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1 day ago

Samsung posts record profits in Q1 2017 even as phone sales decline

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Increased sales in the semiconductor business lead to Samsung's second-most profitable quarter.

Samsung has published its earnings results for the quarter ending in March 2017, and as it forecast a few weeks ago, Q1 2017 was very profitable for the company. Operating profit saw a massive year-on-year increase of 48% to $8.8 billion (9.9 trillion won), leading to Samsung's second-most profitable quarter ever and best-ever first quarter.

Net profit at $6.8 billion (7.68 trillion won) was also up 46% from the same period a year ago. Although profits increased significantly, overall revenue at $44.7 billion (50.55 trillion won) was a slight increase from Q1 2016's $44.01 billion (49.78 trillion won). Sales from the mobile unit declined, with the business posting an operating profit of $1.8 billion (2.07 trillion won), down 47% from the $3.4 billion (3.89 trillion won) it netted a year ago.

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1 day ago

Xiaomi Mi 6 hands-on: Two steps forward, one step back

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Xiaomi Mi 6

Xiaomi once again sets the bar for value, but the decision to remove the 3.5mm jack could backfire.

Over the course of the last year, we've seen phones in the mid-range segment close the gap on flagships from Samsung, LG, and HTC. The likes of OnePlus 3T, Honor 8, and Xiaomi's Mi 5 showed that you don't necessarily have to spend big to get access to high-end internals and dual camera tech.

Xiaomi has built its entire business model on selling phones that offer great value for money. The manufacturer doesn't make much profit from initial sales, but gets a bigger cut over the lifecycle of a handset as component costs come down. The strategy has worked very well for the Chinese company over the last three years, and the Mi 6 represents its boldest move yet.

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2 days ago

Google Trips gets new ways to make your next vacation better

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New features let you find and share everything easier to make a vacation stress-free like it should be.

Planning your vacation can be a lot of work. And when you're done figuring it all out you need to get it organized and put somewhere that you can use it. Google Trips can help and some new features make it even easier.

Keeping track of your reservations is now easier because everything is in one place in one app. The new Google Trips keeps it all on one tab and lets you share any of it with the tap of a button. The person you're sharing with will get an email with all the details, and see them in the Google Trips app as well.

The best travel apps for Android

The next new feature lets you instantly update details for flights, car rentals, and hotel or restaurant reservations even if you haven't received any confirmation. Press the plus button while you're in the reservation section and enter all the details.You can even add notes that don't fit into a specific category.

Crowdsourcing is a great way to discover new things and you can now download destinations that have trended towards the top.

Finally, train and bus reservations are organized right along with flight and hotel reservations.

Having an app that keeps all your travel plans in one place makes things easier for everyone traveling. Being able to download it all so you can see it when you don't have a connection makes it even better. With these new features, Google Trips is the app you need to use for your next vacation.

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2 days ago

Every PlayStation VR game with HOTAS support

If you're going to fly in VR, you might as well go all in and pick up a HOTAS.

In much the same way that racing wheels with pedals make driving games in VR feel a lot more realistic, flight games in VR are improved dramatically when you add a Hands On Throttle And Stick (or HOTAS) controller. These controllers allow you to really punch the throttle forward when you want to accelerate, or quickly flip your ship around when fighting in space. You can do these things with a normal controller, but if a game supports HOTAS controllers the difference in how that experience feels in VR is quickly evident.

You can get a HOTAS controller for the PlayStation 4 for fairly cheap, but not every game supports this hardware. Here's a quick list of the PlayStation VR games offering HOTAS support now, planning to offer support later, or launching later this year with support planned out of the box.

Read more at VR Heads!

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2 days ago

The FCC's plan to end net neutrality is here, and the fight is going to get ugly

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America's telecom regulator has made public its intention to roll back net neutrality laws. Here's what you need to know.

This week, the FCC, America's telecom regulator, announced its intention to bring about the end of net neutrality in an official sense, removing the Title II classification that has been bestowed upon the Internet and its service providers since the decision was made in 2015 to do so.

In a speech, Ajit Pai, a former FCC Commissioner under Chairman Tom Wheeler and, under President Trump, Chairman of a tonally different regulator, laid his plan to claw back the consumer protections enabled by Title II. In short, net neutrality prevents Internet service providers from differentiating the type of traffic going across its pipes, both wired and wireless, abrogating the use of "fast lanes" for content providers that choose to pay for it.

Image credit: FCC

In his speech, Pai said that Title II classification was put forth as a way for the FCC at the time to assert power and prove its independence, and that it has hurt innovation and, in turn, consumers. "So what happened after the Commission adopted Title II? Sure enough, infrastructure investment declined. Among our nation's 12 largest Internet service providers, domestic broadband capital expenditures decreased by 5.6% percent, or $3.6 billion, between 2014 and 2016, the first two years of the Title II era. This decline is extremely unusual. It is the first time that such investment has declined outside of a recession in the Internet era," he said.

Removing Title II classification from Internet traffic will have the following advantages, according to Pai:

  • It will bring high-speed Internet access to more Americans
  • It will create jobs
  • It will boost competition
  • It is the best path toward protecting Americans' online privacy

ISPs have put up roadblocks for consumers when given the opportunity.

But opponents of the repeal say that there is no reason to remove the classification, and that competition amongst the U.S. service providers has thrived since the change. The FCC claims that it should not be able to "micromanage" the Internet and has come out against forcing service providers to stop zero-rating programs like T-Mobile Binge On or AT&T's Sponsored Data, which it says promotes a healthy marketplace and provides greater choice to consumers.

In an interview with Reason.com, a libertarian resource, Pai said that "we were not living in a digital dystopia in the years leading up to 2015. By contrast, actually, the commercialization of the internet in the 1990s up to 2015 represented I think the ... one of the most incredible free market innovations in history. With light touch regulation, broadband providers spent 1.5 trillion dollars on infrastructure. Companies like Google and Facebook and Netflix became household names precisely because we didn't have the government micromanaging how the internet would operate. That Clinton-era framework is something I think served us well and going forward I hope it continues to serve us well."

"These rules, Title II rules were designed to regulate Ma Bell, and the promise with Ma Bell, the deal with the government was, we'll give you a monopoly as long as you give universal service to the country. As a result, for decades, we didn't see innovation in the network we didn't see innovation in phones and it's when you have a competitive marketplace and you let go of that impulse to regulate everything preemptively, that you finally get to see more of a competitive environment."

But ISPs have put up roadblocks for consumers when given the opportunity. One only needs to look at the lawsuits levelled at AT&T and Verizon around their old unlimited plans, which were silently throttled after a particular data cap was hit. These days, those unlimited plans make it very clear when throttling will come into effect. On the broadband side, Verizon was sued by the City of New York for not following through with its contractual commitment to provide Fios access to all New Yorkers.

It's no surprise that the big U.S. carriers support the decision to remove Title II classification.

Pai says that he isn't opposed to net neutrality itself, just a heavy regulatory hand overseeing internet service providers that could limit customer choice and, in turn, competition. He thinks that Title I classification, which was established for broadband providers in the Clinton era, is the right compromise, and that under his proposal he would encourage, but not force, ISPs to follow net neutrality rules by codifying them in their terms of service — which could be easily changed, even retroactively, without informing consumers. It's no surprise that U.S. ISPs are already coming out in support of such a change.

Verizon issued a statement saying that, while it supports net neutrality, "[it] also supports Chairman Pai's proposal to roll back Title II utility regulation on broadband. Title II (or public utility regulation) is the wrong way to ensure net neutrality; it undermines investment, reduces jobs and stifles innovative new services. And by locking in current practices and players, it actually discourages the increased competition consumers are demanding."

Sprint said something similar:

"Sprint has always supported an open internet and will continue to do so. We recognize that our customers demand access to the content, applications, and devices of their choice and as a competitive wireless carrier, we always strive to meet our customers' needs.

"Chairman Pai's proposed rulemaking provides an opportunity for all stakeholders to share their views and work with the FCC to remove uncertainties and refine the rules that protect and ensure an open internet. Sprint believes that competition provides the best protection to consumers. Promoting robust competition and ensuring consumers have real choice among competing internet providers is the best way for the FCC to achieve its open internet objectives. Sprint looks forward to working with the FCC, consumers, and content providers towards that end."

T-Mobile and AT&T haven't yet issued comments, but have both previously come out in support of the reclassification. A group of companies, including Facebook and Google, oppose the change, and have previously filed briefs with the FCC to that effect.

The next step for Pai is to publish the full proposal and then put the Commission itself to a vote on May 18th. If approved, the FCC will open the proposal up to public debate before codification later in the year.

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2 days ago

Moto X Pure Edition, one of our favorite phones of 2015, is getting Nougat

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The Moto X Pure Edition was big and curvy and didn't have a great camera, but we loved it anyway. And now it's getting an update to Nougat.

Android 7.0 is rolling out to one of our favorite devices of 2015, the Moto X Pure Edition, also known as the Moto X Style in some parts of the world.

Motorola's parent company Lenovo promised the update way back in October of last year, but has been prioritizing its 2016 lineup that includes the Moto Z, Moto Z Force, Moto Z Play, and Moto G4.

The Moto X Pure Edition was sold directly through Motorola back in 2015, as well as at various carriers in the U.S., but it's unclear whether the Nougat update is aimed specifically at the unlocked model. Motorola says that the update "improves your mobile experience with new multitasking features, more efficient notification controls and improved data saver and battery features."

Of course, the rollout will begin slowly, so if you're still running the Pure Edition it may take a few days to a few weeks to reach you.

At the time, the Moto X Pure Edition was one of our favorite devices, and only got better after being updated to Marshmallow. Now that it's at Nougat, likely the last of its major updates, we're hoping the phone holds up to performance scrutiny — we may have to dust it off to see!

Moto X Style (Pure Edition)

Motorola Best Buy Amazon

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2 days ago

Check out Modern Dad on the latest All About Android podcast!

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Phil joins the gang at All About Android for their latest episode!

Our very own Phil Nickinson, AKA Modern Dad, was the featured guest on the latest episode of All About Android. Hosted by Jason Howell and Ron Richards, this week's episodes covers topics include Google's upcoming ad blocker, multi-user support for Google Home, a hands-on with the larger Samsung Galaxy S8+ and revised Gear VR. You can watch the show right up there check out the stream on TWiT.

While we have your attention, make sure you're subscribed to Modern Dad on Youtube, and be sure to turn on notifications so you'll be among the first to know when a new Modern Dad video goes live.

Subscribe to Modern Dad on YouTube!

In other housekeeping news, you only have a few more days to enter to win a Huawei P10 phone from the Modern Dad website. It's the white model with 64GB of storage and 4GB of RAM and it's FREE.

All you gotta do is head on over to the contests pages on ModernDad.com and use the widget to enter. There are four ways to enter and you can enter multiple times so get on it! The contest closes April 28.

Enter to win a Huawei P10 from Modern Dad!

Modern Dad

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2 days ago

Your unlimited plan is probably ripping you off: How much data Americans actually use

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The numbers are in and you probably don't need an expensive unlimited data plan.

Unlimited data plans are back. Here's some insight into why that happened as well as a look at how much data we really use every month.

We've recently seen all four major U.S. carriers introduce or revamp their unlimited LTE data plans. Multiple times. For some of us, this is great news: The folks who use upwards of 10GB of data on a line they pay for themselves found plenty of creative ways to hold on to older unlimited data plans, and sometimes that could be a hassle. Now they are available with a click of the mouse.

Unlimited plans coming back to AT&T and Verizon are a direct result of tough competition in the industry.

This wasn't unexpected, really. Companies like T-Mobile and StraightTalk made people notice the cost vs. value proposition of a cell phone data plan. AT&T and Verizon enjoyed a consumer mindset that they offered something superior when for many, alternatives could be just as good. When people started to take notice of that, it was time for a small shake-up.

People who will utilize an unlimited data plan and get their money's worth are outliers. Everyone can have a month where they are traveling or otherwise away from Wi-Fi and use a good chunk of data, but when you look at the numbers telling how much data is used per person on average, you see that most people would be better served with a cheaper plan that offers a capped data allotment.

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The numbers back this up. According to NPD Connected Intelligence, one of the groups that your carrier and the people who made your phone use for insight into growth and planning, in 2015 the average amount of data used per person per month was about 3.5GB. During the same time period, customers on T-Mobile used an average of 5GB per month and Sprint customers used about 4GB per month; and both carriers offered unlimited data plans to any post-paid customer.

Why this is important

These are average numbers. That means that some people will be wildly outside the average on both ends: You might use 100GB of data per month but someone who uses 0.1GB per month offsets your input towards the average. An average can't predict the highest amounts of data being used (or the lowest) but it is a great way to determine how much data the average person uses each month. There's a lot of ways this data can be used and of course multiple ways it can be interpreted. For example, the average data a customer with access to an unlimited data plan uses isn't dramatically different from the amount someone without access to unlimited data is using.

People talking about new unlimited data plans means that they are doing what they were meant to do: Hype.

This means that the average person, regardless of network, doesn't need to pay for an expensive unlimited data plan. Unlimited plans are hypefests that get everyone talking about something as mundane and boring as a cellular provider. The hope is that you'll decide you need to sign up for one even though you don't need one. Sure, you might use a little more each month knowing that you have an unlimited plan, but generally, people who weren't using a large amount of data before aren't going to be using a lot of data after they switch. Old habits and all that.

None of this matters to the phone company. It has one goal: to make money. That's how business work. Every decision, every promotion, every marketing campaign and everything else is a way to try and make more money. A company won't be around for long if they aren't trying to bank a profit. And sometimes, how that profit can be shown on a quarterly earnings report matters as much as the amount that goes into the bank.

The ARPU

ARPU (Average Revenue Per Unit or User) is the total revenue coming in from the service divided by the number of subscribers. It's also a pretty big deal in shareholder's reports and earning's calls.

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ARPU is a number that translates into the amount of money a single line of service brings in over a set time. There can be a monthly ARPU or quarterly or yearly. This number includes all the money you pay to your carrier minus tax and regulatory fees. That means things like extras you may be paying for (international calling or live TV for mobile devices) are included as well as your normal contract or monthly price. The ARPU is an easy way for a company to track its income and growth over time, and each customer who pays for an expensive unlimited data plan brings this average up in a way that's statistically significant.

There is more than one way to count money.

Your carrier wants you to be excited about, and ultimately sign up for, an unlimited data plan because of how it affects the bottom line as well as how much.

Another way your phone company looks at their finances is with an eye towards profit instead of just income. The profit from a customer can be more important than the overall income generated from one. A company can be healthy and profitable even with a low customer count, or vice versa. We see this in action when companies give earnings results.

Income and profit are always two different numbers.

Consider a hypothetical that's not too far removed from actuality. T-Mobile keeps pulling more and more customers away from Verizon. But Verizon is making more money and has a higher value. That means Verizon is making more profit per customer than T-Mobile.

Calculating profit is pretty simple. The service an account uses is tallied then compared to the amount of income that account generates each month. If you sign up for an unlimited data plan and still only use 3-5GB of data per month, you help improve profit margins. All accounts are profitable, but some will be more profitable than others.

Don't hate the players

We're not trying to say your carrier is bad or unethical here. This is just how business works when it comes to a service provider.

Your phone company is supposed to make money if everyone is doing their job.

They need to offer you something that you feel is worth the monthly cost. If that means an unlimited data plan sounds like a good idea to you, one is available for you. With the U.S. telco market becoming more and more competitive it was a given that all companies would offer a fixed service that included unlimited data for a fixed cost. Users who needed such a plan would sign on and help improve that income per customer metric and users who didn't need an unlimited plan but signed up for other reasons helped improve the profit per user metric. This is how smart business works and the people in charge at your carrier are smart business persons.

The one thing to take away here is asking yourself how much data you need every month. No one answer fits everyone, but there is an answer that fits you. Compare how much you need to how much you're paying for, and then check out what's available. A final metric that's harder to measure is how happy a customer is because happy customers are loyal customers. Make sure you're using a service that works best for you and makes you be that happy customer.

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2 days ago

Best Accessories for the LG G6

7

Get the most out of your LG G6 with these great accessories!

Update April 26: Added new charging accessories and case options.

The LG G6 is a compelling flagship for 2017. Featuring a premium build design and a generous 5.7-inch screen, the LG G6 is a very beautiful and capable phone that you can enhance with the right accessories.

We'll start off with some cases and screen protectors to keep your phone safe, then move on to some great charging options to make sure you never run out of battery during the day.

Spigen Rugged Armor

Spigen's Rugged Armor case is always a great option to protect your new phone, so of course we're going to recommend it for your LG G6.

This one-piece case offers great protection for your phone while keeping a mostly sleek and slim profile. Made of flexible and durable TPU material that makes it easy to install, it's got a premium look to it with carbon fiber textures at the top and bottom on the back. Featuring cutouts around the camera and fingerprint scanner on the back, and with tactile buttons for the volume control on the side, this case feels natural in hand while ensuring all your phone's functionality remains intact.

For a stylish case that offers quality protection, get the Spigen Rugged Armor case for your G6.

See at Amazon

SUPCASE Full body Rugged Holster Case for LG G6

If keeping your new investment in good condition is important, you'll want to slap a rugged case on your phone. SUPCASE provides some of the sturdiest cases you'll find for smartphones, so you can buy with confidence here.

SUPCASE offers full protection for your phone, with a front plate that includes a built-in screen protector and port covers for the headphone jack and charging port. Made from a combination of TPU and polycarbonate materials, your phone will be protected from anything life throws your way.

Ideal for heavy use and outdoorsmen, it also ships with a 360-degree swiveling belt clip holster so your phone is always within arms reach.

See at Amazon

Trianium Clarium Series Case

A clear case offer great protection for your LG G6 while providing a mostly unobstructed view of the LG G6

Trianium's Clarium Series cases are sleek and as minimalist as it gets, so if those are important features in a case for you, you'll definitely want to check it out. Your phone will get the all-around protection you want from this slim case that also perfectly preserves the look of your LG G6. It's thin enough to work with wireless charging pads no problem, and should also work with charging docks as well.

See at Amazon

For more great case options for your LG G6:

The best cases for LG G6


Tronsmart Dual USB Car Charger w/ Quick Charge 3.0 technology

Tronsmart's car charger with a built-in USB-C cable is a great option for keeping your LG G6 juiced while on the road.

The built-in USB-C cable is convenient, since you'll never need to remember your cable each time you drive. The included USB Type-A port is handy for charging another device at the same time via Quick Charge 2.0 or 3.0.

If you need a car charger that to keep your LG G6 charged when you're on the go, check out the Tronsmart 33W dual USB charger.

See at Amazon

Spigen Tempered Glass Screen Protector

Spigen's tempered glass screen protectors are available in a very affordable two-pack, which will let you keep that brand new LG G6 screen protected right out of the box.

This screen protector will cover the entirety of the screen while still remaining case friendly. This is a dry install screen protector with everything you need for a clean, dust-free installation on your first attempt included in the package. You can buy with confidence knowing that Spigen offers a lifetime warranty for any product defects.

See at Amazon

Samsung EVO+ 256GB microSD card

The LG G6 offers storage expansion up to 2TB via microSD. While a 2TB microSD card doesn't yet exist, it's good to know that this phone is virtually future-proof when it comes to storage.

For now, your best bet for expanding your phone's storage is Samsung's 256GB EVO+ microSD card. Featuring read speeds of up to 95MB/sec and write speeds up to 90MB/sec, this card is plenty fast enough to handle storing all the photos and videos you take with your G6, while also letting you load up all your favorite media so you have your favorite music and movies with you on the go.

At over $150, it might be too pricey for some, and that's ok. Check out our other MicroSD card recommendations for your Android phone.

See at Amazon

Anker Micro-USB to USB-C adapter (2-pack)

If the LG G6 is your first Android phone that relies on USB-C charging cables, chances are you've got a stockpile of Micro-USB cables laying around that are about to become fairly obsolete. If you want to be able to use your old Micro-USB cables with the G6, you'll want to pick up this two-pack of Anker adapters. They're cheap and will get the job done, especially if you've got chargers or devices that have integrated cables you can't easily swap out.

See at Amazon

Anker PowerPort Qi 10 Wireless Charging Pad

The U.S. variant of the LG G6 is the only model that supports Qi wireless charging. If you want to take advantage of this exclusive feature, you'll need a wireless charging pad.

The Anker PowerPort Qi 10 wireless charging pad is your best bet. It's simple to use with a premium design that features breathing LEDs to indicate your devices' charging status. The non-slip pad keeps your phone secure while it your phone takes advantage of Fast Charge Mode, which delivers 10W charging to your LG G6. All this comes with the advanced safety features you demand to ensure your phone doesn't overheat and is protected from short-circuits and electrical surges.

You will need to supply your own wall charger, (of course, Anker recommends their own for guaranteed compatibility) but if you've got a couple spares already kicking around they should work just fine.

See at Amazon

Dretal Desktop Charging Dock

Looking to incorporate your phone into your workspace set up while simultaneously keeping it fully charged when it's time to go? You need a desktop charging dock.

This charging dock from Dretal will keep your LG G6 topped up and propped up, helping to eliminate stray cables on your workspace and declutter your desk. The dock lets you watch videos or control your music while providing a good viewing angle for keeping tabs on any incoming calls or messages as you work. Also works great as a nightstand charger.

The design makes it incompatible with most cases, but it will work with slim cases like the Spigen Thin Fit. Simply pop it onto the USB-C connector at the base and you're good to go. It's available in five different color options, so you can pick one to match your phone or your desk color scheme.

See at Amazon

What are your favorite accessories?

Got any opinions on the products we've highlighted here? Anything we missed? Let us know in the comments!

LG G6

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2 days ago

Google Home hoping to improve the kitchen with 'start cooking' command

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We could all use an extra kitchen helper.

Google Home already had independent cooking and recipe integrations available, but is now trying to roll things up into a single place with the launch of a "start cooking" command. You simply pick a recipe from several sources on your phone via Google Assistant, select "Send to Google Home" and it'll be waiting there whenever you are ready to start cooking.

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2 days ago

Amazon's $199 Echo Look wants to watch you get dressed in your bedroom

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This really doesn't seem like a good idea.

Amazon's Echo platform is surely considered a success at this point, but Amazon is clearly interested in pushing on to new form factors and use cases with its artificial intelligence. The latest iteration is an altogether new type of gadget: a camera-enabled device called "Echo Look" that's specifically targeting those who aim to leave the house dressed fashionably.

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2 days ago

The five things you MUST do with your phone

9

You know someone who treats their phone poorly, don't you. It's OK. ... We can fix that!

It's that time of year when we start to get all the hot new phones. (And our kids start asking when they're going to get one. Thanks, TV ads ...) So I'm going to take a look at the best of the best. Or the least best of the best. Or maybe just some weird stuff. We'll see. More on that in the coming days.

First, though: Five things that all folks need to do with their phones. For a lot of you reading this, they'll be old hat. But I'm always surprised at how many folks don't use No. 3. ... And you can't walk down the street without running into someone who has never thought to do No. 5. (Hell, there's a chance you're living with someone like that, too!)

Next: ICYMI, I'm giving away a Huawei P10, and you still have a few days left to enter!

Finally: Be sure to subscribe!

Modern Dad

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2 days ago

Galaxy S8 security: Which unlocking method should you use?

38

The Galaxy S8 comes with several different ways to lock your phone. But they aren't all equal when it comes to keeping snooping eyes out of your stuff.

We think everyone should lock their phone and be sure to enable a find my phone feature that can erase it if it gets lost or stolen. This is the best way to make sure someone can't just pick it up and rifle through all your stuff. The Galaxy S8 has a handful of different ways to do it and they are a great balance of convenience versus security. We're here to help you pick the best method for you.

Passwords and PINs

This is always the best way to make sure only you can unlock your phone, but they are also the least convenient method and require you to type your passcode every time you need to look at the screen if your phone was locked.

If you use your phone for business or just have stuff on it that you think is worth protecting the best way you can, you'll want to use a password. Always use a strong password and follow a few basic steps:

  • Don't use a single word no matter how obscure you think it is.
  • Choose a password that's a minimum of eight characters.
  • Use numbers, special characters and both upper and lower case letters.
  • If you need to write it down just in case, don't write it on something you carry with you. Phones and backpacks get stolen, unfortunately.

You can use a password generator if you want something completely random. A strong password on an encrypted phone is a tough nut to crack even for law enforcement, so it's also difficult for you to bypass it. Do what you need to do so you remember it.

Your birthday makes a horrible PIN so don't use it.

If a company issued your phone to you they might have specific requirements or give you a password. Treat it the same way and don't write it down on a slip of paper in your wallet or purse.

For most practical purposes a 6-digit PIN is almost as good as a full-on password but has the bonus of being easier to remember. Just don't pick any number attached to you like a birthdate or numbers from another ID.

Biometrics

Samsung introduced the iris scanner with the Note 7 and improved it for the Galaxy S8. For the most part, it's a secure way to unlock your phone.

The mix of convenience and security makes fingerprints or your iris a good choice for locking your phone.

More testing needs to be done but it seems like it's difficult to "fake" your phone into unlocking with a photo of your eye. The iris scanner uses more than just photo matching here. In any case, the chances someone else would have a high-resolution photo of your eye to use and unlock your phone is pretty slim, so even if it can be done it probably won't happen in the real world. Plenty of people love the ease and speed of unlocking their Galaxy S8 using their eyes so you definitely need to give it a try.

The fingerprint scanner is still there, but it's been moved to the back. It works the same way fingerprint sensors work on most high-end phones and provided you take the time to set it up carefully it's a convenient way to unlock the screen without having to type anything.

One thing to know about both of these methods is that in some places law enforcement can force you to unlock your phone using a fingerprint or iris. Regardless of how you feel about this issue, you need to know that it's possible.

How to set up the fingerprint scanner on the Galaxy S8

Because they offer a nice mix of convenience and security, we think using your iris or fingerprint is one of the best ways to secure your lock screen.

Face unlock: convenience above all

You can also use your face or a pattern to unlock your phone. Just know that Google and Samsung both acknowledge that these methods are fairly easy to bypass.

Face unlock can be fooled, but only by someone who already has a high-resolution photo of your face.

Face unlock on the Galaxy S8 has been refined over the way it's done in stock Android, but it's still pretty easy to get around. This is because it's simply matching certain features and areas of your face that it has stored during setup with what it sees in the camera. A high-resolution photo is good enough to fool face unlocking. One thing that doesn't get mentioned when people talk about bypassing face unlock is that chances are someone who finds or steals your phone won't have a high-resolution full-size photo of your head. While it's not very secure, not having access to that photo makes that a moot point.

Pattern unlock isn't insecure by nature. Drawing a pattern between nine random dots has plenty of combinations and isn't going to be easy to guess without special equipment. But your fingers make it pretty easy: they leave a trail of grease.

Your skin secretes natural oils to keep it from turning into leather. We've all seen how a phone screen can be smudgy and icky from fingerprints, and when you are tracing the same pattern to unlock your phone all day that leaves a nice trail for someone to follow with their finger. It's not easy to do, but you can do it on your friend's phone if you try a couple of times. And you can bet that thieves know to look for the tell tail smudge lines when they nab an Android phone.

Smart Lock

Smart Lock is the easiest of all ways to unlock your phone because it's automatic.

Smart Lock works for anyone when it's within range.

Using your location or a Bluetooth device like a key fob or wearable, you can set your phone to stay unlocked under certain conditions. When you want to use it the power button takes you right to your home screen or a swipe to unlock screen.

Smart Lock is a great way to unlock for people who have a smartwatch or a Fitbit. It's accurate and doesn't drain the battery very much. Just remember that anyone with your watch or within Bluetooth range can unlock your phone.

Using Smart Lock on the Galaxy S8: Everything you need to know

Your choice

Locks were invented to keep honest people out of things. We can never depend on a lock screen to guard our privacy alone, but it is part of the basics and something everyone should be doing. Just remember that there is always someone working on bypassing any security feature and we don't have to make it easy for the bad guys. Or sneaky little brothers or roomies.

How do you lock your phone? Are you digging the iris scanner or improved face unlock on the Galaxy S8? Holler in the comments and let us know!

Samsung Galaxy S8 and S8+

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img { width: 100%; height: auto; } .devicebox ul { display: table; margin: 0 0 10px; width: 100%; } .devicebox ul li { background: #f7f7f7; margin: 2px 0; padding: 4px 15px; } .devicebox ul li:hover { background: #fff; } .devicebox ul li:before { display: none; } .devicebox p ~ p { line-height: 1.25; } .devicebox p:first-of-type + p { padding: 15px; } .devicebox a.buy-link { border-radius: 5px; display: inline-block; font: 14px/31px "Proxima Nova Extrabld",Helvetica,Arial,sans-serif; text-align: center; } .devicebox a.buy-link, .devicebox a.buy-link:link, .devicebox a.buy-link:active, .devicebox a.buy-link:visited { background: #37B5D7; color: #FFF; } .devicebox a.buy-link:hover { background: #2694B2; text-decoration: none; } .devicebox a.buy-link:before { content: "\e61e"; font: 40px/0 "ac_iconset" !important; margin: 0 3px 0 -8px; vertical-align: middle; } @media all and (min-width: 1025px), all and (max-width: 800px) and (min-width: 660px) { /* div:not(.columns-3) excludes help menu content */ .article-body-wrap > div:not(.columns-3) > *:first-child:not(.sticky-wrapper) .devicebox { padding: 20px 0 25px; } .article-body-wrap > div:not(.columns-3) > *:first-child:not(.sticky-wrapper) .devicebox .video { float: left; margin: 0 30px 0 0; width: calc(100% - 375px); } .article-body-wrap > div:not(.columns-3) > *:first-child:not(.sticky-wrapper) .devicebox h3 + p { bottom: 37px; display: block; overflow: hidden; position: absolute; top: 60px; width: calc(100% - 375px); } .article-body-wrap > div:not(.columns-3) > *:first-child:not(.sticky-wrapper) .devicebox p img, .article-body-wrap > div:not(.columns-3) > *:first-child:not(.sticky-wrapper) .devicebox p > img { position: absolute; top: 50%; transform: translateY(-50%); } .article-body-wrap > div:not(.columns-3) > *:first-child:not(.sticky-wrapper) .devicebox p:nth-child(n+3), .article-body-wrap > div:not(.columns-3) > *:first-child:not(.sticky-wrapper) .devicebox ul { box-sizing: border-box; margin-left: calc(100% - 345px); width: 340px; } .article-body-wrap > div:not(.columns-3) > *:first-child:not(.sticky-wrapper) .devicebox p.list-head { margin-top: -5px; } } @media all and (max-width: 1024px) and (min-width: 801px), all and (max-width: 660px) { .devicebox h3 { text-align: center; } .devicebox ul, .devicebox p { display: block; } } @media all and (max-width: 800px) and (min-width: 660px) { .devicebox { padding: 20px 0 25px; } .devicebox .video { float: left; margin: 0 30px 0 0; width: calc(100% - 375px); } .devicebox h3 + p { bottom: 37px; display: block; overflow: hidden; position: absolute; top: 60px; width: calc(100% - 375px); } .devicebox p img, .devicebox p > img { position: absolute; top: 50%; transform: translateY(-50%); } .devicebox p:nth-child(n+3), .devicebox ul { box-sizing: border-box; margin-left: calc(100% - 345px); width: 340px; } .devicebox p.list-head { margin-top: -5px; } } @media all and (min-width: 1025px), all and (max-width: 800px) and (min-width: 661px), all and (max-width: 500px) { /* 2x buy buttons */ .devicebox a.buy-link { width: calc(50% - 2.5px); margin: 0 5px 5px 0; } .devicebox a.buy-link:nth-of-type(even) { margin: 0 0 5px 0; } .devicebox a.buy-link:last-of-type:nth-of-type(odd) { width: 100%; } } @media all and (max-width: 1024px) and (min-width: 801px), all and (max-width: 659px) and (min-width: 501px) { /* 3x buy buttons */ .devicebox a.buy-link { width: calc(100%/3 - 10px/3); margin: 0 5px 5px 0; } .devicebox a.buy-link:nth-of-type(3n):not(:nth-last-of-type(2)) { margin: 0 0 5px 0; } .devicebox a.buy-link:only-child { width: 100%; margin: 0 0 5px 0; } .devicebox a.buy-link:nth-last-of-type(2):nth-of-type(3n+1), .devicebox a.buy-link:nth-last-of-type(2):nth-of-type(3n+1) ~ a.buy-link, .devicebox a.buy-link:nth-last-of-type(4):nth-of-type(3n+1), .devicebox a.buy-link:nth-last-of-type(4):nth-of-type(3n+1) ~ a.buy-link { width: calc(50% - 2.5px); } .devicebox a.buy-link:nth-last-of-type(2):nth-of-type(3n+1) ~ a.buy-link, .devicebox a.buy-link:nth-last-of-type(4):nth-of-type(3n+1) ~ a.buy-link:nth-last-of-type(odd) { margin: 0 0 5px 0; } } @media all and (max-width: 800px) { .devicebox { margin: 0 0 30px; max-width: none; width: auto; } } @media all and (max-width: 500px) { .devicebox { margin: 0 0 30px; max-width: none; width: auto; } .devicebox a.buy-link:before { display: none; } } .page-admin .devicebox {max-width: 350px;} .page-admin .devicebox .video_iframe {position: relative; height: 0; padding-bottom: 56.9%;} .page-admin .devicebox .video_iframe iframe {width: 100%; height: 100%; position: absolute;} /*-->*/ /*-->*/ /*-->*/

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2 days ago

Google-branded headphones pass through the FCC, and they're ... uninspiring

15

Google could be expanding its accessory lineup, but these don't fill us with confidence.

Fun stuff pops up at the FCC from time to time while it's being certified for use in the U.S., and the latest bit of hardware is Google-branded over-the-ear headphones. The grey-and-black cans have a little Google branding flare and appear to have a touch-sensitive area for at least power. Around the sides you see a pretty standard arrangements of ports and buttons ... but yes there's a Micro-USB port there, which is odd.

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2 days ago

Give yourself a digital green thumb with these garden wallpapers!

2

Gardens are gorgeous.

Gardens have long been a critical part of society. Gardening was one of the first domestic tasks that early humans used to break out of the hunter-gatherer routine, to cultivate food and enable them to settle in one place with a stable supply of food. Even though most people do not need to garden for survival anymore, gardens are an activity that millions around the world still do for a variety of reasons.

Many people find gardening calming. Some consider it an investment in their home's beauty. Some just want fresh tomatoes for making salads and salsas and covering every freaking counter in the house with a bumper crop. Some of us just want something green and natural in our lives, and even if you can't have a glorious, glorious garden, you can get some of that beauty in your life with a garden-fresh wallpaper.

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