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Rockstar apologizes for broken GTA remasters and pledges to fix bugs

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Rockstar Games has apologized for the shoddy quality of Grand Theft Auto: The Trilogy – Definitive Edition. It plans to fix “the unexpected technical issues” and improve the three games in the collection.

“We want to sincerely apologize to everyone who has encountered issues playing these games,” the publisher said. “The updated versions of these classic games did not launch in a state that meets our own standards of quality, or the standards our fans have come to expect.” The first update is scheduled to arrive in the coming days and it will “address a number of issues.”

An update regarding the unexpected technical issues with Grand Theft Auto: The Trilogy – The Definitive Edition. https://t.co/YP4pkOLQmGpic.twitter.com/AsfYPuMI0d

— Rockstar Games (@RockstarGames) November 19, 2021

It didn’t take long for players to start sharing clips of bugs and glitches on social media after the remastered collection of GTA III, GTA: Vice City and GTA: San Andreas arrived last week. Digital Foundry took a deep dive into GTA III and found there were “issues that are so blatant and jarring and ridiculous, it’s hard to understand how the game made its way through quality control.”

What’s more, Rockstar pulled the PC version of the bundle soon after launch to “remove some data files that were unintentionally included in the new versions of these games” (those are believed to include files related to the infamous San Andreas “Hot Coffee” mod). The collection was available to buy again a few days later. Rockstar Launcher services were unavailable for over a day too, making the collection and the PC versions of Grand Theft Auto Online and Red Dead Online unplayable during that time.

Soon after Rockstar announced the release date for the trilogy in October, it removed the original versions the games from digital storefronts. Now, the classic versions of GTA III, Vice City and San Andreas are returning to PC as a bundle on the Rockstar Store. Players who buy the remastered trilogy on PC by June 30th will receive the originals at no extra cost.

Meanwhile, Rockstar has asked everyone to refrain from attacking developers on social media. “We would kindly ask our community to please maintain a respectful and civil discourse around this release as we work through these issues,” it said. Grove Street Games, which is behind ports of several other Rockstar titles, worked on these remasters.

Source: https://www.engadget.com/gta-trilogy-patch-remaster-rockstar-games-195157534.html?src=rss
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The Article Was Written/Published By: Kris Holt

Google Assistant Should Be Ashamed of Its Smart Home Routines

For years I’ve said that automation is the key to great smart homes. Voice controls are nice, but a system that anticipates your needs is better. Despite preferring Google smart home devices, I can’t switch to them entirely. Why? Because Google Assistant routines are trash. Google should be ashamed.

Automation comes in several forms in the smart home world. Traditionally to get great automation, you’d want a smart home hub like Hubitat or Home Assistant. And while it’s true, Hubitat’s automation capabilities outstrip Google or Alexa by far; the truth is most average people don’t need a traditional smart home hub anymore.

Both Alexa and Google can serve as the “modern hub” and tie together smart home devices. In the past few years, I’ve noticed a trend towards Wi-Fi-powered smart home devices and away from ZigBee and Z-Wave (Philips Hue being the major holdout). That turn makes the idea of relying on traditional smart home hubs more difficult in the first place.

Both Alexa and Google offer smart home automation through routines—commands that run on their own based on a trigger your choose. It doesn’t have to be a voice; it could be controlled by schedules like at sunset or sunrise—or more.

What Routines Can Do

Smart blinds lower in a living room.Shade Shop

So why is automation essential, and what can routines do anyway? If you have a smart home now, think about how you primarily interact with it. Chances are, it’s probably by voice or through an app. If you need to turn a light on, you ask a smart speaker or pull out your phone. Some would argue that’s not much more convenient than flipping the light switch.

The same goes for smart plugs, blinds, locks, and more. Realistically speaking, with just voice or app control, the convenience level isn’t much better than the old-fashioned way of doing things. Automations, on the other hand, change the game. Instead of your home reacting to your commands, it can anticipate your needs.

In my home, I have scheduled automations that fire every day. In the morning, my coffee maker outlet turns on, the blinds in our two home offices rise to let in light. As evening approaches, the blinds lower automatically, and doors lock themselves. And the coffee outlet that turned on in the morning? That powered down before lunch.

The Alexa app showing many routines.I have at least two dozen routines with various triggers.

Speaking of the doors, we sometimes forget to lock them when we leave home. So four minutes after we unlock a door, it locks itself—no more forgetting. But we don’t just have automations on a schedule. When the sun sets, the lights in the dining room, kitchen, and elsewhere automatically turn themselves on when we enter a room. When we leave, they turn back off. My family doesn’t have to ask; it just happens based on our presence.

That’s thanks to motion sensors in each room and a routine that fires on some basic logic. If the sensor detects motion, it triggers a routine that turns on the lights in that room. When the sensor stops seeing motion, it triggers a second routine to turn the lights back off. Other routines occur when I leave home, or when I come back thanks to a location trigger.

When someone opens our mailbox, a sensor just inside triggers yet another routine to announce in the home that “the mail is here.” In my home, routines trigger due to schedules, voice commands, smart device functions, camera notifications, and more. We still use voice commands, but often we don’t have to because my smart home already did what I needed before I asked.

But that’s no thanks to Google.

Except Google Can’t Do Most Of That

Two lists, the one of the left much longer.Alexa’s Triggers on the left, Google’s Starters on the right.

When I’d advise most people exploring smart homes for the first time, I tell them to pick an ecosystem and stick with it. Choose Alexa or Google Assistant; most people don’t need both. I prefer Google Assistant for voice commands and Nest Hub displays for their fantastic photo capabilities. Despite that, I’m breaking my own advice and have Alexa and Echo smart speakers in my home.

Part of that is because of my job—I write about smart homes, so having a little of everything on hand is helpful. But the other part is because while I prefer Google’s smart home devices, its routines are astoundingly awful. I keep Alexa around for the routines.

The problem is, Google doesn’t approach routines the same way Amazon does with Alexa. Over on Alexa, routines are treated as a total smart home solution. But on Google Assistant, routines look more like a “voice command replacement.” You can create routines that fire off several functions from a single voice command, for instance. That can be handy if you want to turn off multiple lights throughout the home with a simple “good night” command.

But beyond that, your “starter” (Google’s equivalent to Alexa’s “trigger”) choices are limited. You can choose voice command, time, sunrise/sunset, and “dismiss an alarm.” That’s it. Compare that to Alexa, where you can select voice command, schedule, smart home devices, location, alarms, echo button, sound detection, and guard. All those extra choices add up quickly.

On Alexa, I can create routines that trigger from the smart sensors in my home. Confusingly those same sensors show in the Google Home app, but I can’t make routines for them or in the Google Assistant app. If converted over to a Google-powered smart home entirely, my smart lights would no longer turn on and off as I move through my home. My mailbox would stop telling me when the mail arrives. My smart locks wouldn’t even lock themselves anymore—unless I turned to another app.

Why Doesn’t Google Fix The Problem?

An illustration of the Google Home app and Nest devices.Google

If Google really wanted to, it could easily make its routines more powerful. This is a company that leads in voice assistant capabilities. The same company that turned photo storage on the side of its head and created a new A.I. that makes its smart displays the best smart displays. Google designed camera software that kicked off a new revolution in night photos. And at the same time, Google created a system that gave Pixel’s phone capabilities superpowers. It’s no stranger to advanced concepts in A.I., smart home, or advanced coding concepts.

Yet while Amazon continually adds to its routine options, like a recent new feature that triggers routines from the sound of a dog barking or a baby crying, while Google occasionally adds new features. Google only recently added basic scheduling and delay options, things Amazon added to Alexa years ago. Alexa will even act on “hunches” and turn off lights or other devices when the system notices you accidentally left things on overnight or when you aren’t home. Google doesn’t have anything like that.

In comparison, Google’s routines and automations are a joke. And it’s frustrating because it leaves me maintaining two smart home systems in my home: one for voice commands and the other for automation. In smart homes, that’s the opposite of what you want. And Google, through its drive with the Matter smart home initiative, talks a big game about a universal system where it won’t “matter” what devices you won.


Until Google’s smart home routines catch up to at least Amazon’s progress, it’s hard to see the truth in that at all. Right now, if you want the best smart home voice commands and the best accessible automations, then you need a home full of Google smart speakers and displays and one Amazon Echo. The Echo will get you the routines, and Google’s hardware can do the rest.

But that’s not the dream of the smart home. No one wants to maintain two systems and hop back and forth between apps. And frankly, that’s Google’s fault. It’s an unforced error that’s preventing Google from truly dominating in the smart home realm. And we’re worse off for it. Google should be ashamed. And the first step is admitting the problem. Google routines are inferior compared to the competition. The second step? Fix it. Sooner than later.

Source: https://www.reviewgeek.com/101223/google-assistant-should-be-ashamed-of-its-smart-home-routines/
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The Article Was Written/Published By: Josh Hendrickson

The electric Ford Mustang Mach-E GT finally lives up to its famous name

An orange Ford Mustang Mach-E GT

Enlarge / Cyber Orange Metallic paint is one of the colors exclusive to the Mustang Mach-E GT. You’ll also notice new styling at the front. (credit: Jonathan Gitlin)

Ford provided flights to San Francisco and a night in a hotel so we could drive the Mustang Mach-E GT and Mustang Mach-E GT Performance Edition. Ars does not accept paid editorial content.

SAUSALITO, Calif.—In the grand scheme of things, the names that automakers give their cars aren’t really important. And yet, almost two years after it was first revealed, some people are still upset that Ford decided to call its new electric crossover the Mustang Mach-E. It probably didn’t help that Ford focused its attention on the longer-range Mach-E at first rather than a car that would live up to the image of the Mustang as the people’s sports car.

I’m not entirely unsympathetic to that argument. When we tested a Mach-E in February, I found it a competent electric vehicle, but it wasn’t much fun. Using the Mustang name to take advantage of brand recognition is all well and good, but only if it doesn’t dilute that name past any point of meaning. A Mustang is a wild horse, after all.

Well, Ford has rectified that with the arrival of the $59,900 Mustang Mach-E GT. The concept is similar to the first Mustang GT back in 1965. More power, better tires, and seats that hold you in place, plus some styling tweaks—just don’t crash it leaving Cars and Coffee.

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Source: https://arstechnica.com/cars/2021/10/the-ford-mustang-mach-e-gt-this-time-more-power-does-equal-more-fun/
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The Article Was Written/Published By: Jonathan M. Gitlin

The 7 Best Laptops for Holiday 2021

best laptops including asus rog zephyrus g14, lenovo flex 5, and apple macbook airASUS/Lenovo/Apple

A laptop makes it easy to lounge on your couch while paying bills, work remotely in a coffee shop, or binge your favorite TV show under your warm comforter. Ultimately, laptops are extremely versatile, useful, and make a great addition to your day-to-day life.

When it comes to starting a search for a new laptop, it’s intimidating, to say the least. Laptops range wildly in price, from a few hundred dollars to over two thousand dollars. Then, laptops boast their specs in numbers and acronyms that are impossible to translate for some, making it difficult to really see the difference between an affordable model and an expensive model.

If you want a clearer understanding of how to read laptop specs, we’ve got you covered. Or, if you just want to hop right to it and see which laptops are the best of the best right now, keep reading!

What to Look for in a Laptop

Buying a new laptop is no small investment. And with so many different options out there, it’s hard to know which one suits your needs the most. Here’s everything you should consider when choosing your laptop:

  • Use Case: What will you be using the laptop for? To scroll social media or take online classes? To stream your latest gaming achievements on Twitch? To edit photos and videos? Having an idea of what you’ll use the laptop for is critical to choosing the right one. If you’ll only be using it for simple tasks (writing an email, scrolling Twitter, online shopping), you won’t need to worry about having powerful high-end specs; likewise, if you’ll regularly be performing more intensive processes with it (streaming, gaming, editing, etc.), you will need a laptop with specs that can keep up with you.
  • Operating System: There’s no right answer when picking between operating systems; it all comes down to personal preference. But you do need to be aware of your options. All of the laptops on this list come with either macOS or Windows 10 OS, but there are also options out there for Linux and Chrome OS.
  • Specs: Every laptop you can buy will have the same basic structure, comprised of a CPU, storage, RAM, an integrated or dedicated GPU, ports, and more. That said, not all laptops are created equally. Using storage as an easy example, some laptops come with a 256GB model, a 512GB model, or even models with 1 TB of storage or higher. Consider your needs, and keep in mind that the better the specs are, the more you’re going to pay for your laptop.
  • Screen Size: Consider how large you want your laptop screen to be. A larger 17-inch screen is great for clearly viewing media and getting work done efficiently, but the laptop won’t be as portable as one with a smaller screen. Smaller screens around 13- or 14-inches work well for those who travel a lot with their laptop, but you’ll be working in a much smaller area. Then, there are 15.6-inch screens, which are kind of that happy medium between a small, portable laptop and a large screen to work on.
  • Unique Features: Although most laptops are all built the same in terms of working parts, there are a few special features that not all laptops have. Some laptops have touchscreen capability that allows you to use a stylus or your finger to navigate the screen instead of your trackpad or a mouse. Then, there are also laptops that come with 2-in-1 functionality, meaning that you can use the device normally as a laptop or flip the keyboard backward to use the device as a tablet. Some even have detachable keyboards, but we focused on more stable options for this guide.
  • Price & Longevity: You’ll also need to factor in your budget. There are more affordable laptops out there, but they usually mean skimping on specs like extra storage or RAM. Likewise, with inexpensive options, you might end up needing to upgrade components like storage down the line or having to buy an entirely new laptop in a few years. If you spend a bit more upfront, you’ll likely be investing in a laptop that will hold up longer before it needs replacing; plus, you’ll also likely be getting beefier specs like a more impressive CPU, more storage, and sometimes even a dedicated GPU.

Best Overall: HP Envy X360

HP - ENVY x360 2-in-1 15.6 Touch-Screen LaptopHP

Pros

  • 2-in-1 capability
  • Decent battery life
  • FHD edge-to-edge touchscreen

Cons

  • Could have more RAM
  • 15.6-inch display may be too big for some

HP’s Envy X360 is a great mid-range pick that’ll be perfect for most people, whether you need a laptop for school, work, or just for fun. It’s a 2-in-1 laptop, meaning that it can go from being a regular laptop to a tablet, depending on what you need. Also, it has a 15.6-inch touchscreen with 1920 x 1080 resolution; additionally, its edge-to-edge display maximizes the viewing area and looks clean.

There’s a 512GB SSD for storage, 8GB of RAM for multitasking, and an AMD Ryzen 7 CPU. There’s not a dedicated GPU, but Radeon graphics are integrated with the CPU. The battery can last up to 13 hours in between charges and takes less than an hour to go from 0% to 50% battery life.

Best Overall

HP Envy X360


For most people, HP’s Envy X360 is an awesome choice with good specs and handy 2-in-1 functionality.

Best Budget: Lenovo Ideapad 3

Lenovo - Ideapad 3 15 15.6 Touch-Screen LaptopLenovo

Pros

  • Super affordable
  • Surprisingly has 8GB of memory

Cons

  • Meh overall specs
  • Poor battery life

For a simple budget laptop capable of running basic programs that won’t cost you a lot, Lenovo’s Ideapad 3 is perfect. Though you won’t be able to play intensive games or do anything that’s super demanding on its processor, the Ideapad 3 is perfect for browsing the web and running programs like Microsoft Office for school or work. You can even comfortably stream Netflix or other video content on the 15.6-inch LED touchscreen, though beware that it only has a 1366 x 768 resolution, so you won’t be able to enjoy much HD content.

Inside, the specs are similarly basic. There’s only 8GB of RAM, a 256GB SSD, and a 10th-gen Intel Core i3 CPU with two cores and integrated graphics. With a thin, light design that makes it easy to carry around, the Ideapad 3 is a great choice for college students on a budget. It only has a 7.5-hour battery life, but this is plenty of juice for a day of classes. And you get a full numpad attached to the comfortable keyboard, which can be rare on laptops.

Best Budget

Lenovo Ideapad 3


The Lenovo Ideapad 3 will save you money and still deliver a decent laptop that’s capable of running basic programs.

Best Premium: Dell XPS 15

Dell - XPS 15 - 15.6 OLED Touch-Screen LaptopDell

Pros

  • Speedy 16GB RAM and 1TB SSD
  • Impressive screen resolution
  • Dedicated NVIDIA graphics card

Cons

  • Pricey
  • 15.6-inch screen may be too big for some

Dell’s XPS 15 laptop is a powerful machine that, although expensive, will last you for years to come and run games and other demanding programs with ease. With a 15.6-inch OLED touchscreen that has 3456 x 2160 resolution, video content and games will look crisp and colorful as well.

Looking inside the XPS 15, there’s a 1TB SSD for plenty of storage, 16GB of RAM for great multitasking, and an 11th-gen Intel Core i7 CPU with 8 cores. There’s even a dedicated NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3050 Ti GPU with 4GB of GDDR6 to help games run even smoother. These specs make it easy to do pretty much anything on this laptop, from running intensive design programs to surfing the web to playing a graphically demanding game. If you need something a little smaller, consider the Dell XPS 13, which enjoys many of the same features in a more compact package.

Best Premium

Dell XPS 15


If you have the money to splurge on a laptop that’ll last you for years, go for the Dell XPS 15.

Best for Apple Fans: 2020 Apple MacBook Air

2020 Apple MacBook Air Laptop Apple M1 ChipApple

Pros

  • Fairly affordable for a MacBook
  • Has Apple’s M1 chip
  • Long battery life

Cons

  • Wish it had more RAM for the price
  • Only has two USB-C ports

The latest MacBook Air is the perfect choice for fans of Apple’s signature sleek design and intuitive operating system. For a laptop from Apple, it’s relatively affordable and has a thin, light design that makes it easy to cart around with you.

In terms of specs, there are 8GB of RAM, a 512GB SSD, and Apple’s custom M1 chip. This M1 chip is specifically designed for Mac devices and integrates the CPU, GPU, Neural Engine, I/O, and more on the company’s M1 chip. Then, the MacBook Air has a 13.3-inch Retina display with 2560 x 1600 resolution that shows vivid colors and sharp blacks.

Despite these powerful specs, it has a long battery life that can last you up to 18 hours. And if you want to save a little bit of money, there’s a MacBook Air model with just 256GB of storage.

Best for Apple Fans

2020 Apple MacBook Air


The MacBook Air has impressive specs and a fanless design to make this a powerful, yet quiet laptop for Apple fans.

Amazon

$1099.99
$1249.00 Save 12%

Most Powerful Mac: Apple MacBook Pro 16-inch

Apple - MacBook Pro - 16 Display with Touch BarApple

Pros

  • Plenty of RAM and storage
  • Dedicated graphics memory
  • Sleek design

Cons

  • Super expensive
  • 16-inch display could be too big for some (and too heavy)

The 16-inch MacBook Pro from Apple costs quite a bit, but you get a pretty powerful machine in exchange. While you’ll, of course, get the sleek, modern design and impressive build quality Apple always delivers, the specs are pretty impressive too.

Inside, you’ll find a 1TB SSD and a whopping 16GB of RAM, which is honestly expected at this high price point. There’s not a proprietary Apple M1 chip inside, but instead a 9th-gen Intel Core i9 CPU and an AMD Radeon Pro 5500M GPU. In between charges, all these impressive specs working together can last up to 11 hours. You’ll charge using the USB-C ports, which is pretty handy.

With a 16-inch display and Apple’s signature aluminum casing, as well as top-notch specs inside, this laptop is pretty heavy. If you’re looking for a laptop to bring with you traveling or to work or school, you might consider getting a lighter laptop. If you’re in love with Apple’s laptops, check out the MacBook Air and you’ll still get a sleek laptop that’s slightly less powerful, but a lot lighter.

Most Powerful Mac

Apple MacBook Pro 16-inch


If you want a MacBook that can handle more powerful software, has dedicated gaming memory, and plenty of storage space, go for the 16-inch MacBook Pro.

Affordable 2-in-1: Lenovo Flex 5

Lenovo Flex 5 14 2-in-1 Laptop, 14.0 FHD touch displayLenovo

Pros

  • Affordable
  • 2-in-1 capability
  • Plenty of memory

Cons

  • Low storage
  • Smaller screen size

If you love the idea of having 2-in-1 capability in a laptop, but you don’t want to pay a hefty price for it, Lenovo’s Flex 5 is a fantastic option. Because it can function as a tablet as well, it has touchscreen capability and narrow bezels, which makes the 14-inch screen not feel as small. Flip around of course and you’ll get to the keyboard and touchpad for a classic Laptop feel. Plus, the Flex 5 has 1920 x 1080 resolution, which is hard to find in an affordable laptop.

Looking at what’s inside, there are 16GB of DDR4 RAM (which is impressive for this price point!), a 256GB SSD, an AMD Ryzen 5 4500U CPU with integrated Radeon Graphics, and it runs Windows 10 OS. On a single charge, the Flex 5 can last about 10 hours and is able to quick-charge up to 80% in just one hour. It’s also thin and super light, making it easy to cart around the house or to your local coffee shop.

Affordable 2-in-1

Lenovo Flex 5


Lenovo’s Flex 5 laptop gives you handy 2-in-1 functionality at an affordable price with some pretty good specs.

Amazon

$697.00

Best for Gaming: ASUS ROG Zephyrus G14

ASUS - ROG Zephyrus 14 Gaming LaptopASUS

Pros

  • Dedicated (and impressive) GPU
  • Easily portable 14-inch screen
  • Plenty of RAM and storage

Cons

  • Pretty expensive
  • Not the most attractive laptop

The ASUS ROG Zephyrus G14 costs a bit more than your average laptop, but that’s due to better specs inside that’ll make games look and feel great. It has a 14-inch screen with an sRGB display, 1920 x 1080 resolution, and a 144Hz refresh rate. All of this together makes for some vivid, clear colors.

Your favorite games will run smoothly, too, with a dedicated NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3060 GPU that has 6GB of GDDR6 RAM. Overall, the laptop has 16GB DDR4 RAM, a 1TB SSD, and an AMD Ryzen 9 CPU to keep everything running as quickly as possible. Plus, it’s thin and light, making it easy to game on the go.

If you’re looking for a gaming laptop that’s a bit larger, go for the Alienware M17 R4. It has a larger 17.3-inch screen, a dedicated NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3060 GPU, and a max 360Hz refresh rate.

Best for Gaming

ASUS ROG Zephyrus G14


If you need a gaming machine that’s powerful and portable, try out the ROG Zephyrus G14 from ASUS.

Source: https://www.reviewgeek.com/99422/the-best-laptops/
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The Article Was Written/Published By: Sarah Chaney

How to Save Paper

Trees are an essential part of the planet’s ecosystem, they provide oxygen, clean the air, provide shade and food, and they’re used as homes by many different creatures. To create paper and other wood products, millions of new trees must be planted each year. Even so, logging can be very destructive to the environment if it pollutes nearby water, leads to soil erosion, contributes to habitat loss, and uses a great deal of energy. To help reduce logging, there are many things you can do at home, school, and work to cut down on paper consumption.

[Edit]Steps

[Edit]Finding Paper Substitutes

  1. Use reusable cloths instead of paper products. Around the house, a lot of paper is wasted every year on things like paper towels and napkins. And if you’re using lots of paper products for cleaning, drying, and wiping your nose, you can save plenty of trees by switching to reusable versions.[1]
    Save Paper Step 9.jpg
    • To replace paper towels in the kitchen and bathroom, use tea towels to dry dishes, old rags to clean, and sponges to wipe up spills.
    • To replace facial tissues, invest in a few handkerchiefs that can be washed and reused.
    • To replace napkins at the dinner table, purchase cloth napkins instead, which can be washed and reused as well.
  2. Use real dinnerware instead of paper. Paper plates and dishes may be convenient, but they aren’t good for the environment. Most paper plates just end up in the trash, meaning the paper isn’t even recycled properly. When you have a party or any time the paper plates come out, ask to use the real dinnerware instead.
    Save Paper Step 10.jpg
    • If your family likes to go on picnics or camping trips, invest in reusable plastic dinnerware. You can get plates, bowls, cups, and utensils that are durable, unbreakable, reusable, and not made from paper.
  3. Use paper from other plant sources. There are times when it’s simply not possible to avoid paper-like products. Luckily, there are tree-free paper products available that are made from alternative plant sources, and many of these have a lower impact on the environment.
    Save Paper Step 11.jpg
    • Hemp is a versatile plant that grows much faster than a tree and produces more fiber. Hemp can be turned into fabric, writing paper, greeting cards, envelopes, and other paper products.
    • Bamboo is another fast-growing species of plant that can be used for alternative paper products. You can find bamboo bathroom tissue, paper, towels, and even disposable dinnerware.
  4. Bring your own thermos or reusable mug to cafes. Disposable paper cups from cafes and restaurants are another way that lots of paper is wasted every year. Like paper plates, many paper cups end up in the trash because they are not recyclable (they are usually coated with plastic; in the case of uncoated paper cups, they are soiled with liquid).
    Save Paper Step 12.jpg
    • Any time you go to a restaurant or cafe for a takeout drink, take a reusable coffee mug or thermos with you for coffee, hot chocolate, or other warm beverages.
  5. Use reusable grocery and lunch bags. Many grocery stores provide paper bags to pack groceries. You can help your family save paper by investing in reusable grocery bags. Similarly, if your lunches are normally packed in paper bags, ask about switching to a reusable lunch bag instead.
    Save Paper Step 13.jpg
    • If your family is hesitant about switching, ask them to consider how much money they spend on paper bags and grocery bags every year. Then, compare that to the one-time cost of reusable bags.
  6. Send e-cards. Lots of people like to send greeting cards for birthdays, holidays, and other events, and this leads to plenty of paper waste. Not only is the card itself paper, but it’s also sent in a paper envelope. Instead of sending paper greeting cards to all your friends and family in the mail, send electronic greeting cards for future celebrations.
    Save Paper Step 14.jpg
    • There are lots of e-card services out there that allow you to personalize designs, messages, and graphics to suit your taste and the type of celebration.
    • E-cards are also great for sending out invitations to parties, weddings, and other events.
  7. Read e-books or library books. Books are great resources for school and work projects, and they’re great to read as a leisure activity. But printed books are still made with paper, so you can save paper by using public versions of books that are available at the library, or by reading electronic copies instead.
    Save Paper Step 15.jpg
    • Buying used books is also a good idea, because you’re reusing something that’s already been printed.
  8. Use computers instead of notebooks for school and work. School and work notebooks are a great way to keep track of things you’re supposed to learn and projects you’re working on, but you can save paper by keeping electronic notes instead. That way, you don’t have to rely on paper notebooks, and you can always have your notes saved to your computer.
    Save Paper Step 16.jpg
    • If you’re in school, ask your teacher if it’s OK that you take notes on a computer or laptop instead of in a notebook.

[Edit]Cutting Down on Paper Products

  1. Don’t use products that come with excessive packaging. One of the biggest culprits for creating paper waste is consumer packaging that’s used to wrap and label food, toys, clothes, and other goods. To help save paper, buy products that have been made with minimal or no packaging.
    Save Paper Step 1.jpg
    • Many of today’s consumer items are wrapped multiple times, such as a candy that comes in an individual wrapper, within a bag that’s also placed inside a box. Instead, look for packaging that has a sticker instead of a full box, for instance, or a tag instead of an entire container. Similarly, buy items that haven’t been wrapped multiple times.
    • Buying in bulk is a good way to reduce paper waste from packaging. Next time you or your family go shopping, make sure you take reusable bags and buy what you can in bulk.
  2. Dine in instead of using takeout containers at restaurants. Another large contributor to paper waste is takeout food containers, which are often made of paper products or packed in paper bags. Next time you and your family decide to eat out for a meal, request that you sit down in the restaurant instead of taking the food in to-go containers.
    Save Paper Step 3.jpg
    • Most fast food restaurants use paper products to individually wrap all food, so ask your family if you can eat at a conventional sit-down restaurant for your next night out.
  3. Be selective about what you print. At home, at school, and work, you can save paper by cutting down on the amount of material you print off. Before you print anything, ask yourself if you really need a paper copy, and only print something if you must.
    Save Paper Step 4.jpg
    • When you do need to print something off, reduce the font, increase the margins, and print on both sides of the paper so the project can be printed on fewer pieces of paper.[2]
    • If teachers and employers require that you hand in paper copies of projects and assignments, ask if you can instead submit them electronically.
    • Before you print off an assignment, letter, or personal project, proofread it on the computer so you don’t have to print off a second draft.
  4. Send, receive, and store electronic records instead of paper copies. Most documents these days can be shared and stored electronically, meaning you don’t have to print off paper copies for your records. For instance, if you need a copy of an electronic document, request that it be sent to you by email.
    Save Paper Step 5.jpg
    • For sensitive documents that shouldn’t be emailed, ask if you can save a copy directly to a flash drive.
    • In the case where an original paper copy already exists and you need a record for your files, scan a version to your computer instead of making a photocopy.[3]
    • When you need to provide copies of documents to friends, family, teachers, or people at work, ask if you can transmit files electronically using sharing services, email, or other electronic methods.
  5. Opt for paperless communications. Many companies and organizations offer electronic correspondences that can replace paper copies they traditionally send in the mail.[4] Whenever possible, sign up for paperless communications for items like:
    Save Paper Step 6.jpg
    • Bills
    • Newsletters
    • Monthly mailings
    • Flyers and coupons
    • Newspaper and magazine subscriptions
  6. Use electronic calendars and day timers. There are plenty of free calendars and schedulers available online that you can use to plan your days, keep track of dates and assignments, and schedule meetings and interviews. By using an electronic calendar, you can save the paper that would have been used on a calendar, organizer, journal, or other type of scheduler.
    Save Paper Step 7 Version 2.jpg
    • Both Google and Apple provide free calendar products.
    • There are also plenty of calendar apps that you can use on smartphones or tablets.
  7. Encourage others to save paper. To have an even bigger impact, you can also encourage friends, family, classmates, and coworkers to save paper as well. One of the best ways to reach the most people is to put up signs around the house, school, or office that inform people how they can help.
    Save Paper Step 8.jpg
    • There are lots of signs that you can print off from the internet that will help raise awareness about the importance of saving trees. The WWF has signs you can download and print.
    • Make sure you print or draw your signs on reused paper (like the back of an old assignment).
    • Trash containers and recycling bins are a great place for signs.

[Edit]Recycling and Reusing Paper

  1. Buy recycled paper products. There are paper products available that are made with recycled paper, which means that no new trees were cut down to make those products. When you do need to buy paper products, look for things that were made with “post-consumer waste,” including:
    Save Paper Step 17.jpg
    • Bathroom tissues
    • Printing paper
    • Greeting cards
    • Paper bags
  2. Use both sides of a piece of paper. When you do have to print or write things down on paper, make sure you get the most out of that paper by writing on both sides. If you currently only use one side of each piece, you can cut down on paper use by half just by using the other side too![5]
    Save Paper Step 18.jpg
    • If you only end up using one side of a piece of paper, you could consider using the back for mathematical calculations or sketches.
    • Writing or printing in a smaller size or font will also help you cut down on the amount of paper you need for notes and projects.
    • When writing in notebooks, always fill the pages without skipping lines (unless instructed to do so), and don’t start a fresh book until you’ve filled all the pages.
  3. Reuse gift bags, wrapping paper, newspaper, and tissue. Everybody loves a well-wrapped gift, but that doesn’t mean you have to use brand new wrapping paper for every gift you give. Instead, when you get a gift, keep the bag or wrapping paper it came in so that you can use it again for another gift.
    Save Paper Step 19.jpg
    • Newspaper can also be repurposed as an eco-friendly wrapping paper or tissue paper to stuff a gift bag.[6]
  4. Turn old paper products into crafts. There are plenty of crafts that require paper, so instead of using fresh sheets, why not reuse old paper that was already bound for the recycler. You can use old newspapers, notes, cards, and other paper to make things like:[7]
    Save Paper Step 20.jpg
  5. Recycle paper you can’t reuse. When you do have paper that you can’t reuse or repurpose, make sure you recycle it instead of throwing it in the trash. Paper that goes in the garbage just ends up in a landfill. But paper that goes into the recycling bin can be sent to a special facility and turned into something new.
    Save Paper Step 21.jpg

[Edit]Tips

  • Write on paper in pencil instead of pen. This way, you can erase what you write if you need to, instead of having to get a new piece of paper.

[Edit]Expert Advice

  • Boost your impact by reducing paper usage. Recycling is great but the paper you recycle still had to be processed, which causes emissions. Reducing your paper consumption is much more effective for going green. Try to cut down on paper usage as much as you can to have an even larger, more positive environmental impact!
  • Choose reusable products over disposable paper ones. Disposing of waste, even if it is recycled, can have high energy costs. For example, instead of asking for paper bags instead of plastic bags at the grocery store, bring your own reusable cloth bags.
  • Use paper products as efficiently as possible. If you must use paper, make sure as little of it is going to waste as you can. This might mean printing double-sided or using crumpled-up sheets of used paper as a packing material. Plus, you should make sure that all of your paper products are made of 100% recycled materials.

[Edit]Related wikiHows

[Edit]References

[Edit]Quick Summary

Source: https://www.wikihow.com/Save-Paper
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Roku launches a rechargeable, hands-free voice remote and other devices, rolls out Roku OS 10

Roku today is unveiling new hardware and software, including the latest version of its Roku OS media software, Roku OS 10, which expands support for AirPlay 2 and Apple’s HomeKit, and adds a variety of new features and optimizations focused on helping users get to content and stream faster. It’s also introducing its latest 4K player, the Roku Express 4K+; an updated version of its combo media player and soundbar; and an upgraded voice remote with a rechargeable battery and hands-free voice support via the “Hey Roku” command.

Of the three new devices, the Roku Voice Remote Pro ($29.99) may actually be the more interesting addition as it pushes Roku into the “smart speaker” space, so to speak — except in this case, the “speaker” is a TV remote equipped with a mid-field microphone that’s always listening for the “Hey Roku” command. From a practical standpoint, that means you can leave the remote laying on your coffee table and instead speak commands like “Hey Roku, launch Netflix” or “search for free movies,” or “show me comedies,” or whatever else it is you want to watch — without having to first pick up the device and press the push-to-talk voice search button.

Image Credits: Roku

This feature, of course, also comes with concerns. Consumers may be wary of bringing more voice assistants into their home, after it was discovered that tech giants Google, Amazon and Apple had initially dropped the ball on respecting consumer privacy when it came to how users’ voice data was being stored and utilized. Though they’ve all made changes since, the experience may have left its mark on consumers’ minds.

For what it’s worth, Roku says it will retain some of the audio recordings it receives for technical support and to improve the quality of its service, much like the others in the market. And users can opt out of that data collection (via Roku.com/account/voice). The company notes that voice recordings are disassociated from the consumer’s account within 30 days, and it only allows access to Roku employees, not contractor workforces.

If this doesn’t appeal to you, the remote offers a mute button for the microphone if you want to upgrade for its other features, and not use the hands-free listening.

The other features still make for a worthwhile upgrade, however, as this is Roku’s first remote with a rechargeable battery, for example. The device charges via a micro-USB cable, which is more environmentally friendly. It also offers preset buttons with access to Netflix, Hulu, Disney+ and, for the first time, Apple TV+. And it offers a lost remote finder feature (which works via voice, too); private listening via the built-in headphone jack; a push-to-talk voice button if you don’t want hands-free; and two personal shortcuts for favorite voice commands.

The voice remote is on sale today via Roku’s website and will be available in retail stores in May.

Image Credits: Roku

Another new device announced today is the Roku Express 4K+ ($39.99) which will replace the older Roku Premiere.

This digital media player is targeted towards first-time streamers and secondary TVs — which are now more often becoming 4K TVs, but where consumers don’t need the full specs of Roku’s top-of-the-line players. The Express 4K+ has a faster processor than the Premiere and more storage, as well as support for dual-band Wi-Fi. It works with third-party micro-USB and Ethernet adapters, which is a plus as hardwiring your device was previously a feature only available on the pricier Roku Ultra.

The device also brings HDR 10+ to the Roku platform for the first time, though this support will soon make its way to the Roku Ultra through the upcoming Roku OS 10 software update. It additionally supports HD, 4K, HDR, and HDR 10 and ships with a standard voice remote.

Image Credits: Roku

The device goes on sale in the U.S. in mid-May online and in retail stores. Walmart, a Roku partner, will have an exclusive version of the Roku Express 4K+ called Roku Express 4K ($35) which offers a better value by dropping the voice remote for the basic one.

Along with the launch of the media player and remote, Roku is updating its Roku Smart Soundbar in mid-May. The device is being rebranded to the Roku Streambar Pro ($179.99), and will feature both 4K streaming and cinematic sound, but now ships with the same voice remote that comes with the Ultra, which means it supports private listening on headphones. And it adds support for a new Roku OS 10 feature called Virtual Surround, which aims to simulate a surround sound setup for Roku Smart Soundbar and Roku Streambar Pro owners, who don’t have another set of speakers to offer true surround sound.

Image Credits: Roku

In addition to Virtual Surround and HDR 10+ support, Roku latest OS will roll out Apple AirPlay 2 and HomeKit support to more HD devices, including the Roku Express and some HD Roku TVs.

It will also add a customizable Live TV Channel Guide with favorites; automatic Wi-Fi network detection during setup (and it tells you which of your multiple channels is better to use); and an “instant resume” feature which takes you back to where you left off when you relaunch a supported channel.

At launch, there are over 15 channels that support “instant resume,” including AT&T TV, FilmRise, FOX Business Network, FOX News Channel, Fubo Sports Network, HappyKids TV, Plex.tv, STARZ, and The Roku Channel.

Image Credits: Roku

For gamers, a new automatic game console configuration feature, which automatically configures preferred settings, could be useful.

“Depending on the capabilities of the console and the TV, it can also mean turning on things like HDR gaming, variable refresh rates, high frame rate gaming like 120Hz, or maybe THX Certified Game Mode. So, without having to go through complex menus, a user just plugs in their console, and we know exactly how to give them the best experience on the game side,” noted Roku VP of Retail Product Strategy, Mark Ely. The feature works with both Xbox and PlayStation consoles and will also update the input on the Home Screen.

Image Credits: Roku

Roku OS 10 is rolling out to select Roku players now and is expected to roll out to all supported streaming players, including the all-new Roku Express 4K+ and Roku Streambar Pro, and all Roku TV models in the weeks ahead.

The new devices and software arrive after a year of increased at-home streaming due to the coronavirus pandemic, which forced users indoors and under lockdowns. Roku in Q4 2020 reported 51.2 million active accounts, up 39% for the year, and 58.7 billion streaming hours, while its free streaming hub, The Roku Channel, saw roughly 200% growth between just June and August 2020 when it added live linear viewing.

“Our business and streaming, in general, continues to grow and accelerate just because there’s such a shift from people that are getting rid of cable and moving over to streaming. And we saw, of course, with theater shutdowns, more people streaming first-run movies at home,” Ely noted. “So, streaming hours increased, and the volume of our products and the popularity of streaming devices increased, as well,” he added.

Roku’s continued momentum, however, cannot rely on pandemic impacts alone. Amazon remains a top competitor, and just rolled out its updated Fire TV interface months ago. There are also now rumors that Apple is planning an updated player of its own, with an Apple TV-HomePod combo of sorts, similar to the existing Roku Streambar. That will leave Roku with plenty of competition to keep it on its toes for months to come.

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Source: https://techcrunch.com/2021/04/13/roku-launches-a-rechargeable-hands-free-voice-remote-and-other-devices-rolls-out-roku-os-10/
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The physics of why food sometimes sticks to the center of a nonstick frying pan

Eggs frying in a pan have been arranged to look like a smiling face.

Enlarge / Foods will sometimes get stuck to a heated surface, even if oil or a nonstick frying pan is used. Scientists have concluded that convection may be to blame. (credit: Dan Tentler/via Getty Images)

Home cooks around the world have relied on nonstick cookware for decades for quick and easy cleanup after preparing meals. But sometimes food will get stuck to the center of nonstick pans anyway. A new paper published in the journal Physics of Fluids offers a likely explanation—food sticks because of the same underlying mechanism that gives rise to the coffee ring effect and so-called “wine tears.”

The first nonstick frying pans were made possible by the invention of Teflon in 1938 by a chemist named Roy Plunkett, who was researching possible new chlorofluorocarbon refrigerants as part of a joint venture with DuPont. In April of that year, Plunkett later recalled, his assistant selected one of the cylinders they were using to store tetrafluoroethylene gas (TFE) at dry-ice temperatures until the canisters were ready to be chlorinated for their experiments. When the assistant opened the valve, the gas did not flow under its own pressure from the container, as expected.

Puzzled, the researchers opened the container only to find the gas was gone. In its stead, they found a white powder. The TFE had polymerized into a waxy solid called polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE), which proved to have some interesting properties: it was chemically inert and heat-resistant, and it had very low surface friction. Perhaps it wasn’t useful as a refrigerant, but it proved to be a terrific nonstick coating.

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Source: https://arstechnica.com/?p=1739131
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The new Mac mini: The revival of the no-compromise low-cost Mac

There’s nothing small about the latest Mac mini.

Never mind the Mac mini’s tiny size or low price. This diminutive desktop is a revolution for most users, thanks to Apple’s new chipset. Called the M1, this chip platform replaces the Intel CPU long found at the heart of Apple’s desktop and portable computers, and the results are impressive.

Using the M1 Mac mini feels like using a new iPad or iPhone. Everything satisfyingly snaps into place. I keep waiting for my test machine to start lagging, and nearly a week later, it’s just as fast as the day I started using it. The new Mac mini is surprising, and most users will find it a major upgrade over existing Mac computers. It’s hard to beat regardless of the price.

For casual users, those who live in a web browser or Apple’s apps, the Mac mini is a no-brainer option. This is the desktop I would buy for myself. Even for power users, those who run bespoke applications, the Mac mini should be seriously considered. Most mainstream applications excel on the new Mini — especially apps with a creative tilt toward photography or video.

The Mac mini has long been a forgotten friend among the Mac lineup. Hardly updated and never promoted, it sat on the bench for years, watching as Apple’s portables received updates and refreshes as the world became more mobile. But here we are in the midst of a never-ending pandemic. With coffee shops closed and business travel limited, the COVID-19 crisis could lead to the rediscovery of the desktop computer.

The M1-powered Mac mini is a winner.

Review

There are several things you should know. One, the new Mac mini runs the M1 SoC, which is fundamentally different from its Intel predecessor. Instead of a CPU, it’s an SoC — System on a Chip, which comes with advantages and concessions. The chipset is built around an ARM design with more integrated components than its CPU counterparts. In many ways, it’s more similar to the system powering phones and tablets than the chips used in traditional computers. Because of this design, components that used to be discrete are now integrated directly into the chip.

Second, Apple provided a 6K 32-inch Pro Display XDR with my test Mac mini (these will be returned to Apple). I’m also running a 24-inch display over HDMI. According to the Mac mini’s product page, the system is limited to two monitors. I was able to hook up a third monitor through 3rd party software but it was unstable and should not be considered a capability.

Lastly, you should know TechCrunch also reviewed the new 13-inch MacBook Air and 13-inch MacBook Pro. We benchmarked these systems with similar conditions to demonstrate the differences between the units. You can find the reviews here for the MacBook Air and MacBook Pro.

In our tests, we found Apple’s M1 system on a chip (SoC) to outperform its rivals, regardless of price. With the M1 at its core, the Mac mini is faster in most regards than every Apple computer available except for the ultra-expensive Mac Pro — and sometimes the Mini is faster than the Mac Pro, too. What’s more, this performance increase is noticeable throughout the system and not just limited to raw computing tasks in purpose-built applications. The system is snappy, responsive and feels like the start of a new era of computing.

MacBook Air M1 review: The right Apple Silicon Mac for most

The new Mac experience

Snappy hardly describes the experience of the new Mac mini. This system flies. Users will instantly notice the increase in speed, too, from startup time to launching apps. In the past, even on powerful machines, macOS has always felt heavy compared to iOS, but not anymore. With the M1 chip, macOS (Big Sur) is light and free and a joy to use.

Even better, the ARM-based M1 chip allows Macs to run iOS applications, and they run as smoothly on the Mac as they do on an iPad.

There’s likely a hesitation around embracing a new Intel-less Mac. Will your legacy applications run on these machines? Will they run well? I can’t answer every variable. I installed and ran dozens of applications during my few days with the system and never experienced a roadblock. Even with older programs, everything ran as advertised, and in most cases, ran better on this M1-powered Mac mini than on my few-months-old 15-inch MacBook Pro. I didn’t find one application unable to run on the new platform.

The largest speed increases are most noticeable when using native apps for the M1 processor. With Apple’s Final Cut Pro, the application loads seemingly instantly — two seconds from button press to it being open and ready to go.

With the M1 chip, it’s less painful to edit 8K footage in the native Final Cut Pro app than it was to edit 4K footage on an Intel Mac. Exporting the files still takes time, though, and this is one of the few tasks where Intel’s platform outperforms the M1.

Even when using legacy software, the system preformed with ease. Edits in Photoshop seemed more fluid. Lightroom loaded photo albums quicker and without hesitation. Editing video in Premiere was easier and less painful as I scrubbed through 6K footage. Even unzipping files was much quicker.

Image Credits: Matt Burns

This is a silly demonstration, but watch the GIF above. Applications open instantly — all of them at the same time. If Apple put a beachball in this system, I haven’t found it yet.

The M1 chip is based on an ARM design, which required Apple to rework macOS to run on this new computing platform. While it looks mostly the same, the macOS is now purpose-built for Apple’s own silicon. To take full advantage of the redesigned chip, applications need to be re-coded into an Arm-friendly design. And yet, we found something surprising: Even the apps that are not re-coded yet are still impressively fast thanks to Apple’s Rosetta 2 that enables software encoded for Intel’s platform to run on the new Apple platform and take advantage of the M1’s power.

For most uses, this holistic approach of building the hardware and software results in major advantages. Common system-level tasks like launching apps, waking from sleep and unzipping files are lightning-fast. Other items like rendering video and editing photos are just as fast, too. Right now, at launch, all of Apple’s apps — from Music to Photos to Safari — are re-encoded for the M1. Like those from Adobe, other apps are not yet native, but the older versions run fine, and in most cases, run better on the M1 than an Intel platform.

The M1 platform lacks a dedicated graphics processing unit. It’s built-into the core of the chip. Thanks to a memory dedicated to machine learning, this lack of a discrete GPU is hardly noticeable for professional users. Still, those who do intensive graphics work (like professional gfx visual artists) should hesitate. Even then, this conclusion could change once the applications become native to the new ARM architecture.

The M1 also lacks the ability to use an eGPU — an external graphics card — but most users should not fret. It could be a problem for pros who found the Intel-based Mac minis paired with a powerful eGPUs as a viable, low-cost alternative to the Mac Pro. However, based on our testing, the GPU performance in these M1 systems are impressive and could be good enough for most, even in creative media editing applications.

In addition to common workflows, I ran through some industry benchmarks to see how the system responds and came away impressed. We took it one step further, too, and charted the performance between Apple’s top-of-the-line systems and the new 13-inch MacBook Air and 13-inch MacBook Pro.

Benchmarks often oversimplify results, but in this case, they seem necessary. This puts systems on common ground. By looking at multiple tests, the results draw a common conclusion. The M1 is really good.

The new Mac lineup

The Mac mini has two siblings. The M1 is also available in Apple’s 13-inch MacBook Air and 13-inch MacBook Pro. The differences are minor. The same computing platform powers all three but feature different cooling schemes in the MacBook Pro and Mac mini. Because of the improved cooling, the MacBook Pro and Mac mini are better suited for sustained performance.

In our testing, all three machines performed similarly. The Air started to fall short in the longer tests, and that’s likely due to its passive cooling that does not feature a fan. In the MacBook Pro and Mini, the SoC is cooled by a fan, while a heatsink is used in the Air.

What does this mean for you? For most users, the Air’s performance is sufficient as it only slows down during long, intensive tasks. For browsing the web, editing photos and watching videos, the Air is perfect.

There’s one downside to the new Mac mini over its Intel sibling. The M1 Mac mini only sports two Thunderbolt 4 inputs — that’s because the M1 chipset has an integrated Thunderbolt controller and it supports up to two of these ports. For some users, this could be a deal-breaker, though it’s not for me. There are countless ways to expand the Thunderbolt capability of the Mac mini, and to me, the performance of the machine outweighs the port limitation.

The M1 Mac mini also lacks a 10GB Ethernet option, limiting its use as a server for some users. This is also likely an M1 limitation, and something I would expect would be addressed in future chipset revisions.

Multiple monitor support is a major downside to the M1 Mac mini. It only supports two monitors: one through Thunderbolt and one over HDMI. I was able to get a third monitor running at low resolution through third-party software, but it was unstable and performed poorly. To some, including me, multiple monitor support is a major issue and two monitors are often not enough.

Benchmarks

Apple, when promoting the M1-powered computers, laid out some wild claims about the chipset. We found most of the claims to be factual. We ran a handful of benchmarks on the M1 systems, comparing them against the most recent Macs, including the Mac Pro.

Benchmarks paint with a broad stroke and often miss nuances. That’s the case here. While the first few benchmarks demonstrate the speed of the M1, the final test fails to capture a critical aspect of Final Cut Pro. Sure, it’s slower to export than an Intel-based system, but using the M1-native version of Final Cut Pro is much smoother than what’s available on older systems. I was able to easily manipulate, scrub and edit 8K footage without even a hiccup. Rendering takes longer, but editing is seemingly easier.

Image Credits: TechCrunch

Here we downloaded the Xcode 12.3 beta. It’s an 11.57GB file that extracts a 28.86GB folder. Lower times are better.

Image Credits: TechCrunch

Here we compile WebKit. Lower times are better.



With Geekbench, we ran two tests: One, using Rosetta 2 to demonstrate the system’s power when running legacy applications. Then we ran Geekbench in an M1 native mode to test Apple’s silicon. Higher is better.

Image Credits: TechCrunch

For Final Cut Pro, we timed the rendering of an 8K video (80GB). Lower is better.

Conclusion

Pros

  • Breakthrough performance for the price
  • Easily able to run legacy (Intel) and iOS apps
  • Cool and quiet

Cons

  • Support for only two monitors
  • No eGPU support
  • Only two Thunderbolt 4 ports

Test Mac mini specs

  • Apple M1 chip with 8-core CPU and 8-core GPU
  • 16-core Neural Engine
  • 16GB unified memory
  • 1TB SSD storage
  • Gigabit Ethernet
  • Price as tested: $1,299

The new Mac mini is a fantastic machine and feels like the start of a quiet revival. In another era, Apple was known for its solid, fairly-priced desktops, which is a great description for this Mac mini.

As a longtime fan of the Mac mini, I’m thrilled to see it once again as a great option for those of us who live at a desk .

With the M1 chipset, Apple is moving onto a new chapter in its long history of personal computers. This chip redefines the computing paradigm by offering stellar performance in a small, power-efficient package. In the Mac mini, the M1 shines as a stable workhorse that provides a new experience to Mac desktops. In the new MacBook Air and MacBook Pro, the M1 is just as solid while offering substantially better battery life than previous offerings. Read those reviews here and here.

Should you get the new Mac mini? If you’re stuck at a desk, yes. The new Mac mini is fantastic.

MacBook Air M1 review: The right Apple Silicon Mac for most

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The Article Was Written/Published By: Matt Burns

13 Essential Apps Every College Student Needs

Students walking outdoors on university campus while using phoneMonkey Business Images/Shutterstock.com

Whether you’re a brand-new college student just entering your first year or a jaded senior, college is tough. But if you’re equipped with the right apps, you won’t have a hard time keeping things organized or understanding what your professor was talking about. You’ll survive college in one piece and graduate in no time.

It can be tough to find an app when you need it most, and having to spend an hour in the app store digging through irrelevant apps is just a frustrating waste of time. Lucky for you, we found some free apps that’ll make studying easier, help you take notes, type up papers, stay in shape, balance your budget, and stay relaxed while focusing on your classes.

Learn (or Better Understand) Concepts: Khan Academy

Khan Academy app for learning school courses onlineKhan Academy

Sometimes, you just end up with a professor who doesn’t do a good job of explaining things. Or maybe you’re just taking a course with crazy difficult material that just isn’t sinking in. With Khan Academy (free), you can brush up on all kinds of subjects, from physics to art history on your own time, as many times as you need. The site is packed with excellent video tutorials for topics and offers exercises for you to work through to ensure you understand things.

You don’t need to create an account on Khan Academy to access the content, but doing so will allow you to save your progress and bookmark courses for easy reference in the future. The site is the perfect complement to school and will help you survive difficult courses and professors alike without breaking a sweat.

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Brush Up on Literature: SparkNotes

SparkNotes app for studying chapter summaries for literatureSparkNotes

If you’re struggling to understand a particular book or you just don’t have time to read, digest, and analyze the entire thing in a week, SparkNotes (free, with in-app purchases) has your back. In the app, you can find chapter summaries and study questions for common books, and even take quizzes to see how well you understand the material. You can search for SparkNotes literature guides by author name or title.

SparkNotes is free for one month, then to keep accessing its guides you’ll need to pay $0.99 per month, or $4.99 per year. The paid version is ad-free, supports dark mode and customizable text sizes, and gives you full access to all content even if you don’t have an internet connection.

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Study for Your STEM Courses: Wolfram Alpha

Learn how to solve math problems and study other topics with Wolfram Alpha's appWolfram Alpha

Another great resource for helping you with your homework (especially for STEM courses) is Wolfram Alpha (free), which is a computational search engine. The program uses artificial intelligence to solve difficult math problems, like plotting a function or computing a statistical quantity. It’s also a vast knowledge base for all kinds of other things, like finding out when a particular video game was released, learning about an artistic sculpture, or figuring out how to split a bill three ways with a 15% tip.

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Learn a Language: Duolingo

Use Duolingo to help you study for your languages courses, with short lessons and vocab helpDuolingo

Learning a new language is fun and will look terrific on your resume. That being said, sometimes elements like verb conjugation can be totally confusing. With Duolingo (free, with in-app purchases), you can learn a language through simple bite-sized lessons. Duolingo also makes it easy to review vocab and see things like conjugated verbs used in everyday sentences. The app uses listening and writing exercises to help cement concepts, and you can even test-in if you already know a good portion of a language and don’t want to start from scratch.

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Free Email, Calendar, & Word Processor: Google

A Google account gets you free email and other useful apps you can access anywhereGoogle

Google (Free) is more than a search engine—it has tons of other tools that are perfect for students. If you create a free Google Account, you’ll get Gmail and access to Google’s other free apps: Photos, Keep, Translate, Calendar, Maps, Messages, Meet, Books, Podcasts, and more. You’ll also get access to Google Drive, Docs, Sheets, and Slides, which are the company’s free equivalent of Microsoft Office—perfect for reports and presentations.

The best thing about a Google Account? Everything is saved in the cloud, so no more jump drives. Log on from any device to access your emails, files, and documents, no matter where you are. The apps are fully integrated with each other, so you can schedule meetings from Gmail and have the details show up automatically in Calendar and Google Maps, for example. Logging in on a browser also syncs your bookmarks and extensions, so they’re always at the ready, too.

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Take Notes and Make To-Do Lists: Evernote

Evernote app for taking notes, or photographing and digitizing notesEvernote

You can easily take notes in class and review them later on with Evernote (Free, with in-app purchases). Beyond note-taking, the app is also great for creating to-do lists and keeping your projects organized. It can even clip and save web pages, scan and store documents, and keep your files synced across all of your devices.

Evernote’s note-taking technology is terrific. It can search your handwritten notes for a keyword, so you can find important information when you need it most, or capture notes taken on a whiteboard, sticky note, or other surfaces and save them. Evernote can also search for keywords in PDF and DOC files. Having a single place for your notes, to-do lists, projects, and deadlines will keep you organized and on top of everything.

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Fantastic Helpful Flashcards: StudyBlue

StudyBlue app for creating and studying flashcards, or crowdsourcing course material from other students on the appStudyBlue

Flashcards are a quintessential college supply. They help you learn vocab words or study and memorize important concepts for a test. StudyBlue (free, with in-app purchases) is a digital flashcards app, which means your flashcards will always be on hand, and you won’t have to worry about leaving them somewhere or losing one.

You can create your own flashcards with StudyBlue, or review information on the 400 million flashcards already in the StudyBlue database, which will save you all kinds of time if you don’t have to input questions and answers yourself. The app can also track your study progress, set reminders for you to study, create custom quizzes, and connect you with your classmates so you can study together.

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Improve Your Writing: Grammarly

Grammarly app to help you avoid spelling errors and write strongerGrammarly

Whether it’s on a simple quiz or a daunting academic paper, getting marked down for typos and other grammatical errors always sucks. It can be embarrassing if you frequently make mistakes in your writing, or can never find the best word to use when expressing yourself. Grammarly (free) can help you with all of that, and it’s also available as a browser extension, so you can get help with your writing no matter which device you use.

Grammarly catches spelling and punctuation errors, but can also help you find stronger or more accurate words, write more concisely, and help you sound more confident and knowledgeable. It’s the perfect companion to have while writing a paper, chatting with classmates, or sending an email to an intimidating professor.

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Log Calories and Exercise: MyFitnessPal

MyFitnessPal for logging caloric intake and exerciseMyFitnessPal

MyFitnessPal (free, with in-app purchases) does a great job of helping you log food intake and workouts, and can help you set both diet and exercise goals if you’re trying to stay in shape during the school year. The app’s huge database has over 11 million food items in it, including many from popular restaurants, so logging is super easy. It also has a barcode scanner and recipes you can use for your own meals.

Best of all, MyFitnessPal has a terrific community. You can connect with other users to get (or share) advice on dieting and exercise, or get support when you’re struggling. It also has integration with over 50 apps, like Apple Health and Fitbit, for easy logging of your exercise and other metrics.

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For Budgeting Your Money: Mint

Mint app that helps you budget money and remember to pay billsMint

When you’re living on your own away from the parents, it’s tempting to spend all of your money on food, drinks, games, and other fun things. But creating and sticking to a budget means you’ll always be able to responsibly pay your bills, cover unforeseen expenses, and occasionally have some fun with. Mint (free, with in-app purchases) makes budgeting easy and offers simple easy-to-understand budget tracking tools. With it, you’ll always know exactly what you’ve spent money on, and how much money you currently have available.

Mint brings all of your accounts to one central location, so you can manage all of your finances at a glance. This makes it much easier to note upcoming bills and pay them, and even create a budget based on your personal spending habits. The app also lets you check your credit score whenever you want, which is a must-have if you’re working on building up your credit. Mint can even send you reminders for upcoming bills or when your funds are running low.

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Scan and Digitize Your Documents: Adobe Scan

Adobe Scan app for scanning physical documents or notesAdobe

Having a good scanner app is essential for submitting important paperwork to your department’s dean or to the registrar. They’re also great for capturing, digitizing, and sharing notes or other physical projects. Adobe Scan (free) produces high-quality scans, and also lets you edit and share files easily. It can scan a variety of physical surfaces, from whiteboards to magazines to complex forms, and remove blemishes or wonky shadows.

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Fast Food (and More) Delivered: Postmates

Postmates app for ordering delivery of food and suppliesPostmates

You can get food delivered right to your dorm with Postmates (free, with in-app purchases), leaving you more time for studying. The service can also deliver other things like groceries, beer, or party supplies. Through Postmates, you can order from over 500,000 restaurants and stores. Postmates also has an Unlimited plan ($9.99 per month), which gives you free delivery on every order over $12, no blitz peak-hour pricing, and other special offers.

You can easily order food from popular national chains, as well as Postmates-exclusive brands like Roscoe’s House of Chicken and Waffles, KazuNori, Sugarfish, Blaze Pizza, Alfred Coffee, Backyard Bowls, and Salt & Straw. The service is available in over 4,200 cities across the United States, and has over 650,000 associates ready to quickly deliver you food and more.

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Free Emotional Support and Counseling: 7 Cups

7 Cups with emotional support and counseling resources7 Cups

College is often exciting and fun, but it can feel incredibly stressful or overwhelming at times, too. When you’re feeling down, having someone to talk to can help put things in perspective and help you stay motivated and focused on the future. With 7 Cups (free, with in-app purchases), you can find free anonymous emotional support and counseling at any time of day.

7 Cups allows you to chat with a listener, calm your mind with one of over 300 mindfulness exercises, take a free wellness test, boost your mood with simple activities and videos, and connect with others in the community forums and chat rooms. It also has resources for finding online message-based therapy with licensed therapists.

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Source: https://www.reviewgeek.com/53488/13-essential-apps-every-college-student-needs/
Proactive Computing found this story and shared it with you.
The Article Was Written/Published By: Suzanne Humphries

The 6 Best Google Assistant Speakers You Can Buy in 2020

Person carrying Bose Portable Home SpeakerBose

If you’re heavily invested in the Google ecosystem, using Google Assistant is likely second nature for you at this point. Whether it’s smart home commands or listening to music, Google Assistant is just useful to have around. So, why not have it around everywhere and the addition of great audio quality with a Bluetooth speaker that has Google Assistant built-in?

What to Look for in a Google Assistant Speaker

When it comes to selecting your speaker, there are a few things you should consider.

  • Audio Quality: Obviously, this is the most important part of any speaker. You might have your preferences on how you like your audio to be tuned, but regardless of that, the speaker you buy should output audio worth its price tag.
  • Connection Requirements: Google Assistant requires an internet connection for most features. You can still use the Bluetooth functionality without the internet, but if you want full access to Google Assistant, you’ll need to be connected to some form of network (whether that’s from the local coffee shop or your mobile hotspot).
  • Build-Quality: You don’t want your expensive new speaker breaking within the first week. The speaker should be durable—able to survive a drop or two. After all, these speakers are built to be taken out of the house.
  • Waterproofing vs. Water Resistance: Going along with build quality, it’s important to understand the difference between a speaker being waterproof and being water-resistant. A waterproof speaker can safely survive being submerged in shallow water for short periods of time. Meanwhile, a water-resistant speaker can only survive splashes of water and rain. Some manufacturers may also provide an Ingress Protection rating, which can clue you in to how waterproof the speakers are.
  • On-Device Inputs: While you can use voice commands to control your speaker, that doesn’t mean it can’t be useful to have some tangible buttons to manage things as well.
  • Size and Weight: If you’re packing a speaker in a bag, you want it to be fairly compact. Even cutting an inch or two can make a surprising difference, and the same goes for how much it weighs. It is worth noting that, generally speaking, smaller speakers have to make the trade-off of lesser sound quality to achieve their compact size, though.
  • Battery Life: An obvious factor for sure, but you want your speaker to last a decent amount of time before dying.

A Line with Options: JBL Link Portable and Link 20

JBL is probably the most well-known for producing these sorts of speakers, and for good reason. Its lineup balances price, audio quality, and portability insanely well, and you even have a couple of options to choose between in the Link Portable and the Link 20.

JBL Link PortableJBL

Starting at the smaller option, the JBL Link Portable is built for, well, portability. It’s fully waterproof, lasts for about eight hours on a full charge, and still features the quality sound JBL is known for. Naturally, as a fairly small speaker, the audio quality can’t match larger speakers like the Link 20, but it’s still great for the size. The on-device inputs on the Link Portable are pretty simple, with a Google-Assistant button and volume controls on the top of the speaker.

The Link Portable comes in three colors: grey, blue, and black (pictured above).

JBL Link 20JBL

If audio quality is your main concern, then the JBL Link 20 is the way to go. It’s significantly taller than the Portable at 8.26 inches, but in exchange for that increased height, you’re getting better audio quality. And, just like the Link Portable, the on-device inputs can be found on the top of the Link 20.

Alongside portability though, you’re also making a couple of other tradeoffs with the Link 20. It’s only water-resistant (Ingress Protection rating of IPX7) instead of waterproof like the Portable, and it only lasts for five hours on a full charge. There is also the Link 10, which is a smaller version of the Link 20 and is around the same size as the Portable. It has the same features and battery life of the Link 20, but when it comes to that size,  the Portable is the better option.

The Link 20 comes in either black or white (pictured above).

You can’t go wrong with either of these speakers; it just depends on whether you prioritize audio quality or portability.

The Premium Option: Sonos Move

Sonos MoveSonos

If having the highest quality audio possible is what matters the most to you, then the Sonos Move is the speaker to buy. It’s not cheap by any means, but the premium audio quality it delivers for that premium price makes it all worth it. The speaker is fairly large and heavy at six pounds, which can be a pain when it comes to packing, but that’s just a sacrifice you have to make for superior sound.

The Move is also fairly durable as well. It’s rated with an Ingress Protection rating of IP56, meaning it can survive most forms of tame weather (rain and wind mostly). Do note though, the Move is merely water-resistant, not waterproof—don’t want to get that mixed up on a $400 speaker.

All the controls you’d expect are found on the top of the Move, and it can last for about 10 hours on a full charge. The Sonos Move comes in either white or black (pictured above).

The Premium Option

Premium Portability: Bose Portable Home Speaker

Bose Portable Home SpeakerBose

The Bose Portable Home Speaker is your best bet if you want premium audio quality with better portability. Being from Bose, you know that you can expect high-quality audio (even if it does come at a high price), but besides that, the speaker’s small build and handle make it ideal for travel. It’s water-resistant and features a durable build, so you can feel good about taking it out of the house.

Alongside the portable-friendly build, you’ll also find your typical media controls and buttons all placed on the top of the speaker for easy access. This speaker lasts for 12 hours on a full charge, and you can get it in either silver (pictured above) or black.

Premium Portability

Super Small: TicHome Mini

TicHome Minimobvoi

When it comes to portability, the TicHome Mini reigns supreme. This speaker is small and light (0.6 pounds) enough to never be a concern when packing. And while larger speakers may be able to give you better sound, if portability is your main concern, the Mini is the speaker to go with.

Besides that, it’s a fairly basic speaker with some simple media controls on top and a hanging strap. The battery lasts about six hours, and it’s rated with an Ingress Protection rating of IPX6, which means it should handle rain and splashes just fine.

You can get the TicHome Mini in black (pictured above), white, or teal.

And Finally: Some Battery Bases

If you’re on a budget, getting a speaker like this that’s friendly to the wallet can be a hard task. However, if you already have a Google Home or Google Home Mini lying around, you can actually convert those into portable Bluetooth speakers with a simple battery base. Google added Bluetooth audio support to the Home line a while ago, and these battery bases make sure the speaker keeps running even when away from an outlet.

It is important to note that neither the Home nor the Home Mini is built to be portable, so you’ll have to be more careful with them than the other speakers here.

Ninety7 Battery BaseNinety7

This base from Ninety7 is pretty simple, but it’ll keep your standard Google Home running for about eight hours. It also comes in three colors: black (pictured above), bronze, and white.

KIWI Design Rechargeable Battery BaseKIWI Design

Another simple base, this time from KIWI Design. It fits your Google Home Mini nice and snug and can protect it from minor bumps and falls, too. This base will keep your Mini running for about 12 hours and comes in three colors as well: Light Stone Gray (pictured above), orange, and dark gray.

We want to make it clear that this base is for the Google Home Mini, not the Nest Mini. The Nest Mini would be a fantastic speaker for this as well, but, unfortunately, neither Google nor any third-party vendors produce battery bases for it. You could always rely on an external battery pack and MicroUSB cable to keep your Nest Mini running out of the house, but that’s a pretty lame option and far from elegant.

Source: https://www.reviewgeek.com/46760/the-6-best-google-assistant-speakers-you-can-buy-today/
Proactive Computing found this story and shared it with you.
The Article Was Written/Published By: Eric Schoon

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