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tvOS 13: All the news and features of Apple's next TV operating system

Mon, 06/17/2019 - 13:18

After unveiling being unveiled at this year's WWDC 2019 conference, tvOS 13 is ready for developers to download - the second beta is ready to test on Apple TV and Apple TV 4K and all developers need to do is go to the software update section. 

The big differences for tvOS 13 are that it will finally offer multi-user support with personalized recommendations, as well as be compatible with both the Xbox One and PS4 DualShock 4 controller for Apple Arcade play. 

Here's everything we know about Apple's next TV smart platform after the official announcement: 

tvOS 13 release date

Disappointingly, the one thing we didn't hear at WWDC was Apple tvOS 13's release date - so it's still TBD. That said, however, developer previews have already started rolling out, with the second wave of code hitting on June 17.

When can you get your hands on it? Well, based on previous years, global availability on Apple TV and Apple TV 4K should roll out sometime in September or October - around the time Apple could launch its Apple TV Plus streaming service.

tvOS 13 will have personalized recommendations for everyone in your home - here's what Blue Planet looks like. Image Credit: Apple

tvOS 13 news and features

New home screen and multi-user support

The most important update coming to tvOS 13 is the new home screen, which will offer better recommendations for everyone in the family. For this to work, each user in the home will need their own profile, including your kids, but when it's setup you'll see TV shows, movies and music recommendations personalized to you.

What's unclear at this point is if those profiles will need to be tied to an Apple account or if there will be one master account that has the payment info for everyone - attaching a credit card to a kid's account sounds like a potentially awful idea, but it seems likely that Apple will adopt Parental Controls for these accounts.

So how will you switch between accounts? Apparently, you'll be using Control Center.

Shown briefly on-stage during the keynote, Control Center on tvOS will be the brains behind the operation - allowing you to switch accounts, access settings and sync devices. That last bit is important because...

Apple tvOS will support Xbox One and PS4 controllers 

It was apparent that Apple Arcade would require controllers ever since it was announced last year - how else could you play 3D platformers like Oceanhorn 2? 

Now we know exactly which controllers we'll be using: the Xbox One and PS4 DualShock 4 gamepads.

Apple announced that Microsoft and Sony's first-party controllers would be compatible with tvOS in the next update, whenever it arrives.

There are still a few question marks here - like what functionality, if any, will the DualShock 4's touchpad have on the Apple TV - but it's the first time Apple has ever announced compatibility with Sony and Microsoft's gaming hardware on-stage at a WWDC, so that's big news in and of itself.

Here's what OceanHorn looks like on tvOS13. Image Credit: Apple.

Apple Music lyrics and a new screensaver 

We knew Apple Music would play a key role at WWDC this year, just not on Apple TV. That said, however, we're happy it made an appearance.

New on tvOS 13 will be the ability to see lyrics on Apple Music in time with the song - a minor feature, but one that's nice to see all the same. To go alongside the new lyrics, you'll also see personalized song recommendations on the new home screen based on your listening habits to help you find that next hit.

The last new feature Cook mentioned was a new screen saver that Apple shot in 4K HDR. It's of a coral reef and it should turn a few heads when it arrives on tvOS 13.

  • Catch all the announcements from the event in our WWDC 2019 news hub
Categories: Tech News

Gaming sites hit with billions of cyberattacks

Mon, 06/17/2019 - 12:50

Cybercriminals have set their sights on the gaming industry and a new report has revealed that 12bn credential stuffing attacks were carried out against gaming websites over the course of 17 months leading up to March 2019.

Akamai's 2019 State of the Internet / Security Web Attacks and Gaming Abuse Report highlights how the online gaming community is one of the fastest rising targets for credential stuffing attacks as well as one of the most lucrative targets for attackers.

During the same time period in which gaming websites saw heightened attacks, Akamai observed a total of 55bn credential stuffing attacks across all industries.

The firm's report also revealed that SQL Injection (SQLi) attacks now represent 65.1 percent of all web application attacks with Local File Inclusion (LFI) attacks accounting for 24.7 percent. Akamai's data shows that SQLi attacks have continued to grow in popularity among cybercriminals after experiencing a spike in activity during 2018's holiday shopping season and the attacks have continued at an elevated rate since that time.

SQLi and credential stuffing attacks

SQLI and credential stuffing attacks almost share a direct link as the majority of the credential stuffing lists on the dark web and on various internet forums use data that originated from some of the world's largest data breaches, many of which have SQLi as a root cause.

Security researcher at Akamai and editorial director of its latest report Martin McKeay explained why the gaming industry has become such a valuable target for cybercriminals, saying:

“One reason that we believe the gaming industry is an attractive target for hackers is because criminals can easily exchange in-game items for profit. Furthermore, gamers are a niche demographic known for spending money, so their financial status is also a tempting target. While gaming companies continue to innovate and improve their defenses, these organizations must also continue to help educate their consumers on how to protect and defend themselves. Many gamers are young, and if they are taught best practices to safeguard their accounts, they will incorporate those best practices for the rest of their lives.” 

Akamai's report also found that the US is the top source country for credential stuffing attacks while Russia and Canada take the top two spots targeting the gaming sector.

Via Venture Beat

Categories: Tech News

Best MP3 Player 2019: TechRadar's guide to the best portable music players

Mon, 06/17/2019 - 12:29

MP3 players might not be as popular as they were a decade ago, but that doesn't mean they're outdated technology. In fact, modern MP3 players do a significantly better job at storing your entire music library at a higher bitrate than your 2009 iPod Shuffle ever could.

To that end, if you're on the look-out for the best MP3 player that money can buy in 2019, you've come to the perfect place: Here we'll run down all the top choices, and tell you everything you need to know to make a sensible buying decision.

While most folks are more than happy to use their phones as portable music players, you're here because you're looking for a separate music player – one that not only stores your music, but makes it sound its best.

The best MP3 players, due to their sound fidelity and durability, are the ultimate devices if you love listening to music – and new innovations in sound are making them even better with each passing year.

That said, remember that the device (in this case an MP3 player) is only one link in a long audio chain. You’ll also need to think about what audio codec your library is in, and you will obviously also need an great pair of headphones, (high-fidelity DACs are meaningless if you’re using a cheap pair of earbuds).

If you need a little help, check out the best headphones for 2019

Best MP3 player: Onkyo DP-X1A

Onkyo has been a well-known and esteemed name in audio for years, and for good reason. The Onkyo DP-X1A may not be the most compact player on this list, but it is the best all-around, offering huge customizability, an intuitive interface, and fantastic sound quality.

Let’s start with the design, which is pretty nice. In general, the DP-X1A looks a little bit like a phone, but much thicker, and is completely optimized for audio use. How so? Well, for starters, it has two audio ports – one headphone jack and one balanced output for those interested in a cleaner and overall better quality sound. Additionally, the device has an easy-to-use volume wheel, as well as physical playback buttons and two microSD card slots for those with a sizable collection of music. 

The player is built with a full version of Android 5.1, complete with features like Wi-Fi connectivity and the Google Play Store. Which results in an MP3 Player that is to Android what the iPod Touch is to iOS. Unlike the iPod, however, the Onkyo DP-X1A is built for super-high-quality audio.

Speaking of the sound quality, it's an absolute dream. It supports a range of music formats, including FLAC, OGG, WAV, MP3, ALAC, and more. In terms of hardware, the device has two chipsets, one to power the overall device, and one to handle the DAC and amplifier – resulting in a noise-free experience. 

We tested the player with multiple pairs of headphones across multiple price ranges, and were stunned with the clarity and exceptional quality of the audio. There’s a reason the Onkyo DP-X1A sits atop this list – it’s a beast in the portable audio world. 

Read our full review: Onkyo DP-X1A Digital Audio Player

 Best MP3 player: iPod Touch (7th Generation)

Apple took us all by surprise when it announced the iPod touch 7, the first upgrade to its portable music and video player since 2015. 

With “enhancements to power, capability, and communication”, the updated iPod touch is fully geared towards gaming, with the release coming just in time for the launch of Apple's new gaming service, Apple Arcade

The bigger upgrade, at least for audio enthusiasts, is the support for the Hi-Res Audio codec FLAC, as well as Apple Lossless, giving you more options than ever when it comes to accessing audiophile-quality music.

Using a Hi-Res Audio playback app for iOS called Vox, we listened to Mozart’s Requiem in D Minor. The strings had a warm and natural quality, while soprano vocal duets soared sweetly above the mix without ever sounding harsh. 

In our review we also tested out the inbuilt speaker at the bottom of the iPod touch, and it packs quite a punch despite its size. It won’t do for listening to your Hi-Res music, but if just want a little background music for your gaming sessions and can’t be bothered to dig your headphones out, it works just fine. 

If you need a new MP3 player, and you don't mind using iTunes, the iPod Touch will do just fine.

Read the full review: iPod Touch (7th Generation)

Best MP3 player: HiFiMan SuperMini

HiFiMan is perhaps best known for its headphones, but it makes some pretty great MP3 players, too. For an example, look no further than the SuperMini. 

The SuperMini, as the name suggests, is a little smaller than most of the other players on this list, but that doesn’t seem to come at a huge cost – it’ll still deliver excellent audio quality and it’s pretty easy to use, too.

The device, which has a price tag of $399 (£400, AU$399), doesn’t have any onboard storage – you’ll have to buy a microSD card separately. It does, however, support a pretty huge range of audio formats, including FLAC, DSD, WAV, MP3, and AIFF, and audio with a sample rate of up to 192kHz.

The user interface may not be as flashy as some others on this list, but it’s still pretty easy to use. It’s a monochrome display, and is controlled via three buttons located under the screen. The tradeoff to using a monochrome display, however, is that the battery life is decent, sitting in at a hefty 22 hours. 

In terms of sound, the high-end on this player is nice and crisp, without being too aggressive by any means. On top of that, there are plenty of mids to go around, without the player at all straying into inaccurate territory. We were a little skeptical of the idea of a player from a company that offers players well into the multi-thousands of dollars range, but the SuperMini holds its own, and at a decent price.

Read the full review: HiFiMan SuperMini

  • This product is only available in the US and UK at the time of this writing. Australian readers: check out a fine alternative in the Onkyo DP-X1A 

Best MP3 player: Astell & Kern AK Jr

Astell & Kern is known for building top-notch audio devices at reasonable prices, and for that reason we think the Astell & Kern AK Jr is the best mid-range MP3 player out of the ones we've seen (and heard). In fact, after spending some time using it, we would argue that it’s a pretty serious contender against even much more expensive players.

Before diving into the player’s capabilities, you’ll notice how well-designed it is. The sleek, metallic look is very classy, and using it gives you a similar “status symbol” feel as you’ll get with the iPhone.

The AK Jr comes in at $259 (£250, AU$399), which is a very reasonable price for a device of this calibre. For that price, you’ll get 64GB of onboard storage, though there is a microSD card slot in case you want to expand upon that storage. On top of that, it supports all major audio formats, including FLAC, WAV, MP3, AAC, AIFF, and more – and it’s able to play at sample rates of up to 192kHz.

The interface of the device is relatively easy to control, too. The home screen simply gives you options for songs, albums, artists, and so on. 

Tap through using the touchscreen, and you’ll be able to select the music you want to listen to. It would be nice if that touchscreen was a little more responsive, but you get used to it. Battery life sits in at around nine hours, which isn't amazing, but not terrible either. 

So how does it sound? In one word: beautiful. 

Music is dynamic and crisp, with a nice and powerful sound in every aspect. The soundstage on these, when paired with a great pair of headphones, is huge – that’s to say the left and right are clearly defined, while instruments placed at the center of a mix are given plenty of room to breathe. We particularly enjoyed the guitar solo on AC/DC’s Back in Black, while Eminem’s rap on Lose Yourself cut straight through the mix – exactly the way it was supposed to.

Best MP3 player: SanDisk Clip Sport Plus

Looking for an MP3 player to take running with you? If so, you probably want something small and light – it probably doesn’t need to hold day’s worth of music, and it probably doesn’t need to offer the highest audio quality out there. Most of all, you probably don’t want to fork out a ton of cash for it.

If that’s you, in our view, the SanDisk Clip Sport Plus is the best option. 

For starters, the device offers 16GB of storage, and while that may not be much for your phone, 16GB can hold a ton of songs. On top of that, despite being built for sport, it actually supports a pretty wide range of audio formats – including MP3, AAC, FLAC, WAV, and WMA.

Perhaps most important for a device like this is the battery life, and it’ll last you a good 20 hours. You’ll even get Bluetooth, which is a huge deal for many who will be using this while running or performing other activities and don’t want cables to get in the way.

The interface is relatively easy to use too. Sure, it’s a little dated, and isn’t as powerful as what you’ll find on your smartphone, but it’s still capable as a music player. It’s not touch-sensitive, though: instead, you navigate through hardware buttons that also serve as playback controls when music is playing, but we didn’t have any issues.

As for the sound, as long as you don’t expect full audiophile-level quality here (you won’t get it), we think you'll find the sound very capable. Overall it's slightly muddy with a small dip in clarity, but for most that won’t matter – especially when you're out on a run or hitting the weights at the gym.

Best MP3 player: Sony NW-A45 Walkman

If the idea of using iTunes freaks you out and spending more than $200 on an MP3 player just isn't plausible, then your best MP3 player is probably the Sony NW-A45 Walkman.

Packed with 16GB of built-in storage and a slick touchscreen UI, the NW-A45 starts at around  $149 and comes in multiple colors that will suit any taste. For audiophiles, the NW-A45 supports Hi-Res playback, plus DSEE H can help restore lossy files back to a near lossless state. Unlike your phone, Sony's Walkman comes with an S-Master HX digital amp that's powerful enough to drive some relatively high-impedance headphones while still accommodating low-impedance cans, too.

Versatile and easy to use, the Sony NW-A45 gets the nod as our MP3 player pick for the first-time buyer.

What MP3 players does TechRadar recommend? 

So, what do you need to look for in an MP3 player? Well, the most important thing you need to think about is the audio codec your music library is in.

Anyone who uses iTunes will probably have a music library completely filled with Apple’s proprietary AAC codec, and luckily most MP3 players will support that codec. However, if you consider yourself an audiophile, you’ll need support for lossless codecs like FLAC, WAV and ALAC, as these codecs don’t use the compression methods used on lossy codecs like AAC or MP3. However, they will take up more space.

You’ll also need to consider how much music is in your, well, music collection and then how much storage you’ll need. This is especially the case when you’re using codecs like FLAC, which just devour space. Often MP3 players also have an included microSD card slot, which allows you to expand upon the included storage as your library expands – but normally only up to a certain size, normally around 512GB.

Here's the best part though: unlike smartphones, MP3 players are built to last, so there’s no need to go on an endless two-year upgrade-cycle like you might with a smartphone. This means it’s probably in your best interests to take some time and find the one that’s right for you, as you will probably be using it for a few years to come.

  • Looking for a something to listen to on your new MP3 player? Check out our list of the best podcasts around.
Categories: Tech News

TCL is making some crazy TVs – here’s why you can’t buy them

Mon, 06/17/2019 - 11:59

Can’t quite find a TV that feels different from the rest? We’re not surprised: while the market is packed with countless television models in a variety of sizes, from 32-inch bedroom screens to 88-inch wall-fillers, most of them tend to stick to the same basic shape, casing, and colorings.

After all, the most important part of a TV is the picture, and to a certain extent the external appearance of the television is a side dish to the main meal on offer – if you get to the end of a 90-minute Netflix movie and all you paid attention to was the TV stand, something has clearly gone wrong.

That’s not to say there aren’t some innovative TV designs out there; the problem is that most of them just aren’t going to make it to market.

Nowhere is this clearer than with TCL, a Chinese electronics company that recently became the second-largest TV seller in the world (after Samsung), accounting for 11.6% of global TV shipments in 2018

Notwithstanding its global scale and mass-production focus, TCL is also exploring a number of new design possibilities for its displays that use materials and form factors a world away from what you’ll find in your local electronics store: everything from reflective smart mirrors to TVs based in concrete.

But why, for the most part, can’t you find these products in your local Walmart or John Lewis? And why would TCL bother to make TVs that, for now at least, have little chance of making it into Western showrooms?

Designing the unexpected

TCL's experimental designs have included this pet-inspired CRT TV, with ears and whiskers rounding out the body (Image Credit: TechRadar)

We spoke to TCL Electronics’ Senior Product Designer, Tiago Abreu, who has been tasked with forging the company’s design ethos over the past four years. According to Abreu, his team has “the budget for crazier concepts”, even if most of them don’t end up sitting on shelves.

One that did, however, was a collaboration with IKEA called the Uppleva TV, which was essentially a furniture cabinet with the TV and relevant ports built in. The Uppleva did sell in the UK and Europe, but disappeared pretty sharpish after buyers found that IKEA’s cheap and minimalist design philosophy didn’t translate well to picture quality. (You can still buy the Uppleva wall mount from Ikea’s website, but the TV is nowhere to be found.)

Back in 2014, TCL also showed off a seismic 110-inch curved television, named the China Star, which even today seems hugely excessive both in size and scope. At the time the largest curved television ever made, the China Star took things even further with side-mounted speakers and a subwoofer encased in concrete – yes, concrete, apparently for its “acoustic properties”. There aren’t many viewers with the space, or the inclination, to shift a giant television encased in concrete into their home, of course, and it’s no surprise that this set didn’t end up shipping to global markets.

TCL's China Star TV was the largest curved television ever made (Image Credit: TechRadar)

You could argue, however, that the development of the China Star did lead to the more reasonably-sized – and concrete free – 55-inch H8800 4K TV: a similarly curved set that we called “charmingly quirky” in our 2015 review (four stars). Even the crazier concepts can end up trickling down to more commercial sets.

Often these odder, more conceptual sets will be shown off first at annual tech expos. Many commercial TVs make their debut at CES every January, which is also a chance to receive and review industry feedback well in advance of any formal launch date, but companies will often also be showing off incredible feats of TV engineering – such as Samsung’s detachable MicroLED panels, or Hisense’s super-slim Sonic One – years before anything similar makes it to market. (Abreu expresses admiration specifically for LG’s rollable OLED shown off at CES 2019 earlier this year.)

Sometimes, says Abreu, it’s “just a concept, for TCL to make a statement. We are strong at what we do, and [the concept] is so consumers believe we can do something”.

Fighting the tide

TCL's high-end TVs use jutting metal bars to attach speakers to the wall mount (Image Credit: TechRadar)

The problem with a statement television is just that: it’s a statement, rather than a viable product in its own right. Abreu puts down the difficulty of pushing experimental designs to TCL “not being strong enough in the foreign market”.

That might sound surprising given TCL’s sales figures worldwide, but TCL is still seen as an upstart challenger in global markets compared to more established players like Samsung or Panasonic, which have been in the business for decades longer.

But it’s a different story in China, which seems readier to accept more unusual TV designs than the Western market – or at least, readier to accept them from an established Chinese brand. (We’re told by TCL’s CEO, Kevin Wang, that the company’s total profit is divided roughly equally between China and RoW .)

Abreu adds: “We’re strong [in China], and that allows us to work better locally, where we can collect more data on what audiences want.”

Domestically-sold sets are more likely to feature metal bars that jut out of the wall mount, or the XESS range’s 300-degree sound – something that TCL says no other TV brand in China offers.

“I think the Chinese market is more accepting of different form factors,” says Abreu. “People here are not shy to experience new things. They want something more catchy, more flashy, more evident. It is a very rich time for designers here.”

TCL's Quantum Dot 9700 makes a show of its built-in Harmon Kardon speakers (Image Credit: TechRadar)

There are signs of TCL’s more playful design ethos in products available in Western markets – such as the Quantum Dot 9700, which exposed the television’s speakers to better reflect the prominence of the audio, courtesy of Harmon Kardon. While a small touch, it still broke the usual rectangular shape of so many televisions, embodying what Abreu says is at the heart of smart design: “leveraging what you have in a striking way”.

TCL CEO Wang admits that “we show the concepts, but not all of them are released”, adding that “the US is more market-driven” and the sales strategy abroad is more about getting the numbers up, with the brand lacking the comfortable market position that would afford it the luxury of experimenting with more extroverted designs.

Pressed on the disparity between its concept TVs and what buyers actually able to buy, Wang concludes by insisting: “We’re not lying… we’re trying to build a dream.”

  • New TCL TV: every set coming from the Chinese brand this year
Categories: Tech News

New BenQ monitors feature an 'ePaper' mode for easier reading

Mon, 06/17/2019 - 11:58

BenQ has launched new monitors with an "ePaper" mode aimed to make reading text easier for some users, Liliputing reports.

BenQ has been considering the eyes of gamers and general users for years, with Low Blue Light modes in its monitors dating back some time. We saw the BenQ EW2440 offering an almost parchment paper-like mode back in 2015, and now the company is going further with this 'ePaper' mode.

The first new BenQ monitor to include the mode is the affordable BenQ GL2780. It's a 27-inch, Full HD monitor with a 75Hz TN panel. It also boasts a 1ms response time (gray-to-gray), BenQ's Flicker-Free Technology and a Low Blue Light mode.

All of this is to say that the GL2780 is made to be nice to look at, whether for gaming or general use. The new ePaper mode is meant to make it even easier on the eyes when going through large quantities of text.

It's not actual ePaper, though

BenQ says this about the ePaper mode: "The simulated e-book mode provides clear black and white reading layout without distractions and suitable on-screen brightness for a comfortable reading experience with clear texts."

In other words, it is effectively a monochrome setting like that available on some Android smartphones. While this could be helpful when dealing with a lot of text, it's a considerably different technology than actual e-ink.

The BenQ GL2780 is a monitor like almost any other. E-ink monitors don't use back-lights, transparent layers or liquid crystals to display visuals. Instead, they have magnetized 'pixels' with a white and a black side, with the white acting like the paper and the black acting like the ink. They require no light source of their own and very little power.

But, e-ink displays are also expensive. The BenQ GL2780 may not be true e-ink, but it could have a similar effect on our eyes. And, with a price expected below $200 (about £160, AU$290), it's going to be considerably cheaper than something like the Onyx Boox Max 2 Professional, which costs several times more an has only a 13.3-inch e-ink display.

Categories: Tech News

Had your Instagram account hacked? Getting it back is now less of a headache

Mon, 06/17/2019 - 11:55

Having your Instagram hijacked can be a nightmare – you try to log in, only to find that your username, profile picture and bio have been changed – but thankfully the photo-sharing service is now making it easier to get everything back under control.

It's currently testing a new recovery system that doesn't involve messing around with emails and support forms, then waiting for replies, like you do now.

Instead, as Engadget reports, you'll be asked for personal details such as your original phone number or email address. You'll then be sent a six-digit code to verify your identity and retake control.

Ultimately, it will be possible for all this to be arranged from within the app, keeping stress and hassle to a minimum at a distressing time when your carefully chosen profile pic may have been switched to a Disney character.

Harder to hack

Instagram is also making it tougher for hackers to meddle with compromised accounts, locking down the ability to change username for a while after another major account change.

This feature has already been rolled out to all Android users and will be hitting iPhones over the coming days, but the easy recovery system is still in testing. Fingers crossed you'll never need it.

Via Engadget

Categories: Tech News

Save £108 on your broadband and TV deal with Virgin's latest price cut

Mon, 06/17/2019 - 11:45

Usually when Virgin drops the price of one of its packages we're not entirely convinced. With such massive speeds and feature filled TV packages, a Virgin broadband deal is rarely cheap, even after a price cut. But bucking its own trend, Virgin's latest broadband and TV deal blends the phrases affordable, fibre and TV with ease.

The attention-grabbing feature of this offer is its price tag. Coming in at just £29 a month, Virgin has cut the price of its Big Bundle package by £9 a month (a total saving of £108 over the year).

With a price drop like that, we can't think of any better package for those wanting both TV and internet without spending a huge chunk of their monthly income. With average speeds of 108Mb (incredibly fast in other words!), over 110 TV channels and inclusive weekend calls, you're not even cutting back with this package to get that price.

Want to make use of this impressive price cut? You can find out more about it below. Or check out our guide to the best broadband deals to see all of the options the market has. 

Virgin's broadband and TV deal in full: Is Virgin fibre broadband available in my area?

We are now at the point where around 60% of the UK households are able to receive superfast Virgin broadband. It's easy to find out if you're one of the those lucky people. Head to our dedicated Virgin broadband deals page (or the price comparison chart at the bottom of this page), enter your postcode where indicated at the top of the page and if deals show as available then you're laughing.

If no results are returned, then head to our best fibre broadband deals page instead and do exactly the same thing to see whether you can get superfast fibre broadband with another provider, such as BT Superfast.

Categories: Tech News

Beat Saber VR gets 360-degree play, but only the Oculus Quest can manage it

Mon, 06/17/2019 - 11:23

If you've been following the steady release of VR games over the past few years, you've probably heard of Beat Saber: a frenetic, rhythm-based lightsaber game that mixes up Guitar Hero gameplay with fluid VR motion controls, giving us the Kylo Ren teen rocker simulator we never knew we wanted.

Beat Saber launched to Early Access in May 2018, and quickly gained a following for its fast-paced gameplay, awesome soundtrack, and lightsabers (people love lightsabers, ok?). Players wield a 'saber' in each hand and whack incoming blocks to the beat of the music, though until now it's only been head on.

As reported by RoadtoVR, anyone who's purchased Beat Saber on Oculus Quest, the latest wireless VR headset from Oculus, will be able to play the game in 360 Mode – which sends blocks towards you in random directions for a more challenging and chaotic experience. Already worried you were flailing your arms around like a maniac? That's about to get worse.

The reason it's only on Oculus Quest is the headset's six degrees of freedom (6DOF) motion sensor, which allow you to move around a room untethered and more fluidly control your perspective inside VR environments.

While most VR games are automatically designed for headsets unable to do this, the Beat Saber update showcases the capability of the Quest and the kinds of expanded VR experiences that will be possible with enhanced tracking technology.

Beat Games has said that they plan to bring a version of the mode to other, more static-view headsets, though it will likely be limited to 180-degree play.

You can see a gameplay trailer for 360 Mode above: so as not to completely screw you over, it seems to throw blocks from points generally in your eyeline, rather than having to continually spin back and forth to catch everything coming your way.

While the game is already included in our guide to the best VR games, its latest update has shown just what developers can achieve when growing a game's offering – even now that the game is technically out of Early Access.

Beat Saber is a multi-platform title, and can be accessed through PlayStation VR, HTC Vive, Oculus Rift, and Windows Mixed Reality headsets.

Categories: Tech News

Amazon Prime Day is here early for the latest Apple iPad

Mon, 06/17/2019 - 11:21

While the big Amazon shopping event is still weeks away, that doesn't mean you can't find Prime Day deals now on best-selling items. For example, right now you can get the latest model Apple iPad on sale for $328. That's a $100 discount and the lowest price we've found for the 128GB tablet. Walmart also has the 32GB Apple iPad on sale for $249.

The latest model iPad features a 9.7-inch Retina display and packs an impressive 128GB of storage. This allows you to store pictures, movies, and download apps and games without having to worry about filling up your tablet. The iPad also includes an A10 Fusion chip that results in a fast and powerful performance with the ability to experience the latest augmented reality apps.

The Apple iPad includes Touch ID and an upgraded 1.2MP front-facing camera that allows you to FaceTime in HD. Other features include Apple Pay, Apple Pencil compatibility, and an all-day battery life of 10 hours.

This pre-Prime Day discount is not only a rare deal but also a fantastic price for a newer model iPad. We don't think the price will go much lower than this, so you should snag this sale while you can. 

If you don't need as much storage and want a lower price tag, Walmart has the 32GB Apple iPad on sale for $249. That's an $80 discount and the best price we've found for the 9.7-inch tablet.

If you're in the UK, we've also found a killer deal on a 32GB Apple iPad from John Lewis. 

Interested in other iPad models? We've rounded up more of the cheapest iPad deals that are currently available.

Learn more about Prime Day with our guide on Amazon Prime Day: everything you need to know for the July deals event.

Categories: Tech News

Rumored AMD X590 chipset hints at more premium motherboards

Mon, 06/17/2019 - 11:21

We might end up seeing a more premium X590 chipset, aimed at enthusiasts and overclockers. 

AMD's X570 chipset for Ryzen 3rd Generation processors has already been announced, boasting PCIe 4.0 support, and bringing along some pretty expensive motherboards like the MSI X570 Godlike. But now, new premium X590 motherboards have been spotted by German site Computer Base. 

The AMD X590 chipset appeared in the BIOS code for the existing X570 chipset, and while we don't have any solid specs quite yet, we could see more PCIe 4.0 lanes, allowing for greater expansion. 

And, assuming that this motherboard will also be using the AM4 socket that AMD Ryzen processors have been using since the beginning, we could see motherboard manufacturers include a more robust VRM, allowing for better overclocking. High-end motherboards, like those that would include a premium chipset, are aimed at hardcore enthusiasts, so better overclocking tools are a given. 

That's essentially all the information that's out there right now, but given the elevated specs, we could see X590 motherboards getting extremely expensive. We're already starting to see AMD X570 motherboard prices leak out for more than $500 in the US, according to Wccftech

Still, if you're planning on picking up the monstrous AMD Ryzen 9 3950X, you might want to wait until these motherboards hit the streets – assuming they actually hit the streets, of course. 

Categories: Tech News

10 best Smart TV apps for your Samsung TV

Mon, 06/17/2019 - 11:20

As nice as your new Samsung TV may look in your living room, it's the apps and services you can find on its smart TV platform that are going to define what you're watching and how you go about it.

Samsung Smart TVs have gotten a real upgrade this last year, thanks to the new Smart Hub operating system Samsung has embedded into its high-end, flagship series of QLED and 4K UHD TVs.

Beyond offering the staples of Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime Video and YouTube, Smart Hub is bursting at the seams with great apps – all of which are available to download from the Smart Hub store.

With so many new apps releasing all the time, however, it can be hard to figure out which apps are worth downloading. But that's where we come in. After testing dozens of Samsung TVs over the years, we've narrowed down a list of the must-download apps on the platform that will offer entertainment in spades.

Having a list at your side should make perusing the store a bit simpler and faster for those of you who already purchased a new QLED TV, and for those who are still on the fence about buying one, give you an idea of what you can expect.

That's why we've rounded up 10 of the most-essential apps for your new Samsung Smart TV. (Looking for a complete list of Samsung Smart TV apps? That can be found over at Samsung's website!)

If you need a new Samsung Smart TV,  check out the Samsung Q9FN QLED, our favorite Samsung-made TV in 2018 and is still one of the best TVs on the market.

When it comes to online video streaming services, Netflix has been the gold standard since it invented the whole concept almost ten years ago.

As well as having an impressive selection of existing TV shows and movies Netflix is also investing heavily in its own exclusive productions including Bojack Horseman, Orange is the New Black, and the brilliantly quirky Russian Doll.

In terms of sheer amount of content, Netflix is the largest streaming service around, although there are significant differences in the content available on the UK versus the US store – even if the specter of Disney+ may take some of the best gems out of the library.

If you're new to video streaming, then there's no better starting point than Netflix – check out our round up of the best shows on Netflix for some inspiration.

Amazon may not have had the original streaming service, but it's no slouch when it comes to piping you the best TV has to offer. Recent years have seen a steady supply of exclusive shows, such as comedy The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, and thrillers The Man in the High Castle and Vikings. 

Besides exclusives, Amazon also has an impressive selection of TV, recently adding darkly comic biopic I, Tonya, and the second installation in the violent John Wick series. 

Fortunately, unlike Netflix which forces you to have an account in order to view available titles, Amazon makes its Prime listings available directly on its website, meaning you can check that your favorites are available before paying for a subscription.

You can also read our round up of the best shows on Amazon Prime Instant Video for a taste of what's on Prime this month. 

When Hulu finally updated its subscription tiers in 2017, it brought the service into line with competitors Netflix and Amazon Prime. It had previously offered two tiers, a free service supported by ads and a limited pool of content, and a paid service which offers an expanded selection (on which ads are still present).

Now, you can subscribe to a cheaper tier that keeps commercials, a more robust premium tier that cuts out commercials or the Hulu with Live TV bundle that offers limited commercials for on-demand content plus some live TV channels.

What really sells us on Hulu, though, is its exclusive offerings that includes shows like The Mindy Project, Bob's Burgers, and The Handmaid's Tale. Just be warned that no matter which tier you end up subscribing to, a small number of shows and series will still display ads – even when you're on the service's premium tier.

If you're not sure whether to sign up, don't miss our Hulu review.

The BBC has a reputation for producing some of the best TV shows in recent years such as Doctor Who, Sherlock and Luther, and, lucky for Samsung TV owners, they're available through the dedicated iPlayer app.

The (significant) catch is that the BBC only makes shows available for 30 days after their first broadcast, which means you're unlikely to ever be able to spend an afternoon 'marathoning' an entire series.

iPlayer makes up for this with possibly the widest selection of shows of any of the streaming services on this list, since it covers (with some small exceptions) everything broadcasted on the BBC. That means tentpole dramas such as Sherlock can be streamed alongside today's episode of long-running soap Eastenders or Sunday evening favorite Antiques Roadshow.

And yes, you legally need a TV license in the UK to use the service.

All 4 is Channel 4's version of iPlayer, and covers content from Channel 4, E4 and More 4. Unlike the BBC's iPlayer, however, more popular shows are available indefinitely on the service.

What this means is that if you want to sit down and watch every episode of the excellent Peep Show since it was its first broadcast in 2003, then there's nothing stopping you.

Other top picks include The IT Crowd, Black Books (both written by the excellent Graham Lineham) and guilty pleasure Grand Designs.

Our next pick is a little different from the other streaming services on this list. Instead of streaming videos from a service, PLEX allows you to curate a collection of your own on a media server and stream it to whichever device you want. 

That said, while PLEX is available on nearly every device, it looks darn good on Samsung Smart TVs. 

So why install PLEX if you have Hulu, Netflix, Amazon or any of the other streaming services on this list? Because PLEX is free. There are no monthly fees for the base version of the app, which allows you to build and maintain your own local video server. 

If a DIY video streaming service sounds like a lot of work and a less-than-ideal experience, it will surprise you to know that PLEX has really improved in the last few years making it ultra-easy to setup and incredibly versatile as a streaming service.

HBO Go and HBO Now are both streaming services from the television network behind such classics as The Sopranos, The Wire and more recently Game of Thrones. No other network has produced quite as many classics as the Home Box Office has.

Many of HBOs top shows, such as the aforementioned The Wire or the sublimely crafted True Blood are available on Amazon Prime Video, but HBOs own apps get access to shows immediately after they're broadcast rather than when the boxset is available to everyone else. Put simply, if you want to stream Game of Thrones the day it's released, you're going to have to pay for either HBO Go or HBO Now.

So what, exactly, is the difference between the two services? HBO Go is the streaming service available exclusively to HBO cable subscribers, while HBO Now is available to anyone regardless if you pay for the premium channel or not.

Which one you opt for is likely to be a decision driven by whether you already have a cable subscription to the service, but the HBO Now app is generally reported to be a slightly more responsive piece of software.

YouTube used to be the place to get your fill of amateur footage of everything from skateboarding fails to cat videos, but in recent years the site has become host to a range of content, from scripted comedies to reality TV shows to documentaries.

It's a platform which is no longer defined by its amateur production values. Now content creators use teams of professional video production staff to produce a dizzying amount of content catering to every possible niche.

We're personally a massive fan of the PC hardware channel LinusTechTips (as well as our own TechRadar YouTube Channel) but there are channels catering to every possible interest from beauty and fashion to video games.

YouTube also carries full movies which can be rented for 30-days or bought outright.

The first major player in music streaming, and a go-to app for anyone wanting to play or find music through your TV. Here you can sign into your Spotify account and access all of the same songs, playlists, and library as you would on your laptop or smartphone. With over 40 million songs, and thousands more added every day, this is the most cohesive music streaming service out there.

While Spotify still has the crown for music streaming apps though, you'll only find it on Samsung smart TVs post-2015. For those with older sets, what you can access something called Pandora.

While you might remember Pandora as the internet radio station service, it's actually a much more interesting and versatile service than a lot of folks give it credit for. First off, calling it internet radio isn't quite right. It's like algorithmically generated personalized music stations. No need to shuffle in between stations as Pandora learns from your feedback: dislike a song and Pandora will skip it. Like a song and Pandora will play more like it.

VUDU is another video streaming service, however unlike Amazon Prime, Netflix and Hulu, it does not offer an all-you-can-eat monthly streaming subscription.

Instead titles are rented or bought on an individual basis, and the site runs frequent sales where you can grab a bargain. Rentals run from between $0.99 and $5.99, and purchases from $4.99 to $24.99.

While VUDU's library of movies is much smaller than Netflix's, its model relies on having titles available to stream as soon as the home release hits. This is opposed to Netflix who tend to feature older films in their library.

I would struggle to recommend that users exclusively rely on VUDU for all their streaming needs, but as a supplemental service to Netflix or Amazon Prime VUDU works well to fill in the gaps.

Categories: Tech News

Has Google been copying the work of a Genius?

Mon, 06/17/2019 - 04:56

Song lyrics and trivia website Genius has accused Google of stealing its work for its own search results, according to the Wall Street Journal

When you search for a song title using Google, the search engine will often display its lyrics in an information box at the top of your search results, along with videos, release date, song writers, and information on where to listen to it.

According to Engadget (who also reported on the story), the website claims Google is "not only hurting its traffic with its lyrics cards, but sometimes grabbing Genius' lyrics verbatim," which it says it can prove by looking at the apostrophes in the lyrics.

This is because Genius alternated between straight and curved apostrophes "as a form of watermarking" – the website claims that there were "over 100 instances" were Google's search result-generated lyrics contained the exact same apostrophes.

Amusingly, these apostrophes have a secret meaning, reportedly spelling out 'red-handed' when converted to Morse code's dots and dashes.

Searching 'We Are The Champions' in Google brings up the song lyrics along with a video from YouTube. (Image credit: Queen Official / EMI)

Google responds

Google has responded to the claims with a statement, saying: "the lyrics displayed in the information boxes and in Knowledge Panels on Google Search are licensed from a variety of sources and are not scraped from sites on the web."

"We take data quality and creator rights very seriously, and hold our licensing partners accountable to the terms of our agreement. We're investigating this issue with our data partners and if we find that partners are not upholding good practices we will end our agreements."

Genius says that Google is "both violating antitrust law and its terms of service", and claims that it alerted the search engine to the problem in 2017.

It's unlikely this case will ever make its way to court, as it's unlikely to go in Genius' favor – after all, Genius doesn't own the copyright to the song lyrics themselves, only having the right to display them. 

For its part, Google doesn't admit to being caught 'red-handed'.  However, the fact that it's investigating the issue with its partners, and is willing to end agreements with those who don't "uphold good practices" could bode well for Genius, whose traffic has suffered dramatically since Google started displaying song lyrics in its search results.

Still, it's not all bad for Genius. Spotify subscribers get Genius-sourced lyrics shown in the Spotify app during songs, and the company has also integrated with Apple Music.

Via Engadget

Categories: Tech News

Sleep trackers might be ruining your sleep

Mon, 06/17/2019 - 04:56

Looking to improve your sleep quality with a sleep tracker? You may be doing more harm than good.

A number of sleep scientists, speaking to the New York Times (via Engadget), have warned against the reliability of commercial sleep trackers, saying that imperfect data and obsessive tracking may not be what we need for better sleep.

Dr Kelly Baron at the University of Utah spoke of the disconnect between the sleep that tracker users experienced and what their trackers were telling them, often causing them to seek medical help for nonexistent sleep conditions. 

Dr Baron also co-authored a 2017 paper that coined the term "orthosomnia", meaning an "perfectionist quest to achieve perfect sleep" – but one that might ruin your sleep hygiene in the process.

Meanwhile, a research study by fitness tracker brand Fitbit showed that wearable sleep trackers were as accurate as "medical-grade monitoring equipment" 70% of the time, compared to 90% with human analysts.

Late-night track

With the rise of wearable fitness trackers and growth of the health tech industry, sleep has increasingly become the target of commercial interests. Most recently, the Pokémon Company announced an incoming smartphone app called Pokémon Sleep to help make sleep tracking more fun, we guess?

But turning your own sleep into another data-stream that you keep track of every day might just increase symptoms of anxiety and insomnia – while being glued to your phone before and after a night's rest might be what's keeping you awake.

That's not to say sleep trackers can't do you good; if you struggle to sleep at regular hours, or are struggling to figure out why your sleep is so restless, getting outside help with a smartphone app or wrist tracker might be a smart idea.

Dr Seem Khosla, who holds the position of medical director at the North Dakota Center for Sleep, says that "we need to understand sleep technology – including its limitations – without dismissing this potentially valuable resource.”

Categories: Tech News

Putting small businesses in the driving Seat with Making Tax Digital

Mon, 06/17/2019 - 04:30

Last Friday marked the first major test of Making Tax Digital (MTD) since it came into force on 1 April, mandating all VAT registered businesses with a turnover over £85,000 to keep digital transaction records and submit their VAT returns via specialised software. It was the day that businesses that submit monthly VAT returns had to file their first return in an MTD-compliant way through software, rather than through HMRC’s online portal. It assessed whether the new digital record-keeping and submission process truly works as intended.

For those who used the new process, all the reports suggest it went off without a hitch.

However, despite this milestone, research from strategic insight agency Opinium shows 11 per cent of SME senior decision makers polled in a recent survey weren’t aware of the new requirement to be MTD compliant. 

Step change

Some of these business owners may have an accountant taking responsibility for the entire situation. But some won’t. There’s also an added complication that almost half – 46 per cent – of those polled who thought they were compliant were found not to be, while a quarter of compliant companies didn’t think they were set up correctly for the changes.

It is likely that there is an element of confusion at play; some businesses who already keep digital records, but only submit their VAT returns through their existing government gateway account, may think they are already MTD compliant. In fact, it will no longer be acceptable for them to file future VAT returns via the government gateway. Instead, they will need to use MTD-compatible software capable of securely transmitting data to, and receiving it from, HMRC without the need to manually type data on to a portal screen.

It is not uncommon for firms to be resistant to change, making them slower to adopt new ways of working, particularly when it comes to tax compliance. This is certainly what QuickBooks has found when it comes to MTD. There is no doubt that for some, achieving compliance marks a step change, but once they have made the change there are also countless advantages to making the move to digital record keeping, including access to near limitless reporting functionality giving a real-time view of financial health.

MTD is a huge opportunity to navigate digital adoption, to streamline operations, motor efficiencies and simplify tax. The same study found moving to being MTD compliant is for the vast majority either quicker (42 per cent) or only as time consuming (44 per cent) as anticipated, with just 13 per cent saying it took longer than they expected to prepare for the move.

As digital tax is embraced, our challenge is to help small businesses and accounting professionals digitize the engine of their business to help them supercharge productivity. By backing small business owners through the transition of MTD we can help accelerate cash flow management and allow them to get paid faster and run their companies more effectively.

Chris Evans is UK Country Manager and Vice President at Intuit QuickBooks 

Categories: Tech News

West Indies vs Bangladesh live stream: how to watch today's Cricket World Cup 2019 from anywhere

Mon, 06/17/2019 - 03:30

After a promising start to Cricket World Cup 2019 with a win against South Africa and a strong showing against New Zealand, Bangladesh went on to suffer a 106 run loss against England and saw their last match against Sri Lanka washed out. They'll be wanting to get back on track against the West Indies who are on the brink with just three points from four matches following their stinging eight-wicket defeat to England.   

No matter where you are in the world you can watch this crucial match by using our guide below to getting a West Indies vs Bangladesh live stream.

With the top four qualifying for the semi-finals, the West Indies now have a fight on their hands to displace one of New Zealand, Australia, India and hosts England. It's looking like they'll need to win each of their remaining group games if they're to stand a chance of reaching the last four.

The omens aren't good for them getting back on track - recent form has seen Bangladesh winning seven of the last ten games against each other including a bilateral series triumph last July. More worrying will be the their attack's poor display in their last match which saw them dismissed for just 212 by England at Southampton.

It's a must-win match for both sides, and its one you’ll be able to watch with ease from anywhere in the world if you follow our West Indies vs Bangladesh live stream guide below.  

Watch a Cricket World Cup 2019 live stream from outside your country

If you're in the UK, Australia, New Zealand, US or India and looking to find out how to watch the match, we've got all the details about the broadcaster in your region below. 

If you're away from home country and looking to tune in you'll likely to find you won't be able to thanks to geo-blocking. Thankfully there's a way to alleviate that frustration. By using a VPN you'll be able to watch the game safely without having to take a chance on an illegal feed from a website that's likely infested with malware.

How to stream West Indies vs Bangladesh live in the UK 

How to stream 2019 Cricket World Cup online in India

How to watch the cricket in Pakistan

How to watch West Indies vs Bangladesh: live stream in Australia

How to watch West Indies vs Bangladesh: US live stream 

How to watch the game in New Zealand live stream 

Categories: Tech News

Intel and Qualcomm lobby against Huawei ban

Sun, 06/16/2019 - 23:08

While coverage surrounding the US government's Huawei ban has focused primarily on how the Chinese tech giant will be affected, it's worth remembering that the company's US suppliers also stand to lose a great deal of money in the fallout of President Trump's executive order. 

Now, it appears that US chipmakers, including Intel, Qualcomm and Xilinx Inc, have been quietly lobbying the US government in an effort to ease the Huawei ban, as reported by Reuters.

Citing sources close to the situation, executives from Intel and Xilinx Inc reportedly met with the US Commerce Department in late May to discuss a response to the Trump Administration's decision to place Huawei on the 'entity list', effectively barring US companies from trading with the Chinese brand. 

According to four other sources, Qualcomm has also reportedly met with the Commerce Department to discuss the issue. The Semiconductor Industry Association trade group has confirmed that it arranged meetings with US government on behalf of the chipmakers.

While the American chip suppliers don't deny the potential threat to national security that Huawei's 5G networking technology could present, the US companies also argue that the Chinese firm's servers and smartphones use commonly available components and are far less likely to pose a risk, sources also suggest.

Of course, the discussions are just that – a representative for the Commerce Department told Reuters that the governmental body “routinely responds to inquiries from companies regarding the scope of regulatory requirements,” but that the discussions do not “influence law enforcement actions.”

Looking out for number one

One thing that shouldn't be confused is the real reason for the US chipmakers' interest in the matter, which is to prevent the potential loss of billions in revenue. 

"This isn’t about helping Huawei. It’s about preventing harm to American companies," said one of Reuters' sources. 

The report also states that of the "$70 billion that Huawei spent buying components in 2018, some $11 billion went to U.S. firms including Qualcomm, Intel and Micron Technology Inc."

Singaporean-owned (but US-based) chipmaker Broadcom has already reported a decline in Q2 revenues and has lowered its expectations for the rest of the year, citing the US Huawei ban as the chief cause.

Categories: Tech News

New law enforcement hacking tool can unlock most iPhone, Android handsets

Sun, 06/16/2019 - 22:37

The three-way struggle between criminal hackers, law enforcement and privacy-centric tech companies is constantly evolving. Today's smart devices have implemented increasingly tough security measures to protect users' personal data, while criminals seek to unlock them for various nefarious purposes, and authorities try to crack them for the sake of uncovering potential evidence.

Israeli forensics firm Cellebrite is responsible for creating such a tool – the Universal Forensic Extraction Device (UFED),  and the security company now claims it can unlock almost of all of the latest Apple and Android smart devices thanks to its latest update.

Specifically, the latest version of the device (UFED Premium) is able to unlock and gain access to “Apple devices running iOS 7 to iOS 12.3” as well as “high-running Android devices including the Samsung Galaxy S6/S7/S8/S9 [and] models from Motorola, Huawei, LG and Xiaomi”.

The device will be available to law enforcement agencies “on-premise”, meaning they will be able to operate the machine themselves and get the results independently of Cellebrite. The tool promises “access to 3rd party app data, chat conversations, downloaded emails and email attachments, deleted content and more”.

Privacy for the people

This time last year, we saw the security-conscious Apple release a more aggressive version of its USB Restricted Mode in the iOS 12 update – a solution that supposedly plugged a loophole whereby certain tools (akin to UFED and GreyKey) could access data via an iPhone’s Lightning Port.

While it’s unclear which global law departments will make use of the Cellebrite technology, it was strongly suspected that the FBI used the company in 2016 to unlock the San Bernardino iPhone.

Although the latest version of iOS is technically 12.3, Cellebrite’s site doesn’t make it clear whether the new 12.3.2 update is included in this. Similarly, Samsung's latest Android phone family – the Galaxy S10, S10 Plus and S10e – aren’t listed among the handsets the firm claims to be able to unlock, so it appears some forms of device encryption are still proving elusive.

Categories: Tech News

UK Porn Block is 'pointless misleading and potentially dangerous'

Sun, 06/16/2019 - 21:48

With just one month until the UK Porn Block comes into effect, a new report has warned that the government is failing to protect the privacy and security of those who view adult content online.

The Open Rights Group has analyzed the BBFC's Age-verification Certificate Standard, which outlines measures for AV providers to demonstrate that they will protect users' data, to reveal that the scheme provides little assurance to the 20m adults that are estimated to watch pornography online in the UK.

Executive Director at the Open Rights Group Jim Killock explained how the standard falls short in terms of data protection, saying:

“On July 15, millions of Internet users in the UK will have to make a decision about which age verification providers they trust with data about their personal pornography habits and preferences. Due to the sensitive nature of age verification data, there needs to be a higher standard of protection than the baseline which is offered by data protection legislation.

“The BBFC’s standard is supposed to deliver this. However, it is a voluntary standard, which offers little information about the level of data protection being offered and provides no means of redress if companies fail to live up to it. Its requirements are vague and a ‘tick box’ exercise. This renders it pointless, misleading and potentially dangerous as advice to consumers seeking safe products.”

Consumer privacy at risk

Pornography companies will have to apply age verification to all UK users beginning on July 15 but according to the Open Rights Group, there has been no government advertising to make the millions of users that view adult content online aware of the scheme.

In fact, a YouGov poll from March showed that 74 percent of the British public were not even aware that age verification is being introduced. In addition to not advertising its existence, the UK government has not offered any advice to consumers regarding what they need to do to keep their sensitive data safe.

Since age verification only applies to commercial providers of adult content, this means that those under 18 will still be able to access pornography on free sites or on social media.

Killock also explained how age verification could put UK citizens at greater risk of cybercrime, saying:

“A DCMS impact assessment outlined that this scheme could put UK citizens at risk of fraud and blackmail, which could have a devastating impact on individuals. We urge the Government to delay age verification until there are proper mechanisms in place to protect privacy."

Categories: Tech News

I rode an electric scooter to E3 2019 every day and it was my favorite 'game'

Sun, 06/16/2019 - 20:19

In life, there is no reset button. I had to keep reminding myself of that while riding an electric scooter through downtown Los Angeles on the way to E3 2019 all week.

It felt exactly like a video game: I was in a sprawling open-world city, weaving my way through notoriously congested LA traffic, and listening to bits and pieces of dialogue from eclectic non-playable characters that lined the sidewalks – their words took on a familiar doppler effect as I sped by.

I thought 'This is Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas Remastered for 2019'. I was able to easily commandeer my 'vehicle' from the popular electric scooter brands Bird and Lime, finding them on the sidewalk outside my hotel every morning. All it took to claim my ride was scanning a QR code via their respective apps (no actual GTA involved).

Image Credit: TechRadar

The good: a time, money and environment saver

Electric scooters represent a "last mile solution" to public transportation that can only get you so far, according to Boosted CEO Jeff Russakow. His company sells that idea via electric skateboards and now electric scooters to own.

Scooters, owned or rented, are thrilling, cost-efficient, and, importantly, time savers. Instead of my daily E3 commute taking 20 minutes to walk, I was consistently able to 'fast travel' to the Los Angeles Convention Center in just five minutes. This meant taking on more appointments and playing more [actual] video games.

Bonus round: both Bird and Lime sent push notification when I docked a scooter, thanking me for helping save the environment. It's tough to measure how much carbon you're actually preventing from going into the atmosphere, though we suspect driving a car or taking an Uber is considerably worse for the planet.

Image Credit: TechRadar

The bad: a first-gen 'video game'

E3 2019 turned me into an electric scooter believer, though this is very much akin to a first-gen video game. It comes with hard-to-ignore bumps in the road.

Pay-as-you-go electric scooters are easy to rent via a dockless system that lets you pick them up on demand and leave them anywhere. But it has littered Los Angeles sidewalks (and, at times, LA streets when they topple over in a domino effect).

Drivers aren't sure how to respond to scooters, and there are many first-time riders lured in by the $1 to start and $0.15 per mile rate. No one I saw on a scooter during E3 2019 had a helmet on, though it's repeatedly recommended by the apps. Instead, people loved to ride with AirPods in both ears (which is illegal even on a bicycle).

Not all electric scooters zoom down the road equally. Rentable scooters get beat up over time and max out at 15mph (24kmph). They don't have the durability or oomph like the foldable Boosted Rev. Sometimes it felt like I was left with a dud.

Electric scooters have become controversial in LA for these reasons. There are solutions to this last mile solution's many problems: mapping out preferred parking zones where pedestrians won't trip over scooters, slow zones where scooters slow down to 2mph in heavy foot traffic, and no parking zones where you can't lock the scooter.

The Los Angeles Convention Center, home to E3, is one of those no parking zones. But I found a very video game-like glitch: lag. My phone's GPS lagged behind, so I was able to park my first scooter in a geofenced no parking zone unknowingly, and other people did too. Worse, when I tried to park the scooter across the street correctly, I was unable to lock it until the GPS cooperated and realized I was out of the no-go zone. So I just had to... hang out for several minutes. Great.


Please press continue

Nearly every time I parked a scooter near the Convention Center, people asked me how I was able to rent it. There was genuine interest in how everything worked.

"I downloaded the Bird app," I said in one instance to a curious pedestrian. "I've been able to ride all week. Haven't topped up yet." He then repeated it to his family. "Can you believe it? He only spent $20 and he's been riding all week!" Sounded like he was looking for permission to get his family (or maybe just himself) onto scooters.

I spent $19.89 to travel nearly a mile twice a day during E3 – from the hotel to the Convention Center and back. It changed the way I was able to book appointments, write about the games I saw, network with our team, and even sleep. I saved 30 minutes everyday, and during a convention week, that's crucial. I'd sign up for a dockless scooter service in New York City, if it were available, to halve my commute.

Like a good video game boss battle, the many challenges faced by electric scooters are no match for the true hero of this story: not scooters, but a last mile solution. The concept seems to be more than a fad, even if scooters come and go.

Categories: Tech News

US Open 2019 live stream: how to watch Pebble Beach final round golf online from anywhere

Sun, 06/16/2019 - 17:41

We just don't know which way the 2019 US Open is going to turn next. Gary Woodland tops the leaderboard going in to Round 4, but there are some of golf's biggest names and best players chasing hard. Make sure you can watch all the action as we tell you how to get a US Open live stream from anywhere in the world - there's even a FREE option to enjoy the Pebble Beach golf, too.

Gary Woodland has the clear outright lead after Round 3, but second-place 2013 champ Justin Rose is favorite at the bookies at the time of writing. The big question of the week remains whether Brooks Koepka can be stopped after winning the last two editions of the US Open and coming off the back of an impressive PGA Championship victory - he's only a few shots behind.

But what of the resurgent Tiger Woods? He's surely too far away at this stage to make an impact. Tiger still has the record for the biggest ever winning margin in a major tournament at this very course at the 2000 US Open. But he's a few shots back at the time of writing.

And then there's previous major winners Rory McIlroy, Louis Oosthuizen, Henrik Stenson, Danny Willett and Adam Scott all in contention as well. Anybody could take top honours at Pebble Beach come Sunday evening.

The great news is that you can see exactly how it will all play out - the birdies, the bogeys and everything in-between. We can tell you how to watch all the Round 4 action, even if you're outside the United States. Keep reading to see how to get a 2019 US Open live stream from any corner of the Earth.

Live stream golf for free at

Well here's a stroke of good news (pun very much intended) if you're looking to casually follow the golf online. The official tournament website,, will be live streaming some of the best action

But, it's very limited in what it can offer this week. The schedule currently says that it will be showing a US Open live stream of featured groups every single day, as well as shots at holes, 7, 8 and 17. That's great if you're only interested in following the players it selects for you, but not so good if you want full and proper coverage.

Aside from the live stream, we have more US watching options below.

How to get a US Open live stream from outside your country

We're going to guess that if you've landed on this page, you're going to want something more extensive than that free stream described above. For you, we have full details on which networks are showing the golf in the US, UK, Canada and Australia.

Try to watch your domestic US Open coverage while out of the country however, and you'll soon be faced with a block. That's because broadcasters implement a geo-restriction to stop non-nationals from watching their coverage. Fair enough, but annoying if you've paid for a pricey subscription and still want to watch.

How to watch the US Open golf in the US
  • Hulu with Live TV $40 per month - Hulu with Live TV includes CBS, Fox, NBC and ESPN.
  • FuboTV $35 for the first month - FuboTV gives you the first month at a discounted rate but after that the price increases to $45 a month. The service includes CBS, Fox, NBC and the NFL Network but does not come with ESPN.
  • PlayStation Vue From $45 per month and the ideal choice for PS4 owners thanks to its access to the likes of ESPN, NBC, Fox, Disney and other essential networks. Crank up the price and you can add the likes of Showtime and HBO, too.
  • DirecTV Now $50 per month - DirecTV Now includes CBS, Fox, NBC, ESPN and for $5 extra you can add the NFL Network.
  • YouTubeTV $40 per month - YouTubeTV gives you access to CBS, Fox, NBC and ESPN.

If you're outside the US this week but want to access one of the above options, then you can use a US VPN to effectively transport your computer, phone or tablet's IP back to a stateside location. 

How to watch the US Open live: UK stream

Live stream the 2019 US Open golf action in Canada

How to get a US Open live stream in Australia

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