Author Archives: Brittany A. Roston


Facebook testing Messenger ‘instant games’ for playing with friends

Facebook testing Messenger ‘instant games’ for playing with friends

Facebook introduced a couple games in Messenger in recent months, including one related to basketball and another related to soccer. As it turns out, both those games were experiments for a larger project called ‘Instant Games,’ at least per new sources who have cropped up, and we’ll be getting more games in the future. Instant Games may be rolling out in Facebook Messenger this month, the sources say, though it may end up launching at a later date. With it, Messenger users can play easily accessible games with their friends, perhaps drawing more people to the service.

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Baby Groot charger dances in your car’s cupholder

Baby Groot charger dances in your car’s cupholder

There's a new USB car charger out there, and it's entirely too cute for the road. ThinkGeek's new baby Groot charger is designed to fit in your car's cupholder where Groot dances while charging your phone or other small USB gadgets. The charger has two USB ports and can itself be plugged into your car's DC 12V port, and it outputs enough power to charge tablets as well as smartphones. The item is officially licensed and available now.

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T-Mobile SyncUp DRIVE adds a 4G LTE hotspot to your car

T-Mobile SyncUp DRIVE adds a 4G LTE hotspot to your car

T-Mobile has introduced SyncUp DRIVE, a new connected device that plugs into a car’s OBD-II port and provides access to vehicle data, as well as an in-car WiFi network via the carrier’s 4G LTE network. While devices like this aren’t unusual, T-Mobile says SyncUp DRIVE is the only available device of its kind that uses and shares 4G LTE — it doesn’t fail to point out that Verizon’s HUM works with 2G networks and doesn’t provide in-car WiFi.

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YouTube adds support for HDR videos

YouTube adds support for HDR videos

YouTube has added support for High Dynamic Range (HDR) videos, it has announced, opening the door for higher-quality content matching the capabilities of high-end televisions. HDR videos are often more detailed than regular videos, with better contrast and clarity, as well as a wide range of vibrant, highly saturated colors. While the technology is still somewhat rare in terms of consumer video devices, it is becoming more common and YouTube is making sure it keeps pace with the trend.

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Soylent ditches algal flour in hope of solving sickness issue

Soylent ditches algal flour in hope of solving sickness issue

Soylent’s algae ingredients are one of the most lauded aspects of the drink, but one of them could also be responsible for the sickness affecting some of the company’s customers. Following reports of nausea and other problems caused by Soylent’s most recent bars and powder, Soylent elected to recall the food bars and issue an advisory for the powder, saying those who have an ‘intolerance’ to it should stop using it. The company halted sales and promised to tweak its formula, and now it thinks it has found the cause of the illnesses.

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Ross Sea will soon be the world’s largest marine protected area

Ross Sea will soon be the world’s largest marine protected area

The Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources — known as CCAMLR — has announced that the Antarctic’s Ross Sea will soon be the largest marine conservation in the world. The marine protected area (MPA) at Ross Sea will cover 1.55 million square kilometers from certain human activities in order to help researchers meet specific goals, including things like fisheries management and conservation. Most of the regions will ban fishing, though exceptions will be made for scientific endeavors.

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Verizon adds 5GB / 10GB prepaid plans: here are four alternatives

Verizon adds 5GB / 10GB prepaid plans: here are four alternatives

Verizon Wireless has added two new data-heavy plans for its prepaid customers, one with 5GB of 4G LTE data and the other with 10GB. The plans bring various perks with them, including hotspot support, carryover data, and more. Still, and per typical with Verizon, the plans are a little more pricey than you'd pay elsewhere, and it may be worth shopping around if you don't have to have Big Red. Here are some other prepaid plans with similar data options.

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2016’s 21 best earbuds and headphones for those on a budget

2016’s 21 best earbuds and headphones for those on a budget

A good pair of headphones doesn't have to be an expensive pair of headphones. In the same way an expensive model may have subpar quality for the price, it's possible to find inexpensive offerings with quality far above what you paid. Knowing where to look is half the battle, but we’ve done the hard work for you: here are a variety of inexpensive headphones to satisfy every user type, including athletes, children, and the frequent commuter.

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Galaxy Note 7 will soon be blacklisted by New Zealand carriers

Galaxy Note 7 will soon be blacklisted by New Zealand carriers

The Samsung Galaxy Note 7 will soon be blacklisted by carriers in New Zealand, it has been announced. The blacklisting will take place in two weeks, and will render any Galaxy Note 7 phones remaining in service unusable. The move is necessary to ensure that customers replace the phone with an alternative that isn’t prone to catching on fire…something viewed as important for public, as well as personal, safety. It is estimated a ‘few hundred’ Galaxy Note 7 devices are still being used in New Zealand.

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Macphun Luminar, a new all-in-one photo editor, is a Mac exclusive

Macphun Luminar, a new all-in-one photo editor, is a Mac exclusive

Macphun has introduced a new all-in-one photo editor called Luminar, and it is available exclusively for Mac. According to Macphun, Luminar is the first ever photo editor that adapts to one’s own skill level and personal style. The software features an adaptive interface, photo filters, pro-level editing tools, custom workspaces, and more. The product isn’t intended to replace Macphun’s Aurora HDR, however.

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CDC: superbug fungus may have passed through US health facilities

CDC: superbug fungus may have passed through US health facilities

According to a new report from the Centers for Disease Control, a ‘superbug’ fungus called Candida auris may have passed through some health care facilities in the United States, marking a ‘need for attention’ amongst such facilities to help stop its spread. This fungus, unfortunately, is resistant to many anti-fungal medications, and was first isolated in Japan. Individuals in several countries have been infected with the fungus.

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WhatsApp ‘Status’ feature tipped as a Snapchat clone

WhatsApp ‘Status’ feature tipped as a Snapchat clone

WhatsApp is reportedly working on a new feature called 'Status' that works in much the same way as Snapchat. The feature was discovered in the most recent public beta version of WhatsApp for both iOS and Android. With it, users can post status updates in the form of photos and videos and share them with friends. The status updates expire and disappear after 24 hours, and can include things like text and doodles.

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