Posts tagged with "apps"

Vaughn Lowery, 360 MAGAZINE, sara sandman, illustration

7 Tips To Learn And Get Better Scores At Scrabble

For almost a century now, Scrabble remained to be one of the most popular word games in existence. It’s not only a fun way to spend time with friends and family, but it’s also an effective way to strengthen your vocabulary, spelling, and grammar for whatever language you play it in, if not English. Considering the puzzle features, it also boosts your mental performance, as well as your mood and happiness levels. However, these benefits are more pronounced if you’re actually great on the board and win some if not most of the games you play.

But even for a pro, it’s not unusual to go through a series of winless encounters from time to time. Especially if you’re trying to learn Scrabble or are used to winning or scoring high marks in competitions, this can be overly intimidating. If this sounds anything like you, this article is definitely written for you.

To help you out, here are 7 tips to learn and get better scores at Scrabble:

1. Use word unscrambler tools

One thing about Scrabble is that it looks virtually easy from an overall view. However, things get tougher when you’re in gameplay and find yourself with letter tiles that seem virtually impossible to come up with a word from, based on what’s already on the board. But if you’re tired of passing on rounds, there’s a way out of this frustration. According to the guys from Unscramblex, this helpful tool can help you unscramble letters and create words from tiles you’d never thought would be possible. A word unscrambler could be just the tool you need to improve your scores in games like Scrabble and Words with Friends. Moreover, it makes the game more fun for you as you shine over your opponents while helping you to learn new words.

2. Learn and stick to the rules

Just like any other game, Scrabble has a set of rules that players should abide by. Depending on whom you’re playing with, false moves and the lack of sticking to the guidelines can get you losing points. Everyone who’s ever mastered the game had to abide by the Scrabble rules and they’ll tell you for free, there’s no shortcut to it. It’s also part of the rules that one of the players should be the scorekeeper, tallying points for each player as they make their moves/turns throughout the game.

3. Stay keen

As will be discussed below, to score the highest points in Scrabble, you have to keep your eyes wide open on the board. You should also know when it’s your turn to play and when to replace tiles while keeping an eye on how your points are tallied.

4. Utilize the double/triple letter scores boxes

When playing Scrabble, it’s always important to approach every turn strategically. Remember, each tile/letter has a specific number of points attached to it, but this will also depend on the square you place it on the board. Some boxes on the board can earn you twice or three times the scores of that particular letter, so be keen when creating words and placing your tiles on the board.

5. Target the double word and triple word scores

Conversely, some squares on the Scrabble board also have the power to double or triple the total points scored from a word. Throughout the game, keep an eye on these squares as they can easily transform your status from losing to winning at any point in the game.

6. Fifty bonus points

A Scrabble tile rack normally holds 7 tiles maximum at any one time. If you get a chance to use the 7 tiles in one go, you’re entitled to a 50-points bonus, which is normally referred to as a Bingo. However, you’ll obviously need to have 7 tiles on your rack to pull this off. As you continue to play, you’ll discover that pulling this move off is one of the most satisfying turns in Scrabble. It’s also when you get to earn the most points, especially if your word lands on bonus squares such as double/triple letter or double/triple word score squares.

7. Be smart

In addition to gauging your word-power, Scrabble also gauges your mental sharpness and ability to play with words. As far as being smart goes, some tips you can use to score maximum points in Scrabble include:

•Score big with shorter words

•Release high-value tiles first

•Use prefixes and suffixes to your advantage

•Be strategic with your S

•Use Benjamins wisely

•Adopt defensive playing tactics

•Know when to pass for a better score

•Peruse the Scrabble dictionary regularly

Scrabble is exciting in every way. It provides friends and family members with an opportunity to bond while improving their grammar, spelling, and vocabulary, not forgetting the mental and emotional health benefits the game provides. With the above few tips, you can get better scores in your scrabble games, turning it into a regular enjoyment activity that you can’t seem to get enough of.

smartphones, cell, tech, app, illustration, 360 MAGAZINE, sara sandman

Online Gaming for Smartphones × Tablets

Mobile phones and tablets have taken over almost all internet navigation, prompting more and more people to use the small-screened devices for all their internet requirements. Gambling is no different, as customers are turning more frequently to mobile gambling. Online casino operators have long since recognized the immense potential that mobile gambling poses and have responded by releasing hundreds of mobile casino apps. There are plenty of advantages to be enjoyed and in this article, we shall go over some of the most relevant. 

Play anytime and from anywhere

Since our smartphones tend to be with us all the time, gambling online no longer has any restriction. Regardless if you are at your dentist’s, on the bus, or on a coffee break, you can just open the casino app, choose a game and play for real money. 

Make the best of online promotions

Just because you are playing from your phone does not mean you have to give up enjoying any juicy promotion the casino might be running. The best operators always make sure to have the best offers available for all players regardless of where they are playing from. Some might even release bonuses for app users specifically as a way to encourage more players to download the app. 

Play hundreds of games from your mobile

These days, game developers produce their games in HTML5, which allows them to be accessed from both desktop and mobile, without any download time. This allows players to enjoy hundreds of slot games, table games and even join a Live Casino table. 

Learn new games privately

An online casino often makes it their business to provide their players with the rules of the game, sometimes even including strategy articles, as well as tips and tricks to win. This is a major advantage, as a physical casino does not in any way offer this kind of information and might even be a little embarrassing if you have to ask for help. Online you can learn anything, privately and without any judgment. 

Everyone can join

Everyone can download a casino app and join the fun, whether you are an amateur or a seasoned player, a high-roller, or someone on a budget. Modern casinos present their customers with a wide spectrum of betting options, making it possible for players from all walks of life to join in without any difficulty.

Be wary of the cons

While the advantages of using a casino app are many, there are some cons that we should be aware of. One thing that sticks out, in particular, is the increased possibility of developing a gambling addiction. Vulnerable players can access their casino any time from anywhere making it hard to resist the pull when you are struggling to moderate your gaming time. Something else, that players often find irritating, is the small screen of their devices. While most games work without a hitch, they still need to be adapted to a smaller viewing option and that might mean that certain details and words might be hard to read. 

Conclusion 

As we have established earlier on in this article, many online casinos have released a mobile app, to allow their players to access the casino from their smartphones with very limitations of place and time. There are plenty of advantages to using a mobile casino app and for those who are ready to start exploring the possibilities, we recommend starting from the best online casinos in the UK.  

Rolls-Royce, 360 MAGAZINE

Rolls-Royce Whispers

A DIGITAL WORLD OF CURATED LUXURY

“It is with pleasure that today we introduce to the world an Application named Whispers; an innovative, digital House of Rolls-Royce, conceived and deployed over two years ago. Whispers is completely unique. It is a digital gateway to a fascinating world beyond, where the exceptional and the extraordinary come together and are tailored to meet the demands and tastes of our eclectic and highly valued community of clients. Whispers offers transformative experiences, rare and desirable products, whimsical treasures and exclusive Rolls-Royce previews that are curated by Rolls-Royce and delivered directly to the fingertips of our global community.” Torsten Müller-Ötvös, Chief Executive Officer, Rolls-Royce Motor Cars.

Rolls-Royce patrons are a unique subset of society – entrepreneurs, visionaries, heads of state, royalty, founders and the brightest stars of the entertainment industry. These clients are global denizens, connoisseurs, patrons of the arts, philanthropists, collectors of fine and exquisite items; individuals untethered by common constraints such as time and money.

These individuals have complete confidence in Rolls-Royce’s ability to delight and inspire them. However, due to their highly mobile international lifestyles, they have been seeking a means to have more regular personal involvement with the marque – more experiences, more access, and more immersion in the luxury world open to Rolls-Royce as the world’s leading luxury brand.

Of course, these individuals have existing access to concierge services, personal shoppers and consultants to support various aspects of their lives, but they wanted something different from Rolls-Royce – something above and beyond.

This rarefied group of individuals wanted Rolls-Royce to facilitate a coming together of the extraordinary people who make up the marque’s worldwide client fraternity. Like-minded individuals, they sought to unlock the inimitable treasures that abound within the global Rolls-Royce community and wanted to share their interests, their tastes, their products and collections and their thinking amongst each other.

This is Whispers. A digital House of Rolls-Royce, Whispers acts as an entrepôt to a world that Rolls-Royce intimately and uniquely understands – a digital gateway to a curated world of luxury.

Over two years ago, under a cloak of secrecy, Whispers was launched to a select group of globally distributed clients. A test-phase followed and after garnering a positive response, Rolls-Royce continued to evolve and adapt Whispers in close collaboration with its users. Today, Whispers is fully deployed in the United Kingdom, Europe, the Middle East and the United States, with large numbers of Rolls-Royce clients already enjoying the benefits of belonging to this exclusive group of exceptional achievers.

Membership is limited to owners of a new Rolls-Royce motor car. Whispers is indeed, the most exclusive members’ club in the world.

A Global Community of Like-minded Individuals

Through Whispers, Rolls-Royce offers, to the delight of its clients, access to an amazing and sometimes whimsical collection of luxury offerings, transformative experiences, exclusive Rolls-Royce previews, inspiring articles and thought pieces, undiscovered destinations and perhaps most importantly, the ability to securely contact and privately commune with some of the world’s greatest minds.

Whispers offers patrons the opportunity to liaise securely with fellow Rolls-Royce patrons, the Chief Executive and members of the Board of Rolls-Royce, to share ideas and networks, business opportunities and social contacts that fortify and inspire those who change the world.

An Inspiring and Sometimes Whimsical Collection of Luxury Offerings

An ever-changing collection of beguiling products has been curated to surprise, delight and intrigue. Members can create their very own bespoke experiences or products. They are invited to work with experts to design and build their own personal racetrack, or commission a personalised Monopoly set incorporating one’s own properties and assets. Need entertaining? – book a private performance by the New York Philharmonic Orchestra. Commission a beautiful portrait of your favourite pet or design your very own minaudiere.

From truffles to caviar or crafting your own Cognac, patrons can peruse and purchase a diverse and eclectic selection of luxurious products and curiosities – all on the Whispers platform, in the comfort of their own home.

Transformative experiences

Whispers provides Rolls-Royce clients access to transformative, inspiring and entertaining experiences. From backstage-access at the Grammys, front-row seats at Fashion Week, walking the red carpet at the Academy Awards, VIP previews of Art Basel, to meeting artists at Coachella, players at Wimbledon or athletes at the Olympics, Whispers unlocks a world of exclusive access.

Worldwide luxury travel experiences are offered. An expedition to Antarctica or an African Safari can be facilitated at the touch of a button. And, of course, Whispers members are invited to join Rolls-Royce at exclusive, hosted experiences, for example, an Art Weekend visiting the private collection of one of the world’s most prestigious collectors, or a weekend at the sumptuous Villa D’Este Concours D’Elegance. Members may receive an invitation to an intimate dinner on the production line at the Home of Rolls-Royce in Goodwood, England, or even a private, curated tour of luxury goods manufacturers in the capitals of global luxury. Additionally, members of the Whispers community receive exclusive world-previews of new Rolls-Royce products and offerings before they become public knowledge.

Hidden Gems

As global denizens and owners of a Rolls-Royce, the marque’s patrons are accustomed to effortless luxury travel. Now, drawing on Rolls-Royce’s global presence and unique immersion in the world of luxury travel, clients receive recommendations, via Whispers, of new or little-known but highly recommended hotels, restaurants, bars and clubs around the world – many of which are endorsed by fellow-members who have come across them on their own world travels. Assistance is available to plan itineraries and ensure the very best seat or suite is secured.

Inspiring Greatness through Evocative Thought Pieces

Whispers collates inspirational ideas and creative thinking gleaned by Rolls-Royce’s own Luxury Intelligence Unit from around the globe. Inspiring thought pieces are tailored according to the patron’s personal choices and interests. Philanthropic endeavour, sporting achievements, artistic excellence and cultural idiosyncrasies feature in editorial content designed to enlighten and inspire the reader.

Whispers is an exclusive, digital home for Rolls-Royce clients around the world. Constantly adapting and refreshing to always ensure that its content remains current, relevant and in-line with the client’s interests, Whispers draws together many of the world’s most affluent and interesting people. Private, curated, inspiring and lovely, Whispers is truly the most exclusive Members Club in the world.

Virgin Pulse, Health, 360 Magazine,

Tech Companies To Watch Out For In The Next Year

By now we should all be familiar with the pace of technology, one of the last great frontiers for the entrepreneur. Even though it doesn’t occur to us in the moment, new innovations continue to shape our world from year to year.

Compare the year 2020 to the turn of the century. In the first two decades of the 21st century, we’ve gotten used to social media, 3D printing, blockchains, eBooks, CRISPR gene editing, online streaming video and the wide-scale adoption of mobile phones. Likewise, we started the new millennium not knowing the names of Facebook, Spotify, YouTube, Uber, AirBnB or Twitter.

What do the coming years bring? Our best economic and technological forecasters have picked a few rising stars in tech innovation who just might sculpt the next horizon in industry.

StartApp

We’ve all heard of marketing companies collecting data on mobile users to use as research on user behavior, but StartApp simply has more data than anybody else. Tapping a billion active mobile users every month across 350K apps, StartApp anonymously logs this user data and then packages it for sale to companies to help them make better decisions about development, user interface design, and marketing. Having grown from $200K to $37 million in revenue, StartApp is poised to be the Amazon of customer service information.

Nauto

While we were all anticipating the advent of driverless cars, still a hazy future promise, it occurred to our AI scientists that the experience of driving just isn’t documented enough to teach it to a robot. Nauto is one company helping to fix that, by building an autonomous driving data platform. Using cameras both exterior and interior, Nauto systems track both the road conditions and obstacles and the driver’s reactions, showing us what we respond to and how fast. It’s also aimed at reducing driver distraction and fatigue. With over $1 million in investor funding raised so far, the company aims first to enable better driver-assistance technology, before aiming at removing the need for a driver completely.

Evisort

Evisort is simple to explain: It’s “Google for contracts.” Except, rather than just automating text search, it’s an expert system trained for the legal profession, allowing it to parse out key dates, names, provisions, limitations, dollar amounts and legal clauses. This turns out to be a huge part of the day for anybody working in the legal profession, where the average lawyer might handle dozens of contracts numbering 30 pages or more per week. Human contract review is costly, time-consuming, and prone to errors, so an automated AI for contract management is something every legal worker wants. Evisort has raised over $5 million in investor funding and been praised in both Forbes and Harvard Law Review.

CloudBeds

The hospitality industry has been late to the party of industries changed by technology, but its turn has come. CloudBeds is a smart business management software for hotels, with an end-to-end platform that handles the unique challenges of property management and booking together with business management. The result is that hotels run better and make more money. Hotels, being a future-proof industry that online commerce can’t replace, are going to be around for a long time, and CloudBeds raising $20 million in investor funding shows that they’re going to be offering something every hotel wants.

SnapChat

The most senior member on this list, SnapChat has been in business for most of the 2010s, but it’s the social network platform with the brightest future. Just as Facebook took the crown from MySpace, everyone’s been counting the days until Facebook finds itself left behind by the next generation of web users. But which social network will it be? With a user base approaching 210 million people across 22 languages, SnapChat is a social network geared for the mobile platform and more favored by younger generations.

Conclusions…

Much of the technology in recent years is driven by the advent of large data and deep learning methods in artificial intelligence. There are many more industries that can be innovated to the same degree that the above list has been – aspiring entrepreneurs take note!

Lexus, GS F, Vaughn Lowery, Toyota, 360 MAGAZINE

5 Ways to Keep Yourself Entertained as a Passenger on a Road Trip

Road trips are amazing. They are a cheaper way to travel in most cases, they offer you a different form of freedom, where you can stop wherever you please, and you get to see a lot more of the country you are driving through that on a flight.

There is only one inconvenience for passengers, what do to? Great conversation with your road trip colleagues is a part of the journey, without a doubt, but talking can only go so far. Or you are on a family road trip and would rather not talk to your sibling. You need to find new ways to keep yourself entertained during long drives. And here we have 5 of the best ways to stay entertained as a passenger.

  • A Playlist

Music can make or break a road trip. Having the right playlist is essential to a road trip. This can be in your headphones or playing DJ for the car on the stereo. There are now a variety of music streaming apps (make sure to have a phone car charger) giving you infinite music at your fingertips. You can choose an already made road trip playlist or start making yours the moment you know you are going on the trip.

  • Travel Games

This isn’t the old school travel box of chess and draughts with a magnetic board (although these also have a place in road trips). Here we mean interactive games with who is in your car. There are loads of different games you can play. “I Spy”, the “ABC Game” where you name things you see following the alphabet or “next to pee” where the next person who needs a toilet break buys the drinks or the snacks. There are plenty more, find one that suits you all.

  • Map Reading

Learn how to read a map or an atlas. This is a great way to look out for interesting places to stop while on the move. It makes the trip more improvised and interesting.

  • Mobile Apps

There are many and many apps designed to entertain you while on the go. From online casinos such as ComeOn, different games, karaoke apps. There is an app for everything today, so finding one to keep yourself entertained will not prove too difficult.

  • Read a book

Books might seem old school to the next generation of road trip travellers, but the reason they are still a thing must be enough to prove they have their place. If you are travelling far, an e-book is the best way to keep all your favourite reads on you while taking the minimal amount of space. This might not be for everyone, as many get car sickness. That will not improve your journey!

Conclusion

There are tons of ways to entertain you while on a long journey, and most thanks to advancements in technology. Find an app, online magazines, games, and so much more all at your fingertips with your smartphone.

Uber/Lyft Drivers Shutdown Rush Hour Traffic in NYC

On Tuesday morning thousands of Uber and Lyft drivers with the Independent Drivers Guild led a slow vehicle procession over the Brooklyn Bridge and up to Gracie Mansion to call for the Mayor and City Council’s help in response to new app changes from Uber and Lyft in New York City that will harm drivers’ ability to make a living. Approximately 6,000 drivers participated in the action which slowed rush hour traffic to a near stand still in a procession that stretched across the city at times covering the full length from the Brooklyn Bridge up FDR Drive to Gracie Mansion.

Starting on Tuesday Uber launched new policies to kick drivers off the apps between trips and in areas of lower demand in order to avoid paying drivers as required by New York City’s pay regulations. Lyft enacted a similar policy earlier this summer to protests from the Drivers Guild. The New York City Taxi and Limousine Commission has failed to take action, so the Drivers Guild is calling for the Mayor and City Council to stop the apps from violating the pay rules in an attempt to scam drivers out of fair pay. The Guild, a Machinists Union affiliate representing and advocating for New York’s 80,000 app-based drivers, led a two year campaign to win the nation’s first minimum pay rate for Uber and Lyft drivers. Rules which the apps are now violating.

“Uber and Lyft are flouting New York City’s driver pay rules to avoid paying drivers what they have earned and the city’s Taxi and Limousine Commission has done nothing to stop them. Today drivers are saying: We will not be ignored. We are calling on the Mayor and City Council to step in and help us fight back against the app companies. More than 1,000 Uber and Lyft drivers logged off the apps to take part in a procession over the Brooklyn Bridge and through Manhattan to Gracie Mansion today to protest the app companies and demand action from the city,” said Brendan Sexton, Executive Director of the IDG, a Machinists Union affiliate which represents and advocates for more than 80,000 app based drivers in NYC. “For months we warned that if the city failed to take enforcement action against Lyft for violating the pay rules, that the other apps would follow suit and drivers’ pay would suffer. Already thousands of drivers are struggling to pay their bills because Lyft is blocking them from the app.

Now with Uber following suit more than 80,000 New York City families will pay the price if the city refuses to stand up for drivers and crackdown on the app companies.” Council Member Brad Lander who sponsored the law requiring a minimum pay rate for Uber and Lyft drivers has also spoken out against the app companies’ actions and voiced his support for the drivers today. “Kicking drivers off the app between rides and controlling where and when drivers can work directly undermines Uber and Lyft’s pretense of employing independent contractors who set their own hours. Far from providing flexible work schedules and a solution to transit deserts, Uber and Lyft are forcing drivers to avoid serving low-income outer boroughs and limiting their ability to make a living wage, in violation of the spirit of NYC Council’s ground-breaking legislation to guarantee for-hire drivers a minimum hourly wage.

These are the same companies that have been arguing that they don’t control their drivers’ work and it isn’t central to their business model. Uber and Lyft can’t have it both ways. Either recognize drivers as employees entitled to minimum wage, overtime pay, health insurance and all the rights that entails, or follow the law we passed to ensure that drivers make a fair wage,” said Council member Brad Lander.

Today’s protest shows growing driver anger at the app companies and the city’s failure to protect driver pay. Just last week more than 100 IDG members gathered at CIty Hall to call for the city to abolish the TLC due to its failure to stand up for drivers, including on this issue of enforcing the pay rules. The Guild also called for the city to pass a Drivers’ Bill of Rights, which specifically included blocking apps from trying to get around the pay rules.

Further Background:

For months Lyft has been kicking New York City drivers off the app to avoid paying them and the Independent Drivers Guild has been calling on the city to take aggressive enforcement action, warning that without enforcement other apps may follow suit.  On Friday, just days after more than 100 IDG members rallied at City Hall calling for action, Uber announced in an email to drivers that it would indeed begin the same practice to flout the city’s pay rules on Tuesday.

In June, the Guild wrote a letter to the City’s Taxi and Limousine Commission calling for enforcement on this issue and drivers testified to this issue in July calling attention to the fact that Lyft was using this policy to further enrich the company by giving preferential access to drivers who pay them upwards of $400 per week to rent a vehicle from Lyft’s Express Drive program. However, the city’s Taxi and Limousine Commission failed to act and failed to include any further regulatory guidance during its summer rule making, despite having the clear opportunity to do so.

Hotel Property Management Tips

5 Tips To Choose The Right Property Management System For Your Hotel

Hoteliers and their staff are busy all the time. Anything that can take some weight off their shoulders will help them to work on other important tasks. Property Management System is the solution as it removes repetitive tasks and takes care of time-consuming processes. But the problem is: choosing the right PMS tool to help manage your property. Making a wrong move will result in losing not only money but a great deal of your time too. Here are five tips to help you choose the right property management system for your hotel.

Mind the Costs

Look for what your business needs and then choose a PMS that will meet the requirement. Even though costs will play an essential factor, it’s important to have a system that works with your workflow and meets your needs. Take advantage of the free trial or demo, which in fact is something you should ask first, and see whether it’s suitable for your hotel.

Opt for a cloud-based rather than the premise-based system which is more costly. The cloud-based system will not require you to hire an IT service to manage it. You will only have your computer or mobile to deal with. Remember to find something that favors your pocket.

Security Should be of Concern

To safeguard all the information about your guests’ data and prevent any breaches, security should be your concern. In an era where customer privacy is of utmost importance, and you don’t want to lose them, you should ask for a hotel property management system demo from every provider to see what they have as far as security is concerned.

Security breaches in hotels can involve password theft, network compromise, personal data compromise, etc. All the breaches are dealt with individually. Some need an application firewall to solve the problem while others are more complex and require a closer look.

Form a Plan and a Team

Unless you have a small-home-turned-hotel where you and your spouse are the team, one of the critical things to do is forming an integration team consisting of managers and staff. The importance of doing this is to make sure that the PMS addresses most of the needs in your hotel and it’s evaluated from different viewpoints.

Creating a plan and a team will also allow you to involve the eventual users, who are the staff. For small hotels or lodgings, ma’ and pa’ sit down and discuss the plan because they are the staff. It’s a vital decision to make and not even the activities of the day should make you forget about it. It will make your life easier and allow you to make more money.

Look For a PMS Provider Offering Training

Hospitality is an ever functional industry running 24/7, and you should look for providers who can offer support whenever you need. That should also mean that they are available to troubleshoot any problems you might face. Go for a PMS that provides training for the first-time users and also provides a refresher course in case you need it later on.

Ongoing training and support will help you understand new features and integrations. It’s vital to find a PMS that offers assistance so that you can solve some of the issues you might have.

Find One that Can be Integrated with Other Apps

PMS should be able to perform all the tasks flawlessly with other apps, that means, data from PMS can be transferred to other apps seamlessly so that work can be managed better. Inquire to understand whether the app can communicate and integrate with other systems.

What does this mean? For instance, if you have been storing all your data as Microsoft Excel file then you adopt a new web-based app, the data can be copied accurately and correctly such that no one will have to type it all again i.e. PMS with csv import-export feature.

Think about yourself, your staff and your property. What could make their work easier and boost your profits at the same time? The answer is the Property Management System. Use the tips above to choose the most convenient one.

HACK Is Here To Help

Hack, a full-stack laptop designed to teach kids to code by enabling them to hack games, settings and apps, is announcing the launch of its pre-release beta.
Hack is the only laptop designed for everyday use that has a unique superpower – the benefit of inspiring kids to learn how to Hack. Using the flip-to-hack feature, kids can edit parameters, immediately see their changes and develop familiarity with basic coding in an authentic and safe environment. Built on the Linux-based Endless Operating System, kids access source code and use a real sandbox for learning how to code.
The award-winning ASUS laptop comes with all the apps and tools families need for everyday use, including Chrome, Calculator, Skype, Office Suite, Scratch, Spotify, Steam and more. Recognizing that many parents are eager to introduce STEM to their children and give them a computer of their own, Hack is a dual-purpose laptop great for everyday use and STEM education, for $299. What’s more, it is a safe, ad-free and virus-resistant computer with parental controls. Hack is the screen time that parents should feel good about for their kids.
“As a parent and passionate tech executive I am excited to empower the next generation with digital literacy, creative problem-solving skills and an understanding of how to engage consciously with the world. In turn, we hope to enable and inspire children to create innovative and exciting opportunities for themselves and others,” stated Roberta Antunes CEO of Hack.
Hack characters, based on computer science luminaries including Ada Lovelace and Mary Jackson, guide players through immersive adventures and provide them with new coding challenges every month. For $9.99 per month, Hack families will access an unfolding adventure story and learning quests, and hackable levels that unlock as the player’s skills improve. As the child evolves, so does the product. The first 12 months of the content subscription are free for launch customers.
To participate in the Hack beta, visit hack-computer.com and signup for the waitlist. Pre-orders for the public release on January 24th are also available on Amazon.

Starlight Xperience for Children

Starlight Children’s Foundation, an organization whose mission is to create moments of joy and comfort for hospitalized kids and their families, unveiled today its newest initiative, Starlight XperienceTM virtual reality, a groundbreaking new technology program that offers millions of seriously ill children a fun and exciting way to explore the world and beyond through the magic of VR.

To watch a video on Starlight Xperience and how it helps kids, please see here.

Built for the Lenovo Mirage Solo with Daydream, Starlight Xperience features a state-of-the-art and hospital-ready headset that comes preloaded with age-appropriate and dynamic content geared toward entertainment and distraction for hospitalized kids, which has been specifically modified to meet strict infection safety protocols for use in hospital settings. Pre-loaded content includes educational field trips to exotic locations through Google Expeditions and Street View, fun interactive stories like Star Wars: Droid Repair Bay by ILMxLAB, and Lola and the Giant, popular apps such as Ocean Rift and Hello Mars, and meditation exercises and therapeutic games such as Relax VR, which allows the patient to escape into beautiful environments.

Starlight Xperience was created in collaboration with Founding Sponsor, Star Wars: Force for Change, the charitable initiative from Lucasfilm and The Walt Disney Company that harnesses the power of Star Wars to empower and improve the lives of children around the world. Through grant funding provided by The Walt Disney Company and Niagara Cares – the philanthropic arm of Niagara Bottling – as well as charitable donations from grassroots donors, Starlight Xperience will be provided at no cost to Starlight’s network of more than 800 children’s hospitals and other health care facilities across the US.

“We believe Starlight Xperience has the potential to transform the hospital experience for millions of seriously ill children and their families,” said Chris Helfrich, CEO of Starlight Children’s Foundation. “We’re thrilled to stand beside The Walt Disney Company, Google, Lenovo and Niagara Cares in unveiling this exciting new program, which is the latest evolution in our 35-year history of bringing innovative entertainment technologies to hospitalized kids.”

“Providing these unique entertainment experiences reflects our commitment to bring comfort during what can be difficult times for kids and families. This is part of our Disney Team of Heroes initiative, which includes a $100 million commitment to children’s hospitals,” said Elissa Margolis, senior vice president, Enterprise Social Responsibility for The Walt Disney Company. “The collaboration with Google and Lenovo is the perfect blend of technology and content that we’ll be able to deliver to kids during their hospital stay.”

“Our goal has always been to create virtual reality experiences that are accessible, useful, and relevant to as many people as possible,” said Amit Singh, VP of Business & Operations for AR & VR at Google. “Starlight Xperience is a shining example of that goal coming to life in a really great way. We’re thrilled to be able to support Starlight in bringing transporting VR experiences to hospitalized children across the country.”

“We are thrilled to be working with Starlight and Google to bring technology to hospitalized children in their time of need. Helping to provide a solution for the children and their families allows us to truly make a difference for the better,” said Gunjan Shah, general manager for North America Smart Devices at Lenovo.

Starlight Xperience was developed in part through a series of grants provided by Starlight to the CHARIOT program (short for Childhood Anxiety Reduction through Innovation and Technology) at Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital Stanford. CHARIOT implements new technologies in the hospital that are nontraditional yet familiar to children to engage and distract them during stressful or painful procedures, keeping clinical usage in mind and improving upon the typical hospital experience. This past summer, Starlight Xperience was soft launched and tested at five children’s hospitals: Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital Stanford, Children’s Hospital Colorado, Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center, Gillette Children’s Specialty Healthcare in St. Paul, Minn., and Texas Children’s Hospital.

“At Gillette Children’s Specialty Healthcare, virtual reality has been a fantastic addition for our patients,” said Chantel Barney, Ph.D., a clinical scientist who leads Gillette’s VR program. “In some instances, we’ve been able to curb the anxiety and fears our kids typically experience during procedures such as blood draws, transfusions, wound cleanings, casting and more. It’s a wonderful distraction for kids and parents alike.”

“We’re proud to support Starlight Xperience and look forward to bringing smiles to the faces of hospitalized children through this educational and inspirational program,” said Andrew Peykoff II, President and CEO, Niagara Bottling. “This technology makes learning fun and we’re excited to expand the program to even more children.”

Thanks to the grants provided by The Walt Disney Company and Niagara Cares, in addition to the generosity of charitable donations from individuals, Starlight is on track to deliver up to 1,000 Starlight Xperience kits to its network of hospital partners by the end of 2018, with a goal of doubling that by the end of 2019. A donation to Starlight will entertain, educate and inspire hospitalized kids across the US through stimulating immersive experiences that transport children from the hospital to any place in the world – or beyond – through the magic of virtual reality.

The public is invited to learn more and support the program online at www.starlight.org/starlight-xperience.

ABOUT STARLIGHT CHILDREN’S FOUNDATION
Starlight creates moments of joy and comfort for hospitalized kids and their families. For 35 years, Starlight’s programs have positively impacted more than 60 million critically, chronically and terminally ill or injured children in the US, Canada, Australia and the UK. With your help, more kids and their families will enjoy Starlight Gowns, Starlight Fun Centers and other Starlight programs at a children’s hospital or facility near you. Support Starlight’s work by visiting www.starlight.org and by following Starlight on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

ABOUT STAR WARS: FORCE FOR CHANGE
Star Wars: Force for Change, a charitable initiative from Lucasfilm and Disney, harnesses the strength of Star Wars to empower and improve the lives of children around the world. Since 2014, it was inspired by Star Wars fans, and the countless hours they have dedicated to philanthropy over the past four decades. To date, over $16 million has been raised for charitable causes around the world on behalf of Star Wars: Force for Change. With a bright future ahead, and new Star Wars stories to be told, Force for Change aims to continue collaborating with causes and encouraging others to be forces for change in their own community. To learn more, please visit ForceForChange.com.

ABOUT THE WALT DISNEY COMPANY
The Walt Disney Company, together with its subsidiaries, is a diversified worldwide entertainment company with operations in four business segments: Media Networks; Studio Entertainment; Parks, Experiences and Consumer Products; and Direct-to-Consumer and International. Disney is a Dow 30 company and had annual revenues of $55.1 billion in its Fiscal Year 2017.

ABOUT LENOVO
Lenovo (HKSE: 992) (ADR: LNVGY) is a US$45 billion Fortune Global 500 company and a global technology leader in driving Intelligent Transformation through smart devices and infrastructure that create the best user experience. Lenovo manufactures one of the world’s widest portfolios of connected products, including smartphones, tablets, PCs (ThinkPad, Yoga, Lenovo Legion), data centers and workstations as well as AR/VR devices and smart home/office solutions. Lenovo works to inspire the difference in everyone and build a smarter future where everyone thrives. Follow us on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Weibo, read about the latest news via our Storyhub, or visit our website at http://www.lenovo.com/.

ABOUT NIAGARA CARES
Niagara Cares, a philanthropic arm of Niagara Bottling, is committed to supporting local and national community initiatives serving children and families in need by engaging stakeholders and investing its resources. Niagara Cares efforts include national strategic partnerships, local community grants, employee engagement, volunteerism and the Andrew D. Peykoff, Sr. Scholarship Program. For more information, visit www.niagarawater.com/niagara-cares.

APPLE × SAMSUNG

OF SMARTPHONES AND SUPREMACY —THE NEVER ENDING RACE BETWEEN APPLE AND SAMSUNG

Written by: Amardeep Singh

2016 and 2017 have been strange years for smartphone giants that seem to show no signs of backing out on every front. From Samsung‘s gadgets being seen as potential explosive bombs to Apple admitting its dirty tactics in slowing down its older phones for better sales, from Nokia making a valiant return with the 3310 to Google releasing Pixel. But before techies and phone savants declare their opinions on the best phone for the year as 2017 comes to an end, it’s important to review two of the most happening smartphones that had gripped everyone in hype.

IT’S ALL IN THE SPECIFICATIONS

The iPhone X debuted with a staggering size of 43.6 × 70.9 × 7.7 mm (5.65 × 2.79 × 0.30 inches) showing an absent home screen button when compared to the Note 8’s size of 162.5 × 74.8 × 8.6 mm (6.40 × 2.95 × 0.34 inches).

Initial advertisements by Apple boasted several of the phone’s  features such as a stunning 6.3-inch Super AMOLED display that shows a beautiful 2,436 × 1,125 pixels (458 ppi) home screen. Apple wasn’t just betting on visual appeal to be the main selling point but it seems that the new animated emoji( called animoji) clearly took the stage at the keynote speech.

The phone runs on an A11 Bionic  64-bit architecture with a 2716 mAh battery that Apple promises to power 12 hours of internet, 13 hours of video playback, 21 hours of talk time and up to 60 hours of audio playback. Cameras have seen a vast improvement in the latest release with a M10 motion co-processor being coupled with a dual 12MP rear (both with OIS) and a 7MP True Depth front that captures images up to 4K at 60fps. Video making too has been augmented with users now being able to shoot 1080p at 240fps. Beneath the silver or space Gray exterior the, the provides up to 64GB or 256GB of storage space and the newest iOS 11 framework.

All this for a standard price of nearly a $1000 which is likely to increase in the coming months as Apple hints the possible release of more color variants and even a rumored iPhone 9.

The Note 8 too isn’t much far in that regard when it comes to technology. While slightly heavier than its counterpart, the phone still takes the lead with a 162.5 × 74.8 × 8.6 mm (6.40 × 2.95 × 0.34 inches) size with a 6.3-inch Super AMOLED display and a 2,960 × 1,440 (522 ppi) resolution. While the rear camera is no different than the iPhone ‘s12 MP feature, the front has an 8 MP capability. Early reviews stated that the phone hosts features to create videos at 4K at 30fps and 720p at 240fps. The Android 7.1.1 Nougat OS with a Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 (U.S.)/Samsung Exynos 8895 (international) processor allows for 22 hours of talk time, 13 hours of internet, 16 hours of video playback, and up to 74 hours of audio playback.

Available at three storage spaces of 64GB (U.S.) 128, 256GB (International) and two colors of midnight black and orchid gray, the phone will cost buyers $ 930.

VERDICT— WHAT THE PUBLIC HAS TO SAY

The iPhone X launch brought some radical changes to its generation of smartphones which were welcomed by some but ridiculed and criticized by most. Despite showing some amazing sales figures when compared to the iPhone 7 which was considered to be no less than disastrous on the public front, the Note 8 still holds a competitive edge against the former.

Buyers are specifically amazed at the uses for Google Assistant and the S pen along with several other features such as Bixy, peripheral ports and its special lock-in procedures.

However, newer versions of the Note 8 have attracted some hindrance after users reported that they were unable to charge even on plugging after using them for the first time. Users are also dissatisfied with facial detection, screen burning and short battery lives on the latest iPhone. And the company too seems to be on thin ice as it revealed details about slowing down ageing phones which took a big crunch at its stock prices.

But only time will tell if either company can maintain a stronghold of their investors and consumers as the year comes to another end.

Photo credit: Stuff.tv