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1 month ago

These are the router makers that have patched KRACK WPA2 Wi-Fi flaws

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Is your router receiving the attention it needs in light of the KRACK WPA2 Wi-Fi hack?

An exploit that has taken the "protected" out of Wi-Fi Protected Access II (WPA2) means that your wireless network is likely not as safe as you once thought. What security researcher Mathy Vanhoef is calling "KRACK" attacks the handshake portion of the WPA2 protocol. Mobile Nations Senior Editor Jerry Hildenbrand put together a comprehensive guide on exactly how the exploit works and how you can protect yourself, also mentioning some information on patches containing a fix. To help you stay on top of which vendors are patching the vulnerability, we rounded them up here.

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1 month ago

Best Microsoft apps for Android

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Best Microsoft apps for Android

Microsoft apps have come a long way on Android.

Microsoft essentially shunned Android and iOS for several years, but with Satya Nadella taking the helm in 2014 and adopting a mobile-first stance, the company has turned its attention to bringing its apps and services to rival platforms. From heavy-hitters like Office to side projects developed by employees in their free time under the Microsoft Garage label, Microsoft has a lot to offer on Android.

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1 month ago

Why don't phone makers use last year's high-end chips in budget phones?

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There's more to making a phone than Megahertz.

Everybody loves budget-friendly phones that are still pretty high-end devices. Motorola, ZTE, and other companies have delivered some great products at great prices, and for many, it's crazy to spend almost $1,000 to buy the best from Google or Samsung. These "budget" phones can do everything they want them to do at considerable savings. But there's one question a lot of folks have about the parts that make these phones go: why use "lesser" chipsets instead of just using last generation's flagship chips?

We'll take the Moto X4 and use it as an example here. It ships with a $399 price and a Snapdragon 630. Both of those are definitely on the budget side of the line. So why didn't Moto keep the price, but use a Snapdragon 820 or 821 instead of the brand-new Snapdragon 630?

Because the Snapdragon 630 is better than the Snapdragon 821 in several key areas, and they are pretty important ones.

No, we're not talking about performance in the way you might be thinking. The Snapdragon 821 with its Kryo cores and Adreno 530 GPU will run rings around the 630's Cortex-A53 cores and Adreno 508 GPU when doing intensive things like gaming or VR. But there's more to making a great chip for a great phone. A lot more.

Getting connected in 2017

This is the most important reason why a company like Motorola/Lenovo doesn't want to use a Snapdragon chip designed in 2015 inside a phone sold at the end of 2017.

These are phones. Getting connected and staying connected is kind of important.

The Snapdragon 630 has Qualcomm's X12 Modem, which is the same LTE package that was in the high-end 821. That means LTE speeds up to 600 Mbps, LTE Cat 12 (downlink)/13 (uplink), 3 x 20 MHz carrier aggregation and 256 QAM. This all translates into real-world LTE speeds in the 200-250 Mbps right now, and those will climb as carrier infrastructure is updated further. That's a good thing.

Also new to the 600 platform is 2x2 MU-MIMO 802.11ac Wi-Fi. That means things like solid-concrete walls or copper plumbing pipes won't interfere with your Wi-Fi signal as much and you'll have a faster connection even further away. This means more than double the data throughput from the previous 600 series chipsets.

New chips can get new tech that didn't exist last year.

In addition, the Snapdragon 630 supports wireless tech the Snapdragon 821 doesn't. Things like Bluetooth 5 which means better support for the next-gen IoT (internet of things) as well as advances in current products. Or advanced RF front-end support through Qualcomm's TruSignal adaptive antenna that now works with carrier aggregation, which translates into a better signal further from the cell tower.

There's even a new location engine that supports the newest constellations (think satellite clusters) like QZSS and SBAS which will not only make finding your location faster and more accurate but also provide satellite-based augmentation that factors in things like clock drift and microwave signal ionospheric delay. Science!

The Snapdragon 630 makes for a better portable handheld wireless device than the Snapdragon 821 does.

But wait, there's more!

The Snapdragon 630 is also a modern chipset when it comes to input and output. There is full support for Quick Charge 4.0, USB Type-C and USB 3.1. Faster data connection and the now-universal socket are awesome, and so is support for all of the latest fast-charging methods. Qualcomm's All-Ways Aware sensor hub package means you'll use a lot less power when getting data from things like the gyroscope because it can run independently from the main CPU cores. And hardware-based security for things like biometrics means your data will be more secure and its data-entry (the act of scanning your finger or face or iris) is faster and more accurate.

Last but not least are the camera capabilities. A good camera has become one of the most important features for many consumers, and the Snapdragon 630 offers support for the second-generation Spectra ISP (image signal processor) system. This supports the fancy computational photography we saw with the Google Pixel in 2016 as well as instant focus and zero shutter lag from the internal hardware.

Support is important, too. We depend on the company who made our phone for support, and it depends on the company who made the components.

The 630 also includes some of the standard performance-enhancing things we usually think of like a faster clock rate in the CPU cores and better 3D rendering from a new GPU when compared to the previous 600 series chipsets. The Snapdragon 630 is not only a better chip than last years 625 was, but it's also a better chip than last year's Snapdragon 821 was.

Remember, we just used the Moto X4 and its Snapdragon 630 as an example. These same types of upgrades are also present on all new chips compared to older models. Along with things like better battery life and longer OEM support, this is why companies making our phones use the latest and greatest even in their inexpensive models. And we should be glad that they do!

What about updates?

That's another win in favor of the Snapdragon 630: Qualcomm supports its chips for a finite amount of time, which means that a budget chip from 2017 is likely to be updated for much longer than a more powerful chip from 2016.

Of course, it's up to the phone manufacturer to actually follow through with those updates, but Qualcomm and other chip vendors like Broadcom are integral to this process, as they facilitate driver upgrades and other important improvements to prepare phones for a new Android platform update. It's improving this cooperation that Google had in mind when it announced and implemented Project Treble alongside Android O earlier this year.

It's the price, stupid!

There's another factor that keeps budget phones with "budget" chips instead of last year's flagships: price. Qualcomm licenses a bunch of technology to companies with its Snapdragon processors, and the 800-series is chock-full of features, sensors and optimizations. The cheaper chips in the Snapdragon 600- and 400-series don't always share those same top-shelf features, so phone companies are more likely to choose them over last year's flagship chips, which still likely carry a higher price tag.

Your thoughts

What do you think about all of this? Are you more inclined to buy a Galaxy S7 over a Moto X4? Let us know in the comments!

Google Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL

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1 month ago

Everything you need to know about KRACK, the WPA2 Wi-Fi vulnerability

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Exploit in WPA2 means it's open season on your Wi-Fi network, no matter what router you use.

Update: Wpa supplicant (the method used to set up a Wi-Fi handshake in Linux) has been updated and is already available. Google has implemented this fix and the November 6, 2017 security update will include it. Google Wifi will automatically install the update as soon as it becomes available.

The original article follows.

For years we've all depended on the WPA2 (Wi-Fi Protected Access) protocol to secure our Wi-Fi networks. That all comes to an end today.

Security researcher Mathy Vanhoef has revealed what he has labeled KRACK, an exploit that attacks a vulnerability in the handshake of the WPA2 protocol that you most likely use to protect your Wi-Fi at home and millions of small businesses around the world use, too.

Update: A statement from Google given The Verge says that while every Wi-Fi enabled device is affected, Android phones using Marshmallow (Android 6.0) or higher pose a special risk and are vulnerable to a variant of the exploit that can manipulate traffic. Models on older firmware are susceptible in other ways, but traffic injection is a serious issue. Expect a fix from Google in the near future.

Speaking at the ACM Conference on Computer and Communications Security in Dallas, Vanhoef explained that this exploit may allow packet sniffing, connection hijacking, malware injection, and even decryption of the protocol itself. The vulnerability has been disclosed to the people who need to know these sorts of things early to find a fix and US-CERT (United States Computer Emergency Readiness Team) has released this prepared bulletin:

US-CERT has become aware of several key management vulnerabilities in the 4-way handshake of the Wi-Fi Protected Access II (WPA2) security protocol. The impact of exploiting these vulnerabilities includes decryption, packet replay, TCP connection hijacking, HTTP content injection, and others. Note that as protocol-level issues, most or all correct implementations of the standard will be affected. The CERT/CC and the reporting researcher KU Leuven, will be publicly disclosing these vulnerabilities on 16 October 2017.

According to a researcher who has been briefed on the vulnerability, it works by exploiting a four-way handshake that's used to establish a key for encrypting traffic. During the third step, the key can be resent multiple times. When it's resent in certain ways, a cryptographic nonce can be reused in a way that completely undermines the encryption.

How do I stay safe?

To be honest, for the next couple of days there aren't a ton of public options available to you. We're not going to tell you how it works or where to find more information on how exactly the attack works. But we can tell you what you can (and should do) to stay as safe as possible.

  • Avoid public Wi-Fi at all costs. This includes Google's protected Wi-Fi hotspots until Google says otherwise. If your carrier forces your phone to Wi-Fi when in range, visit the forum for your phone to see if there's a workaround to stop it from happening.
  • Only connect to secured services. Web pages that use HTTPS or another secure connection will include HTTPS in the URL. You should contact any company whose services you use and ask if the connection is secured using TLS 1.2, and if so your connection with that service is safe for now.
  • If you have a paid VPN service that you trust you should enable the connection full-time until further notice. Resist the temptation to rush and sign-up for any free VPN service until you can find out if they have been vetted and will keep your data secure. Most don't.
  • Use a wired network if your router and computer both have a spot to plug in an Ethernet cable. This exploit only affects 802.11 traffic between a Wi-Fi router and a connected device. Ethernet cables are relatively cheap and an eyesore strung across the carpet is worth it. Look for a Cat6 or Cat5e spec cable and there should be no configuration needed once plugged in.
  • If you use a Chromebook or MacBook, this USB Ethernet adapter is plug-and-play.
  • Relax.

What could happen if I am on an attacked network?

This hack can't steal your banking information or Google password (or any data on a correctly secured connection that uses end-to-end encryption). While an intruder may be able to capture the data you send and receive, it can't be used or even read by anyone. You can't even read it unless you allow your phone or computer to decrypt and unscramble it first.

An attacker may be able to do things like redirect traffic on a Wi-Fi network or even send bogus data in place of the real thing. This means something harmless like printing a thousand copies of gibberish on a networked printer or something dangerous like sending malware as a reply to a legitimate request for information or a file. The best way to protect yourself is to not use Wi-Fi at all until you're directed otherwise.

On phones running Android 6.0 Marshmallow and newer, the KRACK vulnerability can force the Wi-Fi connection to create an absurdly easy-to-crack encryption key of 00:00:00:00:00. With something so simple, it's easy for an outsider to read all of the traffic coming to and from a client, like a smartphone or laptop.

But if that traffic is encoded using the secure HTTPS and TLS protocols (and most web traffic should be these days), the data they contain is encrypted end-to-end and, even if intercepted, won't be readable.

Has your router been patched to fix the KRACK vulnerability?

Ubiquiti has been said to already have a patch ready to deploy for their equipment, and if this turns out to be true we should see the same from companies like Google or Apple very soon. Other, less security-conscious companies may take longer and many routers will never see a patch. Some companies who make routers are much like some companies who make Android phones: any desire to support the product stops when your money reaches their bank.

Does this really matter?

This is not a case where you should feel immune because your data isn't valuable enough. The majority of attacks using this exploit will be opportunistic. Kids who live in your building, shady characters who drive the neighborhood looking for Wi-Fi APs and general mischief makers are already scanning Wi-Fi networks around them.

WPA2 has had a long and fruitful life with nary a public exploit until today. Here's hoping the fix, or what comes next, can enjoy the same. Stay safe!

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1 month ago

Common Galaxy Note 8 problems and how to fix them

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Samsung Galaxy Note 8

No phone is perfect — but we can help.

The Galaxy Note 8 has all sorts of power and features to take advantage of it, but that doesn't mean it's impervious to the issues that so many other smartphones have. Bad battery life, issues with radios, running out of storage and the like may hit your Note 8 in some form or fashion over the months and years you have it — but that doesn't mean it has to be that way. You can fix these problems more often than not, so long as you can identify the issues and know the steps to fix them.

And that's what we're here to help you with. If you have issues with your Galaxy Note 8, here's the information you need to hopefully fix them.

Bad battery life

Galaxy Note 8 and wireless charger

You won't find many smartphone owners who are happy with their battery life. Even a brand new phone with advanced power-saving features and efficient specs like the Note 8 will have issues for heavy users. If you're having problems with battery life, consider these basic tips to help your phone last a little longer.

  • Use power saving mode: Power saving mode strikes a good balance between keeping your phone usable for its core features but without the background processes or data access that can drain battery rapidly. It's customizable, but by default will lower your screen resolution and brightness as well in order to save what battery capacity you have left.
  • Look for power-hungry apps: A bad app (or three) could really take down your battery over the course of the day. Go into the Device maintenance settings and look for individual apps using more than a couple percentage points of your battery over the course of your day. If the app is using battery when you're not actively using it, check out its settings to see if you can limit that — or potentially uninstall it if it continues to misbehave.
  • Turn off unused radios: If you're not actively using Wi-Fi or Bluetooth for a while, you can turn them off to save battery. To get the full effect, To go the extra mile, head into your phone's Settings, Connections, Location, and tap on Improve accuracy — here, you can choose to turn off Wi-Fi and Bluetooth scanning, which by default happen even when the radios are turned "off."
  • Last resort: A battery pack: No matter what you do, your battery may drain too quickly during the heaviest of days. Consider picking up a battery pack to get you through those critical days without losing your phone. Look for one with Quick Charge 2.0 or 3.0 for the fastest top-ups on the go.

How to fix Galaxy Note 8 battery life problems

Running low on storage

Even with 64GB of internal storage, you're likely to find just as many people complaining about running out of storage as those with bad battery life. If you're hitting errors trying to download files because you've topped out your storage, here are a few things to try.

  • Delete old apps: In a rush to set up your new phone, you probably installed a lot of apps you don't need anymore. Uninstall them! You can always download them later from the Play Store.
  • Move data to your SD card: If you have an SD card in your Note 8, you can start to put data on it to save the internal storage for things that can't be moved to a removable card. Media like videos, photos and audio are all great choices for putting on the SD card, and you can even set your camera to store new photos and videos there by default. Most apps can't be moved to the SD card, but it's worth checking if some can to save even more storage.
  • Use the "Device maintenance" settings: Samsung includes a section of its settings just for managing storage, found under Device maintenance in the main settings. Tap on Storage at the bottom and see which areas look out of the ordinary to you. Chances are the "Clean now" button will offer to save you something, usually consisting of old temporary files or duplicate data.

Choosing how to unlock the phone

Galaxy Note 8 iris scanner

Samsung has put us in a tough position with its latest phones, moving the fingerprint sensor high on the back on the phone where it's tougher to reach than ever before. But the fingerprint sensor isn't the only way to keep your phone secure — you have other options, including Samsung's new iris scanner, to choose from. Here's how we rank them in terms of security and simplicity of use:

  1. Best: Fingerprint sensor: Even though it's inconveniently placed, the fingerprint sensor offers the best balance of security and convenience on your phone. Your phone and apps unlock with just a tap, and it's not very easy for an attacker to obtain a fingerprint to use on your phone.
  2. Good, but slower: Pattern lock: A trusty pattern lock is the next-best bet, as it's easy to input but also quite secure. In fact, it's more secure than a four-digit PIN — so the longer you make your pattern, the better.
  3. Oldie but goodie: PIN or passphrase: If you don't like the pattern for whatever reason, keep your phone secured with a PIN or password. The PIN in particular isn't as strong as a longer pattern, but this is better than no security at all.
  4. Secure and unreliable: Iris scanning: Iris scanning, which Samsung lauds as a differentiator, is quite secure — around the same as a fingerprint sensor. The reason why it's down here below the other options is how erratic it can be in recognizing your eyes depending on the angle you hold the phone and the ambient lighting conditions.
  5. Fast and loose: Face recognition: Face recognition is a (very small) step above no security at all. We know it's quite easy to fool with a simple photo of your face, and for that reason it's also very fast to recognize your face in person and unlock your phone.
  6. Built-in goodness: Trusted Location/Device/Voice: Google's built-in "trusted" unlock options keep your Note 8 unlocked so long as it meets one or more criteria like being connected to a Bluetooth device or at a specific(ish) location. As you can expect, there are many potential security issues with this method, and it should only be considered as purely a convenience option and not necessarily a security-focused one.

Best ways to secure and unlock your Galaxy Note 8

Don't like the launcher or icons

A great part of Android is its customization options, and for a lot of people that starts with how they configure their home screen and icons. So if you don't like what your Note 8's home screen launcher or icons look like, you can change them!

Samsung's built-in theme engine lets you change everything from top to bottom.

To change the launcher, just install one of many great launchers from the Play Store and then set it as your default after you return to the home screen. From there, you can open up a world of possibilities for theming your app icons.

If you want to go a step further, open up Samsung's built-in theme engine. Go into your Settings and find Wallpapers and themes — you can download pre-associated wallpapers, themes and icons all at once, or pick and choose what you want. Applying a different theme can change the entire look of your phone from top to bottom.

Screen is the wrong color temperature

The Note 8 has the best screen Samsung has made to date, but there are many variables that factor into whether or not it looks right to your eyes. Screens can be tuned and tweaked in software, and Samsung gives you a few tools in the settings to change the display so it looks right to you.

Most people will like the defaults, but there are many display options to choose from.

Head into Settings, Display and Screen mode to tweak things. Choose between the four different screen mode presets to see which one looks best to you, and beyond that move the slider between "cool" and "warm" to adjust further. You can check the "advanced options" box to change the individual levels of red, green and blue for the smallest changes.

After playing with all of the settings most people will probably come back to just using the defaults, but if something doesn't look right to your eyes you can make a small changes until it does!

Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and GPS problems

Galaxy Note 8 quick settings

Some of the most annoying, yet tough to diagnose, issues on phones relate to Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and GPS. This is mostly because of how much we rely on these features, but also how many variables are involved.

  • Turn off the radio and turn it back on again: Yes, we know, it's the simplest trick in the book. But sometimes all it takes to get Wi-Fi or Bluetooth to reconnect properly is to turn them off and back on again. Do the same with the device on the other end, if possible, to reset the whole chain.
  • Forget the network or un-pair the device: Going a step further, you can forget the Wi-Fi network, or un-pair the Bluetooth device, you're having trouble with and try reconnecting from scratch. Sometimes the initial configuration or passcode is incorrect and it keeps trying to connect with a setup that will never complete.
  • Reset network settings: If you're still having issues, it's best to just reset your network settings and start over. This will clear out all of your preferences for your network and delete saved networks, but it'll be worth it if it solves your problems. Go to Settings, General management and tap Reset — then tap on Reset network settings to flip all of the data back to default.
  • "GPS" isn't just using satellites: Remember that your phone uses more than just satellites to obtain its location, even though we so often refer to this service as "GPS." By keeping Wi-Fi and your mobile data turned on, your phone will be able to quickly get an idea of where it is in the world before it can get a proper GPS lock from GPS satellites.

How to factory reset the Galaxy Note 8

If you've gone through the typical troubleshooting steps to fix whatever problems you're seeing on your Note 8 and still don't have a resolution, you may have to go a step further. Factory resetting your phone back to its default out-of-box state is the only way to guarantee that it isn't something you did that's causing the problems you're seeing.

After backing up any important data, follow these steps to factory reset your phone.

  1. Open your phone's Settings.
  2. Scroll down and tap on General management.
  3. Tap on Reset at the bottom of the list.
  4. Tap on Factory data reset.
  5. Scroll down and tap on Reset and let the phone go through its process.
    • The whole reset process should take several minutes.

How to factory reset the Galaxy Note 8

After your phone restarts you'll be setting it up again as new. Even though it's a pain to do, sometimes this is your only option to try and get your phone back to running like it should.

Other issues

What are your main issues with the Galaxy Note 8? We'll keep this article updated as new information becomes available! And in the meantime, you can always join the discussion in our Galaxy Note 8 forums!

Samsung Galaxy Note 8

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1 month ago

Google Home vs. Google Home Mini: Which should you buy?

11

Should you buy a Google Home or a Google Home Mini?

Big in importance but small in stature, the Home Mini was overshadowed by the Pixel 2 announcement at Google's recent hardware event. But it's an important addition to the company's hardware canon.

At just $49, the rounded plastic puck, covered in fabric, is an inexpensive entry into Google's burgeoning smart home ecosystem. It offers a speaker that while lacking in bass is adequate for most voice-based tasks. As it sits, its microphones listen for the "OK Google" hotword and, offers a growing number of commands through the Google Assistant, a cloud-based AI that hooks deep into Google's Knowledge Graph — the same back-end that powers the company's ubiquitous search engine.

For many people, the $49 price is right, and will likely prove to be an excellent holiday gift. But is it worth springing the extra $80 (when not on sale) for the larger, better-sounding Google Home? Let's discuss.

Capabilities

Google Home is the company's flagship smart speaker (for now, until the $399 Home Max comes out) and it was built with Google Assistant in mind. It has two far-field microphones that are designed to pick up one's voice even when there is ambient noise around it. It has a touch-sensitive top area with four colored LEDs that light up and dance when activated. It's powered by a proprietary DC power connection and a has a mute button on the back for times you don't want the microphone to listen.

For some reason, Google chose Micro-USB instead of the more-versatile USB-C to charge the Home Mini.

The Home Mini is significantly smaller and doesn't have the same number of features — for obvious reasons. It lacks the top touch controls of the Google Home (which turned out to be a critical design flaw in the hardware itself, forcing Google to permanently disable the feature), and has neither the absolute volume nor the microphone sensitivity of its larger counterpart.

It also charges with Micro-USB instead of a more power-hungry DC plug, and the mute function is a switch, not a button. Finally, changing the volume on the Home Mini involves tapping on the left or right edge of the front instead of the more tactile and, ultimately, functional way of moving one's finger over the Home's top touch panel.

At the same time, the units are functionally identical where it counts: Google Assistant. Each improvement made to Assistant — from supporting new smart home products to being better able to answer direct questions using the "OK Google" hotword — is rolled out to every unit. Both the Home and Home Mini will grow and improve in abilities over time, and neither should benefit disproportionately from software improvements made over time.

Sound quality

The main difference between the two speakers isn't functionality but sound quality. Google Home has a 2-inch driver and dual 2-inch passive radiators, which drive a tremendous amount of low-end for a speaker of this size. It's certainly better than the first-generation Amazon Echo, and very enjoyable to listen to when jamming to hip-hop, rock, or even jazz.

The Google Home Mini is a circumaural (or 360-degree) speaker, and lacks the size for a bass-generating woofer. As you can see in the video below, both sound good, but the larger Home definitely has a wider range and emphatic low-end.

Still, the Home Mini holds its own, and does so in a form factor that is less than a quarter the size of the Google Home itself. And if the sound quality from the Home Mini isn't good enough, it supports outputting music to a Chromecast Audio-connected speaker system.

Which should you buy?

At $49, you can buy two Home Minis for the price of a single Home, with money to spare. Given that Google's Home ecosystem supports multi-speaker groupings, for people with a large house it may be a better idea to purchase a duo of Home Minis over a single Home, especially if they're going to work in conjunction with a Chromecast Audio-enabled speaker.

See Home Mini at Google Store

But for a smaller apartment, or the sake of simplicity, a Google Home is the right answer. It has the perfect balance of volume, sound fidelity, and bass for a small to medium-sized room, and its microphones are scary-accurate, even when music is blaring or the room is full of other sounds.

See Home at Google Store

Google Hardware

Google Wifi:

Google Amazon

Google Home:

Google Best Buy

Chromecast Ultra:

Google Best Buy

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1 month ago

How to set up and get started with Movies Anywhere

23

Set your digital movies free!

Before there was Android, before there was Google Play, there were movies on iTunes and Amazon, and there were digital copies of movies that were redeemed on iTunes, Amazon, and Vudu. Well, we can free them from their unused services and bring them all together on Movies Anywhere, adding them to your Google Play library and making them watchable just about anywhere!

Getting set up is a breeze, and you can get 5 free movies for doing it, so what are you waiting for?

Movies Anywhere is the multi-studio successor to Disney Movies Anywhere, and the setup works exactly the same, which is simple and you can do most of it straight from your phone after downloading the Movies Anywhere app.

  1. Open Movies Anywhere.
  2. Tap Get Started.
  3. Tap the account you wish to log in with. On Android, Google will connect with the account set up on the device.

  4. Agree to the Video Data Sharing agreement, which is required for the various studios and video services to talk to each other and share your library information.
  5. Tap the checkbox next to the terms of use for the service to agree. You can also opt out of the marketing and promotion emails from Movies Anywhere and its studios by unchecking the opt-in boxes below the terms of service.
  6. Tap I Agree.

  7. If you already had a Disney Movies Anywhere account linked to the same email you used for setup, you'll be prompted to import all your Disney movies. Tap Agree & Continue.
  8. Tap Finish.
  9. Tap the three-line menu icon in the top left corner.

  10. Tap Manage Retailers.
  11. Tap Google Play to link your account to Google Play.
  12. Choose a Google account to link your account to.

  13. Tap Allow to allow Movies Anywhere to add movies to your account and see what movies you own that are Movies Anywhere eligible.
  14. You'll receive the first two promotional movies. Tap Connect Retailers to link another account.

You can easily link Google Play and Amazon via the Movies Anywhere app. Vudu was experiencing issues connecting to Movies Anywhere on mobile and desktop, but this should be cleared up. Connecting iTunes requires you to log into Movies Anywhere on a device with iTunes, such as an iPad or desktop computer.

Note: After you link any account, give Movies Anywhere a few minutes for your movies to show up. The eligible titles will appear once your libraries sync. The current studios working with Movies Anywhere are Disney, Sony, Universal, Warner Bros., and 20th Century Fox.

Once you've linked all your accounts, you can stream the movies to your device, or you can Save Offline to watch when you're stranded without data. As was done in Disney Movies Anywhere, offline copies in Movies Anywhere are handled by Google Play. By default, Movies Anywhere has Wi-Fi Only enabled to help you avoid breaking any data caps, and it can be easily toggled off from the main menu.

Because you sometimes hand your phone over to your kids to let them watch something while in the car/grocery store/backyard, Movies Anywhere has a profile system to let you quickly and easily switch to an age-restricted account for your little ones.

  1. Tap the three-line menu icon in the top left corner.
  2. Tap Add Profile.
  3. Tap Change Avatar.

  4. Tap the avatar that you desire for the profile.
  5. Name the profile.
  6. Slide the rating viewer to adjust what movie ratings your kids can see.
  7. Tap Create Profile.

Now you can switch profiles by coming back to the main menu and tapping Switch Profile.

How are you liking Movies Anywhere? The bonus features UI could use a little work right now, but the app is as stable and capable as its predecessor, with a whole lot more movies that can use it. And once more studios sign on, I can see the next frontier for this service: TV shows.

Movies Anywhere: Everything you need to know!

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1 month ago

Should you use your Google Pixel 2 or Pixel 2 XL on Project Fi?

44
Google Pixel 2

For some people, getting a Pixel is a sure thing — the next question is which carrier you should choose.

If you're already set on buying a Pixel 2 or Pixel 2 XL, or even have one already, you may be thinking about switching carriers at the same time. Google's own Project Fi service is quite popular, but unless you had a previous Nexus or Pixel phone, you haven't even had the choice to use it. So now that you can use Project Fi, we're going to help you decide whether or not it's the right carrier for your shiny new Pixel 2 or Pixel 2 XL.

Who should use their Pixel 2 on Project Fi?

Project Fi

Project Fi has a solid set of clear advantages when compared to a "traditional" carrier. For the most part, it boils down to just how simple Project Fi is compared to the competition. With Fi, you don't have any sort of contract, fine print, agreements or even set plans to decide on. You simply pay $20 per month for the base service, and then $10 per gigabyte of data thereafter. That's it! The Fi app and website make your data usage, account management, and billing super simple, removing the stress of dealing with your phone service. You also get a combined nationwide cell network that utilizes T-Mobile, Sprint and US Cellular towers.

Project Fi is simple, flexible, and intuitive — so long as you don't use much data.

That makes Project Fi useful for people who need to have coverage wherever they go, but at the same time are willing to actively cut back on data usage to save money. Data usage is billed down to the megabyte, so every time you hop on Wi-Fi or wait to make a big download there's a direct correlation to having a lower bill at the end of the month. If you're regularly in the 2-3GB range monthly, you will probably find this to be a good deal compared to your current service.

If you use your phone internationally often, Project Fi is a fantastic choice. You can use your phone exactly as you do at home and pay the same $10/GB, and even save on calls back to the U.S. when you use Wi-Fi or the Hangouts Dialer. You don't have to change your plan or buy an international package before you leave — just turn on your phone in a new country, and you have service right away.

Sign up for Project Fi

Who should use their Pixel 2 on a different carrier?

SIM cards

Conversely, many of the core tenets of Project Fi can make it instantly unappealing to many common types of Pixel owners. The biggest issue for most people will be the cost of data. At $10 per gigabyte, with no savings or discounts available, Fi gets really expensive if you're using a lot of data on a consistent basis. Anyone who uses 5GB or more in an average month will likely be better off paying for one of the unlimited plans available from the other carriers.

If you use lots of data or have a demanding family plan, you should look elsewhere.

The same goes for people who want to combine multiple lines of service with a family plan. Project Fi does offer a group plan option, but the savings with extra lines are minimal and in the end the same $10/GB data restriction is going to get in the way. The limitation of only being able to use Nexuses, Pixels and the new Moto X4 on Project Fi may also be a consideration if you need an inexpensive phone for your children on a family plan.

One other aspect of this whole comparison to consider is that you don't have to stick with Project Fi if you're just looking to save money. Yes Project Fi can be a very inexpensive way to get service on a new Pixel, but there are also many great prepaid carriers that offer more data for the money — just remember it comes at the expense of many of the extra features that make Fi so appealing.

Google Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL

Google Store Project Fi Verizon Best Buy

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1 month ago

How to use the Coloring feature on the Galaxy Note 8

6

Coloring is one of the most enjoyable features on the Note 8. Here's how to use it!

It's always been fun to use the Galaxy Note's S Pen stylus to doodle in S Note and other compatible apps, but with the Note 8, Samsung has gone one step further — it's added a dedicated coloring feature.

Part of the little-known but, in some circles, wildly popular PenUP app, the coloring feature gives the S Pen a creative rejuvination by transposing all of S Note's brushes, styles and colors into a collection of thick line drawings.

The feature isn't surprising, though: coloring books, both real and digital, have seen a resurgence in recent years as smartphone and tablet addicts look for something that clears the mind and encourages focusing on one task. While it's not quite meditative, to many people the act of filling in a pictogram with color is relaxing, rewarding, and fun.

If you're looking to do the same thing on the new Galaxy Note 8, here's how.

First, enable Coloring in Air Command

You can easily access the Coloring feature directly in the PenUP app, but it's much easier to get to it using the shortcut in Air Command, which pops up when you remove the S Pen from its holster.

But it's off by default, so you need to enable it.

  1. Remove the S Pen from the holster. Wait for Air Command to appear.
  2. Tap Add shortcut.
  3. Tap on Coloring under S Pen features.
  4. Now, access Coloring from the Air Command menu.

That's it! Now the Coloring icon will show up whenever you open Air Command.

Then, play with the features

You can also find the Coloring feature inside the PenUP app.

  1. Swipe up from the Samsung Launcher to access the app drawer.
  2. Open the Samsung folder.
  3. Tap on PenUP.

  4. Navigate to the Coloring section on the right.
  5. Find a drawing.
  6. Play with brushes, opacity, colors and other features.

Now you're set up to use, in my opinion, one of the best features on the Galaxy Note 8.

The great thing about the Coloring feature is that more pictograms are being added every week, and you can compare your work to others who have submitted their work through the community.

Even better, it's possible to download many of those finished works of art and apply them as wallpapers, or to use as stepping stones for your own projects.

Have you used the Coloring feature on the Galaxy Note 8? Let us know in the comments below!

Samsung Galaxy Note 8

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1 month ago

Should you buy an original Pixel or Pixel XL in 2017?

28

Is a lower-priced Pixel or Pixel XL a good deal right now?

The unceasing march of innovation, coupled with the desire for a predictable revenue stream for manufacturers and carriers alike, all but ensures an annual update cycle for most major smartphone brands.

So is true of the new Pixel 2 series, which takes what made last year's models so good and improves on them in nearly every conceivable way.

But Google and its U.S. carrier partner Verizon are not putting the originals out to pasture just yet. Instead, they're each getting $100 price cuts and entering their second life as, if not budget phones, viable options for fast, capable, approachable Android flagships for people who don't want or need the very best.

And if you want a Pixel with a headphone jack, last year's models are your only option.

Should you buy a Pixel?

At $549, the original Pixel is still a good phone, but it's not a great deal.

With the original Pixel down to $549, it's easier than ever to get into a Chevy Google. With its 5-inch OLED display, still-powerful Snapdragon 821 processor, 4GB of RAM, and 32GB of storage, the Pixel has specs that don't seem too out of place in late 2017, and it's still got a year left of Google's guaranteed platform updates, which means it will be among the first devices to get Android P when it debuts in 2018. It's also got a 2770mAh battery, which is ever-so-slightly larger than the one in the Pixel 2.

But the original Pixel lacks a couple of key features that many people take for granted in phones today; its single, downport speaker doesn't compare well to the front-facing stereo speakers on the Pixel 2, and it lacks its successor's IP67 water resistance. It also has a rather pedestrian design that failed to win over the mass market.

At $549, the original Pixel is still a good phone, but it's not a great deal. If you're already spending that much on a phone, you should probably try to save up the extra hundred for the Pixel 2, which adds a faster Snapdragon 835 processor, double the storage, an improved camera with optical image stabilization, and the promise of an additional two years of platform updates.

Of course, as already mentioned, the Pixel has the headphone jack that the Pixel 2 lacks, which, if wired headphones are important, may singlehandedly be enough to push you over the edge.

If you do want an original Pixel, it may be worth investigating lightly used models on sites like Swappa or eBay, which could bring the cost down significantly.

See at Google Store

Should you buy a Pixel XL?

The question of whether you should buy a Pixel XL right now is a bit more nuanced. The same arguments against it still apply — no waterproofing, aging processor, shorter update lifespan — but the Pixel XL, at its lower price of $669, has a considerable price delta advantage to the Pixel 2 XL, which starts at $849.

The Pixel 2 XL is a better phone, but it's also nearly $200 more expensive.

Sure, the Pixel 2 XL is sleeker and taller, with an updated design that takes advantage of LG's near-bezelless design and pOLED technology, but the Pixel XL is still a whopper of a phone. Its 3450mAh battery has proven capable of offering all-day battery life, something its smaller Pixel counterpart never quite realized, and its higher-resolution QHD panel makes everything from watching video to playing games in Daydream VR a more pleasant experience.

Thanks to its hardware advantages, I spent a lot more time with the Pixel XL than the Pixel throughout 2016 and 2017, and I'd venture to say it's one of the best phones ever made. At $669, it's a much more interesting proposition than the Pixel at $549, and if you're looking for a larger flagship that will stand the test of time, I'd encourage you to look into it.

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Google Pixel + Pixel XL

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1 month ago

Video frame rates: 24FPS vs. 30FPS vs. 60FPS explained

15

Which shooting frame rate should I use, and when should I use it?

The first phones that came with a camera that could capture video were an amazing breakthrough. No longer did you need to lug around a second camera if you wanted to make sure you could grab a quick video of something memorable or cool. Sure, the quality was pretty bad, but it was a whole lot better than nothing.

Today the cameras in phones like the LG V30 or Google Pixel can grab amazing video. It's clear, smooth, and almost as good as a standalone mid-range video camera. They also have a lot more options than the older models did, and now things can get even more confusing with the ability to shoot at 24FPS (frames per second), 30FPS, or 60FPS. When should you use each?

Don't overthink it

Here's the best place to start. If you scour the web while asking this very question, you'll find a million different answers, but one piece of advice always stands out:

Shoot everything in 30FPS or 60FPS all of the time.

This is because only very expensive cameras can truly shoot video at 24FPS, and the processing programs we have now are designed to convert higher speed videos into 24FPS "cinematic" mode. If you plan to do any serious editing and your camera can handle 60FPS for the full length of the video you'll be taking, use it. If not, use 30FPS. If you need that cinematic look of 24 frames (actually 24.9 or 25FPS in countries that use the PAL format for video), you do it in your video processing program.

Video shot at 30 or 60FPS and then converted will look better than video shot in a 24FPS mode. Only use 24FPS for special effects once you learn what the raw video looks like from your camera.

Wait. Explain these different speeds or modes to me!

Right! The advice we started with comes from folks who frequent groups and websites dedicated to videography, and the people giving it are pros who know the what, why, and when. For the rest of us, let's try to explain it a little bit.

Whether you are talking about 24, 30, or 60FPS you're considering a number of video frames that will be recorded per second. The higher the number, the smoother the action is, and things like walking or running or anything else that is in motion will look familiar to us. But it doesn't exactly look natural because we're used to seeing film viewed at 24FPS with a certain style of effect added to it.

24 frames, when combined with selective editing, makes any video have that classic "film" look.

At least we used to be accustomed to this. When you go to an actual movie theater and watch a film, you're probably seeing it at 24 frames per second with very specific coloring and grain effects added during production. But when you watch a video or television show, you probably notice it looks a bit different because they are often playing at 30FPS without any of these effects. Our eyes can see a slight difference and even though 30FPS actually shows more information and is more realistic, many of us aren't in love with that smooth TV look. And no matter which you prefer, it's pretty easy to see a difference.

24FPS (actually 23.976FPS) is what video professionals ages ago determined to be the slowest playback rate that still looks smooth enough to feel real. It's also a lot cheaper to produce the final product and even DVD and Blu-ray support 24FPS instead of 30FPS because of costs. According to most pros, without any extra processing or effects, we really can't see much difference between 24 and 30FPS.

So why do we need 30 and 60FPS if 24 looks good?

Because of a phenomenon called "rolling shutter." All cameras are different (even digital cameras like the ones in our phones) and will have a variable amount of what's called wobble or skew when you move the camera during filming. It all depends on how fast the actual sensor can capture movement in the frame while the sensor itself is moving.

The more frames you shoot, the more good footage you'll have.

The slower the filming speed, the more pronounced any rolling shutter effects will be. It's really that simple, and you can test it yourself. Grab your phone and take a video of the same thing in motion while moving the camera to capture more of the scene. Shoot each video at a different speed, then play them back. The higher speed video will look smoother, usually a good bit smoother.

Shooting (or filming if you go really old school) at 30FPS or higher, then converting to 24FPS if you want that special look is what is usually recommended. The processing will intelligently cut the extra 7-ish frames per second and produce a video that plays back at the same rate it was recorded. You have the benefit of shooting at 30FPS to fight blur and rolling shutter effects, but you'll get that "cinematic motion" look by exporting at 23.976FPS.

Of course, this all applies to anyone who is going to export and process their video. When you view a video on your phone or a computer, it plays back at the rate it was shot unless you edit it.

So what speed should I use?

It depends on what you're planning to do. Pros know what speed to use for most any situation, but the rest of us only have a few things to consider.

Physical media

If you plan on exporting your videos to a DVD or Blu-ray disc, it's going to be converted to 24FPS. We saw that shooting at 30FPS then exporting at 24 is fine, but there can be issues exporting 60FPS to 24FPS. Your video will still play back at the right speed, but the reduction of each second in the timeline isn't even. That means certain frames will have to be skipped or repeated and there can be a choppy feel if you don't take the time to manually edit every frame. Common advice in this situation is to shoot at whatever speed is closest to the playback rate of your distribution media. Only use 60FPS or higher if you plan to use effects like slow motion or still frame capture in your project.

Simply put — if you're going to make a DVD of your vacation videos or your kids first birthday, shoot it at 30FPS. If you want to get fancy at a specific place with slow motion (imagine a slow shot of the kid blowing out the candles on the cake) shoot it at 60 or higher and take the time to edit it in your self with a proper video effects program.

Social sharing

Many of us will want to put a video clip on Facebook or Twitter. When you're doing that, file size matters to both the company hosting the video and the folks playing it back. Mostly to the company hosting.

Your video will be compressed and displayed at a low quality but might be a one-to-one copy if someone were to download it. You want to shoot good video, but you don't want enormous file sizes because it's going to be compressed and be a low-quality in then end.

Just like a DVD, cutting from 60FPS to whatever format is being used on your social media site can cause some issues. Shooting at 30FPS is a safer bet. Your video will look good if someone were to download a copy at the original quality, and since it's going to be converted in your timeline, it really doesn't matter.

YouTube

4K 60FPS video of the awesome S Pen!

 

YouTube (or any other video sharing websites like Vimeo) will be able to play your video at the quality and speed you shot it in. It will also be able to be viewed at a lower resolution and compressed format without any intervention on your part, and this can be automatic based on the viewer's internet connection speed.

Film your videos at the speed you like to view them if you're going to put them on YouTube. Usually, the highest resolution and fastest frame rate are best here, as many other people will be able to view them at that quality. A specific framerate and format really only is necessary if you plan to distribute your video on physical media. Computers and phones are great at making everything work and showing us a good video when we tap the play button.

Your keepsakes

Most of us also have a collection of videos and clips we're keeping because they are special to us. We'll view them from time to time, but probably won't be building the collection into a feature-length film.

Always shoot these videos at the highest quality your camera supports. You'll be viewing them on your phone or a computer, so the playback speed and format isn't an issue, but quality can be and will be in the future. I know I can't be the only one with horrible 320 x 240 .3gp video files saved in the cloud somewhere. We still watch them because they are special, but it would be nice if they looked better.

Any video you shoot today will never get "better." As tech advances and we move to 8k displays with newer screen tech to support them, we want the old videos we watch on them to look their best. These are the videos you shoot in 4K at 60FPS.

Back to not overthinking it

What's important is that your videos look good to you. These rules are meant to be broken as needed.

In the end, you should just play with your camera. Try all the features and different shooting speeds, then see what you like. That's the speed and format you should use.

If you ever need to turn out a Hollywood production with them, you'll have a team of pros that can make everything work.

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1 month ago

Best microSD Cards for the Moto G5 Plus

0

Which microSD card is best for the Moto G5 Plus? Well, it depends what you need...

The reality is this: if you are buying a budget phone, you're kind of over the idea of paying a lot for accessories. No fancy, expensive case; no insanely high-performance microSD slot. You just want something that works.

Even though the $229 Moto G5 Plus has a pretty hefty 32GB of storage out of the box (and double that for an extra $70), if you're in need of extra storage for movies, music, or even large games, a microSD card can come in real handy.

The Moto G5 Plus even supports Adoptable Storage, which means that you can make the inserted SD card a permanent part of your phone's storage.

So which cards do we recommend? Take a look below!

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1 month ago

Will Google Pixel and Pixel XL cases fit on the Pixel 2 and 2 XL?

8

A simple question with a simple answer.

There are some striking similarities in design between last year's Pixel and Pixel XL and the new Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL. With the names as they are, you wouldn't expect the hardware dimensions or quality to change much — and in general, they haven't. That immediately leads to questions of whether or not they're actually close enough to use the same cases.

The answer, in short, is "no" you can't use your old Pixel or Pixel XL cases on the Pixel 2 or Pixel 2 XL. Even though their dimensions are very similar — we're talking about fractions of millimeters in some cases — and in the case of the Pixel 2 even the aspect ratio of the screen is the same, there are big enough differences to require full new cases for the latest pixels.

Best Google Pixel 2 Accessories

Unfortunately we didn't luck out the same way that iPhone 7 and 7 Plus owners did with some of their cases working just fine on the iPhone 8 and 8 Plus. A tough break, for sure, but this also gives you a chance to start fresh with a new case for your new phone if you choose to upgrade!

Google Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL

Google Store Project Fi Verizon Best Buy

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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1 month ago

How to convert your DVDs to enjoy on the Huawei Mediapad M3

20

Rip your own DVDs and you won't have to worry about Wi-Fi or the cloud!

There are a lot of Android tablets that have an amazing screen. The Huawei Mediapad M3 is a great example. A 2560×1600 display is awesome for a lot of things, but it's really great for watching movies. It's like holding a cinema in your hands.

There are also a lot of movies to watch! Places like Netflix, or Google Play Movies or HBO are filled with movies you can stream or download, but a lot of us have movies on disc. While you can attach some portable DVD players to the USB port on some tablets, that's a pain to set up and makes for another thing to carry around. There's an easier solution. Rip the movies you already have so you can watch them on your tablet. And the easiest and best way to do it is absolutely free.

Handbrake

If you have done any searching about ripping DVDs for Android, you've seen people talk about Handbrake. It's a free, open-source program for Windows, Mac or Linux that can convert video from one format to another. There are a ton of options if you're the type who likes to fiddle with things, but it has a built-in setting to take a DVD (either an actual disc or an image of one) and convert it into a file that plays on your Android. It also works great!

To get started, you need to install Handbrake on a computer. A faster computer is better, but it will work on almost any PC or laptop. Unfortunately, it doesn't work on a Chromebook unless you've installed Linux on it.

Your computer will need a DVD drive. Since the people who make laptops would rather they be thin than have a DVD drive built-in, you might need to pick up an external USB DVD drive. The good news: they're cheap! There are plenty to choose from, and I can recommend LG's Super Multi Ultra Slim Portable DVD Writer Drive. It has a ridiculous name but a low price, and I use one with my MacBook Pro because it was $50 cheaper than the one from the Apple Store. You can snag it, or any of the hundreds of other models, at Amazon.

See at Amazon

Next, you need to download and install Handbrake. You'll find a bunch of different websites that you can get it from but stick with the official site because most of the others have added garbage programs in the installer. Nobody wants or needs browser toolbars or ad filled video players. Once it's downloaded, you install it like any other program.

Download Handbrake from its official site

Now you need a DVD. And you need to know that the companies who distribute movies think copying a DVD you paid for shouldn't be legal. I think those companies need to stay out of my business and can stuff it if they think they get to tell me what to do with things I paid for.

I can't decide what you think, so I'm just telling you that a guy in a $1,000 suit might say you're stealing if you copy a $15 DVD you bought. You can also use a copy of a DVD (the ones with folders and a bunch of files) or a previously ripped DVD video. I don't want to know where or how you got those, but they work just as well as the original.

Now the easy step-by-step:

  1. Put the DVD in the drive, and close any video player that might have opened.
  2. Open Handbrake. On the screen, you see when it starts, it asks you for a source file. That's your DVD.
  3. On the right side of the Handbrake window is a list of presets to transcode the DVD into playable formats. Scroll down and you'll see several presets for Android.

  4. Choose the quality you want your copy to use. I suggest you use 1080p at 30 fps. The copy will look almost as good as the original does with this setting.
  5. In the middle of the Handbrake window, you need to tell the program where to save the copy. Click the Browse button and choose a place on your computer. This is just like saving any other file so you can save it anywhere.

  6. At the top of the Handbrake window is a Green play button that says Start Encode. Click it.
  7. Wait while Handbrake converts your DVD into a movie you can watch on your tablet.

There are a few things you should know. For starters, this might take a while. Some of it depends on the computer you're using and how powerful it is, but it just takes time to go through every frame of a video and convert it to another format. You can still use your computer while Handbrake is doing its thing, but if you try something like playing a game or working with big files in Photoshop, you can cause Handbrake to error out.

For reference, I used my gaming rig to test things. An 84-minute DVD (Cloverfield, if you're curious) took about 18 minutes from start to finish. The computer has an overclocked Intel Core i7, 32 GB of RAM, and two NVIDIA 980Ti video cards. A better computer will be able to transcode a DVD a little faster, and a computer with specs that aren't as good will take a little longer. But don't worry, even something like a MacBook Air will be able to do this. It will just take five or ten more minutes.

There's a setting in Handbrake that tells the computer what to do when the transcoding is finished. You can set it to shut everything down so you can go do other stuff while it's working. When you come back you'll have a copy of your DVD to play on your tablet and your computer will be shut off.

Handbrake also has a ton of settings. If you use one of the Android presets, you don't need to touch any of them. Unless you want subtitles, that is. Before you start encoding, click the tab in the center of the Handbrake windows that says Subtitles and look through the dropdown list to see what choices your original DVD offers. Choose one and you're good to go.

All that's left is to copy the new video file to your tablet or an SD card so you can watch it with your favorite video player!

See at Amazon

Huawei Mediapad M3 vs. Mediapad M3 Lite: Which should you buy?

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1 month ago

How to take a screenshot on the Google Pixel 2

23
Google Pixel 2 screenshot

This is one of the most fundamental features of a smartphone.

Being able to take a screenshot on our phone is something we all need to do on a regular basis. Whether it's to send off to someone or save for your own use later, it's the fastest way to grab information on your phone. For all of the changes in the new Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL, one thing has remained: taking a screenshot is dead simple.

How to take a screenshot on the Pixel 2 or Pixel 2 XL

  1. Open up whatever you want to screenshot.
  2. Press both the power and volume down buttons and hold them for 2 seconds.
  3. You'll know it completed when the screen briefly flashes and displays the screenshot.
  4. Check the notification shade to see your screenshot.
    • You can tap the notification to view it in full, or expand the notification and tap the share button to share it directly or delete to discard it.

See? That's about as simple as it gets. If you don't need to work with the screenshot right away, you can clear the notification and view your screenshots later in any gallery app of your choice or the default Google Photos app.

Google Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL

Google Store Project Fi Verizon Best Buy

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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