Author Archives: JC Torres

An open source contributor and holds doubly lethal degrees in Philosophy and Computer Science. When not working, he spends his time lurking and helping out in KDE Project.

Android 11 puts its game on with expanded gamepad support

Android 11 puts its game on with expanded gamepad support

For a time, it almost seemed that Android missed the mobile gaming train with more titles opting to go iOS first or even iOS only. Of course, Google's mobile platform does have thousands of titles, not all of them that noteworthy, but things have definitely improved these past years. It's almost ironic considering how Android has more open support for game controllers but that, also ironically, excludes some of the more popular ones. With Android 11, however, that list grows just a little with the addition of the Nintendo Switch Pro and the now-defunct Steam controllers.

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Microsoft Teams Insights try to keep you from burning out

Microsoft Teams Insights try to keep you from burning out

A lot of people underestimated the psychological impact of working from home during this pandemic, presuming it would actually be more liberating since you didn't have to come into work every day. Quite the opposite, this new "WFH" lifestyle may have actually increased people's stress because of the lack of separation of work and personal time, lack of a dedicated space for work, and other elements that have been taken for granted in office spaces. While it can't really replace your shrink, Microsoft Teams is introducing features that it hopes will keep workers sane which, in turn, will keep them coming back to the app again and again.

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Samsung TV Plus streaming app comes to some Galaxy phones

Samsung TV Plus streaming app comes to some Galaxy phones

It's no secret that Samsung wants to build its own empire that encompasses nearly every aspect of modern life. With its hands inside the consumer electronics cookie jar, it is almost close to achieving that dream but falls a bit short when it comes to the content for some of those devices. It doesn't have its own entertainment arm yet, unlike Sony or Apple, but its Samsung TV Plus is as close it has gotten. Now that streaming service is coming to its smartphones but you will need one of the company's most recent and most expensive to get it.

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Microsoft Edge coming to Linux, Linux GUI apps coming to Windows

Microsoft Edge coming to Linux, Linux GUI apps coming to Windows

For a company that once painted Linux and open source as cancers, Microsoft has been doing a lot in the past years to embrace both. It's not going to be an open source company, of course, and many still view its actions with suspicion but it's hard to deny that open source (former) public enemy #1 is doing some things that are already appealing to both Linux users and especially developers. At its virtual Ignite developers conference, Microsoft announced a few upcoming treats that you may have never imagined it would ever do.

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Area 120 Tables is Google’s take on the database renaissance

Area 120 Tables is Google’s take on the database renaissance

There has recently been an undercurrent of new tools in the productivity and office space that are practically souped-up and prettified versions of the classic database management systems many love or love to hate or both. From Airtable to Monday.com to Notion, these new apps and services do more than give databases a fresh coat of paint, offering functionality that may have been unimaginable decades ago. Google, unsurprisingly, doesn't want to be left behind this revolution and it is working through its Area 120 incubator arm to deliver G Suite-integrated tool simply called Tables.

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Android TV Android 11 update to bring speed, gamepad improvements

Android TV Android 11 update to bring speed, gamepad improvements

Even compared to Android Auto, Android's TV incarnation hasn't exactly been getting much attention, especially from Google itself. The past months, however, have been particularly interesting, especially with rumors around Google's first Android TV dongle. As if heralding the arrival of that "Sabrina" device, Google has now announced the Android 11 update for Android TV, promising to bring a handful of improvements that will hopefully prepare the platform for the future.

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Photoshop Sky Replacement is more sophisticated than it sounds

Photoshop Sky Replacement is more sophisticated than it sounds

Let's face it. Despite concerns over easily "Photoshopped" fakes and advice to keep photos real, there will always be times when you'd wish a more dramatic sky was available in your photo. True to its original calling as a photo editing software, Photoshop's upcoming Sky Replacement feature will offer users the chance to have a more emphatic background to go with their images. But before you knock the feature off as something that can be done with simple selection tools and layers, Adobe is unsurprisingly explaining that there's quite a lot of AI and machine learning involved here as well.

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Activision denies Call of Duty massive hack affecting 500,000 accounts

Activision denies Call of Duty massive hack affecting 500,000 accounts

It's no longer shocking to hear a massive data breach targeting some large company and affecting hundreds of thousands of users. These reports have become almost too common that it may actually be harder to separate fact from fiction. That seems to be the case with a recently reported hacking of Activision's servers that claimed to have left half a million Call of Duty accounts exposed. The developers, however, have immediately come out to clear the air and report that nothing like that happened at all.

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Royale FlexPai 2 is the affordable foldable you can’t get

Royale FlexPai 2 is the affordable foldable you can’t get

While Samsung largely dominates the foldable phone market, with Huawei now taking a backseat and Motorola's Razr successor nowhere yet in sight, it can't really claim to have been the first. That title belongs to Chinese OEM Royale whose FlexPai was quickly pushed to the background after a few months in the limelight. With the FlexPai 2, it's trying to reclaim some of that prestige through a pricing game that, unfortunately, may not matter that much to markets outside of China.

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Apple Watches have to be returned if sized-to-fit bands don’t fit

Apple Watches have to be returned if sized-to-fit bands don’t fit

This year's Apple Watch generation didn't bring just two new models, the Apple Watch Series 6 and the Apple Watch SE. This year also saw two unique and admittedly pretty Solo Loop and Braided Solo Loop, both of which have no clasps or buckles and are designed to stretch and fit snugly over your wrist. Not all wrists are equal, of course, so there's an amount of personalization involved. Unfortunately, it seems that, at least for now, the bands may not be worth the hassle because of Apple's puzzling return policy.

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Xbox Microsoft Store overhaul is now rolling out to everyone

Xbox Microsoft Store overhaul is now rolling out to everyone

Long gone are the days when all you needed to do on consoles was turn it on, pop in a game, and start playing. With the Internet and digital distribution, consoles have become digital hubs for connecting not just gamers but also the games that they play. More than just gaming, the purchasing and browsing experience has become an equally important part of the console experience and the revamped Microsoft Store on Xbox promises to take that to the next level.

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Galaxy S20 FE teaser and leaked promo aim for shutterbugs

Galaxy S20 FE teaser and leaked promo aim for shutterbugs

Samsung doesn't usually give its non-flagship phones much fanfare, except when for a few models that it launches in certain markets like India. With its upcoming "Unpacked for Every Fan", however, Samsung seems to be making quite a big fuss over it, even though most probably already know what it will be announcing there. It seems that Samsung is making more than just a big fuss and is reportedly making a big bet on the Galaxy S20 Fan Edition's success.

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