Zortrax M200 Plus print examples

I am getting the hang of my new 3D printer. So I’m posting the photos I promised. First is a comparison: The darker green wererat on the left is with the new printer, compared to the neon green on the right with the old printer. So, yes, for my miniatures the new printer is working fine, and better than the old one.

Next is an example of something my old printer frequently refused to do: Print half a dozen miniatures at the same time. The new one did these 6 bandits in one go without problems. I assume it has to do with the ABS printing hotter, so it still sticks to the previous layer even that layer has been printed a while ago.

The other advantage of ABS is that you can treat it with acetone vapors, which makes the surface glossy and hides imperfections. As an example the 3DBenchy model printed twice identically, with the right one being treated with acetone vapors for 1 hour. Note that for miniatures you better just use 15 minutes, after 1 hour fine parts like arms or swords tend to melt.

Finally I used a model of a bard with a lot of detail to see how it comes out. This is with 15 minutes acetone treatment. Looking closely you can still see the layers and imperfections. But remember that this is just 3 cm tall, so for this size this is as good as it gets. You can see the lute, the rapier, and even the jester’s hat is printing out fine.

Android WiFi: Android – LeaVe my baThRoom at-least !

android wifi


WiFi is a technology for wireless local area networking with devices based on the IEEE 802.11 standards. Devices that can use Wi-Fi technology include personal computers, video-game consoles, smartphones, digital cameras, tablet computers, digital audio players and modern printers. Wi-Fi compatible devices can connect to the Internet via a WLAN and a wireless access point. Such an access point (or hotspot) has a range of about 20 meters (66 feet) indoors and a greater range outdoors. Hotspot coverage can be as small as a single room with walls that block radio waves, or as large as many square kilometers achieved by using multiple overlapping access points.

Android allows applications to access to view the access the state of the wireless connections at very low level. Android provides WiFi API through which applications can communicate with the lower-level wireless stack that provides WiFi network access. Almost all information from the device supplicant is available, including the connected network’s link speed, IP address, negotiation state, and more, plus information about other networks that are available. Some other API features include the ability to scan, add, save, terminate and initiate WiFi connections.

WifiManager is the primary API for managing all aspects of WiFi connectivity. Get an instance of this class by calling Context.getSystemService(Context.WIFI_SERVICE). It’s Syntax is given below:-

WifiManager wifi = (WifiManager) getSystemService(Context.WIFI_SERVICE);


WifiManager class provides different methods to control WiFi activities:-

  • int addNetwork(WifiConfiguration config): Add a new network description to the set of configured networks.
  • WifiManager.MulticastLock createMulticastLock(String tag): Create a new MulticastLock
  • WifiManager.WifiLock createWifiLock(String tag): This method creates a new WifiLock.
  • boolean disconnect(): This method disassociate from the currently active access point.
  • boolean enableNetwork(int netId, boolean disableOthers): This method allow a previously configured network to be associated with.
  • int getWifiState(): This method gets the Wi-Fi enabled state
  • boolean isWifiEnabled(): This method return whether Wi-Fi is enabled or disabled.
  • boolean setWifiEnabled(boolean enabled): This method enable or disable Wi-Fi.
  • int updateNetwork(WifiConfiguration config): This method update the network description of an existing configured network.
  • boolean disableNetwork (int netId): Disable a configured network.

In order to scan a list of wireless networks, you also need to register your BroadcastReceiver. It can be registered using registerReceiver method with argument of your receiver class object. Its syntax is given below −

class WifiScanReceiver extends BroadcastReceiver {

   public void onReceive(Context c, Intent intent) {
   }
}
WifiScanReceiver wifiReciever = new WifiScanReceiver();
registerReceiver(wifiReciever, new IntentFilter(WifiManager.SCAN_RESULTS_AVAILABLE_ACTION));

The wifi scan can be start by calling the startScan method of the WifiManager class. This method returns a list of ScanResult objects. You can access any object by calling the get method of list. Its syntax is given below :-


List wifiScanList = mainWifiObj.getScanResults();

String data = wifiScanList.get(0).toString();

Example

Let’s see the simple example of wifi to enable and disable the wifi service.
To run this example you need actual Android device.
  • You will use Android studio to create an Android application under a package net.suven.android.androidwifi.
  • Modify src/MainActivity.java file to add necessary code.
  • Modify the res/layout/activity_main to add respective XML components.
  • Modify the AndroidManifest.xml to add the necessary permissions
  • Run the application and choose a running android device and install the application on it and verify the results.
Following is the content of src/MainActivity.java

package net.suven.android.androidwifi;

import android.net.wifi.WifiManager;
import android.os.Bundle;
import android.app.Activity;
import android.content.Context;
import android.view.View;
import android.view.View.OnClickListener;
import android.widget.Button;
import android.widget.Toast;


public class MainActivity extends Activity {
Button enableButton,disableButton;
@Override
protected void onCreate(Bundle savedInstanceState) {
super.onCreate(savedInstanceState);
setContentView(R.layout.activity_main);

enableButton=(Button)findViewById(R.id.button);
disableButton=(Button)findViewById(R.id.button1);

enableButton.setOnClickListener(new OnClickListener(){
public void onClick(View v){
WifiManager wifi = (WifiManager)getSystemService(Context.WIFI_SERVICE);
wifi.setWifiEnabled(true);
Toast.makeText(getBaseContext(), "WiFI Enabled",
Toast.LENGTH_LONG).show();

}
});

disableButton.setOnClickListener(new OnClickListener(){
public void onClick(View v){
WifiManager wifi = (WifiManager)getSystemService(Context.WIFI_SERVICE);
wifi.setWifiEnabled(false);
Toast.makeText(getBaseContext(), "WiFI Disabled",
Toast.LENGTH_LONG).show();
}
});
}
}
Following is the content of activity_main.xml

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="utf-8"?>
<RelativeLayout
xmlns:android="http://schemas.android.com/apk/res/android"
xmlns:tools="http://schemas.android.com/tools"
android:layout_width="match_parent"
android:layout_height="match_parent"

tools:context=".MainActivity">

<TextView
android:layout_width="wrap_content"
android:layout_height="wrap_content"
android:id="@+id/textView"
android:textSize="30dp"
android:text="ANDROID WIFI"
android:layout_above="@+id/textView2"
android:layout_centerHorizontal="true"
android:layout_marginBottom="11dp" />

<TextView
android:layout_width="wrap_content"
android:layout_height="wrap_content"
android:text="SCTPL"
android:id="@+id/textView2"
android:textSize="35dp"
android:textColor="#ff16ff01"
android:layout_above="@+id/imageView"
android:layout_centerHorizontal="true" />

<ImageView
android:layout_width="wrap_content"
android:layout_height="wrap_content"
android:id="@+id/imageView"
android:src="@drawable/suvenlogo"
android:layout_centerVertical="true"
android:layout_alignEnd="@+id/textView" />

<Button
android:layout_width="wrap_content"
android:layout_height="wrap_content"
android:text="Enable WiFi"
android:id="@+id/button"
android:layout_alignParentBottom="true"
android:layout_toStartOf="@+id/textView2"
android:layout_marginEnd="14dp"
android:layout_marginBottom="56dp" />
<Button
android:id="@+id/button1"
android:layout_width="wrap_content"
android:layout_height="wrap_content"
android:layout_marginLeft="76dp"
android:text="Disable WiFI"
android:layout_alignBaseline="@+id/button"
android:layout_alignBottom="@+id/button"
android:layout_alignParentEnd="true"
android:layout_marginEnd="20dp" />

</RelativeLayout>
Following is the content of AndroidManifest.xml
<?xml version="1.0" encoding="utf-8"?>
<manifest xmlns:android="http://schemas.android.com/apk/res/android"
package="net.suven.android.androidwifi">
<uses-permission android:name="android.permission.ACCESS_WIFI_STATE" />
<uses-permission android:name="android.permission.CHANGE_WIFI_STATE" />
<application
android:allowBackup="true"
android:icon="@mipmap/ic_launcher"
android:label="@string/app_name"
android:roundIcon="@mipmap/ic_launcher_round"
android:supportsRtl="true"
android:theme="@style/AppTheme">
<activity android:name=".MainActivity">
<intent-filter>
<action android:name="android.intent.action.MAIN" />

<category android:name="android.intent.category.LAUNCHER" />
</intent-filter>
</activity>
</application>

</manifest>
Following is the output of Application

android wifi enabled

android wifi disabled
Click here to download Source Code and APK

 Learn Android Programming?


Trump’s Bizarre Love Affair With Putin Deepens: What Is He Hiding?

A Washington Post feature on Trump’s Russia fixation is oddly credulous: Is wounded pride really the issue here?

On Thursday, The Washington Post published a long article about how Donald Trump is dealing with Russia as president. It wasn’t exactly reassuring. The reason is not that he’s poised to start a war, as he seems to be with North Korea, but that he’s giving away the store to the other side. It’s disturbing because Trump doesn’t seem to be capable of even thinking about America’s relationship with Russia like a president at all. He gets so upset by the investigation into election interference and his subsequent actions that intelligence briefers reportedly don’t mention it as a priority, slipping it into the written material — which he’s said in the past he doesn’t need to read — or sliding it far down the list of items of concern to avoid provoking his ire.

The upshot is that the president isn’t able to focus on relations with Russia at a time when it couldn’t be more important to do so. Trump’s insistence that there was no election interference has taken on the character of a bizarre fixation that is inhibiting the rest of the government from doing its job. And it seems nobody has a clue what to do about it.

The article is full of interesting details about the inner workings of Trump’s national security team and how they deal with this mercurial boss.  For instance, he once assumed his highly qualified Russia expert Fiona Hill (the co-author of a major biography of Vladimir Putin) was a clerical worker. Trump asked her to retype a memo, became angry when she seemed confused by the order and demanded that national security adviser H.R. McMaster reprimand her — which, astonishingly, he did.

But then, none of that should be too surprising. Trump is no more respectful of world leaders with whom he doesn’t feel that personal kinship. He reportedly got bored in the middle of a briefing about Angela Merkel and went into the bathroom, leaving the door open and telling his aides to speak up while he primped in front of the mirror. We all saw his refusal to shake Merkel’s hand in front of the press and this derisive tweet from a couple of years ago:

He apparently doesn’t consider her an equal on par with strongmen like Putin or China’s Xi Jinping, both of whom he shows a deference that verges on obsequiousness.

The article is a portrait of a man-child, so deeply over his head that you wonder if he isn’t literally going to hold his breath until he turns blue before it’s all over. In that sense, it tracks with the recent New York Times article that depicted Trump tweeting from his pillow in the morning, wandering around in his bathrobe, drinking two six packs of Diet Coke and watching up to eight hours of cable news a day.

After reading both of these articles, you get the sense that somebody in the White House has decided that the best defense against charges that Trump colluded with Russia is for people to believe that he behaves as he does because he’s a narcissistic simpleton who can’t deal with the fact that he didn’t win the popular vote. While that description may be accurate, it doesn’t let him off the hook.

The Post’s reporters vaguely examine the possibility that there could be some blackmail material or kompromat hanging out there, or that Trump has some serious financial exposure somewhere in his past. But the article primarily relies on his aides’ portrayal of him as someone who believes in the power of his personality to bond with Vladimir Putin, and believes that together they will solve the world’s problems.

Furthermore, the authors seem to take at face value the assertion that Trump’s insistence that the Russians played no part in the election is because “the idea that he’s been put into office by Vladi­mir Putin is pretty insulting.” Trump is essentially depicted as a juvenile egomaniac who lacks the capacity or imagination to have done anything as sophisticated as collude with a foreign country.

This is spin that I often see reporters and pundits regurgitate on TV, as if this can all be explained away by the proposition that Trump is a buffoon who is constantly frustrated by people saying he didn’t really win. But this fails to account for all the sucking up he did toward Putin during in the campaign and his continued inability to say a bad word about him ever since. It’s not as if Trump is usually at a loss for a well-timed insult.

It also fails to account for the fact that Trump has shown not even minimal interest in doing a “deal” with Russia that would benefit the United States. While he repeatedly insults our allies and crudely demands that they pay protection in return for the U.S. living up to its treaties and commitments, he asked for nothing from Putin in return for lifting sanctions and putting up barriers to NATO expansion, other than a vague promise that everyone “gets along.”

The idea that Putin is the only man on earth Trump sees as a partner in bringing peace on earth just doesn’t pass the smell test. That the self-anointed master negotiator has not seized the opportunity to use the knowledge we have about election interference as a bargaining chip, and instead seems inclined to grant Putin his wish list for nothing in return, does not give one much confidence.

Trump lies about everything, so there is no reason to take him at his word on any of this. Of course he is upset about the Russia investigation, and of course it bothers him that people might think he didn’t legitimately win the election. But it’s hardly likely that he behaves this way because he’s an innocent man. In fact, it’s ludicrous. Everything we know about him suggests the opposite.

Whether it’s about Trump’s past financial exposure or the rumored salacious kompromat or some agreement over dirt on Hillary Clinton or a big hotel deal, there is definitely more to this. He doesn’t act like a man who has been unjustly accused. He acts like a man who’s hiding something and thinks if he blusters and blames he can hide his guilt from his staff and even from himself. He can’t.

 

 

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If Trump Fires Mueller, Is a Watergate Rerun Coming?

Firing special prosecutor Archibald Cox was a massive blunder for Richard Nixon. But yes, it could happen again.

For some reason I had a yearning to curl up on the couch and binge-watch Watergate documentaries this weekend. I can’t imagine why. Just because every TV talking head was breathlessly talking about the right-wing crusade against special counsel Robert Mueller’s office, and rumors were flying that Jared Kushner is shopping around for a crisis management firm, that’s no reason to think that the scandal may be headed for a new phase. But when news broke on Saturday that a Trump transition lawyer had sent a letter to Congress complaining that Mueller had allegedly obtained transition officials’ emails illegally, it sure felt as if something was going to break.

Trump returned from Camp David on Sunday night and told the press that he isn’t considering firing Mueller. Since he cannot tell a lie, that’s obviously the end of that. The Kushner business, on the other hand, may be true, in light of the news about the emails that the Trump team didn’t know were in the hands of prosecutors until after they had all testified, opening up the possibility that someone may have lied. As Michael Flynn and George Papadopoulos can attest, that’s a big no-no.

Trump’s transition lawyer, who doesn’t seem to have any experience in these matters, said that the way the prosecutors obtained the emails is illegal — but also said that Congress should make it illegal. So the nature of Team Trump’s specific complaints is a bit confusing. Evidently they had placed their own man in the General Services Administration, who assured them that emails they sent on government devices with the .gov address would be secured and wouldn’t be turned over without their knowledge.

Unfortunately, their man got sick and died, and the people beneath him were not told about this promise, and when the prosecutors came looking for the emails they were handed over, as would happen in any criminal investigation. Since all such emails are government property and everyone is informed before they are issued the email addresses that they have no expectation of privacy, there’s nothing unusual in any of it. But as we’ve seen before, the Trump team doesn’t really listen or pay attention to the normal rules and regulations. They apparently thought they had this all dialed in. As usual, they didn’t.

Mueller’s office made a rare public comment right after midnight on Sunday morning: “When we have obtained emails in the course of our ongoing criminal investigation, we have secured either the account owner’s consent or appropriate criminal process.” Apparently, they had reason to believe something criminal was going on in the Trump transition.

Lawyers from both parties weighed in on Sunday and explained that there’s nothing illegal about a government investigation obtaining emails from a government agency. The Trump attorney referred to “possible” executive privilege and attorney-client privilege, but didn’t really make the claim, mainly because executive privilege doesn’t exist for a president until he takes office, and if there were attorney communications that might be privileged, all it means is that prosecutors couldn’t use those to build their case. Needless to say, if the Trump team wants to argue this, the appropriate venue is a courtroom — which is exactly what the House Oversight Committee chair Trey Gowdy told them.

As I mentioned, Trump says he isn’t considering firing Mueller, but then, he isn’t literally the one who would fire him, is he? That job would fall to Rod Rosenstein, the deputy attorney general overseeing the special counsel investigation since Jeff Sessions recused himself from the case. Trump could direct Rosenstein to fire Mueller; if Rosenstein refuses, the president can fire him and demand that the next person in line do the deed. It’s not as if it hasn’t happened before.

Looking back at the Saturday Night Massacre in the fall of 1973, at the height of the Watergate scandal, Richard Nixon was furious that special prosecutor Archibald Cox had gone beyond what Nixon thought should be his mandate. When the president found out that Cox was looking into the financing of his West Coast White House in San Clemente, California, he went ballistic. Nixon probably had a lot less to hide in this regard than Donald Trump does.

But what finally precipitated Cox’s firing was the battle over the tapes of Nixon’s conversations in the White House, which had been described in detail by former White House counsel John Dean when testifying about the cover-up of the Watergate break-in. After the existence of the tapes had been exposed, Nixon refused to turn them over. Cox took him to court, and the court had ruled against the president. Nixon refused. His lawyers came up with a cockamamie plan to have one elderly conservative senator listen to the tapes and attest to the accuracy of White House-prepared transcripts of certain conversations under subpoena. Cox said no — that was in defiance of the court. He planned to take the case back before a judge and would abide by his ruling.

That’s when Nixon called up the Attorney General Elliot Richardson and told him to fire Cox. The president said to Richardson when he refused, “I’m sorry you choose to put your purely personal commitments ahead of the public interest.” To which Richardson replied, “Mr. President, it would appear that you and I have a different perception of the public interest.” Deputy Attorney General William Ruckelshaus also resigned, and then Solicitor General Robert Bork finally did the deed.

What happened next was interesting. Nixon wanted to shut down the office altogether and sent the FBI to lock the place down. But prosecutors wouldn’t leave and were giving press conferences. The public was all up in arms, and the media backlash was furious.

Nixon ended up having to appoint another special prosecutor and picked a conservative Republican, Leon Jaworski, who was predisposed to give the president the benefit of the doubt. But after refusing to appeal the case to the Supreme Court, Nixon finally gave up the tapes. When Jaworski heard him talking to John Dean, he said, “can you believe the president of the United States coaching a witness on how to evade the truth?”

That’s when the prosecutors got their indictments of the presidents’ men and delivered their case to the House committee considering impeachment.

Watching Trump and knowing how often he lies, it seems inevitable that there have been more than a few such moments for Mueller in reading some of those emails and listening to testimony from people around the president. The difference is that Nixon had an understanding of the necessity of maintaining stability in the system, even as he abused it terribly. Trump doesn’t even know what the system is and his lawyers don’t seem to have much of a grasp of it either. So far, Republicans in Congress are completely unwilling to do their duty.

Trump might follow the Nixon playbook and fire Mueller, but after that, the whole thing could go off the rails. As strange as this is to say, Nixon knew there were limits to his power. Trump doesn’t. Who knows what he might do?

 

 

 

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Irk a Politician This Holiday Season by Giving to These Progressive Causes

Republican leaders won’t thank you, but others in need will.

For some progressives looking for holiday gifts, there are guides to ethical and feminist products. Others prefer to donate to an organization or cause. This holiday season, let your gift-giving be inspired by celebrities and their charitable donations. Celebrities like Mila Kunis have been donating to Planned Parenthood in Vice President Mike Pence’s name—and others have followed suit.

Instead of donating to a charitable organization in the name of a loved one or friend, try gifting in the name of a politician who stoked the dumpster-fire of 2017 politics. Support the work of these important organizations and give a reminder that the resistance is stronger than ever.

1. If the Alabama special election had you on the edge of your seat and the thought of child-molester Roy Moore (who has still not accepted the election results) makes you want to punch a wall while throwing up…

Photo Credit: Emily C. Bell / YouTube

…then donate to organizations and campaigns working to support voting rights and black candidates. When pollsters examined the special election voter demographics, Doug Jones was victorious because of black voters, specifically black women (96 and 98 percent voted for Jones, respectively). In response, The Cut released a list of organizations and campaigns working toward voting access and political empowerment of black women. Check out Woke Vote and Higher Heights, and give Roy Moore a reminder of the power of local organizing.

2. If you despite head of the EPA Scott Pruitt for refusing to recognize human contributions to climate change and for subsequently leading the government in throwing the planet under the bus in 2017, and you’re appalled by the plethora of climate change deniers, not just in the White House but also in Congress…

Photo Credit: Gage Skidmore/WikiCommons

…then support those who are standing up to them, like the youth activists who protested at the UN climate summit. You can also donate to organizations educating and raising awareness about climate change, including Earthjustice and 350.org.

3. If you oppose politicians like Representative Steve King for his support of the DACA repeal and for saying Dreamers can “live in the shadows”… 

Photo Credit: WikiCommons

…donate to organizations like United We Dream, which is calling for a clean #DreamActNow and organized a national call day on Thursday.

You can also support organizations like Movimiento Cosecha and the Immigrant Defense Project that are fighting back on Trump-administration policies, protesting the actions of ICE and advocating for the rights of immigrants.

4. If you’re outraged over Donald Trump ignoring the crisis in Puerto Rico…

Photo Credit: Shealah Craighead/ WikiCommons

…and his childish behavior when he visited:

…donate to organizations that are providing services on the ground in Puerto Rico and working on rebuilding efforts due to the destruction of Hurricane Maria. A list of reputable organizations includes Friends of Puerto Rico and Light and Hope for Puerto Rico: A Citizen Campaign, which is raising money to purchase and deliver specific supplies: solar lights, phone chargers and washing machines that don’t require electricity.

5. If you hate that Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price and GOP lawmakers are reducing access to birth control, something Price clearly has no knowledge of…

…and the GOP tax bill, which is an overall travesty for poor people, because of health care provisions that will remove the individual mandate and hurt access to birth control…

Donate to organizations concerned with access to birth control and reproductive healthcare, like the Center for Reproductive Rights and Planned Parenthood, and feel inspired by their recent activism to stand up to the Trump administration for the birth control rollback:

 

 

 

 

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Samsung Galaxy A8 and A8 Plus (2018) specs: Infinity Display and a dual selfie camera

There’s no denying that Samsung’s S-series has boasted some of the finest flagships ever made, but sometimes there’s no match for a bonafide bargain, and that’s what the South Korean giant seems to be delivering with its newly-announced A-series phones, the Galaxy A8 (2018) and Galaxy A8 Plus (2018).

As the new gold standard of Samsung’s mid-tier range, the Galaxy A8 and A8 Plus look to balance premium design with a steady performance all while retaining a modest price tag. On paper, this year’s A8 phones – which technically replace the Galaxy A5 and Galaxy A7, respectively – appear to deliver on all counts.

Editor’s Pick

This time around both the 5.6-inch A8 and the 6-inch A8 Plus sport an elongated Infinity Display with the same 18:5:9 aspect ratio found on the Galaxy S8, S8 Plus, and Note 8. Both panels are Super AMOLED displays with a 2220 x 1080 resolution.

Despite missing out on the curved edges of its premium counterparts, the A8 and A8 Plus both pack slimline bezels, while leaving enough room for the devices’ most unique feature – a front-facing 16 MP and 8 MP dual-camera. We’ll be putting the pair’s selfie-taking credentials and much more to the test at a later date for a full review, but for now, be sure to check out the table below for all of the key specs.

  Samsung Galaxy A8 (2018) Samsung Galaxy A8 Plus (2018)
Display 5.6-inch FHD+ Super AMOLED
2,220 x 1,080 resolution
441 ppi
18:5:9 aspect ratio
6-inch FHD+ Super AMOLED
2,220 x 1,080 resolution
412 ppi
18:5:9 aspect ratio
Processor Unspecified octa-core platform
2.2 Ghz + 1.6 Ghz
Unspecified octa-core platform
2.2 Ghz + 1.6 Ghz
GPU TBC TBC
RAM 4 GB 4/6 GB
Storage 32/64 GB 32/64 GB
MicroSD Yes, up to 256 GB Yes, up to 256 GB
Cameras Rear camera:
16 MP sensor with f/1.7 aperture, phase-detection auto-focus, video digital image stabilisation (VDis) technology, hyperlapse, and Food Mode

Front camera:
16 MP + 8 MP sensor with f/1.9 aperture and Live Focus

Rear camera:
16 MP sensor with f/1.7 aperture, phase-detection auto-focus video digital image stabilisation (VDis) technology, hyperlapse, and Food Mode

Front camera:
16 MP + 8 MP sensor with f/1.9 aperture and Live Focus

Audio 3.5mm headphone jack
MP3, M4A, 3GA, AAC, OGG, OGA, WAV, WMA, AMR, AWB, FLAC, MID, MIDI, XMF, MXMF, IMY, RTTTL, RTX, OTA
3.5mm headphone jack
MP3, M4A, 3GA, AAC, OGG, OGA, WAV, WMA, AMR, AWB, FLAC, MID, MIDI, XMF, MXMF, IMY, RTTTL, RTX, OTA
Battery 3,000 mAh
Non-removable
Fast charging
3,500 mAh
Non-removable
Fast charging
Sensors Accelerometer Barometer
Fingerprint sensor Gyro sensor Geomagnetic sensor Hall sensor
Proximity sensor
RGB light sensor
Accelerometer Barometer
Fingerprint sensor Gyro sensor Geomagnetic sensor Hall sensor
Proximity sensor
RGB light sensor
IP rating IP68 water and dust resistance IP68 water and dust resistance
Network TBC
LTE Cat. 11
TBC
LTE Cat. 11
Connectivity Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac (2.4 & 5 GHz)
Bluetooth 5.0
NFC
ANT+
Location (GPS, Glonass, BeiDou)
USB Type-C 2.0
Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac (2.4 & 5 GHz)
Bluetooth 5.0
NFC
ANT+
Location (GPS, Glonass, BeiDou)
USB Type-C 2.0
Software Android 7.1.1 Nougat Android 7.1.1 Nougat
Colors Black, Orchid Grey, Gold, and Blue Black, Orchid Grey, Gold, and Blue
Dimensions and weight 149.2 x 70.6 x 8.4 mm
172 g
159.9 x 75.7 x 8.3 mm
191 g

Be sure to let us know your thoughts on the Samsung Galaxy A8 (2018) and A8 Plus (2018) specs in the comments below! Is its dual-camera for selfies and (near) bezel-less design won you over?

7th Continent – Upping my pledge

I am not a millionaire. However I am not poor or “just about managing” either. If I had to classify my financial situation I’d call it “comfortably well off”. Now if you look at my hobby, games in general, the cost of games is usually in the tens or hundreds of dollars/euros. Which means that the purchase of even an expensive game or a somewhat exaggerated, unnecessary game purchase isn’t going to cause me any financial hardship. There are occasions where spending more is a reasonable option for me, even if I wouldn’t recommend it for everybody. All this to say that I just upped my pledge for the 7th Continent second Kickstarter project from $49 to $200. Why?

Well, it started with me packing a suitcase for a week of holidays with my wife. We like our holidays to be a mix of visiting things and relaxing, so we always take some entertainment with us. And I was hesitating to take the box of the 7th Continent game I got from the previous Kickstarter. I really want to play this, but what if it gets damaged or the airline loses my baggage and the game is gone? You can’t buy the 7th Continent anywhere, it is only available during Kickstarter projects, and they don’t happen all that often (about every 2 years).

And then I realized that because there is currently the second Kickstarter project ongoing (I had already pledged to get the next expansion), I could up my pledge and get a second base game too for $129. Throw in a bit more money for optional purchases like expansions (which also aren’t available anywhere else) and I upped my pledge to $200. Worst case scenario is that I end up with one extra box I’ll never open. Best case scenario is that I’ll have a shiny second edition box with lots of expansions at home, and the peace of mind that allows me to take the original box with me on holidays without being stressed about damaging or losing it. Not something I would do for a game that can easily be replaced, but for the 7th Continent I considered it worth the money.

The current Kickstarter project ends in 5 days, so if you still want to join you need to hurry. The projects already has over 33,000 backers and is over 10,000% funded. That is not a typo, they asked for $40,000 and got $4.5 million. As a “second edition” the risk of not getting the product you paid for is much reduced, although it probably will be late again. Great success of a Kickstarter project brings its own logistics problems, and this second run got 3 times the backers and 4 times the money of the first run. The game has raving reviews on BoardGameGeek (Rank #56 out of 96,000 games) and elsewhere. And unlike Gloomhaven you can’t just buy the 7th Continent on Amazon. You can get just the base game, in English or French, for $80, but another $49 also gets you the big expansion “What Goes Up, Must Come Down” and the many stretch goals. Or if you are like me you can go all out and get pretty much everything for $200.

Best gifts for gamers

A lot of people who own smartphones and tablets use them for more than surfing the internet, texting, and socializing. They also use them a lot to play games. In a recent survey from Statista, 56 percent, or over half of the entire population of the US, are currently playing mobile games. That amount is expected to expand to 63.7 percent by 2020. But what sort of gifts are the right kind for hardcore gamers?

In this feature, we offer our picks for the best smartphones and tablets that are currently on the market for gaming, along with suggestions for a few accessories that could be great gifts for gamers. Finally, we don’t want to ignore the game consoles that you hook up to your big screen TV; we will offer our recommendation on which of the three current generation game consoles you should buy, and the answer may actually surprise you.

A jack of all trades — ZTE Axon M

Today’s smartphones make great portable gaming devices, while tablets are great for those times when we need a bit more screen real estate from our mobile gaming experience. But what about a wild card of a device that can serve as both your phone and your tablet? The ZTE Axon M is a unique device that is perfect for those that want to take their  gaming to the next level. 

The ZTE Axon M uses two 5.2-inch IPS Full HD panels that are connected to a hinge that, when it is folded out, it essentially turns the device into a 6.75-inch tablet. This is great for running two apps side by side, extending apps and games across both displays, and much more. In addition to the potential for gaming and media, the Axon M also makes for one heck of a multi-tasking device.

As you can imagine, this phone also stands out in a crowd, perfect for those who like to rock phones that are different from the endless sea of Samsung and iPhone devices.Without a doubt, this is one of the most unique phones you can buy right now. You can get it via AT&T for $724.99 without a contract, or for $24.17 a month for 24 months. 

Get it at AT&T

Best gaming phone — Razer Phone

If you want to get a smartphone that’s dedicated to offering the best mobile gaming experience, it’s really impossible to beat the Razer Phone at the moment. This is the first smartphone from Razer, who has been highly successful in releasing PC accessories for hardcore gamers, and more recently has launched critically acclaimed Windows-based gaming laptops. For their first, but likely not last, entry in the smartphone industry, Razer put in a bunch of high-end hardware, including a couple of features that are not in any other smartphone.

Editor’s Pick

The biggest feature for gamers is the Razer Phone’s big IGZO 5.7-inch 2,560 x 1,440p display, which can run at up to 120 Hz. The higher refresh rate, compared to the normal 60 Hz on other smartphones, should allow games, especially high-end titles with advanced graphics, to play and look smoother on the Razer Phone. The display also uses what Razer calls Ultra Motion technology, which is similar to NVIDIA’s G-Sync tech that is supported by many PC desktop monitors. Ultra Motion allows the Razer Phone’s display refresh rate to sync up to the output of its GPU. This is supposed to get rid of any screen tearing and, again, make games played on the phone look and run better compared to other handsets.

In addition to the high-end visuals, the Razer Phone has the Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 processor inside, which, at the moment, is the fastest chip you can get on a phone. It also has 8 GB of LPDRR4 RAM, which again should help graphically intensive games perform better. There’s 64 GB of onboard storage, and you can add more with its microSD card slot. In terms of audio, Razer claims it has the loudest phone on the market, with two front-facing speakers with Dolby Atmos technology. There’s no 3.5 mm headphone jack in the Razer Phone, but it does include a dongle for its USB-C port that includes support for 24-bit DAC audio that is THX-certified. Finally, it has a large 4,000 mAh battery that Razer says should allow for up to 8 hours of gaming on one charge, which should be plenty if you are on a long trip.

Simply put, mobile gamers won’t be able to get a phone quite as good as the Razer Phone for a while, and it’s actually a great first effort from a company that has never launched a smartphone before. The price is also right at $699.99 unlocked, which is very reasonable when you consider the high-end hardware inside. If you can ignore its non-gaming issues, the Razer Phone is one of the best gifts for gamers you can buy.

Get it at Razerzone

Alternate gaming phone — Samsung Galaxy Note 8 

 
Bigger is definitely better when it comes to mobile gaming. The Samsung Galaxy Note 8, with its 6.3-inch Super AMOLED 2,960 x 1,440 display in an 18.5:9 aspect ratio, offers up the biggest and best screen you can get in the US on an Android smartphone. It helps that the phone also comes with a speedy Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 processor and 6 GB of RAM. You even get an old-fashioned headphone jack with the Note 8. While it doesn’t have a 120 Hz screen refresh rate or the advanced sound features that the Razer phone does, gamers should get a lot out of its huge screen combined with a fast processor. It’s not cheap, but at least you can pay for the Galaxy Note 8 over time if you get it from a wireless carrier.
 
Get it at Amazon

Best gaming tablet — Samsung Galaxy Tab S3

 
Samsung’s recent high-end Android tablet is the best among gifts for gamers. It has a 9.7-inch Super AMOLED display with a resolution of 2,048 x 1,536 pixels, with support for high dynamic range (HDR) features that should allow games to look and play well. While the Tab S3 doesn’t have as much in the RAM and processor department as some smartphones, it uses the older Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 chip and 4 GB of RAM. However, the well-designed display, combined with four speakers, makes the Tab S3 the best, at least for now, for Android gaming, although perhaps not as good of an overall choice compared to many high-end Android phones.
 
Editor’s Pick
 
The Samsung Galaxy Tab S3 was launched earlier this year at $599, but you can snap it up now on Amazon and save over $100, at $498.
Get it at Amazon

Alternate — Amazon Fire HD 10 

 
If you are looking for a solid but inexpensive gaming tablet, you really should look no further than the Amazon Fire HD 10. The 10.1 inch 1080p (1,920 x 1,200) display can handle any game, and it has a decent 1.8 GHz quad-core processor and 2 GB RAM. While it’s not as powerful as the Galaxy Tab S3, those folks looking to save some money will still get a good gaming experience with Amazon’s highest-end tablet. You can get it for as low as $149.99 (with 32 GB and with “special offers” on its lock screen).
 
Get it at Amazon

Gamer accessory gifts 

Chromecast Ultra
 
 
Want to play thousands of Android games on your big 4K TV? You can. if you connect the Chromecast Ultra HDMI dongle to one of your spare HDMI ports. Just cast your games onto the screen with this $69 accessory, and play like you would on a game console.
 
Get it at Google

POWER A MOGA Hero Power Game Controller

 

No matter how powerful your gaming smartphone may be, it can still be hard to control games with its touchscreen, especially for games like racing and shooter titles. The POWER A MOGA Hero Power Game Controller allows you to connect your smartphone to a Bluetooth-based console gamepad, and you can even attach any smartphone up to 6-inches to the controller, letting you play for hours without having to worry about holding your phone on its own. It also comes with its own rechargeable 1,800 mAh battery. If you want a portable console experience for your smartphone, this controller will fit the bill nicely.

Get it at Amazon

Samsung Gear VR — 2017 edition

The current 2017 version of the Samsung Gear VR mobile headset (co-developed by Oculus) lets you play VR games, many of which are exclusive to the Gear VR. Owners of the Samsung Galaxy Note 8, along with the Galaxy S8, S8 Plus, Galaxy S7, Galaxy S7 Edge, Galaxy S6, Galaxy S6 Edge, Galaxy S6 Edge Plus, and even the Galaxy Note 5 can all use the headset, which comes with its own controller. If you happen to own one of these phones, it’s perhaps the best way to experience high-end VR gaming.

Get it at Amazon

 Anker PowerCore Speed 10,000 mAh Battery Charger

The simple fact is that even if you have a big batter on your smartphone, like the 4,000 mAh battery on the Razer Phone, it will still run out in less than a day if you play on it constantly. That’s why it’s great to have an external battery charger like the Anker PowerCore Speed 10,000 mAh model. It can charge up your Razer Phone twice on its own, giving you more time to play on your high end handset. It’s also available for just $29 at Amazon.

Get it at Amazon

Best Game Console – Nintendo Switch

The Nintendo Switch is perhaps the best game console you can buy for a gamer on the go. Simply put, the Switch can turn quickly from a high-end game console that you hook up to your TV over to a portable handheld console, where you can play for up to six hours on its own battery. You can play it with two of the console’s Joy-Con controllers, one on each side, or you and a friend can play games on the portable screen, each with a Joy-Con in your hands. You can even put a pair of these new controllers in a Joy-Con grip accessory, if you want a more old-fashioned console experience.

Plus there’s the fact that the Nintendo Switch is the exclusive way to play some of the most acclaimed games of 2017, including Super Mario Odyssey, The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, and many more. Finally, it’s likely that the hardcore gamer that you want to spend your money on already has a PlayStation 4/4 Pro, or an Xbox One S/X. He or she might think that the Nintendo Switch is for kids or families, but the purchase of Nintendo’s latest — and possibly best — game console in years might convert them into fans.

Get it at Amazon
 
Those are just some of the best gifts you can get for gamers. We want to hear from you about which gifts for gamers you would pick out for fans. Let us know your thoughts and suggestions in the comments!
Disclosure: E-Commerce Content is independent of editorial content and we may receive compensation in connection with your purchase of products via links on this page. This post may contain affiliate links. See our disclosure policy for more details.

An old problem

I played Magic the Gathering both in physical form and in various digital forms. Anybody who does thinks not much differently of his digital cards than of his physical cards. After all the cards in both forms serve the exactly same purpose, and being able to use the physical card as a doorstop isn’t really relevant enough to value the physical card more than the digital one. However legally I only ever owned the physical cards. Virtual property still has no legal standing in Europe or the USA, so my digital cards are not considered my property. That is a very old problem, and up to now nobody really cared enough about it to consider it worth changing.

But this month comes along EA’s Star Wars Battlefront II with its loot box controversy. And some politicians woke up and realized that such a system is very similar to gambling: You pay real money for a random chance to win something which is of value to you. It is easy to imagine a child being seduced by that and spending hundreds or thousands of daddy’s credit card, because daddy is an idiot regarding his kid and his credit card. Even if research suggests that the real whales are more likely to be lonely bankers with too much money, a politician would rather be seen protecting the children than protecting the bankers. So an attack on loot boxes makes political sense with that child protection story.

However suddenly our old problem is back. Virtual property still doesn’t exist, legally. So the content of a loot box, legally speaking, has no value. So buying loot boxes can’t be gambling, because, legally speaking, you can’t win anything of value. Having ignored the problem of virtual property in the past is now biting the legal system in the ass.

I, being a scientist by education, once had a very interesting conversation with somebody with a legal background about the nature of truth. As a scientist I believe that there is an absolute truth, which I can examine and measure, and then describe with words. If the words don’t fit with reality, the words are wrong. The legal guy thought that writing down words in a law or contract created truth. If the words didn’t fit with reality, reality was wrong. This is one of those cases. It is pretty much obvious to any sane person that loot boxes are a form of gambling (regardless of whether we think gambling is good or bad). You pay money in the hope of winning a prize, and whether you get that prize depends on random chance. Whether you buy a raffle ticket to win a stuffed animal at the carnival or whether you buy a loot box to win a hero character in Battlefront 2 is exactly the same in the mind of the buyer. Only the legal words describing the two situations differ substantially.

While I am in favor of systems that prevent children having access to loot box systems in games, for me that is actually only the start. In order to get to that point we need to legally recognize loot boxes as gambling. And for that we need to legally recognize that virtual property exists and has value. That is a much larger and more important issue than just loot boxes.

Uber Stole Trade Secrets, Bribed Foreign Officials and Spied on Rivals, Filing Says

Documents by former Uber security manager details company’s alleged ‘unethical, unlawful’ practices amid legal battle with self-driving car company Waymo.

Uber allegedly engaged in a range of “unethical and unlawful intelligence collections”, including the theft of competitive trade secrets, bribery of foreign officials and spying on competitors and politicians, according to an explosive legal document published on Friday.

It’s the latest chapter in the discovery process for the company’s messy legal squabble with Waymo, Google’s driverless car spin-off, which has accused Uber of stealing trade secrets.

The details were outlined in a 37-page demand letter filed by the ex-Uber security manager Richard Jacobs, who left the company earlier this year. The document paints a picture of a team of employees dedicated to spying on rivals and “impeding” legal investigations into the company.

Jacobs alleges that when he raised concerns over the techniques being used, he was given a poor performance review and demoted as “pure retaliation” for refusing to buy into the culture of “achieving business goals through illegal conduct even though equally aggressive legal means were available”.

He had sent the letter to Uber’s in-house counsel with his allegations about possible criminal activity carried out by the special group in May this year, threatening to sue the company. Uber did not provide the letter to Waymo as part of legal discovery before the trial started.

An Uber spokeswoman said in a statement: “While we haven’t substantiated all the claims in this letter – and, importantly, any related to Waymo – our new leadership has made clear that going forward we will compete honestly and fairly, on the strength of our ideas and technology.”

Jacobs worked at the ride-hailing company from March 2016 until April 2017. After his attorney sent the demand letter to Uber outlining potentially criminal activities within Uber’s “strategic services group” and “marketplace analytics” teams, he and Uber reached a $4.5m settlement. This included a non-disparagement clause and a one-year consulting contract to help Uber “root out bad behaviour”, Jacobs said when he testified in federal court last month.

The letter alleges, among other things, that Uber planned to use certain hardware devices and software to conceal the creation and destruction of corporate records so they “would never be subject to legal discovery”. Such records would, the letter states, “implicate ongoing discovery disputes such as those in Uber’s litigation with Waymo”.

The letter also outlines a range of intrusive techniques that Uber allegedly used to extract intelligence from politicians, regulators, competitors, taxi organisations and activists.

Uber’s intelligence team allegedly infiltrated private event spaces at hotel and conference facilities that a group of competing executives used during their stay. Jacobs claimed that Uber recorded and observed private conversations among the executives including their real-time reactions to the news that Uber would receive $3.4bn from the Saudi government.

Live updates, photos and videos were then allegedly transmitted back to the “War Room” at Uber’s headquarters, where the company’s former CEO, Travis Kalanick, along with other members of Uber’s executive team, could observe.

Uber operatives also impersonated taxi drivers, Jacobs said, to infiltrate private Facebook groups and WhatsApp groups of opponents.

Matthew Umhofer, an attorney representing four members of Uber’s security team mentioned in the letter, added: “The competitive information gathering that was done at the explicit request of management was unremarkable and no different than what’s done by law-abiding companies across the country and Uber’s own competitors.”

Umhofer also described the letter as “character assassination for cash” and said that Jacobs “is nothing more than a failed Uber employee who underperformed and got demoted, and then retaliated against his supervisors”.

During his testimony last month, Jacobs repudiated some of the allegations made in his demand letter, saying that he had only reviewed it for 20 minutes before his lawyer had sent it. Among those was the allegation that “Uber used the marketplace analytics team to steal trade secrets at least from Waymo in the United States”. Jacobs said that the team primarily worked overseas, but in the US had researched “protest and threat groups targeting Uber”.

Waymo sued Uber in February, alleging that the ride-hail company’s acquisition of the self-driving startup Otto, founded by the former Waymo employee Anthony Levandowski, was actually a scheme to acquire secrets stolen from Waymo.

The federal judge William Alsup, who is overseeing the trade secrets case, was only alerted to the existence of the explosive demand letter by federal prosecutors on 22 November in a separate letter in which they confirmed that there was an open criminal investigation into Uber. “You should have come clean with this long ago,” he subsequently told Uber’s lawyers in court.

Because such a key piece of evidence had been withheld, Alsup delayed the start of the trial.

“If even half of what’s in that letter is true, it would be a huge injustice to force Waymo to go to trial” as scheduled, he said.

At the time, a spokeswoman for Waymo called the new evidence “significant and troubling” and welcomed the trial delay as an “opportunity to fully investigate this new, highly relevant information”.

But an Uber spokeswoman, Chelsea Kohler, said in a statement then: “None of the testimony today changes the merits of the case. Jacobs himself said on the stand today that he was not aware of any Waymo trade secrets being stolen.”

Uber maintained that it did not withhold information because the letter was outside of Waymo’s discovery demands. The special master, a court official helping out with the trial, did not agree, concluding in a report filed on Friday that “Uber should have produced” the Jacobs demand letter in response to Waymo’s discovery requests.

 

 

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