Tag Archives: Gadget Features

Sonos speakers can now by controlled by Pandora app



Pandora has announced that Sonos users are now able to control their hardware directly via the Pandora app in a way similar to Spotify Connect.

Unlike Spotify Connect, however, the app will let you control your Sonos system regardless of which subscription level you have — even the free tier will work.

The app lets you select and play music, group and ungroup speakers, control in which room your music plays and adjust the volume. Pandora Premium can play any song, album or playlist on speakers of your choice.

You’re also able to ask Alexa to play your favorite Pandora stations on your Sonos devices, including the voice-activated Sonos One. (Here’s how to setup Alexa with your Sonos system.)

Sonos support follows Pandora adding the ability to stream to other devices via both Apple AirPlay and built-in Chromecast.

Article source: https://www.cnet.com/news/pandora-unveils-spotify-connect-like-features-for-sonos-users/#ftag=CAD590a51e

CNET Book Club, Episode 3: ‘Artemis’ by Andy Weir

“I’ve got a gun, and I’m telling you, you can’t stay,” says author Andy Weir, describing a hypothetical sci-fi role-playing exercise where subjects are forced to board a time machine and strand themselves at any one-hundred-year increment in the past (1917, 1817, 1717, and so on). 

His point is that most people, correctly in his opinion, would choose the most recent era available, 1917. Why? “On a century-by-century basis, the quality of life for humanity just improves,” he says. Hence the inherent optimism of Weir’s brand of hard sci-fi, which believes in both the power of advanced technology and in the long-term good intentions of at least a large segment of humankind. 

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A more pressing question may be: How do you follow up a massive blockbuster like “The Martian?” That book started out as a self-published serialized online novel in 2011, became a viral hit, was picked up by a mainstream publisher, and ended up as a hit Ridley Scott movie.

For Weir, the answer was to move the action a few decades further out into the future, but closer to home. “Artemis,” his new novel, is set on the first city on the moon. Part vacation hotspot, part mining town, the city of Artemis has a healthy underground economy in smuggling and vice, all following the tourism dollars flowing in from Earth.

Protagonist Jazz Bashara is a far cry from the earnest botanist of “The Martian,” Mark Watney. And instead of using an encyclopedic knowledge of space travel to survive the elements, she rounds up an eclectic team of slightly damaged moon citizens to pull off a daring (but well-intentioned) criminal caper. The elevator pitch might well have been “Ocean’s 11 on the moon.”

Andy Weir joins us for the podcast, and talks about how he got from Mars to the moon, why other first-city-in-space stories generally don’t make any sense and just how you follow up one of the biggest publishing industry success stories of the last decade. But first, we kick off the episode with an exclusive clip from the audiobook version, narrated by Rosario Dawson

For another take on the book, available now, we turn to CNET’s Nicholas Tufnell, who says this in his review:

“After nearly eight years of waiting, fans of Weir’s debut can rest easy. If you liked “The Martian,” you’re going to love “Artemis,” a fast, engaging and at times funny lunar caper that will pull you in from the first page with its unique setting, memorable characters and staggeringly detailed scientific scrutiny.”

About CNET Book Club

The Book Club is hosted by a pair of self-proclaimed book experts: Dan Ackerman (author of the 2016 nonfiction book “The Tetris Effect“), and Scott Stein, who is both a playwright and screenwriter. We’ll be announcing our next Book Club selection soon, so send us your suggestions and keep an eye out for updates on Twitter at @danackerman and @jetscott

Previous episodes

  • Episode 1: ‘Borne’ by Jeff VanderMeer 
  • Episode 2: ‘Walkaway’ by Cory Doctorow 

Find “Artemis” at: Amazon | Barnes Noble | iBooks | Google Play

Subscribe to CNET Book Club: CNET RSS | iTunes | FeedBurner | Google Play | TuneIn | Stitcher 

Article source: https://www.cnet.com/news/cnet-book-club-episode-3-artemis-by-andy-weir/#ftag=CAD590a51e

Google punches up doodle tribute to the office hole puncher


Google’s tribute to the hole puncher.


While not quite as indispensable as the stapler, the hole puncher has been a staple of business offices for more than a century.

It’s not only helped corral dangerously thick reams of papers for easier organization, the hole puncher has also provided many a test of physical strength. It challenges whether our grip or downward force is strong enough to puncture the stack, pushing out a neat cylinder of future confetti – or whether we had to reduce the load, like a dejected weightlifter.

History tells us we have Friedrich Soennecken, a German entrepreneur and inventor, to thank for this officious yet sometimes physically demanding office tool. Soennecken, who fittingly also introduced the ring binder, filed a patent for the hole puncher on Nov. 14, 1886.

To celebrate the 131st anniversary of that filing, Google launched an animated doodle Tuesday that demonstrates the joy often associated with a successful punch. The fruits of that labor make up most of the doodle, providing a happier use to the unwieldy mess usually left over from the task.

As we move toward a digital existence increasingly devoid of paper, take a moment to appreciate that feeling of achievement that can still be gained from a 19th century relic.

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Article source: https://www.cnet.com/news/google-punches-up-doodle-tribute-to-the-office-hole-puncher/#ftag=CAD590a51e

Morbius, the Living Vampire may be next Spider-Man spinoff

The next Spider-Man spinoff might be bloody terrifying. Er, plasma-y terrifying? Plasma-riffic?

Sony is developing a film based on the Spidey villain Morbius, the Living Vampire, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

Morbius is Nobel Prize-winning biochemist Dr. Michael Morbius, who attempts to cure himself of a blood disease and ends up turning himself into a vampire. He was introduced in a 1971 issue of “The Amazing Spider-Man,” the first Spider-Man comic not written by Stan Lee. 

He’s well-known to fans of “Spider-Man: The Animated Series,” which ran on Fox Kids from 1994 to 1998, and featured a Morbius plotline. In that show, Morbius longs for “plasma,” never saying “blood” — presumably to stay somewhat kid-friendly, but also, the 1990s were weird.

Details about the film are scant, but THR reports that Burk Sharpless and Matt Sazama have already written the script. Sharpless and Sazama were two of the screenwriters on the 2017 “Power Rangers” film and are showrunners for the 2018 Netflix version of “Lost in Space.”

Some fans appreciated the news, but others wondered whether Morbius is deserving of his own film.

And as fan after fan points out, the draw of Spider-Man villains is Spider-Man fighting said villains, not purely the bad guys gallivanting around solo. Sony’s movies don’t cross over with the Marvel Cinematic Universe, so don’t expect to see Tom Holland swinging by. It’s expected that these spinoffsincluding “Venom” — will focus on the villains only.

Article source: https://www.cnet.com/news/spider-man-spinoff-morbius-living-vampire-power-rangers-sony/#ftag=CAD590a51e

Lyft expands to Toronto, moving beyond US for the first time

Since its inception, Lyft has kept its operations firmly within the borders of the US. But that’s about to change.

Lyft announced on Monday that it would expand its operations north of the border to Canada — specifically, Toronto. It will operate exactly as it does in the US: Riders can open Lyft’s app, request a ride, then take one to wherever they need to go.

Given Lyft’s staying focused on Toronto, it’s unclear whether or not you can go truly insane and order a ride to, say, Vancouver. If you do, it’ll probably cost you a fair number of Loonies.

Since Lyft relies on the public to give out rides, interested Toronto residents will need to apply on Lyft’s driver application site. While it’s unclear if any special requirements exist for Canadian drivers, in the US, drivers must be 21 and own either an iOS or Android phone. Potential drivers must also pass DMV and background checks, both of which are free and conducted online. Vehicles must have between five and eight seats and four doors.

While Lyft might be expanding its ride-hailing operations outside the US, it’s likely that the expansion won’t also send its self-driving cars over the border. In September, Lyft announced that it partnered with Drive.ai to bring self-driving cars to San Francisco as part of a public pilot program. The company also recently hinted that it may bring autonomous vehicles to New York.

Article source: https://www.cnet.com/roadshow/news/lyft-expands-to-toronto-expanding-beyond-us-for-the-first-time/#ftag=CAD590a51e

Eero’s network protection service just got way better

Got an Eero Wi-Fi system? You can now protect your smart devices from the worst of the internet with an enhanced version of Eero’s new subscription service, Eero Plus. 

The update is designed to protect you from malware, viruses, ads and tracking. It includes VPN service from encrypt.me, anti-malware protection from Malwarebytes, a password manager from 1Password and ad blocking.

Eero Plus launched earlier this year as an optional premium subscription service along with the second generation Eero Wi-Fi system. It only featured enhanced parental controls and advanced security against malware, ransomware and phishing attacks. 

The new, updated service still costs $10 per month or $99 per year, and current Eero Plus subscribers will automatically receive the upgrade.


With a subscription to Eero Plus, your devices will now be protected from malware, ads and hackers.

Josh Miller/CNET

What you’ll get

Encrypt.me: A Virtual Private Network (VPN) service. It gives you a private internet connection that you can access at home, on public Wi-Fi or on your mobile network. All data transferred to and from your devices over a VPN will be encrypted and inaccessible to hackers.

Malwarebytes: Keeps you safe when browsing by blocking malicious sites and other attacks with anti-virus and anti-malware protection. 

1Password: Gives you a personal online vault to store and share your complex passwords without having to remember all of them. 

Ad blocking: This feature is in beta and is supposed to (you guessed it) block ads and pop-ups, while improving load times for ad-heavy sites. I’m skeptical, but Eero also says it works on every device — even TVs and other smart devices. You’ll be able to turn it on and off via the app.

Eero says these services (along with advanced browsing protection and content filtering at $99 per year), cost $368 per year if you buy them individually. But I found that encrypt.me is $100 per year, Malwarebytes is $40 per year and 1Password is $60 per year, a total of only $299. So I’m not sure where Eero got its numbers.

Either way, the Eero Plus service is $99 per year. So you’ll save money on the deal, just not as much as Eero claims.

Please note that ad blocking is the only feature available right now, and it’s still in beta. You’ll have to wait until December to use encrypt.me, Malwarebytes and 1Password.

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Article source: https://www.cnet.com/news/eeros-network-protection-service-just-got-way-better/#ftag=CAD590a51e