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1 hour ago

How to stop Alexa from buying things

0

These tips will make sure Alexa isn't purchasing something when you don't want it to.

Alexa can make your life easier in dozens of different ways, including ordering items off of Amazon for you. However, just because you're asking about something doesn't mean you actually want to purchase it. Since voice ordering is turned on by default when you set up your Amazon Echo, you may want to know how to add security when making purchases, or turn off voice purchasing entirely.

You can do it all right from the settings on your phone, and we've got the details for you!

How to turn off voice purchasing

  1. Open the Alexa app on your phone.
  2. Tap the menu button that looks like three horizontal lines in the upper left corner of the screen.
  3. Tap Settings.

  4. Tap voice purchasing.
  5. Tap the button next to purchase by voice to turn off voice purchasing.

If you still want to be able to purchase stuff, but want to prevent others from doing it on your behalf, add a purchase pin code.

How to add a purchase pin code

  1. Open the Alexa app on your phone.
  2. Tap the menu button that looks like three horizontal lines in the upper left corner of the screen.
  3. Tap Settings.

  4. Tap voice purchasing.
  5. Tap the text bar under require confirmation code and type in your 4-digit pin.
  6. Tap save changes.

Have you turned off voice purchasing?

Has Alexa tried to buy things you didn't want it to? Have you started using a confirmation code, or turned off voice purchasing altogether? Let us know about it in the comments below!

Amazon Echo

Amazon

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2 days ago

Everything you need to know about sideloading apps for your Gear VR

Sideloading apps onto your phone is easy and lets you access apps you can't get on the Google Play Store.

The Gear VR is one of the most accessible forms of virtual reality available today because it runs right off of your Samsung phone. Initially, there are plenty of apps that you can download from the Oculus Store, or the Google Play Store. However, if you've found an app that you want to try that isn't on the Google Play Store, or you want to check out some of the more adult apps out there, you'll need to sideload those apps on your phone.

Don't panic if you have no clue what sideloading is. We've got all the details that you'll need. Just keep scrolling and we'll explain everything.

Read more at VRHeads

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2 days ago

YouTube's new VR180 format makes virtual reality easy to create

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YouTube's new VR180 video format bridges the gap between 2D and VR, and it's going to be a big deal.

At VidCon 2017, YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki announced some big things for the platform, including a mind-blowing statistic: 1.5 billion people watch YouTube videos monthly.

But one of the bigger topics discussed at the show was an upcoming video format called VR180, which combines virtual reality and regular old flat 2D content into a single video. Using new cameras that will be available from Lenovo, Yi and LG later this year, videos are shot in 180-degrees, so not the completely 360-degree notion of what we think of as traditional VR, but can also be watched on a flat phone or computer screen with ostensibly no loss in quality.

The idea behind VR180 is that, right now, traditional VR scenes must be filmed using either expensive proprietary cameras or lower-quality consumer hardware, like the Gear 360, and there's very little incentive for someone to watch that film in 2D since it wasn't designed for such a thing. VR180 aims to keep the qualities of both, and "this format delivers 3-D video while capturing 180-degrees around you. Creators only have to worry about recording what's in front of them while viewers get an awesome, immersive experience with a VR headset, or a video that looks just as great on a phone as any other video."

YouTube already has some VR180 films uploaded using prototype cameras, and you can watch the one above (which is pretty amazing even on this 13-inch laptop screen) in VR as well.

There were some other big announcements on the YouTube front, too:

  • The YouTube app for Android will adjust properly to videos shot in portrait, or in square formats.
  • YouTube's sharing features that launched earlier this year in Canada are expanding to Latin America and the U.S.
  • YouTube TV is getting ten new markets, including Dallas-Fort Worth, Washington, D.C., Houston, Atlanta, Phoenix, Detroit, Minneapolis-St. Paul, Miami-Fort Lauderdale, Orlando-Daytona Beach-Melbourne and Charlotte.
  • YouTube Red is getting some new original programming, raising the number to 37 altogether.

YouTube TV vs. Sling TV: Which one is worth your money?

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2 days ago

Upcoming WhatsApp update will let you share any type of file

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WhatsApp will soon let you share any file you want, as long as it's under 128MB.

Currently, you can share photos, audio and video files, and PDF documents on WhatsApp, but the Facebook-owned messaging platform will soon allow you to share any type of file. As noted by WABetaInfo, the update is being tested with a small subset of users, and should be rolling out to WhatsApp's 1.2 billion customers shortly.

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3 days ago

Indian government calls Google Maps unreliable, wants citizens to use its own mapping solution instead

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The Indian government launches its latest salvo in a long-running fight with Google over mapping data.

The Indian government doesn't have a high opinion of Google Maps, and it conveyed that sentiment today by saying that the service is "not authenticated" and calling into question its reliability.

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3 days ago

Everything you need to know about Bixby Voice

37

We have early access to the Galaxy S8's built-in Bixby Voice. Here's another look at what's coming to a Galaxy S8 near you.

We've already written plenty about the Galaxy S8's Bixby functionality, but what we haven't touched on is what to expect with Bixby Voice — ostensibly the main reason there's an extra button on the flagship device in the first place.

Up until the latest preview, all we knew about the Bixby is that it enabled you to press a button to control the phone with your voice. Well, now that we've had some time with it, we can confirm that Bixby Voice really is all about talking to the Galaxy S8. It's not the same as Google Assistant, though, as Bixby is more conversational and apologetic when it messes up. This is a voice-activated virtual assistant that aims to please.

Note: At present, you can only set up Bixby if you're part of the Early Access Preview, which is currently limited to the United States. There's no word yet on when Bixby will go live.

Setting it up

After you've updated all the apps in your Galaxy Apps queue, you can click over to the Hello Bixby panel to start the prompt for setting up Bixby Voice. At present, only American English and Korean are the available languages for the virtual assistant.

Bixby will walk you through a rather storied setup process. You'll need to first agree to a long list of terms and then continue on to update any Bixby Voice-compatible apps, as well as any third-party apps that have access to experimental features from the Bixby Labs. The entire onboarding process is pretty straightforward, and it even starts you off gently by having Bixby dictate the sequence. In the English-speaking version, Bixby is a sprite young female, though you can choose from male or female for the Korean variant.

How to access the Bixby Voice settings menu.

Once Bixby Voice is raring to go, you should be able to press and hold the Bixby button to give it a command from any screen. If you start on the Home screen, you can ask Bixby to open an app and then perform an action. If you're already in an app, however, you can press the button to instruct Bixby on what to do within that app. I tried it first with the Gallery app to crop a photo, and then in the browser to navigate to a web page; Bixby worked effortlessly in both situations.

"Hey Bixby"

Like Google Assistant and Apple's Siri, you can call out to Samsung's Bixby in your time of need. The virtual assistant will help you set up the ability to wake up the phone with a voice command from the get-go; you'll be asked to record yourself saying "Hey, Bixby" about three times, and then you'll be asked to recite a few commands so that the software can learn the different intonations in your voice. When it's finished, you can actually play back what you recorded to ensure it sounds exactly the way Bixby would hear you every time.

Like Google Assistant and Apple's Siri, you can call out to Samsung's Bixby in your time of need.

I have to admit: part of the reason I didn't use Google Assistant much until the Google Home came into my life is that my phones would often struggle to hear me or understand my commands. But Bixby has the opposite problem, as it understands me so well that I was triggering it even while podcasting in a nearby room in my house. I guess there are plenty of words out there that sound like Bixby, so naturally, Bixby thought I was speaking to it.

You don't have to really say a particular phrase to get Bixby to listen, either. I've said both "Hey, Bixby" and "Okay, Bixby" with the Galaxy S8's screen both on and off and it worked remarkably well. I also just shouted "BIXBY!" a few times and that seemed to work, too, despite the fact that I was being antagonistic. Sorry, Bixby.

Of course, if Bixby doesn't understand what you said — which will happen, as it happened to me plenty of times — it will ask that you let it know it didn't perform so well before offers for you to retry your command. You can skip all that if you don't care to do it, though, and simply tap the Bixby icon or press and hold the side button to continue engaging.

What can you do with Bixby?

bixby

What is the meaning of life? Sorry, Bixby can't help you with that.

I'm still figuring out all that's possible with Samsung Bixby. It's like Google Assistant in that it can assist you with even the most basic of smartphone commands, but it doesn't appear to be explicitly tied to a search engine in the same manner.

When you do ask Bixby the kind of question you'd ask Google Assistant — like "What's the meaning of life?" for example because apparently, I had to make this as existential as possible — Bixby will reply quietly in the main home screen. When you ask it to help with doing something, however, it's much more responsive.

Samsung's Bixby works a bit differently than Google Assistant in that it'll require you to be very specific with your commands. The result can be more effective, however, if you consider that you can do things like crop an image with just your voice.

Perhaps the best example for showing Bixby's abilities is the crop-and-post example. For instance, I asked Bixby to open up the gallery and select the latest photo. From there, I pressed the Bixby button and asked it to first crop the photo and then, crop the photo in 4 by 3. The Gallery app then cropped the photo as I asked it to, though it waited for me to choose where the crop placement should go before it continued.

Once again, I pressed the Bixby button and asked it to save the image and share it, and from there it popped up Android's sharing dialog window.

I also used Bixby to launch the Gmail app and dictate a message. It was strikingly easy, and I was impressed by the way Bixby seemed to move forward with what it figured I'd ask it to do next.

There is certainly more that you can do with Bixby, and the commands change whenever you're inside another app. With this preview mode, the trick is to test what it can do and take it from there.

About that extra button

Let's talk about that extra button on the side of the Galaxy S8.

There's good news for those of who you've managed to either successfully remap the Bixby button or just aren't interested in the push-the-talk action of Bixby Voice. The app doesn't actually require you use the added hardware to interact with your assistant. Rather, it's there to help in times of need, like when the environment is too loud for the phone to pick up on your command. Bixby pops up an on-screen indicator to let you know it's working hard, and there's a quick toggle shortcut in the Hello Bixby app.

Admittedly, using the Galaxy S8's built-in Bixby button feels a bit strange as it's not something that I'm accustomed to. I've been long using Google Assistant — or Google Now, as it were — to do my bidding and that merely requires I utter "Okay, Google" or tap on an icon.

Regardless, the push-to-talk ability is a nice alternative when you're in situations where it'll come in handy, though it would be nice to be able to officially remap the Bixby button when the situation calls for it.

Bixby's Home screen

Bixby's home screen reminds me quite a bit of Apple's Siri because of its black-to-purple ombre background, but besides the similarities of the female voice, it's really quite different. For one, you can type in your command to Bixby if talking to it isn't a possibility (that's coming soon to iOS 11 for Siri users), or you can cycle through some of your past commands. There's even an easy screenshot toggle if proving your friend right requires photo evidence, and you can individually adjust the sound of Bixby Voice.

Bixby Voice's home screen.

If you're inside an app and you conjure up the Bixby home screen, the app will offer up a bevy of suggestions for commands you can use specifically within that app. It's helpful to have this resource to learn what it is you can control with just your voice, though you might find that it's simply easier to go by trial and error. After all, the best way to learn something is to practice it (as my math tutor told me all those years) and with Bixby, you'll have to learn how to be really specific without being long-winded.

Bixby points system

bixby

Bixby requires quite a bit of validation to ensure it's properly operating. But the upside is that each positive interaction earns you "points" towards leveling up your Bixby experience.

Bixby will improve itself over time, though it relies quite a bit on feedback to steer itself in the right direction. Each time you command Bixby, you'll rack up points towards your overall Bixby Level. If your interaction is less than stellar, however, you can let Bixby know that it needs improvement over a particular subset of commands, and the virtual assistant will do its best to accommodate you during the next round.

Take a gander at what Bixby's point system looks like.

If you're curious to see where you're at on the points scale, tap on "My Bixby" in the main Hello Bixby overflow menu. This will reveal all of your growth stats. There's also a counter that keeps privy to how many conversations you've had with Bixby, and you'll see how many times you've given it props and when you've told it that it could have done a better job.

Frankly, Bixby's "level up" screen looks akin to the dashboard you'd find in a roleplaying game — all it's missing is a counter for the hit points. But that's sort of the point of this page existing in the first place. The "experience points" you can procure to effectively level up Bixby were clearly added in an effort to encourage users to play on by gamifying the experiences with the virtual assistant. I'm curious to see what I'll unlock the more I interact with it; I'm close to unlocking more background colors, for example, and I wonder what other little treats are hidden in the interface.

What you can change

Bixby Voice's settings panel seems limited in its beta state.

The Bixby Voice settings aren't as customizable as Google Assistant, but there are some extra features you can enable to make the virtual assistant more robust. In addition to the ability to enable constantly, always-on voice command capabilities, you can also choose Bixby's feedback style. If you prefer quick, terse answers, you can choose to keep Bixby's responses short. Or if you're really aching to connect with it, you can opt to have the assistant talk to you in full sentences.

Bixby also offers a helpful dictation featurette, which I found to be just as useful as the ability in Google Keyboard. This ability doesn't require that you tap on a microphone icon when the keyboard app is up, however; rather, you'll want to toggle on the Dictation on keyboard capability to enable the ability to start the dictation mode by pressing and holding the Bixby key while the Samsung Keyboard is open. This means you'll have to actively use the Samsung Keyboard, but the dictation ability appears to work just as accurately as Google when it comes to forming sentences.

It's still just a preview

Bixby

There is still plenty to discover about Samsung's Bixby Voice.

Bear in mind that all that we've experienced with Bixby thus far has been entirely a preview. The kinks have yet to be worked out, not to mention the fact that there are very few people using the service at present. Bixby's overall purpose in the industry has yet to materialize, too, and we won't know where it fits into the virtual assistant space until the software is ready to go live to everyone with a Galaxy S8 in their hands. It's not meant as a replacement assistant for Google, either, so I'll be curious to see what it's like using the two assistant suites in tandem in my day-to-day.

We'll be updating this page once Bixby is ready for primetime. If you have any questions until it's ready for the stage, however, leave us a comment and we'll investigate for you in the interim.

And if you're in the preview, how is Bixby treating you? What command do you like to use with it? Are you finding it's a better way of interacting with your Galaxy S8 or S8+ than, say, simply tapping around?

Samsung Galaxy S8 and S8+

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About

The Galaxy S8, and its larger sibling the S8+, are Samsung's top-end devices for 2017 meant to appeal to the general consumer and power user alike. The two phones are only differentiated by screen and battery size: 5.8 inches and 3000mAh, and 6.2 inches and 3500mAh.

The displays have a new 18.5:9 aspect ratio with a QHD+ resolution, meaning they're extra tall and narrow. Samsung moved to on-screen buttons and reduced bezel size dramatically in order to fit as much screen into the body as possible. That moved the fingerprint sensor to the back of the phones, where it sits somewhat-awkwardly next to the camera lens. Iris scanning makes its return in a new-and-improved version from the Note 7.

Though the batteries haven't increased in size from the Galaxy S7 and S7 edge, the hope is that the improved efficiency of the new 10 nm processor inside will provide some help. The processor is backed up by 4GB of RAM and 64GB of storage. Waterproofing and wireless charging are still here as well, plus a new USB-C port on the bottom. The rear camera is unchanged in terms of its 12MP sensor and f/1.7 lens, but has improved processing thanks to a new ISP and software.

Specs

Width Height Thickness 5.86 in
148.9 mm
2.68 in
68.1 mm
0.31 in
8 mm
5.47 oz
155g grams
  • Display:
    • 5.8-inch AMOLED display
    • 2960x1440 resolution
    • 18.5:9 aspect ratio
    • Dual-curve infinity display
  • Cameras:
    • 12MP ƒ/1.7 rear camera
    • Dual-pixel phase detection autofocus
    • 1.4-micron pixels
    • 8MP ƒ/1.7 front camera
  • Battery:
    • 3000 mAh battery
    • Non-removable
    • USB-C fast Charging
    • Qi + PMA wireless charging
  • Chips:
    • Snapdragon 835 processor
    • Samsung Exynos 8896 processor
      (varies by region)
    • 4GB RAM
    • 64GB internal storage
    • microSD card slot
    • Android 7.0 Nougat
  • GS8+
    • Samsung Galaxy S8+
    • 6.2-inch AMOLED display
    • 3500mAh battery
    • 6.28 in x 2.89 in x 0.32 in
      159.5mm x 73.4mm x 8.1mm
    • 6.10 oz / 73g

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3 days ago

Beginner's guide to Plex

66
Plex

Plex is an amazing tool to access your media content on all your devices. Here's a quick beginners guide to getting up and running.

Plex is one of those services that has been around for some time but many of us might have passed over for some reason, be it a lack of understanding of what it actually does, thinking it couldn't possibly be useful to you, or something else entirely. The truth is, Plex could be just what you're looking for to help you manage your media collection.

Setting up a media server sounds daunting, but Plex makes it super simple — and dare we say, enjoyable. You just need to know where to begin, which is where we come in.

This is our beginner's guide to Plex.

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3 days ago

How to track what's being said to Alexa with the history feature

0

Alexa history automatically saves your conversations; here's how to review them.

Alexa, the Amazon Echo's virtual assistant, learns about you as you interact with her, and part of the reason she's able to do this is that she records all of your conversations. The history is where all of these conversations are stored and where you can delete conversations you don't want Alexa to learn from. It's located right in your settings and we have the details for you here!

How to view Alexa's history

When viewing your Alexa history, you can see a text transcript of all of your questions, and you can even listen to audio recordings.

  1. Open the Alexa app on your phone.
  2. Tap on the menu button in the upper left corner of your screen that looks like three horizontal lines.
  3. Tap Settings.

    Open the Alexa app, Tap the overflow button, Tap Settings

  4. Scroll all the way down to the bottom and tap History.
  5. Tap the entry you want to view or listen to.
  6. Tap the play button to listen to the recording.

    Scroll down and tap history, Tap the entry you want to view or listen to, tap the play button to listen to the recording.

How to delete a conversation from history

  1. Open the Alexa app on your phone.
  2. Tap on the menu button in the upper left corner of your screen that looks like three horizontal lines.
  3. Tap Settings.

    Open the Alexa app, Tap the overflow button, Tap Settings

  4. Scroll all the way down to the bottom, and tap History.
  5. Tap the conversation you want to delete.
  6. Tap Delete voice recordings.

    Scroll down and tap history, tap the conversation you want to delete, tap delete voice recordings

Are you using the history feature?

Have you deleted conversations with Alexa? Have questions? Let us know about it in the comments below!

Amazon Echo

Amazon Echo Dot

Amazon

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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4 days ago

Bixby Voice is rolling out to the Galaxy S8 for those who signed up for early access

39
bixby voice

It's a bit finicky in its preview state, but Bixby's tender voice will help you forget it's still half-baked.

I can't tell you how excited I was to see that the Bixby Voice preview had hit my unlocked Galaxy S8. There was a bit of a language barrier between the two of us in the beginning, but after a bit of fumbling with Google Translate and a bit of digging into the settings, Bixby is now ready to use on my device.

Droid-Life posted earlier today about the Bixby Voice preview going live to those who had signed up for the Early Access Program last week. Coupled with the strange little update I received this week on the Galaxy S8, I was curious about whether that meant Bixby was on its way to my device.

Lo and behold, it appeared in the settings right after I'd updated my apps through the Galaxy Apps store, as Droid-life had originally suggested. I went through the setup process in Korean and then switched it to English from the settings.

A hint of what to look for when you're looking for the Bixby Voice settings.

Once you have access, you'll see an entirely new subset of options populate the Bixby settings panel. They include the ability to have Bixby "wake up" to the sound of your voice, as well as whether you want messages read aloud in high-quality audio. There is also a dictation option, and you can choose how terse or explanatory Bixby is once it fulfills a command.

At present, you can choose from three voices for Bixby through the preview. Two of them speak exclusively in Korean and will require that you understand the language for it to be effective. The other is Bixby's female voice for the English-speaking audience. There are also video tutorials you can watch in case you're totally lost on what it is that Bixby is supposed to do.

To make Bixby work, press and hold the dedicated button on the left side of the Galaxy S8 until you see the Bixby prompt pop up on the screen, then speak your command. I haven't been able to get this particular feature to work in the interim, however, and I'm not entirely sure why, since Bixby has had no trouble recognizing my voice after I registered it.

There are definitely a couple of kinks that need to be worked out, not to mention a whole host of new options to parse through. For now, if you signed up for last week's preview access, keep checking your phone until the update hits.

Samsung Galaxy S8 and S8+

Main

Verizon AT&T T-Mobile Sprint Unlocked

About

The Galaxy S8, and its larger sibling the S8+, are Samsung's top-end devices for 2017 meant to appeal to the general consumer and power user alike. The two phones are only differentiated by screen and battery size: 5.8 inches and 3000mAh, and 6.2 inches and 3500mAh.

The displays have a new 18.5:9 aspect ratio with a QHD+ resolution, meaning they're extra tall and narrow. Samsung moved to on-screen buttons and reduced bezel size dramatically in order to fit as much screen into the body as possible. That moved the fingerprint sensor to the back of the phones, where it sits somewhat-awkwardly next to the camera lens. Iris scanning makes its return in a new-and-improved version from the Note 7.

Though the batteries haven't increased in size from the Galaxy S7 and S7 edge, the hope is that the improved efficiency of the new 10 nm processor inside will provide some help. The processor is backed up by 4GB of RAM and 64GB of storage. Waterproofing and wireless charging are still here as well, plus a new USB-C port on the bottom. The rear camera is unchanged in terms of its 12MP sensor and f/1.7 lens, but has improved processing thanks to a new ISP and software.

Specs

Width Height Thickness 5.86 in
148.9 mm
2.68 in
68.1 mm
0.31 in
8 mm
5.47 oz
155g grams
  • Display:
    • 5.8-inch AMOLED display
    • 2960x1440 resolution
    • 18.5:9 aspect ratio
    • Dual-curve infinity display
  • Cameras:
    • 12MP ƒ/1.7 rear camera
    • Dual-pixel phase detection autofocus
    • 1.4-micron pixels
    • 8MP ƒ/1.7 front camera
  • Battery:
    • 3000 mAh battery
    • Non-removable
    • USB-C fast Charging
    • Qi + PMA wireless charging
  • Chips:
    • Snapdragon 835 processor
    • Samsung Exynos 8896 processor
      (varies by region)
    • 4GB RAM
    • 64GB internal storage
    • microSD card slot
    • Android 7.0 Nougat
  • GS8+
    • Samsung Galaxy S8+
    • 6.2-inch AMOLED display
    • 3500mAh battery
    • 6.28 in x 2.89 in x 0.32 in
      159.5mm x 73.4mm x 8.1mm
    • 6.10 oz / 73g

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5 days ago

How to use Alexa for sports updates

0

Alexa can make sure you always know the score of the big games!

If you're a sports fan, then it can be difficult at times to keep track of the score for all of your favorite teams. With Alexa, you can program in your favorite teams and get updates by simply asking her for sports updates. You can add multiple teams too, so you'll never miss a score again.

We've got all the details here!

Alexa can give you sports updates

With Alexa, you can stay up to date on your sports teams by adding them from within the app. While the list of teams isn't inclusive of every sport, you do have access to the major leagues for baseball, football, soccer and hockey. There are 13 different leagues you can add teams from, including the UEFA, NHL, WNBA and NCAA. The search function also means that if you're having trouble remembering a specific team, you can enter the city or state they hail from and the team name will pop up for you.

How to use Alexa for sports updates

  1. Open the Alexa app on your phone.
  2. Tap the menu button that looks like three horizontal lines in the upper left corner of your screen.
  3. Tap settings.

  4. Tap sports update.
  5. Tap the search bar that says search for your teams.

  6. Using the keyboard type in your team name.
  7. Tap to select your team.

How to remove a team from your sports updates

  1. Open the Alexa app on your phone.
  2. Tap the menu button that looks like three horizontal lines in the upper left corner of your screen.
  3. Tap settings.

  4. Tap sports update.
  5. Tap the X to the right of the team name you want to remove.

Questions?

Do you use Alexa to stay up to date with your favorite teams? Do you still have questions? Be sure to leave us a comment about it below!

Amazon Echo

Amazon

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5 days ago

Firefox Focus browser with built-in ad blocking lands on Android

19

Firefox's privacy-focused browser is finally available on Android.

The Firefox Focus browser made its debut last year on the iPhone and iPad, and now the company is bringing the privacy-focused browser to Android. The highlight of the browser is built-in ad blocking, which not only gets rid of ads on websites, but also prevents web trackers from serving you ads across the internet.

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5 days ago

There are still people in parts of the world who use Android Market on Android 2.1

28

Google is officially ceasing support for Android's archaic app store on Eclair at the end of the month.

Do you remember using the Android Market to download apps for your smartphone? Google announced that it will cease support for the relic app on Eclair devices at the end of June.

In the Android Developers Blog, Google's Maximilian Ruppaner writes:

On June 30, 2017, Google will be ending support for the Android Market app on Android 2.1 Eclair and older devices. When this change happens, users on these devices will no longer be able to access, or install other apps from, the Android Market. The change will happen without a notification on the device, due to technical restrictions in the original Android Market app.

The news is hardly revelatory. Developers don't support Eclair, anyway, since it's so old. Many other third-party app makers have also ceased support in the last few years, focusing instead on maintaining support for Android 2.3 Gingerbread and up. But there are still people out there using smartphones from that era, either because they can't afford to purchase a new device or because that's all they've had access to. Granted, the Android Platform Version numbers don't include the tally of users still on Eclair — or Froyo, for that matter — but the heavily worded blog post seems to suggest that it was published as a warning to the stray few.

Anyway, consider the rest of the month your chance to mourn the past and look ahead to new beginnings.

Android O

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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6 days ago

Google Play Music's exclusive station for the Galaxy S8 is a Top 40-lover's dream

14

Whether you love Danish pop or Nickelback (why?), the New Release Radio plays all the popular hits.

I made a very, very big mistake while shuffling through the Samsung-exclusive radio station on Google Play Music. I forgot that there are a limited number of skips for those of us without monthly subscriptions — and then my last skip landed me on a Nickelback song.

Anyway, if you haven't already heard from the Android subreddit, there is a Play Music radio station called New Release Radio curated especially for Galaxy S8 and S8+ users. (Except that it's not because there is apparently a run-around to get it permanently added to your Play Music account.)

The radio station was actually announced back in April, by way of the official Google blog:

…with the launch of the Galaxy S8 and the Galaxy S8+, Google Play Music will be the default music player and music service on new Samsung phones and tablets globally. We're also collaborating with Samsung to create special features in Google Play Music just for Samsung customers.

The radio station is curated specifically for broadcasting mainstream music releases from around the world. If you're into the latest pop music, like Katy Perry, Miley Cyrus, or I guess Nickelback, it'll keep you privy to what's new from them and any other related artists. You'll also get a couple of hits from overseas; I myself encountered Danish pop. If you're more into the niche genres of music, however, or perhaps you simply abhor popular culture, New Releases Radio might not be something you'll have on repeat.

Samsung Galaxy S8 and S8+

Main

Verizon AT&T T-Mobile Sprint Unlocked

About

The Galaxy S8, and its larger sibling the S8+, are Samsung's top-end devices for 2017 meant to appeal to the general consumer and power user alike. The two phones are only differentiated by screen and battery size: 5.8 inches and 3000mAh, and 6.2 inches and 3500mAh.

The displays have a new 18.5:9 aspect ratio with a QHD+ resolution, meaning they're extra tall and narrow. Samsung moved to on-screen buttons and reduced bezel size dramatically in order to fit as much screen into the body as possible. That moved the fingerprint sensor to the back of the phones, where it sits somewhat-awkwardly next to the camera lens. Iris scanning makes its return in a new-and-improved version from the Note 7.

Though the batteries haven't increased in size from the Galaxy S7 and S7 edge, the hope is that the improved efficiency of the new 10 nm processor inside will provide some help. The processor is backed up by 4GB of RAM and 64GB of storage. Waterproofing and wireless charging are still here as well, plus a new USB-C port on the bottom. The rear camera is unchanged in terms of its 12MP sensor and f/1.7 lens, but has improved processing thanks to a new ISP and software.

Specs

Width Height Thickness 5.86 in
148.9 mm
2.68 in
68.1 mm
0.31 in
8 mm
5.47 oz
155g grams
  • Display:
    • 5.8-inch AMOLED display
    • 2960x1440 resolution
    • 18.5:9 aspect ratio
    • Dual-curve infinity display
  • Cameras:
    • 12MP ƒ/1.7 rear camera
    • Dual-pixel phase detection autofocus
    • 1.4-micron pixels
    • 8MP ƒ/1.7 front camera
  • Battery:
    • 3000 mAh battery
    • Non-removable
    • USB-C fast Charging
    • Qi + PMA wireless charging
  • Chips:
    • Snapdragon 835 processor
    • Samsung Exynos 8896 processor
      (varies by region)
    • 4GB RAM
    • 64GB internal storage
    • microSD card slot
    • Android 7.0 Nougat
  • GS8+
    • Samsung Galaxy S8+
    • 6.2-inch AMOLED display
    • 3500mAh battery
    • 6.28 in x 2.89 in x 0.32 in
      159.5mm x 73.4mm x 8.1mm
    • 6.10 oz / 73g

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6 days ago

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Connecting to the internet with a VPN means your data is encrypted — unlike many other VPN services, there is no limit on data usage, and you won't experience any throttling. The internet isn't getting any safer, so why wait? This lifetime subscription deal for only $50 won't be available forever.

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1 week ago

Why I'm switching from Apple Music to Spotify

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While it might seem like an obvious move to make, I kept holding out hope that Apple would properly support its Android subscribers.

It's been just over two years since Apple announced it was jumping into music streaming business with its Apple Music service. I was an early adopter to the service and even decided to stay loyal after otherwise jumping ship over to Android from iOS — but the lack of meaningful support for the Android app has slowly worn me down and left me with little choice but to switch over to Spotify.

Despite the Android app's shortcomings, I stuck with Apple Music because its curated playlists and suggestions were on point.

I was able to overlook most of Apple Music's most glaring Android shortcomings — the lacking support for Android tablets, Android TV, and Chromecast — because the music recommendation engine and curated playlists were on point. I was more than comfortable with the user interface, which featured a bottom row for quickly switching between the "For You" tab for discovering playlists and album recommendations, and the "My Music" tab for accessing my ever-growing library of tunes and custom playlists, though it's worth noting that I could not care less about the "Radio" or "Connect" features.

The "For You" tab was a joy to check each day, with fresh playlists and a great mix of new suggestions and classic album recommendations from my personal library. Everything was stored in the iCloud, which meant that I could bring my music library with me when switching between phones (and that happens a lot with this job).

A quick comparison of the old app design (on iOS) vs the hot garbage Apple decided to include in the recommendations tab in the latest Apple Music update.

But the real problems started when Apple Music version 2.0 dropped in the Google Play Store back in April, which completely changed the design of the app — without addressing or adding any of the missing features. Some people may have liked the new look and layout but I hate it. I could have lived with the menu moving to the top left corner, but Apple decided to also integrate the "Connect" feature into the "For You" section, so you scroll through way fewer recommendations and then hit a wall of "social posts" from the artists I follow.

I canceled my subscription to Apple Music once it became abundantly clear that Apple didn't care about it's Android subscribers.

Thanks to creepy targeted advertising, the more I openly bitched about Apple Music the more I kept seeing ads for Spotify's deal for 3 months of Spotify Premium for just $0.99. So I took the plunge and realized that not only did Spotify have a nearly-identical library of music, the app design was a throwback to what I used to love about Apple Music.

Oh, and Spotify also offers proper support for Android including an Android TV app, support for Google Home and Alexa, and even a section for podcasts. Essentially, I realized Apple had been playing me a fool and doing the bare minimum to keep me subscribed as an Android user.

My Apple Music subscription will expire four days before the two-year anniversary of the service's launch. It makes me wonder how many of the over 10 million app downloads are people like me who switched from iOS to Android and wanted to keep enjoy Apple Music — but ultimately go elsewhere when it becomes clear that supporting Android is a low priority for Apple.

Besides the introductory pricing offer, you may be asking why I choose to switch to Spotify. Well, to be honest, the options are kind of slim for us up here in Canada. A Google Play Music subscription does not include YouTube Red, which is just another service that isn't available to Canucks, along with Amazon Music and Pandora. Spotify was really the only other gig in town, so I guess I'm fortunate that it also happens to be the best music service for Android.

Are there any other Apple Music fans out there who feel the same way? Should I give Google Music another shot or am I best off sticking with Spotify? Tell me what you think in the comments!

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