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6 days ago

Google Developers is answering your burning Firebase questions with a live Q&A session on May 26

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For developers who attended or followed Google I/O 2016, the word "Firebase" picked up a lot of importance this last week. The powerful set of tools from Google that helps developers create, deploy, monetize and upgrade their apps saw a lot of attention at Google's yearly developer conference, and naturally that generated a lot of questions.

To help get developers up to speed, Google is hosting a live Q&A session on May 26 at 3:30 p.m. PT (that's 6:30 p.m. ET) for a full two hours to take developer questions on the tools.

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6 days ago

You can be in the new 'Ready Player One' movie without leaving your house

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When real life mimics art, things get a little creepy.

Ernest Cline's Ready Player One is one of my favorite science fiction novels of the 21st century, and director Steven Spielberg is taking the helm for the upcoming Warner Bros film. And Spielberg is currently looking for people that want to be extras — extras in the MMO world, that is.

Ready Player One

For those that have not read Ready Player One, it is the story of the worldwide web gone awry. In this universe, everyone is hooked into the web... literally. School, work, play, life — all take place in a massive multiplayer online software program called the OASIS.

Spielberg is looking for 3D avatars to appear in the OASIS. If you can build an avatar, you have a pretty good chance to be in the movie: All you have to do is submit your creation by June 23 and you could earn between $250 and $1,000 for your efforts.

A description of the story:

In the year 2044, reality is an ugly place. The only time teenage Wade Watts (Tye Sheridan) really feels alive is when he's jacked into the virtual utopia know as the OASIS. Wade's devoted his life to studying the puzzles hidden within the confines of this digital world, puzzles that are based on their creator's obsession with the pop culture of decades past and that promise massive power and fortune to whoever can unlock them. But when Wade stumbles upon the first clue, he finds himself beset by players willing to kill to take this ultimate prize. The race is on, and if Wade's going to survive, he'll have to win - and confront the real world he's been so desperate to escape.

It is both awesome and eerie that Warner Bros is soliciting coders to create on-screen talent for Ready Player One. It's a great way to engage fans of the book and bring them into the story, but it is taking this whole worldwide MMO thing to the next level.

Am I the only one that worries about how good science fiction is at predicting the future? We've seen hundreds of sci-fi predictions come true, many of them just from the past two decades — like smartphones, wearables, and connected home gadgets. Now you can be a movie star simply by knowing how to code. If things keep going the way they are, the OASIS won't be all that far off. Your ability to create a 3D avatar might just be more important than your law degree, and it won't matter who you are in real life — as long as you can afford those in-app upgrades in the virtual world.

I just got the heebie-jeebies.

Here's the announcement from author Ernest Cline:

If you want to be in Ready Player One, at least in a virtual capacity, you can submit your 3D avatar to Talenthouse. Winners will be chosen July 7. Good luck, and maybe we'll see you at the movies.

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6 days ago

Canadian carriers are preparing for 5G, but don't get too excited yet

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Canadian carriers are poised to begin tests for next-generation 5G service in the run-up to a public launch in the next five years.

According to The Star, Bell and Telus already have plans to begin 5G trials in their labs, and are working with international telecom standards bodies to finalize the 5G spec, which should happen over the next couple of years. Rogers is sitting tight, but is also eager to begin trials.

Bell, Rogers and Telus are all participating in a global effort to develop operating standards for fifth generation wireless networks, with Bell Canada, the nation's largest telecommunications company, set to begin testing of the emerging architecture.

Unfortunately, 5G technologies are neither finalized nor particularly opaque to the average consumer. At the very least, 5G represents a speed boost over current 4G LTE networks, with a minimum downlink speed of 1Gbps, or roughly ten times faster than the average high-speed wireless network today.

But most trials taking place right now, including those by U.S. carriers AT&T and Verizon, involve wide-band frequencies as high as 28Ghz, which are only currently authorized for fixed wireless usage. Next-generation wireless networks are expected to take advantage of higher-frequency bands than today's LTE varieties since such spectrum can typically carry larger payloads — at the expense of both signal distance and power output.

Wide-band frequencies, including those in the range of microwaves, are expected to be the backbone of 5G service, removing the distinction between today's home Wi-Fi networks and carrier-own cellular networks. But higher-band frequencies require enormous transmission antennas, and huge amounts of power, to travel far distances, which is why such an extensive lead-time is necessary before finalizing the spec.

Back in March, the Ontario government announced a partnership with Chinese hardware maker, Huawei, which has made a number of investments throughout Canada, including R&D offices in both Waterloo and Ottawa. The company's aim is to make Canada a 5G hub, and eventually provide the equipment to carriers once the technology rolls out.

Fifth-generation wireless technology is also less concerned with throughout from a cell tower to one devices, such as a smartphone, but to dozens or even hundreds of low-powered devices, all communicating with one another.

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6 days ago

Nexus Player makes its exit from the Google Store

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Google is no longer directly selling the Nexus Player, its premiere Android TV set-top box that launched alongside Google's second (and more successful) attempt at entering the living room.

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6 days ago

AT&T offers more data for the same price on its high-speed GoPhone plans

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AT&T has announced it is adding more high-speed data for customers who are signed up for their pre-paid GoPhone plans.

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6 days ago

How do you use your phone for messaging?

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Technology has made it easier than ever to talk to the people in your life.

Communicating using technology has become second nature for most of us. We use our phones to talk to coworkers, friends, and family alike. Phones have been a part of how we communicate with the people in our lives for decades. However, the way we communicate using them has definitely changed since smartphones because a normal part of life. That's because we text and use messenger clients more than actually talking on the phone.

With access to emoji, or taking advantage of voice to text, it's often easier to just send a message than trying to get a hold of someone by calling them. That's why in this week's poll we want to know how you use your phone for messaging. We've got 7 options for you this week: "Messenger", "Hangouts", "WhatsApp", "Default SMS app", "Facebook Messenger", "Other" and "nothing."

How do you use your phone for messaging?

Is your favorite messaging app not on our list? Do you love to text, but hate getting calls? Let us know about it in the comments!

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6 days ago

Moto G4 Plus coming to Canada to replace the Moto X Play

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Lenovo's most powerful Moto G variant, the Moto G4 Plus, is coming to Canada in early summer — likely the first or second week of June — to replace the well-received Moto X Play.

The Moto G4 Plus, which features a 5.5-inch 1080p display, Snapdragon 617 processor, 2GB of RAM, 32GB of expandable storage, a 16MP rear camera, and a 3,000mAh battery, shares much in common with the Moto X Play unveiled last summer, but in a brand that continues to be more accessible to the average consumer. Of course, there are some advantages to the Moto G4 Plus: a front-facing fingerprint sensor, and double the storage, over the Moto X Play. One compromise: a smaller battery over the Play's 3,630mAh cell.

Indeed, in Canada the Moto G Plus will sell for around $400 outright, almost identical to the Moto X Play. Like its X Play counterpart, it will be sold unlocked through various retailers, in addition to being subsidized by carriers, likely starting at between $0 and $50 on contract. The Moto G4 Plus will be offered at:

  • Rogers
  • Virgin Mobile
  • Telus
  • Koodo
  • Wind Mobile
  • SaskTel

The Moto G4 Plus's cheaper counterpart, the Moto G Play, will be also be sold later this summer at a number of Canadian carriers. That device, which has considerably less powerful hardware and a smaller 5-inch display, will retail for between $150 to $200 outright.

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6 days ago

Verizon rolls out updates to the Samsung Galaxy S6 and S6 edge

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Verizon Wireless has begun rolling out updates to the Samsung Galaxy S6 and Galaxy S6 edge Both updates offer a few new features along with improvements and bug fixes.

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6 days ago

Toyota joins forces with Uber as part of 'strategic investment'

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Toyota plans to make a "strategic investment" in ride-sharing company Uber as part of a larger collaborative partnership.

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6 days ago

Best third-party watch bands for Fossil Q Founder

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Best third party watch bands for Fossil Q

Need more bands for your Fossil Q Founder? Strap on one of these!

You bought your Fossil Q Founder with pride and you should wear it with pride! When it comes to the strap, you may need more than one. Different straps are good for different occasions.

The great thing about the Fossil Q Founder is it works with almost any 22mm band, and we have rounded up some of the best aftermarket bands for the Fossil Q Founder that we could find.

Leather Bands

Leather bands are great for everyday use. They are durable, stylish, and comfortable, making them ideal to wear for long period of time.

Lucco leather watchband

As far as leather bands go, the Lucco one doesn't look like anything special. It is made out of genuine leather, which means it won't show as much wear and tear as fake leather.

It does have a stitching along the edges of the band to help prevent fraying, and it's the same color as the rest of the band giving you a classic uniform look.

See at Amazon


Rerri leather watchband

The selection we chose from Rerri is a little more of a standout piece. It's a genuine leather strap that has high contrast stitching in order to make it really pop. In addition, the clasp on Rerri's band is quite robust and sticks out as well, adding to the band's overall look. Plus, the clasp looks like it could take a beating, which is a plus for something that you wear all the time.

Like all leather, it's slightly water resistant, a little bit of rain or sweat won't hurt it much, but you aren't going to want to go swimming with it, or wear it in the shower for that matter.

See at Amazon


Sport bands

Sports bands are typically made out silicone or a similar rubber-like substance which makes them perfect for getting wet. Sweat won't ruin a sports band at all, so you can be as active as you want!

Tech Swiss sports band

Typically, sports bands can be pretty plain looking; however, Tech Swiss's band breaks the mold. It's designed to look like a silicone version of a metal link band, giving it a unique look that most sports bands won't have.

The silicone is waterproof and the band's clasp and pins are made from stainless steel so you shouldn't have any problem getting this thing wet.

The band comes in a little on the thick side, sitting at about five millimeters — you will definitely feel this band on your wrist. If you don't mind the small amount of extra weight, this band could be a great choice.

See at Amazon


Marathon

If you want something a little out there, but still functional, this selection from Marathon could be for you.

It's made out of vulcanized rubber, so you know it's as durable as can be. The clasp and pins are also stainless steel so no amount of water should make them rust.

On top of looking a little extra stylish — due to the two lines of detailing — this band also comes infused with vanilla scent. If you have a problem with perfumes or scents at all, it would probably be best to steer clear of this one.

See at Amazon

Metal bands

If you are looking for bold style, metal bands are a great way to make your watch stand out in a crowd!

Hadley-Roma Metal expansion band

Hadley-Roma's band is great for people who want a metal band that has a uniformed style and look to it.

The added bonus of the physical vapor deposition (PVD) coating makes this metal band a little more resistant to scratches and minor blemishes.

Unlike a lot of metal bands, this one doesn't have a clasp. It's actually an expansion band, meaning it will stretch to fit your wrist. It's compatible with watches that use 16-22 millimeter bands, making it perfect for your Fossil Q Founder.

See at Amazon


Yesoo

Perfect for the minimalist in everyone, the Yesoo metal mesh band is stylish and elegant.

Made out of stainless steel, this band is much thinner than a lot of metal bands that are out there. Thanks to its mesh design, it doesn't have to be as bulky as a typical metal link band would be.

There is also no clasp on this stylish band, instead it actually has a magnetic end that will attach anywhere on the band, making it adjustable to the perfect size every time.

See at Amazon


MODE bands

Google released its MODE bands and they might be the most interchangeable watch bands you will ever see..

All you do it remove the original pin that presently in your Fossil Q Founder, then add the MODE pin, slide your MODE band over the pin, and lock it shut. That's it! There's a video on the MODE site that shows you exactly how to connect these bands.

Hadley Roma is currently the only company making them right now and they start around $50. Just remember that when you go to order yours you need the 22 mm band or it won't fit.

See at Android

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6 days ago

Micromax launches entry-level Bolt Selfie and announces Canvas Selfie 4

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India's leading handset maker, Micromax, has announced the launch of its two new smartphones — Bolt Selfie and Canvas Selfie 4. With a focus on front-facing camera, Micromax is bringing its highly successful Canvas Selfie range to the entry level Bolt series.

Commenting on the launch, Mr Shubhajit Sen, Chief Marketing Officer, said,

Our Bolt Selfie is designed to keep the new and young smartphone users especially women in Tier 2 & 3 cities who have limited options and avenues to shop, are very price conscious and yet desire a perfect selfie experience. While with the Canvas Selfie 4 and its tap sensor we are upgrading the selfie experience of our young hyper social youngsters who are looking for a perfect integration of innovation, style and performance with an excellent selfie experience.

Micromax Bolt Selfie Specifications

Category Features Operating System Android Lollipop Display 4.5-inch Camera 5MP front camera | 5MP rear camera Processor 1GHz Quad Core RAM 1GB Internal Storage 8GB; expandable storage of 32GB Battery 1750mAh

Bolt Selfie packs in enhanced photo features such as Face and Beauty Mode and Gesture Capture, enabling users to not only seamlessly capture pictures, but also enhance and perfect their selfies. The Bolt Selfie is available in white and champagne colors exclusively on Flipkart for ₹4,999 ($74).

Micromax also announced the next-generation Canvas Selfie 4 with Android Marshmallow. The Canvas Selfie 4 boasts of 8MP camera, both at front and back, and comes with a Tap Sensor on the rear allowing the users to conveniently click a picture, swap camera from front to back, and vice-versa with a single tap making it easy to click pictures with a single hand. The Canvas Selfie 4 will be available across offline channels from end of May 2016.

See at Flipkart

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6 days ago

Huawei sues Samsung on claims of patent infringement

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Chinese smartphone maker Huawei has filed suit against Samsung, accusing the Korean tech giant of patent infringement.

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6 days ago

Save $5 on the Chromecast and Chromecast Audio at the Google Store

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The Google Store is currently offering a $5 savings on the Chromecast and Chromecast Audio. Normally, each of these costs $35, but for a limited time you can grab one for $30. Whether you are looking to stream audio or video, there is a Chromecast for you.

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6 days ago

Capital One among 48 new U.S. banks supported by Android Pay

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The official Android Pay bank support list in the U.S. has been updated with a large number of new additions, including Capital One.

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6 days ago

Gululu is a water bottle from our insane, adorable future

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If your water bottle is going to have a computer baked in, it might as well be adorable.

It's a well-documented fact that most adults don't drink enough water each day. Some of that can be fixed with some focus and documentation, but the easiest way to get an adult to drink enough water each day is by making it a part of their routine as a child. Getting kids to drink the right amount of water each day is incredibly important, especially when surrounded by so many other choices each day.

Bowhead Technology believes the answer to teaching kids to drink the right amount of water each day is embedding an animated pet into the side of an absurdly high-tech water bottle and turning it into a game. It's called Gululu, and for the last 10 days we've been testing this system with one of our kids to see what happens.

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