Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Don't Lose Your Head This Halloween Get $10 Off Your TrackR

Lost or stolen items are often scary situations, one that many of us geeks face all to often! Whether it is a backpack containing all your gaming gear, that travel bag or something as simple as your wallet or cellphone, when something comes up missing it turns into a frantic nightmare.

Lucky for us there are several new tech based solutions out there to help you track down those items. One we've had our eyes on for awhile now is the new TrackR Bravo. This small coin-sized Bluetooth-enabled device is designed to attach to valuable items so they can be located using the TrackR app with either an iPhone or Android based device. And yes this could include those scary little ghouls and goblins while they are out trick-or-treating!

This week TrackR is offering up not just one but two scary good deals! Using the code TrackRTreat you can get $10 off your order. Additionally you can create a custom referral link (this is ours) that will allow you to receive a free TrackR Bravo anytime one of your friends, family members or fellow geeks buys one.

For those geeks out there like us that have been dying to try out the latest in tracking devices this is a great chance to do so. You'll get your TrackR for about $22 shipped and if you can get a couple of referrals involved you can get a few devices for what would be less than half the original cost!

So what are you waiting for, the promo code TrackRTreat expires after the Halloween weekend! Use our link (so we can get in on the freebie action) and get yours now!

Friday, October 16, 2015

Apple Tries to Explain Away iOS 9 Wi-Fi Assist Data Concerns

While one of Apple's newest iOS 9 features has long been available and known to Android users it is a new feature for those on the iPhone, unfortunately however this also means a slew of new complaints, misunderstanding of its use and issues with the 'always on' status of the feature which has caused many to worry that their data usage will climb out of control.

iOS 9 introduced Apple iPhone users to Wi-Fi Assist a feature that automatically switches between Wi-Fi and mobile data in order to provide users the best connection possible.

"With Wi-Fi Assist, you can stay connected to the Internet even if you have a poor Wi-Fi connection," Apple explains. "For example, if you're using Safari with a poor Wi-Fi connection and a webpage doesn't load, Wi-Fi Assist will activate and automatically switch to cellular so that the webpage continues to load."

As many Android users well know Smart Network Switch, which is what the feature is known as for many Android users, is not without issues and has been known to cause high data consumption in many cases. These issues now appear to be impacting Apple Wi-Fi Assist users as several sites are reporting a surge in complaints over higher than normal data usage.

Users not familiar with the feature weren't aware of its on by default status and had no way of knowing that even though they thought they were using Wi-Fi, Wi-Fi Assist was dropping those connections to connect to mobile data instead. At the heart of the issue, at least from what we have seen on Android devices, is even though it appears as though you have a great Wi-Fi connection the app may still drop one service over the other, favoring the stability of mobile data in many cases over inconsistent Wi-Fi connections.

Looking to ease some concerns over the growing number of complaints, and many articles calling on users to disable the new features, Apple this week updated its About Wi-Fi Assist page to provide users more details as to how the feature should behave. Apple specify wanted to note that the feature will not automatically switch to cellular if you're data roaming. It only works when you have apps running in the foreground, and won't activate with content downloading in the background. Apple also noted that Wi-Fi Assist won't (or shouldn't) activate with certain data-hogging, third-party apps. That includes apps that stream audio or video or download attachments, like email services.

For users concerned over how Wi-Fi Assist might be impacting their data usage there are a couple options. The easiest would be to simply turn it off via Settings > Cellular. Towards the bottom of the page, you'll find the Wi-Fi Assist switch; just toggle it off. Another more involved option would to restrict each app and their permission to use cellular data. That access can be revoked on the same Settings screen where you access Wi-Fi Assist. (There's been some discussion of this in Apple Support Communities.)

Thursday, October 08, 2015

AT&T Finally Offers Wi-Fi Calling Option (Currently Only For iPhone Users)

AT&T has joined the likes of Sprint and T-Mobile to finally offer customers with an advanced calling feature that allows them to leverage Wi-Fi to provide better mobile phone coverage by connecting calls over a Wi-Fi network in places where cellular service is poor or non existent.

Wi-Fi calling, which certainly shouldn't be new to any of you true geeks out there, has long been available to customers on several major networks worldwide. However, AT&T only received permission from the Federal Communications Commission for an exemption this past week and they immediately took action kicking off Wi-Fi calling on newer-model iPhones running iOS 9. Those models include the iPhone 6s iPhone 6s Plus, iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus.  

There is no official word on support for older iPhone models or when we might see support for other devices even though most, such as the Samsung Galaxy line-up do support it!

"Wi-Fi Calling is a complement to AT&T’s already great network coverage," said AT&T's president of technology operations Bill Smith in a blog post. "Along with a network that covers more than 99 percent of all Americans, our customers now have an option for making calls in areas where a cellular signal is tough to get – such as a home or office with dense building construction."

What is the Benefit of Wi-Fi Calling?

We've all been somewhere with little to no cellular coverage, it may be your office building, the gym or even an out of the way spot in the woods. No matter the location if you have internet service and an active Wi-Fi signal, Wi-Fi Calling can work as a tool to solve those coverage problems. With Wi-Fi Calling, your phone connects via the internet to send and receive you your voice calls, text messages and other mobile services over that Wi-Fi network even if your cellular network isn't working.

Once you set up Wi-Fi Calling, your phone automatically detects when to use it. Wi-Fi Calling will only be used if cellular coverage is weak or unavailable. To add Wi-Fi calling to an eligible iPhone, according to Apple's website, go to Settings> Phone> Wi-Fi Calling. You will then be prompted to answer a few questions.

Facebook’s New Dislike Button Is More About Emojis and Reactions Than Dislikes

We've all heard the rumors that year after year swirl around that Facebook was rumored to be working on a dislike button — a blue thumbs down button to counter the ubiquitous blue thumbs up that has become a significant part of our pop-culture. Now, it’s finally here, and guess what it’s not anything like you'd expect and certainly not as simple as choosing between like and dislike.

Starting today, Facebook will begin running a very limited test of a new feature the social media giant is calling "Reactions" or a new button that will allow users of its mobile app to respond with a corresponding emoji to express additional emotions beyond Facebook's iconic "Like" button (the thumbs-up).

These new 'reactions' include: "Love," "Haha," "Yay," "Wow," "Sad," and "Angry," and they can only be accessed on the mobile version of Facebook by "long-pressing" or hovering over the good old "Like" button. Facebook didn't just choose these new emotions randomly, of course. As Facebook's chief product officer Chris Cox explains in a post introducing the new feature (with video embedded below).

Today we’re launching a pilot test of Reactions — a more expressive Like button. As you can see, it’s not a “dislike” button, though we hope it addresses the spirit of this request more broadly. We studied which comments and reactions are most commonly and universally expressed across Facebook, then worked to design an experience around them that was elegant and fun. Starting today Ireland and Spain can start loving, wow-ing, or expressing sympathy to posts on Facebook by hovering or long-pressing the Like button wherever they see it. We’ll use the feedback from this to improve the feature and hope to roll it out to everyone soon.
Posted by Chris Cox on Thursday, 8 October 2015

Testing for the new 'dislike' or reactions emojis is currently limited to mobile users in Spain and Ireland, why there it is unclear, however Facebook says the feature will eventually be expanded to all users, though no timeline has been given for when.

On the face of it this might seem like a slap in the face for those that wanted an actual 'Dislike' button, but we all know that Facebook wasn't too likely to add tools that make it easier for users to berate one another, harass others or in anyway disapprove of advertisers. They definitly wouldn't want to open that can of worms! 

The move should be encouraging though as it does show at least some form of an acknowledgment by Facebook that the omnipresent "Like" button is not without flaws and that the fact that users have made it clear that it is profoundly limiting when it comes to the actual emotions people want to share hasn't fallen on deaf ears. So we can see this as some sort of minimalist victory that Facebook understand that posts about personal disappointments, annoyances, illnesses, tragedies, frustrations, or other challenges in life have never been a good fit for the "Like" button and that some changes need to be made!

Sony Drops PlayStation 4 Price to $349

Sony is giving gamers an early holiday present with the announcement of a pre-holiday price cut on the PS4. According to today' post, starting tomorrow, October 9th, you gaming geeks out there will be able to pick up the PS4 starting at the new price of $349.99 USD / $429.99 CAD (MSRP).

In addition to the $50 price cut for basic systems and lower priced bundles, you'll also see price cuts to some of Sony's other more popular bundles in the near future as shown below.

Clearly Sony is hoping that these price cuts will entice gamers looking for hot deals for the holidays to join the PlayStation family. Unless otherwise noted the cheaper consoles are expected to be the standard 500GB units and this price cut is presumed to be permanent, not for the holidays only.

“Our goal at PlayStation has always been to offer the best place to play at a compelling value to gamers,” said Shawn Layden, president and CEO of Sony Computer Entertainment America. “We’re continuing to deliver on that commitment with this new price for PS4, making the console even more accessible to a broader audience this holiday. With highly anticipated games like Call of Duty: Black Ops III and Star Wars Battlefront launching soon and blockbuster exclusives like Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End on the horizon, there has never been a better time to join the PS4 community.”

Friday, October 02, 2015

Motorola Confirms Which Devices Will Receive Android 6.0 Marshmallow And What Features Will Be Dropped

With the latest version of Android rolling out in the coming weeks many devices owners are wondering when and if their devices will see the update. Fortunately for Motorola owners, (sorry Samsung, HTC and LG folks no word for you yet!) the company published a list of devices set to get the upgrade on Friday, along with some plans to trim back some its proprietary software.

Here’s the full list of Motorola devices set to get Android 6 Marshmallow:
  • 2015 Moto X Pure Edition (3rd gen)
  • 2015 Moto X Style (3rd gen)
  • 2015 Moto X Play
  • 2015 Moto G (3rd gen)
  • 2014 Moto X Pure Edition in the US (2nd gen)
  • 2014 Moto X in Latin America, Europe and Asia2 (2nd gen)
  • 2014 Moto G and Moto G with 4G LTE2 (2nd gen)
  • DROID Turbo
  • 2014 Moto MAXX
  • 2014 Moto Turbo
  • Nexus 6
On the Motorola Blog the company notes that things may change and such they are referring users to their software upgrade page for the latest, and specifics by country.

As for exact roll-out times Motorola suggests it could take at least a few weeks before these updates start to deploy (excluding the Nexus 6 which is set to get Marshmallow next week). How soon your own device gets Android 6.0 could also depend on whether it’s an unlocked device or a carrier model. Carrier models are generally dependent on each individual carrier so that may vary widely.

With the newest update Motorola users will receive all of the following Android 6 Marshmallow features:
  • Doze Mode -- This new feature monitors your phone and puts it into a deep sleep when it’s not being used, which can extend battery life substantially. 
  • Now on Tap -- We love Google Now, and it’s improved in Android M. Simply long press the home button to bring up the Google Now feature and display information based on whatever you’re doing at the time.
  • Android Pay -- Android M allows you to bring up Android Pay with a simple tap and easily make purchases without having to open a separate app.
  • Direct Share -- Share your photos, news, links, etc. with your favorite contacts easily and quickly.
  • Simpler volume controls -- A more intuitive way to control ringtone and media volume.

Changes to Bundled Software and Moto Enhancements

Motorola has also confirmed they will be dropping several of their signature software enhancements and bundled add-ons as part of the plan to update its phones to Android Marshmallow noting that many of these enhancements offer functionality that is already covered in the new OS or Google's own services. That means no more Motorola Assist, Migrate, and Connect.

PlayStation Plus Free Games For October 2015

The rewards for PlayStation Plus members are stacking up, with loads and loads of new free games each month. This month Sony promises the PS Plus lineup will have a great mix of flavors with games from several different genres! Starting on the first Tuesday of the month, a new lineup of free games comes to PlayStation Plus members.

For October 2015 we will see new games released on Tuesday the 6th and those games will including the following:
  • Super Meat Boy, PS4, PS Vita
  • Broken Age, PS4, PS Vita
  • Unmechanical: Extended, PS4, PS3
  • Chariot, PS3
  • KickBeat, PS3, PS Vita
  • Kung Fu Rabbit, PS3, PS Vita

Unfortunately Sony has also announced that Driveclub PlayStation Plus Edition will no longer be available as a free download for Plus members starting on October 6th, 2015. If you haven’t downloaded it yet, be sure to go to PlayStation Store and get it now! For more details or to sign up for a PlayStation Plus membership, check the official page on (it will update soon).