Whether you’re selling phones or powering the platforms behind them, there’s little that’s more exciting for a company seeking out growth opportunities than a rapidly expanding market. As other markets around the globe see slumping projections or sales threatening to plateau, India’s doing gangbusters, and last year sales of smartphones were up 14 percent. This growth hasn’t gone unnoticed, and today we’re checking out some signs of Google’s increasing interest in India, including rumors of a possible new Pixel phone targeting India and other “price-sensitive” markets.
Incase’s ICON backpack is just that: an icon in a see of shitty backpacks.
Let’s start this off by saying that I did indeed receive the ICON backpack from Incase for review consideration. I didn’t go asking for it, but when someone offers you a cool new backpack to try out, you’re not gonna say no.
Incase recently started making its ICON collection out of “Woolenex,” which is essentially an abrasion-resistant fabric that’s tightly knit, “woven from two different thicknesses of polyester fiber.” I figured winter in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada is as good a time as any to test out the durability and weather resistance of a backpack like this, so here we go.
This is the Incase ICON backpack with Woolenex.
A turtle shell treasure trove: Design
When I say turtle shell, I mean it in the best way. This backpack is rigid. Actually, almost to a fault. I could foresee a bit of an issue if you took this on a plane and it was quite full and a flight attendant told you to stuff it under the seat in front of you. It just doesn’t want to seem to flatten. That being said, you may see that as its best quality. If you have a laptop in there (this one can hold a 15-incher) and any other expensive tech that you really would rather stay in one piece, this is the perfect backpack for you.
I got a pocket, got a pocket full of pockets. If you want to carry all the things, you can in the ICON. I count nine zippered pockets and within several of them are separate pouches (not zippered) of various sizes for pens, peripherals, and whatever else you feel like tuckin’ away in there. The two side pockets are kind of awkward in that you’d probably only slip a wallet in there or something, but one of them has a headphone cable hole and would definitely fit your phone. The inner lining of each pocket feel strong, like it could stand up to the everyday wear and tear of plastic binders and pens and pencils and other relatively pointy things.
My favorite pocket is the back laptop pocket, which seems to be lined with a (Zapp Brannigan voice) sweet, soft layer of supple, luscious velour. The outside of that pocket, which is what your back touches, features the comfiest of padding, which makes the rigidity of the whole affair seem almost oxymoronic in a way. I really didn’t believe something so sturdy could be so comfortable.
In terms of looks, the ICON is simple and understated, but an altogether elegant and stylish backpack that you could see a business-type businessman walking around with or a college student or even an elementary school kid toting to class. It’s aesthetic is that versatile. And the Woolenex material feels just as durable as Incase claims — scratching at it with my nails and various somewhat sharper objects, I was unable to put even the slightest mark on it. I’m always skeptical when a company makes certain claims, and I’ve had bad luck with backpacks in the past (Tracker backpacks, anyone?), so I was more than pleasantly pulled the ICON out and full-on felt the quality. I’m as frugal as frugal gets (look up “cheap Winnipeggers” and you’ll see what I mean), and I would honestly pay the $ 200 for this backpack.
The happy wanderer: Functionality
I don’t get out of the house too much, so I only had the chance to take the ICON for a spin a few times. So in order to really test its mettle in everyday situations, I asked my wife if she’d take it to work with her on a daily basis. I said, “Wife, please take this backpack with you every day and let me know what you think.” And she said, “What have I said about calling me that?” And after a time she agreed. She busses to and from work and is a shooter/editor at a local TV station, so she often has to grab her bag and hit the road. She loved how comfortable it is, especially with the chest buckle, which helps distribute weight and take the load off your shoulders and back.
Her only complaint was the lack of an exterior water bottle pocket. She said she didn’t really realize how much she relied on that aspect of a backpack, but not having it was actually a bit of a pain. I have to say I agree; on my recent excursions, the inability to just reach back and grab my water bottle on the fly made things a bit cumbersome and inconvenient.
On any given day, my wife ends up sitting around waiting for work to come in — sometimes for hours at a time — so she brings lots of stuff to keep her occupied, and she couldn’t fill up the ICON no matter how hard she tried. On any given day, she’d bring our 15-inch MacBook Pro, a couple thick books, a 3DS, her lunch, a binder for a distance learning course she’s taking, headphones, extra batteries, her water bottle, and other small, miscellaneous items. The ICON still wasn’t full, and thanks to that chest buckle, it didn’t feel heavy.
As for weather resistance, we’ve had a pretty snowy February and March, and the water-resistance of the Woolenex is superb — water just beads and rolls off. When I’d get place or my wife would get to work, the backpack would only be slightly damp and the inside remained dry as British wit.
When I ventured out to coffee shops, I brought along the laptop, a couple notebooks, some peripherals, and a book or two. This particular backpack might have been overkill in that instance, but I have an upcoming plane trip, and I’m particularly excited to take the ICON with me, since I’ll likely be packing books, a laptop, the 3DS, and possibly a ukulele (which fits!).
Should you pay $ 200 for a backpack? Absolutely
If you want to essentially buy a backpack that you’ll probably have for the rest of your life, the Incase ICON is a wonderful choice. It’s incredibly durable, holds all the things, is stylish enough to bring to school, the park, a business meeting, or the altar at your wedding, and it’s comfy as all get out, which I have found is pretty rare in a good backpack.
The ICON pretty effortlessly marries functionality and form (even if it is missing that all-too-convenient water bottle pocket).
The Markup tools in the Preview app that came installed on your Mac allow let you put out something on an image, annotate a PDF file, add some text, sign a document and much more…. Read the rest of this post here
“Tip: enable the Markup extension so you can annotate stuff from virtually any Mac app” is an article by iDownloadBlog.com.
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Qualcomm unleashed a pack of announcements that paint a fast, wireless picture of the future of digital tech. Wi-Fi 802.11ax It introduced the first integrated 802.11ax solution for smartphones and computers. An advancement over Wi-Fi ac, it will double the network speed while using up to 67% less power. The module, named WCN3998, features 2×2 antennas and implements a pre-standard implementation (the Wi-Fi Alliance is still tweaking details). It will work with pre-draft 11ax access points due to hit the market later this year and in early 2019. Qualcomm’s new module also…
It’s not the first thing that comes to mind with any sandbox game to think, “Man, I’d like this game even more if there was more to do.” The whole point of a sandbox is to let you do what you want, after all. That being the case, Portal Knights [$ 4.99] must really want you to like it, because its brand new Adventurer’s Update loads it up with new features and new ways to play.
For starters, the update helps solve one of the most annoying parts of Portal Knights by introducing relocatable NPCs. Sure, you can zip between islands using portals since that’s kind of the point of the game, but why be bothered to even do that when you can simply bring the NPC back to your own island and buy stuff from them right there? Homes can also now house pets, because everyone loves those, and cool mannequins to show off your weapons and armor.
In terms of new content, you can seek out Fort Finch to meet new characters and undertake new quests. Along with interesting new building items like drawbridges, water pumps and drains, there are a host of additional weapons — more than 20 across all classes, some of which have cool special abilities. Some of the new loot can only be found deep underground, in what the devs are calling “the deepest, darkest corners of dungeons.” Scary!
And there are what you might call quality of life improvements, if you were satisfied with using the same boring phrase that every update tends to lean on. The combat system has been given some interesting additions, like being able to do extra damage when hitting enemies from behind. Sleeping through the night allows you to avoid the spawns that come out when the sun is down on some (read: most) islands, a tactic that has served Minecraft players well for years. Perhaps most welcome of all for us mobile gamers is controller support, as there are definitely times the combat in Portal Knights simply seems a little too hectic for the standard touch controls.
Along with the update, an in-game event to celebrate Chinese New Year is running now through March 5. If you can help the Emperor with his problems, you’ll earn items themed for the Spring Festival, new pets like pandas and dragons (those check the Chinese New Year boxes alright) and maybe, just maybe, unlock a new themed island to go with all the ones you’ve already explored.
Alas, one of the cooler sounding new features, the ability to create password-protected private servers and thus avoid playing with randos is only available to PC gamers. So we can’t have everything, but at least you’re now going to be less likely than ever to say, “There’s nothing to do, I’m bored” while playing Portal Knights, and instead will have to watch out for the paradox of choice. I can think of worse fates.
The vote had barely been taken before the self congratulations started. “The European Union makes shopping without borders a reality,” claimed one press release. “The European Parliament today voted to get rid of one of the major obstacles to the Single Market: unjustified geoblocking when buying online,” said another, after the European Parliament voted by 557 votes to 89, with 33 abstentions, in favor of a new anti-geoblocking regulation. But while buyers will be able to shop online for physical goods in the EU without being blocked or automatically re-routed, there’s just one small problem: the new rules don’t cover…
No guns, no sex and no bad grammar.
Welcome to the club, crypto.
Facebook has banned ads that feature bitcoin, ethereum, ICOs or anything else related to cryptocurrency while it tries to weed out scammers.
But Facebook’s crypto ban is just the latest kind of verboten ad on Facebook. There are 28 other kinds of “Prohibited Content” categories in Facebook’s ad guidelines, and they range from the obvious — no counterfeit documents, please — to the unexpected — if you want to use “excessive symbols, characters or punctuation,” in your ads, find another giant platform with more than two billion users.
Here’s a quick sampling of ads Facebook doesn’t want, using text and images from Facebook’s banned ads guidebook. But before we start, a reminder that Facebook has plenty of other ads it does accept. In the last three months of 2017 alone, it generated an estimated $ 12 billion in ad revenue.
Cigarettes, fake cigarettes, hookahs and rolling papers. All bad.
Marijuana is legal in Facebook’s home state of California and other parts of the U.S., but it’s not welcome on Facebook. Neither are other drugs.
Weapons, ammunition or explosives
Self-explanatory. But in case you were confused, Facebook has provided an example of a line you couldn’t use: “Cheap firearms: Buy now!”
Adult products or services
Ads that promote “family planning and contraception” are okay. Ones that promote “sexual pleasure” are not.
Okay: ”Practice safe sex with our brand of condoms.”
Not okay: “Buy our sex toys for your adult pleasure.”
Attractive people who aren’t wearing a lot of clothes advertising exercise bikes or bed linens are okay. But other attractive people who aren’t wearing a lot of clothes are not.
This image, for instance, shows “artistic implied nudity.” No good.
This one “shows a woman in a sexually suggestive pose.” Banned.
Nothing that features “shocking, sensational, disrespectful or excessively violent content.” Fair enough. Though you may be surprised to learn that Facebook considers this image “shocking and non-compliant.”
Misleading or false content
“Learn to Lose Belly Fat” is okay. “3 Shocking Tips to Lose All Your Belly Fat” is not.
Nothing that “exploits controversial political or social issues for commercial purposes.” But Facebook doesn’t want to provide an example for this one.
No “spy cams, mobile phone trackers or other hidden surveillance equipment.” Did not see that one coming.
Grammar and profanity
Ads “must not contain profanity,” which makes sense, “or bad grammar and punctuation,” which is a little surprising. The ban also extends, apparently, to cartoon swearing, like this image, which “replaces letters for symbols to portray profanity.”
The same goes for profane gestures:
This one sounds like one of Radiohead’s less approachable songs, but is really straightforward: You can’t pretend your ad is a video player, or anything else it isn’t.
A subtle one. Facebook is okay with ads that promote health, but only up to a point. “Ad content must not imply or attempt to generate negative self-perception in order to promote diet, weight loss, or other health-related products.”
So this ripped dude is okay:
But this closeup of the ripped dude’s abs is not:
And remember our friend who had a fake play button on her face? She’s fine on her own, sipping something green:
But this before-and-after image is not.
Spyware or malware
CES 2018 was a busy show, as usual, and so it’s understandable that we let a few announcements slip through the cracks. The items in this wrap-up did not fall into the Android TV, Assistant, or Alexa “categories,” so they all got lumped into their own miscellaneous one. Some of these are actually pretty neat, even if they are only mildly interesting.
August is known for its smart locks, but the company is partnering with Deliv, a last-mile same-day delivery service, to provide in-home parcel drop-off.
CES 2018 wrap-up: All of the mildly interesting miscellaneous stuff was written by the awesome team at Android Police.
Holy hell, it’s been a year for Amazon. Jeff Bezos’ former-online-bookstore dumped $ 13.7 billion to buy a bunch of grocery stores, that speaker you talk to in your living room that Amazon makes is really popular and a bunch of server farms Amazon runs generate more than $ 10 billion in revenue annually. Read More
Mobile – TechCrunch
CES is the busiest time of year for Engadget, with our team spending a week on the ground in Las Vegas looking for the latest and greatest products from companies of all sizes and persuasions. Last CES was no different, with our editors checking out…
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