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Updated: 2 hours 11 min ago

Will your next phone use dark mode by default?

Sun, 08/18/2019 - 07:00

We’re entering a new dark age. Developers are falling over themselves to develop dark versions of their apps in preparation for the imminent release of Android Q and iOS 13, with their system-wide dark modes.

This will apply not only to your phone’s interface – apps will also be switched to dark mode when you activate the option. In Android Q, any apps without a specially reated dark version will be ‘forced’ when dark mode is activated, which will adjust the interface colors automatically and potentially spoil the designer’s carefully crafted user experience.

Currently, Android features an interface-only dark mode, which can be activated manually or triggered automatically based on the color of the user’s chosen wallpaper. It might seem like a purely aesthetic choice, but there are also practical reasons for turning down the brightness.

One of the biggest of these is power-saving. Google’s own research revealed that darker interfaces are far less of a drain on system resources, and allow users to go longer between charges.

It’s also been suggested that bright lights from screens (particularly phones, which we often use in bed) can stop us getting a good night’s sleep.  Although blue light is often cited as a particular concern, some professionals, including  John O’Hagan of Public Health England’s centre for radiation, chemical and environmental hazards, say light on all wavelengths can disturb circadian rhythms, so limiting light exposure in general can help regulate your natural sleep cycle.

Finally, dark mode just looks cool. White interfaces have been the standard for so long, it’s refreshing to have a different option.

With all that in mind, why is light mode still the default – and could it change when Android R and iOS 13 roll around?

Turn out the lights

For both companies, going dark by default would be a huge change. The bright, white look has been an essential part of Google’s design language from the very beginning, with its origins as a blank page with a logo and central search bar.

It’s since added colored elements (as explained in its Material Design principles) but the clean, white design has always been central to its identity.

Apple has also long associated itself with clean, white lines – starting with the Snow White design language in 1982. However, it’s become much more adventurous with colors in recent years – and its fans seem to approve. The announcement of dark mode for macOS Mojave last year was met with much whooping and cheering (even more than usual for an Apple launch event), so it’s easier to imagine Apple taking the plunge and making dark the default.

Things might change on the Android front, too. Even if Google sticks with white for stock Android on its own Pixel phones, the likes of Samsung and Huawei might prefer the benefits of the dark side. After all, why wouldn’t they want to prolong battery life wherever possible – and provide the experience users are whooping for?

The future is dark.

Categories: Tech News

Early access program gives us a sneak peek at Apple Arcade

Sun, 08/18/2019 - 05:30

We've been eagerly awaiting the arrival of Apple Arcade since it was announced back in March, and now we have a few more clues as to what it will look like, courtesy of an internal early access program at Apple.

Details obtained by 9to5Mac show a few of the screens and the games as they look at the moment, via the Mac App Store.

Apple employees can get in on the action for $0.49 per month, but testing apparently only lasts until iOS 13 launches – we're expecting that to be in September (with the new iPhones), so this early access preview might be a short one.

There's also the option of a one-month free trial which is likely to be offered out to the general public, encouraging them to give Apple Arcade a whirl (Apple Music also offers a free trial to newcomers).

Some of the games highlighted in Apple Arcade at the moment include Way Of The Turtle ("two curious turtles lost on a cursed island"), Down In Bermuda ("voyage across the Atlantic on the journey of a lifetime"), and Hot Lava ("run, jump, climb and surf in first person across nostalgia-packed environments").

Apple has previously promised a choice of more than 100 titles when Apple Arcade finally opens up its doors, and developers are no doubt hard at work trying to get their games ready for the big day – a lot of games are currently marked as "in development".

Of course the design of Apple Arcade and the choice of games could change between now and whenever the service launches, but it's an interesting peek into what to expect.

Apple has yet to confirm how much Apple Arcade is going to cost, and there are other unanswered questions about the service too – like whether multiplayer features will be included. As soon as Apple makes anything official, we'll let you know.

Categories: Tech News

Save £140 on Now TV Sky Sports pass for ten months of access

Sun, 08/18/2019 - 04:01

We're into week two of the new Premier League season, but that doesn't mean it's too late to take advantage of this incredible Now TV Sky Sports pass deal. There's no reason you couldn't get live streaming Premier League football straight away.

This special ten-month pass would usually set you back a total of £339.99 at £33.99 a month, but today you can save over 40% and get it for a stunningly cheap £199. instead, but this offer will expire on August 26th and we don't see a better offer coming for the rest of the season to be honest.

This Now TV Sky Sports pass will cover you for the 2019/2020 Premier League season, The Championship and the Carabao Cup. It's not just about the footy though, there's a serious amount of other sport to enjoy with this Now TV pass too. You can start streaming The Ashes cricket series and a bunch of F1 Grand Prix are coming over the next few months too. 

Actually, while the promotional page over at Now TV is mainly shouting about the footy aspect of this 10-month pass, you actually get all 11 Sky Sports channels. This includes Premier League, Football, F1, Racing, Cricket, Golf, Sky Sports News, Mix, Action, Arena and Main Event.

Now TV deals are a great way to access Sky's excellent content without signing up to a long contract. You can pick and choose access to packages like Entertainment, Sky Cinema, Sky Kids and of course Sky Sports channels on a rolling 30-day deal. We've gone into greater detail on all of these options in our regular Now TV passes and offers page.

We know plenty of people that use the Now TV service as a beta test to see what's available on Sky's channels before signing up to a regular Sky TV deal with options for even more channels, recording live TV, HD and 4K viewing and potentially bigger savings with a longer contract. If you'd like to check out these options, be sure to take a look at our guide below:

Categories: Tech News

Galaxy Note 10 is finally out; here’s all you need to know

Sun, 08/18/2019 - 00:15

Now that the wait is over, and Samsung has officially unveiled the Galaxy Note10 on the 8th of August during the Unpacked event, it’s time to highlight what makes it the most powerful phone in the market and what offers you could get. 

For the very first time in the history of Note series, the device is offered in two sizes. Yet, that did not affect the display screen size; on the contrary, Samsung has made the Galaxy Note10+ screen even bigger while keeping a compact shape for a comfortable grip. Whether you choose to go for the 6.3” Galaxy Note10 or the 6.8” Galaxy Note10+; they both are lighter and slimmer than Galaxy Note9. Not to mention, its Infinity-O display and best-in class Dynamic AMOLED technology provide the most uninterrupted viewing experience.  

As for the intelligent S PEN, a lot of new features have been added as it caninstantly turn your handwriting into text, and it enables you to control the phone without even touching it. You can also charge the Galaxy Note10+ fast enough by which 30 minutes can actually last you all day.**

If you usually struggle with storage, then you’d be happy to know that the standard storage size coming with the Galaxy Note10 is 256 GB and with the Galaxy Note10+ is 256 GB as well as 512GB. The latter can even be expanded with a Micro SD card up to 1.5TB in storage size which is legit the same size of a laptop. Not only that allows the Galaxy Note10+ to function like a laptop, but so does the 12GB RAM which allows the smoothest multitasking experience on the go.

Now is the best time to purchase the Galaxy Note10, starting from 3,499 AED, as the pre-order offer is there for a limited period of time with an exclusive package loaded with value-added benefits worth 1,053 AED when you pre-order through

In addition to the complimentary Galaxy Buds, the pre-order offer on includes Samsung Care+, which provides protection against accidental damage up to 2 years for the very first time, as well as 0% instalment plans up to 12 months. On top of all that, you get 50% discount on the all-new Galaxy Note10 accessories. The offer expires on the 23rd of August; don’t miss out and be first to own the next-level power!

**Based on condition.

Categories: Tech News

UFC 241 live stream: how to watch Cormier vs Miocic 2 (and the rest) from anywhere tonight

Sat, 08/17/2019 - 19:43

It's almost time for Daniel Cormier and Stipe Miocic to go again. UFC 241’s long awaited main event rematch is nearly here as the massive MMA event has returned to California. Sound good? Then keep reading to discover the best ways to get a UFC 241 live stream - no matter where you are in the world.

Stipe Miocic defended his title three times before losing to Cormier by knockout in the first round at UFC 226 in July last year. Cormier, who already held the title of light heavyweight champion at the time, became the new heavyweight champion and only one of four fighters to hold two UFC championships simultaneously. he's the favorite to defend his crown tonight, but not by much.

While Cormier fought three times last year, Miocic has not fought a match since his defeat but he has been hoping for a rematch. At UFC 241 Miocic will get his chance and we’ll see whether he or Cormier is the better fighter.

Elsewhere on tonight's card, Nate Diaz will return to the Octagon for the first time since losing to Conor McGregor in August 2016 and the former lightweight title challenger will take on Anthony Pettis in a welterweight match.

Whether you’ll be cheering for Cormier or Miocic during today's MMA action, we’ll show you how to live stream UFC 241’s card from anywhere in the world - for US viewers, you should just head straight to ESPN+

Live stream UFC 241 from outside your country

Worry not if you're a huge UFC fan but aren't in the US to watch that ESPN+ coverage this weekend. If you find the coverage is geo-blocked, you can try using a VPN to change your IP address to a US server and watch this week's main card just as if you were back at home.

How to watch UFC online in the US exclusively on ESPN+

Live stream UFC 241 in the UK

Live stream UFC 241 on PPV in Australia The UFC 241 card in full

Main Card

-Daniel Cormier (c) vs. Stipe Miocic – for heavyweight title

-Nate Diaz vs. Anthony Pettis

-Paulo Costa vs. Yoel Romero

-Gabriel Benitez vs. Sodiq Yusuff

-Derek Brunson vs. Ian Heinisch

Preliminary Card

-Clay Collard vs. Devonte Smith

-Raphael Assuncao vs. Cory Sandhagen

-Christos Giagos vs. Drakkar Klose

-Manny Bermudez vs. Casey Kenney

Early Preliminary Card

-Hannah Cifers vs. Jodie Esquibel

-Brandon Davis vs. Kyung Ho Kang

-Shana Dobson vs. Sabina Mazo

Categories: Tech News

UFC 241 live stream: how to watch Cormier vs Miocic 2 (and the rest) from anywhere tonight

Sat, 08/17/2019 - 19:43

It's almost time for Daniel Cormier and Stipe Miocic to go again. UFC 241’s long awaited main event rematch is nearly here as the massive MMA event has returned to California. Sound good? Then keep reading to discover the best ways to get a UFC 241 live stream - no matter where you are in the world.

Stipe Miocic defended his title three times before losing to Cormier by knockout in the first round at UFC 226 in July last year. Cormier, who already held the title of light heavyweight champion at the time, became the new heavyweight champion and only one of four fighters to hold two UFC championships simultaneously. he's the favorite to defend his crown tonight, but not by much.

While Cormier fought three times last year, Miocic has not fought a match since his defeat but he has been hoping for a rematch. At UFC 241 Miocic will get his chance and we’ll see whether he or Cormier is the better fighter.

Elsewhere on tonight's card, Nate Diaz will return to the Octagon for the first time since losing to Conor McGregor in August 2016 and the former lightweight title challenger will take on Anthony Pettis in a welterweight match.

Whether you’ll be cheering for Cormier or Miocic during today's MMA action, we’ll show you how to live stream UFC 241’s card from anywhere in the world - for US viewers, you should just head straight to ESPN+

Live stream UFC 241 from outside your country

Worry not if you're a huge UFC fan but aren't in the US to watch that ESPN+ coverage this weekend. If you find the coverage is geo-blocked, you can try using a VPN to change your IP address to a US server and watch this week's main card just as if you were back at home.

How to watch UFC online in the US exclusively on ESPN+

Live stream UFC 241 in the UK

Live stream UFC 241 on PPV in Australia The UFC 241 card in full

Main Card

-Daniel Cormier (c) vs. Stipe Miocic – for heavyweight title

-Nate Diaz vs. Anthony Pettis

-Paulo Costa vs. Yoel Romero

-Gabriel Benitez vs. Sodiq Yusuff

-Derek Brunson vs. Ian Heinisch

Preliminary Card

-Clay Collard vs. Devonte Smith

-Raphael Assuncao vs. Cory Sandhagen

-Christos Giagos vs. Drakkar Klose

-Manny Bermudez vs. Casey Kenney

Early Preliminary Card

-Hannah Cifers vs. Jodie Esquibel

-Brandon Davis vs. Kyung Ho Kang

-Shana Dobson vs. Sabina Mazo

Categories: Tech News

Geekbench 4 benchmark suggest an 18-core Cascade Lake-X chip

Sat, 08/17/2019 - 13:23

While the Cascade Lake Xeon CPUs has been out for a few months now, Intel still hasn’t shared any concrete information regarding Cascade Lake-X. However, this recent leak could indicate that, despite delays, Intel is gearing up to roll these long overdue high-end desktop (HEDT) chips soon.

Hot off the heels of its Ice Lake chips release, Intel looks like it has no plans of slowing down. Tom’s Hardware recently reported that another possible Cascade Lake-X processor (CPU) has made an appearance on the Internet.

An unknown processor with the codename, Intel 0000, appeared in the Geekbench 4 database on August 16 inside a Dell Precision 5820 Workstation. According to Geekbench’s benchmarking data, this CPU boasts 18 cores and 36 threads, putting it in the perfect position to succeed the Intel Core i9-9980XE. 

Bearing the Stepping 7 identifier, Tom’s Hardware thinks that this chip could be an 18-core Cascade Lake-X processor.

Outperforming the Intel Core i9-9980XE

Not much else is known about this mysterious Intel 0000 chip. What we do know is that it boasts 18 cores, 36 threads and a base clock speed of 2.19 GHz. Although that base clock – as well as that 3.28 GHz maximum boost clock – is a tad worrying, it might just be that Geekbench 4 made a mistake identifying them. That, or the chip is still in its early stages.

Either way, it’s already looking promising. It appears to outmatch the Intel Core i9-9980XE by 3.36% in single-core workloads and about 7.4% in multi-core workloads, beating out i9-9980XE’s 5,212 (single-core) and 50,837 (multi-core) benchmark results, again indicating that it could replace the Skylake-X Refresh flagship.

If it is still being fine-tuned by Intel, we may be looking at an even better performance that could rival or even eclipse whatever AMD has in store with their 3rd-generation Ryzen Threadripper.

Categories: Tech News

France vs Scotland live stream: how to watch today's rugby international online from anywhere

Sat, 08/17/2019 - 11:57

The Rugby World Cup 2019 is getting close and so it's time for the international warm-up matches to start heating up. France vs Scotland will be the first in a double-header between the two nations that should give them a chance to show what they've got in stock for the world. You can live stream the France vs Scotland rugby action from anywhere using this guide. 

The latest big matching of the two sides was at this year's Six Nations where France beat Scotland 27-10. Of the total 93 matches between the two sides since 1910, France has won 54 while Scotland has had to settle with just 36 wins, with three draws.

This time Scotland will have Saracens centre Duncan Taylor on the starting line, after returning from a two year break because of a knee injury. This will earn him his 22nd cap for Scotland where he will appear alongside captain Stuart McInally and another injury returned player, former skipper John Barclay.

It should be an enjoyable warm up game for both teams ahead of the World Cup and it's a match you can watch live - no matter where in the world you are - by following our France vs Scotland live stream tips below.

How to live stream rugby union when you're not in your country

If you're outside your country of residence - whether that be the UK or anywhere else (see your other options below) - and try to start streaming the rugby via your native broadcaster, you'll soon discover that you can't as it is location restricted. Fear not, the action is still within your reach. All you need to do is download and install a VPN to effectively trick your computer into thinking that it's back home. That way you can enjoy your home coverage (as long as you do so in compliance with the broadcaster's Ts&Cs) without delving into the dangers of an illegal stream.

How to live stream France vs Scotland in the UK

Live stream France vs Scotland in Australia

Scotland vs France in New Zealand

How to watch a France vs Scotland live stream in the US

Categories: Tech News

iPhone 11R release date, price, news and leaks

Sat, 08/17/2019 - 11:30

Apple is largely expected to release three new iPhone models this year, and among them we’re likely to see a successor to the iPhone XR, which for now we’re calling the iPhone 11R – though that might not be its launch name.

We’ve got more on names below, but more importantly we’ve also collected all the leaks and rumors we can find about the iPhone 11R’s design, specs and features.

Being an iPhone, and being this close to launch, a lot has been leaked, so there’s plenty to get stuck into. We’ll also be sure to update this article whenever we hear anything new, so check back regularly for all things iPhone 11R.

Cut to the chase
  • What is it? The successor to the iPhone XR
  • When is it out? Signs point to September 10
  • What will it cost? A lot - but less than the iPhone 11
iPhone 11R release date and price

The iPhone 11R is sure to land in September, as that’s when Apple typically announces new handsets. More specifically, it’s very likely to land on September 10, as an image showing this date has been found in the iOS 13 beta.

Even before that though, we predicted that it would be announced on September 10, as in the last few years the announcements have taken place on the Tuesday or Wednesday around that date.

Wednesday September 11 is unlikely for obvious reasons, so the Tuesday was our best guess, with pre-orders likely opening on Friday September 13, and the phone probably going on sale on Friday September 20, based on past form.

However, the iPhone XR actually went on sale later than the iPhone XS range, with people unable to buy it until October 26 of 2018, so we can’t rule out a similar delay here. Though sources do suggest they will all go on sale at the same time, and either way a September 10 announcement is still likely.

Even that isn’t set in stone though, with @evleaks (a reputable leaker) posting a timeline that suggests a late September announcement for the iPhone 11 range.

As for the price, there aren’t any real rumors about that, but much of a price rise for the most basic model seems unlikely, so we could be looking at something similar to the $749 / £749 / AU$1,229 starting price of the iPhone XR.

The iPhone XR was a 'budget' model, so the 11R likely will be too.

iPhone 11R or just iPhone 11?

One thing that we’re unclear on is what the iPhone 11R will actually be called, with one source pointing just to ‘iPhone 11’ (with the two more premium models being called iPhone 11 Pro and iPhone 11 Pro Max).

There’s also the question of whether ‘11’ will be used, or whether Apple will opt for ‘XI’. Or perhaps the number will be dropped altogether and we’ll simply get the ‘new iPhone’ or the iPhone R.

iPhone 11R design and display

The consensus so far is that the design won’t be changing much for the iPhone 11R, meaning you can still probably expect a notch and a similar overall look.

The one key difference that has been heavily rumored is the look of the cameras though, as these are now expected to sit in a square block at the top left corner, making them rather more prominent than the iPhone XR’s small single-lens snapper.

Most leaks so far show the more premium iPhone 11 models, but the video below gives you a look at the possible design of all three, complete with that camera change.

The source of this video also claims that the iPhone 11R will be 150.9 x 75.7 x 8.3mm, which is identical dimensions to the iPhone XR. So if true then there really won’t be many changes at all.

Another difference could be the colors, with the iPhone 11R rumored to land in black, white, yellow, lavender and green shades, as you can see in the image below, showing shards of glass supposedly intended for the phone.

You can also see the possible design of the iPhone 11R again, this time in the form of case moldings. Elsewhere we’ve similarly heard talk of black, white, gold and dark green shades. There’s also the possibility of a ‘rainbow’ finish on some models – though expect this to be subtle if it appears at all.

Slightly less convincingly we may also have seen the iPhone 11R in the wild, appearing in the reflection of a Galaxy Note 10 Plus. It’s not the best of looks, but it shows the redesigned camera that we’re expecting.

As for the display, rumors suggest that will stay at 6.1 inches and continue to use LCD, rather than OLED. However, it’s said that the screen could sport some improvements, such as better anti-aliasing. So don’t expect a big change here. Think subtle.

iPhone 11R camera

This is the biggest change we’re expecting for the iPhone 11R, with rumors not just pointing to a new square shape, as detailed above, but also to an extra lens, with the iPhone 11R thought to have two rear lenses, where the iPhone XR has just one.

It’s possible that it could even have three, as some phones in the range reportedly do, but two is looking the most likely number for now.

It’s expected that these lenses will both be 12MP, but a source claims that they will be ‘new’, suggesting some upgrades.

It’s not clear what roles the two lenses will serve – one is expected to be a standard lens, but the other could either be wide-angle or telephoto based on leaks (with the iPhone 11 Max getting all three). If we had to guess, we’d say the 11R would get the telephoto lens, as the iPhone XS had a main and telephoto combination. One report has also said as much.

We’ve also heard that the image signal processor might be enhanced, and that the front-facing camera will be boosted from 7MP to 12MP, and will incorporate an extra layer of glass to improve the quality of photos.

The iPhone 11R could go from one lens to two.

iPhone 11R battery and specs

According to one source, the iPhone 11R could have a 3,110mAh battery, which would make it around 5.7% larger than the 2,942mAh one in the iPhone XR. That’s not a big jump, but then the iPhone XR already has the best battery life of any modern iPhone, so that might be all it needs.

Elsewhere, respected analyst Ming-Chi Kuo has said to expect a battery increase of around 5%, which tallies with the rumor above, so they could well be on to something.

As for charging, while some early reports suggested Apple might move to USB-C, most rumors point to Lightning remaining. This is believable, especially in the case of the iPhone 11R where Apple will be trying to keep costs down.

The iPhone 11R might charge fast though, with claims of an 18W charger potentially coming in the box, though elsewhere we’ve heard that it will stick with slow 5W charging, so we’re not sure what’s true here. If we had to guess, we’d say faster charging on this basic model is unlikely.

Moving on to core specs, Apple is sure to include a new chipset, likely to be dubbed the A13. Storage meanwhile could come in at 64GB, 256GB and 512GB capacities, or 128GB, 256GB and 512GB, depending on which rumors you believe – though in both cases it’s not clear whether all iPhone 11 models would get all these sizes or not.

As for the operating system, that’s sure to be iOS 13. What the phone almost certainly won’t have is 5G.

iPhone 11R other features

The iPhone 11R is sure to have Face ID of course, but it could be even better this year, with one source saying that it will work from a wider range of angles.

Beyond that we’re moving into the territory of unlikely things. It’s rumored for example that at least some iPhone 11 models will support the Apple Pencil, but we’re not convinced, and if any do, the iPhone 11R will be last in line.

We’ve also seen patents for a camera designed for underwater photography, and an in-screen fingerprint scanner that would let you place your finger anywhere on the screen to unlock the phone. But patents often don’t get used, and if these ones do we’d think they’re too premium for the features to appear on the iPhone 11R.

Categories: Tech News

Man City vs Tottenham live stream: how to watch today's Premier League football online from anywhere

Sat, 08/17/2019 - 11:02

One week into the new Premier League season and it feels like it never went away - Manchester City are back to scoring hatfuls' of goals and Harry Kane is doing the business for Spurs. The two meet on match-day two and you can see who comes out on top today with a Man City vs Tottenham live stream - no matter where on Earth you are.

Manchester City won a dramatic title race last time around and are clear favourites to make it three in a row at the bookies. Never ones to rest on their laurels, they've laid out almost £140 million during the summer, primarily on strengthening at the back, with João Cancelo and Angeliño joining the champions. Sergio Aguero and Gabriel Jesus were both on the score sheet against West Ham last weekend, and Raheem Sterling's hat-trick completed the 5-0 thumping. They alrteady look in imposing form.

Spurs came from behind against new boys Aston Villa to win 3-1 this time last week. Kane scored twice after new boy Tanguy Ndombele equalised. But the North Londoners will be casting their memories back to last season's Champions League quarter-finals where they fought their way to a famous away goals victory against City. Can they upset the odds again today?

Today's match looks set to be a fascinating encounter - check out our guide below on how to obtain a Man City vs Tottenham live stream - regardless of where you are in the world.

And to find out how to watch the rest of the weekend's games and beyond, check out our guide on how to live stream the 19/20 Premier League football season

Use a VPN to watch Premier League football from outside your country

If you're abroad this weekend but still want to watch your home coverage, you'll need a VPN to do so. That's because your normal coverage will be geo-blocked. It's really easy to do and stops you having to tune in to some dodgy stream you've heard about on Reddit.

How to stream Man City vs Tottenham live in the UK 

How to watch City vs Spurs: US live stream 

How to watch a Premier League live stream in Canada

How to live stream Man City vs Tottenham in Australia

How to watch Manchester City vs Spurs: New Zealand live stream 

How to live stream Manchester City vs Tottenham in India

Categories: Tech News

Does Call of Duty: Modern Warfare go too far, or is this a better reflection of war?

Sat, 08/17/2019 - 11:00

Normally, after a game demo concludes, there’s a brief moment of applause for what was just presented. It’s a small token of appreciation by those in attendance, a thank you for the work that was put into the demo that just played on-screen and a rare chance to give some direct adulation to those who work so tirelessly on these games.

After our recent Call of Duty: Modern Warfare demo ended, however, that applause was nowhere to be found. The group of us, 10-15 total, sat in stunned silence absorbing what we’d just saw. However, where some might think that silence insulting, we’re willing to bet that reaction was exactly what Infinity Ward, the game's developer, was looking for. 

Call of Duty: Modern Warfare will try to set a new bar in storytelling for the franchise later this year, and the 20-minute presentation proves it’s taking a different approach - one that’s more dramatic and impacting than ever before.

A familiar premise…

The demo presented to convention goers starts off with the Infinity Ward team explaining what’s going on in the scene we’re watching: there has been a terrorist attack in London’s Piccadilly Circus leaving dozens dead or wounded, and those responsible are tracked to a three-story townhouse in northern London. 

While you'd expect it to be all flash and bombast from here on out, Infinity Ward takes things in another direction entirely.

It’s up to a special task force comprised of Sergeant Garrick (the player’s character), Modern Warfare mainstay Captain Price, and two other British special forces operatives to infiltrate the house and neutralize the cell, with orders to shoot any hostiles on sight. 

For Call of Duty, this is well-trodden ground: terrorists attack a city, the troops are sent in to neutralize the threat, and the story unfolds from there. No one would claim that Infinity Ward is reinventing the wheel with this premise. But while you'd expect it to be all flash and bombast from here on out, Infinity Ward takes things in another direction entirely.

Image Credit: Infinity Ward / Activision

...told in an unfamiliar way

Back in the game, the troops assemble at the back door of the house in the dead of night, sneaking through tight alleyways in order to reach it. After a brief pause they enter the home, night vision equipped, and find a small group of people at a table discussing the attack. We don’t even know these people are terrorists until one calls the attack “a failure” and starts to discuss next steps. 

Once we have that audio clue, the fight is on. 

Price shoots out the lone light bulb in the room and the team moves in, taking out the armed men and women one-by-one. Bullets hit the bodies with precision, the enemies slumping into lifelessness with sickening realism. We hear muffled sounds above us, loud whispers and shouts of warning, as the team slowly ascends the narrow stairs.

She pleads that she has been forced to stay up there, that she’s innocent ... It’s discovered that she was going for a detonator, to what is never explained, and Price remarks that they were lucky to have neutralized her.

On the second floor each team member takes a door and opens it, with player character Garrick finding a single woman with her hands up. She reaches for a rifle and Garrick fires, killing her instantly. Later we’d see another woman make a quick movement, but this second woman instead picks up a baby and consoles it. Garrick does not shoot, but we are left not knowing what would happen if he had.

We hear more commotion toward the bathroom, and as we approach bullets suddenly explode through the door. A few shots into the wall later, and we see our assailant lying in the bathtub in his own blood. After some more action above us it’s time to ascend again, taking the tight staircase to floor three. 

It’s more of the same here, but one of the special forces is shot through the door he chooses by a terrorist, leaving us one man down for the rest of the mission. Once the third floor is cleared we go up to the attic, where we meet one final woman with her hands up. She pleads that she has been forced to stay up there, that she’s innocent, before she moves toward a nearby table and is shot dead. It’s discovered that she was going for a detonator, to what is never explained, and Price remarks that they were lucky to have neutralized her. 

The demo ended here, giving us some time to catch our breath and mentally process what just happened. 

Image Credit: Infinity Ward / Activision

Deafening silence

What lasted about 20 minutes felt like it went on for ages thanks to the slow, methodical pace of the demo, and all of the elements that led to that feeling are in line with Infinity Ward’s new approach to Modern Warfare. 

This was less like Call of Duty games we’ve come to know over the years and more in line with a nuanced film like Zero Dark Thirty.

This was a demo focused on bringing us war as it’s fought now, not as was “modern” back when Call of Duty 4 debuted in 2007. It’s a remarkable shift in format and tone, one that we certainly did not see coming. 

The name Call of Duty carries with it an expectation of bombast and a pageantry of sorts, loud explosions and deafening gunfire raining out of every battle. A few well-known examples withstanding, previous games were marked with adrenaline, each of them coming out of the gates guns blazing. 

This new Modern Warfare eschews all of that, instead ramping up the tension with deafening silence, total darkness, and building tension through tight quarters. Each step on those staircases made our muscles tighten, each opening of a door filled with anxious anticipation. This was less like Call of Duty games we’ve come to know over the years and more in line with a nuanced film like Zero Dark Thirty. 

Categories: Tech News

Best superhero games: what to play while waiting for Marvel's Avengers to assemble

Sat, 08/17/2019 - 10:00

Avengers: Endgame may have wrapped up the MCU in a neat (albeit emotional) bow but we are still looking to scratch that superhero itch - and we're hoping Crystal Dynamics' Marvel's Avengers game will be just the ticket. 

Marvel’s Avengers sees players taking on the roles of the most popular Avengers characters around in a single-player, story-driven game which also features four player co-op missions - because you can't save the world alone.

In addition, new characters, regions, and missions will be added for free post-launch, as part of a continuous multi-year plan for the game. But who is on the super roster? The playable characters revealed so far are: Iron Man, Captain America, Black Widow, Hulk, and Thor. Kamala Khan, aka Ms. Marvel was also briefly shown at the Marvel Games Comic-Con panel, and Hawkeye has been heavily hinted at.

While Marvel’s Avengers isn’t out until May 15, 2020 that doesn’t mean you have to go without your superhero fix. So, in preparation for the long wait, we’ve assembled 10 of the best superhero games you can Hulk-smash through until then.

God of War (2018)

God of War (2018)

Kicking us off is TechRadar’s Game of the Year for 2018, God of War. Introducing mature and emotional writing, hard-hitting tactical combat, and characters we fell in love with, God of War is an exceptional reboot of the beloved deity-murdering series and a secretly sensational superhero game.

The greatest superhero fight ever to grace a videogame can be found at the beginning of Kratos’ Nordic journey. A one-on-one battle so ferocious, determined, and destructive, it’s hard to imagine any superhero fight bettering it, in any medium.

Gaming’s greatest weapon, Kratos’ Leviathan axe, works identically to Thor’s hammer, allowing the player to throw the Leviathan, and call it back with the press of a button. Excitingly, the developer behind the axe, Vince Napoli, now at Crystal Dynamics, is responsible for making the heroes in Marvel’s Avengers feel like the powerful heroes we know and love.

LEGO Marvel Superheroes 2

LEGO Marvel Super Heroes 2

TT Games’ LEGO titles have been consistent sources of wacky fun since the release of LEGO Star Wars in 2005. LEGO Marvel Superheroes 2 doesn’t revolutionize the block-breaking formula, but with the same LEGO charm, comedic chops, and hundreds of playable Marvel characters, it’s another fantastic TT Games success story.

Where the sequel excels beyond its predecessors is in its hilarious and inventive narrative. Time-travelling villain Kang the Conqueror uses his power to mash together a plethora of classic Marvel locations like 2099 New York City, Asgard, and Wakanda, to form the open-world of Chronopolis where players engage in a cosmic showdown with Kang.

Just Cause 3 (with Sky Fortress DLC)

Just Cause 3

Superhero games don’t have to be about powerful people in colorful spandex, like God of War, sometimes a superhero game is defined by its mechanics, rather than its characters, and Just Cause 3’s Sky Fortress DLC has one hell of a superhero mechanic.

Rico Rodriguez’s bombastic third adventure already feels heroic with the wingsuit and inventive grappling hook, but Sky Fortress ups the ante with the rocket powered Bavarium Wingsuit. This powerful upgrade allows Rico to soar through the air like a winged Iron Man, with only a slight boost cooldown to restrict your flight. Like Iron Man, the Bavarium Wingsuit also possesses homing missiles and a machine gun to wreak havoc from the skies.

Batman: Return to Arkham

Batman: Return to Arkham

Batman: Return to Arkham collects the first two games in Rocksteady’s acclaimed series, Arkham Asylum and Arkham City. Arguably, these are two of the greatest superhero games ever made, with Asylum in particular becoming a game-changer in terms of free-flowing action-game combat. 

In the 10 years since Rocksteady’s first shot at the Dark Knight, that combat system has been adopted as more-or-less an industry standard. Stealth mechanics, captivating villains (including Scarecrow’s incredible psychological horror interludes), and more gadgets than you can shake your batarang at, Rocksteady’s first forays into Batman’s world are masterful, and set the precedent for superhero videogames.

Batman: Arkham VR

Batman: Arkham VR

Developed by Rocksteady, Batman: Arkham VR lets players don the cowl and embark on a short, but sweet experience from Batman’s perspective. There’s no thrilling combat experience here, but there is a gripping murder mystery that sees you become the ‘World’s Greatest Detective’, using your motion controllers to interact with Gotham City and its villainous inhabitants. 

Arkham VR is a flawed gem that is worth experiencing if you love the detective sections in Rocksteady’s mainline Arkham titles.

Infamous: Second Son

Infamous: Second Son

One of the PlayStation 4’s first exclusive titles, Infamous: Second Son sees players take on the role of Delsin Rowe (voiced impeccably by Troy Baker), a person with extraordinary abilities known as a Conduit, on a mission to take down an anti-Conduit organisation. 

As a Conduit, Delsin is able to absorb the powers of other Conduits. Delsin subsequently absorbs multiple powers, each with their own traversal mechanics and combat styles, and accompanied by a beautifully unique style and flair.

A black and white morality system doesn’t detract from what is a great superhero/anti-hero story, with wonderfully fluid and fast traversal, stunning neon-infused visuals, and a vast arsenal of powers. If immense power is what you’re looking for from a superhero game, then Sucker Punch’s Infamous: Second Son delivers that in spades.

Super Smash Bros. Ultimate

Super Smash Bros. Ultimate

Marvel’s Avengers, like the Avengers MCU movies, will focus on the art of the hero team-up. Iconic characters who have never shared the stage before join forces or face off against each other, it’s a formula that’s worked miracles for Marvel, and one that’s worked for decades for Nintendo too.

While their colorful cast of characters may not scream ‘superhero’ in the same way Captain America does, there’s no way to talk about the hero team-up without mentioning Nintendo’s Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, the king of the crossover. Mario, Link, Donkey Kong, Cloud, Kirby, Samus, Star Fox, Snake, Isabelle; Super Smash Bros. Ultimate on Nintendo Switch features all of these characters plus 70 more in what is, arguably, the most ambitious fighting game of all time.

Assassin's Creed Odyssey

Assassin's Creed Odyssey

Crafting a follow-up to the excellent Assassin’s Creed Origins is no small task, let-alone following it with a title as adored as Assassin’s Creed Odyssey. Kassandra (the only real character choice) is a fantastic protagonist, with an instantly lovable personality and attitude.

Her journey through Ancient Greece and beyond is one brimming with superhero-like abilities: no fall damage, a powerful Sparta Kick to send foes flying, unmatched fighting strength, and a rainbow unicorn as your steed. This is the Wonder Woman game of your dreams.  

Marvel Ultimate Alliance 3: The Black Order

Marvel Ultimate Alliance 3: The Black Order

The perfect stop-gap between the more tonally serious Avengers: Endgame and Marvel’s Avengers, Team Ninja’s Marvel Ultimate Alliance 3: The Black Order is a light-hearted, funny, comic book-inspired romp. Like the previous games in the series, Ultimate Alliance 3 is an isometric, co-op button masher in which players assemble a team of four from a possible 36 iconic Marvel heroes to defeat escalating threats. 

Crazy team attacks, well-crafted CGI cutscenes featuring that MCU charm, deep RPG elements, and plenty of incentive to replay. Despite some glaring camera issues, stopping Thanos from using the Infinity Stones has never been as joyous.

Marvel's Spider-Man

Marvel's Spider-Man

Insomniac Games were the perfect studio to bring Marvel’s most popular hero exclusively to the PlayStation 4. Marvel’s Spider-Man is a triumph in almost every way, and Marvel Games have a real challenge on their hands to replicate Spidey’s success with Earth’s Mightiest Heroes. Insomniac crafted its own unique interpretations of classic characters with finesse and planted them in a narrative that captivates from start to finish. Could we see any crossover between Marvel’s Spider-Man and Marvel’s Avengers?

Arguably, Insomniac also crafted the greatest feeling traversal mechanics in videogames. Web-zipping through New York City at breakneck speeds never gets old. Even if you don’t care for Spidey’s fantastic story, his web-swinging makes Marvel’s Spider-Man unmissable. ‘Nuff said.

Categories: Tech News

Huawei could be about to reveal its own rival to Google Maps

Sat, 08/17/2019 - 09:30

Not only is Huawei busy developing its own operating system to potentially replace Android, it's also got an in-house mapping service in the pipeline as well, according to reports.

Based on reporting by China Daily, the mapping service is aimed at software developers more than end users: apps offering step-by-step directions, cab hailing and similar tools will be able to take advantage.

The new service is called Map Kit, apparently, and is going to include support for real-time traffic reports as well as augmented reality features (perhaps similar to the AR layers that have recently been added on top of Google Maps).

Russian internet service Yandex is being tipped to supply Huawei with the bulk of the mapping data it needs, which will be added to data taken from infrastructure that Huawei already has in place.

Putting Huawei on the Map (Kit)

It's another interesting twist in Huawei's ongoing attempts to put a safety net in place, should it lose access to Google's apps and services – which still might happen as a consequence of the current trade hostility between the US and China.

In recent weeks it seems the US stance towards Huawei has softened, though the Chinese tech giant obviously wants to prepare for the worst, just in case.

Rolling out a full mapping service is a big challenge though. Google and Apple remain the big players in the field, regularly adding new information to their maps, and driving fleets of cars around the world to capture street view imagery.

Depending on how the Huawei-Google relationship develops from here, it might be a while before we see Huawei Map Kit appear – but Huawei seems to be covering all the bases in its contingency plans.

Via The Verge

Categories: Tech News

Move over Three - Smarty's 25% discount on unlimited data SIM only deals is back

Sat, 08/17/2019 - 09:24

A few months ago, we saw lesser-known SIMO provider Smarty drop an offer to top the rest of the market - 25% off its unlimited data plan. And now, Smarty has brought it back, once again reclaiming its title of best unlimited data SIM only deal around.

So what are you paying after that 25% cut to the price? This offer works out at just £18.75 per month. Down from £25, this is a pretty major saving for a complete lack of caps on your data usage.

But, here's the great news. This deal doesn't just appeal with its affordable pricing and massive data cap. With Smarty, you're only on a 1-month rolling contract, meaning you can leave whenever you want.

Smarty even offers the ability to use your unlimited data as a hotspot, allowing you to connect your laptop, iPad or even console without fears of running out of data.

Interested? You can see Smarty's offer down below in full. Or check out our guide to the best SIM only deals to see what other options are currently available.

Smarty's superb SIM only deal in full: What other SIM only deals are available?

While no unlimited data SIMO is going to beat this, Three sits in a close second place. With two separate unlimited data offers, one for two years at £20 a month (with half price bills for the first six months) and the other for one year at £20 a month, Three isn't far behind Smarty. So if you like your SIMO from a name you know or will be missing the end date of this deal, Three could be the way to go.

Or if £18.75 is still more than you're willing to spend, Three is yet again the choice to go for - offering 8GB of data for just £9 a month.

Finally, for those who prioritise speed over everything else, we would recommend Carphone Warehouse's 20GB for £20 a month on EE. More expensive than Smarty but you get access to the UK's fastest 4G speeds. 

Categories: Tech News

Honda CR-V 2019: plenty of tech and oodles of space

Sat, 08/17/2019 - 08:00

The Honda CR-V is the world's best selling SUV, and the 2019 model is capable of hauling families and their luggage in comfort, while also providing a wide array of tech goodies to make the journey easier, more enjoyable and less tiring.

With updated styling to go along with the tech it's an SUV for the here and now, assuming you want a large people carrier and not a more compact mid-size or small Sports Utility Vehicle.

As well staples such as cruise control and a reversing camera, the Honda CR-V also offers up a HUD (heads up display) and slick smartphone integration to keep the tech-enthused happy behind the wheel. We put some serious mileage on the CR-V to find out how well it all comes together.

Honda CR-V design and drive

The Honda CR-V is long, tall and wide. If you're uncomfortable maneuvering in small spaces, this isn't the car for you. But if you're someone who needs space for people and all their belongings, the CR-V has it in spades.

One of the first things we noticed when we climbed up, into the driver's seat of the Honda CR-V was just the sheer number of cubby holes that were available. 

The door pockets are some of the deepest we've seen, and the central divide between the front seats provides a key tray, ample cup holders and additional storage space (the latter of which is hidden under the sliding armrest).

There's plenty of space in both seat width and head height, making the cabin a comfortable and airy place to be. Honda has improved the sound proofing for the 2019 CR-V too, which means things are quieter when you're on the move.

Our model came with a panoramic sunroof (an optional extra) which stretched from the front to the rear seats, flooding the car with additional light if you opt to open the blind.

In the back and there are three seats which can comfortably accommodate three adults on a long trip with a decent amount of leg room. If the back seats are going to be frequented by kids, they'll have oodles of space.

A powered tailgate - which can be engaged from the key or a button to the right of the steering column - makes accessing the sizable boot easier, and once open you'll comfortably be able to fit several large suitcases in.

Moving back to the front seats, and during cold months you can take advantage of the heating function (sorry back seat passengers, no heated seats for you), plus the driver can also benefit from a heated steering wheel.

On the roof, next to the sunroof controls, is a sunglasses storage section which actually has a handy second function. Press the panel and it'll open up, allowing you to grab or put away your sunnies, but click it up once and you'll notice it has an additional rear-view mirror, allowing driver and front seat passenger to keep an eye on the kids in the back. 

Our Honda CR-V was an all wheel drive (AWD) model, which provided good traction and balance on the road. The ride was smooth, and cornering felt stable with what felt like good weight distribution, making steering the CR-V easier.

Acceleration is okay, but it's not the sharpest in responding to your right foot. Once it's caught up though, the CR-V moves at a decent pace. The automatic gearbox does the job nicely, but for those who want a little more control you can opt to use the paddle-shift gear levers mounted just behind the steering wheel.

While a 2.0 litre engine sits at the heart of the Honda CR-V, it also has a self-charging battery pack as part of its hybrid setup. The result is an extended range from a single tank of fuel, and we were easily able to get over 500 miles in between fuel stops.

You can also opt to go fully electric with EV mode, although the Honda CR-V can only go a handful of miles in this mode so anything longer than popping to the shops will require the petrol engine.

Something which did surprise us a little however, was the horn. For such a large car, the sound is surprisingly feeble on the Honda CR-V. Press it in anger and it'll do little to elevate your mood!

Honda CR-V tech and specs

As we've mentioned, the EX trim of the Honda CR-V comes with plenty of tech. There's the heated seats and wheel, automatic lights and wipers, climate control, powered tailgate, reversing camera, parking sensors and cruise control to get us started.

Cruise control on the CR-V also comes alongside adaptive lane assist, which sees the car keep you in lane if you start drifting to the lines by gently tugging the wheel in the correct direction.

It's one of the better lane assist features we've used, with the CR-V doing a surprisingly good job of following the curvature of the road. 

You do have to keep a hand on the wheel that's providing some resistance, otherwise you'll get a flashing visual warning on the dash and, if you ignore it for too long, an audible tone too telling you to pay attention and keep your hands on the wheel.

Both cruise control and lane assist take a moment to learn how to operate, with Honda's on-wheel controls not the most intuitive around. After a few attempts we worked out the required combination of presses, but it could do with being a little more straightforward.

The on-wheel controls can be a little confusing

Similarly, the heads up display (HUD) wasn't immediately obvious as it wasn't on by default for us. There was a HUD button on the wheel, but that didn't enable the display. Instead there was a separate button to the right of the wheel which needed to be pressed.

This saw a small glass window rise up between wheel and windshield, providing you with information such as current speed, speed limit and next navigation direction.

It worked nicely, and puts this useful information in your eye line of the road, which meant we didn't keep having to glance down at the instrument cluster - in turn making us a safer driver.

The instrument cluster on the Honda CR-V is all digital, which means it can show you much more than just your speed, revs and fuel level. The central display can also show you what music is currently playing, navigation directions, car stats such as tire  pressure and much more. 

However, navigation of the menus for this display is again a little fiddly, making it difficult to work your way to what you want. Over time we did become more familiar with the navigation requires, but they could be better.

Shifting focus to the large 7-inch touchscreen display which sits a-top the center console, and there's plenty of space to view maps, audio channels and more.

The touchscreen does require a certain amount of force from your taps to register - it's not quite as responsive as your smartphone's display - but it generally works well.

Honda's built-in satellite navigation system does the job, but it's not as good as Google Maps or Apple Maps. The good news is you can plug your smartphone into the Honda CR-V and use the dedicated mapping and audio apps on the car's touchscreen thanks to the inclusion of Android Auto and Apple CarPlay.

The real bonus here on the CR-V though, is the navigation directions from your smartphone's mapping app get relayed to the digital display in the instrument cluster and the HUD. 

This doesn't happen in all vehicles, with many keeping third-party navigation services on the main screen only. It means it's just as easy to follow directions from Google or Apple as it is from Honda, and it makes for a much better driving experience.

And to ensure you and your passengers keep their devices topped up, the Honda CR-V comes with two USB ports in the front, and two in back.

  • John McCann is getting behind the wheel to give you an alternative look at the wealth of cars – and the tech inside them – available today. From super-fast sports cars to tech-packed hatchbacks, he'll take you through a range of makes, models, power and price tags in his regular TR Drives column.
Categories: Tech News

Windows 10 preview refines search and adds GPU temps reading to Task Manager

Sat, 08/17/2019 - 07:14

Windows 10 has been graced with a new preview build for the update due to land in the first half of 2020, and this is the first release which has introduced a lot of changes, albeit none of them are major new features.

The highlights for build 18963 (which is rolling out to testers in the fast ring) include the addition of GPU temperature readings to the Task Manager, so when you pull the latter up, you can see how hot (or cool, hopefully) your graphics card is running at a glance.

This is only for discrete (i.e. not integrated in the processor) GPUs, but it’s a much-requested feature, and means you don’t have to install some kind of third-party monitoring app to check the temperature of your GPU.

Windows search has also been improved to be more intelligent, and pick up on, for example, spelling mistakes when you’re rifling through files and folders looking for stuff.

Microsoft gives the example that previously, search would have been unable to cope with spelling mistakes like “powerpiont” and “exce;”, and these would have returned no results – but now, search will automatically correct these to “powerpoint” and “excel” respectively.

Interestingly, this feature is not just coming to testers, but the retail release of Windows 10 in English-language territories, because it’s a server-side change (meaning you’ll need to be connected to the internet to benefit from these automatic spelling corrections).

Searching for settings has also been tweaked to add a ‘related:’ line below the best match result, giving you related options and clarifying why the result is being presented to you. Again, this isn’t just for testers, but also for the retail release of Windows 10 – but only in the US. This feature will expand from just settings to include app searches in the coming weeks.

Finally in other non-tester related news, Microsoft is bringing the revamped Search Home experience – which gives quick access to your recent search activities, and most-used apps – to those using the October 2018 Update. It was previously only available to folks on the May 2019 Update.

Note carefully

Notepad has got quite a bit of attention in the recent past (including the introduction of wrap-around search), and as of this preview build, future Notepad updates will be automatically piped via the Microsoft Store. That’s useful because it means Microsoft will be able to update Notepad as it goes along, rather than having to wait for major feature updates for Windows.

Microsoft has also given some users the ability to rename virtual desktops (with these new names persisting after reboot). We say some users, because this particular change is only live for 50% of testers, but will be rolling out to more in time.

There are a load more minor changes, including refinements to streamline the process when you change your Windows account picture, and as ever, check out Microsoft’s full blog post for all the details.

There are some known issues, and probably the most interesting nugget here (which was also acknowledged in build 18950) is a reference to a ‘cloud download’ option when you are resetting your PC in the Windows Recovery Environment. Microsoft notes: “This feature is not working quite yet. We’ll let you know once it is, so you can try it out!”

So hopefully it won’t be too long before you can try out the ability to reinstall Windows via an internet download, as the rumor mill has previously indicated.

Categories: Tech News

Wales vs England live stream: how to watch today's international rugby 2019 online from anywhere

Sat, 08/17/2019 - 06:55

After a somewhat one-sided 33-19 match last weekend at Twickenham, Wales and England will be facing off for the second match of a double-header in preparation for the Rugby World Cup 2019. Make sure you don't miss any of the action with our complete guide to how to live stream Wales vs England.

Switching from Twickenham last weekend to Principality Stadium in Cardiff, Wales are back on their home turf. We can imagine England are walking into this match feeling confident - Wales not so much.

The home side have a lot of making up to do. They sneaked in a few impressive tries and some strong performances in the scrum, but England's top all-round performance and their not-so secret weapon - George Ford - were all too much to compete with.

No doubt Eddie Jones and his men will be hoping to bring home a second victory and a determined Wales will surely be bringing their A-game. In other words, this is a match not to be missed. And luckily for you, we've tracked down all of the information you need to watch a Wales vs England live stream.

Whether you're in the UK or you're a fan from another country trying to watch the showdown, we have all of the times and locations for you. We've even found the best ways to watch Wales vs England if you happen to be away on holiday.

How to stream Wales vs England live in the UK for FREE How to live stream today's rugby from outside your country

If you happen to be out of your country while Wales and England face off, then don't worry - your holiday isn't ruined! You can still catch all of the action. All you need to do is download and install a VPN to effectively trick your computer into thinking that it's back home. That way you can enjoy your home coverage (assuming you comply with the broadcaster's TS&Cs), minus the risk of using a naughty stream from an illegal source.

Live stream Wales vs England in Australia

Live stream Wales vs England in New Zealand

How to watch an Wales vs England live stream in the US

Categories: Tech News

You can now buy a brain stimulation headset to treat your depression

Sat, 08/17/2019 - 05:59

Could a headset and smartphone app really treat depression? That’s the claim made by Flow for its medically-approved brain stimulation headset, a device that nudges your neurons with a gentle electric current, and one you can buy and use in your own home.

Flow is a medical technology company founded in 2016, and is currently based in Sweden. Its CEO, clinical psychologist Daniel Mansson, founded the company after writing his master’s thesis on brain stimulation, and has years of experience working at the crossroads between psychology and software. 

We've heard of electric shocks from headphones helping you to juggle, but can a hardware product really succeed in place of, or even begin to aid existing medical treatments for depression?

To get my head around the potential health benefits of a product like this, I spoke to Flow’s CEO Daniel Mansson, while handling a Flow headset to get a sense of the hardware on offer.

What is the Flow headset?

The Flow headset attaches to your forehead with two suction pads

The Flow headset looks a bit like a miniature VR headset, except the curved white visor sits solely on your forehead, with a band hooking over the top of your head to hold it in place.

The box also comes with a box of single-use cloth pads to place between your skin and the suction pads on the headset, given that your skin likely wouldn’t respond well to direct electrical currents.

Treatments last around 30 minutes, “with 18 sessions over a 6 week period” (three times a week) or “as long as necessary”. The headset is designed to be used in tandem with a virtual therapy app, which helps to inform users about depression, and the kind of “lifestyle changes” the patient can make to do with their diet, exercise regime, sleep hygiene, and meditation (the app is only on iOS).

"The headset delivers a gentle electrical signal"

There’s something slightly unnerving about the idea of self-administering a mild form of shock therapy, but there are existing forms of treatment that use the same underlying technology: transcranial direct-current stimulation (or TDCS). 

This treatment is a non-invasive way of stimulating the brain with mild electric currents, using battery-powered electrodes. 

Flow’s website states that “People diagnosed with depression often have a lower activity in the left frontal cortex of their brain. The headset delivers a gentle electrical signal which activates neurons and rebalances activity in the frontal lobe. 

"The headset is based on a well-researched brain stimulation technology called Transcranial Direct Current Stimulation which, in clinical studies, has been shown to reliably improve symptoms of depression.”

Hang on, is this a real thing?

The Flow app gives advice on ways to supplement your treatment and aid your mental health

It the claims sound somewhat sci-fi, the technology has been undergoing numerous medical trials, with the evidence being enough to get the Flow headset approved for medical use in the UK and Europe. 

Mansson tells me that Flow is seeking similar medical approval in the US, and is in talks with the UK’s National Health Service to offer the headset through prescription.

The treatment is listed on the NHS website as a method of possible treatment, and the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) asserts there are “no major safety concerns”, though patients should be taken through the risks and side effects associated with it.

You are strongly advised not to use the headset without approval from a physician and an official diagnosis of Major Depressive Disorder. Anyone with a “pre-existing neurological” condition, or with broken skin at the point of contact with the headset, should be especially wary. 

I erred on the side of caution here – as someone more familiar with anxiety treatments than those used for depression – so can’t speak about the effectiveness myself. 

However, both the British Journal of Psychiatry and New England Journal of Medicine have published the results of randomly-controlled trials using the kind of brain stimulation utilized in the Flow headset. 

Randomized trials show some unwelcome side effects, though the technology may have promise

Both trials cited above worked with several hundred patients (289 in the former, 245 in the latter), with the British Journal of Psychiatry calling the treatment “comparable” to “antidepressant drug treatment in primary care”. 

The New England Journal of Medicine, however, was more hesitant, reporting “more adverse” effects – such as “skin redness, tinnitus, and nervousness [...] and new-onset mania” – without obvious improvements compared to other forms on therapy. Another study published by online journal Brain Stimulation advised against its use for patients prone to seizures or epilepsy.

Flow’s CEO Daniel Mansson says the company worked for over two years on “making sure that all of the safety standards and good manufacturing practices were met and documented” before getting the stamp of approval in June 2019.

But some scepticism is appropriate, given the inconsistent results of the mental health treatments previously available to patients in the UK and Europe. 

Depression, for all its prevalence in our society (the World Heath Organization estimates 300 million people living with the condition worldwide), is really not understood very well – and there are a host of different strategies for tackling the affliction. 

You might be recommended in-depth psychoanalysis to understand underlying psychological causes, given cognitive behavioural therapy to tackle behavioural symptoms, or given medication as a chemical solution – if not a combination of the three, with varying degrees of success.

You might also not be recommended these things when you need them, given how hard mental illness can be to diagnose. So offering a DIY solution you can buy yourself – circumventing lengthy and potentially triggering consultations, even if you’re not meant to do so without medical approval – does offer a convenience in its own right.

"The combination of the brain stimulation headset and therapy app,” says Mansson, “creates a new, very powerful, but also very safe, at-home treatment solution.”

Treating yourself

HeadSpace is popular app for fitting meditation and self-care into your daily routine

There’s been huge growth in kind of self-care and meditation apps like HeadSpace – often actively recommended by GPs in the UK – offering ways to manage stress, pain, or anxiety.

"We are seeing a shift from pharmacological treatments to more digital therapy-based alternatives"

Naturally, cost becomes an issue when patients are expected to find healthcare solutions outside of national health services. The Flow headset costs £399 (around $480 / AU$710), without any supplementary costs – while the HeadSpace app, by comparison, will set you back $95 / £72 / AU$149 for a year’s subscription.

Mansson makes sure to say Flow is only one tool “in the toolbox of treatments”, but as a commercially-available hardware product, it has the potential to change the way patients commonly receive treatment, especially if the costs are scaled down.

“Right now we are seeing a shift from pharmacological treatments to more digital therapy-based alternatives,” says Mansson, “which empower patients and motivate them to treat their own condition from the comfort of their home.

“Given that brain stimulation devices (if medically approved) offer few side effects and are affordable and accessible, it makes perfect sense that devices such as Flow will become increasingly popular.”

So... should I get one?

Well, not off your own bat. The jury's out on the efficacy of tDCS, even if it's slowly gaining more traction as a potential aid for major depressive disorder.

Given the growing push towards more digitally-based therapies and care treatments, though, the signs suggest that there’ll be more treatments like these being suggested by medical practitioners going forward.

But neither Flow or I would recommend picking this up on a whim, and you really should wait until your doctor recommends it, to help with your specific needs.

For more information you can head to the Flow website.

Categories: Tech News

The Apple Watch Series 5 launch date may not be far off

Sat, 08/17/2019 - 05:30

We haven't heard much in the way of leaks and rumors about the Apple Watch Series 5, but the next generation of Apple's wearable is still in the pipeline, according to respected analyst Ming-Chi Kuo.

According to Kuo, the fifth Apple Watch is going to see the light of day in the second half of 2019, with September the most likely month for a launch.

Considering that the four previous Apple Watches have all launched in September, that's not much of a surprise, but this is a confirmation of sorts. The original Apple Watch is the only one that hasn't launched in September, arriving in April 2015.

Unfortunately Kuo doesn't share too much about what to expect from the Apple Watch 5, but we've previously heard that a new ceramic casing could be on the cards, even if sleep tracking doesn't make the cut this year.

Another big September for Apple

Apple has already shown off the watchOS 6 software that the Apple Watch Series 5 is going to come running: the update includes new features like a separate app store for downloading apps from your wrist.

Of course the Apple Watch Series 5 isn't the only new hardware device that is scheduled to get shown off in September. New iPhones are also on the way, with big improvements to the rear-facing camera on the cards.

Apple hasn't set a date for the iPhone launch as yet, but code in the latest iOS 13 beta suggests that Tuesday September 10 is going to be the big day.

If that turns out to be true, we might well get the Apple Watch Series 5 shown off at the same time. As always, TechRadar will be at the event bringing you all the news and new hardware as Apple announces it.

Via MacRumors

Categories: Tech News

How to enable Dark Mode on iOS 13 and iPadOS

Sat, 08/17/2019 - 05:00

After years of customer requests, Apple has finally bought Dark Mode to iPhones and iPads with the upcoming iOS 13 and iPadOS releases. 

Not just a palette swap, Dark Mode offers a significant boost to battery life for OLED iPhone users (iPhone X, iPhone XS and XS Max) by conserving power that would usually be used to light more pixels.

It also provides a display which is easier on your eyes in darker environments - perfect if you're using your iPhone or iPad in bed.

  • Tap Settings
  • Tap Display and Brightness
  • Tap Dark Mode

While developers have enabled their own Dark Modes within apps before, this is the first time Apple has included at a system level - meaning it permeates all sorts of apps, from contacts, to messages, to photos and Apple Music.

If you want to send your device into an emo phase, read on to find out how to enable Dark Mode on iPhone and iPad. It's worth noting though, this will only work on the current public betas of iOS 13 and iPadOS.

The final of build of these software platforms are expected to hit devices in September 2019, as a free software update.

How to enable Dark Mode on iOS 13

As you may imagine, how to enable Dark Mode on iPhone and iPad starts in the Settings app. Head there, and then tap Display and brightness.

You'll then find two small screenshots showing both Light and Dark mode - so take your pick. One tap on the Dark Mode image is all you need, and you'll see the Settings menu itself change color.

It really is as easy at that, but you can be cleverer with it...

How to schedule Dark Mode

Did you spot the "Automatic" toggle on the previous window? That allows your iPhone or iPad to switch to Dark Mode at sunset, before switching back to light mode at sunrise.

You can add a custom schedule, too, by tapping to Options menu that appears when you hit Automatic.

This will allow you to use Light Mode throughout the day, for example, and then Dark Mode from say, 5pm onwards.

How to enable Dark Mode from Control Center

This is one of Dark Mode's lesser known tricks, but a good one. There's a simpler way to activate Dark Mode on iPhone and iPad than having to dig into your settings menu or scheduling it.

Bring up the Control Center shortcuts panel on screen (by swiping up from the bottom of your phone if it has a home button or down from the top right corner if it doesn't have one), and press down on the Screen Brightness slider to make it bigger.

In the bottom left corner, you'll find a toggle labelled "Appearance" which you can use to quickly switch from Light Mode to Dark Mode.

Categories: Tech News