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Google Home and Home Mini are cheaper in the UK ahead of Black Friday

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Google Home and Home Mini are cheaper in the UK ahead of Black Friday

The Google Home and Google Home Mini smart speakers are now cheaper in the UK. The bigger Google Home device, which launched last year in the US, can be purchased for just £79. That’s a drop of £50 compared to its usual recommended retail price of £129.

Google Home

The smaller Google Home Mini, which got official last month, is now priced at £34. In this case you’re saving £15 over its normal price. The cuts are already in effect at the Google Store, Currys PC World, John Lewis, Argos, and Maplin.

Google Home Mini

The two smart speakers will keep the lower prices until November 29, in a prolonged celebration of Black Friday. So if you’ve always wanted some more Google Assistant in your life but never took the plunge and purchased a Home or Home Mini, maybe now’s the perfect time to do just that.

Published at Wed, 15 Nov 2017 23:00:02 +0000

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Applications

Launching a New WordPress Site – Part 1: Off-Site Tasks

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Launching a New WordPress Site – Part 1: Off-Site Tasks

While WordPress and other content management systems make launching a new website much easier than before, it’s still not an easy thing to do. This is especially true if you don’t have any programming knowledge and can’t afford a web developer either. There are so many things to pay attention to that even experienced developers can easily forget something important.

This article has two parts: the first one details the off-site tasks (that you do outside the WordPress admin) & the second one shows the on-site tasks (that you do from the WordPress admin).

Based on the type of the website, there can be other tasks as well, for instance, if you want an eCommerce store these two checklists won’t be enough. However, they contain all the basic pre-launch tasks recommended for any new WordPress site.

1. Register a domain

First of all, you’ll need an available domain. Hosting providers let you register a new domain at the same time you buy the hosting plan. In most cases, this is the best option for a new website.

However, you can also transfer an existing domain from another domain registrar. Or, if you want to host your domain name at a different registrar you can also update your nameservers by yourself.

2. Buy a hosting plan

When you buy a hosting plan, you basically rent storage for your website on a server owned and maintained by the hosting company. Hosts also offer many related services that help you manage your website, it’s worth browsing these thoroughly before choosing a plan.

For most new WordPress sites, a Linux plan on a shared server will be the best choice.

After you buy the hosting plan, you can access your cPanel, a dashboard where you can manage your hosting account, access your database, create email accounts, and perform other website-related tasks.

cPanel Example

3. Install WordPress

You need to install the WordPress software on your site. Most hosting providers offer auto-installers, which means you can run the WordPress auto-installer at the same time you buy your hosting plan.

If you don’t want to use the auto-installer you can also install WordPress via the Softaculous app installer that you can find in your cPanel dashboard. You can install several different software with Softaculous. You need to choose WordPress and follow the instructions.

Softaculous app installer

4. Install an SSL certificate

Although it’s not a requirement to have an SSL certificate on your site, it’s very much recommended to use one. First, because users trust a secure site more, and also because browsers have begun to push back against unencrypted websites.

Having an SSL certificate installed on your site means that it will use the secure HTTPS protocol instead of HTTP. So, your URL will be https://www.yoursite.com instead of http://www.yoursite.com.

Luckily, these days most hosting providers give you a free Let’s Encrypt SSL certificate, which is usually enough for smaller websites. You can install/manage it from the Security > SSL/TLS menu in your cPanel.

5. Create email accounts

You’ll need at least one email address for your WordPress website for admin purposes, for instance for getting security notifications. Although you can also use a third-party email provider, such as a Gmail or Yahoo address, it’s worth considering setting up an email address on your own domain.

To do so, navigate to the Email > Email Accounts menu in your cPanel and fill in the “Add Email Account” form.

cPanel email setup

To access your new email address, scroll down on the same page where you created the email account, click on the More button, and select the “Access Webmail” option.

Access webmail

Your mailbox has a separate URL as well, it’s usually either http://webmail.yoursite.com/ or http://yoursite.com/webmail/. You can see it in the URL bar after you log in the account. If you just want to check your email you can quickly access your mailbox from this URL, you don’t need to log in to the cPanel.

Webmail login page

6. Set up an FTP connection

To access the files hosted on your server, you will need an FTP connection. As WordPress is an advanced content management system, you can perform most tasks from its dashboard, however sometimes you may need to upload or download files or folders to or from the server.

For instance, when a broken plugin locks you out from the WP admin, the easiest thing you can do is disabling the plugin on the server. Another use case is when you want to modify your .htaccess or wp-config files, as these config files aren’t available from the WP admin.

To access your site via FTP, you need an FTP account. Hosting accounts usually come with two pre-installed special FTP accounts, one for the root access and one for the logs. You can reach the FTP Accounts settings page by clicking the Files > FTP Accounts menu in your cPanel.

cPanel FTP settings

In many cases, it’s enough to use the root account (“example” on the screenshot above), however note that the root account has access to all your files. If you have non-admin users who have to access the server for some reason you can create restricted FTP accounts for them with which they can access the folders they need (but not more). You can create these extra FTP accounts on top of the same page.

If you click the “Configure FTP Client” option, it opens a drop-down tab where you get all the data you need to configure the FTP client. For instance, my hosting provider offers config files for three different FTP clients: FileZilla Client, CoreFTP, and Cyberduck.

FTP configuration files

You need to install one of these FTP client software separately on your computer and follow the instructions (can be found on this screen below the config files).

You can use SFTP instead of FTP as well. SFTP sends your files encrypted between the server and your computer. It’s a more secure solution but also harder to set up (you need to generate security keys).

After you connected your server via FTP, you will find your WordPress install in the public_html directory.

7. Register your site with search engines

If you want to have your site present on search engines, you need to register them. You can submit it to Google at Google Webmaster Tools and to Bing and Yahoo at Bing Webmaster Tools. Some people register their site only with Google, however there are some good arguments for not ignoring Bing Webmaster Tools.

To use Google Webmaster Tools, you need a Google account, however you can use an existing one. Sign in to the site and on the main screen, click the “Add a property” button and type in the URL of your website.

You need to verify that the website belongs to you. To do so, download the HTML verification file Google provides you with, and upload it via FTP to your server into the public_html directory. When it’s done, click the “Verify” button.

Google Webmasters Verify Your Website

For the best search results, it’s worth adding the following four versions of your URL:

  1. http://www.yoursite.com
  2. http://yoursite.com
  3. https://www.yoursite.com
  4. https://yoursite.com

Add all of them as separate properties, finally set your preferred version according to these instructions. If you use an SSL certificate select one of the HTTPS URLs.

Registering your site with Bing Webmaster Tools works similarly. You need a Microsoft account, then you log in to Bing Webmaster Tools, add the URL of your site, and upload a verification file to your server via FTP. Note that the Bing verification file is not an HTML but an XML file.

8. Set up a Google Analytics account

Your site will need some kind of analytics as well so that you can understand your traffic better. Although there are several web analytic tools, the biggest one is Google Analytics, however many sites use more than one analytics tool.

To use Google Analytics with WordPress, you’ll need a plugin (see it in the second part of this article). But first, you need to create your account. It’s the best if you use the same Google account you use for Google Webmaster Tools, as you can link these two services.

In your Google Analytic Dashboard, you can see all kind of statistics, based on metrics such as real-time user presence, source of traffic, referrals, countries, and others. You can also make a ton of further configurations to make the stats provide you with the information you need.

Google Analytic Dashboard

Further off-site tasks

In this article, I showed the most important off-site tasks you need to perform when you launch a new WordPress site, however it’s not a comprehensive list. In your cPanel, you’ll find several other options you can use for successful website management. It always depends on the hosting provider what features they offer to their users. Some of the options will differ from provider to provider, however there are many ubiquitous ones.

Probably the most important off-site task not detailed in this article is to plan a reliable backup workflow. Most hosting providers have backup management tools, and some of them even make automatic backup possible. The features highly depend on the type of your hosting account. Note that backup can be done both from cPanel and with a WordPress plugin, choose the solution that fits you the best (just don’t forget about it).

Published at Tue, 10 Oct 2017 15:01:29 +0000

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Applications

Special version of iTunes still has the App Store inside

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Special version of iTunes still has the App Store inside

Last month Apple ripped the App Store out of iTunes for PC and Mac, alongside ringtones and other features, without bothering to tell anyone beforehand. Understandably, a few people have been upset ever since at the fact that iTunes 12.7 is less bloated than past versions.

Bloat lovers have a reprieve, however. Apple has silently made iTunes 12.6.3 available for download, and this is a special version that still includes all of the old functionality – the App Store, iBooks, and ringtones. It’s up for grabs for PCs and Macs, and is meant for certain businesses performing internal app deployments. That said, anyone can install and use it.

Furthermore, if you do install this special release, you will never be prompted to update to newer versions such as 12.7. Oh, and you can install iTunes 12.6.3 even if you have already upgraded to the much-hated 12.7 iteration – but some manual library rebuilding may be required if you go this route. iTunes 12.6.3 also has support for the iPhone 8, iPhone 8 Plus, iPhone X, and iOS 11.

Source | Via

Published at Tue, 10 Oct 2017 00:45:02 +0000

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Applications

SmartBear AlertSite

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SmartBear AlertSite

Website monitoring services such as SmartBear AlertSite all provide the same core service for businesses: keeping track of the health, performance, and user satisfaction at the different levels of its Web presence. And the scale and versatility of that service is critically important. Some cheaper services with targeted focuses on key metrics may be unable to meet the demands of large enterprises while, conversely, the broadest, most expensive, or most heavy-duty services for enterprises could prove too much for small to midsize businesses (SMBs), like, for example, AppDynamics, our Editors’ Choice for enterprises.

A universally valuable offering then is a malleable one capable of scaling up or down in functionality and pricing without losing key features or analysis capabilities. That’s the hallmark of SmartBear AlertSite. The balance SmartBear AlertSite strikes between intuitive non-technical dashboard usability, reasonable pricing at scale, and among the most comprehensive alerting in this roundup, makes it our Editors’ Choice for SMBs and a competitive offering for enterprises to compete with AppDynamics, Dynatrace, New Relic Browser, and any other website monitoring platform on the market.

Pricing Structure

SmartBear has restructured its AlertSite pricing away from traditional into a more cost-effective, flexible model. While set ‘plans’ do not exist anymore, pricing typically falls into two categories: external monitoring and internal monitoring. External Monitoring uses a consumption-based model, in which customers can monitor around the world from SmartBear’s global nodes on 5 continents and more than 80+ locations. External monitoring pricing is based on consumption in terms of frequency of the monitor, steps in the transaction, and how many locations you choose to monitor from. However, SmartBear stressed that pricing is determined on a custom basis with each client according to their requirements.

The other pricing option is PrivateNode, AlertSite’s internal monitoring option. With AlertSite PrivateNode, businesses have the flexibility to create private monitoring locations behind the firewall in data centers, in private cloud deployments on Amazon Web Services (AWS) or Microsoft Azure,or in remote offices, stores, or call centers to monitor internal facing APIs, applications, and related assets. Designed as an extension of the external nodes, PrivateNode provides the same robust capabilities including availability, functional correctness, and other performance data in aggregate dashboards and reports from all locations. AlertSite users can re-use alert templates, firing rules, and escalations channels to instantaneously alert the right team, as well as run the same set of monitors from API and Web application transactions to DNS, FTP tests, and Selenium tests. PrivateNode is a flat price that includes as many concurrent monitors the business wishes to run, with three options: small, medium, and large, starting around $5,000 and going up to $18,000.

Setup and Dashboard

Setting up an account and dashboard is as easy as entering a URL. Add a new Monitor by simply entering a URL for a new website or application programming interface (API). You can also group monitors together, for instance, in measuring performance of several different pages within a website. When configuring a given Monitor, you get a panel with options to change the minutes between each monitoring run interval, which monitoring mode to use, how many locations from which to test and whether or not to rotate them, and whether or not to capture just errors or all events occurring on a site.

Monitors for mobile websites and native mobile apps are configured through DéjàClick, which is managed as a browser extension currently offered for Google Chrome and Mozilla Firefox. I added mine for Chrome in seconds. DéjàClick allows users to simulate new users to a website, record from various mobile devices including Nexus devices, iPhones, and Samsung Galaxy devices; and record and replay everything going on in the browser—the HTML events, transaction paths, and every piece of content that’s clicked on. Then it sends that data back to SmartBear AlertSite where it’s displayed in the mobile Monitor. The browser extension functionality and record/replay capabilities are straightforward and easy to manually set. The feature gives business users a more hands-on way of interacting with their website and gaining real-time transaction metrics than any afforded by any of the other website monitoring platforms tested.

SmartBear AlertSite UXM Dashboard

The SmartBear AlertSite dashboard is laid out not unlike Live Tiles on a Windows device. The user interface (UI) sports a horizontal navigation bar across the top of the Web application, with tabs for Monitors, Groups, service-level agreements (SLAs), Errors, Charting, Reports, and Alerts. Below the navigation bar is a customizable tile layout of the specific groups and allows you to monitor a business layout (i.e., shows the aggregate performance and availability trends of a Monitor or Group over a customizable timeframe of hours, days, or months).

Through 2016 and into 2017, SmartBear has also implemented significant changes to the AlertSite dashboard. Users can choose between the Day (light) and Night (dark) themes, applied to the entire AlertSite UXM interface. The dashboard has also become more unified and intuitive, providing at-a-glance monitoring for monitor availability and performance over time, cross-referenced against location, individual monitors, or monitors in a group. AlertSite also shows compared monitors in a table that you can sort by the response time or other columns. You can expand monitor locations and steps to compare their individual performance. SmartBear has also addressed one of our initial issues wit the platform, slower dashboard load time for Web interface, and optimized the platform to prevent extended load times.

Each user within a business customizes their own dashboard, and administrators can create and designate access to official groups. Laid out similarly to the custom dashboards in Dynatrace, the tile for each Monitor or Group opens into an interactive charting page—with clickable line graphs and world maps drilling down into each website’s synthetic performance in specific testing locations worldwide. In addition to monitor options, users can also now customize groups of monitors simply by selecting the large plus icon, selecting the monitors to include in a group, naming it, choosing whether this is a private group, and saving it. The group monitors appear in the dashboards along with any other current monitors and are displayed with the aggregate data relative to that group. Clicking on the group monitor tile will open the group dashboard, where the availability and performance data for the group and each monitor is displayed in greater detail.

Additional UI enhancements since our initial review include a quick view panel to identify the root cause of the issue and help with root-cause analysis, and a run view panel to look at the slowest and largest objects on the page within or outside your domain that may be causing performance issues. There’s also a new Power User to provide enterprises more flexibility and authorization control across various business units and geographies. Power Users hafe full access to all areas of AlertSite except for user management.

Monitoring and Integrations

SmartBear AlertSite, along with Dynatrace and Pingdom, measures user experience (UX) and satisfaction by using the Application Performance Index (Apdex), an open Web standard and composite performance measure of how application or website load time, latency, and other metrics combine to meet user expectations with their browsing experience.

As with the other Apdex-enabled website monitoring services, UX is marked in traffic-light type colors of green, yellow, and red. In SmartBear AlertSite case’s when I tested PCMag.com, it pulled data from DéjàClick and Apdex locations across the U.S.—with one location each from Europe and Japan to measure a “Fair” Apdex score of 0.77 (out of 1.0) across PCMag’s desktop and mobile sites.

In terms of mobile monitoring, SmartBear AlertSite uses mobile-enabled nodes to run on wireless 3G-4G networks and operating systems (OSes) including iOS and Android, and the platform’s browser-based monitoring uses its synthetic machine network—a collection of synthetic performance monitoring nodes simulating user interactions with websites from testing locations worldwide—to download and execute a website’s full-page JavaScript, coupled with real browser monitoring via DéjàClick, rather than emulation. Beyond the consumer-facing website itself, SmartBear AlertSite contains private node functionality to “Monitor Inside the Firewall” with internal application performance monitoring (APM) in data centers and virtual machines (VMs).

AlertSide’s added internal monitoring with PrivateNode options is a major improvement from our initial review, allowing the platform to run on cloud, VMware, laptops, desktops, and point-of-sale (POS) devices. PrivateNode VM is a full-fledged monitoring location running on VMWare, inside or outside the firewall. It works just like AlertSite’s regular locations but is available only to you. PrivateNode Server is delivered as a preconfigured virtual machine image for rapid deployment. Once registered in AlertSite, it appears as a new location in your global locations list, and you can begin using it in your monitors. PrivateNode Cloud works the same way for AWS and Azure.

PrivateNode EndPoint is deployed onto a desktop that supports Windows, MacOS, or Linux, and can be used to monitor on a schedule, as is done from the platform, or it can be used to diagnose performance, availability, or functionality issues faced by remote employees. Results are automatically sent to AlertSite and added to the run history for that monitor. PrivateNode EndPoint can also be used if the location is missing critical virtualization or server resources due to the geography or location. Finally, PrivateNode Hardware is a pre-configured monitoring server installed on-premises.

Another refreshing quality of SmartBear AlertSite is the company’s willingness to acknowledge what the service’s limitations are as readily as what it does well. That’s only half the battle, though. To compensate, the company offers a variety of free integrations baked into the platform, giving SMBs the freedom to fill in the gaps. An integration with our Editors’ Choice for enterprises, AppDynamics, augments SmartBear AlertSite’s reporting data with AppDynamics’ ability to dig deeper into back-end and code-level infrastructure to trace the root of a website performance issue. The AppDynamics data shows up as another data source with a little AppDynamics logo in a Monitor’s report. This isn’t a capability every SMB needs but, if one or two AppDynamics modules offer a business those few extra metrics they need, it may be cost-effective to spring for an AppDynamics module to integrate.

Another integration, this one with mobile testing platform Perfecto Mobile, complements SmartBear AlertSite’s emphasis on synthetic monitoring with a real user monitoring (RUM) solution, testing performance on a global network of real devices and users. The Perfecto Mobile integration gives the platform much-needed RUM capabilities, particularly mobile-focused ones, available as options in the existing dashboard. Perfecto Mobile’s MobileCloud Monitoring enables automated, cloud-based Web, native, and hybrid app testing on devices. These integrations must be manually enabled, and the pricing varies.

AlertSite has the tightest integrations with SoapUI, SmartBear’s Advanced REST & SOAP Testing Tool, and ReadyAPI, SmartBear’s integrated suite of applications for API testing, both of which are used by thousands of companies internationally to test their applications. Businesses can also reuse Selenium and SoapUI scripts that have already been crafted during the testing phase, saving both time and money while implementing essential processes into AlertSite. Additionally AlertSite also now integrates, with PagerDuty, Splunk, ServiceNow, and Slack.

AlertSite Interactive Monitoring

Complete Alerting and Monitoring

As with its dashboards, SmartBear AlertSite’s reporting is defined by its customizability. In the Reports tab of the platform, the on-the-fly Report Generator offers a long list of Report Types based on timed traffic, regional breakdowns, usage, transactions, outages, and more. I ran several reports, selecting multiple monitors and locations in each one. The results quickly generated, and could be exported as Excel or .CSV spreadsheets as well as distributed via email to specific business users.

The customizable reports are great for the non-technical stakeholders in a SMB or enterprise who need targeted information about the website (e.g., a list of transactions or details on a specific region or outage) rather than a deluge of report data to wade through. SmartBear AlertSite’s reports don’t have the level of sleek, graphical appeal or the direct correlations to business outcomes as AppDynamics or Dynatrace, but they get the right information to the right people.

One major reporting improvement since our initial review is business benchmarks. AlertSite’s business benchmark reports enable you to compare your website and API availability and response time against well-known companies in a given industry, and against the top 25 US websites such as Amazon, Facebook, Wikipedia, and others. Market indexes for comparison include blogging platforms, cellphone carriers, health insurance, healthcare, social networking, job boards, luxury automotive and retail, online aggregators, the U.S. banking index, and a host of other industries and metrics to target the benchmark reports to a particular business context. Benchmark metrics include the website availability and web page response time (the time required to view a fully rendered home page) including HTML, CSS, JavaScript, images, and third-party objects. Data is collected every 15 minutes, 24/7, from multiple locations around the globe.

SmartBear AlertSite Pro Configure Monitor

The platform’s alerts are unparalleled. From the moment I set up my SmartBear AlertSite account, my inbox started filling up with alerts. Monitor and Group summary reports, error reports, performance alerts, momentary outage notifications, and more. Once I configured the Alert Recipient details, I was able to streamline those and add other recipients. Once a recipient is in the system, they can be placed on different lists to receive only the alerts relevant to them or into custom alerting groups to be sent alerts only from designated monitors or of particular error types. A business can set particular thresholds for alerts as well, honing in on a particular level of Apdex performance in particular locations to receive a text or email message alert. AlertSite also now offers step-based alerts as an extension of its alerting capabilities.

Alerts came directly from the SmartBear AlertSite nodes when I purposely simulated a slowdown in one location, triggered by the threshold I had set. The multistep monitor can send out independent performance alerts as it passes a given threshold set in the alerts. As with Pingdom, the service most similar to SmartBear AlertSite when it comes to alerting, each test is run twice to reduce false positives before an alert is sent.

There are more visually compelling website monitoring dashboards than those of SmartBear AlertSite, and other platforms hold deeper infrastructure monitoring and analysis capabilities as well. But SmartBear AlertSite is strong enough across the board in all of those areas to hold its own and then some, and the service’s alerting was the best of the bunch. Yet, the main reason why SmartBear AlertSite is an Editors’ Choice is because its pricing was one of the few plans across all of the products to fall within a reasonable price range for SMBs, with a useful feature set to back it up that can scale with the best of ’em for enterprise needs.

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Applications

Craziest Facebook Applications

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Application
By thejedi on 2006-07-28 12:50:01
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With more than 500 million active users in July 2010, Facebook, launched in February 2004, has become the most popular social networking website. Via Facebook, users can add people as friends and send them messages, and update their personal profiles to identify friends about themselves. Besides, users can participate in networks organized by workplace, school, or college. After a rather long-time existing, Facebook has improved lots of applications to be branded. Below are the most strangest applications helping Facebook become more and more reputed.

 

Death Time Calculator

Thanks to the Death Time Calculator, the time of death will be predicted just by entering birth date. Besides,the cause of death will be revealed such as “Mauled by a tiger”, “Intoxicated, ate accidentally poisoned dog food”

 

Butter-fy Yourself

The man looks like the ancient Tibetan monk. Please choose a personality for your sculpture so that you’re immortalized in butter

 

Ask Paul the Octopus

After FIFA World Cup 2010, Paul has become best-known all over the world. Ask Paul a question and give him two possible outcomes to choose from. Click “Ask the Octopus” and wait for Paul’s answer.

 

I Have Kids

With the I Have Kids application, parents can create mini-profiles for their kids, complete with photos and status updates, and leave comments on their friends’ kids’ walls

 

Blue Obsession

Blue Obsession allows you to send blue-themed gifts such as a blue drinking glass, ballet shoes, a cupcake posted to your friends’ walls. In fact, Blue Obsession wishes you good luck

 

SpongeBob Mood

These are the creative smiley symbols to replace words. SpongeBob Mood are marine pineapples to express your feeling

 

Romantic Nickname

Please enter your name, choose from an assortment of backgrounds and click “Generate”, you will have a romantic nickname

 

 

Related links:

About Facebook

 

Shock Facebook

Humor: Facebook

I am a web developer. I love technology and have a passion of writing articles about technology news, especially new products

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Applications

Samsung Galaxy S9 to get the entire first batch of Snapdragon 845 chips for its early launch

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Samsung Galaxy S9 to get the entire first batch of Snapdragon 845 chips for its early launch

In August we heard that Samsung bought up almost all available Snapdragon 845 chips from Qualcomm for its Galaxy S9 and S9+ duo. Today a new report basically confirms that the entire first production run of the new chipset will be sold to Samsung for its S9 phones.

The S9 and S9+ with the Snapdragon 845 inside are destined for the US market, unsurprisingly. Other smartphone makers will get access to the 845 at a later point compared to Samsung, which will thus once again have a time-to-market advantage over its competitors from this point of view.

Basically the same thing that’s described here has happened this year with the S8 duo and the Snapdragon 835. Samsung buying up all available units of that chip forced LG to use the older Snapdragon 821 in its G6, while other companies simply postponed their flagship launches by a few months in order to ensure a decent supply of 835s.

The same source also claims that the S9 duo will be launching a month earlier than usual, which means we can expect them to be in stores in mid-March. If this is true, then an announcement at MWC in late February seems likely. Obviously do take all of the above with a pinch of salt, it’s just another rumor at the moment – though it does confirm earlier mumblings, for what it’s worth.

Source (in Russian) | Via

Published at Mon, 09 Oct 2017 23:45:01 +0000

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ApplicationsTechnology

A cartoon Mark Zuckerberg toured hurricane-struck Puerto Rico in virtual reality

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A cartoon Mark Zuckerberg toured hurricane-struck Puerto Rico in virtual reality

Mark Zuckerberg put on an Oculus Rift this afternoon and used Facebook’s new virtual reality platform, Facebook Spaces, to transport himself to Puerto Rico, the Moon, and his house. He broadcast the moment live on Facebook in what turned out to be a rather strange demo of a social platform that doesn’t have a clear use yet. In particular, Zuckerberg’s choice of locations emphasized just how odd it’ll be to watch other people in any sort of serious situation in virtual reality.

Zuckerberg’s first stop, along with Facebook social VR chief Rachel Franklin, was to Puerto Rico, where he stood in front of a 360-degree video from NPR documenting the aftermath of Hurricane Maria. He used the opportunity to discuss what Facebook is doing to aid relief — matching donations, sharing data with the Red Cross — but it was all pretty strange to watch for what perhaps should have been an obvious reason: Zuckerberg was represented by a floating cartoon character.

Live from virtual reality — teleporting to Puerto Rico to discuss our partnership with NetHope and American Red Cross to restore connectivity and rebuild communities.

Posted by Mark Zuckerberg on Monday, October 9, 2017

Cartoon avatars make plenty of sense for the typical use of Facebook Spaces, which is mostly just meant as a digital hangout spot for early adopters of the Oculus Rift. But it clearly isn’t an ideal way to discuss hurricane relief efforts, particularly for a Silicon Valley billionaire doing his best to stay in touch Americans outside of the tech world. It made lines like, “It feels like we’re really here in Puerto Rico,” stand out for clearly being so far off from the actual experience, even though NPR’s reporting may well start to convey an idea of what it’s like.

After discussing Facebook’s contributions to Puerto Rico relief efforts, Zuckerberg and Franklin then transported themselves to the Moon and later to Zuckerberg’s living room, to see his dog. The stream also dropped out at one point and they had to start over again.

Live from virtual reality part II — teleporting to space with Beast.

Posted by Mark Zuckerberg on Monday, October 9, 2017

Facebook released Spaces in April after debuting the platform a year ago, at the Oculus Connect conference. His livestream today comes just days before the fourth annual Oculus Connect, which kicks off on Wednesday. A keynote is planned for 10AM PT that day, and today’s broadcast suggest that Facebook likely has some news in store for Spaces.

(Why?)

Published at Mon, 09 Oct 2017 23:20:59 +0000

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