Old Luke, All-Out War Mode Invade ‘Star Wars: Force Arena’ in New Update

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Lucasfilm and Disney don’t officially call him Old Luke, but let’s face it: Luke Skywalker had some years on him in Star Wars: The Last Jedi. That said, he still showed Mr. Emo himself, Kylo Ren, a few new tricks, and he’ll look to do the same for mobile gamers since he’s joining the fray in the latest update to Star Wars: Force Arena [Free], along with more characters from the most recent Star Wars saga film, conveniently released on digital HD earlier this week.

Joining Old Luke are his old pal R2-D2, Supreme Leader Snoke and his Elite Praetorian Guards, though the ‘Elite’ part is up for some debate given their performance in defending Snoke in the movie. They’ll help buff up the character roster in Netmarble’s “we’re not calling it a MOBA but yes it’s pretty much a mobile MOBA” title.

Seeing as one of the visual highlights of The Last Jedi was the salt planet, Crait, you might be happy to learn that it’s now in the game too as part of the new “All Out War” arcade mode. Available once you reach Tier 4 with either the light or dark sides, All Out War gives you a break from the more intense Arena action in battles that see each player put their best 18 cards to the test. No word on whether there are any famous people doing cameos as random Resistance troopers.

Last but not least, the Assault on Starkiller Base board game event is live now and running for the next few weeks. Help Poe Dameron (not that he usually needs much) make attack runs on Starkiller Base by earning movement points by either completing missions or using Crystals. You’ll earn Credits and cards on the way in, but the more attack runs you complete before the event ends, the more loot you can earn.

Star Wars: Force Arena

Really, though, it’s all about Old Luke and getting him off his Jedi behind to lend a hand. Best of luck with that.


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Honor 9 Lite gets new Ride Mode safety feature via OTA update in India, coming to Honor 7X and Honor 9i soon

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Huawei’s Honor Brand recently rolled out Face Unlock feature for the Honor 9 Lite smartphone in India. Today the company has started rolling out another over-the-air (OTA) update that bring new Ride Mode feature, exclusively for Honor 9 Lite smartphone in India, where numbers of road accidents are high due to several factors like distracted driving and mobile phone usage while driving  / riding. Honor said that the new feature urges consumers to follow responsible and safe smartphone usage operating a two-wheel vehicle. To enable ‘Ride-Mode’, you need to activate the feature either from drop-down notifications menu or by going to the phone’s Settings. Once enabled, the caller will be notified that the user is currently riding, and cannot answer calls. The feature, however, allows the caller to call the rider by pressing numeric 1 in-case of urgency or emergency. The Ride Mode update on the Honor 9 Lite will be rolled out in batches and will be available for everyone by March-end.  The new Ride Mode will soon be also rolled out to Honor smartphones like Honor 7X, and Honor 9i in future, said the company. Commenting on the roll out of the new feature,  P Sanjeev, Vice President, Sales, Huawei Consumer Business Group, said: Honor has …
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Amazon Alexa gains ‘Brief Mode’ with less verbose remarks after doing simple tasks

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Recently, Amazon added a ‘Follow-Up Mode’ to its Echo line of devices, which allows users to repeatedly say commands to the assistant without saying “Alexa” again. The company even added a ‘feature’ where the Echo would laugh at you sporadically. Today, the tech-giant is adding a ‘Brief Mode’ which disables the chatter aspect of the Echo, and replaces it with a simple chime once a task is completed.



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Alexa’s ‘Brief Mode’ makes the digital assistant way less chatty

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Not too long ago, people got creeped out by Amazon's Alexa devices randomly laughing at them. Now Jeff Bezos' digital assistant is offering folks the chance to put a sock in its mouth. Err, speaker. Reddit users first noticed that when asked to turn…
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Google Camera v5.2 adds dirty lens warnings, buries grid options, hints at Portrait mode app shortcut and circus mode [APK Teardown]

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A new version of the Google Camera app is beginning to roll out, and there’s quite a few interesting adjustments in this update. The Settings screen looks much better with a full set of icons, and there are several new additions to be found within it. Grid overlays have been moved into the Settings screen, and double-taps can now be configured with a different action. A long-awaited feature, Dirty lens warnings, can now be enabled.

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Google Camera v5.2 adds dirty lens warnings, buries grid options, hints at Portrait mode app shortcut and circus mode [APK Teardown] was written by the awesome team at Android Police.

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‘The Blockheads’ 1.7 Update Adds Expert Mode and New Features – Check Out the Full Patch Notes

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Majic Jungle’s The Blockheads [Free] is still kicking five years after release, and update 1.7, out now, is a dramatic new update. The biggest feature? Pets! You can now tame creatures, including sharks and dodos, and breed unicorns that fly through the sky with rainbow sparkles. Seriously. Dodos can even lay special eggs that help provide special resources.

If you’ve played the heck out of The Blockheads and want a fresh new start, there’s a new expert mode to play. This has a redesigned tech tree that gives players a different but apparent progression through the game, with some other tweaks to make the game more difficult. This mode is available in cooperative play, and you’ll need the help!

New customization options are available after you craft a mirror, and there’s new faces, colors, and hairstyles available. Trade portals got a bit of a nerf, with a greater difference between the buy and sell price for items, and you can only buy items you have already discovered. Custom rules worlds can play with the old rules if the want. Also, job listings are now available at trade portals, so you can send your other Blockheads off-world to complete tasks for you.

Check out the full patch notes for all the changes:

– Added mob taming, by feeding a given mob the correct food/item
– Added dodo breeding, resource eggs , egg extractor
– Added donkey breeding, rainbow cake.
– Added mirror to customize blockhead appearance
– Added new blockhead skins
– You can now rename blockheads
– Added gates
– Added cages
– Added wheat, flour, yeast, dough, bread, flatbread
– Added tomatoes
– Added pizza oven and pizza
– Added yaks, yak horns, razors, yak shavings, milk, mozzarella
– Added plaster block and luminous plaster block
– Added gem blocks, craftable at a press
– Adds D-pad for direct control of blockheads, and as an alternative to tilt control for boats/handcars/donkeys etc.
– Added job listings at trade portals
– Added new custom rules for teleportation, meditation, pole item degrading/respawning, blockhead death drops, trade portal buy/sell tax, and whether you need to discover items before you can buy them at trade portals
– There is now wind, which affects clouds, rain, and some particles, blows fruit off trees, and lowers blockhead happiness due to exposure
– New HD clouds
– The time required to craft is now shown both before and during crafting
– You can now change the area covered by ownership signs
– Added /clear command to clear the chat
– Expert mode added, see below

– New font
– New look buttons
– Baby dodos!
– Pole items now slowly degenerate over time like other clothing, and respawn at the poles 40 days after removal. This is configurable in custom rules.
– The time crystal item has been mostly removed, should be impossible to do anything useful with any that remain
– Coffee cherries now give a 10 second extra speed bonus- All food now gives a small energy boost
– Energy now goes down a little faster to compensate
– Foods now replenish half as much food and health
– Sleep now also replenishes health slowly
– Plant harvesting has been changed so you always harvest the entire plant no matter which part of it you tap. (excludes vines and kelp)
– Plants no longer give a correct tool bonus when harvested by digging the block below with a spade
– Plant item drop counts have changed
– Sunflowers now emit light
– Time crystal and gold ore and gold blocks now have a larger light radius, which matches the gem block light radius.
– Boat moved to woodwork bench
– String moved to weave workbench
– After a rewarded video is watched, you need to wait 10 minutes before another will become available
– Fur is now a little harder to come by from drop bears
– Game Center multiplayer is no longer supported
– ‘Share a link’ crystal reward has been removed
– All tools and weapons now lose durability 4x faster per strike if they are used as a weapon
– The way animals spawn, feed and breed has totally changed, with longer lifetimes and different spawn rates
– Trees above 3 blocks tall will now always give at least one fruit per season
– Dodo feather drop on death is now 50% chance instead of 1 + 50%.
– Fruit now falls off the trees at the end of the fruiting season, and stays on the ground for one day.
– Tool decay custom rules are now 2x and 1/2x, not 4x and 1/4x
– Water is no longer removed when capturing a fish or shark in a bucket
– Dodos and donkeys now eat food lying around on the ground
– When a mob or kelp is frozen in ice, it will no longer die, but will be preserved in its current state until it thaws and comes to life again
– Drops from plants no longer make a sound unless they are being harvested by a blockhead
– New sword sound
– HD textures are now free, and are the default
– Trade portals now have a far greater tax between buying and selling, 0.5x the base price when selling, 2x the base price when buying. This is configurable in custom rules.
– Trade portals now require that you have picked up each item before you are able to buy/sell it in each world, however all items < 1.7 are unlocked in worlds you have already played in with 1.6. This is also configurable in custom rules.
– Happiness no longer influences craft speed
– Renamed ‘vanilla’ or ‘normal’ to ‘survival’ when used in text as a comparison to custom rules
– Diamonds and diamond colored things now are a whiter color
– Gems now emit a longer reaching light
– Donkeys now suffer fall damage, can die from high falls
– Scorpions now have babies even if there is a back wall
– All mobs except cave trolls now take damage from high temperatures
– New UI for selecting sun color
– If you tap while riding something, you now see a button to ‘STOP RIDING’ instead of immediately jumping off
– If the custom rules setting for world modification is set to disallowed or admin only, ownership signs can now be used to allow certain players to modify restricted areas
– If you don’t have permission to remove/modify a sign, you now can’t mine/modify the block behind it
– Chat notifications are suppressed if the UI to mute another player is visible

– Expert Mode:

Adjustable with custom rules:
– Teleportation requires diamond portal
– Tools are used up at half the rate, as long as they are not used in an attack
– Hunger rate doubled
– Doubles damage received when harmed in any way
– All items dropped when you die
– Cannot meditate

Not adjustable with custom rules:
– Totally new progression through workbenches with new crafting recipes for most items
– Cannot get a workbench using time crystals, it must be crafted at a portal
– Trade portal crafting requires diamond portal
– In order to use any workbench/crafting block other than the spawn portal, you must be the one who placed it
– Number of time crystal blocks has been doubled
– Ore bonus with correct tool reduced from 3x to 2x
– Plant drops are lower, and more related to current tool and whether it’s currently flowering. It’s possible to get no seed drop.
– Trees and branches don’t drop anything extra when they fall as the result of another block being removed, the only drops come from the single block which was chopped
– Dead trees don’t leave any drops
– Less leather & fur drops from dropbears and donkeys
– Less fruit grows on trees
– Fewer treasure chests, and only in caves, not under beaches
– Energy given by coffee and other food items halved
– Low happiness gives a greater penalty to mine speed
– Pole items have reduced effects
– Health increase while sleeping is half that of normal mode

The Blockheads update 1.7 is out now.


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Google open-sources AI for improving Portrait Mode in camera apps

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Unlike most premium phones released over the past year, Google’s Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL don’t come with a dual rear camera – but they still manage to pull off impressive depth-of-field effects that separate the background from the foreground with natural-looking blur. It actually uses AI to pull that off – and now, the company has open-sourced a similar technology that developers can use in their third-party camera apps for high-quality Portrait Mode-style shots like the one above. It’s called DeepLab v3+, and it’s essentially an image segmentation technology that uses a neural network to detect the outlines…

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Google Pixel 2’s portrait mode is made open source

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There’s no denying that the Google Pixel 2 has a really great camera. Although the camera UI does not offer manual controls, Google’s HDR+ algorithm is really good at exposing most scenes very evenly. It can even do this fairly well in lower-lit conditions. HDR+ aside, Google made a Research Blog post about the Google Camera’s portrait mode. The Google Pixel’s portrait mode only needs a single camera lens, unlike many other OEMs that require a second camera to map out depth to synthesize the bokeh (blur) effect. We hope that publicly sharing our system with the community will…

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YouTube Gets a Dark Mode on Android and iOS

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YouTube for iOS and Android has officially turned to the dark side. But this doesn’t mean YouTubers are suddenly all stormtroopers. Instead, it just means you can now watch YouTube on your smartphone at night without hurting your eyes.

Having once argued that websites with dark backgrounds suck, I have now seen the error of my ways. Darker themes put less strain on your eyes at night, and this is why so many apps now other dark modes. And YouTube is the latest app to do so.

YouTube Turns to the Dark Side

The desktop version of YouTube has had a dark mode since 2017. And now YouTube for iOS has joined the party. The same dark mode will be added to YouTube for Android soon, and possibly even by the time you read this, so just update the app to find out.

YouTube’s dark mode offers a simple inversion of colors. So the usual white background turns black, and the other elements—such as the logo, titles, and menu items—turn white. It won’t suit everyone, but it makes it easier to use the app at night.

Beyond putting less strain on your eyes, YouTube’s dark mode has a more cinematic feel to it than the default mode. So when you’re actually watching a video the background melts away, allowing you to wholly concentrate on what your favorite vlogger is saying.

To turn on YouTube’s dark mode on iOS, just click on your profile picture in the top, right-hand corner of the app. Then click Settings, and find the Dark Theme option. Click to move the slider across to the On position, and everything will go dark.

Put Your Phone Down Before Bed

As YouTube’s dark mode is so easy to turn on and off you can experiment with it to see if it’s your cup of tea. We recommend turning dark mode on when you’re watching YouTube in bed. Although, ideally, you would be reading a good book instead.

If you’re new to the idea that using technology at night can be bad for you, be sure to read our article detailing how to filter out your phone’s blue light. Especially if you’re always getting tired eyes or headaches caused by eyestrain.

Image Credit: Lars Plougmann/Flickr

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How To Enable YouTube Dark Theme Mode On Android Right Now

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Here’s how you can enable YouTube Dark Theme mode on your Android device right now, though root access is required for this to work.

[ Continue reading this over at RedmondPie.com ]

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