Thursday, July 27, 2017

HTC’s first standalone Vive headset is only available in China

The Vive Standalone has a Snapdragon 835 under the hood, so you won’t get the same kind of visual fidelity that you would with the standard Vive and a powerful gaming rig. However, that also means you’re getting a relatively slick design that doesn’t need wires or a battery backpack just to operate for a reasonable amount of time. And of course, smartphone-level chips are considerably more affordable than high-end PC components.

You won’t need to hit up a Chinese exporter just to see what the fuss is about, as it is. Remember, HTC said it was making a standalone Daydream VR headset that it would release later this year — there’s not much point to importing this Vive Standalone when something like it is around the corner. That’s particularly true when the Daydream model will likely have a wider app selection, since the Chinese headset relies on HTC’s own Viveport store instead of Google’s shop. It’s just easy to be envious knowing that your Chinese friends might experience device-independent VR before you do.

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David Warner's daughter Indy Rae doesn't like water

Australia opening batsman David Warner and his family decided to give their infant daughter, Indy Rae, swimming lessons this morning. The one-year-old didn't particularly enjoy the outing with mum, dad and water, it seems.

Warner, 30, posted this picture (below) on Instagram of his wife Candice and Indi Rae in a pool. "Indi Rae really enjoyed her swimming lesson today @candywarner1 loved it," Warner wrote.

Now, little Indi Rae's expressions certainly don't reflect her dad's feelings, do they?


WhatsApp hits 1B daily users while its Snapchat clone rockets to 250M

Facebook is winning the race to bring Snapchat’s Stories format to the rest of the world before its originator. WhatsApp Status, its version of Snapchat Stories, now has 250 million daily active users. That’s despite it being relegated to a secondary dedicated tab in the app, opposed to being front and center on the home screen like Instagram Stories which also now has over 250 million users.

Snapchat by comparison only has 166 million daily users of its entire app. That include Snapchat’s private messaging feature that benefits from “Streaks” which uses gamification and emoji badges to incentivize friends to send at least one Snap back and forth each day.

All that engagement with Stories, voice and audio calls, and its core of text messaging has driven WhatsApp to 1 billion total daily users and 1.3 billion monthly users. That means a remarkably high 76% of WhatsApp’s monthly users come back daily. WhatsApp users now send over 55 billion messages per day, including 4.5 billion photos and 1 billion videos.

For reference, WhatsApp had just 1 billion total monthly users in February 2016, and 450 million monthly users and 350 million daily users in February 2014 when it was acquired by Facebook. Now that $19 billion price tag doesn’t seem so crazy.

Mark Zuckerberg announced the 250 million metric update during today’s successful Q2 2017 Facebook earnings call, and in a stats update on his Facebook profile. That’s up from 175 million, which Zuckerberg revealed 3 months ago on Facebook’s previous earnings call. He says that Facebook and WhatsApp are now building out teams to monetize their messaging apps. WhatsApp Status could be a natural home for vertical video ads just like the ones thriving on Instagram.

WhatsApp CEO Jan Koum followed up with his own blog post of stats, concluding that “As we celebrate this milestone, we’re committed more than ever to bringing you more useful features to enjoy, while delivering the reliability, simplicity, and security you expect with WhatsApp.”

The rapid global growth of WhatsApp Status in the first 6 months since it launched in February demonstrates that Snapchat left a huge market open for exploitation by focusing on U.S. teens instead of kids all around the world.

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Apple Supplier Foxconn Confirms Plans to Build TV Display Factory in Wisconsin

Apple supplier Foxconn today announced plans to invest $10 billion in the United States, which will go towards building a new factory in Wisconsin that will employ 3,000 or more workers.

Foxconn is sharing the news at an event at the White House on Wednesday afternoon, says Recode.

The upcoming factory will produce large LCD displays that are meant to be used in televisions and other similarly sized electronics, but Foxconn chairman Terry Gou has said Apple is willing to invest in the factory, so it could be expanded to smaller displays in the future.

According to the Trump administration, the factory could grow to employ as many as 13,000 workers, while also encouraging Foxconn to build additional facilities in other parts of the country.

Foxconn has been mulling a U.S. factory for several months and has been in talks with both the U.S government and several state governments. Foxconn considered several locations for the factory before settling on Wisconsin.

Note: Due to the political nature of the discussion regarding this topic, the discussion thread is located in our Politics, Religion, Social Issues forum. All forum members and site visitors are welcome to read and follow the thread, but posting is limited to forum members with at least 100 posts.

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Logitech Circle 2 is a great surveillance system, but for a price

Accessible home monitoring should be more than just being able to buy a security camera. It means having a packaged software experience, where you should be able to link cameras over a secure cloud connection while mounting them on walls, glass or the outdoors.

Because we live in the age of connected devices, being able to interface with Alexa and HomeKit software should not only be a bonus but a given. Luckily for you, the Circle 2 does all of it.

The only nagging requirement is setting aside a personal surveillance budget, but otherwise the Circle 2 is a great monitoring device.

Now you can spy… or catch the package thief

If you wanted to catch a thief at the door before they run away with your package — I may be projecting here, but it happens — then a single Circle 2 is great for that. However, if your goal is to catch a break-in, you would at least need a camera at the entrance and another in the living room or kitchen, with accessories to match.

A speaker/microphone duo exists in the camera, allowing you to communicate briefly with whomever you see via the Logi Circle iOS/Android app. It functions as a push-to-talk feature within the app or a signed-in desktop.

Video quality is solid, outputting up to 1080p HD video with a 180-degree wide-angle lens. Though maybe not as impressive, the automatic night vision has visibility up to 15 feet and lets me see moving objects, not including a stray cat.

Regarding software, there’s a neat feature that lets you avoid sitting and watching a whole day’s worth of footage to find something of interest. Within the Logi Circle app you can scroll through time, every two to six minutes or so, or have it compressed into a “day brief.”

The next time someone says they knocked on your door, you can hold them (or yourself) accountable thanks to the app.

Getting more of the Circle 2… requires more money

So, you have your first Circle 2 camera, which is great! Now, what if you’d like to say, mount it to a glass panel, mount it outdoors or, better yet, make it wireless and keep it anywhere there’s a Wi-Fi connection? You’re going to need accessories — a lot of them.

The window mount ($39), battery pack ($49) and outdoor mount ($29) are just a few offerings from Logitech that extend the Circle 2’s functionality. If you buy three cameras, plus the mentioned accessories for a two-bedroom apartment, your total comes out to $657 (excluding taxes).

But wait, there’s more! Circle Safe, the service Logitech built with AES 256-bit dual-layer encryption, only enables person detection and motion zone awareness (say you wanted to monitor movement at a front door) with a premium subscription plan. This service costs $10/month or $99 /year, per camera. For comparison’s sake, Canary’s connected cameras cost $10/month to run, but support three cameras as a start.

Assuming you went with the monthly plan, that’s $30 to maintain three cameras, every month. It’s true, the Circle 2 platform works well and has great software, but to keep the show running can be pricey.

Thankfully, if you’re going for the wireless Circle 2 ($199), it comes bundled with the $49 battery pack, so you do save a little on accessories there. It’s something to be mindful of.

Bottom line

Costly or not, Logitech has a great home security tool here. If you pay the premium for software and accessories, there’s not much you won’t be able to keep a visual on. Honestly, a lone wired Circle 2 unit is enough for basic monitoring.

However, it would benefit the consumer if Logitech created a starter bundle, with more than one camera unit and a few accessories to share between them.

Because now, if from the palm of your hand you’re trying to know what goes on in every direction, you may find yourself running in circles due to upkeep.

Price as reviewed: $179 at Logitech 

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Nexus 5X Bootloop Fix Helps you to Finally Boot the Phone

Has your LG/Google Nexus 5X stopped booting, or rather, ends up stuck in an endless boot sequence? This is something we term a “bootloop” and it can occur for various reasons. Most bootloops can be fixed by flashing the stock firmware or factory resetting, but in the case of a hardware bootloop, there’s generally nothing you can do except to RMA the phone. If your Google Nexus 5X has been refusing to boot, and nothing you’ve tried has fixed it, you aren’t alone. The Nexus 5X bootloop issue is notorious in the community, but only recently has a fix been found.

Nexus 5X Bootloop Fix – Context

Over the last couple of years, LG’s smartphone have garnered a bit of a reputation for their bootloop issue. An issue that seemingly started with the LG G4 only became more and more prevalent with each new device the company released. We recently talked about a way to fix the bootloop issue with the Nexus 6P from Huawei, and now there’s a solution available for the Nexus 5X that has been derived from the guide we previously wrote about.

The general consensus here with these fixes seem to indicate that the Snapdragon 808/810 chipsets were rushed out by Qualcomm and have degraded to the point where they’re partially broken. The heat generation issues of the Snapdragon 810 is not something new, but it looks like the 808 is having a similar issue when it comes to what is causing the bootloops. LG had originally stated the issue with the LG G4 bootloops was indeed hardware related, but never went into more detail about the situation.

Some had thought it was due to the solder they used and that it would eventually crack from heating up and cooling down too many times over the lifespan of the device. Whether that is indeed true, we still don’t know for sure what is behind the issue, but this fix for the Nexus 5X bootloop does seem to work around the issue. So today we have a guide for you that will walk you through exactly how to fix the Nexus 5X bootloop issue. While the title in the linked forum thread at the bottom of this post does say it’s untested, multiple people within the community have reported success with this method.

As always though, your mileage may vary with this workaround.


Tutorial

Requirements:

  • Unlockable bootloader from before the bootloop began since you can’t boot into Android and enable the settings required to unlock the bootloader afterwards. If you are able to briefly boot into the phone, then going to Developer Options and ticking “Enable OEM Unlocking” will do the trick.

Tutorial

  1. Download the latest ADB and Fastboot binaries and extract them to a folder on your computer that is easily accessible.
  2. Download and install the Google’s USB Drivers (for those who are running Windows).
  3. Download the N2G47Z_4Cores.img file and save it in the same directory that you have the ADB and Fastboot binaries located.
    • Optional: If you want to use TWRP recovery on your fixed Nexus 5X, this requires you use a modified version of TWRP. So download TWRP3_1_1_5X.img and save it in the same folder you have your ADB and Fastboot binaries located.
    • Optional 2: If you want to speed up your fixed Nexus 5X, you can flash a modified version of XDA Recognized Developer flar2‘s Elemental X Kernel. Download the EX4_10_5X.zip file to your Nexus 5X so it’s stored in the default downloads directory.
  4. Connect the Nexus 5X to the computer with a USB cable.
  5. Go ahead and launch a command prompt or terminal in the same directory where you saved the ADB and Fastboot binaries.Windows users, you can do this by holding shift and right-clicking, then selecting “open command prompt here.” Windows 10 users will see a PowerShell option that replaces the command prompt one.
  6. Boot the Nexus 5X into Fastboot Mode (also known as bootloader mode to some people).
  7. Execute the following command in the command prompt: fastboot devices
  8. If you see your device’s serial number, you are ready to move on. If not, then for some reason the USB drivers are not fully installed.
  9. If your bootloader is not yet unlocked but you have enabled OEM unlocking in Developer Options once before, you can unlock the bootloader now by entering: fastboot flashing unlock. Then, follow the on-screen instructions to unlock the bootloader. Be warned that this will wipe all of the data on your phone.
  10. Now enter the following command in a command prompt to replace your current boot image: fastboot flash boot N2G47Z_4Cores.img
    • Optional: If you want to flash the modified TWRP, then enter this command afterwards: fastboot flash recovery TWRP3_1_1_5X.img

  11. Reboot your phone by typing: fastboot reboot
  12. After some minutes (it may take awhile), you should see your phone’s boot animation and eventually the lockscreen. Congrats, you’ve saved your phone!
  13. Optional: If you want to improve the performance and you followed the steps to install the modified version of TWRP, copy the modified Elemental X kernel over to your phone’s storage, boot into TWRP, and flash the custom kernel. You can even choose to overclock the little cluster during setup to squeeze a bit more performance out of your phone as well.

Explanation

Just like we showed you in the Nexus 6P guide on how to fix its bootloop issue, the cause has something to do with the big cluster CPU cores of the SoC. Based on XDA Member XCnathan32‘s log during their testing of this process, The issue is caused by the VLL being unable to obtain a lock on the A57 cores. So far, we aren’t 100% sure exactly what is causing this issue, but our workaround is actually disabling these broken A57 cores so we bypass the issue altogether.

A more elegant solution could come in the future, but for now we appreciate the developer community coming up with a solution that allows people’s smartphone to boot up again. If someone has been dealing with this issue for a while, at least they can have a functional device for a music player, dash cam, etc. Those who have yet to experience this issue will at least have a solution available to them right when they experience that bootloop for the first time.

As mentioned, we’ve seen multiple people within the community (over in our official XDA thread for this solution) report that this Nexus 5X bootloop solution does indeed work. However, we’ve also had at least one person say that it didn’t work for them. There could be multiple causes for the Nexus 5X bootloop issue so this guide may not be a fix for everyone. If your Nexus 5X is currently in a bootloop, it certainly doesn’t hurt to try it since you can always flash the stock images that Google provides if you want to restore all of these modified files.


Check out the original thread in our Nexus 5X forum

Calibrate your LG G4 Display with KPPD Control Panel

You may be familiar with XDA Recognized Developer savoca‘s KCAL Post-Processing Daemon (aka KPPD), as it lets you customize the color calibration of the LG G4 display (and other compatible devices) on the fly. This method didn’t require root but it forced you to edit a kernel property file to change its values. To make things a bit easier, XDA Senior Member AlaskaLinuxUser created a UI for this tool, but it does require root access in order to adjust the values. The developer says they only tested this on the LG G4, but it should work on any KPPD/KCal compatible (mdp5) device.


Check out KPPD Control in our LG G4 forum

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