Wirecutter’s best deals: Get a UE Roll Bluetooth speaker for $50

This post was done in partnership with The Wirecutter, a buyer’s guide to the best technology. Read their continuously updated list of deals at TheWirecutter.com. You may have already seen Engadget posting reviews from our friends at The Wirecutter…. by The Wirecutter #Engadget https://www.engadget.com/2016/06/30/wirecutters-best-deals-get-a-ue-roll-bluetooth-speaker-for-50/  

Best puzzle games for Android

All the top Android puzzle games that are worth your time.

Whether you enjoy a relaxing game of Mahjong, you love solving brain teasers, or you like finding the most creative physics solutions, there are plenty of a puzzle games on Android that you’ll be able to lose yourself in. Here are some of our favorites.

Cut the Rope: Magic

World of Goo

Lara Croft Go

Dots

Mahjong by 1C Wireless

The Room Three

That Level Again 3

Cut the Rope: Magic

In ZeptoLab’s seventh iteration of the popular physics puzzler, you’re once again tasked with feeding little Om Nom by solving physics puzzles to get the candy into his greedy maw. The familiar dangling candy is present, but new to the series is the ability to transform Om Nom into other creatures, including a yellow bird that can hover in the air, and an even tinier version of himself.

Each level may be cleared by simply feeding Om Nom, but you’ll also want to collect the stars that are strategically placed in various spots. The more stars you collect, the more crystals you earn, which you can use to unlock new magical-themed worlds. You can also “conjure” eight crystals every three hours, or watch an ad to be able to conjure them more often.

There are in-app purchases in the form of packs of crystals, and you also have the option of buying hints to help you solve the puzzles and grab all the stars.

While the game can be downloaded for free, there is the option to pay 99 cents to remove the ads. In our opinion, it’s a miniscule amount to pay to enjoy the game ad-free.

Download: Cut the Rope:Magic (free +IAP)

World of Goo

“Higher and higher” is the catch phrase for World of Goo, a super fun and addictive game that’ll soon have you hooked.

The object of the game is to get as many of the tiny goo-ball creatures to the end point of each level — a vacuum pipe — through building (sometimes massive) towers and bridges. The trick is that the building blocks you have to work with are the goo-balls themselves, and every piece of your structure removes one goo-ball from play.

Weight distribution and structural integrity play a role. And as you progress in levels, the vacuum pipe gets harder and harder to reach, and you have fewer goo-balls to work with.

World of Goo has no ads or in-app purchases and is totally worth the mere $4.99 it costs to buy.

Download: World of Goo ($4.99)

Lara Croft Go

From developer Square Enix comes another mobile spin-off of a popular console and PC game franchise: Lara Croft Go.

Using simple swipe-to-move mechanics, you’ll guide Lara through 101 puzzles fraught with perilous pitfalls and dangerous foes. Each puzzle is part of a chapter, six in total, and involve finding ways around obstacles, avoiding traps, and battling baddies.

Along the way, you’ll find various tools to help you navigate through each puzzle, as well as relics that unlock new outfits for Lara. Should you get stuck on a puzzle, you have the option of paying for the solution via in-app purchases.

With its beautiful graphics and simple mechanics, Lara Croft Go is addictive and fun — and definitely worth the $4.99 asking price.

Download: Lara Croft Go ($4.99)

Dots

Like all the best puzzle games, Dots is simple to learn, difficult to master and highly addictive.

The main object is to connect as many dots of the same color as you can, with certain patterns, such as a square or a W being worth more points.

Dots has four game modes each with different spins on the main objective:

Timed: Connect as many dots of the same color as you can in 60 seconds

Moves: Connect as many dots of the same color as you can with 30 moves

Endless: No limits — connect as dots of the same color as you can

Challenges: Play against others (multiplayer) to connect the most dots of the same color

To be able to play on Endless mode you’ll have to pay $2.29, but it’s worth it for a relaxing experience. Another in-app purchase grants you the ability to earn dots twice as fast.

With the dots you accumulate, you can “buy” more power-ups, which enable you to do things like stop time, erase a single dot, or wipe out all dots of the same color that are currently on the screen.

The game has absolutely no ads, and a really unique and clean visual style. (Protip: AMOLED screen owners, try night mode to save battery power!)

Download: Dots (free)

Mahjong by 1C Wireless

We’ve played a number of variants of the Chinese tile-matching game, and of all those we like the version from 1C Wireless the best, due to its varied game modes and minimal ads that don’t interrupt the gameplay.

This Mahjong game has four modes:

Classic: Pick from over 39 different towers and start playing

Time attack: Choose your tower and see how long it takes you to clear the titles

Challenge: Choose your tower and keep matching titles without while working against the timer at the top of the screen.

Endless: Play through random towers, matching all the tiles in one before moving to another.

There is an option to pay 99 cents to remove the ads, but since they are so minimal (just a banner at the bottom of the screen), it’s not really 100 percent necessary.

Download: Mahjong (free)

The Room Three

The Room Three is third sequel to Fireproof Games’ award winning puzzler, The Room. Reminiscent of point-and-click classic adventure series such as Myst and Siberia, The Room Three has you figuring out how escape from the clutches of your kidnapper, the mysterious Craftsman.

You navigate around by swiping around the screen and double tapping to focus in on an object or puzzle. As you progress through the game, you’ll find objects that will help you find your way out. As you go, more and more of the story is revealed through notes left for you by the Craftsman.

The game is pretty long and involved, so expect to spend many hours glued to your device as you solve puzzle after puzzle.

Download:The Room Three ($4.99)

That Level Again 3

That Level Again 3 is a tongue-in-cheek puzzle game where you have to basically figure everything out. And by everything, we do mean everything. For instance, the opening screen is a gray background with your character standing in the middle of it. You have to find the background (careful, don’t pick the one with spikes at the bottom of it) and build your user interface (UI) so that you can move your character around.

Ads in this game are minimal; they’re confined to video ads that you can choose to watch for additional help, letting clear a level or skip it entirely.

Prepare to burn a lot of time on this game — the most difficult puzzles and hilarious running commentary offer hours and hours of entertainment.

Download: That Level Again 3 (free)

What are your favorites?

We’ve tossed out the puzzle games for Android that we love, but how about you? Did we miss any awesome games? Shout out your favorites in the comments!

Kathy McGraw #AndroidCentral #Android #News #Google #Alphabet http://www.androidcentral.com/best-puzzle-games-android  

Photo tour: Android Nougat statue at the Googleplex

A new tasty treat lands in Mountain View.

With each major version of Android, Google unveils a new statue at its Mountain View, Calif. headquarters. This year is no different, with the freshly minted Android Nougat getting its own mascot outside Building 40 at the Googleplex.

Naturally, we had to run out there this afternoon and grab some pictures of the latest addition to the Android family, which we present for you down below. Enjoy!

MORE: Nougat statue video tour on Facebook Live!

Android Nougat

Android N (currently in Developer Preview status) is now Android Nougat! It’s the 12th nicknamed version of Android and will be released to the public in the fall of 2016. Here’s everything you need to know so far!

What’s new in Android Nougat

All Android Nougat news

Should you use the Android N Dev Preview?

About the Android Beta Program

Join the Discussion

Alex Dobie #AndroidCentral #Android #News #Google #Alphabet http://www.androidcentral.com/photo-tour-android-nougat-statue-googleplex  

Google Maps shows its rainbow side with Toronto Pride Parade details

Google has announced that it will be showing its rainbow colors in support of Toronto Pride this Sunday, July 3rd.

As part of Google Maps’ support for Pride in 16 cities around the world, Toronto’s Pride Parade will be the first to highlight the route, as well as traffic information around the area, this coming Saturday. According to Google, it is a part of the company’s “mandate to bring temporal events to life and provide people with the most up-to-date, accurate, and useful information, so they can make the best decision on where to go.”

As you can see, the parade route will be highlighted in Pride’s traditional rainbow hues, and traffic be diverted around the busy areas until the chaos has cleared on Sunday around 5pm. The specialized routing will begin showing up to people in the Toronto area on Saturday, July 2nd.

Daniel Bader #AndroidCentral #Android #News #Google #Alphabet http://www.androidcentral.com/google-maps-shows-its-rainbow-side-toronto-pride-parade-details  

For the second time this year, IBTimes just laid off a bunch of people

More trouble at Newsweek’s sister site.

IBTimes, the business and political news outfit owned by Newsweek parent company IBT Media, is laying off lot of people today. It’s the second such major wave of job cuts in recent months.

One employee let go today told Recode that although employees didn’t yet know the scope of the cuts, it was “big.” A source at the company says it looks like “more than half,” and the layoffs (at the moment) don’t appear to affect other IBT Media brands like Newsweek.

A bunch of the employees whose jobs were eliminated took to Twitter to share the news:

I owe @IBTimes a lot for the passion it renewed in my career and life in general. But now it’s goodbye. Tech reporter here for hire

— Kerry Flynn (@kerrymflynn) June 30, 2016

I’ve been laid off from @ibtimes. It was nice while it lasted. If anyone wants my resume or knows a good place to send it, please DM me.

— Ned Resnikoff (@resnikoff) June 30, 2016

Personal news! I’m out at @ibtimes. Grateful for the time I had here and proud of the work we did. Stay in touch! mlearmonth@gmail.com

— Michael Learmonth (@learmonth) June 30, 2016

A spokesperson for IBTimes/IBT Media did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

This story is developing.

Noah Kulwin #ReCode #TechNews #BizNews #News http://www.recode.net/2016/6/30/12069178/for-the-second-time-this-year-ibtimes-just-laid-off-a-bunch-of-people  

Understanding Telus’s new Premium Plus financing plan

Spend more to save some money with Telus’s new Premium Plus financing option.

Last week, Telus launched a new plan under the Premium Plus name.

At a time when many U.S. carriers are all-in on financing options, Telus’s new Premium Plus plan is a hybrid system, providing customers a considerable subsidy in exchange for a two-year contract, along with flexibility in choosing to spend around $10 per month more on a plan in order to spend less for the phone upon purchase.

What is Premium Plus?

Premium Plus is the name of a new type of financing option offered by Telus, the second-largest carrier in Canada. It allows customers, new or existing, to add a small amount of money to their plans per month in exchange for paying less for the phone at the register.

How does it work?

It’s actually quite simple. Telus’s ordinary Your Choice share plans are priced based on the type of phone you buy: a premium smartphone, like a Galaxy S7; a smartphone, like a Moto X Play or other low-cost Android phones; and BYOD, where you bring your own device.

Premium Plus is interesting because it lives alongside the phone’s subsidy, and is completely optional.

When you buy a premium smartphone, Telus subsidizes the cost by as much as $600, which allows you to buy it for considerably less than its retail price, in exchange for signing a two-year service plan. A Galaxy S7, for example, costs $900 when purchased outright, but $250 up front with a two-year plan, making the subsidy $650.

But $250 is still a lot of money to spend when you’re also signing up for an expensive plan, so Telus decided to add the option of allowing customers to tack on an additional $10 per month to that two-year plan in order to lower the up front cost even further — in this case to $50.

So Telus is increasing the subsidy?

No. What it is doing is allowing you, the customer, to finance the cost of the phone over two years, by adding an additional $10 or so to your monthly bill. This is a system that Telus’s flanker brand, Koodo, has had for some time.

Premium Plus is interesting because it lives alongside the phone’s subsidy, and is completely optional. It allows you to buy a $900 Galaxy S7 for $50 up front.

Is Premium Plus only available for certain phones?

Yes, the Premium Plus model only works for phones that are already heavily subsidized, and fall under Telus’s Premium Smartphone category. Devices that cost around $500 outright don’t need Premium Plus because Telus is already subsidizing the vast majority of the phone’s cost in exchange for a two-year service plan.

Tell me: Is Premium Plus a good deal?

Well, it’s an interest-free loan, so yes. Telus isn’t charging interest on the additional discount, it is just breaking a portion of the phone’s unsubsidized cost into manageable monthly payments that are tacked onto the end of your monthly bill.

Is it a good deal? Well, it’s an interest-free loan, so yes.

There doesn’t appear to be a “downside,” per se. It’s a matter of figuring out whether you can stomach an extra $10 per month on your bill versus paying more for a phone at the time of purchase.

Which phones are compatible with Premium Plus

According to Telus, any phone in its Premium Smartphone category is compatible. Specifically, that includes:

iPhone 6s / 6s Plus / 6 / 6 Plus / SE

Galaxy S7 / S7 edge / S6 / Note 5 / S6 edge

LG G5

BlackBerry Priv

So should I go for it?

That’s totally up to you, but like I said, there doesn’t appear to be a catch or inherent downside to the deal. It’s just a response to the weak Canadian Dollar, which has caused the price of handsets to rise.

Got a question about Telus Premium Plus plans or anything else to do with the Canadian market? Let us know in the comments!

Daniel Bader #AndroidCentral #Android #News #Google #Alphabet http://www.androidcentral.com/understanding-teluss-new-premium-plus-financing-plan  

How to Manually Select Which Ecobee3 Sensor to Use

The Ecobee3 smart thermostat uses remote sensors to monitor the temperature in other areas of your house, rather than just where the thermostat is. Unfortunately, there’s no easy and simple way to select which sensor to use at any given time. Here’s a way around that, though, which lets you pick which sensor to use and when to use it.

Click Here to Continue Reading

Craig Lloyd #HowToGeek http://www.howtogeek.com/257919/how-to-manually-select-which-ecobee3-sensor-to-use/