Tech News

Download of the day: Revo Uninstaller

Latest Tech News - 1 hour 58 min ago
Revo Uninstaller

Is there anything more annoying than when uninstalling a program doesn’t properly uninstall it? Well, yes, there are quite a few things, and we’re collating them in a big list. But there isn’t an app to fix those things, whereas there is an app to fix your Windows woes. Say hello to Revo Uninstaller.

Why you need it

With Windows, uninstalling a program should be simple: go into Control Panel, choose the program you want to remove and hit the Uninstall button. But it rarely works like that. More often than not you’ll find bits of the program are still on your PC: files and folders, registry entries, additional components and possibly the odd bit of adware or spyware. All of these things take up space, and can have an impact on your PC’s performance too.

Revo Uninstaller solves all of that. It sits in the background, monitoring what gets installed on your PC, and when you want to get rid of it Revo ensures that every single component is zapped. You can also use it to force delete things that previous uninstallers have left behind, or to delete multiple programs simultaneously. It does its job quietly and efficiently, eradicating the components normal installers often struggle to reach.

Download here: Revo Uninstaller

Categories: Tech News

Tag Heuer has a hybrid Android Wear smartwatch on the way

Latest Tech News - 7 hours 2 min ago

How do you stir up some interest in Android Wear 2.0? Maybe by releasing a watch that combines new-fangled smarts with old-fashioned mechanics, which is exactly what Tag Heuer is reportedly about to do.

Insider sources speaking to Android Central say the Tag Connected Modular will be with us on March 14, bringing with it customizable lugs and a choice of straps and clasps. The wearable will also have an automatic head module that lets users switch between a smartwatch and a mechanical watch as they wish.

Such a device would certainly have broad appeal, targeting both those who want a modern smartwatch as well as those who are happier with something more traditional... of of course anyone who wants a bit of both would be catered for too.

Still unofficial

Tag Heuer executives have gone on record as saying there is going to be a successor to the 2015 Connected smartwatch - which was a decent effort despite being ridiculously expensive - and so it's no real surprise that details are now starting to leak out.

However with no official word from the watchmaker itself yet, we're left with a lot of blanks to fill in about what this new device will look like and how it's going to work. Android Central's moles weren't able to provide pricing details but it's unlikely to be cheap if Tag Heuer's existing smartwatch (RRP $1,500) is anything to go by.

With Android Wear 2.0 now out in the wild and a couple of brand new watches available to show it off, 2017 is shaping up to be a much busier year in the smartwatch market than 2016 was. The Tag Heuer Connected Modular may not be for everyone but the more choices the better for consumers.

Categories: Tech News

iOS 11: what we want to see

Latest Tech News - 8 hours 21 min ago

Update: The iOS 11 release date is expected to be in September, but the official features are historically unveiled in the summer at Apple's WWDC 2017 keynote. That's happening on June 5 in San Jose. Here's everything we hope to see.

iOS 10 only recently landed in its finished form, but you can be sure that Apple is already hard at work on iOS 11, ready for a mid-2017 unveiling. 

So far little is known about the next version of Apple’s mobile operating system, but there are a few rumored features and plenty more things we’re hoping to see. 

With that in mind we’ve collected all the news and rumors below, along with a wish list of what we’d hope are Apple’s top priorities.

Cut to the chase
  • What is it? The next version of iOS
  • When is it out? Likely June 5 announcement and September launch
  • What will it cost? Nothing!
iOS 11 release date

iOS 11 is likely quite a long way off, with an announcement at WWDC in June 2017 looking all but set in stone, given that it’s during this event that Apple typically unveils new versions of iOS.

However, it’s unlikely that iOS 11 will be finished by then, with betas (including a public one) likely to be made available soon after, and a final release probably in September 2017, alongside the iPhone 8.

Again, this is all based on past iOS releases rather than any news or rumors, but there’s no reason to think Apple will change its schedule.

iOS 11 news and rumors

One thing we’re expecting to see soon from iOS is a ‘Dark Mode’, which would make backgrounds black, so you don’t strain your eyes when using an iOS device at night or in other dim environments.

The real question is whether Dark Mode will arrive with iOS 11, or as part of an iOS 10 update, as resources for the feature have already been found within iOS 10, so it’s probably something that Apple plans to add imminently.

Of course, there’s already a Night Shift mode, but that’s a bit different, as it reduces the amount of blue light rather than making the display darker.

Apple is also said to be working on a new video sharing and editing app, similar to Snapchat. Supposedly this would include filters and the ability to draw on videos, and it may launch as a standalone app, rather than as an update to the camera app.

This wouldn’t necessarily be a part of iOS 11, but Apple is supposedly shooting for a 2017 launch, so it’s possible.

Apple is also apparently working on enhanced social features, according to sources speaking to Bloomberg.

The company's tipped to make sharing and connectivity with contacts a system-wide feature as well, and may consolidate communications, so you can see all your SMS messages, emails and social network interactions with a given person on a single screen.

What we want to see

We don’t know much about iOS 11 yet, but we know what we want from it. Check out our wish list below and let us know if there’s anything you really want to see.

1. Customizable Control Center 

Control Center is a handy shortcut to a number of toggles, but it’s not customizable, meaning that for certain options, such as music controls, you must swipe to the second tab – an annoying extra step for anyone who listens to a lot of music on their device.

Worse, some actions, such as GPS, don’t have Control Center toggles at all, so we’d like to see the ability to customize both what options are displayed and which tab they appear on.

2. Always-on display 

Samsung impressed us with the always-on display of phones like the Galaxy S7 – giving you a constant clock and a window onto your notifications, and we’d like to see a similar option built into iOS 11.

Raise to wake makes it quicker than ever to view the lock screen, but if we just want to check the time we'd rather not have to even raise the phone, and an always-on display would be a solution.

3. Home screen widgets

Apple’s lock screen widgets are handy, and help stop the home screen getting too cluttered, but we’d still like the option to put widgets on our home screens.

It’s not just about having quick access to apps and information, but also about customizing devices to make them our own, whether that means having a big custom clock and weather forecast on our main home screen, an overview of upcoming calendar events, or whatever else.

4. Smarter Siri

Siri is getting better all the time, but there’s still room for improvement, especially as in many ways Google Assistant has it beat.

We’d especially like to see improvements to Siri’s context awareness – so for example reliably being able to answer follow-up questions without you having to clarify the subject again.

5. Grouped notifications

Everyone likes to be loved, and there's nothing better than your WhatsApp blowing up - until that is, you take a gander at your lock screen or notification bar. 

Currently, iOS seems unable to group messages from the same contact, or message group, together, giving you an almost never-ending stream of notifications. 

Come on Apple, give us "19 new messages from 2 chats" and the ability to expand to see more if we so desire. Pleeaassssseeeeee.

6. Clear all background apps

Being able to hop quickly between different apps is handy, but sometimes we like to clean up the multi-tasking panel and start fresh. Thing is, on iOS 10 that involves swiping each individual app to close it.

For iOS 11 we'd love to have a "clear all" option, allowing us to shut all the background apps with a simple tap of an icon.

7. Easy video resolution changes

iOS is often thought of as simple and intuitive, and for the most part it is, but glaring usability issues sometimes emerge, and one of those is the inability to change video resolution from the camera app.

Instead you have to dig down into the main settings screen, which takes time, isn’t intuitive at all and could leave some users unaware that it’s even an option.

This should be an easy fix, so hopefully with iOS 11 Apple will add a video resolution toggle to the camera app itself.

8. Improved Mail app

Apple's Mail app got a bit of love in the iOS 10 upgrade, but the new look isn't overly slick. Scrolling through an email conversation feels clunky, and rival apps such as Gmail feel better put together overall.

In iOS 11 we'd like to see a cleaner, slicker and more user friendly Mail app, and if Apple wants to take a few pointers from Google's Gmail offering we won't complain.

  • After a new tablet? The iPad Pro 2 could be coming soon
Categories: Tech News

10 best smartphones in the US

Latest Tech News - 10 hours 12 min ago

Update: What's the best phone in the US for 2017? We have 10 top phones you can buy right now after our comprehensive phone review testing. You can't get a better Android or iPhone than what here today. 

Knowing the best smartphone you can buy in 2017 is more than just a hunch for us. We test out the latest and - sometimes - greatest phones in comprehensive mobile phone reviews.

To drill down to a list of our 10 favorites in the US this year, we based today's updated rankings on a lot of geeked-out factors: design, performance, battery life, camera quality and software updates.

Sure, your personal preference among iOS 10, Android Nougat and Windows Mobile 10 could sway you to another device besides our top-ranked phone. Likewise, your contract with AT&T, Verizon, Sprint or T-Mobile is a personal preference. The best phone for AT&T may not be available on-contract on Verizon, and vice-versa.

But that's why we have more than just a No. 1 pick, which, spoiler alert, isn't just Apple's iPhone 7 or iPhone 7 Plus. We're not that predictable. Before you lock into a binding contract or spring for an expensive unlocked, SIM-free smartphone, consult our best phone guide, updated regularly.

After the success of the HTC One M8, the world wondered if time was up for HTC after it didn't really ignite the smartphone game with the One M9.

Well, that's not the case as the brand went away, made a beautiful phone that's 'sculpted by light', added in a genuinely impressive camera and improved the battery life.

But that's not the best bit - that comes when you plug headphones into this thing. It's sensational - can this thing pump beautiful, Hi-Res Audio into your ears or what? It's sensational.

For that reason alone it's worth a place in the top ten, and the myriad other improvements impress equally.

Read the full review: HTC 10

  • What's next? We're expecting to hear about the HTC 11 in a matter of days, and it may go by the name HTC U or HTC U Ultra.

Also consider: We'd suggest having a gander at the LG G5 if you fancy an 'underdog' brand that can still make it big... great camera and some fancy innovation on offer there. The HTC Bolt is a more budget-friendly alternative in the US, too, at least if you're a Sprint customer.

The OnePlus 3T was a surprising upgrade, offering a slight change in the specs designed to 'listen to the fans' that want more power - and given this is a small brand, it's experimenting with a mid-season change.

It's still got the same beautiful all-metal design, the same 5.5-inch AMOLED display that's bright and vibrant and the fingerprint scanner is still lightning fast - all the main specs are there, and it's only the upgraded chipset and battery that make the biggest difference.

The lack of a microSD card, and a battery which only lasts around a day may put some off, but considering the price you're paying the OnePlus is good value for money, despite a price hike over the OnePlus 3.

If you're desperate for a high-end phone, but don't have the money to stretch that far, the OnePlus 3T will make you rather happy.

Read the full review: OnePlus 3T

Also consider: If OnePlus isn't doing it for you, then check out the Moto G4 Plus which has slightly less power, but a still very strong feature set.

The most surprising smartphone on our best phones list is the ZTE Axon 7, which blends a sophisticated metal design with an equally attractive price. It's also feature-packed with awesome-sounding front-facing speakers, generous 64GB of internal storage and the same Snapdragon 820 and 4GB of RAM chipset used by its pricier rivals.

You're going to be hard-pressed with find a better value for a mid-range phone. The OnePlus 3 comes close, but lacks a microSD card slot and the screen is 1080p. The Huawei Honor 8 has the microSD card slot, but its screen is 1080p and smaller at 5.2 inches.

The Axon 7 really shines with its Samsung-challenging AMOLED display. Be warned, at 5.5 inches and with a full metal body around it, this phone is slippery. It also doesn't work with Verizon and Sprint just yet, despite having all of the necessary GSM and CDMA bands ready to go.

Full review: ZTE Axon 7

Also consider: Moto Z Play isn't nearly as stylish as the ZTE Axon 7, but it has killer two-day battery life for the same exact price. It trades in dual front-facing speakers for MotoMods, which are accessories that attach to the back of the phone with magnets. Who doesn't need an instant boom box speaker or pico projector on the go? 

The Moto Z is an incredibly thin smartphone that sets a new record at 5.19 in so-called "thickness," but you shouldn't want it to stay that thin. This is a modular smartphone, allowing you to clip on game-changing accessories onto its back thanks to built-in magnets.

All of sudden, your otherwise flat Motorola phone doubles as a mini boom box, a real camera or even a pico projector. It can also double in battery life with a stylish juice pack. MotoMods really transform the design and functionality of your phone, and there are more to come. We also like Moto Z's intelligent fingerprint sensor. It not only turns on and unlocks the screen, it also puts it to sleep and locks it up with a second press. What's not here is a 3.5mm headphone jack that requires you to use an included adapter for hardwired audio, and that's a dealbreaker for some people.

Full review: Moto Z

Also consider: The Moto Z Force is a US-only Verizon exclusive that has extra thickness, but a shatter-resistant screen and extra battery life. Both phones work with all of the same MotoMods, too.

Google Pixel XL is the Android maker's new phablet-sized phone, and it ditched the old Nexus branding for two reasons: it's debuts specs instead of using six-month-old parts like the previous Nexus phones, and it's far more expensive.

This top-of-the-line Android Nougat phone has a 5.5-inch Quad HD display, fast Snapdragon 821 chipset and support for Google Daydream View. Google's VR headset makes this phone's high-resolution screen the primary reason to opt for the bigger sized phone over the smaller 1080p Google Pixel.

Google's latest Android software is a joy to use, with smooth, slick performance and a clutter free design. Fire up the camera app and the 12MP rear shooter is one of the best around, while a fingerprint scanner keep yours phone secure.

Minor weak points are no always-on display, not having a waterproof design and a lack of front-facing stereo speakers. But they don't stop the Pixel XL from being an excellent flagship phablet.

Read the full review: Google Pixel XL

Also consider: How about the smaller Google Pixel? The 5-inch handset also features in our top ten, and if a smaller screen (and smaller price tag) takes your fancy then you're in luck. It retains the excellent power, camera and Android interface from the XL, in a more palm-friendly package.

The Google Pixel is an excellent flagship phone that's only let down by mediocre battery life and the still-developing Assistant. If you can stomach the price point, the Pixel is a breath of fresh Google air in a world of Android over-complication. 

The 12MP camera on the back is one of the best on the market, while the clean, fresh Android Nougat interface is a joy to use.

There's heaps of power under the hood making it perfect for gaming and multi-tasking, while the bright, colorful screen provides an excellent viewing experience for your movies and TV shows.

It may not be the most attractive handset on the market, and it's far from ugly. What you can be sure of is a lot of bang for your buck.

Read the full review: Google Pixel review

Also consider: Like what you see, but need more screen real estate? You you'll want the Google Pixel XL - the 5.5-inch brother of the Pixel which boasts an eye-popping QHD (that's 2K) resolution. But, warning, it's more expensive.

The new iPhone isn't the phone that many will have been waiting for, as it comes with a similar look and feel to previous models.

That doesn't mean it's a bad phone, far from it in fact with a power boost under the hood, water resistant and a decent camera upgrade making a difference.

There's no point upgrading from the 6S to 7, but if you're currently using an iPhone 6 or older then the jump to the 7 is a good one.

Read the full review: iPhone 7

Also consider: If you want to save yourself a bit of money then the iPhone 6S is still an excellent smartphone. It looks identical to the 7, also runs iOS 10 and has the benefit of still having a headphone jack. Those wanting something a bit bigger should look at the iPhone 7 Plus – the best iPhone currently around.

The iPhone 7 Plus is the best iPhone available right now, giving you a whole heap of power, water resistant body, not one, but two cameras on the back and super slick performance.

It does use the same design as previous handsets, and Apple's removed the headphone jack and upped the price - but if your pockets are deep and headphones wireless you'll love the 7 Plus.

The camera is a big improvement on the 6S Plus, and it'll only get better once Apple rolls out its depth-of-field feature later this year.

Full review: iPhone 7 Plus

Also consider: The standard iPhone 7 is very good too, with a more manageable form factor and lower price point it's the phone that's likely to appeal to a wider audience - but for those looking for Apple perfection it has to be the 7 Plus.

The Samsung Galaxy S7 is a phone that initially looks just like the S6 from last year - but pick it up and you'll see there's a world of difference.

Firstly, the rear of the phone feels much nicer thanks to a curved back (through a process called 3D Thermo Forming), it's now water resistant and a microSD slot is a welcome feature to return, after it was dropped last year.

The camera is just brilliant - it's lower in megapixels but improved in quality. You'll get brilliant pictures time and again, and you'll want to keep trying it in different scenarios. It's a great phone that you'll be happy to pull out of your pocket.

Full review: Samsung Galaxy S7

Also consider: An easy one: go for the Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge if you can afford it. It's a compact phone with the screen size of a phablet, and offers all the same features with a more attractive design.

Last year's Galaxy S6 Edge was a good phone, but not brilliant. It was the same as the Samsung Galaxy S6, but had a curved screen - and that was it. It was the same size, power and camera, and that wasn't enough.

Fast forward to today and the S7 Edge takes all the great looks of the S6 Edge, makes the phone even curvier and combines it with the superb power and feature set of the S7.

The camera is just brilliant, the mix of metal and glass is really nice to hold, and even the Touchwiz overlay is turning into something more usable than before. 

Battery life improvements are hugely welcomed, and while the price is higher, it's now affixed to a phone that offers simply the best in nearly every department, so many will be happy with the outlay.

Full review: Samsung Galaxy S7

Also consider: Like the phone above, this is an easy decision: go for the Samsung Galaxy S7 if you're not feeling the cost and price of the Edge. It's got all the power, but it's more compact and costs a little less. The LG G5 is nearly here too though - that could be a dark horse in the mix.

Apple's iPhone SE ranks at Number 10 mainly because there are so many other top-notch phones, but also because it has a tired design, screen that's several years old and a display size that's too small to get sucked into apps and movies on the move.

That said, it's one of very few high-end smartphones you can use one-handed and its iOS 10 operating system remains slick and easy to use. It won't be for everyone, but for those who dislike the supersized phones of today the iPhone SE is a top performer on a miniature scale.

Remember, the SE has the same power, same camera and same software as Apple's best iPhone, the iPhone 6S. It just happens to be in a size you can easily pocket and at a reasonable (for an iPhone) price: $400 unlocked and $50 on contract among US carriers.

Read the full review: iPhone SE

Also consider: Want a cheaper iPhone but find the iPhone SE just too small? Apple's still selling the original iPhone 7, with a 4.7-inch display, sleeker metal body and the same version of iOS. It's a bit more expensive, but you do get a bigger screen.

Nexus 6P

Google goes again for a phablet, and it's a corker

OS: Android Nougat | Screen size: 5.7-inch | Resolution: 2560 x 1440 | RAM: 3GB | Storage: 32GB/64GB/128GB | Battery: 3,450mAh | Rear camera: 12.3MP | Front camera: 8MP

Google and Huawei teamed up to make the Nexus 6P, and it's really the best smartphone from either company and a relief over Motorola's Nexus 6 from a year prior.

It has a vivid quad HD 5.7-inch display that's much more manageable in two hands and sometimes one. And yet while the Nexus 6P is easier to hold, it remains tall and just enough for watching movies and browsing the web.

You won't be hungry for Android updates with this phone either. It's currently running the latest version ofAndroid Marshmallow and can beta test Android N Developer Preview. You'll also be more secure thanks to its well-placed fingerprint scanner on the back - which is both quick and accurate.

What keeps the Nexus 6P on the list and also from ranking higher is its price. It's a steal at $499 in the US for an unlocked phone. Problem is, you won't find it subsidized by any carriers. We also found the camera to be fantastic for a Nexus phone, but not as sharp as photos taken by Samsung handsets.

Full review: Nexus 6P

Also consider: If you're after a Nexus phone, you're thinking about getting the latest version of Android in a smartphone - and you can get that in the Nexus 5X too. It's cheaper, and not as powerful in some ways, but it's cheaper and more palm-friendly.

LG G5

Mods are best innovation in a smartphone we've seen

OS: Android Nougat | Screen size: 5.3-inch | Resolution: 2560 x 1440 | RAM: 4GB | Storage: 32GB | Battery: removable 2,800mAh | Rear camera: 16MP | Front camera: 8MP

This is a phone that's designed to fall apart - well, come apart at least. You see, in addition to the clever dual camera, there's a clip at the bottom that lets you remove and swap out the battery - like old times (i.e. 2014 for Samsung fans).

That's good news because many new phones lack a removable power pack, and this one actually goes beyond that with new modules. Attach an Hi-Fi audio module for better speakers or a battery-infused camera grip to take almost as many vacation photos as you want.

There's just one problem: The B&O audio module to make it to the US, so we got exactly one module... of two that exist. The idea certainly didn't pan out, but it's another 'alternative' phone from LG, and we're big fans companies spicing up the old design, especially at $99 on contract if you shop well enough.

Also consider: The older LG G4 isn't a million miles away from this phone in terms of specs, and it's a cheaper now. It doesn't have the attractive metal body, but if you can rustle up the leather variant you're getting an absolute steal of a smartphone.

Microsoft Lumia 950

The beginning of a smartphone revolution?

OS: Windows Phone | Screen size: 5-inch | Resolution: 1920 x 1080 | RAM: 2GB | Storage: 32GB | Battery: 2,420mAh | Rear camera: 20MP | Front camera: 1.2MP

Maybe you're bored of the iPhone. Perhaps Android just doesn't do it for you. Maybe you're just wondering if there's something different out there? Well, Windows Phone 10 on the Lumia 950 will intrigue you. It can offer a PC-like experience by extending out to a larger monitor, and the camera is pretty strong.

However, there's one issue: apps. Or the lack thereof - and when combined with the slightly plastic design, it fails to trouble the top 10. However, it's a legitimate choice and easily one of the most impressive Windows Phones ever.

Categories: Tech News

Top 5 best online business learning solutions of 2017

Latest Tech News - 11 hours 13 min ago

Staff members are, of course, critical to any business, and human resource departments have to strive to find the best recruits for their organisation, putting in place a sterling system for filtering job applicants and conducting interviews.

But HR responsibilities don’t stop there. Once employed, there’s a duty to care for workers, ensure they can do their jobs effectively, and perhaps most importantly, train staff to produce even better results.

Previously, businesses have relied on training days and professional courses to educate staff, but these things can be time-consuming, not to mention costly. Online learning platforms are a great way to streamline training programmes, and there are many options out there, including efforts targeted at training companies (who sell on courses to professionals) as well as businesses themselves. Here are five of the best.

Docebo LMS (Learning Management System) is one of the best online learning platforms out there. Designed for a variety of scenarios and use cases, it provides the tools you need to develop your own training courses for staff and improve existing educational resources.

This system allows for the creation and delivery of training to users across the globe. The UI is easy-to-use, and you’re able to develop personalised programmes with a few clicks. When you’ve outlined the type of content you want your course to feature, you can add custom elements like the company logo and colour scheme.

There are some handy test, tracking and reporting features too, giving you an insight into the effectiveness of your courses. It’s possible to add as many courses and users to the system as you want, and there’s unlimited bandwidth available. The platform is highly scalable, allowing you to integrate it with CRM, web conferencing software, social media and HR software. It also offers some neat mobile apps.

Litmos has been designed for companies that provide training to businesses and professionals. Like Docebo’s offering, the platform has been optimised for use with mobile devices (with native Android and iOS apps).

It aims to unify virtual, classroom, mobile, social and ecommerce capabilities within a single, secure business platform. There’s a central course builder, which gives you tools to generate educational content that supports multiple formats. Courses are delivered in the form of modules.

You can also create assessments and benchmark the retention of learners. When you’ve created a course and distributed it among professionals, you can review their performance through reports and dashboards.

LearnUpon is suitable for training firms that want to develop and sell courses directly to other companies, as well as organisations that need a system to deliver internal training.

With the software, you can quickly build exams, surveys, assignments, webinars and instructor-led training sessions. It uses popular learning standards such as Scorm and Tin Can, and you don’t need any previous technical knowledge to create courses.

If you have existing course materials, you’ll be happy to learn that you can upload them to the platform across a wide variety of formats including Word, PowerPoint, PDF, or you can upload straight video (or indeed audio).

It’s possible to track the activity of users and provide them with feedback, and the package supports a number of different languages including English, French, German, Spanish, Italian and Chinese.

Online business learning platforms are a lucrative option for training companies, and Firmwater LMS has been built with their needs in mind. If you work in this industry, you can use the system to develop business-focused courses and manage your clients.

Using the software, it’s possible to produce easy-to-use courses and assessments, and you retain control of your intellectual property for everything created in the system. You can update existing content as much as you need, and there are tools to market your courses.

The courses supplement face-to-face training, giving clients the time to focus on other areas, and you can automate training programmes so users can get through them with a minimum of fuss. Everything you create is professionally hosted and secure, and you can track activity in real-time.

When it comes to online learning solutions, Mindflash is a more niche option. It’s an easy-to-use training platform that provides sales, marketing, operations and channel management leaders with the resources to train their teams.

You can use existing content in any format, including Word documents, PowerPoint presentations, straight video or voiceovers. There’s the ability to edit live courses too, and you can easily integrate and automate training programmes, allowing you to focus your attention elsewhere.

The system also boasts tools that let you measure the impact courses have on revenue and productivity within the business. Courses are mobile-friendly, and there’s out-of-the box security to ensure user data is always kept safe.

Categories: Tech News

Leaked pictures show Galaxy S8, LG G6 complete with cases

Latest Tech News - 11 hours 28 min ago

Few phone tipsters are as prolific or as well-informed as Evan Blass (@evleaks) and the man has had another Samsung Galaxy S8 and LG G6 shot to show off this weekend - one that sees the flagship phone wearing some kind of case.

We don't know where the cases are from but the picture does give us a clear look at the front and back of the Galaxy S8. The bezels at the side of the phone's display have been reduced to just about nothing and the fingerprint scanner has been moved around to the rear of the device, next to the camera.

The LG G6, meanwhile, is shown rocking its dual-lens camera with the fingerprint sensor also around the back, as it was on the LG G5. There's also a look at the skin LG is planning to put on top of Android this time around. Click through on the image below to see the full view of both phones.

These images appear to be the real deal, considering the reputation of the source - and they match up with other leaks we've already seen for the Samsung Galaxy S8 and LG G6. We're expecting LG's flagship to be unveiled on February 26, with the Samsung phone probably showing up a month later.

One other rumor floating around the web this weekend about the Galaxy S8 concerns the phone's battery: apparently Samsung is planning to fit some of the S8 phones with battery packs supplied by Sony, making it the third battery supplier alongside Murata Manufacturing and Samsung SDI, an affiliate of Samsung itself.

People "familiar with the matter" told the Wall Street Journal that the company wants to diversify its battery suppliers to avoid another repeat of the Galaxy Note 7 fiasco. Let's hope this time around there are no burning phones and no mass recalls.

Categories: Tech News

Download of the day: Free Download Manager

Latest Tech News - Sat, 02/18/2017 - 14:00
Free Download Manager

Yes, it’s free, and yes, it’s a download manager. But why choose this particular free download manager when there are so many other free download managers to choose from?

The short answer is that this free download manager does lots of useful things. In addition to http downloads it also handles secure http, FTP and BitTorrent downloads, and it has some clever features to make your downloads better.

Why you need it

Downloading files from the internet has always been a fairly painful experience, and even today slow servers and network congestion can make downloading big files a real pain.

Free Download Manager can soothe that pain by downloading the same file from multiple sources, which means that if one particular server is slow your download can turn to the fastest available one instead. You can adjust how much traffic downloads are accounting for, set priorities for torrents and drag and drop URLs from web browsers, and there are extensions for Chrome, Firefox, Edge, Internet Explorer and Safari.

It’s very straightforward and user-friendly, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t suitable for power users: if you want to have total control of multiple files at once, Free Download Manager is an excellent way to do it.

Download here: Free Download Manager

Categories: Tech News

The top 5 most impressive sights at the PC Gamer Weekender

Latest Tech News - Sat, 02/18/2017 - 13:24

This weekend sees the UK's number one PC gaming show return to London. 

Now in its second year, the PC Gamer Weekender is currently taking place in London's Olympia - and TechRadar went along to take in the sights of this celebration of PC gaming culture. 

From teaching attendees how to custom-built PCs to letting them try out the latest and greatest VR technology, the show is a potent reminder of everything that's great about PC gaming. 

So without further ado, here are the five most impressive sights from the PC Gamer Weekender. It's a big show and we had a tough job whittling our list down to just five, but if you're going along these are the ones to make some time for. 

We were amazed when we came across this VR booth, which is a perspex box with a simple layout of walls contained within. 

The game then revolves around having to navigate a series of dungeons within this space in virtual reality. 

But the thing that struck us most about the booth was how well it was making use of MSI's VR One virtual reality backpack.

The backpack fits the contents of a VR-ready PC onto the user's back, meaning there are no wires tethering them to a local gaming PC. 

This means the player can completely freely navigate the small maze without worrying about the wires tangling on its inner walls. 

It's certainly a simple demo, but it has us very excited for the future possibilities of tether-less VR.  

VR backpacks were a big deal at this year's show, and HP had their own model to show off. 

The unit wasn't final so details of battery life are yet to be finalized, but a spokesperson from HP told us that the hope is to provide the unit with four battery packs, of which two are in use at any one time. 

This allows the user to charge a second two packs to swap in without having to experience too much of a break in the VR experience. 

When in use, the backpack sits lightly on the back, and the two battery packs sit on the backpack's waistband, where they feel almost like pouches of ammo - very cool. 

Although HP won't be the first to put out a VR backpack, this looks like it could be the sleekest implementation of the form-factor yet. 

Of course, VR wasn't all about the backpacks. We also came across cult-favorite American Truck Simulator on the show floor, and its developer SCS Software had brought along an Oculus Rift headset for attendees to play the game on. 

For the uninitiated, American Truck Simulator is a completely unironic simulation of the world of trucking. You pick a truck, pick up some cargo, and then spend hours (first virtual, then actual), driving it across rural America. 

It's a very peaceful, relaxing game, and the whole experience takes on a whole 'nother level of escapism when experienced in VR.

Granted, you can't quite get into the trucking zone on a show floor as busy as the Weekender's, but we appreciated our brief escape all the same. 

Away from new technologies like VR, retro computers also saw a showing at the Weekender. 

There were six machines in total: a BBC Micro, Spectrum 48K, Commodore 64, Amstrad CPC 464, Atari ST and Amiga 1200, running a variety of games from the first Prince of Persia to Manic Miner. 

If ever there was a way to see how far technology has come since the 80s, it's by using these machines. With their non-standard keyboard layouts and awkward control schemes, it was tough to pick up and play the games on show without them making us feel like a mollycoddled millennial gamer. 

Still, if you want to appreciate how good we have it nowadays, or if you just want to experience a little blast from the past, then we'd thoroughly recommend swinging by the retro gaming area. 

Finally, one of the outright weirdest things we came across at the show was a game called 'The Great American Punch' where you, you guessed it, have a boxing match with the leader of the free world - Donald Trump. 

The game was produced by a team of students at a recent game jam (so don't expect exceptionally high production values) and is billed simply as a 'cathartic experience' rather than an outright game. 

Aside from the current game-mode, the team hope to include more world leaders for you to spar with in future versions including Vladimir Putin and none other than the Queen of England herself, Queen Elizabeth II. 

Categories: Tech News

The Switch should finally let you back up your Nintendo games online

Latest Tech News - Sat, 02/18/2017 - 09:30

A couple of days ago we were treated to a sneak preview of the Nintendo Switch after one lucky gamer got his hands on the console early - and now an eagle-eyed viewer has spotted something rather interesting in the resulting clip.

Hidden in the small print is a paragraph that says your gaming purchases will be tied to your online Nintendo account, rather than the device you're playing them on. Previously, Nintendo games had been locked to specific hardware, which meant a costly upgrade every time a new machine came out.

"Your Nintendo Account contains your Nintendo eShop purchase history and current balance," reads the text. "By re-linking your Nintendo Account after initializing the console, it will be possible to redownload any software or DLC purchased using that account. (Software that has been discontinued may not be available to redownload in some cases.)"

Switch perfect

Good news for gamers then and another sign that Nintendo is finally getting to grips with gaming in the modern day - alongside all those games for mobile devices it's suddenly decided to start releasing.

Nintendo itself hasn't made any comment on the revelation so we'll probably have to wait until the Switch finally goes on sale (March 3) for confirmation of exactly how this is going to work - will you be able to register multiple Switches with the same account, for example? Nevertheless it's a promising development though.

Another unanswered question is whether or not compatible games from the Wii U and 3DS also be available to download through the new system, thus saving money on new copies... but we just have to wait and see. In the meantime here's everything we know about the Nintendo Switch so far.

Via NintendoLife

Categories: Tech News

Forget Planet of the Apps – Apple needs to rip off these TV shows instead

Latest Tech News - Sat, 02/18/2017 - 07:30

The iPhone is selling by the bucketload and iPads and MacBooks are essential tools for the sorts of attractive twenty-somethings who tend to appear in adverts… But Apple TV? As far as we can tell, though Apple TV has sold pretty well, it hasn’t changed the living room, let alone the world. 

So in a bid to gin up some interest Apple has decided to take a lesson from Netflix and Amazon Prime’s playbook, and develop some original TV content. 

Forget mega-budget Kevin Spacey political dramas though, and cast aside any thoughts of Jeremy Clarkson and his pals spending the big bucks making a travel show that pretends to be a car show. Apple has decided that the best vehicle with which to launch its ambitions is… a rip off of Dragon’s Den. That’s Shark Tank, if you’re American. 

Planet of the Apps – yes, that is really what it is called – will see budding entrepreneurs pitch their idea to an “expert panel” which includes Jessica Alba, Gwyneth Paltrow and ubiquitous failed tech entrepreneur Will.I.Am

We know what you’re thinking: we don’t know what secrets Will.I.Am knows about Tim Cook either. But we know what you’re also thinking: Why is Apple, the biggest company in the world, with one of the coolest brands in the world, deciding to cash in all of its brand equity on such an obviously tacky idea? 

So we’ve decided to help Tim Cook. We can’t pinpoint the exact psychological reason why he’s decided to greenlight this, but we do watch a lot of TV. So here’s our suggestions for five other TV shows that Apple should have ripped off instead. 

1. Bloomberg's Hello World

Apple, like all tech companies, obviously wants to present itself at the forefront of innovation. So why not produce a show that explores technological innovation around the world? One format to rip-off that does this rather nicely is “Hello World” on Bloomberg.

In each episode Ashlee Vance visits a different country and meets local start-ups and tech firms. And for tech nerds, it makes for fascinating viewing as it shows what is going on not just in Silicon Valley, but elsewhere. For example, in one Russian city that was deliberately created for scientists in the Soviet era there is now a cutting edge drone company building devices that can compete with the rest of the world.

So why doesn’t Apple play to its’ strengths and send a filmmaker around the world to capture what’s going on? Hey, they might even discover some start-ups to buy along the way. 

2. W1A

W1A was a critical hit for the BBC when it aired in 2014. The satirical mockumentary brilliantly pierced the pomposity of the corporation that commissioned it as it followed the work of “Head of Values” Ian Fletcher (Hugh Bonneville) at BBC Broadcasting House itself. It showed that the BBC, despite its long and august history as an institution in British life, was not as po-faced as we might have expected.

Apple, meanwhile, is another massive organisation – wouldn’t it be nice if we knew it could laugh at itself too? There’s plenty to mock: The circus that is a keynote presentation, the way Jony Ive will earnestly discuss the shape of a button (not to mention the fact that Apple has become something of a religion amongst its most zealous customers). Paul O’Grady could be cast in the role of Tim Cook.

Perhaps it is time that Ian Fletcher got a new job in Cupertino? 

3. Later… With Jools Holland 

Before Planet of the Apps, the company’s only previous foray into original content has been with it’s Beats 1 online radio station. Sure, it doesn’t appear as though anyone is actually listening to it, but at least the station, under the sage guidance of former Radio 1 tastemaker Zane Lowe fits in with the brand values that Apple is trying to project: “Look at all of this achingly cool new music from credible artists that you can listen to on your Apple Device”, Apple’s marketing has shouted since the original iPod.

Arguably the closest analogue on TV is the BBC’s Later, in which Jools Holland manages to round up a bunch of credible musicians to play some music together. There’s few gimmicks, and it doesn’t need them – it’s for musos with eclectic tastes.

So what Apple should do is obvious: Super-charge this format. Use the iPhone’s money printing machine to book the biggest artists, mix it up with some cool obscure people and have inexplicably cool 43 year old Lowe present. Perhaps leave out the boogie-woogie piano. Make it credible, maybe throw in a few interviews focusing on musicianship and all of a sudden Apple is the producer of a global tastemaking music show. 

4. The News

In the 20th century, the US government granted the TV networks the airwaves for free, on one condition: That every night, they broadcast the news. Perhaps it is time for Apple to step up as a responsible corporate citizen in the 21st century and do its duty to inform citizens too.

Let’s face it - it’s very hard to tell what’s true anymore and it’s partially Apple’s fault. “Fake news” is a much abused term, but the simple fact is that thanks to the proliferation of internet-capable devices, everyone is able to live in their bubble, hearing only facts and opinions that they want to hear. And while it might be pleasing to have everything you read reinforce your existing views, this is a terrible, terrible thing for democracy.

At the same time, the internet has destroyed many of the business models of journalism: Foreign bureaus have closed, court and local news reporting has virtually disappeared.

Why can’t Apple use its billions of dollars it has on hand to form a major news organisation? Produce a nightly bulletin that lives up to the values that Will McAvoy in The Newsroom would espouse. 

5. Doctor Who

 And finally, perhaps what Apple TV needs is something that caters towards a major demographic in its fanbase: They need a show about a geekster with lots of gadgets.

They need Doctor Who.

Simply drop the TARDIS and replace it with an Apple Time Machine and instead of a human companion, simply have The Doctor banter with Siri instead.

There’s lots of scope for varied villains too: A seemingly all knowing entity known as Google, and Samsung, a South Korean monster that causes explosions.

And if Apple wants it’s Doctor to remain totally on brand: Make the Sonic Screwdriver charge up with a proprietary connector too. 

Categories: Tech News

LG G6 shows off its always-on display in newly leaked photos

Latest Tech News - Sat, 02/18/2017 - 05:21

In a week's time we're expecting LG to finally unveil the LG G6 officially at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona. In the meantime, a new pair of unofficial photos have found their way onto the web, courtesy of 9to5Google.

There's nothing too surprising here for those of us who've been following the LG G6 leaks trail over the past few months, but we do get a good look at what seems to be an always-on display - showing the time and select notifications even while the phone is off.

The shots, of a silver LG G6, also confirm there's going to be a fingerprint sensor on the back of the phone and a dual-lens camera setup, following the lead of the LG G5.

The sources speaking to 9to5Google also verified some of the device's key specs: a Snapdragon 821 processor, a 5.7-inch display, 4GB of RAM, 32GB of expandable storage on the entry model and a 3,200mAh battery.

We're also expecting the new handset to have some pretty impressive audio hardware built in, as well as its new-look UX 6.0 running on top of Android. It's looking likely to be low on bezels and high on waterproofing.

The LG G6 launch event starts at 12pm CET time in Barcelona, next Sunday February 26 - that's 11am London time, 6am in New York, and 10pm in Sydney. It should then go on sale in March and April. As always we'll be bringing you details of the event as it happens.

Categories: Tech News

Best VPN for Australia: Our 5 top choices

Latest Tech News - Sat, 02/18/2017 - 04:00

In the past couple of years, Australia has introduced data retention legislation that allows ISPs to store online browsing history and metadata. So it’s hardly surprising that Australian citizens (or visitors to the country) may well choose to use a VPN in the name of simply maintaining online security and privacy.

However, these core features of a VPN service are not the only reasons to adopt one. The ability to bypass geo-restricted content and unblock streaming services are also common uses for the humble VPN.

How to choose the best VPN service for Australia

Apart from the usual requirements – strong security, encryption and a watertight privacy policy – you should also look for wide server coverage. The latter ensures that finding a fast and reliable connection is a much easier task.

Ideally, the VPN’s native clients should be user-friendly, and cover all the main platforms (desktop and mobile). Pay attention to the number of simultaneous connections allowed, as you’ll likely want to use your mobile devices or multiple PCs without running into restrictions. With all that in mind, here are our five picks of the best VPNs for Australia.

IPVanish is a quality VPN offering which has done well in our other roundups, and it’s an excellent choice for Australia, too. There are 47 Australian servers, which bodes well for finding a fast connection – and in our tests, we found download speeds considerably improved using this VPN (compared to our normal rates).

The client software is equally impressive and intuitive, offering a wide range of settings. There are clients for Windows, Mac, Android and iOS, along with instructions for setup on other platforms. IPVanish allows anonymous torrenting and unlimited P2P traffic.

The company upholds a firm ‘no logs’ policy when it comes to your internet activities. On the security front, OpenVPN, PPTP and L2TP/IPsec protocols are supported, and there are some neat extra features like the ability to automatically change your IP at set intervals (for example, every hour). 

The main bugbear here is that the price tag might be a little high for some. IPVanish doesn’t offer a free trial either, but the three available plans include a 7-day money-back guarantee. The 1-year subscription is the most affordable option. The packages available are:

VyprVPN is a tier-1 network, owning and operating all of its servers, and it boasts some highly impressive performance levels as a result. Indeed, in testing, we experienced download speeds which were over twice as fast as our normal rates (i.e. with the VPN turned off). The service also provides clients for almost every platform with the native Windows client being really simple to use. 

VyprVPN offers OpenVPN, L2TP and PPTP security with 256-bit encryption, as well as additional security in the form of the proprietary Chameleon protocol and VyprDNS. The service has a favourable ‘no logging’ privacy policy and doesn’t store any online activity.

A freshly revamped pricing strategy now features only two plans which can be billed monthly or yearly. Monthly plans are expensive and your best bet is the affordable annual billing of the Premium plan, which has the full range of goodies and features. Curiously, VyprVPN doesn’t allow refunds but you have plenty of time to test the service with the 3-day free trial. The packages available are:

With its enormous number of servers, Private Internet Access guarantees a good and reliable connection. The US-based provider covers Australia equally well, although it doesn’t boast great performance levels – our download speeds dropped by around 15% in testing (compared to normal rates), but remained perfectly usable.

The client is relatively basic with some extra settings and options. Those looking to use torrents will be happy to know that the service has no restrictions on P2P. As for security, you get PPTP, OpenVPN, L2TP and IPSec protocols, a SOCKS5 proxy, multiple VPN gateways, plus advert and malware blocking. The concise privacy policy makes it clear that there’s no logging.

There is no free trial to test the service, but Private Internet Access does offer a 7-day money-back guarantee. The three available plans have identical features and are reasonably priced. The yearly plan is the clear winner if you want to keep overall costs to a minimum. The packages available are:

If you need the strongest levels of security, NordVPN is the service to go for. In Australia, this VPN has 15 servers, and although it isn’t quite as fast as some of its rivals, performance is nippy enough. In tests, we found our download speeds only dropped by around 5% compared to our normal non-VPN rates.

NordVPN’s client features a well-designed user interface which makes everything relatively straightforward, and it’s worth noting that the service is P2P-friendly. The provider also offers a number of ‘Double VPN’ servers which pass your data through two separate VPN servers as opposed to just the one, for extra security. The KEv2/IPsec, OpenVPN, PPTP and L2TP protocols are supported, and encrypted traffic can be routed over the Tor network. Furthermore, the firm has a strict ‘no logs’ policy.

There is a notable flaw here, namely that you can only have one device on the same server using the same protocol – in other words, you can only have four devices hooked up to one server (and they must all use different protocols).

The provider offers a free 3-day trial which you have to request via an email. The monthly plan is rather expensive so go for the 1-year plan as it offers the best value for money. The packages available are:

SlickVPN has servers located in both Melbourne and Sydney, and it delivers acceptable download and upload speeds on the performance front. If there’s a weak point here, it’s client support – there are no mobile apps, with only Windows and Mac software. We also found the setup process a little troublesome using the Windows client.

Anyhow, back to the good news: this VPN supports torrenting, and indeed unlimited P2P traffic, and does well when it comes to unblocking streaming services. Apart from all the usual security protocols, SlickVPN offers a technology called Hydra, which in basic terms routes traffic through multiple gateways for additional security. The provider clearly states it doesn’t log any customer activity whatsoever.

SlickVPN is strong when it comes to value. You have four pricing plans at your disposal with the yearly plan coming in nice and cheap. There is no free trial but the service does offer a 30-day refund policy. The packages available are:

Categories: Tech News

GDC 2017: 5 things we want to see at this year's Game Developers Conference

Latest Tech News - Fri, 02/17/2017 - 18:50

GDC 2017 is almost upon us, gathering professionals from every corner of the gaming biz to convene, show off their craft, and get the insider’s take on what direction the industry is headed next.

Though GDC (full name: Game Developers Conference) is geared more towards demonstrations between fellow game developers and less the kind of massive reveals you'd see dropped at an event like E3 2017, it does occasionally take a break from its myriad inside-baseball lectures to give us onlookers a taste of what’s new and exciting in the gaming world.

As the stage gets set for the annual melding of the minds in electronic entertainment - the official GDC 2017 dates are February 27 through March 3 - here are five things we want to see at this years show. 

What's next for VR gaming?

Last year’s GDC might as well have been renamed The Virtual Reality Tour 2K16, with VR technology such as Oculus Rift, HTC Vive, and PlayStation VR all vying for the spotlight.

As we head into GDC 2017, it’s time to see if VR gaming has some legs, or if the novelty is starting to wear off somewhat. 

There’s still evidence to support the former, with games like Rock Band VR and Star Trek: Bridge Crew around the corner, but we’re hoping more companies step up with their own spin on VR gaming. 

An example of one such firm is Manus VR, which last year revealed virtual reality-enabled gloves that offered players a chance to get a literal grip on the digitized world around them. 

Mark Zuckerberg wears Oculus VR's glove prototypes

Facebook has something similar in the oven for Oculus, as recent photos show none other than CEO Mark Zuckerberg playing around with a pair of prototype VR gloves.

In addition to new spins on a now-familiar tech, we would also love to see what mainstays like Oculus and HTC have in mind for the future of their headsets - perhaps a tease of Oculus Rift 2 and HTC Vive 2?

Microsoft reveals more about Project Scorpio and Windows Holographic

Invested as a software platform, hardware system, and game developer in its own right, Microsoft will be out in force at GDC.

We think it’s high time we learn more concrete details about Project Scorpio, Microsoft’s mysterious high-powered 4K gaming console and answer to Sony’s PlayStation Pro

Nebulous descriptions about its immense computing power and six teraflops of graphical razzamatazz are great for building buzz, but now is the time for details, especially if Microsoft is serious about hitting that incoming Holiday 2017 release date. 

While Project Scorpio will be the star of Microsoft’s E3 efforts, GDC is the perfect time to start to get developers on board, plus scale up even more excitement for a big reveal, which we expect during that other gaming show in June.

Project Scorpio’s planned support for VR also has us wondering: What’s next for Windows Holographic? Microsoft’s augmented-reality software initiative hasn’t made any big moves since HoloLens rolled out to developers, so what’s there to look forward to for those who don’t have $3,000 (£2,719, AU$4,369) laying around to purchase the augmented reality headset?

Thankfully, Microsoft is rumored to distribute a more consumer-friendly Windows Holographic developer kit during GDC this year, according to MSPoweruser. The most exciting part? These kinds of headsets, intended for game makers to develop content with consumers in mind, are reported to fall in a more realistic price range of around $300-$400, significantly less than the enterprise-oriented HoloLens. 

There’s no guarantee where Microsoft is headed with its hardware just yet, but we hope GDC is where we start to see its plans fall into place. 

Indie games galore

If you’re pinning your hopes on news from GDC that ignites the gaming world like the average E3 presser or Game Awards airing, then you’re looking at the wrong show.

Whereas other, more extravagant spectacles see gaming’s biggest movers and shakers trying to one-up each other, GDC has a much more humble focus. That, however, is a good thing.

GDC lets smaller game makers take the stage, opening the door for different, bolder, and sometimes downright strange games to find an audience without having to share the spotlight with the multi-million dollar hype train conducted by a new Call of Duty or Uncharted.

The weird and wonderful on display at GDC

That’s why we hope to see a slew of small-team darlings at this year’s GDC, from newcomers to seasoned vets in the indie scene. Whether it’s to announce a new game, show off the secret sauce behind their talents, or give first-time developers words of advice/warning/encouragement, we can’t wait to take a peek behind the proverbial curtain of game creation.

On a more specific note, we’d love a surprise appearance from Gone Home developer The Fullbright Company, whose mysterious follow-up game Tacoma is fast approaching its spring 2017 release.

 Nintendo Switch snags more developers

After culling back its in-person showings at conventions - going so far as to only show one game at last year’s E3 - it’s nice to see Nintendo on the exhibitor list for GDC 2017. 

With the Nintendo Switch hitting store shelves on the show’s final day (March 3), we hope this is only the beginning of the handheld/console hybrid’s public relations tour. 

While the gaming giant’s presence may wind up being just an extension of the Switch's marketing push, we'd like to see Nintendo use GDC as an opportunity to demonstrate the console’s viability to developers, ensuring it won’t leave the gate running on empty.

Built on Nvidia hardware, the Nintendo Switch could potentially be one of the easiest platforms to ever develop for given the chip maker’s experience with graphics standards from its long-running like of PC graphics cards, and its production know-how with the Android-powered Shield Tablet K1

That said, both Nintendo and Nvidia have kept mum on what the guts of the latest system, but if it's truly a welcome home for developers, it falls upon Nintendo to make that known to game makers both large and small.

We're not asking for anything as grand as announcing a brand-new IP or a sequel that would more likely merit its own Nintendo Direct livestream, but we think showing developers how to take full advantage of the Switch’s hardware could bolster third-party support for the system - something its predecessor, the Wii U, found sorely lacking.

What's the future of 'spectator' gaming?

In addition to instructionals such as learning the new programming constructs in the Vulkan graphics API, GDC also hosts a number of talks that dive into every aspect of the industry.

In recent years, one of the biggest trends has been the rise of playing video games for spectator enjoyment, falling everywhere from YouTube and Twitch users earning a living playing games online, to speedrunning events like Awesome Games Done Quick raising over $2 million for cancer research, to ESPN airing the Street Fighter V World Championships during last year’s EVO fighting game tournament.

What we’re excited to see at GDC 2017 is how game developers are responding to this new, rapidly growing field for consuming games. 

How are big-money eSports scenes handling their burgeoning popularity? What can - or should - developers do to make games more appealing during a livestream or TV broadcast? What are some fun and plausible ways for an audience to participate during a livestream?

We’re keen to learn how platforms like Twitch.tv and YouTube Gaming (and, to a lesser extent, Facebook Live) are adapting to these growing audiences, as well as how they can make beaming out your gaming achievements to viewers not just faster and easier, but also safe and legal.

There will be hours upon hours of knowledge shared in the halls of GDC later this month, but as gaming gains a bigger stake in public consciousness, we can’t wait to see how game publishers - from the well-established to the indie newcomer - handle the changing ways people enjoy electronic entertainment. 

  • GDC is the same week as MWC 2017, one of the biggest tech shows of the year!
Categories: Tech News

Top 6 best Linux terminal emulators of 2017

Latest Tech News - Fri, 02/17/2017 - 17:00

The terminal is the beating heart of Linux, no matter how hard today’s user-friendly graphical distros might try to push it into the background. If you need something done quickly and efficiently, chances are the best way to do it is with some complex keyboard wrangling. Exactly what to type is beyond the scope of this article – check out our guide here to get yourself started.

The key, if you’re a terminal-slinging Linux badass, is making sure you type those commands with as much style and panache as possible. And while you’ll likely never be in a position where you’re not able to drop to a straight full-screen shell, having a quick window to the command line on your desktop is always handy.

Of course, you have one already – be it xterm, Gnome Shell, Konsole, or whatever ‘Terminal’ application your chosen distro has bundled in – but this probably isn’t as good as your terminal emulator could be. So let’s refresh your view of those plain old white-on-black characters, as we point out our top six Linux terminal emulators.

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Who needs system resources anyway? If you have a bunch of CPU cycles and graphics processing power that needs using up, you’re sure to get a kick out of Cool Retro Term. It emulates the look of a really old-school cathode ray screen, complete with phosphor glow, burn-in, and bloom around the characters. If you cut your teeth with the monochrome screens of the early eighties, this is a nostalgic (and highly customisable) trip back to the past.

You can even select between a number of character sets, evoking memories of (for example) the all-caps Apple II, as well as selecting between a number of colours to replicate the amber warmth of classic Zenith monitors, or a rarely-used but nonetheless beautiful cyan.

While the usefulness of some of its features is questionable – particularly the optional screen jitter replicating a slightly dodgy signal cable, and some of the older fonts – Cool Retro Term (or CRT, get it?) is a beautiful toy to play with.

This terminal emulator, crafted specifically for Gnome, takes inspiration from classic shooter Quake. You might have inferred that from its name – but it doesn’t throw Shamblers in your path, offer you quad or mega-health power-ups, or even come branded with Quake’s classic brown-on-brown colour scheme, thankfully. Instead, it apes the behaviour of Quake’s console, un-hiding itself and dropping down from the top of the screen when you hit a hotkey.

This behaviour is immensely useful, particularly when you’re not working with a huge amount of screen real-estate. There’s no need to keep a window open, or indeed hunt around for the Terminal icon when you need to type something useful or check your performance in htop. Just tap [F12] to bring it down, or [F11] to make it full-screen, and you’re away.

Guake also comes with a selection of neat colour schemes, giving you a few stylish options. There are similar options for other desktops, too: check out the likes of YaKuake or the GTK-based tilda.


How much street cred does a single terminal window actually afford you? Every command line warrior worth his or her salt is jumping between a number of different sessions for different tasks, has one eye on htop (or similar) at all times to manage system resources, and so on.

There are actual shell-based options for this – GNU Screen, for example, or tmux – and Gnome Terminal allows you to open extra tabs and flick between them as you wish. But Terminator, which borrows much of its code from Gnome Terminal and tends to update as soon as its parent does, splits up your different sessions into individual panes within a single terminal app.

This means you can have everything open and available at one time – keep an eye on stats, watch a text-mode clock like vtclock, edit docs in nano, run whatever commands you need, all in an interface which can be tweaked and added to as your needs require.

Some people lean on the terminal as their default method of Linux navigation, but that can be a little restrictive. Normally you’d hunt down a file, then have to jump to another desktop app to preview it unless it was a plain text document. Not so with EFL-based Terminology, an app which celebrates the terminal while doing away with its more irritating old-school features.

Files, URLs and email addresses are automatically made mouse-able in Terminology’s window. Click an image, or a video, and you’ll be shown a preview within the terminal itself. It supports panes (known here as ‘splits’) in much the same way as Terminator, and can be infinitely customised. Why not apply an individual background image or colour scheme to each split? Why not fiddle with the transparency for that late nineties ‘look what Linux can do’ vibe?

The options are all there, with text mode triggers and a vast number of options tucked away in its context menus.

One of Linux’s big issues is that it sometimes does slightly too much. That terminal emulator you’ve been using, whatever it might be, is probably compatible with a whole raft of obscure, archaic or simply never-used protocols.

It might also be a bit of a mess – Linux code tends to pass through a lot of hands and get ingredients sprinkled in by a number of different cooks before it hits your plate. It doesn’t have to be that way, though: st is a simple meal, good old rustic home cooking, a terminal emulator that does precisely what it’s meant to do and little else. 

Don’t make the mistake of thinking it’s all that simple, though, despite the name. There’s still support for all the colours you could ask for, clipboard handling, a full UTF-8 character set, and a lot of font customisation options including antialiasing. If you’re not one for terminal frippery and would prefer a more straightforward environment, this is the one for you.

Also known as urxvt, this is the terminal emulator which many veteran Linux users end up using. Not because of pretty graphics or gimmicks, but because it’s absolutely rock solid and free of glitches. When what you need is a terminal, and you need it fast and solid, rxvt-unicode is where you turn.

That’s not to say it doesn’t do fancy things: it supports colours, unicode, customisable fonts with italics and bold if required, and even transparency. The main program runs as a daemon, meaning it cleverly conserves system resources when you’re running multiple windows over multiple desktops.

But it’s very difficult to cause rxvt-unicode to crash, and that’s its main selling point – even if you’re playing with a more  visual example, having this installed when it’s time to get serious is a clever choice. As long as you don’t mind a bit of hardcore configuration file editing to get it precisely how you like it…

Categories: Tech News

This strange VR accessory claims to help fight anxiety and help you sleep better

Latest Tech News - Fri, 02/17/2017 - 14:43

There are a number of unique virtual reality accessories out there. Sure, there’s your standard ones like the Oculus Touch and Vive Tracker which have very obvious applications in VR. But then you have some more nebulous products like, for example, the Kortex. 

The device popped up on IndieGoGo and claims to help fight anxiety, manage stress and help you sleep better after using it for 20 minutes during your next VR gameplay session. 

The Kortex straps onto any VR headset including the HTC Vive and Oculus Rift, though it looks like the Samsung Gear VR is where it will find the most success thanks to its low-cost ticket to entry. Back the device while it’s still on IndieGoGo and you’ll receive a discounted price and a copy of the game Land’s End.

We’ll let you watch the video for more specifics, but the idea here is that the Kortex uses alternating current via an electrode strapped to your temple to stimulate the production of serotonin and reduce cortisol in the brain. Two 20-minute sessions a day and its creators, a medical technology company called Fisher Wallace Labs, say you’ll be sleeping better. 

While we don’t put a ton of stock in faux-medical devices, there are some potentially exciting applications here – either to enhance your mood while you play games or to help you wind down and relax when you’re feeling a bit too stressed out. Less anxiety and a free copy of a game? Sign us up.

Categories: Tech News

Android Wear 2.0 is leaving behind one of the most beloved smartwatches

Latest Tech News - Fri, 02/17/2017 - 14:24

The Sony Smartwatch 3 is one of the best Android Wear smartwatches around and beloved by many, but it won’t be updated to Android Wear 2.0.

Spotted by Xperia Blog, the product page for Smartwatch 3 now plainly states that the device will not receive the long-anticipated software refresh. Instead, it will remain on Android Wear 1.5 for the rest of time, unless its enterprising fans find a way to work around that limitation, of which there are many.

Loyal supporters of Sony’s forgotten watch even went as far as petitioning for the new software. Currently, just over 3,000 have signed, but alas, Sony seems to have already made up its mind.

The Sony Smartwatch 3 was one of the first Android Wear smartwatches on the market and it got a surprisingly large amount of things right. Its square design stood out from the rest. It has NFC, and sporty charm with its silicon bracelet, IP68 rating and built-in GPS, but blends right into just about every other scenario as well.

Its hardware button would have qualified it to work with Android Wear 2.0, too. But Sony’s decision likely has to do with its aging chipset, which lags behind the smooth experience put out by the Snapdragon Wear 2100 that we’ve found in a growing number of watches.

So, we’ll pour one out for the Sony Smartwatch 3. Its fate is similar to that of the Moto 360 and LG G Watch – they aren’t among the list of watches compatible with Android Wear 2.0

These were the early pioneers that helped Android Wear get to where it is today, but I swear, there’s just no respect for the elders anymore.

Via Android Police

Categories: Tech News

YouTube is putting an end to 30-second ads you can’t skip

Latest Tech News - Fri, 02/17/2017 - 14:14

YouTube's baneful, unskippable half-minute advertisements are due to become a thing of the past.

The Google-owned video service revealed today that it will stop supporting 30-second unskippable ads starting next year - issuing a sigh of relief from viewers all over who are tired of sitting through the same Geico insurance spot ad nauseam.

The move was made in an effort to create a better ad experience, with the service focusing instead "on formats that work well for both users and advertisers," a YouTube spokesperson said in a statement sent to TechRadar.

After these messages...

This isn't the first time in recent memory that YouTube has shaken up its ad format. Last April, the video purveyor announced quick-but-unskippable six-second bumper ads for mobile platforms.

Though a win for those sick of waiting on ads to finish before enjoying the content they came to watch, it's also possible that 20-second commercials may become the new unskippable norm, notes Campaign, which first broke the news on YouTube’s move.

Those who really wish to be rid of ads can opt for a premium YouTube Red subscription, which cuts out pre-roll ads entirely, and also grants access to exclusive shows, offline viewing, and background play on mobile devices.

However, YouTube Red isn't a magic bullet for all users, as the $10/AU$12-per-month service is only available in the US, Mexico, Australia, South Korea and New Zealand.

Categories: Tech News

Download of the day: Google Chrome

Latest Tech News - Fri, 02/17/2017 - 14:00
Google Chrome

Every PC comes with a perfectly decent web browser, unless it’s really old: if you’re using Internet Explorer, just skip the rest of our words and hit the download link right now.

Chrome is Google’s alternative to your default web browser, and it offers a number of things that your current browser probably doesn’t.

Why you need it

Speed, security, speed, simplicity, speed, flexibility. Did we mention speed? Chrome is incredibly, ridiculously fast, and if you don’t install all the plugins in the world – known here as Chrome Extensions – it won’t make your PC feel slow and sluggish no matter how many tabs you open. We tend to browse with just a few well-chosen extensions, such as privacy protectors and video blockers to stop auto-play videos from annoying us at work.

It can use a lot of RAM, but that’s because it keeps each tab as a separate process. That means if one website hangs, it won’t crash the entire browser. 

Another key reason to go for Chrome is that you can sync your bookmarks, auto-fill items and even your open tabs between devices – not just PCs but Macs, iPhones, iPads and Android devices too. That’s a boon if you’re always juggling gadgets or need to access the same things at home and at work.

Download here: Google Chrome

Categories: Tech News

The best graphics cards of 2017

Latest Tech News - Fri, 02/17/2017 - 13:10

There’s no denying that PC gaming is in its prime right now. Console makers are trying to copy it by making their own mid-generational iterations to keep up with the 4K standards set by PC, and meanwhile, graphics cards are getting more powerful for the price than ever. 

At the same time, computers have managed to take a page from Sony, Microsoft and Nintendo’s book by going to desperate measures to avoid overheating. New graphics card designs, such as those from EVGA, ensure that that your PC’s components are compressed terms of size but pack a punch in performance and cooling.

That said, if portability is less of a concern, you might be tempted to go after the most lavish GPU on the market. If that’s the case then prepare your wallet for the end of the month where not only AMD is expected to show off its latest Vega cards, but Nvidia may even reveal the GTX 1080 Ti at long last.

Nevertheless, there’s no point in anteing up for a graphics card with Xtreme Edition, ‘90s spunk if it’s being bottlenecked by a weak processor or held back by a cheap display. Conversely, you don’t want to be stifled by AMD’s budget-friendly yet timid Radeon RX 460 if you’re rocking one of the very best monitors at 4K resolution.

Prefacing out of the way, here are our picks for the best graphics cards around. Whether your budget allows for high-end, mid-range or low-end pricing, you’ll find an up-to-date list of recommendations as well as the latest review from one of our test benches.

If you want a proper foray into 4K gaming, you're looking at it. With the launch of Nvidia's Pascal architecture, you can get the performance of two 980 Ti’s for a fraction of what you'd spend on a Titan X. You might have to turn down the graphics settings in certain games to keep a steady frame rate, but overall, the GTX 1080 finally makes the legendary, native resolution of 3,840 x 2,160 pixels an affordable reality. No longer do you need to strap two cards together in an SLI configuration to experience the latest PC games the way they were meant to be played; the GTX 1080 does 4K with just one.

Read the full review: Nvidia GeForce GTX 1080

Though it bears resemblance to the GTX 1070 and 1080, the GTX 1060 draws more parallels to Nvidia's last-gen GeForce 980. In an attempt to compete with the affordable RX 480, which promises 1080p, VR gaming at an aggressive price point, Nvidia was under pressure to come out with something in the same class. The GTX 1060, a mid-range graphics card with a firm grip on 1080p, or even 1440p graphics to a degree, is just that. Given the ubiquity of full HD displays, the GTX 1060 is an inexpensive middle-ground solution for those in need of an energy-efficient GPU that demolishes in terms of performance.

Read the full review: Nvidia GeForce GTX 1060

Like the GTX 1050 and 1050 Ti from Nvidia, the latest in AMD’s Polaris catalog runs cheap, thanks to various takes on the Radeon RX 460 by XFX, Powercolor and others. The RX 460 proper is quite possibly the most affordable means of 1080p gaming outside of integrated CPU graphics. So long as you’re not looking to run The Witcher 3 at 60 fps on Ultra settings, the Radeon RX 460 is a capable, energy efficient piece of kit. Plus, by compromising on memory, it’s able to draw all its power straight from the motherboard, negating the need for any 6- or 8-pin connectors.

With so many lucrative successes this generation, we were admittedly disappointed to see the latest addition to the Pascal family almost completely miss the mark. As indicated in our review benchmarks, the Asus ROG Strix GTX 1050 Ti in particular is an overclocker with the 1080p gaming capabilities you might be in dire need of if you haven’t upgraded your graphics card in a few years. Otherwise, you’re better off saving for a 3GB GTX 1060 instead.

Read the full review: Asus ROG Strix GTX 1050 Ti

Gabe Carey has also contributed to this article

Categories: Tech News

ZTE cancels ambitious self-adhesive smartphone

Latest Tech News - Fri, 02/17/2017 - 12:02

ZTE has cancelled the Kickstarter for its ambitious phone called Hawkeye. This comes after a troublesome campaign in which the product didn’t exactly fit consumer expectations. The irony is not lost on us.

Hawkeye, also known as Project CSX, was devised based on how the public saw fit, or so they thought. ZTE collected votes to decide on the product’s marquee features, but the final product pitched on Kickstarter didn’t exactly match up.

Cancelled late in its drive for consumer interest and money, ZTE only managed a small fraction of its fundraising goal. This comes after Jeff Yee stated that the company is listening to feedback and will work to meet customers at eye-level moving forward.

And while a cancelled Kickstarter clearly isn’t great news, ZTE isn’t finished with the project. The company has confirmed that it plans to release a similar offering by the end of 2017, complete with eye-tracking and self-adhesive capabilities, as well as higher-end specifications, the latter of which many felt that ZTE under delivered on with Hawkeye.

Speaking with Engadget, Yee said "This is maybe not exactly what we wanted at this stage, but we are able to swallow our pride and recognize that the specs that we listed were not exactly what the community wanted."

We got our hands on the Hawkeye prototype at CES 2017 and we liked what we saw. Here’s to hoping that ZTE can strike the balance between making exactly what the people want without amping up the price too much during the process.

Categories: Tech News

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