snap ad to dismiss it. The company is reportedly planning to run the ads, aptly called “Commercials,” in select shows produced by publishing partners like MTV-owner Viacom, such as Cribs and Girl Code. In other words, they’re the kind of shows you’d usually expect to be interrupted by commercials if they’re shown on TV.

Thankfully, the platform isn’t peppering people’s Stories and magazine-style Discover editions with unskippable commercials. So, you might not come across one at all if you only look at your friends’ Snaps. As DigiDay noted, Snapchat probably conjured up the new ad format, because it’s been spending a ton of money but has yet to become profitable. A 2017 study by customer acquisition firm Fluent found that 80 percent of 18-to-24-year-old American users, the app’s key audience, usually skip ads on the platform. Clearly, the company knows that to become profitable by the end of the year, it has to find a way to earn from its audience.

Source: Digiday

26
Apr

Here’s your first look at the OnePlus 6 x Marvel Avengers Limited Edition


New teaser gives us a sneak peek of the OnePlus 6 x Marvel Avengers Limited Edition.

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OnePlus confirmed last week that it would roll out an Avengers-themed OnePlus 6, and a new teaser shared by the manufacturer gives us an early look at some of the design features. The phone will be called the OnePlus 6 x Marvel Avengers Limited Edition, and the teaser suggests we’ll see a textured back similar to that of the carbon fiber Karbon case.

The teaser gives us a glimpse of the front of the phone, which shows off rounded edges, a 19:9 display, and the notch. It also reveals a new location for the Alert Slider, which is now on the right side of the phone.

As for availability, the OnePlus 6 x Marvel Avengers Limited Edition will be unveiled on May 17 in India, the same time as the standard version of the OnePlus 6. The phone is listed as an Amazon exclusive, and it doesn’t look like the device will make its way outside India.

OnePlus will sell tickets for its launch event on May 17 from May 8, with fans able to walk away with a bag full of Marvel merchandise. The company is also giving away 6,000 tickets for Avengers: Infinity War to OnePlus customers in India, with the tickets set to go live from 10 a.m. IST.

26
Apr

10 awesome products you didn’t know Xiaomi made


Xiaomi sells over 2,000 products under the Mi Ecosystem label.

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Xiaomi is a lifestyle brand in China, offering everything from rice cookers to robot vacuums. The brand maintains a vast range of products that are sold under the Mi Ecosystem label, wherein Xiaomi ties up with — or invests in — hardware manufacturers in China to get their products integrated into its ecosystem.

The goal with the lifestyle products is to create a network of connected devices that can be controlled with a single app, Mi Home. We looked at some of the best Xiaomi lifestyle products you can buy earlier this year, and it’s now time to take a look at some of the brand’s lesser-known products.

Mi Sphere Camera

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Xiaomi got into the 360-degree camera segment last year with the $299 Mi Sphere Camera. The camera has two 180-degree fish-eye lenses that stitch the resulting images together to create a 360-degree photo, and it works the same way for videos as well.

6-axis EIS ensures the footage is stable, and the bundle also includes a tripod and carrying case. The 1600mAh battery is good for about 70 minutes of video recording, and it charges over MicroUSB.

The main problem with the Mi Sphere Camera initially was the lack of an English-centric app, but with the product now on sale officially in the U.S., you can download the Mi Sphere Camera app from the Play Store.

The app allows you to edit 360-degree videos, and share them directly on social platforms. If you’re interested, the Mi Sphere Camera is available from Amazon for $299.

See at Amazon

Mi Home Security Camera

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Xiaomi makes a wide range of security cameras, and the $39 model comes with a 1080p wide-angle 130-degree lens with motion detection and night vision.

You’ll be able to view footage in real-time via Mi Home, and the best part about the security camera is that you don’t need to pay a monthly fee — it records footage directly onto an SD card. The image quality is excellent, and at just $39, you really can’t go wrong.

See at Amazon

Mi Electric Toothbrush

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Xiaomi’s electric toothbrush takes on Philips’ Sonicare series, offering a similar design and feature-set.

Like the rest of the products in Xiaomi’s ecosystem label, the Mi Electric Toothbrush has a minimalist design: there’s just a single button, and four LED indicators along the body that display the current mode. You’ll be able to choose from three modes — gentle, standard, and a custom preset — and the toothbrush holds a ten-day charge, and there’s a dock included in the box that lets charges it up once it’s running low.

The toothbrush has six sensors to analyze your brushing motion, and you’ll be able to see a brushing score after every cleaning via the Mi Home app.

The body itself is free of any metals, and the brush is certified IPX7. Sure, an internet-connected toothbrush is overkill, but if you’re looking to see what the fuss is all about, the Mi Electric Toothbrush retails for $45.

See at Gearbest

Mi Walkie Talkie

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I had no idea Xiaomi made a walkie talkie, but when I saw the product at a Mi Home store in Beijing, I knew I had to pick it up. The $45 walkie talkie comes in two colors — white and blue, offers a frequency range between 409MHz and 410MHz for the public channel, UHF from 430MHz to 440MHz, as well as 144MHz – 148MHz. There’s also FM radio, and even the ability to broadcast your location.

It has a rugged design, a detachable antenna, and the push-to-talk button is located on the left. The walkie talkie has a range of 10 kilometers (6.2 miles), and has a battery that lasts up to 17 hours of continuous use.

See at HonorBuy

Mi Smart Home Security Kit

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Xiaomi’s starter smart home security kit consists of a door and window sensor, motion sensor, wireless dimmer switch, smart plug, and a gateway that acts as a nightlight. The gateway acts as a centralized hub, and you’ll be able to pair the sensors with the gateway and monitor their status and get alerts via the Mi Home app.

Xiaomi’s Mi Smart Home kit is the easiest way to get started with home automation

The sensors work in conjunction with other Xiaomi products. If you have a few Yeelight LED bulbs, for instance, you can set up a scene where the lights switch on as soon as the motion sensor detects activity.

See at Gearbest

Philips + Xiaomi Desk Light

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After trying out several desk lights, I settled on the Philips + Xiaomi smart lamp for two reasons: you can control it from the Mi Home app, and it has an Eye Comfort mode that’s ideal for reading. The light can fold up to 180 degrees, and it has two light sources — one at the top and the other at the back.

It’s a steal at $49, particularly given the design and the ability to control the lighting options via Mi Home.

See at Gearbest

Air quality monitor

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Xiaomi’s air quality monitor is an essential accessory for most Asian markets. The device comes with a laser sensor that accurately measures the PM2.5 levels in your vicinity, displaying it on the OLED screen. It also has Wi-Fi connectivity, and shows detailed statistics via the Mi Home app.

The best feature is its ability to pair with other Xiaomi products. For instance, the air quality monitor can be connected to Xiaomi’s air purifier, allowing the latter to engage automatically if the PM2.5 levels cross a certain threshold.

See at Gearbest

Mi Laser Projector

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At $1,800, Xiaomi’s short-throw laser projector is its costliest product. It is also one of the best laser projectors you can buy today. I’ve been using the projector for over four months now, and I prefer it to the Sony W950D Android TV I picked up a few years ago.

The Mi Laser Projector uses an ALPD 3.0 laser light source, leading to bright images (up to 5000 lumens) and excellent contrast ratio. It even has built-in speakers that are more than adequate for watching movies and TV shows. You’ll be able to project up to 150 inches, and while the resolution is limited to 1080p, it’s perfectly serviceable for my use cases.

I cannot stress just how good the Mi Laser Projector is, and the image quality and aesthetic are more in line with projectors that cost over $5,000. It has been my best Xiaomi purchase for a long time, and if you’re in the market for a laser short-throw projector, you cannot go wrong with the Mi Laser Projector. Just make sure to get an Android TV box to pair to the device, as the interface predominantly highlights Chinese TV shows and movies.

See at Gearbest

Mi Robot Builder

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Xiaomi’s Mi Robot Builder is similar to Lego’s Mindstorms. It is a programmable toy with a 3-in-1 design, and can be built into a robot, plane, or a dinosaur.

It has a 32-bit Cortex Mx core, along with 32MB of flash memory and Bluetooth connectivity. Oh, and it has self-balancing wheels. You can pick it up from Amazon for $139.

See at Amazon

Mi Smart Scale

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Xiaomi sells a Bluetooth-enabled smart scale that measures ten different attributes. It tracks weight, muscle mass, BMI, water level, bone mass, visceral fat level, metabolism, and overall fat content, and delivers a body score.

The scale is made out of ABS, and it has anti-skid pads at the bottom. You’ll be able to view all the detailed statistics via the Mi Fit app.

See at Gearbest

26
Apr

Facebook’s apology ad tries to remind you of the good times


Remember when Facebook was a place where you wished happy birthday to people you never interact with otherwise and occasionally pulled up an ex’s current pictures to see how they’re doing? In an apparent bid to pull the narrative back from its executive’s TV interviews and a couple of appearances in front of Congress, the social network has started airing this ad promising “Facebook will do more to keep you safe and protect your privacy.” Spam, clickbait, fake news and “data misuse” are all cited specifically as things that are going to change, even as Cambridge Analytica and AI nipple recognition go unmentioned.

If your account is already deleted or you’re holding fast to a theory that the company monitors your microphone for ad targeting this video is unlikely to change your mind. The question for people who are more casually aware of the current environment of privacy reckonings is whether it makes them feel safer about logging into Facebook or not.

Source: Facebook (YouTube)

26
Apr

Police take down the world’s largest DDoS-for-hire service


The internet might be slightly safer against distributed denial of service attacks in the near future… slightly. Police in twelve countries have taken down WebStresser, believed to be the world’s largest service for paid DDoS attacks. The joint campaign (Operation Power Off) seized WebStresser’s infrastructure in the US, UK and the Netherlands, and busted site administrators ranging as far as Australia and Hong Kong.

It’s not clear just who was arresed, though security guru Brian Krebs found that one of them is likely Jovan Mirkovic, a 19-year-old Serbian. He used his Facebook account to openly discuss his role in WebStresser, and his last post was on April 3rd (the day before Operation Power Off took place).

Like many other cyberattack-for-hire services, WebStresser made it all too easy to knock sites offline on a whim. You could pay as little as $15 to flood a site with traffic, regardless of how little technical knowledge you had. Annoyed by a company’s practices, or just wanted petty revenge? You simply had to order an attack.

While authorities are touting this as a major victory, there’s good reason to be cautious. It doesn’t take much to start a new DDoS network, especially if you can wield botnets that will do the hard work in place of specialized servers. This is definitely a victory — it’s just unlikely to be a decisive one.

Via: KrebsOnSecurity

Source: Reddit, Europol

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