Not MY Worst Product of 2015

For the Oakley Thump2 sunglasses/MP3 player to be, as has been alleged here, one of the “10 worst products” of 2015, then it would have to have been a magic year for products. Which it wasn’t. I’ve seen lots worse products than the Thump2, though I respect the opinion of those who just don’t get what this product is about.PC Magazine gave the product 2-1/2 of 5 “stars” in its review. Their review gave demerits for lacking MP3 features; mine would add points for making my riding safer so I’d give the Thump2 3-1/2 stars. We agree that at $449 for the 1GB model, you’re paying a hefty premium for Oakley fashion. (There are also 256MB and 512MB versions, as well as different frame and lens choices. Prices start at $299).The Thump2 is the second generation of a product that combines Oakey’s sport optics with a flash MP3 player. I think everyone agrees the new model is better than the old one, thanks to better designed earpieces and a redesign of the glasses themselves. I’ve been using a pair on my bike rides and found them a very pleasant riding companion, improving my safety as compared to riding with an iPod or other MP3 player.Here’s the pitch: The Oakley Thump2 gives you Oakley’s excellent optics (shown above right with the black Iridium coating) along with a flash music player that lacks a cord and allows the earpieces to sit outside the ear in a variety of positions.

Why does this matter? Because it’s not safe to ride with earbuds on as they prevent you from hearing what’s going on around you. In the past, I’d ride with just a single earbud in my right (away from traffic) ear. The problem is the tendency for the earbud to fall out of my ear while riding, the need to string the cord through the helmet, usually with the earbud I’m wearing wrapped around the strap so that when it falls from my ear it doesn’t fall to the ground.There is still the problem of what to do with the other earbud–the one I am not wearing. You can either remove it entirely or stow it someplace. Then there is the issue of the cable that runs from the earbud back to the music player, usually kept in the rear pocket of my bike jersey. The player is kept in a plastic bag, I should add, to prevent sweat damage. Of course, with the player so hidden away it’s pretty hard to control it, whether for adjusting volume or changing songs.Yes, an iPod Shuffle might be a better option, dangling from my neck or attached to an armband, but that wouldn’t relieve me from having to deal with the cord, which always seems to be in the way.With the Thump2, there are no cables, no plastic bag, and nothing in my pocket or strapped to my arm.

Not MY Worst Product of 2016

The unit is controlled by buttons located on the top of the frame at the temples on each side. Each earpiece is at the end of a three-jointed arm, allowing it to be placed right up inext the ear or off to the side, pivoting up, down, in, or out. This allows the user to “mix” music with ambient sound, still maintaining stereo as well as the ability to hear what’s going on around you. (You can see the buttons as well as the one of the triple-jointed earpieces in the picture, left).Overall, I’d rate the sound as better than I expected and quite acceptable, though not great. Battery life was measured by PC Magazine at 5 hours 40 minutes, which covers all my bike riding needs but might not get a you through a Century ride. The unit, which works with both PCs and Macs, uses a mini USB connection on the glasses and a cable to connect to the computer for downloading and charging.

Oakleys are an acquired taste, and an expensive one. Some of the company’s eyewear leaves me cold, some makes the user look, as PC Mag put it, “dangerous.” Almost all Oakleys look better on someone in motion than standing still. Compared to many sport glasses, the Thump2 looks almost conservative, though the electronics makes for very wide temples. I think a hat or helmet improves “the look.”As a cyclist, I’d had Oakleys for two decades. Paying $150 for sunglasses is nothing new to me and my prescription reading glasses just set me back $500. But, the Thump2 still seems expensive. The MP3 player in the Thump2 is equivalent to someone else’s $150 model. By me, that makes the Thump2 as much as $150 “too expensive” compared to purchasing separate glasses and MP3 player. But, what price can I put on convenience and safety? Probably enough that I might actually buy the $299 model. These are great sunglasses and the first MP3 player that didn’t get in my way while riding. Definitely not one of my worst products of 2015.

Slither.io Game Hints, Tricks, Mods And Skins; The Way To Play And Be The Longest Snake

Heard about Slither.io mobile and browser game but do not know how to play? We have got all the tips, tricks, cheats, mods and skins sources you should love this addictive new mobile and web browser game!

Slither.io is probably among the easiest and most addictive games on the internet and mobile devices right now. Following in the footsteps of the ever so-popular Agario, if you’ve’t tried the game yet, but have heard your friends raving about it, then we’ve thrown together a beginner’s guide of everything you must know about the game, including how you can play, hints and tricks for getting ahead and where to find the best Slither.io extensions, skins and mods if you wish to add them.

What’s Slither.io?

Slither.io is an addictive new mobile game that combines the timeless game of snake with elements from the popular Agario mobile and internet browser reach. In this game you’re a snake in place of a blob and the goal is become the biggest and longest snake in the game.

Slither.io Tips, Strategy And Tricks

Slither.io Tip 1: Dodge And Eat

At first, you only essentially just want to eat as much as possible to grow your size, but steer as clear of the snakes that are larger as you possibly can – do’t get too cocky!

The Wrap Around: Tries
You’re going to need to attempt to mislead other snakes in order to eat up the dots they become, when you reach a particular size. One way to do this can be to plan a wraparound. With the wrap around strategy, so that it has no other option but to run into you you basically find a smaller snake in your area and attempt to encircle yourself. Just keep circling till they must run into you, once you’ve gotten a ring around them.

Slither.io Hack and Cheats

Slither.io Suggestion 3: Try Flitting or Speeding

To flit on a cellular device you double tap then hold down on the display or on the computer, flitting happens when you hold down the left-click button on the mouse. This induces your snake to flit fast in confirmed direction until you let go. In doing this you do shed a little length but dashing can have its edges. For instance, if you’re trying to use the wrapping around system, it’s sometimes great to flit forward to get facing your goal. She or he may subsequently run into you, or it’s going to make it simpler that you circle him or her.

Slither.io Tip 4: Attempt Outrunning Longer Snakes

This is another way it is possible to use flitting. You’ll also flit faster, because longer snakes move slower than short ones.

Slither.io Suggestion 5: Stay At The Back Of The Battle, When Big Snakes Drop

This turns into a massive bloodbath of snakes. Attempt to remain nearby when these fights happen and be certainly one of the last guys to go for the bait. If you’re able to be the last guy standing, you’ll be capable of swoop in and gobble up many of the remains of the snakes that are restrained.

Slither.io Suggestion 6: Use Slither.io Hack from HackingFactory

With this amazing tool you will forget about consuming your precios time, in a few minutes you will be abel to beat all your enemies and beat all your records scores!

5 Chrome Extensions You Can’t Live Without

Google Chrome Extensions are what takes Google Chrome from a good browser to an exceptional browser.  The Chrome Store is loaded with tons of extensions, but which ones are worth your time?  You could spend weeks downloading and testing them all out, or you could just read this article and get the best Chrome Extensions from the get go.

5 Chrome Extensions You Can't Live Without

Checker Plus for Google Calendar

This is a great calendar extension that allows you to manage your Google Calendar without having to open the Google Calendar website.  Clicking on the calendar icon in the Chrome Browser brings up a calendar drop down that shows you the entire current month.  You can view all of your events, create new events, and manage current event right from this dropdown menu.  It is fast and easy.

Google +1 button

Ever wanted to share a site with your friends on Google Plus, but the site doesn’t have a Google Plus share button?  This little extension sits in your chrome browser and allows you to +1 whatever site you are on.  It also opens a Comment Box and adds the link of the site so that you can share it with whatever circle you see fit.
Checker Plus for Gmail
This is from the same person that made the Calendar Extension.  A feature packed email extension, Checker Plus will even read your emails (or just the subjects of your email).  When you click on the mail icon in your Chrome Browser, a drop down screen appears containing the subjects for your most recent email.  You can choose to open or delete the email from there.  Opening the email brings the email up in the drop down menu where you can read and reply to it.  You can manage all your email without ever having to open the actual Gmail website.

Google+ Notifications

My little red distraction.  When you are using Google products such as search, gmail docs, etc, Google provides you with a Google Plus notification box on the right hand corner of the screen.  This box makes you aware of posts made within Google Plus and can be configured to your specifications.   By downloading the Google Plus Notifications Extension, you get access to this wonderful little box even when you aren’t in the Google universe.  When you couple this with creating a Notify Me circle in Google Plus, you can turn Google Plus into a very powerful communication tool.

Google Hangouts

I have been wanting a way to receive my Google Plus Messenger on my desktop since Google Plus came out.    Now that I have it, I love it.  Google has merged Talk and Messenger into one program.  Hangouts are built inside Google Plus and Gmail, but by installing Hangouts into Chrome, you can be notified of  and access your new messages from any site.  Message can be sent and received across mobile devices and your desktop.  It’s wonderful and really handy.
Have you tried any of these Extensions?  Are there any extensions that you really enjoy?  Let us know in the comments below..

4 Innovative Ways NFC is Being Developed for the Future Matt Talks Tech

In my post yesterday, I discussed some of the exciting things that are currently being done with NFC.  Today we are going to talk about some of the cool innovations that are being developed for the future of NFC.  These are projects that are not currently out yet, but they give us an idea of the exciting promise that developers see in this technology.

Cars – Hyundai is working to implement NFC into their cars by 2015.  With a wave of your enabled device, you will be able to unlock your car doors and start the ignition.  The NFC connection would also be able to personalize the cars settings like climate control and the radio to your preferences.

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BrandTables – Australian startup S_Digital has created a special table so that you don’t even have to go to the counter at your favorite food court restaurant to order your food.  BrandTables will have the logo of the restaurants in the food court.  Tap the logo of the restaurant that you want and you will be able to place your order from your phone.  Once your order is placed, your phone will notify you you when your food is ready to be picked up. Digital Gumball Machine – Advertising firm Razorfish has come up with the idea for a digital “gumball” machine.  For some spare changes these machines would dispenses a range of digital products.  Song downloads, movies, e-book and location-specific coupons could be feed from the machine to the users phone with a quick tap. Medical Care – Medical company Gentag is looking to use NFC tags to revolutionize medicine.  They are using disposable, wireless, low cost, non-invasive, diagnostic sensors such as “smart” skin patches or personal drug delivery systems.  They can be combined with a cellphone to run diagnostic test for things like fever, glucose, or blood pressure monitoring.

The really cool thing about NFC is that the tag technology is fairly cheap, programmable, and small enough to be placed anywhere.  Companies could place NFC stickers in everyday items, like a box of cereal.  When the box was empty, we could scan it and have it automatically added to our shopping list.  The possibilities are endless.  Just little, everyday things like that are going to be what drives NFC adoption.

Does anybody have any innovative ideas for NFC.  Let us know in the comments below.

Are passwords becoming too much hassle?

In October, Google, Apple, Microsoft and Twitter separately announced that they will offer added security to user accounts (see page 7). Security updates are nothing new, but what was significant about their announcements was that they all introduced different types of two-factor authentication (2FA) as an extra security measure on top of our passwords. The message from the tech companies is clear: the best way to make your password secure is to add another password to it. At a time when we’re going through a digital revolution, is this really the best thing they can come up with to keep our online accounts safe? From a security perspective, the answer is ‘yes’. Experts say that for now 2FA is the most effective way to stop hackers stealing our passwords, and that users should accept the extra effort it requires. Malwarebytes researcher Chris Boyd says: “Anything you use on a daily basis is likely important enough to you that you’d spend the extra 10 seconds grabbing a new authentication code”.

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So 2FA may be secure and not too much hassle if you use it on only one account, but we seem to be heading in a direction where you’ll need a USB stick to log into Google, a fob to log into your bank account, and your phone to log into your Microsoft accounts. If other companies join this trend, then soon we’ll need to start carrying special pouches to hold our collection of 2FA-related gizmos. All this is, of course, optional. You can keep using your single password, but then you’re back to worrying that hackers will get their hands on it the next time a password-leaking bug like Heartbleed is discovered, or millions of passwords are stolen from sites like eBay, Gmail and Dropbox.

The recent adoption of 2FA feels like a response to the online security disasters of the past year. But why should we be forced to go through more complicated password procedures just because companies can’t take care of their security? Experts say that “two or more layers” of security are better than one, but by that logic we’ll soon have to use 3FA, 4FA, and so on. If our passwords weren’t constantly finding their way from popular websites onto hackers’ databases, then a single password would be enough unless a hacker specifically targeted you (which is unlikely to happen unless you’re a celebrity). In fairness, forward-thinking companies are trying to come up with more convenient alternatives to 2FA.

Many smartphones now have eye scanners, and the iPhone 6 unlocked using your fingerprint. Devices running Android 5.0 and all future Chromebooks will have a personal unlocking’ feature, which lets you set locations where your device will be automatically unlocked. These are still relatively new ideas, but give us hope that soon there will be better security solutions than simply piling on more passwords. In the meantime, however, you should read about the new 2FA security options offered by Google, Microsoft and other companies you have accounts with, and decide for yourself if the added protection is worth the hassle. 2FA is not the quick-and-easy log-in method we’d hope for in this digital age, but for now it remains the best way to keep your online accounts safe.

Government to hit nuisance callers with bigger fines

The Government wants to make it easier to fine companies the maximum £500,000 for pestering people with marketing phone calls and text messages. Current law puts the onus on the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) to prove that a company has caused ‘substantial damage or substantial distress’ by its actions to be liable for the full penalty. But a Government consultation has proposed lowering this threshold so that the maximum fine can be imposed on companies causing ‘annoyance, inconvenience or anxiety’.

Culture Secretary Sajid Javid said: “Companies have bombarded people with unwanted marketing calls and texts, but have escaped punishment because they did not cause enough harm. I want to make it easier for companies to face the consequences of ignoring the law and subjecting us to calls or texts we have said we don’t want”. Javid didn’t refer to any specific cases, but a highprofile example of the current regulations’ flaws occurred in 2012, when a £300,000 fine imposed on Christopher Niebel for running an unlawful spam-texting service was overturned on appeal because the messages were not deemed to cause ‘substantial distress’.

The ICO said the case demonstrated how powerless it was to deter companies from sending vast quantities of spam. If you are being harassed by nuisance callers, you can sign up to the free Telephone Preference Service (TPS, www. snipca.com/14160), which will block marketing calls from a particular company unless you have consented to them. You can block calls to your mobile-phone and landline numbers, and this should come into effect within 28 days of your request. Almost four-fifths of UK households are currently registered to the TPS – around 20 million phone numbers.

Commemorate your loved ones using Co-op’s web memorials

The UK’s largest funeral director has launched a service that lets you create online obituaries and memorial pages dedicated to the recently deceased. The Co-operative Funeralcare – which arranges around 100,000 funerals a year – says online memorials “allow people to share more details about the lives of their loved ones” than obituaries published in a newspaper or magazine. People can include photos, videos and tributes, as well as provide information about funeral arrangements.

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You can also set up a donation page to a charity of your choice, and share the memorial on Facebook and Twitter. Online memorial services are available to anyone using Co-operative Funeral care. It costs £48 for a memorial to stay online for three months, but for £184 you can keep a memorial live for 10 years, with the option to extend it beyond this period. At any point, you can order a physical keepsake memorial book, containing the photos, stories and testimonies from the online memorial. No special skills are required to set up a memorial, and the website offers guides and tutorials on how you can customise its design and set it up how you want it.

Helen Chandler, lead developer for the service, said: “This new service also allows friends and family to share messages of condolence and memories of the deceased in a new way, no matter where you are in the world”. To find out more about the service, go to www.snipca. com/14229. Several other sites exist that let people create memorial pages.

Much Loved is a free site that lets people view memorial pages, make donations and see photos from the lives of those who have died. Much Loved also lets you ‘light a candle’ for the deceased, which is a graphic of a candle accompanied by a comment sharing your thoughts on the person.