Tuesday, October 17, 2017

The Nexus 5X and 6P can now get some Pixel 2 camera features

Google Camera best camera apps for android

The Nexus 6P and Nexus 5X were released just two short years ago, but have seemingly fallen out of favor with Google. Despite packing the required hardware, the phones weren’t given the Zero Shutter Lag feature in its camera that the Pixel and Pixel XL had. Google instead decided to keep that as a Pixel-only feature frustrating Nexus owners. Luckily, the Nexus and Pixel development community doesn’t easily let things like that pass and an unofficial camera app called Google Camera NX was released. This camera app packed in all the goodies from the Pixel devices so Nexus owners weren’t left behind.

Zero Shutter Lag is a pretty important feature because it fixes one of the major problems of using HDR+. Without the modification, using HDR+ can lock up the viewfinder for a second or two after a picture is taken. This can cost you the to the opportunity to pictures in rapid succession. This is especially important when you’re trying to capture fast-moving objects or are in constant action situations.

Up until now, the updates to the Google Camera NX mod has pretty much kept it in line with the Pixel camera app. With the impending release of the Pixel 2, we’re seeing more features added to the modified camera app. The most recent update is based off the official Google Camera 5.1 app and brings most of the features to Nexus devices.

Included in the app are the Motion Photos and Face Retouching features. Motion Photos senses motion in the viewfinder and takes a few seconds of video on either side of you pressing the shutter button. Face Retouching is Google’s take on the popular beauty mode feature that smooths out imperfections to make you look a little bit better in pictures.

The developer of the camera app, XDA Senior Member Charles_l, had uploaded two versions, one with Zero Shutter Lag and one without. The non-Zero Shutter Lag version should be identical to the official Google Camera app on the Nexus 5X and 6P but add in the Motion Photos feature. The version with Zero Shutter Lag should behave exactly how the app does on first-gen Pixel devices. You’ll still be missing Portrait mode and AR mode in the apps because first-gen Pixel and Nexus devices lack the proper hardware.

Monday, October 16, 2017

Humble Bundle was acquired by media giant IGN

Humble Bundle 2015 logo badge

Editor’s Pick

Humble Bundle, the company best known for selling packs of indie games at pay-what-you-want prices, has been acquired by media giant IGN. Despite the acquisition, Humble Bundle will keep its own offices as well as its team and will continue to do business as it always has. However, IGN will offer the company support in terms of increasing growth as well as raising more money for charity.

Humble Bundle launched back in 2010. As you may know, it donates 10 percent from every sale to a charity of your choice. In the last seven years, it managed to raise $106 million for a good cause with the help of more than 10 million customers.

The company started out by selling gaming bundles but has since branched out and now also offers e-books and software. You can get any bundle by paying the minimum amount required (as low as $1) or you can set a higher amount by yourself if you’re feeling generous. However, Humble Bundle also has a separate store for games with fixed prices, with 10 percent from each sale also going to charity.

For consumers, the acquisition doesn’t really mean anything. It looks like the company will still remain loyal to its mission statement which is to promote awesome digital content and raise money for charity at the same time.

Sunday, October 15, 2017

Best media streaming devices for your TV

With so much on-demand content available these days, media streaming devices have become extremely popular, and for good reason. They allow you to transform your TV into a smart TV by bringing apps such as Netflix, YouTube, and Hulu to the big screen.

Thanks to high demand, there are many media streamers available on the market from companies like Google, Amazon, and Apple. Although most do the same thing, there are a number of differences between them, making it harder for consumers to choose which one to get.

In this post, we’ll take a closer look at some of the best media streaming devices you can get your hands on. Keep in mind that for the first half of the article we are focusing on the very best options at any price, but in the second half we take a look at the best budget options as well. Without further ado, let’s get started. Here are the best media streaming devices for your TV.

Editor’s note: We will be updating this list regularly as new devices launch.

Amazon Fire TV

best media streaming devices

This is the latest and greatest media streaming device from Amazon, and it’s super easy to set up. All you have to do is plug it into the HDMI port of your TV and a wall outlet, connect it to a Wi-Fi network, and you’re good to go.

The device gives you access to a number of different video services including YouTube, Netflix, and Hulu and is capable of streaming videos in 4K resolution. It also supports loads of different music services such as Spotify, iHeartRadio, as well as Amazon’s Prime Music.

One of its biggest features is that it comes with a remote control that has Alexa on board. So instead of pushing buttons constantly to control the device, you can do so via voice commands. You can ask Amazon’s digital assistant to launch YouTube, play a specific show, find comedies, fast forward one minute, and much more.

Amazon’s Fire TV is already up for pre-order and will officially be released on October 25. It will set you back $69.99.

Apple TV

best media streaming devices

Apple TV gives you access to all the major services such as YouTube, Netflix, ESPN, and many others and can stream videos in 4K resolution. Just like Amazon’s Fire TV described above, this media streamer comes with a remote control included in the box and also has Apple’s digital assistant on board. Siri provides another way for you to interact with the device, as you can open apps, play and pause videos, and search for content using voice commands.

You can also stream videos and music from an iPhone or iPad to Apple TV, play games, and check out the photos and videos stored in your iCloud Photo Library. The setup process is easy and required you to plug the device into a power source as well as the HDMI port on your TV. However, the only problem is that the HDMI cable is not included in the retail box, so you’ll have to buy one in case you don’t already have it.

Apple TV comes in black and is available in two storage options: 32 GB and 64 GB. It’s one of the most expensive media streaming devices on this list, as it will set you back $179 or $199 depending on the model.

Roku Ultra

best media streaming devices

Roku has a number of media streaming devices on offer with the Ultra being the best one. Just plug it into your TV and browse through 450,000+ movies and TV episodes across 4,500+ paid or free channels.

The device can stream content in 4K quality and comes with a remote that sports gaming buttons. It also has voice support, allowing you to search for video content without having to press a bunch of buttons, and features a built-in headphone jack. This means you can listen to audio with the help of the headphones included in the retail box in order not to bother other people you may have around you.

Another cool feature of the Roku Ultra is the remote finder. Just press the button on the device and the remote will emit a sound, so you’ll be able to locate it more easily. Those of you interested can get in on Amazon for $87.70 via the button below.

Roku Streaming Stick+

best media streaming devices

Roku’s second device on this list is the Streaming Stick+, which is quite similar to the Ultra model described above. It gives you access to the exact same content and can stream videos in 4K. However, it’s smaller and plugs directly into the HDMI port of your TV, without the need for additional cables.

The media streaming device also comes with the remote with voice search support but doesn’t have a headphone jack or the gaming buttons. There’s also no remote finder feature, which would be nice to have but likely isn’t a deal breaker for most people.

If these things aren’t that important to you, the Streaming Stick+ is a great option. It will set you back $69.99 or around $20 less than the Roku Ultra.

Nvidia Shield TV

best media streaming devices

If you’re into gaming, this is the streaming device for you. It allows you to stream a number of popular games from Nvidia’s servers to your TV, but only if you sign up for the company’s GeForce Now service that will set you back $8 per month. You also have a chance to download and play a number of Android titles or stream games from your PC to the Shield TV.

Of course, Nvidia Shield TV isn’t all about gaming, as it also gives you access to all the major video services including YouTube, Netflix, Hulu, and so on. An Assistant-powered remote control is included in the box, as is a Shield controller for playing games.

Due to its many features, Nvidia Shield TV is quite expensive. The gorgeous device currently retails for $199.99 on Amazon.

Google Chromecast Ultra

best media streaming devices

Google’s media streaming device works a little bit different than the rest of the products on this list. It doesn’t have a central hub on a TV that would allow you to browse through different services. Instead, you have to cast the content from apps like YouTube, Netflix, and others to your TV by opening them on your smartphone, tablet, or PC and pressing the dedicated button.

It works like a charm but can be a bit annoying to some who would prefer to control the device with a remote, which the Chromecast Ultra obviously doesn’t come with.

The device can stream videos in 4K quality and is equipped with an ethernet port for streaming over a wired connection. You can turn your TV into a digital picture frame with the help of Google Photos and connect the Chromecast Ultra with an Assistant-powered Home device, so you can search and play videos with various voice commands. To get it, you’ll have to dish out $69.

Best budget meida streaming devices

Roku Express HD

best media streaming devices

This is a great option for those on a budget, as it’s the most affordable of the media streaming devices on this list. Just plug it into the HDMI port on your TV, connect it to a Wi-Fi network, and enjoy movies and TV shows from Netflix and a bunch of other services in 1080p resolution.

A remote control is included in the box with dedicated buttons for launching Sling, Hulu, Netflix, and Vudu. Alternatively, you can also control the device using the free Roku app, which allows you to cast images, videos, and music from your smartphone to the big screen. It also supports voice search, making it easy to find your favorite shows quickly.

The Roku Express HD won’t cost you an arm and a leg, as it retails for just $29.99. You can get it from Walmart by clicking the button below.

Roku Express HD+

best media streaming devices

This one is more or less identical to the Roku Express HD — see above. It gives you access to the same content from services like YouTube and so on, comes with the same remote with voice support, and can be controlled via your smartphone with the help of the Roku app.

What makes it different is that it includes composite cables — in addition to an HDMI cable — making it compatible with older TVs as well.

This means that the device is also slightly more expensive, although it’s still very affordable. You can get your hands on it for just $39.99, which is $10 more when compared to the price of the Roku Express HD.

Roku Streaming Stick

best media streaming devices

The fifth and final Roku device on this list is the Streaming Stick. It plugs directly into the HDMI port on your TV without the need for any cables. As expected, it gives you access to the exact same content as the rest of Roku’s lineup including Netflix, YouTube, as well as various sports apps like NBA.

A remote is included in the box that sports voice search as well as dedicated buttons for launching popular video services. If that’s not really your thing, you can also control the device with the free app provided by Roku.

In terms of design and features, it’s basically the same as the Streaming Stick+ that’s also on this list, with one exception. It can only stream 1080p videos, whereas the + model supports 4K. That’s why it’s also $20 cheaper, meaning it can be yours for $49.99. A heck of a deal for one of the best budget media streaming devices on this list. 

Amazon Fire TV Stick

best media streaming devices

Amazon Fire TV Stick is extremely popular for a number of reasons. It’s small and plugs directly into your TV, so you won’t even notice that it’s there, and comes with an Alexa-powered remote control.

Just press the button on top and say things like, “Alexa, open YouTube” or, “Alexa, show me action movies” to save time you would otherwise spend pressing a bunch of buttons to get the job done. There are over 140 channels and apps available giving you access to all sorts of video content as well as music.

The Fire TV Stick is capable of streaming 1080p videos and can be paired with any of Amazon’s Echo devices. It definitely won’t break the bank, as the company is selling it for just $39.

Google Chromecast (2nd Generation)

best media streaming devices

Just like the Chromecast Ultra, this device doesn’t have an interface you could use to search for apps on your TV. You have to press the dedicated button in apps on your smartphone, tablet, or PC to stream videos to the big screen. That makes the Chromecast series one of the most simple to use of all media streaming devices on the market right now. 

Google’s Chromecast is small, hidden from sight, and can turn your TV into a digital picture frame with the help of Google Photos. It can also be paired with a Google Home device but doesn’t have an ethernet port like its bigger brother. The only major difference between this model and the more expensive one is that it lacks 4K support, which for those with 1080p TVs or limited Internet connections — it won’t really make any real difference. 

It comes in Black, Lemonade, or Coral, and will set you back $35. Get it from Google via the button below.

As you can see, there are a lot of different media streaming devices out there. In general, all of them do the same thing, with some also featuring a remote, a pair of headphones, and even a game controller. Therefore, which one to get really depends on what exactly it is you’re looking for and how much are you willing to spend. However, they are all great devices, and you really can’t go wrong with either one.

What’s the best media streaming device in your eyes? Let us know by posting a comment down below.

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Project Loon may become Alphabet’s next spinoff company

A balloon-delivered wireless service project that began as a part of Google in 2013 might soon be spun off into its own company.

Editor’s Pick

Just a week ago, we reported that Google’s parent company was granted an experimental license from the FCC to operate Project Loon balloons in Puerto Rico to deliver wireless service. Curiously enough, as Business Insider points out, this FCC filing lists the filing organization as “Loon Inc.” While this may have been due to administrative reasons, “Loon Inc.” could indicate that Alphabet is ready to spin out Project Loon into its own company.

The recent FCC filing lists the filing organization as ‘Loon Inc,’ meaning Alphabet might be ready to spin out Project Loon into its own company.

This wouldn’t be an unprecedented move as Project Loon shares a very similar history to Waymo, Google’s former self-driving unit that is now a full-fledged autonomous driving startup. Just like Waymo, Project Loon started out as a small part of Google and currently operates inside X, Alphabet’s semi-secret research and development facility. It has only been tested in an extremely limited number of places although its success in Peru this past May is indicative of its potential.

If the rumors are true and Alphabet intends for Project Loon to be its next spinoff company, it could mean that the company has substantive faith in the project. After all, Loon balloons could play an important role in providing access to cellular and Internet connectivity not just in rural areas around the world but also in emergency situations, as evinced by situations in Peru and Puerto Rico.

Saturday, October 14, 2017

OnePlus promised Oreo for the OnePlus 3/3T, and it delivered in the latest open beta

It has been a little over a month since the OnePlus 3 reportedly received Android Oreo through a closed beta program, but now the update is ready to be tested for the OnePlus 3 and 3T for those in the Open Beta program.

As a general overview, Android Oreo introduces visually-different Quick Settings and Settings areas, Picture in Picture mode, and auto-fill, along with many more features and enhancements. Make sure to check out our Android Oreo review to see what is new with the update, and while things might not look very different when compared to Nougat, there are more than enough tweaks and changes that help move the needle.

Going back to the OnePlus 3 and 3T’s Open Beta program, Android Oreo is available for both devices as a 1.4 GB download at the links below. You will need to flash the update, though the instructions to do so are very straightforward.

Editor’s Pick

Because this is the Open Beta program, there are several known issues that will presumably be ironed out by the time the final version lands. For example, unlocking the phones with your fingerprint might be slower than usual, the shortcut to access Google Photos is unavailable, NFC and Bluetooth are somewhat unstable, and the performance and compatibility of third-party apps are not up to snuff.

As exciting as the news might be, it arrives with a somewhat somber context. Keep in mind that, according to OnePlus, Android Oreo will be the last major Android update for the OnePlus 3 and 3T. Likely because of that, the Open Beta program for the two phones will end after Android Oreo exits beta and makes its way to more users.

Security patches will be released “for the foreseeable future,” but with today’s news, we’re that much closer to the end of the road for the OnePlus 3 and 3T.

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Update: Plex Live TV and DVR now available on Roku

Update (10/12/17): Plex is now rolling out the Live TV and DVR functionality to Roku users. Previously, the service had only been available for Android, Android TV, iOS, Apple TV, Fire TV, and on the Plex web app. Now Roku users with software version v5.0.4 or newer and access to the Roku Preview Channel can get in on the action too.

Almost all the features you’d see on other devices are here too. You can watch live TV, play, pause, and skip around, and watch recordings from supported devices. You cannot set up new recordings through Roku or Plex DVR, however. The app is still in beta, but Plex plans to release it to all Plex Pass members in a week.

To begin watching live TV on your Roku right now, you’ll need access to the Roku Preview Channel, a Plex Pass, an antenna, and a tuner to make it all work. You can read more on Plex’s blog.

Original article (6/1/17): People aren’t really watching TV anymore, at least in the way they used to. Cable and satellite subscriptions cost too much nowadays, which is why many media companies have been jumping on the live TV train. Sling TV, YouTube TV, Hulu with Live TV, and DirecTV Now are some of the more popular streaming services out there, and today another major player is being added to that list. Plex is launching support for Live TV!

Plex Live TV allows you to watch and record live television right on your Plex Media Server. As long as you have access to a compatible tuner and are a Plex Pass subscriber, you can stream your favorite free HDTV broadcast channels to your Plex-compatible devices, anywhere in the world.

The best part? There are no extra fees or hoops to jump through to get access to Plex Live TV as long as you have a Plex Pass. You can get a Plex Pass for $4.99 per month, $39.99 per year, or for $119.99 for a lifetime subscription.

On top of live TV support, Plex is also rolling out a bunch of updates to its DVR service. In the Live TV application on your OS of choice, you’ll now be able to browse the program guide and manage recordings. The DVR scheduler can now also handle overlapping recordings on the same channel as well as give users the ability to watch live and record shows at the same time.

Plex is widely expanding its support for more tuners, now including models from Hauppauge, AVerMedia, DVBLogic, and a whole lot more (full list can be found here).

Of course, one of the most popular Plex Media Servers out there is the NVIDIA Shield Android TV, which is getting an updated Plex app with Live TV support starting today. On the Shield Android TV, network television shows can be watched at up to 1080p resolution with 5.1 surround sound. Plus, this new Plex app also brings along with it the ability to set up recordings remotely, so you’ll be able to schedule your set-top box to record programs from any web browser.

Plex Live TV is only launching for Android TV and iOS devices, though Android mobile devices, Apple TV, and web support is coming in the very near future

Right now, Plex Live TV is only launching for Android TV and iOS devices, though Android mobile devices, Apple TV, and web support is coming in the very near future. Plex also plans to add support for Amazon Fire TV devices, Xbox One, and anywhere else Plex is available.

Even though it’s a slight bummer that Live TV isn’t available on Android devices yet, it’s worth noting that DVR recordings can be run on any device that can run Plex. So, if your Android TV set-top box is recording your favorite TV show through Plex Live TV, once that’s uploaded to your library, you can stream it remotely from your Android phone. Not a bad setup, if you ask me.

All in all, the way Plex is handling live TV support sounds like a pretty good deal. Considering the fact that TV tuners can be pretty inexpensive, this certainly sounds like one of the better live TV options out there.

To learn more about Plex Live TV and DVR, head on over to this link. So, who’s signing up?

How carriers are helping those affected by California wildfires

NBC News

Wildfires in California are currently ravaging the state with over 100,000 acres burned. Due to strong winds and dry conditions, the fires have spread quickly and displaced more than 20,000 people. 17 are confirmed dead and more than 600 missing persons reports have been filed. At times like these, staying updated on the situation and in contact with friends and family is extremely important. To help ease the suffering and aid those affected, AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, and Verizon have all stepped in to help.


AT&T is automatically issuing credits and waving charges from October 9 to October 14 to provide unlimited data, voice, and text messaging. It is also extending the payment date for affected AT&T Prepaid customers with voice and text service through October 14. This applies to customers in Butte, Lake, Mendocino, Napa, Nevada, Solano, Sonoma, and Yuba counties. AT&T Wireless customers must have a billing address in one of these counties, while AT&T Prepaid customers must have a phone number in one of the counties.

AT&T points out that customers may still receive data alert notifications, but their bills will reflect the correct charges.


Sprint is waiving fees for texting, calls, and data overages through October 12. Not only does this apply to Sprint customers, but also to Boost Mobile and Virgin Mobile customers as well. According to Sprint’s Regional President for Northern California,  Suehyun “Johan” Chung, “Some customers might be experiencing service issues due to damaged fiber resulting from the fires. Our team is in the area and on standby awaiting clearance to restore service as quickly and safely as possible.”


T-Mobile is not offering any kind of bill credits to affected customers, but it is trying to help out in other ways. The carrier is remaining focused on restoring cell service to affected areas as quickly as possible and has deployed emergency equipment to set up temporary cell sites. It has also deployed trucks stocked with water, snacks, respiratory masks, as well as charging stations and portable chargers.

T-Mobile says that it is “continuing to evaluate ways to support both our customers and employees as recovery progresses.”


Verizon is waving all overages for postpaid customers for talk, text, and data and prepaid customers are receiving an extra 3 GB for talk, text, and data. This offer extends from October 10 to October 12 for qualified counties in Northern California. Verizon has set up disaster relief websites for both postpaid and prepaid customers where you can find out if you live in a qualifying area.

Verizon’s Pacific Market President, Jonathan LeCompte issued a statement on the situation that reads, “We know how important it is for you to stay connected with your loved ones when disaster strikes. This offer is one way that we can show our commitment to the Northern California community as these powerful wildfires continue to rage in the area.”

If you would like to help out, you can donate to the victims right from your phone. Text CAWILDFIRES to 90999 to donate $10 to the American Red Cross for the California wildfires relief efforts.

How to Enable the LG V30 Always-On Display

This guide explains how to enable the LG V30 Always-On Display. For whatever reason, this extremely helpful feature isn’t on when you get the phone. So what is an Always-On display and how do you turn it on? We have all the details below.

Similar to the LG G5 and recent phones like the Galaxy S8, the V30 has an Always-On display. This lights up a small section of the screen 24/7. Showing you helpful information like the time, date, battery life, and incoming notifications. Even when you turn the screen off, this info is still visible.

Read: 8 Best LG V30 Screen Protectors

LG’s always on display gives you helpful information at-a-glance, and it doesn’t take much battery life either. In fact, this could potentially increase battery life. With that all said, here’s how to use and customize the Always-On Display for the LG V30.

How to Enable the LG V30 Always-On Display

LG claims the AOD feature is extremely battery friendly. In fact, LG said it drains less than 5% battery life over an entire 8-hour work day. Instead of turning your phone on a hundred times a day, use this feature instead.

  1. Pull down the notification bar and hit the gear-shaped settings button, or find settings in the App Tray

  2. Select the Display column near the top

  3. Scroll down and turn on the Always On Display

  4. Or tap on Always On Display for more options and customization

Once you turn on this feature, you’ll want to tap the option in settings again to go in and customize it. This only takes a few seconds, and there are plenty of options. LG added over nine different clocks, backgrounds, colors, and the option to add a message to the always-on display.

Tap the gear-shaped “content settings” button inside the Always-On display section, and choose from one of nine different styles. Some are pre-defined, while others have additional customization options.

Additionally, we recommend scrolling down and enabling the “Brighter Display” option. This makes the always-on display brighter and easier to see, but it might lower battery life too. Choose what works best for you. LG added an option for daily time-outs, so it isn’t on at night or while you’re working.

Other Details

Having the screen on 24/7 will lower your battery life, but only by a small percentage. If you find it eating too much battery turn off the “brighter display” option. The Always-On display will be dim, but still easy enough to see.

At the same time, studies claim the average smartphone user turns the screen on nearly 140 times a day, if not more. Most of the time it’s only to check the time, date, or look at notifications. By turning on the LG V30 always-on display you get this information all the time, and won’t need to turn on the screen 100+ times daily. So yes, this could actually increase battery life.

In closing, when you put the phone in your pocket or a purse the Always-On display senses it, and turns off. So you get the best of both worlds. The screen is completely off when necessary, but shows helpful information the rest of the time. Hopefully LG adds more options and customization to this in the near future. If so, we’ll update this post with all the details.

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Hackers may have accessed data of millions of T-Mobile customers

A bug on T-Mobile‘s website may have allowed hackers to view your personal information. The bug, which has since been patched, allowed hackers to view your email address, account number, and even your phone’s IMSI number (a unique number that identifies subscribers). According to the researcher that found the bug, there was no way to prevent someone writing a script and finding out the information for all 76 million potential victims.

The research, Karan Saini of security startup Secure7 told Motherboard,

T-Mobile has 76 million customers, and an attacker could have ran a script to scrape the data (email, name, billing account number, IMSI number, other numbers under the same account which are usually family members) from all 76 million of these customers to create a searchable database with accurate and up-to-date information of all users

This obviously has major security implications. Saini even went as far as to classify it as a “very critical data breach” where “every T-Mobile cell phone owner (is) a victim”. Using this information, it could be easier than ever to socially engineer access to your account.

Earlier this year, several well-known YouTubers were hacked via social engineering. Hackers called T-Mobile’s customer care with just enough information to get reps to issue a new SIM card number for the target’s phone number. The hacker would then insert that SIM card into their own phone and hijack the YouTuber’s phone number. All of their calls and text messages would then go to the hacker. This has severe security implications since so many services use text messages for two-factor authentication.

This specific bug was within a T-Mobile API. When querying a phone number, Saini says that the system would return a response will all of the account information associated with it. To its credit, T-Mobile says it patched the bug within 24 hours of being notified. It also disputes Saini’s claim that all T-Mobile customers were vulnerable. T-Mobile says that only a small part of its customers were affected and there’s no indication that the exploit was shared more broadly.

A blackhat hacker is throwing water on that claim. After Motherboard first published its story, the hacker contacted the author to inform them that the exploit had been widely used in the weeks running up to it being patched. The hacker even passed along the author’s account details to them to prove its claim. When contacted about the hacker’s claim, T-Mobile responded with the following statement:

We resolved the vulnerability that was reported to us by the researcher in less than 24 hours and we have confirmed that we have shut down all known ways to exploit it. As of this time we’ve found no evidence of customer accounts affected as a result of this vulnerability.

Regardless of how many customers were affected or how much information was obtained, we suggest T-Mobile customers take steps to protect themselves. The account holder can add a password to the account and prevent things like issuing new SIM card numbers or adding lines to an account. In light of recent events, that doesn’t seem like the worst idea.

Monday, October 9, 2017

Clash Royale October Update: What You Need to Know

The big October Clash Royale update is finally live after months of waiting. This is the biggest update ever, according to the developers. Supercell added new quests, challenges, game modes, and rematches. Here’s what players need to know as they prepare for battle.

After a few small updates in August, something big just arrived for Clash Royale fans. Balancing out the game was a huge priority, but that isn’t all. We received a slew of fresh new quests to help players advance in the game.

Read: Clash Royale: 7 Changes We Want Next

A big problem with Clash Royale is gold, gems, and leveling up in the game. Past updates tried to fix this problem, but the October update is finally a push in the right direction. If you stopped playing, here are all the changes that should get you excited about Clash Royale again.

Clash Royale October 2017 Update

First off, every update starts with balance changes and adjustments to keep the game fair and balanced. And while things are starting to get stale, and boring, these should shake things up. These are the card changes that will drastically change gameplay, then we’ll detail the new additions below.

Balance Changes

  • Sparky: Hit speed to 4sec (from 5sec), damage -15%
    – Sparky will no longer one-shot another Sparky.

  • Tesla: Damage +41%, hit speed to 1sec (from 0.8sec)
    – Tesla will one-shot Minions and Goblins.

  • Electro Wizard: Damage -4%, first attack comes 0.2sec slower
    – No major interaction changes.

  • Graveyard: Duration to 10sec (from 9sec), radius to 4 (from 5), first Skeleton spawns 0.5sec slower, Skeletons spawn less randomly
    – No major interaction changes.

  • Cannon Cart: Hitpoints +5%, shield hitpoints +5%
    – Cannon Cart’s shield will survive a Mega Knight jump and hit.

  • Lightning: Damage -3%, radius to 3 (from 3.5)
    – No major interaction changes.

  • Spear Goblins: Hit speed to 1.1sec (from 1.3sec)
    – No major interaction changes.

  • Valkyrie: Damage +5%
    – Valkyrie will one-shot Princesses and Dart Goblins, and take down Barbarians in three attacks.

Additionally, Supercell fixed a few problems with the Mega Knight and Bandit in terms of dash and jump distances. Along with improving troop pathing, and troops getting stuck behind the Cannon Cart.


For months on end, players have asked for a better way to earn gold, elixir, new cards, and just progress in Clash Royale. That’s finally here starting in October. As you saw in the video above, Quests are now available with dozens of way to earn content in-game.

Players will be able to earn epic rewards by completing daily quests, and more importantly, weekly quests. Some are easy and only take a few battles, while others require grinding out battles day after day for an entire week. Head to the new Quests tab in Clash Royale to see everything available and start working towards new goals today.

New Game Modes & Events

Another big aspect of this update is new game modes. Supercell is kicking things off with essentially a brand new type of game, called Touchdown. This is a completely new style of Clash Royale. No buildings, no towers, just get troops to the end zone as fast as possible. It’s more difficult than it sounds. Try it in-game today.  Then, there are new events where players an earn tons of gold and gems just for playing.

  • Touchdown is a sporty new game mode – without towers

  • Earn gold and gems by taking down towers during Gold Rush and Gem Rush events

  • Now you can chat and have a rematch with your 2v2 teammate

  • Mirror Battles give you and your opponent the exact same deck

  • Challenges come in more shapes and sizes and unlock at level 5

Each 2v2 battle (and regular battles) now has a “rematch” button after the battle is over. You can exit, start a rematch, or go into chat and trash-talk your opponent. We’ve asked for a rematch button for over a year, and now it’s finally available.

In the future, likely after the Touchdown challenge, a new “Mirror Battle” mode will arrive. This gives every player the exact same deck to truly test your skill. No more excuses, aside from card rotation, of course.

Game Improvements

And finally, Supercell added some “quality of life” improvements to the game. Some of those include being able to share and copy decks from outside of the game. A revamped shop with more options, daily deals, and a free Epic card every Sunday.

Last but not least, expect some new cards and troops in the near future. Supercell changed the entire layout for new cards, and when they arrive it will be a complete surprise. Instead of hints, teasers on YouTube, and challenges. We’ll have to wait and see what they have in store.

While you’re here, check out these 2v2 decks, tips, and tricks.

Sunday, October 8, 2017

Action Launcher gains Pixel 2-style search bar in latest update

Google changed up the launcher a little bit on the Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL. The search bar makes a return and has been moved down below the docked icons, and the “pill” and weather widgets are gone from the top of the screen. In their place is a new “at a glance” widget that gives you quick access to your upcoming events and weather.

If you can’t wait to try the redesigned launcher out for yourself, you’ll want to check out Action Launcher’s latest update.

Action Launcher has just received an update to version 29.0 that introduces the Pixel 2-style dock search box. Just head to Action Launcher’s settings menu, select Quickbar, then Style, then choose Search box (dock) to enable it. From there you can choose the color of the Quickbar (thanks to the handy Quicktheme feature), layout, and you can even select a custom corner size. You can keep the rectangular search box if you’d like, or make the corners completely round.

Also new in v29 is the ability to use the “G”-style Google logo, just like you’d see on the Pixel 2.

Google Pixel 2 XL vs LG V30: What Buyers Need to Know

With the LG V30 now available and the Google Pixel 2 XL release date near buyers have a tough choice to make. If you passed on the Galaxy Note 8 and are looking for a new phone, here’s what you need to know about both. This is a comparison of the LG V30 vs the Pixel 2 XL.

Both of these phones have plenty of neat features, along with the same 6-inch edge-to-edge display. Meaning it’s not too big, and not too small. That said, there are some major differences between the two.

Read: Google Pixel 2 Release Date Breakdown

In this post, we’ll go over everything you need to know about each smartphone. What is similar, what makes them different and unique features like the dual cameras or front-facing speakers to sway you one way or the other. In the end, both phones are worth considering.

Trying to decide which one to buy is no easy task. That said, our information should help you decide if the Pixel 2 XL is even worth the wait. Furthermore, with excellent big-screen phones readily available like the Galaxy S8 and the V30, you have a tough choice to make.

Considering they both have the same 6-inch OLED display you’ll have to look at other differences. Some of those include stock Android vs LG’s implementation, microSD expansion on the LG V30, water-resistance, the camera experience and battery life.

Both phones have pros and cons too, so make a choice with our information below based on your individual needs. If you’re still on the fence, here’s how the two stack up against each other.

Pixel 2 XL vs LG V30: Display

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Pixel 2 XL vs LG V30: Display

First things first, we need to talk about the display. For just the second time ever, LG is using an OLED screen on the LG V30. It’s called a “Full Vision” display, as there are nearly no bezels on the top, bottom, or the sides. The entire front is almost all screen. 

It looks similar to the Galaxy S8 or iPhone X, where all you see is display. In fact, LG has smaller bezels than Samsung’s Note 8. The result is an impressive visual experience while using the phone. 

The LG V30 6-inch screen has a Quad-HD 2560 x 1440 resolution, great colors, crisp blacks, and is very sharp. The sides of the glass curve into the body of the frame, making it easy to use. It’s one of the best screens on the market. 

However, the Google Pixel 2 XL uses the exact same screen. It’s an LG display, and LG actually made the phone, too, if you didn’t know. Google did the design elements, but LG is who manufactured Google’s latest phone. So, in terms of the screen, there’s no clear winner. 

That said, the LG V30 is slightly smaller, as are the black bezels and bars around the screen, which some might prefer. You can’t go wrong with either phone.

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Meguiar’s Basic Headlight Restoration Kit Review: Upgrade Your Headlights for $15

You can upgrade your headlights for $15 and a little elbow grease, increasing your safety while driving at night and making your car look better at the same time. Cloudy headlights aren’t just an eyesore to look at, they affect headlight performance.

Meguiar’s Headlight Restoration Kit isn’t just for car lovers that want to keep their ride in pristine condition, it’s also for everyday drivers that want to see where they’re going at night without paying a mechanic an outrageous amount to clean their headlights for them.

The kit exists because there are no safety features more important than headlights. A pair of clear headlights let you see things on the road that you wouldn’t otherwise know were right in front of you. They act as casual visual aids for other drives too, alerting them to your car’s presence around curves and in the distance.

If you have a car with cloudy headlights, the Meguiar’s Headlight Restoration Kit will save you money and may even save you from an accident.

What Comes with the Kit

Meguiar’s Headlight Restoration kits are simple. The company sells just three and which you purchase depends on how bad the headlights on your car are. Nearly opaque lens require the company’s Heavy Duty Headlight Restoration Kit and the Two Step Headlight Restoration Kit is for headlights that still have some areas that aren’t very cloudy. I tested the Meguiar’s Basic Headlight Restoration kit because, though my six-year-old car’s lights need polishing, I haven’t let the problem get too bad. This kit costs just $14.99.

This basic kit comes with PlastX treatment, three sanding pads and a bright orange microfiber cloth. You must supply a cup of water, masking tape and a spray bottle to wet your headlights with. That these items aren’t in the kit is somewhat disappointing, but not terrible. Not everyone has a spray bottle around the house; however, they aren’t too expensive to buy.

Polishing Your Headlights

Any decent do-it-yourself kit breaks down its process into manageable, easy-to-understand steps. After all, polishing headlights isn’t something that most people do every day. The Meguiar’s Headlight Restoration kit has six steps, all of which are easy to follow.

I began by using painter’s tape instead of masking tape to protect the areas around my car’s headlights. While I carefully protected my car’s finish, the sanding pads were soaking in a cup of water. The kit recommends the three pads stay in the water for one minute before you do anything with them.

After a minute passed, I used the pads to sand down both of my 2011 Ford Fiesta’s headlights. Each pad has a number on it that corresponds to when you should use it. For example, you start by moving the #1 sanding pad along your moist headlight up and down. The instructions printed on the kit’s black box provide details on which direction you sand in with each pad. The first pad is for sanding up and down, but later pads have you sand from left to right.

After you’re done sanding, it’s time to use the Plastx headlight polish and microfiber cloth to hide any imperfections in your lens and get headlights that look like new. The microfiber cleaning cloth keeps you from ruining your polished lens with towels that can leave residue behind. For all the things the kit doesn’t include, it’s a great thing that buyers do get this cloth.

About an hour after I’d started with the Meguiar’s Basic Headlight Restoration Kit, I’d reached the last step. I used a second microfiber cloth not included with the basic kit to wipe away polish around the lens in and any areas I’d managed to go over the tape with the Plastix treatment.

Once I removed the painter’s tape, I had a car with improved looks and clearer headlights than when I started. They didn’t look as good as new headlights would have, but they were clearer and, therefore, safer to use when driving at night. Taking my car to a dealership for even a modest cleaning would have cost $69.99. The Meguiar’s Basic Headlight Restoration Kit only costs $14.99.

Should You Buy?

If your car has cloudy and hazy headlights, don’t take it to an auto shop to have them cleaned. First, try the Meguiar’s Headlight Restoration Kits. The Basic Headlight Restoration Kit improved my headlights for just $14.99.

Will your headlights be in pristine condition after? Probably not, but you will notice that less light gets trapped inside them at night after using the sanding pads and Meguiar’s Plastx polish compound, which is exactly the point.


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