BGR 30 March 2018

Amazon’s one-day sale on TP-Link gear will turbocharge your home network

Do you want to upgrade your home network? Is the fact that there are several bazillion different choices in each product category making it difficult for you to figure out what to buy? Well Amazon just made the decision much easier for you, thanks to its huge one-day sale on TP-Link networking gear. TP-Link is obviously one of the biggest and best names in the business, and they company's wired and wireless networking equipment is top-notch. On Friday, for one day only, you can save a bundle on 15 different networking products from TP-Link. Included in the sale are several popular Wi-Fi routers starting at just $30, and you can extend their reach even further with a $19 Wi-Fi range extender. The TP-Link Deco Whole Home Mesh WiFi System is also on sale for $40 off, and you can shave up to $120 off your annual cable bill by picking up a $45 cable modem that works with every major provider and supports speeds up to 680Mbps. Shop the entire TP-Link sale right here, or check out some of our favorite deals below.

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5 awesome new iPhone features in iOS 11.3 that no one is talking about

It seems like it took forever, but Apple finally released its hotly anticipated iOS 11.3 update on Thursday afternoon. Why would a software update other than iOS 12 be hotly anticipated, you ask? Despite merely being a "dot" update, this iOS 11.3 release includes a feature that iPhone users have been dying for: a way to disable Apple's automatic iPhone throttling on devices with older batteries. In case you've been living under a rock, it was revealed earlier this year that Apple had been secretly limiting performance on older iPhone models with batteries that had degraded to a certain point. This mechanism had been added to iOS last year in an effort to prevent inadvertent shutdowns (remember the "30% bug"?), but the fact that Apple did it without telling customers played right into the planned obsolescence conspiracy theories. You know, the people who say Apple secretly slows down older devices to get people to buy new ones. We've all laughed at those theories for years... and then it actually happened — though according to statements from Apple, its goal was to stop phones from shutting down rather than force upgrades. Whatever the case, new battery health features and the ability to disable throttling are definitely the most talked about additions to Apple's mobile software in iOS 11.3. There are some other things that have Apple fans buzzing as well, such as four new Animoji characters — lion, bear, dragon, and skull — and notifications when iOS wants your personal data. There's much more to the iOS 11.3 update, though, and in this post we'll discuss five cool new features that you might not know about. Speed and performance improvements If you have an older iPhone and you disable Apple's throttling feature, you're obviously going to notice huge improvements where UI speed and overall performance are concerned. As a quick recap, Lithium-Ion batteries lose capacity over time as they endure more and more charge cycles. Once the remaining capacity reaches a certain point, earlier versions of iOS automatically throttle performance as a workaround for the shutdown bug that was driving users crazy. Phones would remain throttled until the battery was replaced, which is why Apple slashed the price of its battery swap program as a mea culpa. Now, in iOS 11.3, users can disable throttling so their older iPhones are no longer slowed down. Yes, we all know that feature has been added to iOS 11.3. What far fewer people are discussing, however, is that RAM management appears to have been improved in iOS 11.3, which is also a huge deal. iOS 11 has been plagued by serious RAM management issues ever since it was released. You know those real-life speed tests YouTubers love, where iPhones would always crush the latest Android phone? Well iPhones have been losing those races lately because they don't use RAM efficiently. Apps that should remain "frozen" in the background were being close completely when new apps were opened because there wasn't enough available RAM to store their statuses. It's still early, but my own initial testing suggests that Apple has made some improvements to RAM management. A number of other iPhone users have emailed me to report the same, and I've seen discussions start to pop up online. I have found that apps often remain frozen in the background in instances where they would have previously been force closed. As a result, switching around from app to app is far quicker than it was in earlier versions of iOS 11. Needless to say, this is a big deal. Augmented Reality enhancements ARKit is still relatively new and buzzy, but no one is really talking about the nifty enhancements Apple introduced in iOS 11.3. Here are the relevant notes from the iOS 11.3 change log: ARKit 1.5 allows developers to place virtual objects on vertical surfaces, such as walls and doors, as well as on horizontal surfaces. Supports the detection and integration of images, such as movie posters or works, into augmented reality experiences. The real-world view perceived through the camera has a higher resolution as part of the augmented reality experience. There are countless things that developers can do with these enhancements. As someone with a horrible eye for visualizing decor, I personally can't wait for good apps that let me see what different paintings and prints will look like on my walls. App review sorting This might not seem like a big deal at first glance, but it is: Four options now allow you to sort the customer reviews on the product pages: the most useful, the most favorable, the most critical or the most recent. In general, customer reviews in the App Store are really, really, really bad. People get frustrated over silly things or they don't understand something that should be obvious, so they hop on the App Store and leave a 1-star review. In iOS 11.3, people can finally sort app reviews to weed out the junk and more easily find reviews that are actually useful. Username and passwords autofill in apps This change is also a huge deal that people are going to love. In earlier versions of iOS 11, Safari could store usernames and passwords to autofill them on websites where users need to log in. Now, this functionality is finally available in apps, as per the following note from the iOS 11.3 change log: Automatic filling of usernames and passwords is now available in apps’ web views. So, for example, when you click through a link to The Wall Street Journal in your Twitter app, you can auto-fill your login info rather than having to leave the app and dig your username and password out of a third-party password manager like 1Password. Death of the auto-correct capitalization bug This last one is my personal favorite, because this is a bug that has bothered me forever. In fact, this bug might have been in iOS since the very beginning. Here's the item of interest from Apple's iOS 11 release notes: Fixes a problem that could cause the capitalization of the first letter of some words by the automatic correction feature. I'll describe it a bit better, and iPhone users will know exactly what I'm talking about. Sometimes as you're typing messages, you would make a spelling mistake or some other mistake that auto-correct didn't catch. So, you would hit the backspace button a bunch of times until the word in question was deleted. Because of this bug, when you finished deleting the first letter of the word in question, iOS would automatically engage the caps button even though the word you deleted didn't start with a capital letter. Then, when you began to type again, the first letter would be capitalized even though it shouldn't be. For example, you might delete "teh"in the middle of a sentence and then replace it with "The," which shouldn't have been capitalized. It was beyond annoying, but now it's finally fixed.

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Watch SpaceX launch 10 new satellites and then try to catch its rocket’s nosecone with a boat

It's only the end of March, but SpaceX has already had a pretty stellar year. The company successfully launched its much-hyped Falcon Heavy into space, sending a Tesla Roadster into orbit around the Sun and captured the public's imagination all at the same time, and that's just one of many launches it's performed. Back in February, the company suffered a rare setback when its attempt to catch a piece of its Falcon 9 rocket — a piece of the nosecone, or fairing, that sits atop the vehicle — fell short. During today's launch, the company will attempt to catch the fairing again. The launch, which is scheduled to take place 10:13 a.m. ET, will see a SpaceX Falcon 9 deliver 10 satellites into orbit for the Iridium communications company. This is one of many missions that SpaceX is carrying out for Iridium. The contract between the two companies will result in the launch of 75 Iridium Next satellites. 40 of those satellites were already launched in 2017. SpaceX, the master of reusable rocket technology, will be launching a used (sorry, "flight proven") Falcon 9 today, and will not be attempting to recover the booster. However, the recovery of the fairing is certainly something that the company would like to accomplish. The first time around, SpaceX boss Elon Musk was optimistic that the failure to recover the fairing was due to circumstances which could be controlled in the future, and we'll see today if he was right. It's important to note that the fairing that SpaceX is attempting to recover today is only one half of the entire nosecone of the rocket. The cone splits into two pieces to deploy its payload, and while the company is only trying to recover one half of it today, in the future it is expected that both fairing halves will be captured by boats for reuse in later missions. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mp0TW8vkCLg If you want to watch the launch live, SpaceX will be streaming it via its various video portals, including YouTube. The video window embedded above will spring to life shortly before the launch and feature commentary from SpaceX while the launch takes place. If the launch today is delayed for any reason, a backup launch slot is reserved for tomorrow, Saturday, March 31st, at 10:08 a.m. ET.

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Today’s best deals: Crock-Pot Express Crock, $40 dash cam, cable modems, MacBook, camera drone, more

Happy Friday, bargain hunters! We've got a great roundup of the day's best deals to close out the week for you. Highlights from today's list include a killer price on the Crock-Pot multi-use slow cooker that's better than most Instant Pots, a $9 Crock-Pot slow cooker if that first discount isn't good enough, deep discounts on two different cable modems that'll save you up to $120 a year on your cable bill when you return your old modem, a top-rated dash cam for just $40, a new lower price on the slimmest iPhone X battery case on Amazon, a 4.7-star camera drone for just $30 today only, $40 off the TP-Link Deco mesh Wi-Fi system, $400 off a sleek Rose Gold MacBook, and plenty more. See all of today's best bargains below.

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In-depth report on wireless radiation is bad news for 5G

The link between cell phone radiation and cancer is one that's never going to be fully resolved. Studies have shown that while there is some statistical link between exposure to cellphone radiation and incidence of cancer, that link doesn't transfer to the population at large, and any risk from exposure to cell phones is marginal at best. But while the physics might not change, the type of radio waves might. A new wave of 5G cell sites will dramatically change the electromagnetic radiation map of the US, and some people think it will be for the worse. An in-depth report in The Nation sheds light on the historical battle between the telecoms industry and the scientific establishment, and gives an idea of the battle that's yet to come. The article begins by examining the historical relationship between the telecoms industry and regulators, and how current standards came to be adopted: The wireless industry has sought to downplay concerns about cell phones’ safety, and the Federal Communications Commission has followed its example. In 1996, the FCC established cell-phone safety levels based on “specific absorption rate,” or SAR. Phones were required to have a SAR of 1.6 watts or less per kilogram of body weight. In 2013, the American Academy of Pediatrics advised the FCC that its guidelines “do not account for the unique vulnerability and use patterns specific to pregnant women and children.” Nevertheless, the FCC has declined to update its standards. The big concern, however, is how 5G is going to change the conversation: The wireless industry’s determination to bring about the Internet of Things, despite the massive increase in radiation exposure this would unleash, raises the stakes exponentially. Because 5G radiation can only travel short distances, antennas roughly the size of a pizza box will have to be installed approximately every 250 feet to ensure connectivity. “Industry is going to need hundreds of thousands, maybe millions, of new antenna sites in the United States alone,” said Moskowitz, the UC Berkeley researcher. “So people will be bathed in a smog of radiation 24/7.” The Nation's full report, which is well worth reading, can be found here.

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Irony: Facebook employees hate it when their private memos are shared with third parties

Facebook is still in damage control mode after the world found out a shady company like Cambridge Analytica was able to extract user data for 50 million people and use that data to influence the presidential election. It all happened with Facebook’s assistance — the company made that data available to developers without considering that it might be abused. Or perhaps the company did consider it, but it simply didn't care. An internal memo that was leaked on Thursday reveals that Facebook's top execs have been thinking about the “ugly” side effects of sustained growth, although growth remained a top priority for the company. The leak also brings us a twist related to privacy breaches. Facebook employees are witnessing what it's like to have data exposed that they thought was private. It was BuzzFeed that got a hold of an internal memo from Andrew Bosworth that was shared with employees only a day after a shooting death in Chicago was posted on Facebook Live, in June 2016. Bosworth, a top Zuckerberg lieutenant, is known internally for his provocative remarks and his bluntness. Here’s an excerpt from his memo: So we connect more people That can be bad if they make it negative. Maybe it costs a life by exposing someone to bullies. Maybe someone dies in a terrorist attack coordinated on our tools. And still we connect people. The ugly truth is that we believe in connecting people so deeply that anything that allows us to connect more people more often is *de facto* good. It is perhaps the only area where the metrics do tell the true story as far as we are concerned. That isn’t something we are doing for ourselves. Or for our stock price (ha!). It is literally just what we do. We connect people. Period. That’s why all the work we do in growth is justified. All the questionable contact importing practices. All the subtle language that helps people stay searchable by friends. All of the work we do to bring more communication in. The work we will likely have to do in China some day. All of it. Bosworth is practically acknowledging that Facebook can have adverse effects on our lives — and the memo was shared in the summer before the presidential election. https://twitter.com/boztank/status/979478961582325760 What’s weird about the memo is that Bosworth deleted it after it hit the press. He also took to Twitter to distance himself from these remarks. He wrote the note, but doesn’t stand by it. Okay. Zuckerberg also distanced himself from these opinions. We've never believed the ends justify the means. We recognize that connecting people isn't enough by itself. We also need to work to bring people closer together. We changed our whole mission and company focus to reflect this last year. Then again, you can easily argue that the whole Cambridge Analytica scandal happened because of Facebook’s desire for growth at all costs. The company shared all that user data with developers so that more developers create Facebook apps so that more users are entertained inside Facebook. The desire for growth, keeping users hooked on the newsfeed, and the need to make ad-based cash, is also what made possible the Russian meddling in the US election — that includes their ability to create and share fake news and buy ads on the network without any actual interference. Facebook employees, meanwhile, aren’t happy that their internal chats are shared with the world. So let me get this straight, Facebook people do not appreciate having the content that was shared privately with a certain group of people broadcast to a third-party audience? You don’t say! Following BuzzFeed’s scoop, The Verge published reactions from employees. Some took Bosworth's side, others criticized the deletion of the post, and others were annoyed that leakers were operating inside the company. “Deleting things usually looks bad in retrospect,” said one person. “Please don’t feed the fire by giving these individuals more fuel (eg, Facebook execs deleting internal communications”). If we are no longer open and transparent, and instead lock-down and delete, then our culture is also destroyed — but by our own hand.” “How fucking terrible that some irresponsible jerk decided he or she had some god complex that jeopardizes our inner culture and something that makes Facebook great?” a different person said, calling out leakers. Others said leakers can’t really be discovered before sharing internal content. “I don’t think we’ve seen a huge internally leaked data breach, but I’ve always thought our ‘open but punitive’ stance was particularly vulnerable to suicide bombers,” the person said. “We would be foolish to think that we could adequately screen against them in a hiring process at our scale. … We have our representative share of sick people, drug addicts, wife beaters, and suicide bombers. Some of this cannot be mitigated by training. To me, this makes it just a matter of time.” Some people also suggested that Facebook might be infiltrated with foreign agents whose purpose is to destabilize it. ““Imagine that some percentage of leakers are spies for governments,” a person said.” A call to morals or problems of performance would be irrelevant in this case, because dissolution is the intent of those actors. If that’s our threat — and maybe it is, given the current political situation? — then is it even possible to build a system that defaults to open, but that is able to resist these bad actors (or do we need to redesign the system?).” Then some Facebook employees realized that it’s only natural for people to leaked previously shared content given that Facebook’s products are based on sharing stuff with others. Here’s that post: It’s interesting to note that this discussion is about leaks pushing us to be more cognizant of our sharing decisions. The result is that we are incentivized toward stricter audience management and awareness of how our past internal posts may look when re-surfaced today. We blame a few ill-intentioned employees for this change. The non-employee Facebook user base is also experiencing a similar shift: the move toward ephemeral and direct sharing results from realizing that social media posts that were shared broadly and are searchable forever can become a huge liability today. A key difference between the outside discussion and the internal discussion is that the outside blames the Facebook product for nudging people to make those broad sharing decisions years ago, whereas internally the focus is entirely on employees. Others got the irony of the situation too. “Another employee made a similar plea for empathy. “Can we channel our outrage over the mishandling of our information into an empathy for our users’ situation? Can the deletion of a post help us better understand #deletefacebook? How we encourage ourselves to remain open while acknowledging a world that doesn’t always respect the audience and intention fo that information might just be the key to it all. Maybe we should be dogfooding that?” Maybe you should.

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Get free network TV without sticking an ugly HDTV antenna on your window

There are a million different HDTV antennas out there that give you access to free network TV over the air in resolutions up to 1080p Full HD. And truth be told, most of the ones we’ve tried worked quite well. The problem with most models though, is that you have to stick them up on a wall or in a window in order to get decent reception. If you want free OTA TV without having worry about the antenna being an eyesore, definitely check out the ANTOP AT-204BB Photo Frame Amplified Indoor HDTV Antenna. You can place it on your media console or even on a wall near your TV with other pictures, and it fits any 4” x 6” photo you want. Here are some bullet points from the product page: Tv the at-204bwhdtv antenna receives free broadcast high definition over-the-air TV signals Engineered and designed in the USA by ANTOP, the antenna specialists, the ANTOP photo frame at-204bw over-the-air digital TV antenna The smart pass amplifier, an exclusive technology offered only by ANTOP Antenna effectiveness is influenced by the distance from signal origination point, station signal strength level

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Hilarious: LG asked Reddit’s Android users what they think about the notch, then deleted the post

The iPhone X notch cloning business is getting ridiculous, especially when Android makers pretend they’re not copying Apple. Companies like Asus and Huawei went ahead and launched notched devices while taking hits at the iPhone maker and bragging their notch designs are betters. Smaller Chinese companies also unveiled iPhone X clones without explaining their design decision. Earlier this week, however, OnePlus thought it’d be best to try to get in front of the issue, and went out of its way to convince customers that Apple’s notch design is the only way to go. LG then followed with a borderline hilarious move. The company, which is already working on an LG G7 that supposedly packs a top notch like the iPhone X, went on Reddit to ask Android fans what they think about notches. Things went sour fast, and the post was deleted. Spotted initially by Android Police, the Reddit post titled What are your thoughts on “the Notch”? was removed. Apparently, people really hate the notch, and LG wasn’t really happy with the answers it received. Here’s what the post read originally: We’ve seen a LOT of comments around “The Notch” over the past few weeks, from people who love the quick access to the menu to those that hate the wasted screen space. We would love to gather some more feedback to share with our R&D team - and this is where you come in. So… what do you think? Love the Notch? Or is it Notch your thing? Let's take a second to appreciate how hilarious this post is. We've got a major smartphone maker asking Reddit users what they think about a phone feature that's not officially confirm to hit LG devices, a design was made popular by Apple's iPhone. Moderators then locked the post, preventing others from replying. At this time, the post has 376 upvotes and 907 comments. The account that started the tread is called LG_Support and was verified by Reddit’s moderators. While it’s always possible that someone tried to pose as LG execs, the more likely explanation is that LG hated all the backlash. Does that mean LG won’t go forward with its notch plans? That’s hardly likely. The handset that was shown behind closed doors at MWC was months in the making, and it’s not like LG will just cancel it and replace it with something else just because the Reddit Android community hates notches. What is interesting about LG’s G7, or whatever they’re going to call it, is that LG ordered a revision of the phone, according to reports that emerged in mid-January. Other rumors said that some employees were not happy that LG decided to copy Apple design. The LG G7 should be launched at some point in summer.

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