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Posts from the ‘News’ Category

23
Apr

Dude, where’s my car? Check out the best Android car apps


You can find Android apps for absolutely everything these days, so why not for driving? The field of car-related apps is really revving up, and there are plenty of great Android car apps for the user on the go. Here’s where the rubber meets the road — these are the best Android driving apps for getting the most out of your car and your next road trip.

Android Auto (free)

Android Auto

Google’s in-car system comes preinstalled in some cars now, but you can also use it by connecting your phone to a compatible car display, or just by using your phone in a dock on its own. With a simplified interface and hands-free voice commands, Android Auto enables you to use your phone safely while driving. The list of apps that work with Android Auto includes Spotify, Telegram, Skype, TuneIn Radio, and Audible, and it’s steadily growing. You can comfortably use it to navigate, listen to music, or send messages all with voice commands. It runs on any phone with Android 5.0 or later.

Download now from:

Google Play

GasBuddy (free)

GasBuddy Thumb

Why waste gas driving around looking for the cheapest place to fill up? GasBuddy is one of the highest-rated apps available, one that can help you track down the cheapest fuel in your area. Filter the results based on your city, zip code, or postal code to find the best deals near you. You can also report gas prices to help other users find cheap fuel and earn points. You might even win $100 worth of gas through various promotions. Best of all, you will save money by filling up your tank at the cheapest place.

Download now from:

Google Play

Drivemode (free)

Drivemode

As the name suggests, this app is designed to simplify your Android phone, making it easy to operate when driving. You can navigate the big, bright interface via broad swipes with your peripheral vision, so there’s no need to take your eyes off the road. It also supports voice controls. You’ll be pleased to find plenty of big name apps are integrated, including Google Maps, Waze, Spotify, Facebook Messenger, and a few others. There are plenty of options here that make it safer and easier to use your Android phone in the car.

Download now from:

Google Play

Car Dashdroid (free)

Car Dashdroid Thumb

With Car Dashdroid, you can use all your favorite apps without taking your focus off the road and compromising your safety. The app provides large buttons and intuitive voice commands, so you can easily see what you need and talk to your device to get things done. The app offers three sliding panels, allowing you to easily swipe between the dialer, main dashboard, and custom shortcuts. You can also set up more than 40 shortcuts, whether you want to do so for accessing your favorite apps, contacts, or other custom actions.

Download now from:

Google Play

Waze (free)

Waze

You can get all sorts of useful real-time information about the road ahead from the active community on Waze. The app also offers turn-by-turn directions, rerouting based on traffic, and alerts about accidents, hazards, and police locations. You can use it to share your ETA and progress with friends and family, which is ideal when you’re meeting up somewhere. Throw in info on points of interest, the best gas prices nearby, and Facebook integration and you have one of the most comprehensive Android car apps around.

Download now from:

Google Play

Ultimate Car Dock ($5)

Ultimate Car Dock Thumb

The Ultimate Car Dock app makes going hands-free in your vehicle a reality. With this app, you can make phone calls and send messages via a host of personalized voice commands. The app’s sleek design keeps you from being distracted, too, while showcasing whatever it is you want to see. The app offers full voice recognition and integration with your vehicle’s steering wheel or headset via Bluetooth. You also get personalized voice responses, a dedicated music player, and five different screens to make use of.

Download now from:

Google Play

ReadItToMe (free)

ReadItToMe Thumb

ReadItToMe is a unique hands-free app that reads, well, anything on your smartphone to you. You can use it to hear incoming callers, SMS messages, and an array of other desirable information. The app can also translate text talk to normal words and convert any language to the language of your choosing. It’s perfect if you’re driving, running, at the gym, or for any other time your hands might be tied up. The paid version of the app also allows you to reply to messages using your phone’s native text app, Whatsapp, Hangouts, Telegram, and other platforms.

Download now from:

Google Play

TomTom (free)

TomTom Thumb

TomTom’s GPS Navigation app offers you a sleek combination of the latest TomTom car navigation and world-class traffic information. With these two features, you can choose the best route available based on accurate, real-time traffic information that’s designed to get you to your destination as quickly as possible. You can also use it to learn exactly what is causing a delay and how best to avoid it, or look up the speed limit in your current area. Plus, you get 50 miles a month for free, though you’ll have to pay $20 a year if you go over the limit.

Download now from:

Google Play

CamOnRoad (free)

CamOnRoad

If you don’t want to splash out for a dash cam, then you might consider installing this app and transforming your phone into a DVR to record your driving. It’s very easy to use, you can save footage to the internal storage or a MicroSD card, and you currently get 2GB of cloud storage for free. It also works as an augmented reality app with the ability to show GPS directions on top of the video recording viewfinder. You can even get it to display gas station and speed camera locations. There’s also a background video capture mode, so you can record and still use your phone as normal.

Download now from:

Google Play

Torque Pro ($5)

Torque Pro Thumb

Torque Pro is the ultimate app for any car lover. With this app, you’ll get OBD fault codes, car performance information, sensor data, and a good deal of other useful metrics. The app can record everything from acceleration to CO2 emissions, as well as horsepower and torque. It can also diagnose problems through the car’s onboard diagnostic computer — OBD-II, although this requires a separate connector — and shut off any annoying “check engine lights.” If you find yourself in over your head, it can also send OBD-II data via email, or create an Open Office document to present your mechanic. It can even use your GPS to provide tracker logs with OBD engine logging, so you can see what you were doing at any point in time.

Download now from:

Google Play

This article was originally published in 2012 and was last updated on 4-21-2017 by Simon Hill to add Android Auto, Drivemode, Waze, and CamOnRoad.




23
Apr

PC fan noise driving you nuts? Here’s how to silence it


Computers have enjoyed impressive efficiency improvements over the last decade. A few readers might remember how computers powered by Intel’s power-hungry and hot Pentium 4 made many systems feel and sound more like space heaters than PCs. Those days are thankfully over, but noise has not been banished altogether. Some rigs remain an audible annoyance.

That doesn’t have to be true, however. With the correct equipment and a few incantations, most users can exorcise the demon howling in their desktop. Here are some ways to make your computer quieter.

Check mounting and attachments

ASUS M70AD US003S review desktop components

Here’s an easy step that almost anyone can do. Carefully take the back of your PC off and check all of your attachments. Grommets, gaskets, and screws may all be involved, and if any of them have grown loose over time, they could be vibrating and making your PC far louder than it’s supposed to be.

Check them all, tighten anything that needs to be tightened, and make sure that fans aren’t wobbling or loose. You can even buy mounts that including padding or gel for extra vibration resistance, though that is a step only advanced users will want to take. This a good time to check the base of your computer, as well to make sure the feet are rubberized and all on a flat plane to reduce noise.

Also, while you have access to the fan and the back of your PC, don’t forget to clean the whole thing out. Get a soft brush and a can of air, and get rid of any dust you see. That dust can make your computer overheat, as well as make your fan noisier, so a little bit of cleaning really can make a difference.

Add sound insulation

The case is another area where you might find improvement. Many inexpensive computers come in cases that were built without considering acoustics. The case might amplify sound or let it flow freely from the case to your ears.

This problem can be solved with sound insulation. Sound extreme? It’s not. Typical insulation is nothing more than molded foam that can be purchased for between $20 and $60 and stuck inside a PC with adhesive. The foam can be used to plug up un-used fan mounts, or layered across the side panels. It’s easy to cut and can be attached with bundled adhesive or two-sided tape from your local hardware store.

There are a couple downsides to this method. First, not all foam is equal. Make sure you use foam that’s meant for electronics. Otherwise, you might find yourself dealing with a house fire. Also, foam can decrease airflow in your PC, so make sure that you don’t obstruct any functional fan mounts or vents.

Replace old fans with new versions

A system that is always noisy suffers from bad fans, too many fans, or both. Take a look at what’s inside your desktop. Do you only see one or two fans? Then they’re probably cheap or old, and are making more noise than they should.

We have good news and bad news. The bad news is that those fans will need to be replaced; the good news is that fans are cheap! Most users will want to look for fans that offer an adjustable speed switch, or ones that support fan speed modulation via a program like SpeedFan. Antec’s TriCool series is a great example. These fans can be set to low speed for near-silent operation. A couple of good fans can be purchased for $20 to $30.

Here’s another trick — big fans are quieter than little fans! That may seem strange, but its true. Airflow is based on fan size and speed. A big fan doesn’t have to work as hard as a small one to move the same volume of air, and fan speed is the main generator of fan noise. Ideally, you’ll want to use the biggest, slowest fans that fit in your case.

Remove fans entirely

Origin Millenium PC 2016
Bill Roberson/Digital Trends

What if you have too many fans? Remove some! Start with fans on the side or top of the case, then move to intake fans on the front, and then finally move to exhaust fans at the rear. Make sure that you leave at least one intake fan and one exhaust fan.

Now that you’ve installed new fans, or removed extras, you’ll want to see how the computer’s cooling performs. SpeedFan can report temperatures. So can PC Wizard, Real Temp, and HWMonitor. The processor should idle at no higher than 50 degrees Celsius, and stay below 70 degrees Celsius at load. If you have a graphics card, you should monitor that, too. It should idle below 60 degrees Celsius and stay below 95 degrees Celsius at load.

Switch to an SSD

If your SATA hard drive is making a lot of noise when it operates, it’s worth noting that switching to an SSD will get rid of this noise. The “solid” in solid state drive refers to how it doesn’t really have any moving parts — data is stored via circuits that stay where they are, and remain very quiet no matter how hard they have to work. If you have the money to replace your older hard drive and are interested in an expansion anyway, why not reduce noise, too?

What about laptops?

Aukey Laptop Cooling Pad

Laptop owners generally can’t replace system fans. A system that seems unusually loud might be defective, and you should contact the laptop’s manufacturer if you think that’s the problem. But you can’t just open the case, pop in a third-party fan, and be on your way.

What can you do? Try a cooling stand.  These might make the laptop cooler because, though they add fans, they transfer work from the small, loud, and quick internal fan to larger, quieter external fans. Results aren’t guaranteed, so check your budget before you jump on this one.

Updated on April 18th, 2017 by Tyler Lacoma. Added information about baffled ventilation, mics, attachments, choosing the right cards, and SSDs.




23
Apr

PC fan noise driving you nuts? Here’s how to silence it


Computers have enjoyed impressive efficiency improvements over the last decade. A few readers might remember how computers powered by Intel’s power-hungry and hot Pentium 4 made many systems feel and sound more like space heaters than PCs. Those days are thankfully over, but noise has not been banished altogether. Some rigs remain an audible annoyance.

That doesn’t have to be true, however. With the correct equipment and a few incantations, most users can exorcise the demon howling in their desktop. Here are some ways to make your computer quieter.

Check mounting and attachments

ASUS M70AD US003S review desktop components

Here’s an easy step that almost anyone can do. Carefully take the back of your PC off and check all of your attachments. Grommets, gaskets, and screws may all be involved, and if any of them have grown loose over time, they could be vibrating and making your PC far louder than it’s supposed to be.

Check them all, tighten anything that needs to be tightened, and make sure that fans aren’t wobbling or loose. You can even buy mounts that including padding or gel for extra vibration resistance, though that is a step only advanced users will want to take. This a good time to check the base of your computer, as well to make sure the feet are rubberized and all on a flat plane to reduce noise.

Also, while you have access to the fan and the back of your PC, don’t forget to clean the whole thing out. Get a soft brush and a can of air, and get rid of any dust you see. That dust can make your computer overheat, as well as make your fan noisier, so a little bit of cleaning really can make a difference.

Add sound insulation

The case is another area where you might find improvement. Many inexpensive computers come in cases that were built without considering acoustics. The case might amplify sound or let it flow freely from the case to your ears.

This problem can be solved with sound insulation. Sound extreme? It’s not. Typical insulation is nothing more than molded foam that can be purchased for between $20 and $60 and stuck inside a PC with adhesive. The foam can be used to plug up un-used fan mounts, or layered across the side panels. It’s easy to cut and can be attached with bundled adhesive or two-sided tape from your local hardware store.

There are a couple downsides to this method. First, not all foam is equal. Make sure you use foam that’s meant for electronics. Otherwise, you might find yourself dealing with a house fire. Also, foam can decrease airflow in your PC, so make sure that you don’t obstruct any functional fan mounts or vents.

Replace old fans with new versions

A system that is always noisy suffers from bad fans, too many fans, or both. Take a look at what’s inside your desktop. Do you only see one or two fans? Then they’re probably cheap or old, and are making more noise than they should.

We have good news and bad news. The bad news is that those fans will need to be replaced; the good news is that fans are cheap! Most users will want to look for fans that offer an adjustable speed switch, or ones that support fan speed modulation via a program like SpeedFan. Antec’s TriCool series is a great example. These fans can be set to low speed for near-silent operation. A couple of good fans can be purchased for $20 to $30.

Here’s another trick — big fans are quieter than little fans! That may seem strange, but its true. Airflow is based on fan size and speed. A big fan doesn’t have to work as hard as a small one to move the same volume of air, and fan speed is the main generator of fan noise. Ideally, you’ll want to use the biggest, slowest fans that fit in your case.

Remove fans entirely

Origin Millenium PC 2016
Bill Roberson/Digital Trends

What if you have too many fans? Remove some! Start with fans on the side or top of the case, then move to intake fans on the front, and then finally move to exhaust fans at the rear. Make sure that you leave at least one intake fan and one exhaust fan.

Now that you’ve installed new fans, or removed extras, you’ll want to see how the computer’s cooling performs. SpeedFan can report temperatures. So can PC Wizard, Real Temp, and HWMonitor. The processor should idle at no higher than 50 degrees Celsius, and stay below 70 degrees Celsius at load. If you have a graphics card, you should monitor that, too. It should idle below 60 degrees Celsius and stay below 95 degrees Celsius at load.

Switch to an SSD

If your SATA hard drive is making a lot of noise when it operates, it’s worth noting that switching to an SSD will get rid of this noise. The “solid” in solid state drive refers to how it doesn’t really have any moving parts — data is stored via circuits that stay where they are, and remain very quiet no matter how hard they have to work. If you have the money to replace your older hard drive and are interested in an expansion anyway, why not reduce noise, too?

What about laptops?

Aukey Laptop Cooling Pad

Laptop owners generally can’t replace system fans. A system that seems unusually loud might be defective, and you should contact the laptop’s manufacturer if you think that’s the problem. But you can’t just open the case, pop in a third-party fan, and be on your way.

What can you do? Try a cooling stand.  These might make the laptop cooler because, though they add fans, they transfer work from the small, loud, and quick internal fan to larger, quieter external fans. Results aren’t guaranteed, so check your budget before you jump on this one.

Updated on April 18th, 2017 by Tyler Lacoma. Added information about baffled ventilation, mics, attachments, choosing the right cards, and SSDs.




23
Apr

Get a lifetime subscription to premium web development courses for $50


A career in web development is a career well-invested in in today’s marketplace. Many companies are moving to an entirely online business model, and if you’re looking for job security, you’ll want to get in on the development side if you’re at all interested. Or maybe you’re already a developer, but you have been for 20 years and haven’t really kept up with current technology and trends.

Update your web dev skills for $50 Learn more

Going back to school can be costly and probably isn’t the most efficient way to use your time, especially if you’re already in a full-time career. You need online courses that you can access from anywhere, at any time, on your own time. But those can be expensive as well, so where do you look?

sitepoint-stacksocial.jpg?itok=ZHsk6rIw

Look at Android Central Digital Offers and look at the SitePoint Premium Courses Lifetime Subscription. You’ll gain access to over 80 ebooks, 70 courses, and 300 tutorials, covering everything from coding in CSS, HTML, JavaScript, and more to key coding frameworks and libraries, like jQuery, Node, TypeScript, and more. You get a lifetime subscription to all of this content for $49.99. These courses and ebooks together generally retail for $450, but at Android Central Digital Offers, you save 88%.

The best part of this bundle is that new content is uploaded monthly, and you’ll get unlimited downloads for all the ebooks, courses, and tutorials that come out. Learning all these new skills is imperative if you want to keep competitive in today’s business world, so you’ll also learn about Google Maps API and how to manipulate HTML5 video with JavaScript, as well as a host of other new techniques. And, of course, you’ll be educated on the essentials, like WordPress, Git, project management, and more.

Update your web dev skills for $50 Learn more

If you want to stay relevant in the web development world, you need to update your skills and learn the latest techniques. Check out SitePoint Premium Courses, but don’t check them out for $450. Check out a lifetime subscription at Android Central Digital Offers for $49.99.

23
Apr

The best toaster


By Brendan Nystedt and Michael Sullivan

This post was done in partnership with The Sweethome, a buyer’s guide to the best homewares. When readers choose to buy The Sweethome’s independently chosen editorial picks, it may earn affiliate commissions that support its work. Read the full article here.

After dozens of hours researching and testing toasters—scrutinizing slot size, ease of use, batch-to-batch consistency, features, controls, and overall tastiness—we found the Oster TSSTTRJBBG1 Jelly Bean Toaster is the best. In our tests, this inexpensive and compact two-slot toaster performed as well as models double the price. The Oster’s medium setting evenly browned bread, bagels, and frozen waffles better than most of the competition. And the controls are easy to use and stay cool to the touch, even after toasting multiple batches.

Who should buy this

You’re probably looking for a new toaster because your old one bit the dust. Or maybe it toasts unevenly, can’t accommodate bagels, or doesn’t fit with your kitchen anymore. If you use a toaster oven and it dries out your bread, switching to the intense, direct heat of a toaster can give you a nice char while keeping the bread’s texture intact.

If you need something more versatile and capable than a two-slot toaster, you’re better off getting a toaster oven, which can handle some (if not all) of the tasks that a full-size oven can tackle. However, if you have a large family and you don’t want to invest in (or don’t have room for) a large toaster oven, four-slot toasters are the way to go. With double the capacity, four-slot toasters allow you to produce more toast fast, which is nice if you have a lot of mouths to feed.

How we picked and tested

For our 2016 update, we tested toasters using white sandwich bread, bagels, Eggo waffles, and English muffins. Photo: Michael Hession

The ideal toaster should toast bread evenly and consistently without a whole lot of fuss. Every slot should give you similar performance, and you should be able to toast breads of different types and shapes, which means having a big enough slot to handle thick bagels plus a way to retrieve small English muffins without jamming utensils (or your fingers) into the slots. You should be able to control the toast’s darkness, and it’s essential to have a cancel button that can easily cut off power mid-toast.

For this guide, we tested two- and four-slot toasters between $30 and $180. However, in our research, we found that many of the high-end toasters that cost upwards of $100 don’t offer much more than those costing less than half the price.

Ideally, we wanted to find a slot toaster for under $50, especially because they are really a lo-fi, single-purpose appliance. In most cases, we were able to make perfectly fine toast with much cheaper machines.

For our testing, we used uniform slices of basic white bread from Bimbo and Wonder. We did three back-to-back batches at a middle-shade setting, which showed us how consistent the toast could be from model to model and batch to batch. This also showed how well the toasters could self-regulate their temperature once they’re heated up.

We judged toast on its top-to-bottom and side-to-side evenness. We evaluated the accuracy of the shade settings—would most breakfast eaters consider these results medium, or were they too light or too burned? We also bit into the test toast to evaluate its texture and taste, looking for slices that had a lightly charred and crispy exterior and a warm interior that didn’t feel too dried out or stiff.

To test the toasters’ features beyond basic white bread, we tried out their bagel modes on everything bagels fresh from Murray’s and frozen waffles. For more on how we picked and tested, see our full guide.

The best two-slot toaster

The Oster Jelly Bean is our pick for the best two-slot toaster. Photo: Michael Hession

Our pick for the best toaster is the Oster Jelly Bean. This simple, inexpensive two-slot model toasted bread, bagels, and waffles better than all of the competition in this price range. Unlike some toasters we tested, the slots are wide enough to fit thick, hand-cut bagels without needing to force them down. The plastic controls are easy to use and stay cool to the touch even during multiple rounds of toasting. Also, the Oster was one of the smallest toasters we tested, so it’s ideal for kitchens with limited counter space.

The Oster toasted evenly from top to bottom and slot to slot, while pricier machines with the same nichrome heating element put out inconsistent results. In three successive batches, our Oster toast results were mostly consistent, with some darker patches on the second batch. This wasn’t the case with the Cuisinart CPT-440 we tested, which toasted bread inconsistently from batch to batch.

A pricier toaster with more features

Our upgrade pick is the Breville BTA720XL. Photo: Michael Hession

If you want a high-end toaster with more features, we recommend the Breville BTA720XL. Though it’s more than twice the price of our main pick, our testers found that the Breville toasts bread and bagels more evenly. The Breville also stands out because it allows you to check the degree of doneness, with the option to add 30 seconds more to the toasting cycle. Also, its handsome steel casing has a classic look that would fit the aesthetic of almost any kitchen.

The Breville delivers a more even toasting performance than the Oster, with uniform browning from top to bottom. While the Oster slightly scorched the edges of the second round of toast in back-to-back tests, the Breville’s results were a bit darker but not burnt. Bagels also turned out better using the Breville, because the toaster’s bagel mode is more precise with how it heats each side of the bagel. If you follow an onboard legend that tells you which direction to insert a sliced bagel, you can get a nicely darkened sliced side and a round side that’s warmed but not overdone.

A four-slot toaster for larger households

The Oster 4-Slice offers double the capacity and consistent toasting results. Photo: Michael Hession

If you need a four-slot toaster, we recommend the affordably priced Oster 4-Slice. This model toasts bread very evenly, even after multiple batches. Like most models we tested, you’ll need to adjust the heat setting slightly for bagels, English muffins, and Eggos, but it provides consistent results every time. Additionally, this stainless steel model has a classic look and wouldn’t be an eyesore if stored on a kitchen counter.

In our tests, the Oster 4-Slice toasted bread almost as well as, if not better than models costing three and four times as much. Toast comes out perfectly golden brown, with a crisp exterior and a warm interior that isn’t dried out. Though the Oster 4-Slice toasts more evenly than most other models we tried in the price range, it does leave a small area around the perimeter of the bread untoasted. However, for the price, we don’t think this is a dealbreaker.

A heavy-duty four-slot toaster

Our upgrade pick for a four-slot toaster, the Breville BTA840XL. Photo: Michael Hession

If you want a four-slot toaster that consistently makes evenly browned toast with every batch, the Breville BTA840XL is hands down the best that we tried. Though it’s pricier and takes up more space than the Oster four-slot toaster, the Breville offers more features than any other two- or four-slot model we tested.

This guide may have been updated by The Sweethome. To see the current recommendation, please go here.

Note from The Sweethome: When readers choose to buy our independently chosen editorial picks, we may earn affiliate commissions that support our work.

23
Apr

Ben Heck’s super glue gun: Gears, Arduinos and motor drivers


58f0f0efd9822631bc6f226c_o_F_v1.jpg

We’re making progress with the Super Glue Gun project, though we’ve hit a problem and we could use your help. To push the glue sticks into the gun, we need motor control. For this we’re prototyping with ATTiny24, Arduino, and TRIACs, all while different motors, such as steppers. It can be tricky, though. First the team must identify how much power motors use, and then learn to control them using an Arduino. Unfortunately, the team encounters some unforeseen consequences. Let us know if you can help over on the element14 Community.

23
Apr

Awesome tech you can’t buy yet: Life-seeking telescopes, scuba arms, and more


awesome-tech-you-cant-buy-yet-280x75.png

At any given moment, there are approximately a zillion crowdfunding campaigns on the web. Take a stroll through Kickstarter or Indiegogo and you’ll find no shortage of weird, useless, and downright stupid projects out there — alongside some real gems. In this column, we cut through all the worthless wearables and Oculus Rift ripoffs to round up the week’s most unusual, ambitious, and exciting projects. But don’t grab your wallet just yet. Keep in mind that any crowdfunded project can fail — even the most well-intentioned. Do your homework before cutting a check for the gadget of your dreams.

PLANETS Telescope — exoplanet observation telescope

Please enable Javascript to watch this video

The PLANETS Foundation believes that we can find life outside of the solar system within a decade. How? By closely examining exoplanets orbiting nearby stars. The problem is we don’t currently have the observation technologies necessary to begin the search — but that might soon change.

Years ago, the PLANETS (Polarized Light from Atmospheres of Near Extra Terrestrial Systems) Foundation embarked on a mission to build a sophisticated new telescope that could do the job. Now the project is nearing completion, and the foundation has turned to Kickstarter to help fund the final polishing stage of the PLANETS telescope mirror.

Currently under construction, the PLANETS telescope will be the world’s largest off-axis telescope (1.85 meters) for exoplanetary science. The telescope site is located on Haleakala, a 3,048m (10,000ft) volcano on the island of Maui, Hawaii, one of the world’s best astronomical sites.

Scheduled to be completed by 2019, the PLANETS telescope is a pathfinder project for even more sophisticated telescopes capable of seeking out and characterizing life on nearby exoplanets. Pledge your support and you could potentially fund the discovery of alien life!

Read more here

23
Apr

YouTube will fight fake news by offering workshops to teens


Google is already flagging fake news, but it knows that isn’t always enough. People need to recognize what fake news is, too. To that end, its YouTube wing just launched an Internet Citizens program that will teach UK teens to spot fake news through workshops. The day-long gatherings will encourage teens to check facts, escape “social bubbles,” deal with hate speech responsibly and use reporting tools. YouTube began the program in Liverpool on April 21st, but it plans to swing by youth clubs in other UK cities over the months ahead.

The workshops are hosted by veteran YouTube creators who focus on youth culture, diversity and education.

The streaming video giant certainly isn’t expecting to eliminate the spread of fake news among teens just by running a handful of events. Rather, this is one piece of a larger strategy — it’s a bid to encourage both creators and concerned fans to take action when they’d otherwise sit on the sidelines. And as Wired notes, this is arguably an attempt to patch things up after YouTube’s Restricted Mode inadvertently censored LGBTQ+ material. The move theoretically shows that YouTube is interested in promoting videos from a wide range of people, and that it wants to fight online hate speech whenever possible.

Via: Wired

Source: Internet Citizens

23
Apr

Europe may harmonize how internet companies fight hate speech


Internet companies are already taking action against hate speech, but it’s no secret that they don’t always tackle it in the same way. One may delete the hostile material immediately, while the other might spend days reviewing it before taking action. That wildly inconsistent approach might not fly in European Union countries before long. Reuters says it has obtained a draft European Commission document proposing that the EU implement measures that harmonize how online firms remove hate speech, child porn and other illegal content. Just how they’d take material down isn’t clear, but Facebook, Google, Microsoft and Twitter have already agreed to an EU code of conduct that requires takedowns within 24 hours — this would dictate how they pull the offensive content.

The draft is quick to acknowledge that a common rule set wouldn’t be easy. There are “justified” differences depending on the type of content, for instance. However, it believes that consistent takedown guidelines would lead to a “more transparent and predictable environment” where internet companies would be more willing to curb hate speech.

A paper like this doesn’t guarantee action. Nonetheless, it’s easy to see the tech industry being uneasy with mandates. What if the rules are too rigid and don’t account for differences between sites and services? What are the chances of inadvertently pulling innocuous material? And would a harmonized process be quick enough that 24 hours is a realistic time frame for the vast majority of removals? If the idea goes forward, the EU will have to be careful to set realistic rules that are acceptable for both companies and the public.

Source: Reuters

23
Apr

9 easy things you can do to stay safe on your Android phone


For most of us, our smartphones are a veritable treasure trove of personal data. They contain precious photos and videos, a list of everyone we contact, and details of our web browsing habits. We use them to navigate, to shop, and to bank. As devices go, they’re our closest confidants, and so it’s important to take steps to secure them.

Smartphone theft is actually in decline, largely thanks to improved security measures that effectively kill stolen smartphones, blocking the once booming overseas resale market, but not everyone is taking advantage of these protections. Many Android smartphones are stolen or go missing every day and data theft through malware remains a serious issue.

By taking a few simple steps when you first set up your Android device, you can ensure that, even if your phone is stolen, thieves will never get their hands on your data. You’ll be able to access your photos, contacts, and other personal data, and restore it to a new device. In some cases, you may even be able to recover your lost Android smartphone.

Securing your Android smartphone is all about preparation. It’s no good locking the stable door after the horse has bolted. You must set up security measures now.

Set a screen lock

The first step to securing your Android phone is setting up a screen lock. Every Android smartphone supports this option. It will help prevent people from being able to access your phone.

The exact location in the settings menu may vary slightly, depending on your phone, but you’re looking for security and screen lock settings.

  • On stock Android, go to Settings > Security > Screen lock.
  • On a Samsung Galaxy, go to Settings > Lock screen and security > Screen lock type.

The three standard options are to set up a password, PIN, or pattern. Many phones also now offer biometric measures such as fingerprint scanners, facial recognition, and iris scanning. The level of security they afford varies, but all of them are more secure than no screen lock protection.

If you want to make things difficult for a thief or snooper, then choose a longer password, PIN, or pattern. A basic four-digit PIN has 10,000 possible combinations. If you add an extra digit that rises to 100,000 possible combinations. The same logic applies to passwords and pattern locks, just make sure you memorize it.

You can go a step further and require an unlock when you turn on the device, before your phone boots up. This offers an extra layer of difficulty for thieves to access your data if your phone  was off when stolen. To turn this feature on, head to Security > Secure startup > Require pattern to turn on phone.

Smart lock

Security often has to be balanced with convenience. If you’re annoyed at the prospect of having to enter your PIN or password all the time, you might consider using Smart lock. It allows you to set some scenarios where your Android phone will automatically unlock without prompting you to enter your PIN, such as when it’s in your home, or when it’s connected to a specific Bluetooth device or system, such as your car. This does compromise your security settings, so consider the risks carefully before you decide to use it.

  • In Android 6.0 and up, you can turn it on via Settings > Security > Trust agents, and then tweak how it works in Settings > Security > Smart Lock.
  • On a Samsung Galaxy, go to Settings > Lock screen and security > Secure lock settings > Smart Lock.

Signing into a Google account

The next step is to make sure that you are signed into your Google account on your Android smartphone. This gives you access to a wealth of different features, including device tracking, automatic backups, and factory reset protection. Make sure that you memorize your Google account password.

It’s a smart idea to use 2-step Verification with your Google account. It allows you to link your phone to your Google account securely. If you enable it, then you’ll be prompted to sign in as normal, but you’ll also be sent a code via text, which you can then enter to verify your phone.

Once registered, you’ll go back to just having to enter your password as usual. But if anyone else manages to get your Google account password, they won’t be able to sign in on a new device because they won’t have access to the code – and you’ll get an alert about any sign in attempts.

Android Device Manager

There are a few different ways to track a cell phone, but if you signed into your Google account on your Android smartphone, then it will be tracked automatically. You can visit Android Device Manager in a web browser on any device, and sign in to your Google account to see the last known location of your phone. If it’s connected to Wi-Fi or a mobile network, then the position should be current.

You can use Android Device Manager to ring your phone, lock it, or even erase all the data on it remotely. We do not recommend confronting a thief if you do find your phone this way — contact your local authorities instead.

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