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Facebook Reminds Us There’s Life Beyond Facebook

Facebook is introducing Moments to the top of everyone’s News Feeds. These Moments are designed to encourage people to share more stuff with their family and friends. However, they should also help us all remember that there’s a whole world of things happening outside of Facebook.

For many of us, Facebook bookends our days. We check Facebook in bed in the morning, and then check it again last thing at night. And, of course, we check it constantly throughout the day to find out what our friends and family are doing at any given moment.

However, there is a big waiting to be explored offline. And as much as social networking sites have broadened our horizons, they have also made some of us shun anything but our own inner circles.

This is why Facebook is struggling with its fake news problem, with many people choosing to believe the stories placed under their noses rather than actually dig a little deeper in order to find the truth.

Facebook’s new initiative should help us all keep some perspective, as Moments remind us that there’s bigger things going on in the world than what your Uncle Bert ate for lunch.

Facebook Wishes You a Happy Holidays

With Moments, Facebook will be placing messages at the top of everyone’s News Feeds. These will focus on a specific event or happening, including cultural moments both past and present. Facebook has been testing this for some time, with recent examples being Thanksgiving and the Supermoon.

The first message everyone should see is one wishing them Happy Holidays. And users will be able to choose one of 18 custom-designed cards to share with their Facebook friends.

Facebook is essentially trying to outdoodle Google Doodles here. With Doodles, Google uses the envious power and popularity of its homepage to tell us all about a momentous occasion. And Facebook is now doing pretty much the same thing, but adding some encouragement for us all to share.

What do you think of Facebook’s new Moments? Is this a welcome initiative helping people learn about the world around them? Or just another way of Facebook encouraging us all to share anything and everything with our friends? Please let us know in the comments below!

Microsoft Delays New Windows 10 Timeline Feature

Microsoft has delayed Windows 10’s new Timeline feature. We don’t know when it will be ready for its debut, but we do know it won’t be ready in time for the Windows 10 Fall Creators Update. This is thanks to a single tweet from Joe Belfiore, and not from the company itself.

This fall, Microsoft is due to deliver the Windows 10 Fall Creators Update. It should be packed full of new features, one of which was expected to be a new Timeline feature the company announced at Microsoft Build 2017 in May. Unfortunately, Timeline is not quite ready.

Switching Devices Without Fuss or Bother

Timeline is a new feature designed to make it easy for Windows 10 users to switch devices without any fuss or bother. Essentially you’ll be able to stop working on something on your PC and start working on it on another device without doing anything more than opening the relevant app.

This won’t just be limited to Windows 10 devices either. With a little help from Cortana, Timeline will even extend to certain Microsoft apps on Android and iOS. For anyone familiar with Apple products, Timeline works in much the same way as Continuity on macOS and iOS.

Unfortunately, we now know Timeline won’t be ready in time for the Windows 10 Fall Creators Update as expected. And it appears that Microsoft never intended to include it in the Fall Creators Update. That is at least according to Microsoft executive Joe Belfiore, who tweeted the following:

The thread continues with Tom Warren of The Verge asking why the new Timeline feature has been delayed. To which Belfiore insists it actually hasn’t been delayed. Instead, he suggests the timeline (excuse the pun) has remained the same because the “timing wasn’t specific on these”.

Windows Insiders Will Get First Dibs

The new Timeline feature is now set to arrive after the Windows 10 Fall Creators Update has been pushed out. As usual, people participating in the Windows Insider Program will get to see it first, with the rest of us mere mortals forced to wait a while longer. Still, at least we can spend that time complaining about Microsoft’s legendarily poor communication skills.

Are you currently using Windows 10? Or are you still persevering with an older version of Windows? Do you like the direction Microsoft is heading in with Windows 10? Do you think the new Timeline feature is a good one? Please let us know in the comments below!

Share Google Apps With Your Family, Apple Sells 1 Billion Iphones… [tech News Digest]

Google lets you share apps with your family, Apple sells 1 billion iPhones, Microsoft releases an iPhone camera app, Amazon promotes Kickstarter products, and PewDiePie catches Pokemon using a drone.

Google Launches Its Family Library

Google has launched the Google Play Family Library, which allows six members of a family to share everything they purchase from Google Play. In a nutshell this means you only have to buy that app, game, movie, or book once, and everyone in your family will still have access to it.

One user is assigned the role of Family Manager, and they get to add and remove other members, and control the default payment option. A credit card can be shared amongst all members, but everyone can still use other payment methods such as gift cards.

“Today’s families have a lot of devices, and it should be easy to share content no matter where we are or what we’re doing. All purchases added to Family Library are available across Android devices, and movies, TV shows, and books can be enjoyed on iOS devices and the web.”

By default, all eligible content bought from Google Play will be shared amongst all family members. However, everyone has the option to share or not share individual purchases, saving any potential embarrassments. Parental controls are retained even if children are included.

The Google Play Family Library will be rolling out across Australia, Brazil, Canada, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Mexico, New Zealand, the UK, and the U.S. this week. Unlike Apple’s Family Sharing feature, the Google Play Family Library works across platforms, including Android, ChromeOS, Chrome, and iOS.

Apple Has Now Sold 1 Billion iPhones

Apple has now sold over 1 billion iPhones worldwide. That’s 1 billion smartphones sold in just over nine years, with the original iPhone being released in June 2007. Current CEO Tim Cook announced the news at an employee meeting in Cupertino, California yesterday (July 27), saying:

“iPhone has become one of the most important, world-changing and successful products in history. It’s become more than a constant companion. iPhone is truly an essential part of our daily life and enables much of what we do throughout the day. Last week we passed another major milestone when we sold the billionth iPhone. We never set out to make the most, but we’ve always set out to make the best products that make a difference. Thank you to everyone at Apple for helping change the world every day.”

Since Steve Jobs announced the first-generation iPhone in 2007 there have been 10 different generations of iPhone released, encompassing 13 different models. The latest is the iPhone SE, with the iPhone 7 expected to be released later this year.

Apple is very fortunate in the timing of this announcement, as it comes just a day after Apple reported its latest financial results. While it’s still considerably richer than most other companies in the world, Apple’s hardware sales are on the decline.

So, Apple should celebrate the 1 billion iPhones sold, but then get back to the drawing board to mastermind its future direction.

Microsoft Pix Is an iPhone Camera App

Microsoft has released yet another app for the iPhone (proving Microsoft secretly loves Apple), and this one may just be the best camera app available. Microsoft Pix, developed by the company’s research labs, is able to do various things your standard camera app cannot, and it’s completely free to download and use.

There are three main components of Microsoft Pix:

  1. It takes 10 photos in quick succession before and after you click the shutter, allowing you to capture exactly the right moment.
  2. It dynamically adjusts the best photo, removing any noise, and fixing the light and colors, all without you lifting a finger.
  3. It creates a Live Image every time it detects some motion, the result being a short looping video.

There are plenty of examples of Microsoft Pix at work in the press release announcing its release. Microsoft Pix is available right now on the iTunes App Store, with Microsoft promising an Android version is in the works.

Amazon Adds the Kickstarter Collection

Amazon has launched a new section dedicated to products successfully funded through Kickstarter campaigns. The Kickstarter Collection contains over 300 products originally funded through Kickstarter, and now available for the proles to buy. Categories include Electronics, Books, and Toys & Games.


This is an intriguing addition to, because products funded through Kickstarter often fade into obscurity as soon as the campaign has ended. This way, people who missed the chance to fund the making of something can still purchase that product without having to search high and low for it.

Jim Adkins, Vice President of Amazon, said in the press release:

“At Amazon, we work hard to offer the widest possible selection of products so that customers can find anything and everything they might want to buy online. Working with Kickstarter is a great way for us to hear directly from customers what products they care about, since they truly hold the power to bring these products to life.”

The added bonus, of course, is that there’s zero chance of you losing money this way, as these products are all actually being manufactured and not subject to delays, disagreements, and disappointment.

PewDiePie Catches Pokemon With a Drone

And finally, PewDiePie has figured out a way of making Pokemon Go easier to play, but it does involve a certain amount of peril. Not for the man himself, but for his smartphone, which he had to strap to a drone in order to make his evil plan work. With his phone strapped in for the ride, he sends the drone out on a reconnaissance mission.

Lo and behold, it spots a roving Pokemon, and he’s able to catch it in a pokeball without even leaving his apartment. This is lazy, sure, but are you telling me you wouldn’t do the same if you had earned millions of dollars from YouTube and had nothing better to do all day than mess around? After all, he got another smash-hot video out of it.

Your Views on Today’s Tech News

Will you be making use of Google Play Family Library? What’s your immediate reaction to Apple selling 1 billion iPhones? If you’re an iPhone owner, will you be downloading Microsoft Pix? Have you ever back a Kickstarter campaign? Are you bored of playing Pokemon Go yet?

Let us know your thoughts on the Tech News of the day by posting to the comments section below. Because a healthy discussion is always welcome.

Tech News Digest is a daily column paring the technology news of the day down into bite-sized chunks that are easy to read and perfect for sharing.

Image Credit: Hoffnungsschimmer via Flickr

Tesla Energy Is Live, Grooveshark Is Dead, Microsoft Guesses Your Age, & More… [tech News Digest]

Tesla Energy lives, Grooveshark dies, Microsoft knows how old you are, Night Terrors invades your home, download P.T. from PlayStation Store, and elders react (badly) to Mortal Kombat X.

Elon Musk Unveils Tesla Energy

Elon Musk has unveiled Tesla Energy, his company’s ambitious plan to change the way homes and business use and store energy. There are two elements to Tesla Energy: The Powerwall, a home system comprising of single batteries up to 10 kWh, and Powerpack, an “infinitely scalable” system for businesses that comprises of 100 kWh battery blocks.

The Tesla Energy system is a rechargeable lithium-ion battery unit designed to store solar energy for when it’s needed. The capacity of these batteries means Tesla Energy could enable consumers to live off the grid, as well as bring energy to homes in remote areas to which the existing grid doesn’t even extend.

Never short of blowing his own trumpet, Musk suggested Tesla Energy could change the “entire energy infrastructure of the world”. While that may be true, he’ll need to persuade people to actually buy the batteries first, which start at $3,000 even before you add in the cost of installation and solar panels.

The Music Industry Kills Grooveshark

Grooveshark has finally bitten the dust after many years of fighting off legal challenges from the music industry. In the end, the music streaming service was faced with a stark choice: either pay up to $736 million in fines, or shut down and hand over the website, apps, and patents to the record labels it has been battling against for years.

Suffice to say, it chose the latter, and Grooveshark is now in the hands of Universal Music Group, Sony Music, and Warner Music Group. As part of the settlement, Grooveshark published an apology to those companies, admitting:

We started out nearly ten years ago with the goal of helping fans share and discover music. But despite [the] best of intentions, we made very serious mistakes. We failed to secure licenses from rights holders for the vast amount of music on the service. That was wrong. We apologize. Without reservation.

As a final farewell to fans, Grooveshark listed a number of alternative music streaming services, all of which are, unlike Grooveshark, entirely legal. The list includes Spotify, Deezer, Google Play, Beats Music, and Rdio. But not Tidal. Never Tidal.

Microsoft Offends Both Young & Old Alike

Microsoft thinks it can guess how old you are simply by looking at your photograph. Unfortunately,, the website showing off its face recognition API seems to be offending both old and young alike.

To test Microsoft’s age-guessing skills, just visit the website and either search for a photo of yourself that already exists online or upload your own. The #HowOldRobot will instantly guess your age, but there is no guarantee it will do so accurately.

Night Terrors Brings Nightmares to Life

A new augmented reality game promises to bring your nightmares to life, literally. Night Terrors turns your home from a place of sanctuary into a cauldron of horrifying imagery, with photo-realistic monsters stalking your hallways and landings.

The plot — to save the girl and survive — is very simple, but if done well this could, as the developers hope, be “the scariest game ever made”. Night Terrors is currently being funded through an Indiegogo campaign, with the goal being to raise $70,000.

You Can Still Download P.T. for PlayStation

Although Konami has delisted P.T. from the PlayStation Store, that doesn’t mean it’s unavailable. If you have downloaded it to your PS4 then you can continue to enjoy the frightening thrills, and even those who have since deleted it from their system can download it again from their Library.

P.T., which stands for Playable Teaser, is a short horror game which offers more spooky scares than a lot of full-length titles. Unfortunately, Silent Hills, the game P.T. was designed to promote, has since been canceled. It’s a great game, but whatever you do, don’t pay $1,500 for a PlayStation 4 which has P.T. pre-installed on it. Unless you’re a mug with money to burn.

Watch Elders React to Mortal Kombat X

And finally, this video shows what happens when you lock a group of older people in a room together and make them fight to the death… on Mortal Kombat X. Sure, watching them do it in real-life, Battle Royale-style, would be more fun, but this will have to do.

What’s interesting is the disconnect between the way they play the game and their attitudes towards it afterwards. They all seem to love digitally kicking the crap out of each other, but in their minds Mortal Kombat X still shouldn’t exist, simply because it’s violent. The hypocrites. [H/T Game Informer]

Your Views on Today’s Tech News

Is Tesla Energy the future or just pie-in-the-sky thinking by Elon Musk? Are you sad to see Grooveshark finally killed off after all these years? How close did Microsoft come to guessing your real age?

Let us know your thoughts on the Tech News of the day by posting to the comments section below. Because a healthy discussion is always welcome.

E3 2017: Microsoft Unveils The Xbox One X

Microsoft has unveiled the Xbox One X, which the company describes as “the world’s most powerful console”. The Xbox One X IS a new games console with increased power and improved performance, but it IS NOT a next-gen machine. Which makes it a luxury rather than a necessity.

Something strange is happening in the world of console gaming. There used to be defined generations, so the sixth generation saw the PlayStation 2, Xbox, GameCube, and Dreamcast competing, as an example. Now, we have multiple consoles being released within the same generation. Which is confusing.

From Project Scorpio to the Xbox One X

The Xbox One X is the latest example of this trend. The eighth generation of gaming consoles comprises of the Wii U, the PlayStation 4, and the Xbox One. Except that Nintendo has already moved onto the Switch, Sony has released the PS4 Pro, and Microsoft has released the Xbox One S. And now we have the Xbox One X further muddying the waters.

Microsoft unveiled the Xbox One X at E3 2017. Its reveal wasn’t a big surprise, as Microsoft has been teasing a new version of the Xbox One for some time now. The Xbox One X is the final name of the mysterious Project Scorpio, which was first hinted at this time last year, during E3 2016.

The Xbox One X is essentially an upgraded version of the normal Xbox One and Xbox One S. It’s powered by a 6-teraflop GPU clocked at 1.172 GHz, boasts 12GB of RAM, and comes with a 1TB hard drive. It also boasts a 4K UHD Blu-ray player, a built-in power supply, and three USB 3.0 ports.

In terms of games, the Xbox One X is capable of delivering true 4K gaming. A selection of future titles (including Forza Motorsport 7) will offer native 4K, while enhanced versions of existing titles (including Minecraft, Gears of War 4, and Final Fantasy XV) will be upscaled to take advantage of the new hardware.

A Luxury Rather Than a Necessity

The Xbox One X is being released worldwide on November 7th. In the U.S. it will cost $499, which is $100 more than the PlayStation 4 Pro. Despite the high asking price, the Xbox One X should sell well. But remember, folks, this is just an enhanced Xbox One, so while you may WANT to upgrade, you certainly don’t NEED to.

Do you currently own an Xbox One? Or an Xbox One S? What do you think of the new Xbox One X? Is it a necessary upgrade? Or a luxury reserved for the richest gamers? How likely are you to drop $500 on an Xbox One X? Please let us know in the comments below!

Amazon Unveils The First Waterproof Kindle

Amazon has unveiled the All-New Kindle Oasis. And while it’s still an expensive proposition, it also boasts some improvements over its predecessor. The biggest of which is its ability to survive getting wet, which means, for the first time ever, you can feel confident reading your Kindle in the bath.

The Amazon Kindle has fundamentally changed the way we read books, and there’s no going back. Sure, real books made out of paper are still a thing, and still sell in huge numbers, but the future is undoubtedly digital. Which is why there’s room for a premium product like the Kindle Oasis.

For Serious Readers With Serious Cash

The first Kindle Oasis was released last year as a premium product for serious readers with serious cash. In our review of the original Kindle Oasis, we admitted it was good, but didn’t think it was worth the money. So much so that we’d still recommend the Kindle Paperwhite to this day.

However, Amazon has now taken the wraps off of the All-New Kindle Oasis. The headline-grabbing difference between the old Oasis and new Oasis is that it’s waterproof up to two-meters in depth for up to 60 minutes, being the first Kindle to boast such a capability. But there’s more too.

The Kindle Oasis Is Designed to Feel Like a Book

The All-New Kindle Oasis boasts a 7-inch touchscreen with a resolution of 300 PPI (Pixels Per Inch), the highest Amazon has ever offered on a Kindle. This means you can get 30 percent more text on the screen at any one time, leading to fewer page turns.

The screen is encased by an aluminum back with a unique ergonomic design to let you read comfortably for hours without getting an aching hand. In essence, the Kindle Oasis is designed to feel like a book, with the center of gravity shifted to your palm.

The All-New Kindle Oasis also boasts a fast-charging capability which lets it go “from no battery to fully charged in less than two hours”. It also has Audible built-in, so you can easily switch from reading an eBook to listening to an audiobook and back again.

In Amazon’s press release for the All-New Kindle Oasis, Dave Limp, Senior Vice President of Amazon Devices and Services, said:

“Ten years ago, we introduced our first Kindle with the mission of delivering any book ever written in 60 seconds or less,With a larger 7-inch, 300 ppi display, waterproof design, and Audible built right in, the all-new Kindle Oasis is our most advanced Kindle ever. Its thin, light, and waterproof design allows readers to stay engaged in the author’s world in even more places than ever before.”

The the All-New Kindle Oasis is available to pre-order today, with Amazon starting to ship orders on October 31 (just in time to read scary stories over Halloween). At launch, prices start at $249.99 (for 8GB of storage), rising to $279.99 (for 32GB of storage).

Can Amazon Justify This Asking Price?

This isn’t a review, so we don’t know for sure whether or not the All-New Kindle Oasis is worth the asking price. However, it’s a lot of money to spend on an eReader. It all boils down to whether you have the money to spend, and read enough eBooks every year to justify the outlay.

Do you own an Amazon Kindle? If so, which model did you buy? Would you really like to own an All-New Kindle Oasis? Or do you think it’s just too expensive? Have you ever wished Your Kindle was waterproof? Is that a game changer? Please let us know in the comments below!

Youtube Kids Tries To Make Parents’ Lives Easier

YouTube is making a few changes to the YouTube Kids app. All of which are designed to help make parents’ lives easier. This includes multiple profiles, better parental controls, and a new tailored experience which takes the actual ages of your individual children into consideration.

There is a wide variety of content available on YouTube The YouTube Starter Kit: 20 YouTubers Worth Watching There’s a treasure trove of original content on YouTube. However, it’s difficult to know where to begin. Let us help you with our list of 20 YouTubers that form the perfect YouTube starter kit. Read More , and some of it isn’t suitable for anyone under the age of 18. So in 2015, YouTube launched YouTube Kids, a child-friendly app designed to filter out the age-inappropriate content. YouTube Kids is good, but there is room for improvement.

Customize YouTube Kids for Your Children

YouTube is rolling out a new version of YouTube Kids which adds several features we suspect parents have requested over the years. The new options will appear when you, as the parent or guardian, signs into YouTube Kids with your Google account. You can then customize YouTube Kids.

The new setup process is designed to give you more information about the app itself, letting you make informed choices before the kids even get their hands on the app. After that, you can create profiles for all of your children, essentially customizing the YouTube Kids for each child.

These profiles work across all devices, and even take the age of each child into consideration. Younger children will see less text than older children, for example. Each child can also create a secret passcode needed to access their profile, although parents can override it, naturally.

Profiles are available in Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Ghana, India, Jamaica, Japan, Kenya, Malaysia, Mexico, Nepal, New Zealand, Nigeria, Pakistan, Peru, Philippines, Singapore, South Africa, South Korea, Sri Lanka, Tanzania, Uganda, United States, and Zimbabwe.

Help Make YouTube Kids Better for Everyone

These changes are all very welcome, but don’t address the biggest issue parents have with YouTube Kids of inappropriate content Parents and Teens Don’t Understand Each Other’s Internets There comes a time in every parent’s life, when you realize that you’re finally out of touch with what kids are “into” these days. Read More slipping through the net. On that score, YouTube admits the system isn’t perfect, but urges parents to flag content to help make YouTube Kids better for everyone.

Do your children use YouTube Kids? Are you pleased with the content available through YouTube Kids? Or have you ever seen something inappropriate? What do you think of the new changes? How else should YouTube improve the app? The comments are open below!

Duolingo Plus Makes It Easier To Learn A New Language

Duolingo has launched a paid subscription service designed to give language learners a leg-up. Paid subscribers will gain a couple of advantages over free users, all while keeping Duolingo in business. However, Duolingo is committed to continuing to offer free language learning for everyone.

We should all learn a new language. Unfortunately, doing so isn’t easy. Duolingo at least makes the whole thing fun, but that comes at a cost. So much so that its CEO Luis von Ahn claims the company is spending $42,000 per day. No wonder Duolingo is launching a paid subscription service…

The Advantages of Duolingo Plus

Duolingo’s new subscription service, called Duolingo Plus, offers two distinct advantages over its free offering. First, it removes all ads from the service. And second, it offers offline learning. Duolingo claims these two features users have been requesting for some time.

In other words, Duolingo Plus is designed to complement, rather than kill, the basic Duolingo offering. To this end the company is taking a soft-sell approach. Duolingo is saying if you have the money and inclination to subscribe, please do so, but if not, please carry on learning for free.

The ability to download lessons to learn offline is a particularly good idea. As von Ahn suggests in the blog post announcing Duolingo Plus, users will now be able to continue learning while flying to a new country, or while commuting to work on public transport.

Duolingo Plus is initially only available on Android, but will be coming to iOS soon. Duolingo Plus, which is priced at $9.99-per-month, is the culmination of Duolingo’s attempts to become self-sufficient, with ads and in-app purchases also helping it bring in the money it clearly needs to remain viable.

You Can Still Learn for Free

Despite these recent attempts at monetization, Duolingo maintains it is committed to helping everyone learn languages for free. The idea is to keep the base offering free while raking in much-needed cash from those willing to pay for extra features. Which sounds eminently sensible.

Have you used Duolingo to learn a language? How far through the course did you get? Is it a good way of learning a language? What do you think of Duolingo’s attempts at monetization? Are you interested in Duolingo Plus? Please let us know in the comments below!

Windows Updates Are Set To Get Less Annoying

Microsoft is finally ready to make Windows Update less annoying, at least for Windows 10 users. Under the new system, Windows 10 updates should be smaller in size, be downloaded more efficiently, and put less strain on your system resources.

The key here is Microsoft’s new Unified Update Platform (UUP), which is coming to every platform apart from Xbox One over the next six months. According to the Windows Blog post explaining the change, UUP will “enable differential downloads for all devices built on the Mobile and PC OS.”

In a nutshell, differential downloads means that “only the changes that have been made since the last time you updated your device” will be downloaded and installed. Which is a major change from the current system which downloads and installs full builds over the top of previous builds.

As a result of UUP and differential downloads, “users can expect their download size to decrease by approximately 35% when going from one major update of Windows to another.” In addition to this, Windows Update will be doing most of the work in the cloud, which should lead to “faster checks for update operations.”

An Important Change Happening Behind the Scenes

It’s important to note that most people won’t notice these changes being made to the Windows Update experience. Everything will look and feel very similar, with the improvements all happening behind the scenes. Still, while it’s not the sexiest change in the world, making the experience of updating your Windows 10 device easier and more efficient is an important one.

UUP is being rolled out to Windows 10 Mobile devices first, with PCs, HoloLens, and Internet of Things devices to follow. Windows Insiders should notice the change before the end of the year, with everyone else being invited to the party after the Windows 10 Creators Update goes live.

Have you upgraded to Windows 10 yet? If so, how are you finding the process of updating to the latest builds? Is the change to UUP and differential downloads a good one? Or are you more excited about the new Creators Update? Please let us know in the comments below!

Image Credit: Cy Evans via Flickr