Wednesday, November 25, 2015

IT News Head Lines (Techradar) 26/11/2015


Apple snaps up Star Wars contributor Faceshift
Apple snaps up Star Wars contributor Faceshift
It might sound creepy, but Apple wants to capture your face in real time, and this desire has fuelled its latest purchase.
According to TechCrunch, Apple has acquired Faceshift, a Zurich-based startup that specialises in the real time capture of facial expressions.
The technology, which has been used in animation for games and films – most notably in Star Wars: The Force Awakens – uses 3D sensors to capture facial expressions, which can then be used to make non-human animated characters appear more natural.

A change of face

But the technology could have applications outside the worlds of cinema and gaming – prior to Apple's acquisition, Faceshift was also working on software for consumers, including a Skype plugin that would support real-time avatars for video chat.
As expected, Apple revealed nothing when approached about the purchase, responding with its customary statement: "Apple buys smaller technology companies from time to time, and we generally do not discuss our purpose or plans."
Check out a demonstration of Faceshift's technology in the video below:
YouTube : v=uiMnAmoIK9s

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Use Android Pay this holiday season and Google will donate money to charity
Use Android Pay this holiday season and Google will donate money to charity
Google is really getting into the holiday spirit this year, with search giant promising to donate $1 in your name for every purchase you make using Android Pay this holiday season.
Starting today, when whenever you use Android Pay to pay for a purchase, Google will donate $1 to special needs education programs in the US through the charity
This donation program will run up until it hits $1 million in total, or up until December 31 of this year.
And to really kick things off, Google will donate $2 per purchase on Black Friday, November 27, whenever you use Android Pay.
Of course, it's a great campaign to get people to start using Android Pay, Google's smartphone NFC payment system, which goes up against Apple Pay and Samsung Pay.
Google says there are currently a million locations across the country that accepts Android Pay.

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New startup could make death obsolete within 3 decades
New startup could make death obsolete within 3 decades
In a development right out of a Neill Blomkamp sci-fi movie, Australian startup company Humai claims to be working on technology which will allow a person’s consciousness to be transferred to an artificial body after they’ve passed away.
“We're using artificial intelligence and nanotechnology to store data of conversational styles, behavioral patterns, thought processes and information about how your body functions from the inside-out,” says Humai CEO Josh Bocanegra on the company’s website, explaining that the collated data would then be “coded into multiple sensor technologies, which will be built into an artificial body with the brain of a deceased human.”
Speaking to Australian Popular Science, Bocanegra expanded on how the company would go about achieving the goal of making death irrelevant within the next 30 years.

Brain-freeze moves beyond ice-cream

“We'll first collect extensive data on our members for years prior to their death via various apps we're developing,” explained Bocanegra, also stating that once a subject has passed on, Humai would “freeze the brain using cryonics technology,” and then “when the technology is fully developed we'll implant the brain into an artificial body.”
But how would Humai face the challenge of preventing brain deterioration? According to Bocanegra, Humai will “use nanotechnology to repair and improve cells,” with the CEO also confident that “cloning technology is going to help with this too.”
So far, Humai has just 5 staff members, including two researchers, an A.I. expert and an ambassador, and is funded entirely by Bocanegra himself.
Is this all a matter of ‘pie in the sky’ wishful thinking, or could Bocanegra succeed in his goal of “making death optional”? The Humai CEO believes that whatever happens, “every step we take toward understanding how to get your thoughts to control an artificial body will be huge progress,” however, Bocanegra is “confident that in the process we'll develop a technology that will even save lives.”
  • Check out the latest innovations when it comes to robotics

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Remote Play software enables you to play PS4 games on your PC
Remote Play software enables you to play PS4 games on your PC
It seems the PS4 might've just gained another of the Xbox One's new features, enabling users to stream games from their systems to a PC.
The software, aptly called Remote Play PC and developed by a programmer using the pseudonym Twisted, uses the PS4's built-in Remote Play software to trick PCs into thinking they're another Sony device and accept a stream from a nearby console.
The software is launching Wednesday, November 25, and comes with a modest price tag of $10 (£6.50).
But before you think about shelling out for the software, know that because the software is unofficial and uses proprietary software for unintended purposes means Sony could very well come along and shut it down before you ever get a chance to use it.
We've also seen some reports that Twisted's previously released software that enables Remote Play for Android devices suffers from some input lag, making fast-paced games less desirable to play using the software.
If you're looking to get it on in-home streaming without the fear of losing money, you could always check out the PlayStation TV to achieve streaming from a console in one room to a TV in another. (Though we highly recommend reading our review before you purchase one.)
Console-to-PC streaming was a feature Microsoft recently released on the Xbox One earlier this year, and has been modestly well-received by the gaming audience.

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Review: HP Z25n
Review: HP Z25n

Introduction and design

HP brings flair to its display lineup with the introduction of slim side bezels on the Z25n ($529, £350, AU$729). Slim bezels enhance the visual appeal of the color accurate screen, making a multi-monitor setup appear seamless.
HP's near-bezel-less display comes in several different sizes, ranging from 22 inches to 27 inches. Our review unit has a 25-inch diagonal viewable area.
The styling of the display is similar to Acer's S277HK, but Acer opts for a more modern aesthetic in a form over function design ethos. As an office-centric monitor, the Z25n, which features an articulating stand and adjustable base, competes more directly against the Dell UltraSharp 25 ($569, £377, AU$787), ViewSonic VP2772 ($899, £596, AU$1,243), and the BenQ SW2700PT ($599, £397, AU$828).


Like many other office monitors, the HP Z25n is only available in a matte black finish. This makes the Z25n unassuming on a desk, but that's not necessarily a bad thing as black helps frame your creative work and allows you to focus on the content and color.
Out of the box, you'll notice that the display area dominates the monitor, and that the top, left and right sides are virtually bezel-less, save for a thin strip of plastic that surrounds the sides of the display to keep everything together. The only noticeable bezel is found on the bottom edge.
Even though there is virtually no border around the top, left and right sides of the screen, there is still a ⅜-inch (0.95cm) black band surrounding the display area. Only 1/16-inch (0.16cm) of the black band is visible at the bottom of the screen because the bottom edge is covered by a ⅝-inch (1.59cm), matte black plastic strip.
This strip of plastic at the bottom of the display is home to the silver HP logo and touch-sensitive controls.
The Z25n ships in two pieces. In addition to the display, the second piece is the stand, which ships attached to the base. The nice part about the Z25n is that connecting the screen to the stand requires no screws or physical effort thanks to a latch mounting mechanism. The connection is made when the metal prongs on the base are inserted into grooves in the plastic on the rear of the display. I was initially wary that the plastic components won't be able to support the display's weight when mounted. However, I found my worries unjustified, as the whole unit feels solid when attached.
With the stand in place, the monitor weighs 15.9 pounds (7.23kg) and measures 22.5 x 8.6 x 20.5 inches (57.05 x 21.82 x 52.15cm). Both the ViewSonic VP2772 and the BenQ SW2700PT come with larger 27-inch screens, so direct size and weight comparisons cannot be made.
With a 25-inch panel, visually, the design of the Z25n is very similar to Dell's 25-inch WQHD resolution UltraSharp 25 UP2516D monitor. Both displays offer ergonomic tilt and swivel adjustments, and both come with a similar open-stand design for easy cable management. The Dell monitor also shares similarly slim side bezels, an easy latch mounting system and a bevy of bottom-facing connectivity ports on the rear. Dell's monitor is 0.15 inches (0.38cm) shorter, and 0.29 inches (0.74cm) wider with a base that's 0.71 inches (1.8cm) less deep than the Z25n.
All four displays come with the same 2,560x1,440 pixel resolution. The Z25n has a pixel density of 117.5 pixels per inch.
Unfortunately, 4K resolution isn't available on the Z25n. To step up to a UHD panel, you'll have to go with the Z24s ($549, £364, AU$757), but that model doesn't benefit from the slim bezels of the Z25n. If you want even more accurate colors for your workflow, the Z24x ($599, £397, AU$826) comes with HP's DreamColor technology, which is preferred by entertainment studio DreamWorks, but you'll be capped at a maximum 1080p resolution and lose the near-bezel-less screen technology. In this regard, the "n" models in HP's Z series strikes a nice balance of resolution and bezel design.

Cable management and ports

HP's Z series uses a simply design with a square base and a rectangular stand with a curved front. The stand has a small cutout that allows you to feed cables through.
This design is useful for keeping cable clutter on your desk to a minimum, considering the vast array of ports that the Z25n supports. The ports are bottom-facing on the rear of the monitor, which I found difficult to access when the monitor is positioned in landscape orientation. Thankfully, the HP Z25n can be swiveled 90 degrees to the left or right for use in portrait orientation. In the vertical position, I found the ports to be more easily accessible.
Ports include power, MHL 2.0 /HDMI 1.4, DVI-D, DisplayPort 1.2, Mini-DisplayPort 1.2 and DisplayPort 1.2 output. The DisplayPort 1.2 output is useful for when you want to take advantage of the slim side bezels in setting up a multi-display workspace by placing two Z25n screens side-by-side.
There is also a USB upstream port and four full-size USB 3.0 ports, allowing the HP Z25n to serve as a USB hub to connect your peripherals. A 3.5mm audio jack allows you to connect an HP speakerbar or headphones, which could be useful for creative professionals working with video and audio. There is also a main power switch along with a Kensington lock port on the rear.

Ergonomics and control

In addition to rotating between landscape and portrait orientation, the Z25n can also be raised and lowered, angled and tilted for maximum comfort.
In landscape orientation, when lowered, the Z25n has a clearance of 2.375 inches from your desk, which increases to a maximum of 7.378 inches. Similarly, in portrait, desk clearance ranges from 0.75 inches to about 3 inches.
Tilt can be adjusted between -5 degrees to 22 degrees, and the monitor can swivel 45 degrees left to 45 degrees right.
Thanks to the in-plane switching (IPS) display technology, the Z25n benefits from wide 178-degree viewing angles. With a maximum brightness of 350 nits and an anti-glare coating, office lighting presented no problems in terms of glare and reflection, even at lower brightness settings.
I noticed a tiny bit of bubbling, perhaps with the application of the anti-glare coating, on the upper left and right corners of the display. The bubbling is only apparent if you're looking out for these details, and this flaw really has no effect on the performance of the display.
I found the Z25n to be as comfortable to view as matte displays on laptops, and even with luminance set at zero, I experienced no issues with glare when using the screen facing a bright office window and under ambient overhead LED lights.


Like most displays with touch-sensitive controls, navigating menus and scrolling through lists is cumbersome and tedious, but I am not sure how HP could improve on the UI.
The bottom bezel houses the touchscreen power button. Whereas the rear power switch completely shuts off all power, the touchscreen button on the front just turns off the display. As an example, if I use the touchscreen power button, I can turn off the screen, but the Z25n still provides power to the USB hub. This is useful when I want to charge my phone at my desk without having to turn on the Z25n's screen.
With the Z25n's screen turned on, touching any one of the five dimpled buttons will pull up the main menu controls. You'll have access to the Main Menu, the Information screen, Input Control settings, Color Control settings and Luminance settings to adjust brightness. The Color Control allows you to tweak the Z25n to show colors that are warmer or cooler based on preset settings, or you can set your own RGB values with a custom setting. Unlike consumer-class displays, the Z25n doesn't come with optional settings like blue light reduction, which is marketed as a feature that helps reduce eye fatigue.
For serious multitasking, the Z25n supports input from up to two sources. If you use both a desktop and a laptop for work, for example, you can connect your laptop over HDMI and use DisplayPort to connect your desktop. Now, you can show content from both sources at the same time by choosing either picture-in-picture or 2X1 Dual Split (also known as picture-by-picture) mode in the PIP Control settings in the Z25n Main Menu.
Picture-in-picture (PIP) allows you to see the main source in entire display and view the second source in a smaller window. You can also make granular adjustments to the size of this second window, and the Z25n also allows you to adjust the placement of the PIP window to suit your workflow.
With picture-by-picture, you'll be able to see the two sources side-by-side. Unfortunately, as the Z25n maintains the aspect ratio of your display, this results in serious letterboxing, as the displays do not scale to stretch and fill the height of the Z25n's screen area.

Specifications and performance

The Z25n comes with factory calibration, but does not include a built-in colorimeter for future calibrations. HP ships the Z25n with a factory Test Log, showing that tests have been performed to evaluate pixels, luminance, uniformity, contrast ratio, viewing angle and mura as well as an inspection of the unit to make sure it's free of scratches and chips. The test log is signed and dated by a factory worker.
Here's how the Z25n that was sent to techradar pro was configured:


Display size: 25-inch, 2,560 x 1,440 resolution, LED, IPS
Refresh rate: 60Hz
Response time: 14ms gray-to-gray
Ports: 1 MHL 2.0 /HDMI 1.4, 1 DVI-D, 1 DisplayPort 1.2, 1 Mini-DisplayPort 1.2, 1 DisplayPort 1.2 out, 4 USB 3.0 (four downstream and one upstream), audio jack
Brightness: 350 nits
Tilt: -5 degrees to 22 degrees
Swivel: 45 degrees left to 45 degrees right
Pivot rotation: 90 degrees
Weight: 15.9 pounds
Size: 22.5 x 8.6 x 20.5 inches
Using Datacolor's Spyder5 Elite colorimeter, I found that factory calibration settings are on point. There is very little difference between color tones before and after my own calibration using the Spyder5 Elite. The big difference is that colors appear a bit cooler with HP's factory settings and Datacolor's tunings made the display show warmer colors.


The Spyder5 Elite calibration revealed that the Z25n is able to display 99% of the sRGB color space, 71% of the NTSC color space and 75% of the Adobe Color Space.
The Z25n scored excellent Gamut, Contrast, Color Uniformity and Color Accuracy marks with Datacolor's Display Analysis tool. Tone response and white point scores were great. The only drawback to this display is Luminance Uniformity.
Uneven brightness is noticeable at brighter display settings, and I found that there is moderate light bleed along the edges, with the most severe light bleed coming from the bottom left corner of the screen. At lower brightness settings, this issue isn't as apparent.
The high contrast rating means that you'll see rich, inky blacks on this display. HP rates the static contrast at 1000:1 and dynamic contrast ratio at 5,000,000:1.
I had no problems with the display's brightness. Videos streamed smoothly, and I found text and images were sharp on the Z25n. Casual gamers will benefit from the 60Hz refresh rate and 14ms response time, but more serious gamers will likely want to find a monitor that's compatible with Nvidia's G Sync or AMD's FreeSync technology, both of which will help improve response times in fast-action games.
Dell's competing UltraSharp 25 delivers a faster 6ms response time with the same 60Hz refresh rate, but isn't quite as bright at 300 nits.
Small business users who spend a lot of time in front of a monitor will benefit from the adjustability of the Z25n. From an ergonomic perspective, this makes the HP Z25n far more usable in an office setting than the Acer S277HK, which comes with a non-adjustable stand.


The "n" models bring a lot of visual appeal to HP's mid-market Z series monitor lineup thanks to its nearly bezel-less design. Single-monitor office workers will appreciate that the slim bezels give the illusion that the Z25n takes up less space on a desk, while multi-monitor users will appreciate that you can seamlessly connect multiple Z25n displays together to expand your workspace without much visual interruption between screens.

We liked

With a starting size of 23 inches, HP fills a niche in the business-class display space by cramming more pixels into smaller screens, leading to higher pixel density monitors. Traditionally, higher resolution screens, 4K UHD and the WQHD on the HP Z25n and Z23n, are found on larger monitors.
The adjustability of the Z25n makes it a great ergonomic display, especially for business users who spend a large portion of their day in front of a PC. Factory calibration provided accurate color reproduction, great contrast and superb color uniformity, but HP could improve the unit by providing more even brightness across the panel.
Unless you require a studio-grade display, or a higher 4K or 5K resolution panel, the Z25n strikes a nice balance between design, performance and price.

We disliked

If you're working in an open office environment, the 45-degree left and right swivel of the base is enough to share and collaborate with a colleague seated next to you. However, if you're a small business owner with your own office, the display doesn't swivel enough so that you can show your screen to a client seated across from your desk.
Additionally, HP made a few compromises with this display. If you want 4K, you'll have to choose the UHD Z series, which means you'll gain pixel density at the expense of the slim bezels. If you want color accuracy, you'll have to choose the DreamColor display, which trades in slim bezels and a high resolution screen for a colorimeter and a 1080p panel. HP hasn't addressed the needs of the most demanding creative professional with a UHD panel, slim bezels and an option for a built-in colorimeter for on-demand display calibration.
If your job is video-heavy, the uneven screen brightness at higher luminance settings could be distracting, especially against a darker backdrop, and gamers will want faster refresh rates.

Final verdict

If your work doesn't require a higher resolution 4K or 5K screen, HP has created an excellent WQHD display that's well equipped to handle the "harsh" environments of office lighting with a bright screen, anti-glare coating to minimize reflection and a high display to body ratio thanks to the slim bezels at the top and side edges. Combined with an adjustable base and a swivel screen, office workers working long hours in front of a PC will hopefully be comfortable.
And to top it off, accurate factory calibration means that you can use this display for word processing and spreadsheet work, but the Z25n is also versatile enough for light creative projects. Professionals who work with photos and videos may want to invest in a colorimeter to maintain color accuracy over time.

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Volvo tests out in-car deliveries in Sweden
Volvo tests out in-car deliveries in Sweden
Volvo aims to make holiday shopping easier, starting with Black Friday, by eliminating the frantic search for parking spaces and large crowds of shoppers. (That is, assuming Black Friday is even a thing in Sweden.) The company recently launched a new in-car delivery service in its home town of Gothenburg, Sweden.
The new in-car delivery service partners with leading Nordic suppliers and stores, PostNord, and, to deliver toys, baby products and groceries directly to your Volvo. Unfortunately, Ikea isn't participating, so you'll still have to endure the torturous maze for furniture shopping.
Only select 2012 and newer cars with a subscription to Volvo On Call services in Gothenburg, the second largest city in the country, can take advantage of this new delivery method. The service relies on the Volvo On Call telematics service that lets users lock and unlock their cars from a smartphone app.
Volvo in-car delivery service
When you order a product from a participating retailer and choose the in-car delivery service, the deliverer receives a temporary key from Volvo that lets them access the car and load up your purchased goods. The digital key expires after one use, and a text message is sent to you after the delivery is complete.
In Volvo's theoretical situation, you drive off after receiving the delivery. In reality, leaving your order in the car in a parking area during the holidays isn't a smart idea in theft-prone areas.
While I'll give props to Volvo for trying creative, niche ways to receive orders during the holidays, I'm not sure how this is useful or any different than just ordering something online for delivery to your house or workplace.
I'd honestly feel more comfortable leaving a package at my front door than my car, especially during the holidays. If someone steals the package from your front door, it's gone – that's it.
The same can't be said about something being stolen from your car, which can end with shattered glass getting all over the place. Then again, America (or even the UK) is about the last place you'd see a promotion like this.

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Google's Star Wars easter egg gives search results the classic golden crawl
Google's Star Wars easter egg gives search results the classic golden crawl
With less than a month until Star Wars: The Force Awakens hits theaters globally, Google has joined up with Disney to bring you fun features to promote the new film.
While the search giant asked you yesterday to choose between the light side or dark side, adding a myriad of Star Wars references throughout Google's apps, today it's added a fun little easter egg to Search.
Head on over to Google and type "A long time ago in a galaxy far far away" and you'll see the search results return in the iconic golden crawl from the Star Wars franchise, epic music and all.
Unfortunately, the golden crawl doesn't work for any other search term, but the results are clickable, taking you to the page you choose.
To jump out of the galactic search, you can just click on the little X on the top right of the page to return to a normal Google Search page.
With a few more weeks until the movie's release, expect to see a lot more of Star Wars pop up on Google's apps.

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This new display tech is light on your battery
This new display tech is light on your battery
A smartphone's battery life is determined by a lot of factors, but the biggest power sink is usually the screen itself. Dimming down the display is the easiest way to slow down on the juice, but a development by Bodle Technologies could resolve that issue altogether.
While still in very early stages of development, Bodle Technologies has reportedly been getting significant, though undisclosed, support to create touchscreens that use virtually no electricity.
"You have to charge smartwatches every night, which is slowing adoption," explained Dr. Peiman Hosseini, Bodle Technologies founder and engineer. "If you had a smartwatch or smart glass that didn't need much power, you could recharge it just once a week."
In place of constantly illuminating a screen, Bodle's breakthrough uses a phase-change material that changes color when subject to an electrical pulse. Despite using very little energy to function, Bodle claims the screen is still as sharp as an average smartphone screen, even visible in direct sunlight.
While interfaces such as e-paper screen allow for low-power, legible viewing, they also compromise on color or image quality, making them less-than-ideal candidates for mobile devices. In a report by Engadget, the technology could have applications outside of smartphones, such as being applied to windows to filter out light or retain heat.
While the promise of super-efficient touchscreens is still a ways away, the technology could forever change the way televisions, smartphones, laptops, and other screened electronics worldwide are developed. The extra savings on the electric bill would make the change welcome alone.

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Xiaomi new slate looks like an iPad Mini but acts like a Surface
Xiaomi new slate looks like an iPad Mini but acts like a Surface
You'd be forgiven if you picked up Xiaomi's MiPad 2 and mistook it for Apple's iconic iPad Mini 4. Both tablets share a 7.9-inch screen size, all-metal construction and a 2,048 x 1,536 pixel resolution (or what Apple calls Retina).
To mimic Apple's reversible Lightning connector, Xiaomi equips the MiPad 2 with a reversible USB Type-C connector, which should provide power and expansion capabilities to the tablet. Like the iPad, the MiPad 2 doesn't have an expandable SD or microSD card slot, so you'll have to rely on the USB-C port to connect additional storage.
However, the similarities end there. Unlike the iPad Mini 4, which runs Apple's mobile-centric iOS operating system, the MiPad 2 can be configured to run either Android or Windows 10. Powering Xiaomi's iPad clone is a 64-bit 2.2GHz Atom X5-Z8500 processor that's part of Intel's Cherry Trail family.

Android or Windows?

Configurations for the MiPad 2 vary based on the operating system you select. The Android version comes with either 16GB or 64GB of storage, while the Windows 10 version will come with 64GB. Memory is set at 2GB with dual-channel LPDDR3 RAM. The MiPad has an 8-megapixel rear-facing camera and a 5-megapixel front-facing camera for video chats.
The MiPad 2 is the latest of a number of tablets out of China that copies Apple's iPad design. Tablets from manufacturer Teclast come with similar metal construction, optional mobile broadband connectivity and dual-booting functionality that will allow you to have both Android and Windows on the same device.
The MiPad 2 starts at just $156 (£103, AU$215) for the Android version or $203 (£134, AU$280) for the Windows version, which is roughly half the cost of Apple's $400 (£256, AU$551) asking price for the base iPad Mini 4.
Xiaomi's clone is slightly heavier and thicker than the iPad Mini 4. Xiaomi's slate weighs 0.71 pounds (322 grams) and is 0.27 inches (6.95mm) thick, while the iPad Mini 4 comes in at 0.66 pounds (298 gram) and 0.24 inches (6.1mm) thick.

Aping Microsoft's Surface Mini

The near-8-inch display and metal construction makes the MiPad 2 one of the closest tablets to fill the void left by Microsoft's aborted Surface Mini, an 8-inch tablet that Microsoft Corporate Vice President for Surface Computing Panos Panay said felt like a digital Moleskine notebook. Unlike the much hyped Surface Mini, the MiPad 2 doesn't come with an active digitizer, limiting its appeal to those who rely on inking as part of their business workflow.
Before Microsoft scrapped its miniature tablet efforts, the Surface Mini was rumored to debut with an ARM processor and Windows RT, meaning that it won't be able to run full desktop programs. This would make Xiaomi's slate more powerful. The MiPad 2's x86 processor is capable of powering Windows 10 and running full Windows programs.

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Apple Watch might be the perfect place to watch Vine videos
Apple Watch might be the perfect place to watch Vine videos
Need your video fix on the go? Vine's got you covered, thanks to an update bringing looping videos to Apple's wearable. The new Vine update also improves finding related vines on mobile devices.
The Vine experience on the Apple Watch is simplified in comparison to the smartphone and tablet version, showing vines saved to a user's favorites as well as featured vines getting a lot of buzz. While only saved and featured videos are currently visible on the smartwatch, users can still like and re-post vines to their feed with just a tap on the wrist.
"When we set out to build Vine for the Apple Watch, we focused on making sure that you can quickly access the content on Vine that is most important you," posted Vine iOS Engineer Simon Corsin in an official blog post. "We hope you like it."
For those not using the Apple Watch, the update also allows for Vine users on iOS to discover related vines by swiping left while perusing their feed. The update is currently exclusive on iOS, and while Vine making its way to other smartwatches might be a stretch, an Android version of the update arriving in the future is more than likely.

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Updated: This is how much Xbox One and PS4 are going to cost on Black Friday
Updated: This is how much Xbox One and PS4 are going to cost on Black Friday

Xbox One and PS4 bundle deals

Xbox One and PS4 holiday bundles
Update: PS4 and Xbox One are in store for some massive price drops this holiday season. Microsoft and Sony have announced a new price point ($299) for basic bundles that include a controller and a game - that's Uncharted: The Nathan Drake Collection on PS4 and Gears of War: Ultimate Edition on Xbox One. Other Xbox One bundles will drop down $50 from From Thursday, Nov. 26 through Monday, Nov. 30. The entries in this list have been updated to reflect their new price.
Original story continues below...
The holidays are almost here again, and whether you're still putting together your Halloween costume or already dreaming of gift-wrapped presents, at some point you're going to need to do a bit of shopping.
While you can still look forward to our annual gift guide, if you've got gamers on your list - none of whom have upgraded to the current generation of consoles yet - there are a dozen great console bundles worth considering for a spot on your holiday shopping list.
Both Microsoft and Sony's systems come in a few different flavors, from consoles with a small amount of hard drive space for the casual gamer to all-out monsters with 1TB HDDs, and almost always include one (or more) of the biggest games of 2015.
To help make the decision of which Xbox One or PS4 bundle to buy easier, you can find the specs listed on each page, along with a small description that you can use to match the console to the special gamer in your life.

Call of Duty: Black Ops III PS4

PS4 bundle deals
Does that special someone in your life know what a "bouncing betty" is? Do they dream of calling in air-strikes and spend more time plotting out the perfect kill-streak bonus than they do on their homework? If so, they're going to love the upcoming Call of Duty: Black Ops III Limited Edition PS4.
What's in the box:
  • Custom orange and black PS4 with a 1TB hard drive
  • Custom Call of Duty: Black Ops III controller
  • This PlayStation 4 Limited Edition also includes a physical copy of the game and a download code for the Nuk3town Bonus multiplayer map available on day one
  • One chat headset, HDMI cable, and power supply
Pre-order it in the US here for $429: Amazon
Pre-order it in the UK here for £385: GAME UK
Pre-order it in Australia here for AU$579: EB Games

Xbox One Limited Edition Halo 5: Guardians

Xbox One bundle deals
Not interested in joining PlayStation Nation? Microsoft has plenty of special edition Xbox Ones to keep you entertained long after the snow melts. At the front of the pack is the limited edition Halo 5: Guardians Bundle that lumps a special version of the console, a 1TB hard drive, the game itself and a Covenant ship-worth of DLC into one package for around $500 (£399/AU$599). The only thing missing from this set? A membership to Xbox Live Gold needed for online play. But hey, those make pretty good stocking stuffers.
What's in the box:
  • Custom gray and black Xbox One with a 1TB hard drive
  • Custom Halo 5: Guardians-themed controller
  • One chat headset, HDMI cable, and power supply
  • A digital download code for Halo 5: Guardians
  • The Warzone REQ Bundle that includes 14 premium Requisition Packs, FOTUS-class armor and multiplayer emblem
  • Plus a Guardian model by Metal Earth, Halo: The Fall of Reach - Animated Series, Blue & Osiris team dossiers and Spartan Locke's Classified Orders
Pre-order it in the US here for $499 ($449 Nov. 26-30): Amazon
Pre-order it in the UK here for £399: GAME UK
Pre-order it in Australia here for AU$599: EB Games

Limited Edition Destiny: The Taken King PS4

PS4 bundle deals
Remember five years ago when all anyone could talk about was Halo? Well Destiny: The Taken King - a living, breathing first-person shooter made by the same team behind the Halo series - is 2015's version. The game forces players to band together to take down an alien force invading the last bastion on Earth, sending you to intersolar system locals like Venus, the Moon and Mars to take the fight to the invading force.
What's in the box:
  • A 500GB Glacier White PS4 with Custom Silk Screen Artwork
  • One Glacier White DualShock 4 Wireless Controller
  • AC Power Cable, HDMI Cable, USB 2.0 Cable and Mono Wired Headset
  • A physical copy of Destiny: The Taken King Legendary Edition
  • Plus a digital voucher for the Destiny: The Taken King Digital Collector's Edition upgrade
Pre-order it in the US here for $399: Amazon
Pre-order it in the UK here for £320: GAME UK
Pre-order it in Australia here for AU$569: EB Games

Xbox One Fallout 4 Bundle

Xbox One bundle deals
Not to play favorites here, but if I were to only get one gift this holiday season, I wouldn't be upset in the least if it was the Fallout 4 Xbox One Bundle. It might not come with flashy exclusive artwork or a limited-run controller, but it does come with one of the most anticipated games of the year - Fallout 4. Fallout 4 (or as I call it, The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim with guns) puts you in the dust-ridden boots of a survivor of the apocalypse. Everything you knew of your old life is gone, and it's up to you to make sense of the crazy world that now stands in its place.
What's in the box:
  • A 1TB black Xbox One console
  • One wireless Xbox One controller
  • One chat headset, HDMI cable, and power supply
  • A physical copy of Fallout 4 on Xbox One
  • One digital download code for Fallout 3
Pre-order it in the US here for $399 ($349 Nov. 26-30): Amazon
Pre-order it in the UK here for £369: GAME UK
Not available in Australia

PS4 Limited Edition Star Wars Battlefront Bundle

PS4 bundle deals
Now this is the PS4 bundle you've been looking for. For anyone with a Dark Side, the new limited edition Star Wars PlayStation 4 prominently features Darth and comes with a red, blue, white and black special edition controller and a copy of the new game. While a console and a new game would've been enough for most spice traders to cut a deal, Sony and EA are tossing in four Star Wars Classics - Super Star Wars, Star Wars: Racer Revenge, Jedi Starfighter and Star Wars Bounty Hunter - to sweeten the pot.
What's in the box:
  • Custom Darth Vader-inspired 500GB PS4
  • Custom red, black, blue and white PS4 controller
  • HDMI cable and power supply
  • The deluxe edition of Star Wars Battlefront
  • A download code for four Star Wars Classics games
Pre-order it in the US here for $399: Amazon
Pre-order it in the UK here for £385: GAME UK
Pre-order it in Australia here for AU$599: EB Games

Xbox One Limited Edition Forza Motorsport 6

Xbox One bundle deals
Right behind Halo 5: Guardians in anticipation is the latest title in the long-running racing game series, Forza Motorsport 6. What's nice about this package is that it offers a custom (and inexplicably) blue system, a 1TB hard drive and full game download, but costs around $100 less than its sci-fi-themed comrade. It also includes the 10th anniversary car pack DLC, which is basically a bonus for any auto enthusiast who loves to virtually get behind the wheel of some of the fastest cars ever made.
What's in the box:
  • Custom blue Xbox One system with a 1TB hard drive
  • Matching custom Xbox One controller
  • One chat headset, HDMI cable, and power supply
  • A digital download code for Forza Motorsport 6
  • Plus a digital download code for the 10th Anniversary Car Pack DLC
Pre-order it in the US here for $399 ($349 Nov. 26-30): Amazon
Pre-order it in the UK here for £365: GAME UK
Pre-order it in Australia here for AU$549: EB Games

Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain PS4

PS4 bundle deals
While I have no idea how long Sony has planned on making a sweet red and black version of its console to commemorate the launch of Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain, I can tell you the game itself was in the oven, so to speak, for at least three years. In that time the team, led by Hideo Kojima, inserted dozens of side-missions and outlandish characters, endearing moments and a painfully rich narrative that dwarfs even the most paradoxical Japanese Role Playing Game. Need another reason to invest the $750 (£359)? If you have one of those almost preternatural abilities to keep things in the box for 20 years, this console could easily fetch 10 times its price in 2025.
What's in the box:
  • Limited Edition Metal Gear Solid V: Phantom Pain 500GB Console
  • Matching custom DualShock 4 MGS controller
  • HDMI cable and power supply
  • A physical copy of Metal Gear Solid V: Phantom Pain Day 1 edition
  • UK Version includes a strategy guide
Order it in the US here for $750: Amazon
Order it in the UK here for £359: GAME UK
Not available in Australia

Xbox One EA Sports FIFA 16 Bundle

Xbox One bundle deals
Have a football fan on your list and don't know what to get them? Check out the EA Sports FIFA 16 Xbox One Bundle that includes the full game and download codes that will bring some of the best players in the world out on the pitch for their team. Also included is a year-long subscription to EA Access, a download portal and beta hub for all of EA's big titles. Your giftee will get to play sports games before anyone else and access a swath of the publisher's back-catalog, including games like Dragon Age: Inquisition, Battlefield 4 and Plants vs Zombies: Garden Warfare.
What's in the box:
  • Standard black Xbox One with a 1TB hard drive
  • Standard Xbox One wireless controller
  • One chat headset, HDMI cable, and power supply
  • Digital download of FIFA 16
  • Three FIFA Ultimate Team Loan Legends
  • one-year subscription of EA Access
Pre-order it in the US here for $399 ($349 Nov. 26-30): Amazon
Pre-order it in the UK here for £349: GAME UK
Not available in Australia

Uncharted: The Nathan Drake Collection PS4 Bundle

PS4 bundle deals
GameSpot, a popular video game website, uncovered an interesting statistic the other day: 80% of PS4 owners haven't played the original three Uncharted games. Uncharted, as you may know, is a staple in Sony's game library and has been since the PS3 needed a new exclusive in a bad way. That's the beauty of the Uncharted: The Nathan Drake Collection PS4 Bundle - it's the ultimate "two birds, one stone" scenario. Not only will that PlayStation gamer in your life get a cool, new next-gen system, but they'll also get three of the games that put PlayStation and developer Naughty Dog back on the map.
What's in the box:
  • A standard black, 500GB PS4 console
  • A standard black DualShock 4 controller
  • HDMI cable and power supply
  • A physical copy of Uncharted: The Nathan Drake Collection on PS4
  • Access to the Uncharted 4: A Thief's End multiplayer beta in December
Pre-order it in the US here for $349 ($299 Nov. 27-30): Amazon
Pre-order it in the UK here for £299: GAME UK
Not available in Australia

Xbox One Gears of War: Ultimate Edition Bundle

Xbox One bundle deals
Ah, Gears of War, the game to revitalize our love of shooting really big virtual guns, using a chainsaw to solve all of our problems and bro-oping, the act of playing a game all the way through with your best friend. The Xbox One Gears of War Ultimate Edition Bundle offers a way to relive the experience of the Xbox 360 original in HD, alongside downloads of the entire Gears of War collection and early access to the upcoming Gears of War 4 beta test.
What's in the box:
  • Standard black Xbox One with a 500GB hard drive
  • Standard Xbox One wireless controller
  • Digital download code for Gears of War: Ultimate Edition
  • Digital download code for Xbox 360 Gears of War collection
  • Superstar Cole multiplayer skin
  • Early access to Gears of War 4 Beta
Pre-order it in the US here for $345 ($299 Nov. 26-30): Amazon
Pre-order it in the UK here for £299: GAME UK
Not available in Australia

Xbox One 1TB Holiday Bundle

Xbox One bundle deals
Microsoft's official Xbox One Holiday Bundle is an interesting mix of games from the system's storied past. For starters, it includes a digital download of Rare Replay - a collection of 30 games from Rare's heyday. On it, you'll find titles like the original Perfect Dark, Conker's Bad Fur Day, Killer Instinct, Battletoads, Banjo-Kazooie and even some Xbox 360 titles like Viva Pinata and its sequel, Trouble in Paradise. Pair that with downloads for the Gears of War trilogy, 1080p Gears of War Remastered and 2015's Ori and the Blind Forest, and there's plenty of content for the whole family.
What's in the box:
  • Standard black Xbox One with a 1TB hard drive
  • Standard Xbox One wireless controller
  • One chat headset, HDMI cable, and power supply
  • Digital download code for Gears of War: Ultimate Edition
  • Digital download code for Rare Replay, featuring 30 iconic games from Rare
  • Digital download code for Ori and the Blind Forest full game download
  • Digital download code for Xbox 360 Gears of War collection
Pre-order it in the US here for $399 ($349 Nov. 26-30): Amazon
Not available in the UK or Australia

Xbox One Rise of the Tomb Raider Bundle

Xbox One bundle deals
There was a lot of confusion around the new Tomb Raider when it was announced at E3 2014. First Microsoft said it was a system exclusive until the company later backpedaled (typical Microsoft) and said it was only exclusive for a limited time before heading to the PS4 and PC. Despite not staying an Xbox One exclusive indefinitely, Lara's home for the holidays is on Microsoft's system, and to that end she's getting her very own console bundle equipped with everything you need to survive another long trek home to your parents' house.
What's in the box:
  • Standard black Xbox One with a 1TB hard drive
  • Standard Xbox One wireless controller
  • One chat headset, HDMI cable, and power supply
  • Digital download of Rise of the Tomb Raider
  • The Tactical Survival Kit Content Pack DLC, which contains a new outfit and weapon skins
  • Digital download of Tomb Raider: Definitive Edition, the HD remake of the 2013 Xbox 360 / PS3 / PC game
Pre-order it in the US here ($349 Nov. 26-30): Microsoft
Not available in the UK or Australia

Xbox One Elite Bundle

Xbox One bundle deals
We saved the best for last. Announced at E3 earlier this year,the Xbox One Elite Bundle comes with a huge 1TB hard drive and new Xbox Elite Wireless Controller. If you're looking for an upgrade to an early Xbox One that's running out of memory, the Elite is probably your best bet. The Elite Controller costs around $150 on its own, and the larger hard drive is a definite boon for anyone who downloads and plays every free Games with Gold title or more than four or five games at any given time.
What's in the box:
  • 1TB solid state hybrid drive Xbox One console
  • Xbox Elite Wireless Controller and carrying case
  • One chat headset, HDMI cable, and power supply
Pre-order it in the US here for $499 ($449 Nov. 26-30): Amazon
Pre-order it in the UK here for £399: GAME UK
Pre-order it in Australia here for AU$599: EB Games

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Wi-Fi alternative Li-Fi proves to be 100 times faster
Wi-Fi alternative Li-Fi proves to be 100 times faster
The Wi-Fi alternative tech, Li-Fi, has finally been tested in a real world setting, where it was reportedly able to send data at speeds 100 times faster than current Wi-Fi tech.
According to IBTimes, Estonian startup Velmenni, which has developed smart LED bulbs that can implement Li-Fi tech, is testing the tech in offices and industrial settings.
During pilots tests, Velmeni was able to send data through the Li-Fi touting light bulbs at up to 1GBps, which basically equates to downloading a HD film in a just seconds, according to the report.
"Currently we have designed a smart lighting solution for an industrial environment where the data communication is done through light," Deepak Solanki, CEO of Velmenni, told the publication.
"We are also doing a pilot project with a private client where we are setting up a Li-Fi network to access the internet in their office space."

Lights for speed

Invented by Professor Harald Haas from the University of Edinburgh, Li-Fi, or light fidelity, transfers data over the visual spectrum rather than via radio waves.
It uses light bulbs that flash on and off exceptionally quickly, sending binary information to a recipient.
The fastest speed on record for the tech in a lab setting had been 3Gbit/s during the development of the tech, but two years ago, researchers began using specially developed LED bulbs that could separat the light into parallel streams, to triple the speed.
While these speeds are impressive in a lab setting, until now, results of Li-Fi tech in a real in a real world setting hasn't been really revealed.
Haas believes Li-Fi could eventually be used to power a future generation of network in conjunction with Wi-Fi, providing more consistent coverage within buildings, as well as making for a potentially more secure network as Li-Fi can penetrate walls.

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Updated: Black Friday madness hits the Golden Joystick Store: Save 20% on PC games
Updated: Black Friday madness hits the Golden Joystick Store: Save 20% on PC games

PC Game deals

The Golden Joystick Awards is the videogame industry's version of the Academy Awards / Oscars. This year's winning games included Fallout 4, GTA Online, Kerbal Space Program, Bloodborne and The Witcher 3.
Last month the Golden Joystick brand (owned by the publisher of PC Gamer and techradar) launched the new Golden Joystick Store – a new place to buy Steam keys for PC games. Today the store launched a new PC game Black Friday deals page where you can save up to 20% on some of 2015's hottest PC games.
Check out our pick of the best deals here:
alien isolation

Alien: Isolation

Save 20% on the year's best horror game, buy it for £32 in the UK or $47.99 in the US
PC Gamer said: It's ridiculous that it took the developers of a historical RTS to finally create an authentic Alien game, but The Creative Assembly have managed it. They've succeeded where countless others have failed by treating Giger's monster with the reverence it deserves: as something to be feared and respected, not faced head-on with a pulse rifle. Isolation is a taut, confident, and electrifying horror game that perfectly captures the essence of Ridley Scott's legendary film. I just wish they'd been braver with the story. Read the full review
Get this deal: at the Golden Joystick Store

Fallout 4

Save 15% on the year's hottest game – get it for £34 in the UK or $50.99 in the US
PC Gamer said: As a whole, it's a loving production. It's filled with care and attention to detail—like the expanded set of radio stations, or the way flash radiation storms bathe the world in a sickly, ominous green hue. It's a pleasure to pick through the world, to discover new sights, and to pick through the perks and customisation option to conceive the perfect character build, however bizarre. In short, many of Fallout 4's problems, like every Bethesda RPG before it, are a consequence of what makes them unforgettable. That might not be the neatest conclusion, but it explains why, 50 hours in, I'm still having fun. It also explains why, now that I've finished this review, I'm going to play it for many hours more. Read the full review
Get this deal: at the Golden Joystick Store
foty manager

Football Manager 2016

Save 20% on the world's premier football management sim and get it for £27.99 in the UK or $39.99 in the US
PC Gamer said: Transfer negotiations are devilishly fun. Agree a fee for a player and you're invited to sit down with his agent to negotiate not only a wage, but clauses such as promotion pay rises and even his fee for being an unused sub. It's especially amusing to toy with the middle man by upping your target's salary to slightly more than that requested, then greatly reducing his personal cut. At lower league clubs, such penny pinching plays a vital role in your chances of long-term success—one major signing's weekly appearance fee might cover the wages of three less-talented squad players. Which do you choose? Why are you lying awake at 2am in the morning pondering this? Because that's the very essence of Football Manager. Read the full review
Get this deal: at the Golden Joystick Store

Warhammer: End Times

Save 20% on this fantasy game and pay £18.39 in the UK or $23.99 in the US
PC Gamer said: Vermintide—or, to use its Fully Licensed Intellectual Property name, Warhammer: End Times – Vermintide—is a co-op shooter that borrows heavily from Valve's Left 4 Dead series. It borrows so heavily it feels larcenous, really, but damned if it isn't a great homage. And if you're tired of zombies, well, here we have rats. Vermintide is smart, chaotic, and beautiful. It's a game that has gotten me hooked on Warhammer Fantasy fiction in a way I wasn't before. It's difficult, bloody, and it's my favorite co-op game to come along in years. Read the full review
Get this deal: at the Golden Joystick Store

Pillars of Eternity – Hero Edition

Save 20% on one of the year's most popular games and pay £27.99 in the UK or $35.99 in the US
PC Gamer said: This is a big, fat, deep adventure that lets you carve your own unique path through a fantasy world that's been brilliantly brought to life with rich, evocative writing. It's a game steeped in a bygone era of computer RPG design, but somehow it doesn't feel archaic. Obsidian have always been bound to other peoples' worlds—Fallout, Dungeons & Dragons, Star Wars, South Park—but in creating their own from scratch, they've made not only their best game to date, but one of the best RPGs on PC. Read the full review
Get this deal: on the Golden Joystick Store

Cities: Skylines

Forget Sim City, get the PC gaming world's hottest city simulation game for 20% off - £18.39 in the UK or $23.99 in the US
PC Gamer said: Cities: Skylines didn't have to stretch far to trump 2013's SimCity: it needed to be a good city builder without any of EA's mistakes. That means no always-online DRM, an expansive area to build in, and support for custom content. The good news: Skylines does all this. The better news: it's also a fun and addictive city building game. Read the full review
Get this deal: at the Golden Joystick Store
mad max
mad max

Mad Max

Re-live the Mad Max universe and save 20% at the same time - £27.99 in the UK or $47.99 in the US
PC Gamer said: the exciting and satisfying car combat goes a long way toward making up for the rest of Mad Max's shortcomings and annoyances. Whenever I became bored with the endless fist-fights and scrap metal hunts, I'd just hop back in my car with Chum and race around the dunes and valleys, looking for the telltale plumes of dust in the distance that indicated a rolling war party or convoy. Then we'd ready the harpoon, blast the nitro, and get up to ramming speed. Read the full review
Get this deal: at the Golden Joystick Store
europa 2

Europa Universalis IV

Save 20% and get this game for £27.99 in the UK or $31.99 in the US
PC Gamer said: The result of these efforts is a textured and engrossing simulation that conquers the common ground between your average Civilization V player and the long-time devotees of grand strategy. Never before have I felt that "World at your fingertips" feeling as strongly, and you owe it to your sense of discovery to give EU IV an hour of your life or two (hundred). Order in tonight. You have a world to dominate. Read the full review
Get this deal: at the Golden Joystick Store

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Top Olympus mirrorless cameras get a free update
Top Olympus mirrorless cameras get a free update
The older OM-D E-M1 has been around since 2013, and this update is designed to keep it ahead of the game in the fast-moving mirrorless camera market. It gets the biggest set of improvements with no fewer than 18 feature enhancements, and here they are in full:

Olympus OM-D E-M1 Ver. 4.0 firmware update features

  1. Focus Stacking: this combines 8 shots into a single image from a single shutter release.
  2. Focus Bracketing: a series of shots are taken at different focus distances so that you can choose the most successful later.
  3. Advanced Focus Peaking: better manual focus display.
  4. Silent Mode: uses the camera's electronic shutter for silent stills and video photography.
  5. Improved Anti-shock Mode
  6. Advanced Olympus Capture tethered shooting software compatibility
  7. S-OVF (Simulated OVF): more natural-looking 'optical' viewfinder image.
  8. 4K Time Lapse Movie
  9. Live Composite on OI.Share
  10. MF Clutch Disable
  11. Menu Cursor Position Memory
  12. Movie image stabilisation with 5-axis optical IS and digital IS: the digital stabilization is new.
  13. 24p (23.98p)/25p Frame Rate: offers a choice of frame rates rather than just 30fps.
  14. Movie Info Display: includes histogram, level gauge, audio level, time code.
  15. Movie Rec Start with Release Cable (RM-UC1)
  16. Time Code Setting
  17. M-IS1 and M-IS2 supported
  18. Slate Tone: automatically matches in-camera audio wavelengths with the OLYMPUS LS-100 audio recorder.
  19. Synchronised PCM Audio Rec with Movie Rec
  20. M.Zuiko Premium + 14-42mm EZ movie aperture support
Olympus says the emphasis is on video and professional workflow and the key updates are the focus stacking mode, extra video frame rates, digital stabilization, enhanced movie info display and silent mode.
Olympus OM-D E-M5 II

Olympus OM-D E-M5 II Ver. 2.0 firmware update features

The OM-D E-M5 II is much newer. It was launched early 2015 and already has many of the features in the OM-D E-M1 update. It still has some important new options, though:
  1. Focus Bracketing: the camera shoots a series of images at different focus distances so that you can choose the best one later.
  2. Advanced Olympus Capture tethered shooting software compatibility.
  3. S-OVF: simulated optical viewfinder.
  4. 4K Time Lapse Movie: shoots 4K stills at fixed intervals for combining into a 4K movie.
  5. Live Composite on OI.Share
  6. MF Clutch Disable
  7. Slate Tone
  8. Synchronised PCM Audio Rec with Movie Rec
  9. Movie-Exclusive Picture Mode: Flat/Noise Filter for video shooting: this captures footage optimised for color grading later.
  10. M.Zuiko Premium + 14-42mm EZ movie aperture supported
The key additions for the E-M5 II are the 'flat' movie mode and the focus bracketing option. The updates for both cameras are available from November 26th and can be installed via the Olympus Digital Camera Updater app.
See also:

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Updated: 33 PS4 tips and tricks for getting the most out of your console
Updated: 33 PS4 tips and tricks for getting the most out of your console

PS4 tips and tricks

PlayStation 4 has just celebrated its second birthday but whether that lovely parallelogram has been snug under your TV all that time or if you've just got one, there's always plenty to learn.
A slew of software updates since its release means Sony's console now has a stack of features hidden up its sleeve that make it unrivalled when it comes to a living room gaming setup.
Whether it's making the most of sharing and tweeting out your video highlights, or discovering the PlayStation app, we've gathered 32 must-know tips to make the most of your PS4.

1. Make headphones wireless

PS4 tips and tricks
Well, wireless when it comes to stretching between the sofa and the screen that is. A 3.5mm jack handily positioned on the DualShock 4 means you can plug your own headphones or headset into the controller.
The default setting is for chat audio only but this can be easily tweaked by holding down the PS button in game and selecting 'adjust devices' on the resulting menu. Select the 'output to headphones' option and choose 'all audio'.
Voila, no more anti-social TV noise, you're surrounded by the ambient noise of Fallout 4's Commonwealth and, if you have an inline mic you can use this for in game chat or even commentary recording for Twitch.

2. Use your phone as a keyboard

PS4 tips and tricks
Previously it was a serious slog to enter messages using the analogue sticks on PS3, with only an ugly wireless keypad peripheral available to ease the pain.
Thankfully, PS4 delivers a choice of interfaces and, as well as a helpful touchpad input, allows you to use the PlayStation App as a second screen for text entry. With your phone and PS4 on the same Wi-Fi network you can pair them via the PlayStation App connection settings on the PS4.
Then, with both logged in to the same PSN ID, select the second screen option, choose the keyboard icon at the top left and, as if by magic, PlayStation messaging becomes fun again. Thanks to the latest update, there's even mascot themed stickers in there for when words just aren't enough. Yep, say it with Sack Boy.

3. Pre-load your games

PS4 tips and tricks
Why wait? We live in the 21st century don't we? All pre-orders available on the PlayStation Store now come with the ability to pre-load your digital games.
This means files are available to download several days before the release date and you won't be left watching a loading bar while all your stone age/physical release-buying friends leave you in the dust when the clocks hit midnight.
Make sure your console is set up for automatic downloads while in rest mode and your PS4 will do all the work for you and start downloading as soon as files become available. It's worth keeping in mind too that there needs to be enough space on the PS4 HDD so check the file size to make sure the game will be there when you need it.

4. Start remote playing

PS4 tips and tricks
If the last entry wasn't enough of a reason to stay in bed then the remote play features of PS4 should seal the deal. Whether someone else wants the TV or you just fancy playing 8th gen games in the bath, the capability to stream to the PlayStation Vita is a slick process that just requires you to have both devices signed into the same PSN ID.
You can connect directly to the PS4 or via your wireless network if you are too far away from the console itself. Make sure that 'enable turning on PS4 from network' is selected in your power save settings and you'll be able to turn on the PS4 remotely from the Vita. Sony might not be focussing on as many handheld games these days but the excellent remote play control set ups for Fallout 4 and Destiny are reassuring additions that suggest all is not lost.

5. Use your Vita as an extra DualShock

If you've not shelled out for an additional controller yet and fancy some two player action on PS4 then you'll be happy to hear that your trusty Vita doubles up as an additional DualShock.
Set up remote play as usual with the Vita. This will automatically turn off any connected controller and allow the handheld to control the on screen action. When you want a friend to join in, have them press the PS button on the DualShock and log in as another user or guest and you'll have co-op Lego Marvel on the go in no time.
Not got a Vita? Time for one of the 20th Anniversary DualShocks or even the fetching Darth Vader version to celebrate the release of Star Wars: Battlefront.

6. Record your skills

PS4, whether you tell it to or not, always diligently records the last 15 minutes of your gameplay just in case you perform some incredible feat and fancy showing it to the world.
To hoard a period of gaming history after your 'I can't believe I just did that' moment all you need to do is hit the share button and opt to save the video to your captures folder.
If you actively want to record something coming up, press the share button twice to start recording, then press it once when you want to end the clip.
Again, this can only be up to 15 minutes in length. PS4 also allows you to use an external capture device for longer recordings but in order to record gameplay you'll have to disable HDCP. Go to 'settings' and then 'system' where there is an 'enable HDCP' box to uncheck.

7. Take easy screenshots

PS4 tips and tricks
The default setup for the share button means that a quick press will bring up the share menu and a longer press is needed to take a screenshot.
However, an 'easy screenshots' mode is available that allows you to reverse the settings and means you'll never have to leave the action if you want to take a quick snap of the scenery/carnage. This setting can be found within the options menu of the share screen.
Plus, thanks to the 3.0 update, you can now choose whether you save screens as a .jpg or .png file for even better image quality. This can also be found in the share settings.

8. Start sharing

PS4 tips
Sharing is caring and everyone definitely wants to see your gaming prowess. Screenshots can be uploaded to both Facebook and Twitter with a press of the share button, and video capture can go to both social networks and YouTube.
While Facebook and YouTube videos can be up to that 15 minute recording length, Twitter only allows you 10 precious seconds of footage. Once you've saved your video clip, head into your captures folder and hit the 'options' button and select trim.
Here you can edit down to those perfect ten seconds. And don't worry, there's the option to save it as a separate clip so you won't lose the original video. Also, if you want to share to YouTube, you can link your PSN account by adding your account in the 'link with other services' option in your PlayStation network settings.

9. Get livestreaming

PS4 tips and tricks
Twitch, Ustream and YouTube Live are all supported by PS4 so it's ridiculously easy to get your gameplay online. A press of the share button in-game will give you the option to stream to one of the three platforms and a helpful settings screen allows you to add footage and audio from the PlayStation Camera, display comments from viewers and change the quality of the upload depending on your network speeds.
Plus, it's not something Sony appears to have told anyone but some games even allow Twitch viewers to have a say in the action. It's not quite Twitch plays Dark Souls (thankfully) but commenters can interact with the 2013 Tomb Raider and decided on Lara's fate when she is injured and indie horror Daylight can be made scarier by user comments. Maybe it's for the best that everyone's forgotten.

9. Prepare for Project Morpheus

PS4 tips and tricks
It's almost here. Sony's Oculus Rift-rivalling virtual reality headset has changed its name from the futuristic Project Morpheus to the simpler PlayStation VR and it's coming in Q1 2016.
The Daft Punk style headset has an HD 1920x1080 OLED display, a 120hz refresh rate and 3D audio to fully get your head in the game. Plus, if you've still got your Move wands, hold onto them as those spongy colourful balls were invented with VR in mind and built for tracking.
Sony has revealed that over 200 developers are currently working on VR projects and more than 50 titles are confirmed for launch. From horror coaster Until Dawn: Rush Of Blood to Crytek's Robinson: The Journey, there's going to be a lot to experience when we finally get our eyes on the potential future of gaming.

11. Use the Share Factory

PS4 tips and tricks
While you can of course upload your footage as it is, the Share Factory is a free native editing app to give you more personalisation for your videos.
It's especially perfect if you don't have an editing PC but want to get creative, as this is where you can add commentary, soundtracks and effects to your footage. You can add a unique PS4 intro and outro to each video you post and it delivers a user friendly interface for editing and splicing clips together.
While there are your usual transitions included in the app, the PlayStation Store has a collection of free game themes that include custom transitions, stickers to include and unique intro and outros. Want the original PSOne intro music for your work or some Destiny-themed art and clips? Get downloading. Plus, videos can be uploaded directly to Facebook or YouTube without even leaving the app.

12. Be social and add groups

PS4 tips and tricks
Hooking up your PS4 to Facebook is a great way of importing a profile photo and ensuring easy sharing with friends without having to make much of an effort.
It also means your real name can now be revealed to the world if you accept specific requests from your PSN friends. Plus, a Facebook settings page allows you to make sure that you aren't spamming friends with every single trophy pop and you can easily personalise who sees what activity.
A new feature also means you can now gather your PSN friends into groups. Got a raiding crew for Destiny? Add them all to one group and you'll know where everyone is and can easily party chat with the group. You can even personalise an avatar for the team which can be easily accessed in your friends section.

13. Charge while you sleep

PS4 tips and tricks
While in rest mode – indicated by sleepy orange lighting – the PS4 is happy to download updates, games and, usefully, charge those ailing DualShocks. Make sure that 'supply power from USB ports' is selected within your power savings settings and you shouldn't find yourself running out of juice after an hour's game time.
Also worth keeping in mind is the fact that the DualShock uses a micro USB socket. In a revolutionary life hack, this means compatible USB phone chargers will let you charge a controller on the fly without having to stretch a cable from the console. No more perching on the edge of the sofa with a taut cable or, even worse, sitting on the floor.
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14. Use voice commands

PS4 tips and tricks
Not just a feature of the Xbox One's Kinect, PS4 also responds to voice commands. Prefacing each statement with "PlayStation" you can tell the PS4 to take screenshots, play games (by saying the game name and then "start"), go back to the home screen, select applications and power off.
Excellent recognition software even means it's possible to say different versions of a game name ie. "Syndicate" or "Assassin's Creed" and the PS4 will respond accordingly. There is a mic built into the optional PlayStation Camera but this will work equally well with the headset microphone. Voice commands can also be used in games such as Thief, which allows you to sneakily whistle to distract guards.

15. Quick-switch between your apps and games

ps4 tips and tricks
It's not full multitasking but if you want to flick between applications on the PS4, a double tap of the PS button will quickly switch between the two most recent apps.
This means if you are checking the trophies required for an elusive platinum you can switch easily between the game and the trophy application without having to go to the home screen and trawl along to the desired section.
As a side note, if you press the home button once mid game, the game will be paused and you are free to browse to other settings without the game closing.

16. Make the most of PS Plus

PS4 tips and tricks
PS Plus is essential if you want to play online on PS4 but thankfully it comes with plenty of perks for the £39.99 ($49.99) price tag.
There are two guaranteed games for PS4, PS3 and PS Vita each month and always plenty of discounts available on new games. Fresh games appear on the first Wednesday of the month (Tuesday in North America) and will be free until the first Wednesday of the following month so make sure you check in with the selection during that time.
Helpfully, there is an "add to library" option so you don't need to fill your PS4's HDD unnecessarily just to get the latest titles. The games will always be yours as long as your subscription lasts. As well as 10GB of online cloud storage for your saves, PS Plus also gives you access to Share Play where you can let your friends try your games online without them actually owning them. More on that in a bit.

17. Download games remotely

PS4 tips and tricks
Not just a pretty keyboard accessory, your phone can also set your PS4 to download new games while you are out and about. Using the PlayStation Store on the PlayStation App you can browse for new content and, if your PS4 is on standby with its power save settings with 'connect to the internet' selected, then you can set games downloading immediately after purchase so they are ready for you when you arrive home.
Just head to the download list once you have bought a game or redeemed a code and select the option to download to your PS4. You can even see once it's downloaded as it will disappear from the download queue. Hello, future. Alternatively, use the app to stalk your friends and see how many of them are playing Fallout 4 instead of actually 'working from home.'

18. Do touch

PS4 tips and tricks
Initially a questionable addition to the DualShock 4, the touch pad is a surprisingly useful interface now that developers have started to embrace more interesting uses.
First party games such as Killzone Shadow Fall use the pad for control of the OWL Drone while Infamous Second Son utilises it as a finger print scanner. Plus, if you're looking for some touch controlled air hockey – exactly what your eighth gen console was made for – look no further than the ridiculously addictive version within the free AR PlayRoom application. You can also flick robots from your controller in a considerably more surreal version of your living room.

19. Turn down the light bar

PS4 tips and tricks
Unavailable as a feature at launch but implemented at the request of the community after TV reflection issues and questions about battery life, you can now change the brightness of the light bar on theDualShock 4 between three settings.
While it can't be turned off entirely due to its use by the PlayStation Camera for recognition, if you hold the PS button and select 'adjust devices' you'll find the menu to let you select between bright, medium and dim settings.

20. Get moving

PS4 tips and tricks
The PlayStation Move wand and its accompanying motion controller are both compatible with PS4. It's worth noting that Move on PS4 is not compatible with the PlayStation Eye PS3 camera and now uses the optional PlayStation Camera instead.
Make sure the controller is calibrated properly before each use to minimise any changes you need to make once the game has loaded up. And ready those Move wands because you'll be ahead of the game when it comes to PlayStation VR which uses two of the controllers as replacement hands for some virtual reality experiences.
Demos such as The Getaway replace the wands with dual pistols in game as you hurtle along a motorway, desperately trying to evade Russian mobsters on motorbikes.

21. Don't be camera shy

PS4 tips and tricks
It might be an optional extra but investing in the Wall-E alike PlayStation Camera brings the PS4 a number of exciting extra features as well as the standard movement control for games such as Just Dance.
You can teach the PS4 your facial features from various angles and it will always log you in automatically if you are holding the controller. Ideal, as even if you have a number of registered users sitting on the sofa together, the PS4 will cleverly pair the light bar up with the face above the DualShock.
The PlayStation Camera is also excellent for adding both audio and video during live streams and is even used by games such as Until Dawn to take pictures of you at its most frightening moments. Just what you always wanted.

22. Admire your trophy cabinet

PS4 tips and tricks
If your desire for shiny treasures resembles Lara Croft's then the trophy section on PS4 is a very attractive glistening cabinet of precious metals.
Not just allowing you to see your own achievements, PS4 lets you see the rarity of each individual trophy on a worldwide scale. Ranging from common to ultra-rare, you can see the percentage of other players who have unlocked a particular achievement.
Comparing with friends is now within the app itself, so you can measure up to your PSN rivals with a press of a button. A new update also means that there's no need to scrabble to take a screenshot just as you get a trophy. The PS4 automatically takes an image as the silverware pings. A perfect photo finish.

23. Visit the library

PS4 tips and tricks
Storing all your purchased apps and games, the Library section is where you can view everything linked to your PSN ID without the hassle of having to visit the store and check your downloads. All your DLC is here too and if you are looking for other related items, then you'll find them as well as your recent activity and your trophy progress in game. It's an ideal place to find everything in one location.

24. Set up a passcode

PS4 tips and tricks
If you're looking for an extra layer of security that isn't just your face then you can easily set up a passcode in your login settings.
Parental control settings also utilises a passcode procedure where you can restrict games, applications and Blu-Rays that have age ratings, disable the internet browser and block user generated video and pictures. You can also restrict the content shown in the PlayStation Store and set store spending limits to make sure no one's buying what they shouldn't.

25. Keep up to date

PS4 tips and tricks
PS4's equivalent of your Facebook wall but without the 'most recent' problem, the activity feed shows off what your PSN friends have been up to.
In here you can view recently recorded clips, the latest screens,what games and apps are being used, and also who has been on a trophy binge.

26. Watch PlayStation Live

PS4 tips and tricks
Scrolling along to the end of your line of applications, you'll find Live from PlayStation where you can watch other PS4 users on Twitch, UStream and YouTube.
A search function means you can hunt for specific games and a handy interactive section means you can choose to opt into participate rather than just view the action from afar. Plus, if you have the particular game that you are watching someone stream there's a link to start the game yourself if you feel like you could be doing a better job.

27. Add voice overs to your footage

voice over ps4
The PS4 is always recording so at any time you can save your previous 15 minutes of footage and start recording more. If you want to voice-over when you're recording - whether it be to make a walkthrough, a guide or simply goad your mutilated enemies - go Options > Share Settings > Video Clip Settings > Microphone Audio to add your voice over in realtime.

28. Tweak your power settings

To make sure it's always downloading updates and ensure that you never have to watch a loading bar, keeping your PS4 in rest mode is a great option. This means it's in a low powered state but always available for downloads from the PlayStation app or any necessary patches.
Having it in rest mode also means that your game can be suspended and resumed without any of that pesky main menu and loading bar nonsense. Just make sure that 'suspend/resume' is selected in your power save settings and you can jump straight back into the action.
Plus, if you're the type of gamer who falls asleep in front of the TV or if you're prone to just walk off and leave your gear switched on, you can tell your PS4 to auto-poweroff or go to sleep after a set length of time. This is also available in the power save settings.

29. Share play and broadcast your gaming

PS4 tips and tricks
Just like Steam on PC, your friends can now ask you to share your gameplay for broadcast and you can opt to let only them see, without worrying about the rest of the internet judging.
While this is ideal to show someone what you've spent the last ten hours doing, it's also where the futuristic aspect of the PS4 comes in. If you're stuck on a particular bit or just want to let them have a shot, this is where your friend can take over with their own Dualshock.
To request to view someone's gameplay session, just go to their profile and select the game that they are playing and you will get a request to view option. They will then receive a prompt to allow you to watch and share. Bear in mind that this requires a speedy internet connection and the PS4 will run a test beforehand to see if your bandwidth can cope.

30. Save to a USB stick or the cloud

If you always want peace of mind and perhaps a little more space on your hard drive, you can save your game files to a multitude of places. PS Plus subscribers can save space by saving to cloud storage and all PS4 users can save to a USB hard drive.
Head to 'settings' and then 'application saved data management' to choose where to put the various files on your system. Remember you can also save screenshots and capture to a USB drive to transfer them to a PC or Mac.

31. Use Spotify

PS4 tips and tricks
In one of the more stealthy updates, streaming service Spotify has sneaked onto PS4's menu through PlayStation Music and it's an excellent addition.
Don't like a game's soundtrack? Switch it out for something you do like instead by turning down the in game music and popping Spotify on in the background. We can fully recommend adding The Dark Knight movie soundtrack to Rocksteady's Arkham Knight.
You can fully control the app if you have Spotify on your phone and select the PS4 as a streaming device. Alternatively you can bring up the Spotify menu with a quick double press of the PS button to bring up the volume and the ability to skip songs with R1. You can even pay your Spotify subscription through the PlayStation Network once your free trial period has finished. Pitch perfect.

32. Join communities and events

PS4 tips and tricks
The latest PS4 update added communities and an events app to the home screen. Communities are where you can meet like minded players who are into the same games or genres as you. Once a part of a community you can see what others are playing, post to a community wall and share tips and tricks for your games of choice.
Once you've downloaded the events app, you can see a range of challenges and tournaments that are running and you can compete in the action. There's even the option to set your PS4 to turn on at the time of events and boot up the game to remind you to take part.

33. Accessorize accordingly

PS4 tips and tricks
While there's always been ways to decorate your PS4 with custom vinyl skins and stickers, there's not been an official way to change its look without heading out to buy a special edition. And as tempting as that Destiny PS4 is, we'd rather not shell out for another console.
Step in official PlayStation 4 face plates from Sony. These custom designs come in neon orange, aqua blue, red and glacier white, with gold and silver incoming in the near future. All you need to do is slide off your original HDD cover and slide on the custom face plate. Ta-da, no worrying about stickers that never come off and a new looking PS4 to match that ridiculous red DualShock 4 you bought.
  • Check out our PS4 review

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The MeegoPad T08 is a mini desktop that can project interactive images
The MeegoPad T08 is a mini desktop that can project interactive images
Well, now I've seen everything. The MeegoPad T08 is a mini desktop computer that runs Windows 10 and comes with a built-in projector.
Ideal for on-the-go workers who need to deliver presentations, the MeegoPad measures a miniscule 5.4 inches wide by 0.6 inches tall (139mm x 16mm). This baby all-in-one runs Windows 10 on 4GB of RAM and a quad-core Intel Cherry Trail x5-z8300 or 8500 processor. The MeegoPad comes in 32GB and 64GB models.
Projections won't be cinema-level quality, as the device only supports an HD (1200x800 resolution) output, but you'll get a nicely-sized image at 110 inches (279cm) with 400 lumens of brightness. Not bad for something that fits in the pocket of your sportscoat.

What else?

The MeegoPad features a nice selection of connectors. You can slide in one each of the following: a 64GB microSD card, USB 2.0, USB 3.0, MicroUSB 2.0 and an HDMI input and output, which will let you project from your smartphone or laptop. Should you need to bump some Biggie before your presentation, you can also connect your headphones to this multi-faceted machine.
According to Liliputing, some MeegoPad models also support a virtual touchscreen, like the Lenovo SmartCast Smartphone, which allows you to project an image onto a surface and then interact with that image to make edits to presentations or even to play games.
It is immediately unclear how much the MeegoPad will cost or when it will arrive in the US or the UK. However, wholesalers can begin ordering the device on Alibaba today, as long as they're willing to buy 100 MeegoPads at a time.

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Here's every new car with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto from LAAS
Here's every new car with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto from LAAS

Every Apple CarPlay and Android Auto car for 2016

2016 GMC Sierra Denali Ultimate
Each year, automakers bring out their latest vehicles to the Los Angeles Auto Show (LAAS), one of the biggest platforms to introduce cars for the next model year. Los Angeles kicks off the auto show season that lasts through the spring. There was a common theme among new vehicle announcements this year: plenty of driver assist technologies and smartphone integration technologies.

Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are the new must-have features for the 2017 model year vehicles, so I scoured the show floor and sat through press conferences to find the latest cars that are completely new – or underwent a mid-cycle refresh – to introduce CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility. Below are the new-for-2017 vehicles separated by segment: premium brands, trucks, SUVs and cars.

Buick Lacrosse

2017 Buick Lacrosse
Buick took to the stage and introduced the all-new Lacrosse, sporting a sharp new design that borrows styling elements from the Avenir concept. Inside, the 2017 Lacrosse features Buick's IntelliLink infotainment system that supports CarPlay and Android Auto. A frameless, 8-inch touchscreen display runs the show.
OnStar 4G LTE brings Wi-Fi hotspot capabilities to the Buick, too. There's even an integrated Qi wireless charger in the car. Sadly, that becomes worthless if you plan on taking advantage of CarPlay or Android Auto, as those features require wired connections.
2017 Buick Lacrosse
There's plenty of driver assist technologies available on the new Lacrosse, too, including front pedestrian braking, lane keep assist, adaptive cruise control, automatic park assist for perpendicular and parallel parking, forward collision alert, back-up camera and GM's safety alert seat. A head-up display rounds out the driver assist technologies suite in the 2017 Buick Lacrosse.

Cadillac XT5

2017 Cadillac XT5
Cadillac debuted its replacement for the aged SRX crossover with a completely new vehicle that uses the company's new nomenclature, the XT5. The new XT5 features Cadillac's CUE infotainment system with CarPlay and Android Auto support.
Unfortunately, the rest of the interior consists of gloss black accents and capacitive touch buttons. The buttons feature haptic feedback but lack the tactile feel of regular buttons and knobs.
2017 Cadillac XT5
The coolest tech feature of the XT5 is the Rear Camera Mirror system that combines a conventional rear view mirror with a video stream that provides a rear view equivalent to a convertible with its top down. Cadillac's Rear Camera Mirror system is made possible with a 1,280 x 240-resolution display that sports a respectable 171ppi and a rear mounted HD camera.
Those that want a traditional auto-dimming rear mirror can turn the video function off via toggle switch. Expect the usual suite of Cadillac driver assists, including head-up display, blind-spot monitor, lane departure warning, pedestrian mitigation technology and 360-degree camera system, too.

GMC Sierra Denali Ultimate

2016 GMC Sierra Denali Ultimate
GMC expanded its truck lineup in LA with the new Sierra Denali Ultimate and Canyon Denali trim levels. The Sierra Denali Ultimate is the penultimate luxury pickup truck that dials up the amount of chrome and lavishness with its large, in-your-face grille, standard lane keep assist system, trailer brake controller, active noise cancellation and, of course, IntelliLink navigation with CarPlay and Android Auto support.
There's even a device hub with four USB ports to connect and charge all of your gadgets, standard Qi wireless charging and OnStar 4G LTE with Wi-Fi hotspot to get work done on your laptop.
2017 GMC Canyon Denali

GMC Canyon Denali

Scaling things down to 75-percent size is the GMC Canyon Denali (pictured above). It receives the Denali treatment with plenty of chrome and higher quality interior materials than lesser trim levels. GMC IntelliLink with navigation, CarPlay and Android Auto is standard on the range-topping Canyon.
2017 GMC Canyon Denali
The driver assist technologies are limited to passive systems, with forward collision alert and lane departure warning as standard features. Three USB charging ports are available: one in the center console and two in the back of the console, in addition to a USB data port for the infotainment system.

Kia Sportage

2017 Kia Sportage
Kia used the LAAS to officially debut the all-new Sportage for North America. The Sportage supports Android Auto right away, but CarPlay support comes after launch, which is similar to the recently launched Optima and 2015 Hyundai Sonata, unfortunately.
Sportage EX features a standard 7-inch display while stepping up to the SX upgrades the screen to 8 inches and adds factory navigation capabilities.
2017 Kia Sportage
Driver assist technologies available on the Sportage include autonomous emergency braking, lane departure warning, blind spot detection, rear cross-traffic alert and adaptive headlamps. Adaptive cruise control isn't available, unfortunately.

Honda Civic Coupe

2016 Honda Civic Coupe
Honda rolled out the all-new Civic Coupe to join its recently unveiled sedan in LA. Topping the smartphone connectivity suite is CarPlay and Android Auto support on models with the Display Audio, 7-inch capacitive touch display.
The Android-based infotainment system supports audio streaming from Pandora, too. There's an optional Honda Satellite-Linked Navigation system powered by Garmin for higher trim levels as well.
2016 Honda Civic Coupe
The new Civic Coupe offers a nice suite of driver assist technologies dubbed Honda Sensing. Driver assists available through the Civic Coupe's Honda Sensing include lane keep assist, adaptive cruise control with low-speed follow and Honda LaneWatch.

Hyundai Elantra

2017 Hyundai Elantra
Hyundai used its opportunity at the LAAS to reveal the North American 2017 Elantra compact sedan. The new Elantra goes toe-to-toe with Honda's latest Civic, and focuses on infotainment and driver assist technology.
Android Auto connectivity is available with the 7- and 8-inch touchscreen infotainment systems, but CarPlay isn't mentioned at all. Nevertheless, this could become a late addition, as the 2017 Kia Sportage uses the same infotainment hardware and promises CarPlay at a later date.
2017 Hyundai Elantra
Driver assist technology options for the new Elantra include adaptive cruise control, adaptive lighting, lane keep assist, blind spot detection and rear cross traffic alert. Hyundai's Blue Link telematics system is available on the new Elantra, too, which lets owners control some car functions via either a smartphone or wearable app.

Volkswagen Beetle Dune

2016 VW Dune Beetle
Volkswagen (VW) used LAAS to unveil the production of its 2016 Beetle Dune trim, which is essentially a lifted new Beetle inspired by the old Baja Beetles. The Beetle Dune features the VW MIB II infotainment system, with its 6.3-inch capacitive touchscreen and gesture controls.
VW goes beyond the standard CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity and adds MirrorLink, too, for all two phones that are available with the technology. We're not sure why MirrorLink is included, as modern phones that support MirrorLink are usually Android-based and support Android Auto.

Mitsubishi Mirage

2017 Mitsubishi Mirage
On the budget side of things is the refreshed 2017 Mitsubishi Mirage, one of the most affordable cars you can buy with CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity. The new, smartphone-linked Display Audio infotainment system debuts as standard equipment on SE and GT trim levels.
2017 Mitsubishi Mirage
Other than CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity, the Mirage doesn't have much going for it in terms of technology or driver assist technologies. It's the definition of basic transportation, although higher-end trim levels do get flashier LED tail lights.
Mitsubishi did not reveal pricing details on the 2017 Mirage, though it mentioned that pricing remains similar to the outgoing 2015 model, which tops out at $17,105 (£11,999, AU$17,240) with optional navigation.

Putting a bow on LAAS

2017 Alfa Romeo Giulia
The 2015 Los Angeles Auto Show is only the start of the auto show season, but it provides an early glimpse of what to expect from automakers. The focus for new vehicles is in smartphone connectivity and driver assist technologies. CarPlay and Android Auto are showing up in completely new and refreshed cars. There was a staggering total of nine new vehicle announcements with either CarPlay or Android Auto.
Driver assist technologies are trickling down to compact vehicles, as Honda and Hyundai debuted new cars with adaptive cruise control and lane keep assist systems. These features were once only available for those willing to pay a lot of money over a decade ago, but soon you can have them in your daily commuter.
Despite all of the technology in these vehicles, my favorite LAAS debut was the Alfa Romeo Giulia. It doesn't support CarPlay or Android Auto, but this speedster driver assist technologies such as adaptive cruise control, forward collision warning, lane departure warning, blind-spot monitoring and rear cross traffic alert.
However, the Giulia isn't about technology, it's about performance. From the glorious-sounding, Ferrari-derived 2.9-liter twin turbo V6 that drives the rear wheels mated to a 6-speed manual transmission, all topped with gorgeous Italian design – that does it for me. The best part: this marks the return of Alfa Romeo to America in a more practical vehicle, albeit with 505 horsepower.
Stay tuned for when I get to test some of these cars out in the coming year – though probably, sadly (oh god, why?) not the Giulia.

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Dell offers a fix for its Superfish-style security scare
Dell offers a fix for its Superfish-style security scare
After discovering an unintentional vulnerability built into its laptops, Dell has released an apologetic statement and issued a free software removal tool to fix affected machines.
In a blog post, Dell officials clarified it included a root certificate named eDellRoot on several of its notebooks (including the XPS 15, XPS 13 and Inspiron 5000 series machines) as a way for its online support agents to quickly identify a customer's computer model for servicing.
"This certificate is not being used to collect personal customer information," a Dell spokesperson wrote to distance themselves from the Lenovo Superfish adware scare.
Attached to the statement, Dell also posted user instructions explaining how to permanently remove the problematic eDellRoot entity. First discovered by a programmer named Joe Nord, the preinstalled SSL certificate could have potentially allowed hackers to reverse-engineer a signing key and gain access to a user's computer through a public Wi-Fi hotspot.
By spoofing the SSL key, hackers could have also launched more sophisticated attacks over an unsafe website or internet access point to scrape passwords, credit card numbers and other sensitive information.
via The Verge

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How to enhance your Google Sites website with Gadgets
How to enhance your Google Sites website with Gadgets

Enhance your website

How to enhance your Google Sites website with Gadgets
Google Sites is pretty simple and straightforward and can be used by the average desktop user to roll out a website with just a few clicks.
However, the web service has got quite a few tricks up its sleeve that'll appeal to advanced users. One of its biggest advantages is its ability to access information housed in other online apps.
It does so by embedding small versions of the apps called gadgets inside your website. You can use gadgets to add all kinds of functionality to your website, from sharing your calendar to receiving payments via PayPal.
Furthermore, you can also customise these gadgets without tinkering with code.

1. Customise with CSS

How to enhance your Google Sites website with Gadgets
Although Sites gives you enough design choices to make a great website, if you are familiar with HTML and Cascading Style Sheets, you can customise your website design to the hilt.
Open your page in the Edit mode and head to Insert > HTML Box. Enter your HTML and CSS code in the box that pops open.

2. Enable Google Analytics

How to enhance your Google Sites website with Gadgets
Google Analytics is a free service that tracks and reports traffic. Before you can use it on your Sites website, create a new Analytics account for your website which will then spit out a Tracking ID for the website.
Click on the gears icon and go to Manage Site. Then select the 'Use Google Analytics' option and paste in the Tracking ID.

3. Insert documents

How to enhance your Google Sites website with Gadgets
Sites also lets you share docs stored on your Google Drive. Open the page you want to add the document to in Edit mode and head to Insert > Drive and select the type of doc you wish to insert.
Then select the document from the popup box. After selecting a document you can configure its appearance and alter the default dimensions.

4. Insert calendar

How to enhance your Google Sites website with Gadgets
Similarly, you can also share your Calendar. Navigate to the relevant page and open it in Edit mode. Then head to Insert > Calendar and select the name of the calendar you wish to embed.
Once you've added a calendar you can change its appearance. Furthermore you can also tweak options to display it as per scheduled events.

5. Display news

How to enhance your Google Sites website with Gadgets
You can pull in content from other websites via their RSS feeds. Navigate to the page where you wish to display the feed and switch to the Edit mode.
Then navigate to Insert > More and select the 'RSS Feed' gadget. In the popup box enter the URL of RSS feed you wish to display and tweak the display options.

6. Interact with visitors

How to enhance your Google Sites website with Gadgets
You can add a Hangout button to your website to allow visitors to initiate a Google Hangout session with you. Navigate to the relevant page and open it in Edit mode.
Then head to Insert > Hangout > Start Hangout Button. Enter your email address and tweak the display options and text that'll be displayed on the gadget.

7. Receive calls

How to enhance your Google Sites website with Gadgets
If you're setting up a website for a business, you can add the ability for your visitors to call you on your mobile phone.
Head to Insert > More gadgets and scroll down to the OTT ClickToCall gadget. Enter your phone number and tweak any display options. When you're done, this gadget will add a Click-To-Call button to your website.

8. Sell merchandise

How to enhance your Google Sites website with Gadgets
Sites also lets you easily sell items on your website and collect money via PayPal. To add an online store to your website, head to Insert > More gadgets and scroll to the PayPal Storefront gadget.
Then choose whether you want to sell a single item or multiple items, enter your PayPal details and set pricing.

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Mac or PC: what is the best platform for your small business
Mac or PC: what is the best platform for your small business


In the days of yore, when wearing flannel was an actual statement of musical taste and White House interns and car chases on California freeways were matters of great cultural concern, "working on the computer" meant working on a PC. Unless you were a graphic designer or editor, the only apple you touched was the red fruit in your lunch.
Of course, apples aren't just apples anymore. They're pods, pads and phones, and increasingly, the machines we do work on too.
Unlike the days of yore, small businesses now have a choice for their offices: Mac or PC (or both) – and it's one that could have repercussions throughout the life of the business.
It's not an easy choice either. What was once a major difference between the two platforms – software – is no longer. Popular office applications are widely available on both.
What then are the big differences between Mac and PC? Here's what your small business needs to keep in mind before taking the platform plunge.
Small business


It's no secret that Macs are expensive. Does the lack of a "budget" Mac make Apple platforms not budget friendly? Not necessarily.
Small businesses must consider not only the sticker price but also the lifelong maintenance costs of their new machines. And thanks to their dedicated hardware, Macs tend to have a longer lifespan and require less maintenance than their PC counterparts.
PCs tend to be fickle, and the cost of maintaining (and replacing) them may offset their relatively cheap purchase price. Factor in too the productivity lost during repair and PCs may not be the accountant's best friend after all.
Macs are not foolproof. Nor should the savings associated with their reliability be overstated. After all, even if a $500 PC has to be completely replaced within a six-year span (the average lifespan of a PC is three to five years), the total expenditure is still less than that of the cheapest iMac.
The integrated design of a Mac also makes it prickly to repair. Macs are designed to come to the party together and leave the party together. Apple wants its customers to upgrade to the next iteration if one aspect of its hardware malfunctions.
PCs however, swap components like teenagers swap spit. Small businesses won't have to buy an entirely new PC just because a video card thinks it should've been a barbecue grill. Macs may need fewer repairs, but when they do, they can be quite costly.
Ultimately the deciding variable is repair costs – which are difficult for even the clearest of crystal balls to predict. In the final analysis, small businesses should consider PCs and Macs – despite their very different prices – to be similar costs.

Customization and networking

As enterprise is its core customer, Microsoft has made hardware customization and network functionality and support a cornerstone of its design philosophy.
Apple on the other hand, has focused on user interface and plug-n-playability to appeal to its core customer: consumers.
Small businesses with limited IT support who rely on cloud-based storage and software will appreciate Apple's "it just works" philosophy. They can plug in their Macs, connect to the internet and go. But small businesses that need specialized hardware for their in-house servers may find Apple lacking.
The same dedicated hardware that makes a Mac reliable also makes it difficult, if not impossible to customize. When it comes to specialization and networking, PC is the platform of choice.
Windows based servers are the IT standard, and they are designed with the PC in mind. Sure, Macs will couple with a Windows network, but it will be an arranged marriage, requiring more resources and support to get them together. PCs and Windows-based servers have a natural affinity. Small businesses can save IT a lot of time by taking advantage of it.
Small business


There are two common consequences for businesses that lack proper computer security.
The lesser of the two is poor performance. We all know what that means. Applications slowly open, hourglasses appear whenever the mouse is clicked, and websites turn into still-life photos. And more importantly, productivity suffers as employees fight the machines that are supposed to help them.
The other, potentially devastating consequence, is data compromise. Employee files, accounting data, company secrets – the loss of any private data could lead to significant losses, fines and negative scrutiny for the business. Businesses cannot take the security of their computers lightly.
Whether it's because of sturdier architecture or lower market share (making them a less tasty target for hackers and malcontents), Macs are generally considered more secure than PCs.
All businesses have to regularly patch and upgrade their systems, as well as invest in robust antivirus and anti-malware software. But businesses using PCs can expect more viruses, malware and perhaps even hacker probing than their Mac using neighbors.
Organizations with highly sensitive data, like medical practices, may like the "incognito" factor that Macs provide, while others who have already invested in IT security may feel that the difference is inconsequential. You should carefully consider the consequences of security breaches, and add that to the overall cost calculus of your platform decision.


The prevailing wisdom used to be that the Mac, with its sharp display and intuitive interface, was best suited for creatives, while the spreadsheet and QuickBooks friendly PC got the job done for the rest of the business masses.
But nowadays, both platforms competently run Photoshop or Excel. And cloud-based applications like Office 365 have made it easy for either platform to access the full suite of business tools.
The problem is the two platforms often have trouble talking to each other.
Small business
With this in mind, small businesses must look to their employee and customer preferences when making their platform decision.
This is not as simple as "do they like one mouse button or two?" Employee comfort level with a platform's interface affects productivity. And customer ability to interact with and open files affects sales.
Small businesses often ignore or are ignorant of these factors, and they should be given more weight. Before wading into the Mac or PC analysis, businesses must first ask themselves "what platform is my industry using?"
Small business that adopt the same platform as their client and customers will have to spend less time troubleshooting compatibility issues and converting files, which will ultimately lead to smoother transactions. Great customer service is a small business's competitive edge. Their hardware cannot undermine it.

Quiet the voices

There's a lot of flag-waving in the Mac vs. PC debate (especially on the internet), and small businesses should beware the passions it inspires.
The "right" platform is one that serves the small business's needs. As long as your business understands its customer and employee preferences and is realistic about its networking, customization and security needs it will make the right decision.

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