Your standard issue, out-of-the-box, pristinely white cable gets the job done to charge your iPhone, but it does so in the most lackluster way. Whenever you travel in a cohort with multiple iPhone owners, it always seems like you are misplacing or losing your property, but really no one can differentiate their cable from the next person’s. Charge your phone in an illuminating manner with Electron Flow MFi-Certified Charging Cable. Grab it on sale right now from iPhoneHacks Deals Hub. Continue reading → iPhone Hacks | #1 iPhone, iPad, iOS Blog
Charging cables are usually an afterthought when it comes to our charging needs — a necessity, but something that’s overlooked in favor of a flashier battery or maybe even newer technology, like a wireless charging pad (for all you owners of the latest and greatest iPhone model). That is, until the standard cord you have […] Read More… iDrop News
I have to admit I have a new addiction. Well, not an addiction so much as a way to while away my time during on-demand NBC television show commercials you can’t fast forward through even though Comcast owns NBC. The game is called Word Flow (free with in-app purchases).
When I got the eval code, I was pretty sure it was going to be one of two types of games I get asked to review. A non-engaging derivative, or a super deep labyrinth that I don’t have time to master. I was wrong. Word Flow is kind of a Goldie Locks game, in that its just right for the way I pass the time.
Basic game play is pretty simple. Make some words out of tiles and win. Bigger words, tiles with crowns, and words that incorporate blaster tiles (tiles that take out entire rows or columns of letters) earn more points. Theh bigger the words and the fewer the moves the better.
The game offers a simple linear path of levels; just follow the path. As you move up the levels, the game, of course, gets harder. Well, the goals get harder and the obstacles more challenging. You still have to spell words, but some of the letters must be released from harrowing circumstances before they can be employed. Letters arrive trapped in ice so you have to spell words using adjacent letters to break them free. Once liberated, those letters can be used to free letters near them. Ducks also end up in the puzzles. Their emancipation comes from scrolling them down rows by solving for words below them. So far I’ve broken a lot of ice cubes to unleash their letters and freed a number of rubber duckies. Each level starts with a set number of plays, when they run out, you can either buy more turns or start over.
If you go back to play a level, you are greeted with new letters; so game play isn’t the same, even if the general obstacles to overcome remain. Restart a level too often and you have to buy additional keys to unlock it (I think the game would be better if it allowed for play without keys on previously solved levels). Some of the levels can be a little daunting to figure out, so you might need a restart or two. Puzzles within puzzles.
Yes, I have trophies for things like unique word choice (not just spelling out the same short words over and over.) And from the looks of the trophy list, I have plenty of work ahead of me on the couch, in an airplane seat, or on a conference call where the team forgets I dialed in.
The one thing I would love to see is a legend that describes the various tools in the bag. The game does run through orientation levels, but if you don’t use the tools, you tend to forget what they are for.
The tools also fail you. I recently used the word speller tool, the one that punches out a good word on your behalf (you get a few at the start, and then have to buy more of any tool once you spend your initial allocation), and it spelled out a great word;, but it broke my ability to break ice cubes, so I had to start over. Good word, bad strategy.
Grandleaf has so far released a few updates, so they seem to be squashing bugs and improving game play incrementally. I hope they keep at development with the same vigor they hope game players burn through virtual gold coins.
Word Flow is a new game that I’m having fun with, and you should too. Like most iOS games, it’s free; but also like most games, it offers various add-ons, such as the elimination of ads, a beginner pack that loads you up on gold and goodies, and more. If you like solitary word play, it may be a good game to help you fill up your time on your iPhone doing something other than filling up your time on your iPhone.
We’re still a few months a way from the official debut of iOS 12, but that hasn’t stopped designers from using their imaginations to depict how the update could change iOS. Today, a new concept imagines an all-new Music app in iOS 12, including the return of Cover Flow…
The following is a guest contributed post from Beerud Sheth, Gupshup’s founder and CEO.
With the ubiquity of mobile devices consumers want to be able to reach business anytime, anywhere. Also, they don’t want to have to tinker with browsers and apps; they just want to be able to have a quick chat with someone right now that can answer their specific queries. Shoppers want the right answers to their questions and find what they need quickly. Buyers will want to make a purchase instantly. And customers will want their problems resolved quickly by customer support teams.
This requires businesses to have the infrastructure and teams to support always-on, instant chat with a large number of prospects and customers. This is driving the recent interest in conversational interfaces by marketers. Conversational experiences are set to transform virtually every business function from marketing to sales to support.
There are many tools available for building conversational experiences. However, many of them are built for developers with technical skills. Marketers and designers need simpler tools better suited to their requirements. They need the ability to create conversational flows quickly and easily and tie it into their marketing campaigns.
To address this need, Gupshup recently launched the Flow Bot Builder. This is a graphical wysiwyg (what you see is what you get) tool that can be used by anybody irrespective of their technical skills. Designing a conversation with it is as simple as building a flow chart. Each node in the flowchart describes a bot statement or a potential user response. By creating a series of links between bot statements and user responses, you get a full conversation. Bot statements are not just plain text but can also include rich media such as images, audio, video and emojis. They can also include structured elements such as surveys, polls carousels and quick replies. This can take as little as a few minutes. Every step of the way, the marketer can quickly test the bot and iterate over incremental improvements.
While there are other graphical tools out there, most of them integrate with just one or two messaging channels. By being built on the Gupshup messaging platform, bots built on the Flow Bot Builder can run on 30 plus messaging channels across text, voice, web and app.
Since there is an inevitable trade-off between graphical tools and programmability, most other graphical tools limit functionality in exchange for usability.
Marketers that want their technical colleagues to program additional functionality or integrations find themselves severely constrained. However, the gupshup flow bot Builder is architected in a different way and side-steps the trade-off between usability and programmability. The Gupshup Flow Bot Builder is built on top of the Gupshup IDE Bot Builder. With one click, a user can convert the graphical flow into programming code and then have the full ability to make any programmatic changes to it. It is a fully integrated developer environment (IDE) that software developers are very familiar with.
This means that large teams can collaborate where the marketer or the designer may use the flow Builder to create the conversational flow and the software Developers add the integrations and other advanced capabilities to it in parallel. This is a critical requirement for advanced marketers managing diverse campaigns.
The flow Builder is also fully integrated with common development tools such as GitHub. This means that bot builders can share their bots with others or clone bots built by others. This further drives reuse of previously built bots as well as collaboration among large teams.
The flow Builder can also be tightly linked with campaign tools. This means that marketers can run campaigns whose call to action links initiate a conversation that’s modeled by the Flow Builder. Now, campaigns can become conversational that is they can answer additional questions that users may have about the offer.
The flow Builder is a game changer and a huge step forward in usability, simplicity, extensibility, channel support and team support.
So what makes this technology a good fit for the IoT? For a start, Jet is delivered as a single library with no dependencies. Hazelcast executives claim that this means it suffers from fewer system incompatibilities when deployed across architectures where threading, parallelism and concurrency concerns could hamper other code sets.
This, in turn, means that it can (arguably) be suited to deployments in embedded systems where multiple systems connectivity does not exist. As a result, standalone IoT use cases come to the fore.
Hazelcast suggests that typical application use cases include online trades (where, presumably, an entire transaction execution has to happen inside a defined contained space of logic), sensor updates in IoT architectures, real-time fraud detection and system log events among others.
The Pipeline API is the primary programming interface of Hazelcast Jet for batch and stream processing, so one imagines that this should make it more appealing to a wider Java audience. Indeed, the Java 8 Stream API is also available in Hazelcast Jet 0.5, a well-known and popular API in the Java community which supports functional-style operations on streams of elements.
Overall, this is a big update to the Hazelcast Jet low-level core API, which uses directed acyclic graphs (DAG) to model data flow – allowing detailed DAG assembly of processing jobs.
As explained here, DAGs are used to model probabilities, connectivity and causality, so that a ‘graph’ in this sense means a structure made from nodes and edges – so kind of like a graph database.
“Since its first release, Jet has put the ‘fast’ in Fast Big Data with performance up to 15 times faster than Spark and Flink,” said Hazelcast CEO Greg Luck. “In this release we have been working on bringing Hazelcast’s programming simplicity to Jet, which we think we have now achieved with the Pipeline API. Programmers, start your Jet engines.”
Also new is fault tolerance using distributed in-memory snapshots – in Hazelcast Jet 0.5, snapshots are distributed across the cluster and held in multiple replicas to provide redundancy.
Jet is now able to tolerate multiple faults such as node failure, network partition or job execution failure. Snapshots are periodically created and backed up. If there is a node failure Jet uses the latest state snapshot and automatically restarts all jobs that contain the failed node as a job participant.
Not so daggy on DAGs after all then? Well, Hazelcast Jet accumulates records into micro-batches for processing ‘as soon as they come in’, if you will… and the software itself is built on top of a one-record-per-time architecture (sometimes we call this ‘continuous operators’).
To be honest, you had me at continuous micro-batch processing parallel-execution model (remember our lack of dependencies?), yeah? The IoT data flow rate is getting faster, some of this stuff is going to matter.
Most of us have dreamed of traveling through time, backward or forwards, faster than those around us. And surprisingly, recent work has shown us that time travel is far more than just a dream. In fact, a number of researchers have explored, and are currently exploring, the legitimacy of time travel. While they haven’t quite gotten to the point where they are able to time travel themselves—these researchers have found some concrete science backing it up.
This past June, I met with James Beacham, a particle physicist at the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN), at Brain Bar Budapest, a festival focused on science and the future, to talk about the ways in which time travel has enraptured humanity and discuss both the logistical and technical potential of time travel.
Beacham began by outlining the ways that, according to Einstein’s theories, time travel is technically possible through a number of different methods.
“If space can be bent, then spacetime can be bent.”
One proposed method of time travel is via wormholes. “We know that space can be bent. If space can be bent by, say, gravity, then spacetime can be bent,” Beacham said. To clarify, space is the three-dimensional body in which all things in the universe move. Spacetime, however, is the combined concepts of space and time into a four-dimensional continuum. You may have even seen spacetime portrayed as a fabric, manipulated by energy. If spacetime can be bent, Beacham continued, it’s theoretically possible that time can be bent.
Recently, evidence for this theory has moved beyond the strictly theoretical. A couple of years ago, scientists built what they described as a “wormhole.” Their model, however, created a portal for magnetic fields. As Smithsonian outlined, “if another magnetic field travels through the wormhole, it appears to leave space altogether, only showing up at either end.”
So it doesn’t exactly teleport particles (or people) across spacetime, but it does highlight the continual advances that are being made in our ability to manipulate the various fundamental forces in our universe, and ultimately, the manipulation of this force is an important step towards creating a simplified wormhole that would allow us to send electromagnetic waves through an invisible tunnel. Perhaps, one day, we will be able to manipulate spacetime in a similar manner.
So while wormholes remain theoretically possible and important steps are being made, wormholes in spacetime, specifically, have yet to be observed or created.
Another potential method of time travel is time dilation. Einstein’s theories predicted that time passes differently throughout the universe. We now know this to be true—clocks tick slower on the International Space Station (ISS) than they do here on Earth, for example. This happens because time moves slower for objects that are near strong gravitational fields (such as Earth) than for objects further from these fields, like the ISS.
So by spending time off Earth’s surface and returning at a later point, a human could, in a sense, fast forward through time. If you could get close to a black hole, because there are such strong gravitational forces in the vicinity, time would slow to a mesmerizing degree. Thousands of Earth-years might pass by while only a few seconds tick by near a supermassive black hole.
Time dilation also comes into play where speed is concerned. If we were to, say, travel at 95% of the speed of light, time would slow down dramatically. So again, thousands of Earth-years could pass by in what the traveler experiences as just a few moments.
And this is just the beginning, as there are a number of different ways in which we could make time travel into a reality. Scientists from various disciplines are investigating different methods for us to make more dramatic jumps through time, like using circulating light beams, which can be created through the use of gamma and magnetic fields to twist space and cause time to be twisted. Other methods include quantum tunneling and hypothetical cosmic strings.
Of course, just because something is theoretically possible doesn’t mean it’s technically feasible. At least, not yet. We can’t make wormholes, and we can’t travel near the speed of light. But there is hope that we could achieve these things in the very near future. “We could possibly address things about time travel and understand the basic nature of time with the research that we do now. Or at least, in the next 50 to 100 years,” Beacham said.
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Samsung has added a neat new ability to the Samsung Flow app, which lets you unlock your Windows 10 PC using your Samsung smartphone or tablet. If you haven’t heard of this app before, that’s understandable. Flow lets you link your Samsung phone with your Windows 10 PC and transfer files, access hotspot and now, authenticate login on the PC. Once you have the app installed on the phone as well as on the PC (downloadable through Windows Store) and configured, you will be able to login into your PC using the fingerprint sensor on your phone. Along with authentication, you will…