Month: July 2019

Influencers hired to promote Galaxy Fold now start a Galaxy S10-focused campaign

The team of influencers that Samsung hired to promote the Galaxy Fold has been sitting idle as the foldable phone had to be pulled from the release schedule. Now four of them have started a #DoWhatYouCan campaign with a focus on the Galaxy S10 phones instead.

Fortnite streamer Ninja talked about the benefits of 5G and the Galaxy S10 5G. Lil Miquela shared her experience in building her brand on Instagram and how she uses her Galaxy S10.

Famous DJ Steve Aoki and Stranger Things star Millie Bobby Brown will be sharing their own thoughts on Samsung’s flagship Galaxy phones soon.

Check out the Samsung Within page for more.

Apple is reportedly planning to pay for exclusive podcasts

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Apple reportedly is looking to buy exclusive rights to original podcasts, reported Bloomberg. The company has reached out to executives of media companies, but there’s no clear strategy in place yet. Since Apple’s share of the podcast market is so large (anywhere from 50 to 70 percent of podcast listeners are estimated to tune in on the Podcasts app), any movement would likely shake up the industry.

With consumer demand for podcasts on the rise, more podcasting platforms have shifted to exclusive content. Spotify and Stitcher — Apple’s competitors in the podcasting space — already have their own exclusive programming. Just last month, Spotify signed an exclusive podcast deal with Higher Ground, the production company of President Barack Obama and Michelle Obama. The streaming platform has a full line-up of podcast exclusives, including Riggle’s Picks with comedians Rob Riggle and Sarah Tiana, The Joe Budden Podcast, Stay Free: The Story of the Clash, Jemele Hill is Unbothered and Amy Schumer

Tesla finally did something about its convoluted lineup

Tesla’s product line has become a bit convoluted in recent months, which is somewhat odd given that the company only sells three types of vehicles. For reasons that are difficult to explain, Tesla in 2019 made a habit of tweaking its pricing and configuration options so frequently as to create a muddled mess out of its product line. This past March, for example, Tesla announced that it would backtrack on its plan to close company stores and that vehicle pricing, as a result, would go up by 3%. In short, Tesla this year made things unnecessarily complex for prospective Tesla buyers.

In light of that, Tesla finally seems to be doing something to right the ship. As reported by Reuters, Tesla this week quietly lowered the price on the Model 3 and raised the price on the Model X and Model S. More importantly, Tesla will be simplifying its lineup as to make it more digestible.

“To simplify its offerings, the automaker on Tuesday limited variants of its Model X sport-utility vehicle and Model S sedan to “Long Range” and the more expensive “Performance,” the report notes. “It also trimmed the price of its now entry-level Long Range variants.”

Consequently, the Standard Range options are no longer available for both the Model S and the Model X. In turn, entry-level variants for both the Model S and the Model X are now a bit pricier than before. Specifically, the cheapest Model S and Model X options are now about $4,000 more expensive, with the entry-level Model S starting at $79,990 and the entry-level Model X starting at $84,990.

Meanwhile, the entry-level Model 3 saw a price reduction down to $38,990.

“To make purchasing our vehicles even simpler, we are standardizing our global vehicle lineup and streamlining the number of trim packages offered for Model S, Model X and Model 3,” Tesla said in a statement.

All in all, Tesla’s move here should really help simplify what had become something of a convoluted mess of its product lineup. Of course, it remains to be seen how long Tesla will keep its current pricing structure in place.

Image Source: Sessions/Future/REX/Shutterstock

Listen to Beyoncé’s New ‘Lion King’ Song

Beyoncé Knowles is clearly a very talented musician, to say the least. But you don’t become an absolute art goddess without also making a ton of brilliant career choices, too. And to me one of the smartest things she does is not appear in that many movies.

For starters, the contrast between Queen Bey and the Bond girl parody of Austin Powers 3 would be too unflattering. And also now whenever Beyoncé does make a rare film appearance, whether it’s a concert documentary dedicated to HBCUs or voicing Nala in the upcoming ‘live-action’ CGI remake of The Lion King, it becomes an even bigger event.

If you want to get even more hyped for the upcoming Disney blockbuster, listen to ‘Spirit,’ Beyoncé’s rousing new song from the film. (Now with video!)

The song is so full of life it makes you forget how weird and unnatural the talking lions are going to look. Along with covers of classic Lion King tracks, this new song is set to make an appearance during a key Nala scene.

However, ‘Spirit’ is just one track off of Beyoncé’s tie-in album The Lion King: The Gift which drops the same day as the movie on July 17. Like Kendrick Lamar’s Black Panther album, these other songs won’t appear in the movie but provide a nice complementary vibe. Also like that album expect a lot of dope African sounds performed by Beyoncé and other artists she’s curated.

This is just further proof that big movies should go back to having flashy soundtrack albums. Get Lady Gaga in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 for some more tragic love songs with Bradley Cooper’s Rocket Raccoon. I still think about that Daft Punk music from Tron Legacy way more than the movie itself. For more on The Lion King watch this duet between Beyoncé and Donald Glover as Nala and Simba, respectively.

Nintendo trademarks a mysterious new feature that may be related to the Switch

Nintendo Switch-related leaks have been coming fast and furious these days, as the beloved gaming giant preps a smaller, more affordable version of the console launching later this year as the Nintendo Switch Lite. You can check out our report on the Switch Lite here, but it now seems Nintendo has something else up its sleeve related to the Switch that we might hear more about in the coming months.

The folks at Dutch tech news site LetsGoDigital are a reliable source for spotting interesting new patents and trademarks that have been filed and issued. Regarding the latter, it seems that Nintendo just last week applied for a trademark for the name “Nintendo Switch Do.” The application was filed by Nintendo with the Israel Patent Office, and it was approved and published on Tuesday.

Wondering what that name refers to? The patent documentation is certainly coy. The description states that the classification the patent was filed under refers to “games, portable games with LCD screen, handheld games, entertainment services, (downloadable) electronic game programs.” Could that be a reference to some sort of handheld-specific gaming service along the lines of Nintendo Switch Online that launched last year?

It’s more likely, in our opinion, that Nintendo has something else in store — literally.

Last month, Nintendo opened its second physical store. The first was launched in New York City 14 years ago, and now a new one has opened in Tel Aviv, Israel. Given that the trademark was filed with Israeli officials, it seems like this new name could be linked to maybe a Nintendo Switch experience zone of some kind that would be set up in the new Tel Aviv store and perhaps use the name “Switch Do.”

We’ll have to wait and see what Nintendo is planning along these lines, but we shouldn’t have to wait too long.

Image Source: James Sheppard/Future/REX/Shutterstock

Here's Outlook's new dark mode for Android and iOS

Outlook’s dark mode for Android is coming along nicely, as seen in the image below. According to Windows Central the iOS version will look roughly the same when it comes out.

Microsoft has been working to bring smartphones up to speed as both Outlook for Windows 10, Outlook on the web, the Windows 10 Mail client and Office have had a dark theme for some time.

It’s not clear when Microsoft will update Outlook for Android and iOS with dark mode but given the screenshots it will likely be soon.

Speaking of updates, in its latest release Outlook for iOS supports Category colors in the calendar. Users will need to set category colors in their Office 365 account for them to show up in the iOS app.

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Hurting an insect may force it to live in agony for the rest of its life

If your first instinct upon noticing a pesky fly buzzing around your person is to swat at it in the hopes of sending it elsewhere or even killing it, well, you’re pretty normal. We don’t often think twice when it comes to dispatching insects we find in our homes or even ones that get too close when spending time outdoors, but a new study published in Science Advances suggests that failing to kill an insect and merely injuring it may cause it to live the rest of its days in agony.

It’s tempting to imagine that life forms like insects don’t “feel” pain, thereby absolving us from any guilt we might feel in slapping a fly or stepping on an ant, but that way of thinking isn’t entirely accurate.

Scientists have known for a while that even less-complex organisms like insects have the ability to sense potentially dangerous stimuli, including physical injuries. It’s called nociception, and while it’s slightly different than how humans process pain, it’s actually not that far off.

What researchers didn’t necessarily know before this latest round of research was whether or not injuries to insects produce what we think of as chronic pain, or pain that persists long after a physical injury has occurred. As it turns out, they do.

In a series of tests, fruit flies had legs amputated in a laboratory setting. The wounds were given time to heal, at which point the scientists continued the experiment by exposing the flies to various stimuli. The flies, like other animals and even humans, appeared to be far more sensitive to possible sources of new pain after being previously injured.

“The fly is receiving ‘pain’ messages from its body that then go through sensory neurons to the ventral nerve cord, the fly’s version of our spinal cord. In this nerve cord are inhibitory neurons that act like a ‘gate’ to allow or block pain perception based on the context,” Associate Professor Greg Neely of the University of Sydney, lead author of the work, explains. “After the injury, the injured nerve dumps all its cargo in the nerve cord and kills all the brakes, forever. Then the rest of the animal doesn’t have brakes on its ‘pain’. The ‘pain’ threshold changes and now they are hypervigilant.”

The researchers suggest that this may be the insect version of “chronic pain,” where injuries promote hyper-sensitivity and lower the overall pain threshold. In flies, it could keep them safe from further dangers, but in humans it just makes us feel like junk.

“Importantly now we know the critical step causing neuropathic ‘pain’ in flies, mice and probably humans, is the loss of the pain brakes in the central nervous system, we are focused on making new stem cell therapies or drugs that target the underlying cause and stop pain for good,” Neely said.

Image Source: B Borrell Casals/Flpa/imageBROKER/Shutterstock

There's another macOS update to fix Zoom security exploits

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Apple is still working to plug the holes created by a security exploit recently discovered in video conferencing app Zoom. According to The Verge, Apple quietly pushed out a security update for macOS that removes vulnerable software installed automatically by RingCenter and Zhumu — two video conferencing tools that use Zoom technology and suffer from the same security holes.

This issue first started last week, when security researchers identified a flaw in Zoom’s software that took advantage of the app’s click-to-join feature. If a person clicked a link in their web browser, they would automatically join a conference and their webcam would turn on without their explicit permission. Zoom initially claimed the flaw was a necessary workaround to allow its software to function properly with Apple’s Safari browser but has since changed its approach and has worked to address the issue.

Last week, Zoom announced that it removed access to a local web server that enabled the vulnerability. One day later, Apple,

Prime Day 2019 isn’t over yet: The $50 Echo Dot for cars is down to $27

You probably can’t imagine being in any room in your home and not having access to an Echo speaker so you can talk to Alexa. And yet as soon as you leave your house you leave Alexa behind! You probably do it because you think you have to, but we’re here to tell you that’s not the case at all. Check out the Roav Viva by Anker on Amazon, which is down to an all-time low price for Prime Day. Just clip the on-site coupon and use the promo code ROAVF44C when you check out, and you’ll get it for $26.99 instead of $50!

Here are the highlights from the Amazon page:

Alexa Inside: ‘s voice service gives you complete voice control in your car. Just say the word to get directions, listen to audiobooks from Audible, shop online, play music, and moreover Bluetooth, CarPlay, Android Auto, or an Aux in connection. What You Get: Roav VIVA, Manual, Quick Guide, Happy Card, Skills Cards, 12-month warranty and our friendly customer service. (Please note: Spotify is not supported. ) High-Speed Charging: Dual charging ports equipped with Anker’s exclusive PowerIQ technology deliver blazing charging speeds to both driver and passenger. Qualcomm Quick Charge not supported. Supports Alexa Communication: Calling, Messaging, Drop In, and Announcements — all hands-free. Voice Isolation: 2 integrated microphones provide noise cancellation and accurate voice identification. Note: Please check the dimensions of the space surrounding your car’s cigarette lighter to see if VIVA will fit before purchasing. If your VIVA cannot be plugged in or has Bluetooth connection issues, return it for a full refund within 30 days of purchasing. Please check the list of unsuitable car models VIVA is incompatible with in the User Guide found in the Technical Specifications section below. If you have other issues, contact us via Live Chat in the app.

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Making Mars habitable might be possible thanks to aerogel

As far as anyone knows, Mars is currently totally devoid of life. We don’t know if that was always the case, but we know that modern-day Mars is a rather hostile place to be thanks to frigid temperatures and deadly radiation. When humans eventually arrive on the Red Planet, we might be able to change that, and a new study offers a hint as to how that could happen.

In a new paper published in Nature Astronomy, researchers explain how a thin layer of aerogel — a highly porous, virtually weightless material — could make huge regions of Mars more habitable.

Scientists have imagined what it would take to terraform Mars in the past, and the general consensus is that raising the surface temperature to above the freezing point of water needs to be the first major step. Once there’s flowing water on Mars, we could begin to truly modify the environment and perhaps even make it liveable in the future, but it’s easier said than done.

The researchers in the latest study considered how aerogel might play a role. They designed an experiment to simulate how sunlight passing through an aerogel “shield” could change the conditions of the surface below, discovering that using a layer of silica aerogel just 2 to 3 centimeters thick allowed enough light to pass through for plants to use for photosynthesis while also blocking harmful UV radiation.

On Earth, we’re concerned with the greenhouse effect because it pushes the temperature of our planet’s surface to dangerous highs. On Mars, a layer of aerogel could serve the same purpose. Layers of the incredibly lightweight material could raise the temperature over large regions, allowing water to flow and plant life to thrive.

At this point, of course, this is all very much theoretical. Aerogel is real and, it seems, could be used to solve a major problem for future settlers of Mars, but producing it on the Red Planet (or bringing it all the way from Earth) is barely worth dreaming about at this point.

Image Source: Jon Wade

Huawei brings its EROFS file system, GPU Turbo 3.0 to more phones

Huawei will roll out its new EROFS (Extendable Read-Only File System) to the P30 Lite, P20 Lite, Nova 3i and Huawei Y9 among others by the end of the month.

The new file system has been a Huawei P30 Pro exclusive thus far and promises an average increase in random read speed of 20% and more than 2GB of system storage savings.

Changing the file system can do a lot to make a phone faster but should not be confused with upgrading the storage itself. Some makers are moving to UFS 3.0 storage, which can be twice as fast as the current standard UFS 2.1, depending on the task at hand.

While still on the subject of firmware updates, Huawei will bring its GPU Turbo 3.0 to the P30 Lite, P20 Lite, Nova 3i and Huawei Y9 among others soon.

GPU Turbo 3.0, also thus far a P30 Pro exclusive, reduces SoC power consumption by 10% and optimizes performance of the system for gaming, ensuring a smoother experience with less frame drops.

Huawei revealed the full list of game that currently benefit from the optimizations of GPU Turbo 3.0 – Fortnite, Knives Out, Battle Bay, Crazy Taxi, Real Racing 3, Into the Dead 2, NBA 2K19, Dragon Nest M, Duel Links, PES2019, DRAGON, BALL LEGENDS, FIFA Mobile, Free Fire, Minecraft, Helix, Plants vs. Zombie Heroes, Subway Surfers, Brawl Stars, Speed Drifters, Mobile Legends: Bang Bang, Vainglory, Arena of Valor, Rules of Survival, NBA 2K18.

Here’s a bit more on Huawei’s GPU Turbo, if you’re interested.

T-Mobile and Taco Bell are opening combination stores called T-MoBell. No, we’re not joking.

Taco Bell has a devoted army of fans who are intensely loyal to the fast-food chain, such that the brand is getting more creative than ever in figuring out how to cater to them and keep them happy. The brand is bringing a Taco Bell-themed hotel to California in a few weeks, for example, but before that happens it will also be teaming up with T-Mobile to open yet another combination concept you never knew you needed.

Next week, Taco Bell and the self-styled “Un-carrier” will open three “T-MoBell” pop-up stores in New York, Chicago, and Los Angeles. The companies are teasing unnamed celebrities possibly being on-hand next week for the duration of the co-branded experience from July 23-25, in addition to themed swag (and of course tacos) being available to visitors.

“When we launched free tacos every week on T-Mobile Tuesdays, TacoBell.com had its highest online order day ever and T-Mobile Tuesdays was number one in the App Store,” T-Mobile CEO John Legere said in a release. “Since then, Un-carrier customers have snagged more than 14 million free tacos from the app!”

He went on to describe the T-MoBell idea as the “ultimate fusion” of peoples’ love for their phones and for tacos.

Image Source: T-Mobile

The pop-up concept will open in T-Mobile local Signature Stores in the cities mentioned above, complete with in-store DJs and giveaways from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. each day. Among the freebies that will be available are tacos, plus a co-branded T-MoBell Freeze with a white cherry taste. Additionally, visitors will be able to get their hands on taco-themed socks, sunglasses, hats and more.

T-Mobile is also offering customers who aren’t in any of those three cities a way to get in on the fun. Starting July 23, you could be in a position to win some giveaways if you follow T-Mobile on Twitter (@TMobile). Freebies up for grabs include a free year of tacos in the form of a $500 Taco Bell gift card and a prize pack including Powerbeats Pro Wireless Earphones, an Ultimate Ears Megaboom 3 speaker and more.

Prime Day 2019: Nest’s smart thermostat has never been cheaper than it is right now

The Nest Learning Thermostat is probably the most popular smart thermostat in the world, even with its hefty $250 price tag. And why wouldn’t it be? After all, it pays for itself in savings on your energy bills each month. Of course, the less you pay the quicker your Nest pays for itself, and it has never been cheaper than it is right now on Amazon for Prime Day. What are you waiting for!?

Here’s what you need to know from the product page:

Auto-Schedule: No more confusing programming. It learns the temperatures you like and programs itself. Wi-Fi Thermostat: Connect the Nest Thermostat to Wi-Fi to change the temperature from your phone, tablet or laptop. Energy Saving: You’ll see the Nest Leaf when you choose a temperature that saves energy. It guides you in the right direction. Smart Thermostat: Early-On Nest learns how your home warms up and keeps an eye on the weather to get you the temperature you want when you want it. Home/Away Assist: The Nest Thermostat automatically turns itself down when you’re away to avoid heating or cooling an empty home. Works with Amazon Alexa for voice control (Alexa device sold separately) Auto-Schedule: Nest learns the temperatures you like and programs itself in about a week. Home/Away Assist: Nest automatically turns itself down when nobody’s home to help you save energy. Remote Control: Connect your thermostat to Wi-Fi to control the temperature from your phone, tablet or laptop. Farsight: When the Nest Thermostat spots you across the room, it lights up beautifully to show you the time, temperature or weather. Energy Star: First thermostat to earn Energy Star. Your thermostat controls half your energy bill – more than appliances, more than electronics. Saving energy starts with your Thermostat. Energy History: Check your Energy History in the Nest app to see how much energy you use and why. Nest Leaf: You’ll see the Leaf when you choose a temperature that saves energy. It guides you in the right direction.

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Microsoft starts testing Internet Explorer mode for Edge

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Microsoft’s ever-expanding tests for its Chromium-based Edge browser have reached the corporate crowd. The software firm has started enabling enterprise features in Edge’s Dev builds, most notably the vaunted Internet Explorer mode. If a company absolutely needs IE 11 to visit a legacy site, you can try the option without having to switch browsers or give up the creature comforts of the modern web. IT managers can even create a site list that automatically flips to the legacy mode.

The release also brings office-friendly features like group policy support, stricter security measures and “enterprise-grade” PDF viewing. Microsoft is starting to roll out some features that will be ready over the course of “several weeks,” including integrated search for people, a business-focused new tab page with Office 365 links and secure data syncing.

Dev builds are very early and likely to include bugs. You won’t want to use this as your main browser for work or pleasure if you

Pick Your Price: Save on Piano Lessons for Beginners Bundle

Raise your hand if you went to piano lessons after school. For most of us, those lessons were boring, rigid, and ineffective. While you can’t get back all those hours spent futilely fiddling with keys, you can jump into a piano course that will actually get you playing beautiful music. And, you won’t even have to leave your house to do it. Below are 3 online piano resources you can pick up today, and they’re all on sale with deep discounts. Read on for details:

Pay What You Want: The Piano Lessons for Beginners Bundle

This bundle, valued at $597, is perfect for anyone that wants to learn how to play the piano quickly. It includes three courses that introduce students to the basics plus it illustrates how to play a selection of melodies. Best of all, you won’t have to spend a king’s ransom to secure this training. That’s because, as a Pay What You Want bundle, you get to name your price.

Here’s how it works. Go to The Piano Lessons for Beginners Bundle at the Geek Shop and check out the current average price. Simply spend more than this amount and you’ll get lifetime access to the entire package for what you entered. Alternatively, if you’d prefer to spend a little less, just enter any lower dollar figure and you’ll still receive the first course, a $199 value, for that amount. Either way, you’re going to get top-notch piano training for way less money.

Buy it now: Name your price and save up to 99 percent.

 

Pay What You Want: The Piano Lessons for Beginners Bundle

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Learn How To Play Piano

Regret giving up the piano? Pick it up again with this economically priced course. Learn How To Play Piano includes nine training modules that can turn virtually anyone into an intermediate level player.

You do not need any prior musical theory knowledge or training in order to succeed. Simply take the step-by-step lessons at your leisure over the course of one year and you’ll go from a complete novice to intermediate in short order.

Buy it now for just $15.99, a savings of over 90 percent off the regular price.

Pianoforall: The New Way To Learn Piano & Keyboard

Want to learn how to tickle the ivories like a concert pianist? Then Pianoforall will get you on your way. It includes lifetime access to ten hours of training content that’ll introduce you to the theory and teach you how to play songs by pop music artists like Norah Jones and Billy Joel. It’s beginner-friendly, flexible, and way less expensive than traditional training sessions.

Buy it now for just $14.99, a significant discount from the MSRP of $199.99.

 

Pianoforall: The New Way To Learn Piano & Keyboard – $14.99

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