There's a point in every person's life when they give up on trying to be the cool kid and surrender to their fate of scoffing, "kids, nowadays!" at every opportunity. I reached mine a couple of years ago when Snapchat became a thing, Twitter started being about politics and news more than fun conversations, and everyone (and their mom, dad, kids, and grandparents) was on Facebook. Now I just sigh and roll my eyes each time I see people putting more of the silliest parts of their lives online, which, as I type it, sounds quite hypocritical given this very paragraph. Read More
One of the most requested features in the SmartThings app has been scene support. I'm new to the system, so I'm sure there were some enterprising solutions to the lack of scenes, but there wasn't any native and easy way to do it. That changes with the latest update to version 2.10 of the SmartThings app.
Scenes reside inside the My Home tab, next to Things and Rooms, and allow you to change multiple lights, switches, and devices to different presets to suit a certain mood. So if you're working, you can have the lights go all the way up but if you're watching a movie, they can be dimmed down. Read More
Amazon and Google's relationship over the past few years has been nothing short of an epic love-war popcorn-worthy chess battle. Amazon removes Chromecasts from its store, Google disables YouTube on Echo Shows, Amazon removes the Prime Video app from the Play Store then for some reason returns it. Now in one surprisingly nice move, Amazon has added Chromecast support to its Music app, maybe finally realizing that locking users out of certain functions or devices doesn't do it any good.
The Chromecast integration has been showing up for a couple of weeks inside the Amazon Music app: TechHive reported it at the start of the month, but at the time it was only showing for some devices. Read More
Nest announced its Secure alarm system in September, but the starter pack just became available for purchase today. And to go with that, Nest has updated its app to support the features of the Secure.
You can now add your Nest Secure to the app and control everything about it. The dashboard-like screen lets you quickly arm and disarm, with the option to get reminders if you go away and forget to turn on the system. Now that's one neat feature of "smart" alarms that you won't find in the traditional systems. You obviously get push notifications when the alarm goes off, but you can also check the state of all your door/window and motion sensors, set schedules for your system, see a history of all the events, and invite momentary guests with visiting hours. Read More
While I can't use Google Voice myself, I see a lot of positive feelings for the service online. And now the Android app will be getting just a little bit more approval thanks to a handy addition: billing history.
If you use Google Voice for placing calls, you'll be able to track your available credit through the app's Settings > Billing history. There, you'll find your recent activity with each call, its date and time, duration, how much it cost you, and your balance after it was over. Read More
If you are a big Android enthusiast, then you're probably familiar with the name F-Droid. If not, it's an extensive repository of open source apps, as well as the name of its accompanying client. Today that client has been updated to v1.0.
If you remember our coverage of v0.103, v1.0 should look pretty familiar. While there have been some significant changes behind the scenes, apart from a general improvement in performance and ease of use, you're not likely to notice much. Read More
Earlier this week, Roku announced a refresh to its line-up of streaming sticks and boxes, including a brand new Roku OS 8 that would come to the old and new hardware alike. You can read more about Roku OS 8 at the link above, or here on Roku's site, but the gist is that voice searches and controls are improved, antenna TV listings for broadcast channels are included in search results if you have an HDTV antenna connected to your Roku, and private listening (TV speakers off, uses your phone or the 3.5mm jack on your Roku remote) works for antenna TV too and not just streaming. Read More
WhatsApp has always used iOS' emoji designs and fonts in all of its apps. Whether you're on iOS, Android, Windows Mobile, Blackberry, Symbian, or desktop, you would see the same emojis independent of your device's built-in emojis. That created a unified approach to avoid any confusing moments like, "you sent me a gun!" and "I said it was a water gun!" However, it looks like WhatsApp is now breaking the shackles of its iOS emojis... somewhat.
In the latest Android beta v2.17.364, WhatsApp introduced a new set of emojis that are its very own. They look like iOS and Android Oreo emojis had a baby and from every comment we received, no one is enthused about them. Read More