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Archive for July 31, 2015

M 5.2 – 127km ENE of Rainbow Beach, Australia

DYFI? – III

Time
2015-08-01 04:46:24 UTC
2015-08-01 14:46:24 +10:00 at epicenter
Location
25.391°S 154.229°E
Depth
10.00 km (6.21 mi)

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Categories: earthquakes, Internet Tags: ,

With Some Work, Cortana Could Be Windows 10’s Killer Application

Although I cringe at the realization, I am an old school computer user. I have been tinkering and messing around with computers since the early days of the Commodore PET and C64. Back in the day, hammering away at command prompts was the norm. And with “newer” machines came things like manually assigning interrupts via jumpers, tweaking QEMM settings, plugging in SRAM cache, and worrying about which slot a particular expansion card was in, among many other annoying quirks.

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M 5.6 – 133km ENE of Rainbow Beach, Australia

PAGER – GREEN ShakeMap – V DYFI? – IV

Time
2015-08-01 03:38:44 UTC
2015-08-01 13:38:44 +10:00 at epicenter
Location
25.368°S 154.282°E
Depth
10.00 km (6.21 mi)

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Categories: earthquakes, Internet Tags: ,

Samsung Galaxy Note 5 and S6 edge+ shown off in leaked press images

Earlier this month, some blurry photos claimed to give us a sneak peek at the Galaxy Note 5 and Galaxy S6 edge+. That was all well and good at the time, but today we’re getting a new leak that offers a much better look at both phones.

Some press renders of the Samsung Galaxy Note 5 and Galaxy S6 edge+ have found their way online courtesy of @evleaks. Both images look legit, and just as past leaks have suggested, the Galaxy Note 5 appears to borrow from the design of the Galaxy S6. Meanwhile, the Galaxy S6 edge+ looks pretty much like a bigger Galaxy S6 edge.

Samsung is holding an event on August 13, and based on past rumors and the timing of this leak, it’s looking likely that the Galaxy Note 5 and Galaxy S6 edge+ will both be revealed there. The question is, do you prefer the Galaxy Note 5’s flat display and included S Pen or the Galaxy S6 edge+’s dual curved edge screen?

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This Week In (Marginal) Tesla News: Model S Clone For $32,000

Surprise, surprise a Chinese start-up has come up with a cheap Tesla Motors Model S clone.

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Remembering Sports Phone and 976-1313: When sports info was a phone call away


Remembering Sports Phone and 976-1313: When sports info was a phone call away
In a time before results were accessible anytime, anywhere, most sports fans desperate for information had nowhere to turn other than brief updates after each hour on all-news radio stations. Enter Sports Phone in 1975 to offer updated roundups — in 58 seconds — for a small fee.

July 31, 2015 at 09:15PM
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Hands on with Belkin’s new line of mobile accessories

In April, Belkin announced and began releasing a whole line of products specifically aimed to make your Samsung Galaxy S6 experience more awesome. We already reviewed Belkin’s new Qi Wireless Charging Pad, which was a part of this new collection. Today we’re sharing the rest of the accessories we were sent for review. Even though these products are marketed with the Galaxy S6 in mind, only the Grip Candy SE case is S6-specific. All the other accessories will work great with any other Android device out there. I used them with a Galaxy S6 and Nexus 6 with typical every day uses. Do they stand out from the saturated mobile accessory crowd? Let’s find out…

Grip Candy SE

Belkin Grip Candy SE 7
Belkin Grip Candy SE 1
Belkin Grip Candy SE 2
Belkin Grip Candy SE 3
Belkin Grip Candy SE 4
Belkin Grip Candy SE 5
Belkin Grip Candy SE 6

The S6 I have been using with this Belkin Grip Candy SE is my wife’s personal device. True story, one of the main reasons she went with a Galaxy S6 when she got a new phone was because the Galaxy series phones get cute cases. Right when she got it she bought a $40 Kate Spade case, and she was pretty happy with it. When I removed the Kate Spade case and put on the Grip Candy SE case, I thought as soon as I was done checking it out and taking pictures with it, the Kate Spade case would go straight back on. But it didn’t. The wife realized how thick the Kate Spade case was and how much she enjoyed how small the Grip Candy SE made the S6 feel. The case feels so nice that it’s still on the phone.

So short story long, the Grip Candy SE is a pretty slim case. It’s not the grippiest, nor do I think it will absorb as much energy in a fall as your typical Amzer or Cruzerlite TPU case, but it’s better than nothing. The case comes in two colors combos: Clear/Backtop and Petal Pink/Pinot. At the time of writing this, Clear/Backtop doesn’t look like it’s available from Belkin’s website. Regardless, it is very expensive for a phone case at $29.99. That said, The holes are the right places and the buttons are easy to to find and access. It’s a very minimal impact case.

Is it worth $30? I’m not sure. I’m a huge cheapskate and don’t like using cases in the first place. Price aside, I would for sure recommend this case. But $30 feels steep.

You can pick up the Belkin Grip Candy SE on Belkin’s website or stores that carry Belkin now.

MIXIT↑™ Metallic Car Charger and Micro-USB Cable

Belkin MIXIT 5
Belkin MIXIT 1
Belkin MIXIT 2
Belkin MIXIT 3
Belkin MIXIT 4

With the Belkin MIXIT Metallic Car Charger and USB cable, I’m mostly going to talk about the feel, construction and look of the mobile accessories. With these, I feel like I need to start off with the price. The car charger will set you back $29.99 and the micro-USB cable, $24.99. There are highly-rated car chargers and cables out there with equivalent or better specs for a fraction of the price, so the only reason I can think of to explain why you would want to buy these MIXIT Metallic accessories at those prices is if you’re super into looks and being matchy-matchy. My wife is way into her gold Galaxy S6 and was stoked to have matching gold charging accessories. If you really really care, the gold of the MIXIT Metallic series is a little more rose gold than the S6, but you’ll still look *so* fancy. If you’re into that sort of thing, these are pretty awesome.

Other than the cool metallic looks, I will say that the car charger and cable feel high quality. The cases for the USB and micro-USB plugs are metal. There’s no play in the plugs. You’re not buying a $3 eBay special.

As for specs, the MIXIT Car Charger is a 2.4 Amp car charger, so it will charge your phone or tablet relatively quickly in the car. It only has one USB port, so only one device can be charged at a time. Belkin claims the charger will take an iPad from no charge to fully charged in 6.2 hours. I did not test this. I don’t have an iPad, nor do I want to leave my car running for 6.2 hours.

When it comes to price, one thing that may attribute to the higher price tag is that the MIXIT charger has intelligent circuitry that Belkin claims wI’ll measure voltage and automatically adjust power output, ensuring that your device stays safe in the event of an unexpected power surge. “The charger is also protected by a Belkin Connected Equipment Warranty. If your device is damaged by an electrical charge while properly connected to the charger, Belkin will repair or replace it up to a value of $2,500.” So, sorry Vertu Signature Touch owners, you’re not fully covered.

The MIXIT Metallic micro-USB cable is available in metallic black, pearl white, gold, silver, and gray. They have matching matte metallic finishes for the car charger and braided cable jackets. Unlike most micro-USB cables, the Belkin MIXIT Metallic cable has aluminum shells to help protect it. You’ll notice it quickly because it feels colder when touching it than your typical plastic cables. Or hotter if it’s left in the sun, I suppose.

The MIXIT cable is also a sync cable. So in addition to sending your device charge, you can connect it to your computer or car and transfer data or music.

Lastly, the cable is 4 feet long, so it should reach anywhere reasonable in your car while charging.

You can purchase the Belkin MIXIT Metallic Car Charger here and micro-usb cable here.

Vent Mount

Belkin Vent Mount 1
Belkin Vent Mount 2
Belkin Vent Mount 3
Belkin Vent Mount 4
Belkin Vent Mount 5

Out of all the accessories Belkin sent me, this one surprised me the most. Ease of use isn’t great, and I’m on the fence with how safe a vent mount is for your car’s vents, but I REALLY like the position of a vent mount in my vehicles. In my state of residence, California, there are certain places you can legally attach devices to your windshield. So a vent mount provides a nice alternative that is probably within arm’s length and within a normal field of view when operating your vehicle.

The Belkin Vent Mount has a few features that make it work. For starters, it has two different size grips, so Belkin claims it can be used with any vehicle. Once inserted into vents, it can be rotated a full 360 degrees so that you can easily orient your phone to your liking. Additionally, there are cable holders behind the Vent Mount to help with cable management and prevent you from having to search for your charging cable whenever you get in your car. Lastly, the brackets on the mount extend and are forced back together by a spring to securely hold your device. Belkin claims it will fit phones up to 3.3 inches wide. It fit my Nexus just fine.

Now, a few thoughts on the Belkin Vent Mount, some good and some bad:

  1. I get nervous about breaking my vents every time I install the Vent Mount. This beef is more for vent mounts in general, not just the Belkin Vent Mount.
  2. It fit and worked great with my newer vehicle. However, I took the Vent Mount on a trip home and tried it with my parents’ old truck, and it was not as convenient with the truck’s old floppy vents. Traveling with the Belkin Vent Mount was great because of its small size, but if your vehicle has floppy vents, be wary that a vent mount may be difficult to use.
  3. The Belkin Vent Mount was very difficult to install the phone one-handed. Maybe my difficulties stem from trying to install my giant Nexus 6, but there are easier mounts out there for installation. However, phone removal is a piece of cake.
  4. The $24.99 price tag feels a little steep. There are very similar vent mounts out there for less. Keep in mind that Belkin is a well-established and trusted brand that provides warranties on their devices.

You can check out and purchase the Belkin Vent Mount here.

Summary

If I could sum up my thoughts on these Belkin mobile accessories, I would say they’re good quality but more expensive than I would like. However, the Mixit Metallic series accessories do come in some pretty cool colors and may be worth the scrilla for the looks. But your opinion is what really matters. What do you think? Do you have your eye on any of these products? Do you already have any of these accesories and think they’re awesome? Think they’re overpriced? Let us know your thoughts and questions by commenting below.

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