• Planning on grabbing the Elite Dangerous: Horizons beta? See if your rig can handle it

    Digital Trends - Sat, Nov 21, 2015 03:12 GMT

    Earlier this month,  Elite: Dangerous developer Frontier Developments revealed that the oft-anticipated expansion pack  Dangerous: Horizons is set to arrive on November 24. For fans of the space combat simulator, one obvious thing to get excited over in the expansion is the ability to land on planets as opposed to the formerly imposed restriction on outer space travel. In order to help players prepare for the extra weight the game is about to pack on, the developer has issued a minimum and suggested specs list to help you ready your PC for the open road, or the cosmos rather. Related: Elite: Dangerous is coming to Xbox One in 2015, PS4 eventually Because of the improvements to the game’s graphics as well as some new content, the game is obviously a bit more demanding with the  Horizons expansion than without. If you’re champing at the bit to discover whether or not your system is capable enough to handle the add-on, your fears can be alleviated, as we’ve included a nifty comparison chart below.  Elite Dangerous (without expansion) Minimum Recommended CPU Quad-Core CPU (4x2GHz) Intel Core i7-3770K (3.5GHz) or AMD FX 4350 (4.2GHz) GPU Nvidia GeForce GTX 260 or AMD Radeon HD 4870 (DirectX 11) Nvidia GeForce GTX 770 or AMD Radeon R9 280X (DirectX 11) RAM 4GB 8GB Storage 7GB 7GB Connectivity Broadband Internet Connection Broadband Internet Connection Operating system Windows 7, 8.1 Windows 7, 8.1 Elite Dangerous: Horizons Minimum Recommended   CPU Quad-Core CPU (4x2GHz) Intel Core i7-3770K (3.5GHz) or AMD FX 4350 (4.2GHz)   GPU Nvidia GeForce GTX 470 or AMD Radeon R7 240 (requires DirectX 11) Nvidia GeForce GTX 770 or AMD Radeon R9 280X (requires DirectX 11) RAM 6GB 8GB Storage 8GB 8GB Connectivity Broadband Internet Connection Broadband Internet Connection Operating system Windows 7, 8.1, or 10 (64-bit) Windows 7, 8.1, or 10 (64-bit) Of everything covered, the most remarkable change is to the GPU requirements, which switched from a GTX 260 or AMD Radeon HD 4870 to a GTX 470 or AMD Radeon R7 240. RAM has been bumped as well, from 4GB to 6GB minimum. Lastly, you’ll need at least 8GB of storage space instead of the previously instilled 7GB, though if this is any sort of deal breaker, it may be time for some early spring cleaning nonetheless. Additionally, at some point in the future, Frontier also plans on giving word of recommended specs for those interested in playing  Elite Dangerous: Horizons in 4K or on a VR headset. Unfortunately, Frontier neglected to mention a time frame. Also watch: Asus ROG GX700 Hands On Please enable Javascript to watch this video More »Planning on grabbing the Elite Dangerous: Horizons beta? See if your rig can handle it

  • 47-year-old Tony Hawk skates first ever horizontal loop

    Digital Trends - Sat, Nov 21, 2015 02:52 GMT

    At the 1999 X-Games, Tony Hawk, also known as the Birdman, became the first confirmed pro skater to land a 900, a trick involving two and a half full spins off a skateboard ramp. More than a decade and a half later, the Birdman is making skating history again with some help from Sony. The stunt involves something that could best be described as a horizontal loop called the Sony Spiral. As is his approach with any new trick, the now 47-year-old Hawk was relentless in his attempts, slamming multiple times. It took 18 tries before he found the sweet spot and rode it through. “People keep asking me questions, like, ‘Well, how do you approach it?'” Hawk says in the video. “I don’t know. I’m just going to find out … the hard way.” According to his Instagram, Hawk has been brainstorming this stunt for quite some time. When his vision finally came to fruition, he was able to complete consecutive loops around the swirly ramp. Related: Sony A7 II updated with new features and specs Pushing the boundaries of physics and age is nothing new to Hawk. He last completed a 900 in 2011, at the age of 43, and lived to tweet about it. Hawk partnered with Sony to build and film the ramp. It was filmed with seven Action Cams and directed by Jared Prindle of Hawk’s 900 Films. “Size and picture quality in low light were key features that the Sony Action Cam offered with this shoot. In this case, there was no way we were going to mount a full-size camera in this untested horizontal loop,” Prindle said. Cameras mounted high off the ground were monitored with Sony mobile software to avoid having to run up and down ladders. Though he officially retired in 1999, Tony Hawk has not slowed down much. We can only imagine what he’ll attempt next. More »47-year-old Tony Hawk skates first ever horizontal loop

  • 8UP is a water tracking bottle that is both practical and low-tech

    Digital Trends - Sat, Nov 21, 2015 02:25 GMT

    Whether you want to call it “life hacking” or something else, people are always looking for ways to simplify their lives. And while technology is often presented as the answer, one company feels that things have gotten too complicated for a basic function that should be kept simple and easy. The Chicago-based firm is called 8UP, and it has taken on the task of tracking water consumption in a non-tech way via a Kickstarter campaign. 8UP’s product, also named 8UP, is based on a simple philosophy: rebel against technology. The firm encourages us to stop being “hydration robots” who are scheduled to drink at certain times of the day. The company claims that tracking water consumption shouldn’t require the integration of apps and electronics, which only serves to complicate the task. “No tech. No fuss.” The product is a bottle featuring a simple design — in fact it only has three lines on it. The 8UP bottle does away with ounces and milliliters of water entirely, and instead simply counts glasses of water consumed. With a simple twist of the base, users can visually confirm how much they have consumed each day, throughout the day. The company states that hydration habits are better served by single digit goals that are more natural than forced solutions. Related: Thermos’ Smart Lid water bottle tells you when to hit the water cooler for a refill The bottle is composed of a clear 100% BPA-free plastic called Eastman Tritan that is shock-resistant. The campaign is in its final two weeks, and the company is more than halfway to its 20,000 goal. The product is scheduled to ship in June with several colors available. Those of us who prefer such non-tech solutions as notepads, business cards, phone calls, and handshakes should note that 8UP intends on doing the same for tracking water consumption. Also watch: Raimond de Hullu's vision for Oas1s green buildings Please enable Javascript to watch this video More »8UP is a water tracking bottle that is both practical and low-tech

  • Land Rover pioneers driving over a paper bridge to celebrate 45 years of Range Rovers

    Digital Trends - Sat, Nov 21, 2015 02:15 GMT

    Jaguar / Land Rover love to celebrate reveals and anniversaries with world firsts as of late. To introduce the new Jaguar F-Pace, the U.K. automaker sent it through the world’s biggest loop-the-loop. Now, to commemorate the 45th anniversary of Land Rover’s flagship Range Rover, the full-size luxury SUV was driven over a bridge made of paper. The freestanding structure in Suzhou, China, covered 5 meters without glue or bolts to hold it in place. The bridge was hand-built by artist and paper bridge designer, Steve Messam with paper supplied by British manufacturer James Cropper PLC. It took three days to construct in Suzhou, China, which is famous for its bridges and often called the “Venice of the East.” “Paper structures capable of supporting people have been built before but nothing on this scale has ever been attempted, said Messam. “It’s pushing engineering boundaries, just like the Range Rover, and the ease and composure with which the vehicle negotiated the arch was genuinely breathtaking.” Related: Jaguar F-Pace Global Debut Land Rover’s Range Rover became the world’s first luxury SUV when it debuted in 1970 and was the first vehicle to drive across the Darien Gap in Central America two years later. In 1989 it was first 4×4 to be fitted with ABS anti-lock brakes and introduced both Electronic Traction Control and electronic air suspension to the segment in 1992. Furthering the trend, the fourth generation Range Rover that launched in 2012 was the first all-aluminum SUV. Land Rover Experience Chief Instructor Chris Zhou navigated the paper bridge by using the vehicle’s suspension management systems to maintain the delicate structure during its trek. Specifically, All-Terrain Progress Control (ATPC) allowed Chris Zhou to concentrate on steering the vehicle while maintaining a set speed ranging from 1-19 mph without any pedal inputs. This system is traditionally used on wet grass, sand, and other loose surfaces, but it worked perfectly for the paper bridge too. Also watch: Top 10 Most Expensive Cars in the World (Sept 2015) Please enable Javascript to watch this video More »Land Rover pioneers driving over a paper bridge to celebrate 45 years of Range Rovers

  • Users reporting charging woes with the iPad Pro and the Nexus 5X

    Digital Trends - Sat, Nov 21, 2015 02:09 GMT

    From something as superficial as product category fulfillment to something as multi-layered as core philosophies, the iPad Pro and the Nexus 5X are two wildly different products. At the same time, they do share one common trait: issues reported by owners when they are charging. Starting with the iPad Pro, multiple iPad Pro owners on Reddit and Apple’s support forum detail the charging issue, which can lead to everything from an iPad Pro that won’t wake up after charging to an iPad Pro that has a nonfunctioning touchscreen and home button. Thankfully, Apple is aware of these problems and is investigating them. In the meantime, Apple advises that you can resolve these issues by force restarting your iPad Pro by holding both the sleep/wake and home buttons for 10 seconds until you see the Apple logo. For those plagued with these charging issues, they point to iOS 9.1 as the cause, since these issues are nonexistent in the beta version of iOS 9.2. Either way, we’ll wait and see where Apple points its finger. Related: Google’s Play Store may finally return to China in 2016 Unfortunately, similar issues seem to affect certain Nexus 5X owners, who have created several threads on Reddit and XDA to voice their complaints. According to these users, while the Nexus 5X is charging, touchscreen responsiveness slows down to the point where the lag between finger input and what happens on-screen is visible. One user, in particular, brought up the possibility that the Nexus 5X’s charging issues could be attributed to improper shielding from the phone’s 3A charging, which, in turn, would minimize the touchscreen’s effectiveness. Unfortunately, Google hasn’t commented on the veracity of this claim or the issue itself, though the “fix” seems to be to just not use the Nexus 5X while it’s charging. Of course, the luxury of being able to use your phone while it’s charging dates back well before modern-day smartphones, so such a “fix” is sure to leave affected Nexus 5X owners quite unhappy. The main takeaway, it seems, is even though the iPad Pro and Nexus 5X are very different products with a different type of customer in mind, they are just as susceptible to issues as any other mass-produced product. Also watch: Apple iPhone 6S Plus vs. Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge Please enable Javascript to watch this video More »Users reporting charging woes with the iPad Pro and the Nexus 5X

  • Melissa McCarthy plays parolee-turned-troop leader in first trailer for The Boss

    Digital Trends - Sat, Nov 21, 2015 01:57 GMT

    We all know Melissa McCarthy can do comedy, and the first trailer for her upcoming movie The Boss offers still more proof. Universal Pictures released the trailer on November 19 in preparation for the movie’s spring release. The Boss features the absurd hilarity we so often see McCarthy bring to life. She’ll star as Michelle Darnell, the wealthiest woman in America — at least until she’s busted for insider trading and has to declare bankruptcy. With her assets frozen, she gets stuck crashing on the couch of her underpaid and overworked employee, single mom Claire (Kristen Bell). While there, she takes Claire’s daughter to her Dandelions troop meeting, sparking the idea that she can get her life back by building a “brownie empire.” Related: Blue Steel is back! Here’s the first trailer for Zoolander 2 It’s abundantly clear in the trailer that Michelle isn’t fit to be a troop leader, but that doesn’t stop her from starting a rival to the Dandelions, Darnell’s Darlings. In between gracing the girls with predictions about which member will probably turn out to be a lesbian and letting profanities slip, she gets her group ready dominate brownie sales. Their sales tactics include gems like the line “Buy my brownies or I’ll kill you.” Of course, the movie needs a conflict, and there’s a hilarious one in store: a rivalry between the Darlings and the Dandelions. Thanks to brewing animosity between Michelle and the other troop’s leader, the two groups end up facing off. There’s even a street fight over their selling territory. The comedy co-stars Kathy Bates, Peter Dinklage, and Kristen Schaal. McCarthy’s husband, Ben Falcone, who also happens to be the director, makes a brief appearance, getting smashed in the neck with a tennis ball, courtesy of real-life wife. Falcone and McCarthy wrote the movie with their friend Steve Mallory. The Boss is set to hit theaters on April 8, 2016. More »Melissa McCarthy plays parolee-turned-troop leader in first trailer for The Boss

  • Here’s our first look at Elio Motors’ 84-mpg P5 prototype

    Digital Trends - Sat, Nov 21, 2015 01:50 GMT

    For most of the automotive collective, November 18 was a banner day at the 2015 LA Auto Show. We saw the debut of the beautiful Fiat 124 Spider, the wraps came off the 10th-generation Honda Civic Coupe for the first time, and the topless Range Rover Evoque caused quite the commotion for better or for worse. On November 19, though, another car was unveiled to the public, one you might call the people’s main event. With much anticipation, Arizona startup Elio Motors debuted its P5 prototype vehicle in LA, which closely previews the three-wheeled, 84-mpg, $6,800 commuter car that aims to go on sale at the end of next year. The prototype features a new, longer front end that is more aerodynamic than its predecessor, as well as side exhausts and a 0.9-liter, 55-horsepower, three-cylinder engine that was developed specifically for Elio. The car isn’t special for its unique looks or performance though, rather its blend of financial accessibility and low operating costs, both of which could grant unprecedented amounts of mobility to those less fortunate. Thus far, 47,331 interested parties have plunked down cash to reserve their slots. But after a multitude of funding-related delays — the vehicle has been “coming soon” for years — there are still doubts that the car will ever be sold. Automotive startups come and go with frequency, so with the P5 at his back, Elio explained why his company would not suffer the same fate. “I think we’re doing things different in a lot of ways,” he said. “First of all, there’s no new technology allowed on this vehicle. We call it the ‘four musts’ on every engineer’s desk: 84 mpg, $6,800, safe, no new technology. Every part on this vehicle is either in production or [a] slight modification from something that’s already in production, so we substantially mitigate the technical risk.” Paul Elio with the P4 prototype Combined with an ever-growing list of suppliers, an inherited production facility from General Motors’ 2009 bankruptcy, and a “decent margin” embedded in the car’s base price, Elio is confident that the car’s fourth quarter 2016 release date will come to fruition. That being said, there is still a long way to go. To manufacture the vehicle, Elio Motors needs about $300 million. The brand has raised about $75 million so far, with another $186 million pending with the Department of Energy’s ATVM loan program. A new rule passed by the SEC allows Elio to sell stock to non-accredited investors as well, and the company claims it could bring in another $25 million or so. The numbers (sorta) add up, but as any fundraiser will tell you, pledged dollars are not the same as real dollars. Related: For real this time? Elio Motors’ 84-mpg P5 prototype to debut at LA Auto Show Finances are one thing, but the product itself seems to make a lot of sense. Technically a motorcycle given its three-wheeled status, the P5 could potentially be cheaper to insure than most cars, and consequentially, it should be able to drive in HOV lane. It’s also much safer than a bike with its full roll cage, two seat belts, three airbags, electronic stability control, and ABS system. If you ask Elio, it’s pretty excitable behind the wheel as well. “It’s fun,” he proclaimed. “The architecture itself is fun — sitting right between the front two wheels — and the motor and transmission work very well. It’s fun to drive.” Without a doubt, the stakes for Elio Motors are high. We just hope that the vehicle, which seems to be perpetually coming next year, brings its three-wheeled flavor of fun to the streets soon. Watch the full P5 unveiling below. More »Here’s our first look at Elio Motors’ 84-mpg P5 prototype

  • Michael Jackson's Thriller is free on Google Play for one week only

    Digital Trends - Sat, Nov 21, 2015 01:26 GMT

    Michael Jackson’s Thriller was one of the best-selling singles of all time, and is a staple in millions of music libraries. If you haven’t got a hold of it yet, however, you’ve got a prime opportunity to get one of the late King of Pop’s most iconic tracks for free. That’s right: Zip, nothing, nil, nada and any other way to say it you can think of. MTV is reporting that, for the next seven days (November 20-27), Google Play is offering Thriller ex gratia, and all you need to do is click “download.” The single has sold 5.7 million copies since its release in 1983 and is the title track for Thriller the album, the single best-selling album in the history of music with an estimated 68 million sales worldwide. While the promotion is supposedly designed to coincide with the 33rd anniversary of the record’s release, that date is still 10 days away (November 30, 2015). So why November 20? Well, Adele’s 25 went on sale earlier today, and that does seem awfully coincidental. Related: This robot can dance like Michael Jackson, and we can’t stop watching Anyway, enough with the conspiracy theories. The news here is that you can own one of the most iconic songs in the history of ever just by pressing a button. You can also watch the 13-minute music video for Thriller above, complete with that dance that your friend tries to do at every wedding but always flubs. The long-form video is iconic in its own right and claimed the top spot on MTV’s countdown of the 100 Greatest Music Videos Ever Made, besting Madonna’s Vogue and Nirvana’s Smells Like Teen Spirit. A word of warning, however. If you plan on downloading this track, we’d advise you to act fast. By the time Thursday rolls around you’ll be busy with turkey and football and it just might slip your mind. More »Michael Jackson's Thriller is free on Google Play for one week only

  • Apple Music tries to target women with new ads, but Jimmy Iovine ends up in hot seat

    Digital Trends - Sat, Nov 21, 2015 01:21 GMT

    Apple Music’s Jimmy Iovine hit the wrong note when discussing the streaming service’s new ads targeting women. Rather than inspiring excitement about the streaming service among the desired demographic, he inspired ire by implying that those with an XX-chromosome combo can’t figure out how to find music on their own. Iovine’s comments came during a CBS This Morning interview on November 19, and he later apologized. The opinion that got Iovine in hot water stemmed from a discussion about the ads in which musician Mary J. Blige and actresses Taraji P. Henson and Kerry Washington highlight the benefits of Apple Music’s curated playlists. “I always knew that women find it very difficult at times — some women — to find music,” said Iovine. “And this helps makes it easier with playlists, curated by real people.” Related: Make the most of Apple Music with these 10 tips and tricks It didn’t take long for social media users to begin crying foul over Iovine’s remarks, calling him out for implying that women are somehow less capable than men of finding new music. It didn’t help either that he said, “I just thought of a problem, you know, girls are sitting around talking about boys. Or complaining about boys, when they have their heart broken, or whatever. And they need music for that, right?” Women  do talk about things other than boys and heartbreak, believe it or not. After the uproar, Iovine issued an apology for his comments. “We created Apple Music to make finding the right music easier for everyone — men and women, young and old,” he said in a statement. “Our new ad focuses on women, which is why I answered the way I did, but of course the same applies equally for men. I could have chosen my words better, and I apologize.” While many women seem to agree that Iovine’s message wasn’t great, we don’t expect Apple Music to face too much fallout. The popular service has now racked up 6.5 million paid subscribers since its June 30 launch. Also watch: Joostcube Is The Tiny Apple Watch Charger Please enable Javascript to watch this video More »Apple Music tries to target women with new ads, but Jimmy Iovine ends up in hot seat

  • OnePlus X review

    Digital Trends - Sat, Nov 21, 2015 01:15 GMT

    I recently had a conversation about the importance of design and good looks in the world of smartphones. One side questioned whether a phone should be judged on its looks at all, and the other said it should be a larger consideration when the manufacturer makes style a selling point. Why is design important? Because the OnePlus X oozes striking visual appeal. The company even created two different versions, one of which has parts that take nearly a month to manufacture and are so delicate, only 20-percent of the yield are ever used. That’s an astounding attention to detail for a mass-produced phone. OnePlus is proving that it can make an attractive phone that catches the eye. Most people bought its first two phones — the OnePlus One and OnePlus 2 — because of they were powerful and inexpensive. But cheap isn’t sexy, and nobody wants to be a dull budget brand forever, regardless of how successful they are at it. The OnePlus X puts style first, but does it still deliver on specs and price? Is that mythical combination beauty, brains, and bargain $250 pricing even possible? Let’s find out. Utterly gorgeous The version we’re reviewing is the OnePlus X Onyx. It’s the standard version for sale everywhere, while the limited edition Ceramic version is only for certain markets. You’re not really missing out if you can’t get one, though, because the ceramic rear panel is a slightly different color, and the edges are more sharp than curved. The specs are also identical. That’s Gorilla Glass you see reflecting all the light and collecting fingerprints, and it’s on the front and rear of the OnePlus X. This isn’t a new approach to making a premium phone. Sony, Samsung, Apple, and others have all done it. That’s not a dig, either. They all double up on glass because the final product look beautiful. The OnePlus X is no exception. The OnePlus X has a metal frame with a subtle finned effect running all the way round, which is broken up by a volume rocker, sleep/wake key, notification alert slider control, and Nano SIM card tray. On the base of the phone is a pair of speaker grills (only one of which actually provides any sound), and the Micro USB charging port; the headphone socket is on the top. The phone is very slim, and very slippery. It even manages to slide around over seemingly flat, level tabletops, so it really needs a case — and OnePlus includes a clear silicone one inside the box — although it’s a shame to wrap it up because it’s so pretty on its own. Then we come to the size. The OnePlus X has a 5-inch screen, and it’s a very compact phone, with a footprint smaller than the Nexus 5. Maybe I’ve been spoiled with overly large phones recently, but the OnePlus X feels small. Not restrictively diminutive, but undersized for many tasks we enjoy using our phones for today. The rounded edges don’t provide much grip either. It’s possible to use it with one hand, but the OnePlus X is so smooth it feels like juggling a wet fish. Andy Boxall/Digital Trends Andy Boxall/Digital Trends Andy Boxall/Digital Trends Andy Boxall/Digital Trends The pretty things we desire most are always compromised. That piece of designer clothing you want probably only comes in a certain (usually too small) size, and even though that Ferrari will fit in my garage, the doors won’t open once it’s in because they’re so long and it’s already so wide. If you’re regularly willing to put up with compromises like this, then you’ll revel in the joy of owning something beautiful. The OnePlus X is gorgeous, but that’s not really a solid reason to buy one. AMOLED screen impresses If you do buy a OnePlus X, the first thing you’ll see is the gorgeous AMOLED screen, full of rich, deep colors and impenetrable blacks. Put a black wallpaper on the screen, and the display disappears against the black glass bezels. Despite not making a bezel-less phone, OnePlus has done an impressive job of camouflaging the edges. Video looks excellent, and even when you put it alongside the LG V10, it stands up extremely well. If anything, the screen looks sharper, thanks to the smaller size and 1080p resolution. I watched video at around 35 percent brightness, and it was superb. The OnePlus X has Android 5.1.1 (Lollipop) installed, and it’s covered by OnePlus’s own OxygenOS interface skin. Like the OnePlus 2, it’s barely distinguishable from Google’s stock version of Android, with only a slightly revised drop down notification panel and the slide-in Shelf tray to differentiate it at first glance. The shelf gathers together oft-used apps and contacts, plus you can add widgets normally found on the home screens. It’s neat, and taking a few minutes to customize the experience is worthwhile. OxygenOS is reliable, just like it is on the OnePlus 2. OnePlus takes barebones approach very seriously. Even the OnePlus camera app has an icon that looks almost the same as Google’s own app. The total lack of bloatware means you’ll need to choose your own music player — only Play Music and a file explorer do the job as standard — and there’s no photo gallery app outside the camera app itself and Google Photos. You’ll need to diligently set up your new OnePlus X before use. Andy Boxall/Digital Trends OnePlus has enabled the FM radio and come up with its own app. Radio on a smartphone makes good sense, it’s continuous music that doesn’t use any data, or store any tracks on the device itself. The app is colorful and supports bands from all over the world, plus there’s only a single button to scan and select stations. There’s no RDS feature though, and you have to have the headphones plugged in to use the app, but it has an option to use the internal speaker to listen. Through the headphones, it sounds great, but the speaker is poor quality, and very tinny. Acceptable performance for the price The processor driving the OnePlus X is the trusty Qualcomm Snapdragon 801 with 3GB of RAM. No, it’s not the newest processor out there, but it does a good job. If you want to play a few ordinary games, send messages, watch video, browse the Web, and post to social networks — It does all these things without hesitation. Put it through some benchmark tests, and the figures are disappointing compared to the more powerful OnePlus 2. Multi-core for Geekbench 3 is 2,519, Quadrant returned 23,363, and 3DMark’s Slingshot ES 3.0 gave a 706 score. These scores are higher than the Zuk Z1 we tested recently, which also has the Snapdragon 801 with 3GB of RAM, but runs Cyanogen’s version of Android. Put up against each other, there’s nothing to separate them in the real world. Playing the game Riptide GP2 with all the settings maxed out did slow the phone down, but not so much that the game wasn’t playable. However, reduce the shadow detail, and the overall speed improved considerably. Danmaku Unlimited 2 with the HD graphics mode on performs flawlessly, but the phone did get pretty warm. It also highlighted that if you finger strays off the display and onto the Android buttons below, it’s easy to suddenly exit a game by accident. If you’re expecting OnePlus 2 power in a smaller, better-looking package, this phone will disappoint. The chip does the job, but it’s not so lightning fast or graphically capable it’ll run and do anything thrown at it. For the money, it’s acceptable, but the use of an older processor is definitely one of the corner cutting measures employed to capture that low $250 price. Camera for the casual photographer A 13-megapixel camera is on the rear, and an 8-megapixel selfie cam sits above the screen. This combination is almost as tried-and-tested as the Snapdragon 801, the performance is similarly middle of the road, and another aspect where the target end-price has dictated the specs. Related: 10 great smartphones you can buy for $400 or less The camera takes good photos in most normal situations, and colors stand out in well-lit daytime shots, but little tweaks are needed to bring out the best when skies are dull. There’s no optical image stabilization like there is on the OnePlus 2, or manual control, but it does have a super-fast autofocus. However, that’s negated by the annoying processing pause every time you snap a picture. It’s just a second or two, but it’s a pain, and makes you second guess when the X is actually capturing the photo. It’s almost certainly a software issue, and one we hope will be fixed soon. Outside of this, the pictures it produced looked good, despite the United Kingdom’s gloomy weather making it impossible to test it out in sunlight. OK battery life, but it has U.S. LTE band issues By their very nature, slim, light phones have small batteries. The OnePlus X has a 2,525mAh cell, but even with a mixture of video, gaming, and normal app use, it happily lasted the day, with around 10 percent left on the bar when it came to recharge at night. No, it’s not amazing battery life, but for the size of the phone it’s decent. Related: 18 waterproof Android phones for rainy days Other features we liked include a MicroSD card tray that can alternatively take another SIM card, but the lack of NFC and a fingerprint sensor is annoying. That means no Android Pay for OnePlus X owners. The phone is also missing some 4G LTE bands necessary for complete coverage in the United States, a consideration you should definitely take into account before buying. It will work on T-Mobile and AT&T, but even on those carriers, your LTE coverage may be spotty. Warranty OnePlus has different warranty programs for specific countries. It recently added a plan for the U.S. and Canada, as well as Europe and India. The European plan doesn’t yet cover the OnePlus X, but it will soon, the company says. The existing plan goes through Simplesurance and covers accidental damage and liquid damage. You can get 12 months of protection for €40 or 24 months for €65. OnePlus uses On-Guard plans by Assurant in the U.S. and Canada. The plans already cover the OnePlus X, and you have the option of plans that cover ESC (Extended Service Coverage) and ADH (Accidental Damage from Handling). ESC provides replacement coverage for hardware failures due to manufacturer defects, and ADH, as the name implies, covers drops, liquid spills, and cracks. Below is the pricing for all the plan options: For USA (Prices in USD) Plan Coverage OnePlus 2 OnePlus X On-Guard 12 12 months ESC $20 $20 On-Guard Plus 18 6 months ESC + 18 months ADH $65 $50 On-Guard Plus 24 12 months ESC + 24 months ADH $80 $60 For Canada (Prices in CAD) Plan Coverage OnePlus 2 OnePlus X On-Guard 12 12 months ESC $25 $25 On-Guard Plus 18 6 months ESC + 18 months ADH $85 $70 On-Guard Plus 24 12 months ESC + 24 months ADH $110 $85 The Indian plan isn’t set up for the OnePlus X, yet, and there’s no official stance on when it will arrive, but we expect it will soon. You can read about the plan for the OnePlus 2 here. Conclusion At just $250, the OnePlus X is one of the best-looking phones you can buy, and people will imagine it costs twice or even three times that amount. The processor and specs give its game away, but the addition of the AMOLED screen puts it ahead of stupidly cheap and less attractive alternatives. Its double glass design is fragile and flawed, though, and the lack of NFC and Android Pay will put people off, along with the cut-down LTE band support in America. Then there is the annoying invitation system, which makes it really hard to buy one. Although the process is less annoying here, it’s still irritating that it exists at all. In the U.K., the price is also competitive at £200, and the phone supports all local 4G LTE bands. If all you’ve got to spend is $250, there’s almost nothing that can touch the OnePlus X in terms of style or power. The only alternatives at that price are the Moto G and various Windows Phones. Buy it, and you’ll have the best phone for the money, but only if you don’t live in the USA. It’s exceptionally well built, the software’s infinitely better than some skinned version found on a ZTE or Huawei mid-range device, and the AMOLED screen is a stunner. If you’re in the United States, we recommend ponying up for the $390 64GB OnePlus 2, $450 32GB Moto X Style Pure Edition, or $500 Google Nexus 6P. If you are on a tight budget and are okay with a weaker device, try the $220 16GB Moto G, but know that the Moto G’s Qualcomm Snapdragon 410 processor is much more limited and 16GB is not a lot of storage. Highs Gorgeous design Low $250 price Stunning AMOLED screen Slim and lightweight Almost stock Android OS Lows Limited U.S. LTE support No NFC/Android Pay You need an invitation to buy one Slippery, fragile glass design More »OnePlus X review

  • DARPA’s latest project? A brain implant capable of restoring lost memories

    Digital Trends - Sat, Nov 21, 2015 00:48 GMT

    Any time a new technology is either backed by President Obama or developed by DARPA, you know it’s serious business. But if something is backed by Obama  and developed by DARPA, that’s when you know to really take notice — and the government’s new Restoring Active Memory (RAM) program is just that. Freshly announced by DARPA, the project’s goal is to create an implantable neural-interface designed to restore lost memories in those suffering traumatic brain injuries. As stated by DARPA in its recent press release, traumatic brain injuries (TBI) affect roughly 1.7 million civilians each year and an astounding 270,000 military servicemembers since 2000. Further, TBI has shown to impair one’s ability to recall memories created before suffering the injury while also limiting the capability to form new ones after. With the RAM program, DARPA intends to expedite the process of developing tech designed to bridge the gaps created in injured brains. In other words, TBI sufferers may not have to worry about lost memories if DARPA has its way. Computer rendering of RAM chip Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory The RAM program, which is part of Obama’s broader BRAIN Initiative, aims to accomplish this memory-saving goal by performing two steps. First, DARPA hopes to create a multi-scale computational model that describes how neurons code memories. Assuming it can gather the necessary data, DARPA’s next step is to create a neural-interface armed with the ability to bridge memory flow gaps created in the brain after a traumatic injury. The implant would essentially stimulate the desired target in the brain to help it restore its ability to create new memories. Related: Construction is nearly complete on DARPA’s crazy submarine-hunting drone DARPA says it plans on working with a number of human volunteers for its clinical trials and also intends to run studies of the tech with animals. For the volunteers, it’s targeting individuals with traumatic brain injuries who have trouble encoding or recalling memories, as well as those with other neurological conditions scheduled to undergo neurosurgery. Moreover, DARPA already has the insight of a relative Ethical, Legal, and Social Implications panel for supplemental information regarding human and animal trials of this nature. “As the technology of these fully implantable devices improves, and as we learn more about how to stimulate the brain ever more precisely to achieve the most therapeutic effects, I believe we are going to gain a critical capacity to help our wounded warriors and others who today suffer from intractable neurological problems” DARPA’s biological technologies program manager Justin Sanchez tells Popular Science. No official timetable was given regarding the release of the RAM program’s test results, though DARPA did say it had already begun administering trials since September. If all goes according to plan, the agency intends to expand the context of its research to those outside of the military who also experience brain trauma. Also watch: Raimond de Hullu's vision for Oas1s green buildings Please enable Javascript to watch this video More »DARPA’s latest project? A brain implant capable of restoring lost memories

  • Hands on: LittleBits Gizmos and Gadgets Kit

    Digital Trends - Fri, Nov 20, 2015 23:26 GMT

    The LittleBits Gizmos and Gadgets kit is a beautifully designed, educational electronics kit that will inspire your kids. There has been a real growth in educational tech toys aimed at kids of late, but few are as well-designed or thoughtful as the LittleBits Gizmos & Gadgets Kit ($200). This accessible box of electronic tricks contains 15 different component modules, or Bits, some boards and other accessories for putting things together, plus a guide with instructions for ten different projects. It is essentially an electronics kit for children, but it demands focus and imagination, managing to combine elements of science, technology, and math with artistic creation. Related: Wonder Workshop Dash & Dot review Most kids love gizmos and gadgets, so the opportunity to build their own is sure to be enticing. According to the box, this kit is suitable for eight year-olds and up, but I tried it out with my six year-old son, and he wasted no time in getting his hands dirty. Opening up a world of electronics Open the box and there’s a newspaper-style guide covering the main tray that’s packed with different color-coded components. Each of these electronic building blocks can be easily joined together, and it’s impossible to do it wrong, thanks to LittleBits magnetic interlocking system. There’s a wireless transmitter and receiver, two motors, two sliding dimmer switches, a servo and hub, joining wires, a splitter, and a fan. You also get two power units, and batteries are included. Simon Hill/Digital Trends Simon Hill/Digital Trends Lift the tray out, and you’ll find some extras underneath, including Lego-style boards to snap the components onto, along with wheels, cardboard templates, screws, glue dots, and a few other bits and pieces. Everything that you need to complete the ten projects in the guide is here, barring scissors, tape and some colored pens. Taking on a new project The newspaper guide includes an estimate of how long each project will take, and at the top of each instruction page is a list of what you need. Projects range from a simple fan (5 min) or a spinning drawing (15 min), to a bumper ball game (30 min) and a spy box (60 min). We decided to make the Rotolamp, which is a 30 minute activity. The instructions are excellent, so much so that my six year-old son started assembling the first circuit before I’d finished reading the instructions. There’s a description of what to do at each stage and photos to illustrate precisely how you should be putting components together. This particular project led us to build a rotating lamp with a remote control, which my son immediately whisked off to his room to try out in the dark. The half hour estimate was about right. The resulting lamp is a bit wonky (it certainly won’t be winning any design awards), but it works the way it’s supposed to, creating a lighthouse effect as it spins around inside the cardboard surround. The biggest surprise was that my usually impatient son was completely rapt during the construction process and wanted to build it with minimal input from me. Simon Hill/Digital Trends All of the components are really well-designed. They feel solid and durable, and they snap into place on the boards quite securely. The cardboard portions for some of the projects require taping, and they’re inevitably a great deal less robust. There are also glue spots to keep some components securely attached and out of the way, and things can end up looking a little messy. You’ll have to break your creations apart in order to order to build others, but there’s nothing you couldn’t recreate with some extra card. Endless possibilities Even within the ten projects listed in the guide, there are suggestions at the end for slight modifications that could take you in new directions. The idea is that through building a range of different projects, kids gain enough understanding of the components to make their own tweaks, possibly coming up with new inventions, or ways to use their existing creations. You can also download the LittleBits app for free on Android or iOS. It acts as a community portal where other LittleBits inventors share instructions for their own designs. There are videos and step-by-step instructions for each one, making them easy to follow. The quality of these guides is mixed, but there are lots of inventive ideas. There’s also a Play section in the app which contains challenges to inspire further play and creation. Challenges are varied and interesting, for example, invent a new fashion item and make a video explaining it, create your own spy movie using the spy box invention, or find an electronic item in your home and try to replicate it. Related: Osmo review The presentation is very slick, the community seems to be quite active, and it’s a really attractive blend of fun and education. The Android app did crash on me a couple of times, when videos were missing, but for the most part it worked very smoothly, and it certainly extends the possibilities for the kit. Building your collection As an introduction, the Gizmos & Gadgets Kit is ideal, and there’s enough on offer to enable kids to grasp the concepts at play. LittleBits also offers a wide range of other kits with extra components, and more themed kits, such as the synth kit, made in partnership with KORG, and the space kit, with activities designed by NASA scientists. You can even pick up an Arduino coding kit for novice programmers, though much of this is aimed at the maker community and older kids. Simon Hill/Digital Trends The Gizmos & Gadgets Kit costs $200, which is quite an investment if you’re uncertain about its appeal. You could buy a tablet for that price, and it’s likely to provide more hours of enjoyment. If you wanted to build a larger collection it could get very expensive, the One of Everything Collection is $1,600. Since it’s a great group activity, it might be better suited to schools and clubs that can pool resources. Conclusion LittleBits has been around since 2011, and this Gizmos & Gadgets Kit is the most accessible, child-friendly release it has produced so far. It’s hard not to be impressed by the presentation and overall quality of what’s on offer here. There are lots of potential hooks for kids, so an interest in technology isn’t really a prerequisite, but this is unlikely to appeal to everyone. To really get the most out of it they’ll need some supervision, enthusiasm, and patience. Longevity is harder to predict. It could end up in the back of a cupboard after a couple of weeks, or it could form the basis of a creative collection that sparks a career in science and technology. Ultimately, the Gizmos & Gadgets Kit is a great activity that parents can engage in with their kids. It’s inspirational, creative, educational, and, perhaps most importantly, fun. If your child has already shown an interest in invention, we wouldn’t hesitate to recommend this. Highs Easy to follow guides Lots of creative choice Components work well Strong educational element Fun for kids and adults to use together Lows Quite expensive Requires interest and patience More »Hands on: LittleBits Gizmos and Gadgets Kit

  • This iPhone case by Jimmy Fallon and J.Crew doubles as a pocket square

    Digital Trends - Fri, Nov 20, 2015 23:17 GMT

    You could just wear a pocket square, but that’s so 2014. To get you up to speed with the times, Tonight Show host Jimmy Fallon paired up with J.Crew to design an iPhone case that doubles as a pocket square. That’s right — now your pocket square is connected. The pocket square comes as a clip on to the leather case, which can be used for the iPhone 6 or 6S. Just pop it on the case, put your phone in your front blazer pocket, and voilà. You’ll look so stylish that no one will ever know you’re packing an iPhone. Just make sure your blazer’s front pocket is large enough to fit the phone. In the video, Fallon’s “Pocket Dial” sinks a little too low, unlike the photos on J.Crew’s website. In the video, Fallon jokes that it’s a good way to up your style game and keep your phone safe. He says he came up with he idea and used a hot glue gun to make the first prototype. There are three styles to choose from: polka-dotted, gingerbread man, or white linen. The gingerbread man is undeniably festive, but the white and polka dot versions will last you through the whole year, regardless of the season. Related: Jimmy Fallon to get his very own Universal Studios theme park ride While the nerdy accessory can be a fun gift for the holidays, the best part of this collaboration is that the proceeds from purchasing the Pocket Dial will go to the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust, a Kenya-based charity that protects elephants from poaching and extinction. You can grab the Pocket Dial from J.Crew for $48. Additional Pocket Redials, which is actually just the fabric portion, will cost you $15 each. If you’re interested, you can get the case on J. Crew’s website here. More »This iPhone case by Jimmy Fallon and J.Crew doubles as a pocket square

  • ‘We’re not supposed to lose.’ The Man in the High Castle explores a defeated America

    Digital Trends - Fri, Nov 20, 2015 23:15 GMT

    A series that may never have been filmed if not for the golden age of digital distribution. We’re used to seeing the United States portrayed as the winner — an un-defeatable superpower that eventually comes out of any struggle on top. But what would happen if the U.S. were to lose, say, a major war? That’s what the new Amazon Originals series, The Man in the High Castle, explores. The setting: An alternate universe version of 1963 in which the Axis Powers have won World War II, and the United States is occupied by Japan on the West Coast, with the Nazis in control of the rest of the country. We spoke with Actor Joel de la Fuente, who plays Inspector Kido in the new series, about what it was like to work on the new series, and the ties his work had to a somewhat similar role he took on for the videogame, Homefront. De la Fuente said stepping into this universe was extremely daunting because the series is so ambitious, but, as an actor, stepping into this particular production in Seattle and Vancouver was amazing because all of the departments did such an exemplary job. “The production design is so exceptional and specific that it made it really easy to just drop into this world,” de la Fuente said. “When you put on all the different layers of the costume, which are so specifically attended to, and walk onto a set that is so completely realized, it really made my job as an actor so much easier, and so much more fun because you’re completely immersed within the world.” Although the show is based on the 1962 Philip K. Dick novel of the same name, the character of Kido was created specifically for the TV adaptation. “It allowed me to really enjoy and really immerse myself in the book without feeling a sense of obligation to the character, because he’s not in the book,” de la Fuente said. “But at the same time, there’s an added responsibility knowing that Kido serves (creator) Frank’s (Spotnitz) vision.” Although de la Fuente has only worked on one video game in his career, it just happened to be the 2011 THQ release, Homefront, in which a future unified Korea occupies America. So this is his second outing in which “the land of the free” is anything but. “I’m the voice of the character of one of the rebels, Hopper Lee, in Homefront, and it’s funny because my character in Homefront is literally the opposite of my character in The Man in The High Castle, where I represent the authority of the ruling power,” de la Fuente said. “The interesting thing about these projects is America losing a war.” In addition to reading Dick’s novel, de la Fuente did research for his role and discovered that in over 1,000 years Japan had never lost a war until World War II. “When the Japanese lost the war it just was unfathomable to them because they believed the emperor was a human manifestation of God, so when the emperor said go to war they felt completely justified and right and they had always won,” de la Fuente said. “So for them to have lost in our reality was tremendously psyche shattering, and I feel like it’s a similar idea on a smaller scale because America isn’t nearly that old of a country as Japan was, but this idea that we’re not supposed to lose. We’re the good guys, and then what happens when you do lose?” The Man in the High Castle explores that question, but it’s a series that may never have been filmed if not for the golden age of digital distribution that has seen companies like Amazon, Netflix, Hulu, and PlayStation Network invest in original serial entertainment. “For creators it’s a really exciting time,” de la Fuente said. “The last five years for me have been just an amazing period where I’m getting to work on things that before I’d have to go off, off Broadway to have an opportunity to have this kind of artistic expression. To be able to do it now in front of the camera for a much bigger audience on television is really exciting. Everybody is looking to differentiate themselves while telling a good story, so people are taking risks and there’s a tremendous amount of opportunity.” That opportunity has also opened up new work outside of Los Angeles. De la Fuente lives in New York City, where there are now more than 50 shows filming. Ten years ago, he said there were only five or six. Please enable Javascript to watch this video And there are also new opportunities thanks to video games, where big franchises like Activision’s Call of Duty and Microsoft’s Halo are using real actors and full performance capture to tell deeper stories. “The first day I came in to Homefront they set me up in front of a huge screen with huge speakers and introduced me to the world; and I had this tremor of real excitement because I felt like I was in a $200 million dollar movie set, except none of the stuff was real,” de la Fuente said. “What they were shooting for was exactly like what you would imagine for a huge big budget action motion picture. That’s a whole new realm of entertainment that is just getting started.” De la Fuente is hopeful that these opportunities will continue, and that shows like The Man in the High Castle will connect with viewers. “I think the stories are being well served by these people who have been working so long to hone their craft,” de la Fuente said. “Who knows how long it will last. Hopefully, all these channels and all these opportunities can continue.  We’ll see how it shakes out, but certainly we’re in the middle of what’s sort of like the Wild West.” The entire first season of The Man in the High Castle is available on Amazon Nov. 20 and is free for Amazon Prime subscribers. More »‘We’re not supposed to lose.’ The Man in the High Castle explores a defeated America

  • Trends with Benefits: Star Wars mania, bioprinted organs, brain implants and more

    Digital Trends - Fri, Nov 20, 2015 23:15 GMT

    Sennheiser unveiled its new $55,000 Orpheus headphones last week, and our own Ryan Waniata was one of the few people lucky enough to don these epic cans. No, we probably won’t know anyone who will actually own them, but Ryan joins us to explain how the technology involved could eventually make its way into something a little more affordable. The online world of streaming television is constantly evolving, and Vudu is the latest to make a splash with high-quality new offerings. The company will be offering 4K UHD titles in Dolby Atmos surround with Dolby Vision HDR. NBC is also making a move for streaming with Seeso, which will stream classic NBC comedies like The Office, as well as standup specials and sketch comedy series such as Kids In The Hall. Russian firm called 3D Bioprinting Solutions claims it has created a thyroid gland for a mouse that actually works. We discuss the crazy possibilities that “printing” organs could usher in. Neurologist Phil Kennedy is known as the “father of the cyborg.” He took that to heart, by traveling to Belize and having an electrode implanted into his brain! You can apparently get away with a lot in Belize, according to Caleb. Finally, Star Wars, Star Wars, Star Wars! You can’t avoid the commercials, video games, product placements, etc. Even for the hardcore fan though, is it getting to be a bit much? Today’s episode features Drew Prindle, Ryan Waniata, Caleb Denison, and Greg Nibler. Please subscribe and share Trends with Benefits, visit digitaltrends.com and send in YOUR questions to podcast@digitaltrends.com. We also broadcast the show live on Periscope. RSS | iTunes | Stitcher More »Trends with Benefits: Star Wars mania, bioprinted organs, brain implants and more

  • Google's Play Store may finally return to China in 2016

    Digital Trends - Fri, Nov 20, 2015 22:54 GMT

    After leaving in 2010, Google wants to come back to China. According to Reuters’ sources, the search giant is looking to launch the Google Play Store sometime after the Chinese New Year in 2016. The app store would not be connected to the overseas version, and Google plans to comply with China’s laws on filtering content. The Play Store’s app data will also be stored in the country, which is a requirement in China. Related: Ad-supported apps will get a special label inside the Google Play store next year Google’s return, which we first got wind of in June, would mark an important step in the company’s quest to capture the Chinese market. It left in 2010, as the company refused to continue self-censoring its search results. However, Google now faces stiff competition. With search alone — which is Google’s core service — 70 percent of the market share is controlled by Chinese Web services company Baidu. While Android is the most popular mobile OS in China, hardly any of the handsets have the Google Play Store installed. Companies like Oppo, Xiaomi, and Huawei are heavily invested in the market, and with Apple gaining ground in China, Google sure doesn’t want to lag behind. Related: Apple deactivates its News app in China to appease censorship requirements Google employees have been working hard in China to make the Play Store’s launch happen, according to Reuters. The company wants to use the Play Store as a launch pad to bring its other services, such as Gmail and Google Maps, into the country. It’s clear that Google is readying its return to China with an investment into Mobvoi, a company specializing in mobile voice technology. The two have ties already, as Google picked the company to bring its Android Wear operating system to China. There has been no official confirmation from Google, but we’ll keep you updated here. Also watch: Google tackles takedowns, LG watch SNAFU, shoot fireballs! Please enable Javascript to watch this video More »Google's Play Store may finally return to China in 2016

  • Despite security revisions, the secrecy of your passwords may still be at risk with LastPass

    Digital Trends - Fri, Nov 20, 2015 22:31 GMT

    LastPass is what’s considered a single sign-on service, or SSO. It compiles all of your passwords into a single vault that can auto-fill forms at any time. It’s convenient, saves time, and is allegedly more secure than the alternative — typically using the same password for everything. Security researchers have determined, however, that LastPass is far from perfect. It has been found to contain the types of holes that any amateur hacker could have a field day with. Given the proper tools, user data could have easily gotten into the wrong hands, revealing myriad private login credentials and leaving them vulnerable to a host of dangerous exploits. This news comes by way of Martin Vigo, self-proclaimed “security geek,” who recently shared his findings at the Black Hat Europe conference. Speaking alongside Alberto Garcia Illera, Vigo provided vivid instructions for getting around LastPass’ security in a demonstration of just how easy it is to get through. The two sales force security engineers outlined several holes in the service’s security protocols, both from the outside and from within using the client or server. Locally, the experts were able to get past the two-factor authentication in LastPass using a locally stored plain text token. By doing this, Vigo and Illera were able to trick the password recovery feature, in turn managing to exploit session cookies, though other procedures ensued. Related: Avoid Google Chrome’s security flaw with these password manager apps Most worrying for loyal LastPass devotees, however, is that by installing a few lines of JavaScript code, cybercriminals could theoretically rob users of their usernames and passwords. For obvious ethical reasons, all of these discoveries were immediately reported to LastPass, and the firm made some quick modifications to its security protocols. Unfortunately, as David Bison pointed out on security consultant Graham Cluley’s blog, this problem is likely not exclusive to LastPass. Rather, numerous other SSO clients probably experience the same central flaws. On a brighter note, if you’re currently using an SSO client, it’s probably still safer than not using one at all and, say, making all of your passwords the same, easy-to-guess word. In a Tom’s Guide article, journalist Marshall Honorof writes that cracking the LastPass code would actually be quite the challenge for many cyber thieves, unless they’re able to take control of the user’s server or the device itself. Because of this, most hackers would opt for other means of password theft. Nevertheless, it’s still a concerning matter considering LastPass is used by thousands of organizations globally. Of course, as we reported on earlier this year, LastPass was the victim of a massive data breach back in June. Perhaps even more distressing, the SSO service was purchased just last month by LogMeIn, another password management company which has suffered an attack. This is the second consecutive year in which this same pair of engineers has discovered some loose strings in the LastPass code, making it painfully easy to get past its ostensibly tightly concealed vault doors. We can only hope these findings will motivate LogMeIn to improve its situation rather than making LastPass even more susceptible to threats. Also watch: Asus ROG GX700 Hands On Please enable Javascript to watch this video More »Despite security revisions, the secrecy of your passwords may still be at risk with LastPass

  • Here’s what’s new on Amazon Prime Instant Video for December

    Digital Trends - Fri, Nov 20, 2015 22:09 GMT

    Amazon Prime Instant Video offers a lot less new content for the last month of 2015 than the company brought to viewers in December, but it will offer the second seasons of three original series for binge-watchers to chomp on this month, including the return of the series that brought Amazon into the big leagues. Emmy Award-winning series  Transparent, which follows Jeffrey Tambor as a newly-transgender college professor, will roll out new episodes early in December, this time focusing on deeper family relationships, and the struggle to answer questions about what specifically she wants for her body. The first season of the show was Amazon Prime’s first series to captivate critics and prove that it was capable of creating Netflix-rivaling original content, and should follow up with an equally-acclaimed second season. Pre-school TV show  Tumble Leaf, and New York symphony drama  Mozart in the Jungle, will follow Transparent on the streaming service, to close out an excellent year of original content for Amazon. On the movie front, there isn’t as much to write home about, with Chris Nolan’s space epic  Interstellar and Martin Luther King drama  Selma  the most notable of recent releases to hit the service. That said, fans of classic films, or just Marlyn Monroe, will be happy this month, with two films starring the blonde icon —  Money Business, and  The River of No Return — hitting screens this month. As far as seasonal releases go, there is nothing to speak of hitting Amazon Prime this month, with executives at the streaming service probably wanting to steer clear of the dramas like the recent Starbucks red cup affair, in favor of more overarching, non-denominational, releases. Follow us below for the list of the best new titles coming to Amazon Prime Instant in November. TV 12/11 Transparent (Season 2) 12/12 Tumble Leaf (Season 2) 12/30 Mozart in the Jungle (Season 2) Movies 12/1 Bedazzled The Details Hoffa Monkey Business River of No Return Something’s Gotta Give 12/9 Meet Me in Montenegro 12/12 Interstellar 12/15 Cutie and the Boxer 12/19 Selma 12/26 The Gambler 12/27 Pusher Stick Man 12/30 Black Beauty Curly Sue Free Willy More »Here’s what’s new on Amazon Prime Instant Video for December

  • Google's newest update lets you Hangout with anyone

    Digital Trends - Fri, Nov 20, 2015 22:07 GMT

    Although the new Google+ design seemed to have quietly rolled out with only a handful of users commenting on it (or even noticing), Google recently revealed a new related feature that users may actually get excited about. Starting today, you won’t need a Google account to participate in Google Hangouts. According to the Google blog, they just made it easier to meet and communicate with anyone you want to, whether they have a Google account or not. Last year, Google Apps for Work was updated to allow users to invite outside guests to participate in Hangouts, but you still needed an account to participate — a requirement that has pestered users for some time. Now, however, in an attempt to make the feature more useful, the account requirement has been removed. If the Hangout host invites you to a video call and sends the link, you simply need to provide your name and request to join the call. Related: Google makes Hangouts calls to France free in aftermath of Paris attacks This is great news not just for people who didn’t want to set up accounts for Hangouts, but also for Apps customers who will no longer have to choose a different service such as Skype in order for non-account holding guests to participate. The process has been further simplified down to just one click in place of the previous need to fill out numerous forms just to get in on an audio or video call. And if you happen to have links set on Google Calendar, you can simply send calendar invites. If you don’t use Google Calendar, the link to the call is visible in the event’s description. Chromebox meetings are also more convenient, allowing customers to present content in meeting rooms through a much easier process than before. Even though Hangouts just recently passed 1 billion installs from the Google Play Store, many users suspect the new update is due in part to Skype’s newest feature allowing users without accounts the option to join in on calls via shareable links. The change, according to Google, is intended to “make it easy for Apps customers using Hangouts to meet with anyone, inside or outside their organization, with or without a Google account.” More »Google's newest update lets you Hangout with anyone

  • Remastered Resident Evil 6 inbound for PlayStation 4, Xbox One

    Digital Trends - Fri, Nov 20, 2015 21:52 GMT

    Capcom is planning to reissue its survival horror series sequel Resident Evil 6 for current generation console platforms, recent content ratings submissions indicate. Gematsu reports that the Korean Game Rating Board rated Resident Evil 6 for both the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One, suggesting that a remastered edition is imminent. Related:  Resident Evil HD mod masterfully unlocks 1996 dialog recordings The Korean Game Rating Board previously outed the existence of console ports for Resident Evil: Revelations, lending credence to the possibility that Resident Evil 6 will see a similar upgrade in the coming months. Capcom officially announced that upgraded versions of Resident Evil: Revelations were in development for the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 shortly after ratings data surfaced for both ports in 2012. Released for the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, and PC platforms in 2012, Resident Evil 6 features four playable characters, each of whom boasts their own unique campaign. Gameplay mechanics vary wildly between each of Resident Evil 6‘s playable chapters, shaking up established series conventions throughout. Resident Evil 6 also features co-operative play in all of its chapters, allowing players to team up with friends to take down undead foes in split-screen and online multiplayer modes. A significant amount of downloadable content launched in the wake of Resident Evil 6‘s release, adding a collection of new multiplayer modes and other features. It’s likely that Capcom will bundle previously released DLC with the upcoming Xbox One and PS4 versions of Resident Evil 6. The Resident Evil series has been a focal point for Capcom in recent months, as the publisher announced plans to produce remakes for Resident Evil 0 and the fan favorite Resident Evil 2. A competitive multiplayer spinoff game, Resident Evil: Umbrella Corps, is slated to launch for the PlayStation 4 and PCs in 2016. Capcom has not confirmed plans to publish upgraded versions of Resident Evil 6 for the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One, and release dates for the ports are not yet known. Also watch: Asus ROG GX700 Hands On Please enable Javascript to watch this video More »Remastered Resident Evil 6 inbound for PlayStation 4, Xbox One

  • Rob Schneider goes meta in first trailer for Netflix's Real Rob

    Digital Trends - Fri, Nov 20, 2015 21:40 GMT

    These days, Rob Schneider is probably best known for his slide into a deluge of movies with ridiculous premises — a superhuman cop with animal parts, a women in a man’s body, a male gigolo, etc. But there was a time when the comedian was part of the SNL comedy elite. Now Netflix is drawing on his status as a wealthy has-been in a new self-financed comedy called Real Rob, which debuted a new trailer today. In the two-minute compilation, Schneider does his best Larry David impression, clearly channeling the Seinfeld creator’s HBO smash hit, Curb Your Enthusiasm. And while there’s not much in the first few minutes that seems all that original, there is something rather unexpected at work here: it’s pretty damned funny. Related: Netflix’s Bill Burr animated comedy F is for Family premieres first trailer The clips show Schneider playing his meta self, which includes awkward conversations with studio execs (“Is this something you have to star in?”), a conversation about his wife’s potential infidelity (only with Ryan Gosling), and cameos with his celebrity friends, including a chat with fellow former SNL cast member Norm MacDonald about vasectomies (the pre-shot hurts worse than the main shot).  It’s all a bit ridiculous, and it’s hard not to feel like you’re trapped in a Rob Schneider rip-off of a Curb script, but if anything could bring Schneider back into living rooms, a self-deprecating bit of vicarious Hollywood inside baseball seems like the winner. There’s even a moment where Schneider is ignored, and left to suffer with a battered face in a clinic by the great David Spade because his leg fell asleep — how’s that for self deprecation? Schneider was at his best back in his  SNL days when he was playing the weirdo, the loser, or the awkward copy guy. If the scripts for his new series are fresh enough, and viewers can get past the Larry Davidisms, Netflix just might have a hit on its hands in Real Rob. We should find out soon enough, as Real Rob premieres on Netflix December 1. More »Rob Schneider goes meta in first trailer for Netflix's Real Rob

  • We isolated all 21 images from the new X-Files teaser — enjoy your nightmares

    Digital Trends - Fri, Nov 20, 2015 21:20 GMT

    Are you one of the millions of rabid X-Files fans dying for some kind of insight into the revival series coming back to Fox next year? Then today is your lucky day. Set for a January 24, 2016 premiere, the classic sci-fi show is bringing both David Duchovny (Fox Mulder) and Gillian Anderson (Dana Scully) back into the fold, and the latter just hosted a creative promo spot for the chilling new series. Related: There’s a monster in the latest trailer for The X-Files revival series Entitled, Show & Not Tell, the video is just 20 seconds long, and Anderson kicks it off by explaining that, due to the secrecy surrounding the project, she “can’t really tell you very much about anything.” While this might sound like a major bummer, the actress then adds “but I think I can show you this.” Those words are immediately followed by a supersonic slideshow that reveals 21 separate images from the upcoming revival, posted above. Didn’t catch that? No problem. Luckily for you, we’re pretty handy with the pause button. As such, we’ve managed to pull all the images from the video and posted them in the gallery directly following the video. Included among the eerie, hair-raising screen caps are some telling snapshots: A fetus (possibly alien, possibly human, possibly both); an extraterrestrial autopsy; some sort of laser beam-like contraption that looks a lot like a tractor beam; and a smartphone with the name William on the display (hey, not everything can be creepy, right?). X-Files premiered in September of 1993 and ran for nine, hugely successful seasons. By the time the series wrapped, it had earned 16 Emmy Awards, five Golden Globes, and a Peabody Award. In a world where everything is revived, reimagined or rebooted, it was really only a matter of time before one of the most popular TV dramas of all time returned to the small screen. The new show will reportedly provide a mix of stand-alone plot-lines, and episodes that expand upon the mythology of the original. Thus far, only six episodes have been confirmed, but Anderson, Duchovny, and show-runner Chris Carter have all said that they’d be open to more X-Files if this first round of the revival goes well. You can check out Anderson’s promo video and peruse all the grisly images above. More »We isolated all 21 images from the new X-Files teaser — enjoy your nightmares

  • Why TrueCrypt might not be so insecure after all

    Digital Trends - Fri, Nov 20, 2015 21:19 GMT

    Reports of TrueCrypt’s flaws were greatly exagerated, if a 77-page report coming out of Germany’s Fraunhofer Institute is anything to go by. The intensive six-month study concludes that the encryption software is nowhere near as insecure as reported back in 2014. “Our general conclusion is that TrueCrypt is safer than previous examinations suggest,” wrote professor Eric Bodden in a blog post announcing the study. Related: Truecrypt’s bugs may finally have been discovered TrueCrypt was discontinued in the summer of 2014 — the developers said they didn’t want to maintain a standard with “unfixed security issues.” It’s still not clear exactly what those vulnerabilities were — they were never announced, in part to protect the project’s millions of users. Security researcher James Forshaw did find two flaws in September that could be used to compromise a machine (though not decrypt an encrypted hard drive), but it’s possible the vulnerability that led to the project being abandoned is something else entirely. Whatever the problem is, the Fraunhofer Institute didn’t find anything they deemed a critical flaw during their six-month study — though they did state that encryption can’t solve all security concerns. “From a security perspective, the fact that TrueCrypt is a purely software solution means that it cannot in principle protect against all relevant threats,” says the study. Bodden added to this point in his blog post. “It does not seem apparent to many people that TrueCrypt is inherently not suitable to protect encrypted data against attackers who can repeatedly access the running system,” wrote Bodden, adding that “TrueCrypt seems not better or worse than its alternatives” so far as encrypting data is concerned. Basically, if someone already has access to your system in some way — be it physical access to the machine while it’s running, or the installation of Trojan horse malware — encryption of any kind won’t help. Keyloggers can be installed, and files can be accessed by malware while the user is accessing an encrypted drive — no encryption can prevent that. Encryption does, however, make it hard for someone who steals your hard drive to access the data on it. Related: Professional-grade encryption for the average person Whatever flaw prompted the TrueCrypt developers to abandon the project — and even advise developers to not fork it — may not have shown up in any study, but it’s becoming harder to imagine what that flaw might be. A fork of the software, called VeraCrypt, includes patches for every bug that’s been found so far. Also watch: Asus ROG GX700 Hands On Please enable Javascript to watch this video More »Why TrueCrypt might not be so insecure after all

  • Geddy Lee on how Rush cranked back the clock one song time at a time on R40 Live

    Digital Trends - Fri, Nov 20, 2015 21:18 GMT

    “The secret is, it all comes down to respect.” It only took five decades, but the band that geeks love and keep closer to their hearts more than any other, Rush, finally made it into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2013. The band’s three stalwart Canadians — bassist/vocalist Geddy Lee, guitarist Alex Lifeson, and drummer Neil Peart — long ago set the template for virtuosic interplay on both record and onstage. But Lee, the band’s iconic frontman, remains relatively unfazed by the latter-career accolades that just keep on coming. “It’s really incredibly complimentary to be included in those things, and to be honored in that way is the greatest compliment,” agrees Lee. “It’s not something I walk around thinking about. But I certainly appreciate it, and I’m happy that the work I’ve done in my life has added up to something.” R40 Live, out today on various formats from Zoe/Rounder, was shot with 14 HD cameras at the Air Canada Centre in the band’s hometown of Toronto this past June, and it fully encapsulates the core values of their triumphant, 35-date 40th anniversary North American tour. R40’s ever-adventurous set list saw Rush literally go backwards in time step by step, from the all-cylinders steampunk roar of Headlong Flight to the philosophical rhythmic drive of Roll the Bones to the relentless mean, mean pride of Tom Sawyer to the ultimate cosmic headbanging of 2112. Geddy (born Garry Lee Weinrib) and I got on the phone while he was in New York recently to discuss his sonic goals for the tour, his admiration of surround sound, and Rush’s future. This, my friends, is the true spirit of radio. Digital Trends: What was your sonic plan for a show that essentially moves from the present day all the way back to 41 years in the past? Geddy Lee: Well, I had this whole concept in my head about devolution. Way back in the summer of 2014, when we were on a break, I got together with Dale Heslip, our art director and film director who’s also very involved in our show designs. I started talking to him about this devolution concept that might be suitable for an anniversary tour, where you begin with the present day and slowly go back in time in reverse chronological order. And perhaps there was a way we could take the entire show on that journey with us so it’s not just the music that’s winding back in time, but also the visuals. Always from the inception, it had to be a very theatrical show. He just jumped all over that, and we developed some ideas very quickly. But then I was told the guys were not interested in going out on tour, and that there might not even be a next tour — so it was put up on a shelf, and we went on with life. Mark Taylor/Flickr Then in November of that year [2014], we had a meeting with the band, and it was decided that the guys were agreeable to doing a short tour, 35 shows. So we dusted that idea off and continued to develop it. I saw the R40 tour at the Prudential Center in Newark, New Jersey on June 27, and I called it the reverse Pink Floyd/The Wall effect, because we’d see set pieces and big amp stacks constantly being taken away and replaced by different things entirely all throughout the night. Exactly. All of the amp companies got into the spirit of the concept and were willing to share in what we wanted to accomplish. They were so eager and happy to produce these vintage pieces for us. I would say it was a remarkable accomplishment. Everybody involved with the show really got it. Whether it was our two amazing carpenters [Cliff Sharpling and John Renner], the guys who were building the props, or the lighting designers — they all got it. It was really a labor of love for them. You had five decades of material to choose from for the set. Did you have to rearrange certain songs to suit how older material gets played now, to sound more current? Well, yeah, you try to freshen up something that sounds dated if you can. Some songs are just bass, drums, and guitar, and you just let them rock. Other songs have a little bit more technology involved, so we had to see if there was a way they could be brought into this current era. We decided to do Jacob’s Ladder [from 1980’s Permanent Waves], which had some keyboard sounds that were dated and really hadn’t withstood the test of time, compared to what we could put together now. My [synthesizer] programmer, Jim Burgess [of Saved by Technology], really worked quite hard on it — and I think he worked even harder, because he liked that song a lot! (both chuckle) He put together a whole variety of sounds for me to audition, and he really surprised me with all the options, which I think lent to a much more interesting version of it. I think we upped the ante and improved that song. One of my favorite moments was getting to see Losing It, which was never played live until this tour. In New Jersey, you had Jonathan Dinklage, who was part of the string section during the Clockwork Angels tour, come out to play the electric violin. In Toronto, you brought out your original electric-violin collaborator on the song, Ben Mink. How great was that? Oh yeah! That was really a great moment. And Johnny did an amazing job too. He’s an amazing violin player. Ben totally shredded it up there. You could see the strings flying off of his bow after the solo. It was a great moment for a lot of our fans too, as it was a song that was always at the top of their “most requested” lists. It was an odd song to get together because we had never played it. There’s no bass part because there was no electric bass on that song. So I had to write a part for it, and we had to find an arrangement for it that felt comfortable. And we knew a few good violinists too. (chuckles) ceedub13/Flickr ceedub13/Flickr Mark Taylor/Flickr Art Bromage/Flickr Speaking of Losing It, we now have a high-resolution 96-kHz/24-bit surround-sound mix of it on the version of [1982’s] Signals that was released on the High Fidelity Pure Audio Blu-ray format a few months ago. So, naturally, I’m wondering what you feel about surround sound these days. I think it’s really a way of enlivening some of the material that people think they know. It gives it another dimension. And for audiophiles in particular, it takes them on an interesting journey. That’s really the motivation behind it. Is that something that will continue? Right now, we have six Rush studio albums remixed in surround sound, and it seems like you could keep working through the catalog. Oh yeah, I think we’ll keep doing it. Cool. So can I request you do [1985’s] Power Windows next? Is that allowed? It’s allowed. Good! I think Manhattan Project would really be something special to hear in surround. That would be great, yes. Steven Wilson has expressed interest to me personally about wanting to remix Rush albums in 5.1 himself. That’s fantastic! Yeah, we’d love to get him to do that for us. OK, I’m going to pass that idea along to Steven’s manager, because I think that would be great too. Is high-resolution the best way to hear Rush music? It depends on the fan. Some fans are not audiophiles; they just love the songs. They just want to rock out to them or listen to them in their car, or wherever they are. Different fans are more into it and are more technical, so it’s nice to have those options. We live in that world where you like to have the option to decide how you want your music delivered to you. A lot of people listen to things digitally and via the Spotify universe. What do you think about that? It’s inevitable. It’s what’s out there. I mean, some of them are better deliverers of music than others. All of those companies treat the musician rather poorly. I don’t particularly like how the writing and the production of a record has become trivialized. They become devalued, and that’s a shame. It might come back to bite you, but there’s nothing you can do about it. People want convenience. Musicians aren’t making the money they once were. As a result, recording budgets are drastically reduced, and so people have to be cleverer about making good-sounding records. How can people do that nowadays? What would your advice be for them? I think most of your prep work has to be done at home. You have to try and build a home system that has high-quality aspirations, sonically speaking. You can record analog in your garage, and transfer to digital later. There are a lot of ways to go, but you have to be more prepared, and more resourceful. Alex mostly played a variety of Gibson guitars all throughout the R40 set. How did you decide what basses to play as you moved backward and forward at essentially the same time? Well, you know I’m a Fender player, and I fell in love with the pre-CBS Fender basses, so I brought a lot of those out on the tour. I did bring some others out there too. Right, I saw you with that vintage double-neck Rickenbacker on Xanadu [from 1977’s A Farewell to Kings]. Yes. I brought back the Rickenbackers, but I also played some instruments I never played on tour. I played some Gibson Thunderbirds [a 1964 and a 1967] — they’re fantastic! I played an old ’61 Hofner Solid Body. The first bass I ever used was a [Fender] Precision bass, so it was kind of nice to come full circle to that. I had a lot of fun showing off my vintage instruments and seeing how the sound of them would blend with Rush music. It worked out quite well. Is there one track that you felt sounded better after using one of those vintage basses? Yeah — if you listen to Roll the Bones, that’s my 1959 Precision bass. It’s a real rarity, because it’s an Olympic White bass with a matching headstock. I think it might be the first Precision bass ever made with that matching headstock, and it just sounds fantastic. It’s so clear, and so Precision bass-like. I think a lot of people may still not know that it’s actually you who does the rap on the original 1991 version of Roll the Bones. That’s right. (chuckles) How did the onscreen rap sequence cameos with people like Peter Dinklage, Tom Morello, Paul Rudd, and Jason Segel come about? Did you ask them all personally to do it? Between myself, management, and Allan [Weinrib, executive producer and Geddy’s brother], we sent out notes to people we thought would get into the spirit of the thing. A lot of people responded positively, and they sent in their little bits of fun. It was a really cool project. “Get busy with the facts” — I loved seeing how that all played out. Finally, are we going to be able to see you guys get to R50? Would that be possible? Well, nobody could answer that question. Would you like to continue going forward and see where Rush goes? I certainly would, but not all of us do. Not everyone thinks the way I do. Well, hopefully we’ll see you guys back out on the stage sometime. Yeah, that would be great. I hope so too. Rush is one of a very few bands to have the exact same lineup for over 40 years. What’s the secret? The secret is, there’s no secret! It just requires three people that respect each other, and have a willingness to do the things it takes to stay together. It all comes down to respect. More »Geddy Lee on how Rush cranked back the clock one song time at a time on R40 Live

  • Rhapsody Auto app to help users rock out on the road

    Digital Trends - Fri, Nov 20, 2015 21:05 GMT

    If you’ve ever struggled with your music while driving, looking for a specific track on your mobile device, you know that it can be both frustrating and highly dangerous. In effort to keep its users safely and responsibly rocking out to the tunes of their choice, Rhapsody has engineered a version of its app specifically for drivers. Dubbed Rhapsody Auto, it provides a simplified version of the full application and aims to provide those behind the wheel with quick, easy access to their favorite music. Related: With 50 percent year-over-year growth, Rhapsody now boasts 3 million subs Using a pared down user interface (UI), Rhapsody Auto aims to streamline your audio organization by providing rapid access to categories like favorite songs, trending tracks, and top genre tracks. Rhapsody Auto also offers dozens of playlists curated by the company’s editorial team, a nonstop music feature that loops tracks automatically, and one-touch custom radio stations, which can be accessed by tapping the “play more like this” button in the full player screen. In a survey of its users, the company claims that 92 percent said that they listen to Rhapsody in their cars and if you count yourself among that group, the goal is to keep you safer and more satisfied. We’ll have to wait and see if this works as intended but as drivers, we certainly appreciate the effort to keep eyes on the road and off of phones. While we like nodding our heads to Drake’s Hotline Bling and belting out Taylor Swift’s Bad Blood as much as the next guy/gal, we’d hate to see anyone cause a three-car pileup just because they couldn’t find Dave Matthews Band’s Crash Into Me on their mobile device. This new feature will roll out globally with the next Android update, with iOS to follow sometime in the future. Stay tuned, Rhapsody users. More »Rhapsody Auto app to help users rock out on the road


(1000 stories)