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    April 29, 2016
    Google Play Now Labels Apps With Ads

     

    One of the troublesome things about apps is that you never really know what you’re actually going to get before you download it.  It might be something fun, and you might love the game or whatever you’ve downloaded.  However, most of the apps that are free come with a catch.  That catch is, of course, you’re not paying for the app with money, you’re paying for it with your eyeballs.  Free apps come with ads, by and large, and Google Play is going to make that more transparent.  Google Play will label all apps that have embedded advertisements.

    There’s also a notice already in place that announces when apps have in-app purchases, so that’s two of the biggest bugaboos I have with apps displayed right up front.  Given the choice between spending a dollar or two on an app versus being force-fed ads, I’ll typically go with the ads.  However, if the paid, ad-free version is, say, $1, and it’s something I really love?  You bet I’ll pony up for it.

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    April 13, 2016
    Google Wants To Fill Your Day

    Google is nothing if not productive.  After all, even the company’s big failures are interesting ideas, and one of Google’s most famous ideas is the idea that programmers can spend 20% of their time doing personal projects in what is called Innovation Time Off.  That’s making good use of your time, which is something Google is pushing to the forefront with an update to Google Calendar.  Google Goals is an attempt to help you fill your day with all those things you’ve been meaning to do.

    Here’s how it works.  You enter a personal goal into your Google Goals.  Google Goals then looks at your Google Calendar and figures out a time in which you can accomplish your personal goals.  If you add something to your Calendar that conflicts with your Google Goal, then Goals will move your personal goal to a different time to avoid the conflict.  The more you work with Google Goals, the better the program will be at helping you accomplish your long-held goals.

    As someone with a lot of personal projects and not as much time as I would like to do things that I want to do, rather than things I have to do, I love this idea.  Of course, I’m not great at keeping a calendar, but… maybe I can make that my goal?

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    April 13, 2016
    Wordless Wednesday: N64 Table

    n64-gaming-table

    Via Reddit

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    April 11, 2016
    Amazon’s Kindle Oasis

    kindle-oasis_2

    There’s nothing better than having the hottest new piece of technology in your hand.  I mean, who doesn’t love being on the cutting edge, provided that edge isn’t sharp enough to cut you?  Companies are all trying to be lighter, thinner, larger, brighter, and with more battery life, and it looks like Amazon is taking this plan to heart with their newly-announced Kindle Oasis.  Granted, they haven’t released it yet, but the design specs have already been leaked.  Here’s what the leaked Kindle Oasis looks like.

    The thing I like most about the Kindle Oasis is just how small it is.  It’s the lightest Kindle offering by far, 27 percent lighter than the Kindle Voyage and 36 percent lighter than the Kindle Paperwhite.  It’s so small and light it can be held with only one hand, which would make reading in bed a whole lot easier for back sleepers.  There’s an accelerometer in that determines if the book is being held in the left or right hand, and to make sure it’s oriented appropriately.

    That bump you see above?  That’s where your hand grip is supposed to be.  That just might be easier to use than an actual paperback book, even if it doesn’t have the promised solar power case yet.  However, the current case does support a second external battery, which should help keep things juiced up while on the go.

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    April 6, 2016
    Wordless Wednesday: Mars Rover, Mars Rover

    mars-rover

    Via PC World

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    April 4, 2016
    PlayStation Employee Builds Custom Controller For Special Gamer

    sony-ps4-controller

    Peter Byrne is a man from New Jersey who has cerebral palsy.  Despite the debilitating medical condition, he hasn’t stopped enjoying one of his favorite hobbies:  playing video games.  However, he was having an issue with his game constantly being paused accidentally due to the placement of the pause button and his left hand.  He would accidentally hit the touchpad and pause the game, which as anyone can tell you, is super annoying.  Fortunately, a kind PlayStation employee built a custom PS4 controller for him.

    The amazing thing isn’t that Alex Nawabi built the PS4 controller on his own time, but that it’s not even part of his job.  He’s in the retail marketing division, but he was able to take some controllers apart and put together something that would work for Peter’s special needs.  It’s all part of PlayStation’s plan to make their games as approachable as possible.

    “I honestly got choked up reading the letter as I did not expect anything like this to happen,” Peter added in his Facebook message. “Mr. Nawabi really cared about my situation and did this on his own time to make my experience better. I honestly can’t thank him enough for everything he did for me. Thank you Mr. Nawabi it really means a lot too me!”

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    March 30, 2016
    Wordless Wednesday: 19th Century Sport, 21st Century Tech

    royals-coach-rusty-kuntz-uses-an-ipad-prior-to-game-3-of-last-years-american-league-championship-series.-100653327-large

    Image:  MacWorld

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    March 28, 2016
    iOS 9.3 Update Makes Hyperlinks Crash Your Phone

    If you updated to iOS 9.3, hopefully you’re not having any issues.  However, if you’re one of the unlucky ones that gets hit by every bug in Apple’s software, you have my sympathies.  A glitch in iOS 9.3 makes iPhones crash when people click on hyperlinks.  To make matters worse, iOS 9.2 also suffers from the same glitch, assuming users installed a recent security update.

    “I’m trying to remember the number of times I’ve told folks not to immediately upgrade to the new release,” said a user on the Apple Support Forum with the handle ‘nameisunique.’  “Should have been a little more suspect of a new release that’s timed with a somewhat big announcement by Apple.”

    There’s a good reason to never download updates on the first day, or even the first month.  Wait, patiently, until the bugs are ironed out, then do your upgrading. It’s a great way to avoid these kind of problems, and it’s also a good way to make sure all your favorite apps, games, and other phone fun things are able to work on the new OS upgrade.  Time is on your side.

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    March 10, 2016
    Disinfect Everything

    smartphone

    I’ve been sick lately.  Scratch that, very sick.  My wife caught the flu, which means that a day later, I ended up having the flu, but that day of planning was crucial to our flu survival.  I was able to stock up on soup and liquids and get it all bought before I took sick, and we were able to weather the storm and survive somehow.  Now we’re facing off with the arduous task of cleaning up after the flu.  Disinfect all the things, starting with keyboards, remotes, and smartphones!

    Fortunately, Lifehacker has some good tips on disinfecting things, and most of them are pretty simple.  For example, use alcohol diluted in a spray bottle on a soft cloth.  Pretty simple, right?  Well, you’d be surprised what some people pay for flu-killing wipes and the like.  I bought some myself, but I know better than to use them for my computers and delicate equipment like that.

    Still, these things have to be cleaned, and it’s nice to know that it’s an easy, painless process.

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    March 2, 2016
    Wordless Wednesday: Sinclair

    sinclair-zx

    Via Imgur

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