All posts by John Skrhak

John Skrhak | Gadgets, Sports and Toys Fanatic | Read about them all here.

Trump laptop ban mocked on Twitter by Middle-Eastern airline

Technically Incorrect offers a slightly twisted take on the tech that’s taken over our lives.

gettyimages-656982296.jpgEnlarge Image

Composing a tweet in riposte?

Pool, Getty Images

It’s unclear why the government has decided to prevent travelers boarding at certain locations in the Middle East and Africa from having laptops and tablets inside the cabin during flights.

What’s a little clearer is that one airline thinks the whole thing slightly risible.

Royal Jordanian Airlines took to Twitter on Thursday to offer its light-hearted — or, perhaps, exasperated — perspective on the matter.

It offered a listicle of “12 things to do on a 12-hour flights with no laptop or tablet.”

Some of it was played for pure humor. For example: “Engage in primitive dialogue from the pre-internet era.”

And: “Reclaim territory on armrest.”

I rather enjoyed: “Pretend tray table is a keyboard.”

But then there was the last suggestion: “Think of reasons why you don’t have a laptop or tablet with you.”

That seemed like a hearty dig at the ban and its purpose. The White House didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.

Those of conspiratorial bent suspect that this might not be about security, but rather an attempt to punish some Middle-Eastern airlines that are accused of getting generous government subsidies. While American airlines, of course, merely made $25.6 billion last year. (American airlines tend not to fly from the airports affected by the ban.)

For its part, another affected airline, Emirates, told its passengers that it’ll pack up laptops and tablets just before boarding so that passengers can use them up to the last minute.

Still, when your ban is being openly mocked by a foreign airline on Twitter, how do you respond to an act of such aggression? An @POTUS tweet, perhaps?

Article source:

Facebook adds more familiar features to Messenger chats

Message reactions work exactly as they do in iMessage — you just press and hold a message to bring up Facebook’s set of seven basic love/laugh/cry emoji. For anyone keeping score, a small counter will tally up the reactions and show you who in the chat is showering you with all these emoji. Of course, everything gets a playful animation and its own notification on the lock screen.

Mentions should seem pretty familiar as well: start typing @ and you’ll bring up a list of people in the chat. Tag a name and that user will get a special notification letting them know they’ve been called out.

Mentions and Reactions began rolling out to users today, and they should be available to everyone in the next few days. And for companies using Facebook Workplace, the same features will be available in Work Chat.

Article source:

Will Nerlens Noel solve the Mavs’ perennial search at center?

9:40 AM ET

DALLAS — The search for a stopgap center has become an annual tradition for the Dallas Mavericks since Tyson Chandler played a key role in the 2010-11 title run during his first temporary stay, only to leave when Mark Cuban made an unpopular, post-lockout business decision.

It’s not like the Mavs weren’t looking for a long-term relationship. They danced with Dwight Howard in 2013 but couldn’t close the deal in free agency. They celebrated DeAndre Jordan‘s commitment to them a couple of summers later but were infamously ditched at the altar, as fans will rudely remind Jordan when the LA Clippers visit Thursday night.

The list of starting centers for the Mavs over the past five years: Chris Kaman, Samuel Dalembert, Chandler again, Zaza Pachulia and briefly Andrew Bogut. Dirk Nowitzki, the 38-year-old legend, now (kind of) jumps the opening tip as the Mavs open games with a small-ball look.

But there’s legitimate hope that the franchise has finally found its solution at center for the foreseeable future. The deadline-day trade for Nerlens Noel was made with the belief that it meant the Mavs’ revolving door for big men would stop spinning.

Frankly, the Mavs didn’t give up much to get Noel. Justin Anderson, the 21st overall pick of the 2015 draft, had become a fringe rotation player in Dallas and is a year older than Noel. The top-18-protected pick will turn into a pair of second-rounders. Including Bogut, who didn’t fit well with the Mavs, in the deal just meant the Sixers were on the hook for his buyout.

Of course, there were reasons the Sixers struggled to create a market for Noel. His knee issues might have been a factor. (“It’s something we’ve got to monitor,” Nelson said, but it’s not a major concern for the Mavs, who believe they have the best athletic training staff in the NBA.)

Orlando Magic will come up early in Noel’s negotiations. But the Mavs are more than willing to pay the going price for a big man who fits well, can protect the rim, provide the vertical element necessary for Carlisle’s pick-and-roll-heavy offense to hum and has plenty of room to grow.

“I definitely feel like I’m in a better position here,” Noel said. “I’m trying to maximize it. It’s definitely a good position to fulfill my potential. I’m going to continue to show Coach I can be in the game more and make a difference. I think that will take care of itself in due time.”

After five years, the Mavs finally believe they’ve taken care of finding their center of the future.

Article source:

iHeartRadio rocks past the 100 million user mark


The second 50 million is always the hardest part.

Online streaming music service iHeartRadio, run by terrestrial radio giant iHeartMedia, said Thursday it now has more than 100 million registered users. The service reached the 50 million mark in June 2014.

Note that registered users is not the same as monthly active users, the industry standard reported by iHeart’s competitors such as Pandora and Spotify. Monthly active users are those who use a service at least once in a particular month, while registered users is a measure of people who have simply signed up for a service.

The milestone follows the January launch of iHeart’s paid subscription service: the $5-a-month Plus to replay or skip songs and the $10-a-month All Access to unlock all-you-can-eat tunes. It hasn’t released subscriber numbers for the service yet.

To celebrate the growth, the service launched a top 100 live radio station, the iHeart100, highlighting listeners’ top songs on the service.

Article source:

The Morning After: Thursday, March 23rd 2017

Because unplugging isn’t always realistic.Adult Week: Finding inner peace (with help from your smartphone)

Technology is draining. Social media networks are programmed to make you come back for more, always swiping to refresh, like and post. You are constantly on your PC, your smartphone, your TV. You fall asleep to Netflix or reading Twitter as it spits up funny gifs or more bad news. It can wear you down. So what did Mat Smith do? What should you do? Those are probably different answers. There’s no shortage of introductory guides to meditation, relaxation podcasts and devices that promise to help or offer relief, but here are some things to start with.

The new iPad cuts corners, but it’s hard to complain at that price.Apple hopes cheap, not powerful, will turn around iPad sales

Apple has been trying to reverse declining iPad sales for several years now, without much success. For the past year and a half, that strategy could be summed up in one word: more. More power, more screen real estate, more accessories. And more money. Its new iPad, however, is cheaper. It might be what the company needs to get the many people who bought iPads three or four years ago to upgrade.

Update ASAP.Critical LastPass bugs identified that could leak passwords or worse

Using a password manager is a convenient way to not only keep track of logins but make sure they’re all unique. That’s key to keeping accounts safe in a world where billion-account databases are available on the dark web, but it does rely on the app remaining secure. Google Project Zero researcher Tavis Ormandy identified a few bugs in extensions for LastPass that could allow someone to steal a target’s passwords, or in some cases run code on their computer.

The company quickly responded to deal with the issues, so any users should make sure they’re patched up (and using two-factor authentication in addition to unique passwords, or perhaps another manager that works separately from the browser like KeePass.)

Let your friends know exactly where you are when you’re running late.Google Maps’ location-sharing feature is one you might actually use

Google has been busy beefing up Maps recently. Beyond just using it for turn-by-turn directions, you can now use Maps to remember where you parked, find reviews for nearby restaurants and avoid heavily congested areas. This week, it added location-sharing. With just a few taps in the app, you can now share your real-time location with friends and family. It’s a feature that can be handy for when you’re running late to an appointment or if you simply want your buddies to keep tabs on your whereabouts.

You’re paying a premium for the S Pen and an HDR display.Review: The Galaxy Tab S3 is good, but not $600 good

The Galaxy Tab S3 has a promising list of features, including its HDR-friendly screen, quad-speaker array, included S Pen and powerful processor. And they mostly work as touted. Its colorful and sharp display, coupled with loud audio, makes for satisfying multimedia consumption. It’s also a responsive machine and lasts more than 11 hours on a charge. But the Tab S3 and its companion keyboard, which costs an extra $130, aren’t good enough for intensive typing and multitasking.

It can fix your finicky left Joy-Con with a bit of conductive foam.Nintendo cites ‘manufacturing variation’ for Joy-Con issues

Since the Switch started to show up in gamer’s homes, some have been complaining about issues with its wireless Joy-Cons. Problems with losing connection, particularly on the left one, have plagued some enough to attempt DIY fixes, but Nintendo says a “manufacturing variation” is to blame for the issue. The company added that it’s figured out a “simple fix” for anyone with affected Joy-Cons to improve patchy connectivity. It seems to involve a spot of conductive foam.

Finally‘Super Mario Run’ for Android is here

If you were expecting to see Nintendo’s new mobile game on Android today, then surprise — it’s already out. No matter what platform you play on, Super Mario Run is updated to version 2.0 with new character choices and more. It’s free to try, so grab it on Google Play and find out why iOS players spent $53 million bucks on the game in January.

BelieveGoogle plans faster updates for all Android phones in 2017

Once again, Google says it’s prioritizing updates for Android devices. The platform has historically struggled with slow rollouts of updates to many devices, limiting features and current security patches to a small group. To turn that around, Google says it’s giving manufacturers more data on how each one is doing with rollouts and it’s reducing the size of patches. Already, it claims 78 percent of flagship devices were current with security updates at the end of 2016 — hopefully, that trend continues to spread this year.

But wait, there’s more…

The Morning After is a new daily newsletter from Engadget designed to help you fight off FOMO. Who knows what you’ll miss if you don’t subscribe.

Article source:

​Airbnb teams up with SF Giants to help homeless families

airbnb-sfgiants-contribucion-desamparados.jpgEnlarge Image

Nathan Blecharczyk (left), Airbnb co-founder and chief technology officer, and Larry Baer (right), president and CEO of the San Francisco Giants, stand at home plate with Tomiquia Moss, Hamilton Families CEO, and a family that found housing with the help of the locally based homeless services organization.

Claudia Cruz/CNET

Airbnb continues to try to mend its relationship with the city of San Francisco, and it may have finally scored a home run.

The home rental company said Wednesday a partnership with the SF Giants baseball club to donate $1,000 for every run scored by the hometown team this baseball season for a maximum contribution of $300,000. Hamilton Families Center, a local homeless services provider, will be the sole beneficiary. Airbnb’s donation mounts to $250,000 and the Giants will take care of the rest, and fortunately for Hamilton Family Center, the SF Giants’ average 300 runs batted in a year.

“We are always looking for creative opportunities to give back,” Nathan Blecharczyk, an Airbnb co-founder and its chief technology officer, said near home plate at ATT Park on Wednesday. “We try to use what we uniquely stand for which is housing and empowerment. So when we look at opportunities to give back, we look at these types of things.”

Airbnb has felt the growing pains of its success, whether it be at its homebase of San Francisco or around the world. It’s been accused of depleting the housing stock that in turn has caused rents to rise and people to lose their homes. Municipalities have also complained about losing out on the hotel taxes it collects from visitors. Even though Airbnb boasts listings in 34,000 cities, these and other issues have been raised by local officials to stall the home rental companies growth in many locations. But Airbnb wants to resolve as many of these concerns as it moves toward an IPO in the next year.

To show that it’s a good neighbor however, a year ago Airbnb instituted a policy called the “One Host, One Home” in San Francisco and New York where it restricts the number of homes, to one, that each host can list on the platform. It recently enforced this policy in San Francisco and pulled 923 listings that violated the rule.

The startup now also collects an occupancy tax, also known as a hotel or tourist tax, in more than 200 jurisdictions. In 2016, Airbnb collected and remitted to San Francisco $19 million in occupancy tax. Of the taxes that Airbnb collects for Chicago, for example, $5 million to support homeless services.

San Francisco has about 1,145 chronically homeless families with about 1,800 children. Hamilton Families hopes to place 800 of these families in homes by 2019.

Airbnb said that it wants to help other cities where they operate with their challenges and struggles and would consider replicating this program to both contribute and raise awareness.

“With every city we want to use an individualized approach, just like we do from the policy perspective,” Blecharczyk said. “But we are also always looking for ways that play into what our core competency is.”

This is in part why, when Giants President and CEO Larry Baer looked for a company to partner with and fundraise for Hamilton Families, he thought of Airbnb. Baer said that once, Brian Chesky, the CEO and co-founder of Airbnb, told him at a baseball game he sought to “find a way to get involved in the city in a meaningful way.”

“So the light bulb went off,” Baer told CNET. “They wanted to make an impact, and the words ‘home,’ ‘homeless’ and ‘heading home,’ as the campaign got started, resonated. Airbnb was the perfect partner.”

Article source: