Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon (2017) review – CNET

I love carbon fiber — I’ll put that right out there. The feel yes, but most importantly the way it makes everything so lightweight. And, sadly, more expensive as well.

I love carbon fiber — I’ll put that right out there. The feel yes, but most importantly the way it makes everything so lightweight. And, sadly, more expensive as well. Lenovo’s 2017 ThinkPad X1 Carbon, dubbed its “5th gen” model, recommends itself as the perfect traveler’s laptop with its lightweight body, relatively speedy performance and exceptional 11.8-hour battery life. But you’ll pay for the privilege of toting it around.

The current X1 Carbon starts at $1,330, £1,839 or AU$2,099. The only significant hardware configuration options are the processor — a choice of seventh-generation Core i5 or i7 models — 8 or 16GB memory or SSD storage options between 128GB and 1TB. With the hardware maxxed out and Windows 10 Pro, you can spend up to $2,750 on it. (There’s also Snapdragon X7 LTE-A WWAN and a vPro version of the wireless and Bluetooth chipset options for no extra cost.)

If you’re more concerned with budget than performance, you’d probably be served well enough with a Core i5-7200U, 8GB, 512GB configuration which comes in at under $1,900. Also, keep in mind that Lenovo offers preferred pricing to some of its retailers, so you can get significantly lower price from sites such as CDW — which charges $2,123 compared to Lenovo’s $2,520 for our evaluation configuration, for instance.

There are slightly different options in the UK. For instance, the price difference between the i5 and the i7 is trivial, so you might as well get the i7, and there’s no choice for memory or 128GB SSD option. So the budget UK configuration is about £1,839. In Australia, my suggested configuration comes to just under AU$2,000.

In June 2017 Lenovo plans to ship a models with a Quad HD (2,560×1,440-pixel) display. Unless it ships with a more powerful battery — which it probably won’t — it won’t have the same battery life as the HD model we tested. That’s a lot of pixels to cram into such a small 14-inch display. I think a touchscreen model would make more sense. And it’s priced similarly to the slightly smaller HP EliteBook x360 — you’re paying a premium for the security and management features on both — but without the two-in-one flexiblity.

Hi-ho, the battery — Oh!

The X1 Carbon has one of the longest-lived batteries we’ve ever tested: It lasted just under 12 hours in our streaming video test. In fact, we’ve only seen 2 laptops with 14-inch class screens break the 11-hour barrier — this and the Microsoft Surface Book. (The latter case is more of a feat given that it has a much higher-resolution screen.) The rest are slightly smaller 13-inch models.

Of course, your mileage may vary. On a WebEx conference over Wi-Fi, audio over headphones and the screen brightness down to around 50 percent, the battery level dropped over 10 percent in 40 minutes. But once the call ended and I just sat and typed (with Wi-Fi still active), the depletion slowed significantly. It also lasts days in sleep mode if you’re one of those people who don’t use their computer daily.

The rest of its performance is less stellar but in line with the rest of its class. Lenovo uses slower 1,866MHz memory than many other systems’ 2,133MHz, which delivers lower scores on the memory and CPU-intensive tests, but in this class of laptop I don’t think you’ll notice any difference in performance. And I think it contributes to the better battery life.

Unobtrusive design

Aside from its 2.5 lb (1.1 kg) light-but-strong body, the rest is typical of its class. It has a 14-inch display in a 13-inch-class body at 12.7 inches (324 mm) wide. This makes sense, given that the width of the display is 12.2 inches (31 cm). The display is bright, nonreflective and quite readable, with an embedded webcam on the top bezel. I wasn’t really impressed with the color quality or exposure for the webcam, so if you want to impress a client you’ll need to surround yourself with flattering light.

The only way to save the smart home hub is to kill it – CNET

Five years ago, off-the-shelf smart home hubs were the hottest new automation technology. These devices plugged into routers and translated the wireless signals of countless smart home gadgets into a communication protocol phones could understand.

Five years ago, off-the-shelf smart home hubs were the hottest new automation technology. These devices plugged into routers and translated the wireless signals of countless smart home gadgets into a communication protocol phones could understand. Put simply, they were the glue that would let users easily build a DIY smart home.

But what many hailed as the future of home automation soon faltered. Through a series of buyouts and bankruptcies, the market presence of off-the-shelf hubs began to dwindle. The final catalyst of the hub’s destruction was the Amazon Echo, the first Bluetooth speaker to make the smart home truly accessible using voice control.

A few hubs are still hanging on thanks to a small number of fierce loyalists and a niche appeal that no competitor has matched yet. But time is running out. Soon standalone hubs won’t be viable products. But it turns out, killing the hub might be the only way to save it.

Intro to home automation

Step into the CNET Smart Home and see what an automated living space is all about.

by Ry Crist
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The rise and fall of smart hubs

In 2012, as existing security and cable companies like ADT and Comcast expanded tentatively into automation, a small Kickstarter campaign caught fire. A year after crowdfunding over a million dollars, the company, called SmartThings, delivered DIY home automation hubs to people’s doorsteps.

Hubs like SmartThings solved a critical problem in the smart home: the problem of power. Many devices — from motion sensors to flood detectors — relied on battery power. The problem was, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth would drain the batteries of those devices too quickly. Enter low-energy protocols like Z-Wave and ZigBee, which allowed for years’ worth of battery life.

Hubs translated these low-energy radio signals into communication protocols phones could understand — particularly Wi-Fi, since that introduced remote control via the cloud.

Other hubs had been on the market before SmartThings, but they had largely skewed high-end, company-installed, or both. By contrast, SmartThings adopted a DIY strategy, which paid off on Kickstarter. Soon, the affordable, easily installed hub became emblematic of the smart home’s future — a future that put the power in the hands of users.

Other off-the-shelf hubs quickly followed in the footsteps of SmartThings — Quirky’s Wink, Revolv, Staples Connect. Yet within a few short years, those same hubs began to face major challenges. Quirky went bankrupt in late 2015 and sold Wink to Flex for a measly $15 million. Alphabet’s Nest Labs, which had bought Revolv in 2014, bricked the hub to wide criticism two years later. Mere months after Revolv’s demise, Staples handed over Connect to Zonoff, a Z-Wave company whose webpage appears to be defunct less than a year later.

But the financial woes of particular brands were symptoms of a larger disease. Bluetooth Low-Energy (LE) had been released in 2011, and over the following years became a staple of the smart home. Wi-Fi devices, too, bypassed the hub by improving energy efficiency or avoiding battery reliance altogether. Some of the most popular smart home gadgets as early as 2012, like the Nest thermostat, used Wi-Fi to connect to users’ phones directly, no hub required.

As hubs entered their Renaissance, the seeds of their collapse were already planted.

The latest blow to smart home hubs was the advent of smart speakers with built-in assistants, like the Amazon Echo and Google Home. These devices don’t fill the same niche as hubs — they don’t communicate with Z-Wave or ZigBee; they don’t let users set schedules or group automations for their home devices — but they more successfully place themselves at the center of the smart home, proving that a compelling voice assistant with an open API can mobilize partnerships faster than any hub. Most importantly, the Echo and the Home are grabbing average people’s attention (while the data isn’t definitive, if 2016’s trends have continued, the Echo alone has likely sold as many as 10 million units already).

Voice assistants aren’t a new kind of glue to hold the smart home together; they’re duct tape — cleaner, shinier and easier to use.

How to save the hub

Hubs still control a particular territory in the smart home, thanks primarily to two features: they unify multiple communication protocols under one platform, and they offer more robust scheduling and automation controls than voice assistants. But other platforms are already encroaching on that territory.

Apple HomeKit is the most direct threat to smart home hubs at the moment. It doesn’t have a smart speaker (yet), but Apple boasts a compelling platform in its Home app, which can schedule and automate as well as SmartThings or Wink. Plus, the Apple TV — whose primary function is home entertainment — has introduced bridging capabilities with Bluetooth LE, one of the most common communication protocols of smart home devices.

Apple, Google and Amazon haven’t taken any concrete steps toward native Z-Wave or ZigBee interoperability, but if any of the three of them can nail both convenient voice assistance and home automation, hubs’ corner on low-energy communication protocols won’t be enough to save them from obsolescence.

Some hub developers are already taking defensive steps. Insteon, for instance, has released a HomeKit-compatible hub that positions it not only as the gateway, but also the gatekeeper for Z-Wave and Zigbee devices that work with Apple’s burgeoning platform.

Samsung SmartThings recently announced the Connect Home — a router with SmartThings built in — to go along with Samsung’s new voice assistant Bixby. Neither the router nor the new voice assistant have been tested, and not every hub is owned by a multinational corporation, but SmartThings’ logic still makes sense for other brands, too.

Folding the signal translation and automation capabilities of a hub into another essential device that people already buy — be it a router, TV or perhaps even security camera — accomplishes two critical goals.

First, it moves standalone hubs out of the middleman position in the smart home. As the market continues to develop, customers will be less inclined to spend over $100 on a device that does nothing in and of itself besides helping two other devices communicate.

Second, combining hub features with core smart home devices moves hubs back into a central position in the smart home. If customers are already in the market for basic home devices, then added smarts for an appropriate price bump will be an easier sell (just look at the rise of smart TVs). This will have the added benefit of keeping alive effective products that use Z-Wave or ZigBee in an increasingly Wi-Fi and Bluetooth heavy market — maintaining a higher level of market competition.

But these goals can only be accomplished if developers kill the conventional hub — because the smart home hub will only survive if it’s reincarnated as something more.

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Turn a spare Android phone into a Google Home – CNET

There are lots of things you can do with a spare Android phone: keep it as a backup, turn it into a baby monitor and so on.

Here’s another: turn it into your very own Google Home.

There are lots of things you can do with a spare Android phone: keep it as a backup, turn it into a baby monitor and so on.

Here’s another: turn it into your very own Google Home.

I’m referring, of course, to Google’s smart speaker, which is a direct competitor to Amazon’s widely beloved Echo. With a price tag of $129, a Home costs less than an Echo, but it’s still an expensive piece of hardware.

Ah, but what if you could cobble together the next best thing using gear you already own? You can!

Old gear, new ‘Home’

This is pretty straightforward: You’re going to repurpose an old Android phone and pair it with a speaker. The former will net you Google Now, while the latter gives voice to its responses.

First, let’s talk about the gear, then look at what you can — and can’t — do with this kind of setup.

The phone is fairly easy. All you need is a relatively recent model, one with an updated Android OS and the latest version of Google Search. Ultimately, the key requirement is support for “OK, Google” detection. Stay tuned for more on setting that up.

As for the speaker, anything you can connect your phone to is fair game. My recommendation is a simple Bluetooth speaker, though it has to meet one requirement: It needs to stay powered on when plugged in. Some speakers have an auto-off feature, which you don’t want here.

You can also take the wired route, plugging one end of a 3.5mm audio cable into your phone and the other into a speaker or even an old stereo. It’s one more wire you’ll have to look at, but of course a little decor disguising can help with all the wires.

Speaking of which, you’ll need to leave your phone plugged in full-time, same as the speaker.

Obviously all this won’t provide the same pretty aesthetic afforded by a real Google Home, but functionally it’ll get reasonably close. And if you want to keep everything in close proximity, consider getting a speaker that’s also a phone stand. For example, the LuguLake Bluetooth speaker/phone stand shown here might prove a good option, if only because it gives your phone a forward-facing place to sit. It’s currently priced at $29.99.

Although you’ll have to provide the wall USB plug for the speaker to stay powered, it has a physical on-off switch, so I’m pretty certain it won’t automatically shut off after a period of inactivity. (Not positive, though; check with the manufacturer if you want to be sure.)

Give Google ears

From there you simply need to power up the speaker, pair the phone with it (via cord or Bluetooth) and make sure the phone is configured for voice detection.

Depending on the model and which version of Android/Google Search you have, this may already be set up correctly. On my Samsung Galaxy S6, for example, which is still running Android 5.1, I needed to venture into the Google app’s Settings menu, then tap Voice > “Ok Google” detection and make sure “From any screen” was enabled.

With that done, Google would be listening for spoken commands even when the screen was off — so long as the phone remained connected to power.

Talk the talk

Now it’s time to say those magic little words: “OK, Google.” If you’re already acquainted with this feature, you know the drill; the only variable here is now there’s a “permanent Google” connected to a speaker.

(What about your current phone? Isn’t it listening as well? Sure enough, your spoken commands might trigger both phones at the same time. The Google Home, for its part, is location- and context-aware, and prioritizes spoken commands.)

So what can you do with your new “Google Home”? Pretty much anything and everything you can do with your phone, natch. That’s both good and bad, because Google’s voice-activated assistant works a little differently across different kinds of devices — and not always for the better in this case.

For example, you can say, “OK, Google, play some Billy Joel on Spotify,” and it’ll open up the Spotify app and queue up a playlist — but stop short of actually playing it. That’s a bummer, because you’ll have to manually start the music, kind of defeating the purpose. (Substitute “Pandora” for “Spotify,” though, and you’ll get your tunes, because the former auto-plays when you launch it.)

You can also ask for specific songs or albums that are in your Google Play Music library, but if you’re not a subscriber to the eponymous streaming service, you might not be happy with the results. My spoken requests to play certain albums or artists were often met with failure.

When I asked for some Adele, for example, Play Music tried to play songs not in my own library — and couldn’t. Keep in mind, though, that this is all based on Google Now as opposed to Google’s newer, smarter Assistant, which may be able to do a better job fielding music requests. Unfortunately, for the moment only newer phones have access to Assistant. (Here’s how to see when Assistant might be coming to your phone.)

Fortunately, Google Now can handle a wealth of other handy tasks. It can answer all kinds of questions, set alarms, give you news and sports updates and much more. It can also make phone calls for you (provided the phone still has service or you’ve set it up for Wi-Fi calling) and send messages, neither of which the Google Home can do.

Despite the rather frustrating music limitations, a home-brew Google Home can be a nice addition to your pad. And it’s definitely a cool way to put an old phone to good use. Your thoughts?

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ChefSteps Celebrates One Million Meals Cooked With Joule

Some recent Amazon.com reviews:

  • Loving the app. Detailed steps and content really make this a thought free process. As time passes, it only gets better and better with the constant updates and improvements.

Some recent Amazon.com reviews:

Loving the app. Detailed steps and content really make this a thought free process. As time passes, it only gets better and better with the constant updates and improvements. Home run, guys! This should be called The Crown Jewel. This is beautifully designed and looks like Apple made it for the iPhone. There are no controls or display on it. All there is is a power button. That’s all you need. I’m in love with this thing. It’s small, works as advertised, and I like the app/Alexa integration. Everything I’ve cooked has come out exactly as expected. The wifi connectivity is very convenient.

Joule is controlled by a smartphone—or just about any other internet-connected device— through a content-rich mobile app that earned early critical acclaim. Winner of the Red Dot Design Award, Joule was listed as one of Wired’s “Best Gear and Gadgets of 2016,” and reviewers lauded its video-based, step-by-step guides and unique features like Visual Doneness™—swipeable videos that show you how your meat, chicken, fish, or vegetables will turn out at an array of temperatures.

And Joule is the first kitchen product that regularly improves through frequent over-the-air updates. We’re continually adding more content centered around the interests of our community, but we’ve also responded with exciting new ways for them to interact with Joule: hands-free cooking with Amazon Alexa, communicating with Joule through Facebook Messenger, and starting Joule directly from recipes on ChefSteps.com. We’ve improved heating speed to get dinner on the table faster, and introduced a silent-running update for when you’re cooking through the night.

“At ChefSteps, we’re devoted to listening to our community and shipping updates that make their experiences better,” says Young. “The one-million-cook milestone is a chance to celebrate the success the community is having with Joule, but also an opportunity to really listen to them, to understand their problems and successes, and to respond by improving our products to make them even happier in their kitchens.”

Pricing and Availability
Joule is available on ChefSteps.com, Amazon.com, SurLaTable.com, and in select Sur La Table stores. The Joule app is available to download for free through the App Store and Google Play. To learn more about Joule go to www.chefsteps.com/joule.

About ChefSteps
Founded in 2012, ChefSteps is a Seattle-based food and technology company on a mission to help people cook smarter. ChefSteps.com and the ChefSteps apps are designed to inspire creativity and encourage experimentation in the kitchen through high-quality interactive content, techniques, tools, and resources. The ChefSteps team is made up of many voices (50 and counting), including chefs, scientists, photographers, writers, and engineers—and we all come to work each day with one thing in mind: helping you cook confidently. (We call this “cooking smarter.”) What does cooking smarter mean? It means you know more about how cooking works, so when you go to make food, you can just relax and enjoy it. It means you have the knowledge, tools, and inspiration to cook more great food, more often. Why do we do all this? Because the more you know about cooking, the better you get at it. And the better you get at it, the more fun it is. We think cooking and eating together makes us better humans, and we want to share that belief with the world. Learn more about ChefSteps and Joule at www.chefsteps.com.

To view the original version on PR Newswire, visit:http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/chefsteps-celebrates-one-million-meals-cooked-with-joule-300447807.html

SOURCE ChefSteps

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M&F Technologies and Distrix Networks Announce Partnership to Offer Distrix Enabled Maestro E220 Series IoT Routers in Lead-up to IoT World

HONG KONG and VANCOUVER, British Columbia, May 1, 2017 /PRNewswire/ — M&F Technologies Limited and Distrix Networks have announced a partnership to offer Distrix SDN software compatibility on the Maestro E220 Series of IoT routers.

HONG KONG and VANCOUVER, British Columbia, May 1, 2017 /PRNewswire/ — M&F Technologies Limited and Distrix Networks have announced a partnership to offer Distrix SDN software compatibility on the Maestro E220 Series of IoT routers. This will enable companies to deploy highly secure Software Defined Networks (SDN) offering reliable Industrial IoT connectivity for mission-critical deployments on a compact, resilient and cost effective router platform.

“The Maestro E220 series IoT router combined with Distrix SDN software offers customers a robust platform for IoT connectivity and meets the mission-critical security and resiliency needs of industrial automation, utilities, and smart grid customers without costly wholesale infrastructure overhaul and complex security models that are difficult to deploy and maintain,” said M&F Technologies CEO Xavier Dupont.


Maestro E220 Series with Distrix SDN Software
Maestro E220 Series with Distrix SDN Software

“Distrix adds a critical element of next generation networking, security and resiliency to our IoT router that offer a crucial advantage to our partners and customers deploying mission-critical utility scale remote monitoring and other IoT initiatives. Manufacturing, power and utilities need to deploy quickly and cost effectively without needing to replace their existing equipment, while reducing security exposure and downtime risk.”

Sectors including industrial automation, oil and gas, smart grid and utilities need the cost-savings and performance improvements from remote monitoring and process automation that the Industrial Internet promises, without security or reliability risks, or the significant upgrade costs often associated with implementing these programs. To date, security and reliability concerns, as well as equipment compatibility upgrade costs have slowed Industrial IoT adoption globally.

Maestro E220 Series industrial routers support advanced WAN failover functionality that minimizes the risk of communication loss due to IP network interruption. As soon as a fixed network connection is lost, communications will seamlessly failover to the cellular network and your business is never impacted.

Distrix adds to these capabilities by creating highly secure, and resilient software defined networks that provide mission-critical security and reliability of remote operations for a wide range of enterprise IoT applications including manufacturing, industrial automation, power & smart grid, and utilities sectors.

Together, Distrix-enabled Maestro E220 routers empower customers to rapidly create highly reliable and secure Industrial IoT solutions, without costly equipment upgrades or complex network changes.

“We are excited about our relationship with M&F Technologies,” said Eric Winsborrow, CEO for Distrix Networks. “The Maestro E220 series IoT router combined with Distrix SDN software offers customers a robust platform for quick and cost-effective IoT deployments, whether it’s simplified secure remote operations and maintenance, or sophisticated predictive analytics initiatives.”

Customers can start on IoT initiatives immediately. Rapid prototyping and proof of concept installations are developed easily on Maestro E220 devices with Distrix Free 30 day IIoT Starter Kits. Visit www.distrix.com for details.

About Distrix

Distrix SDN software embeds on industrial and IT network hardware to enable a safer and more resilient Industrial Internet – create secure tunnels in minutes, and eliminate complex firewall & VPN configurations.

Distrix Gateway™ software simplifies connectivity configurations with an intuitive management console. Whether collecting data from industrial sensors, remotely accessing industrial operations, or connecting branch offices, Distrix makes it simpler and more cost effective to secure and manage your network. For more information, please visit www.distrix.com.

About M&F Technologies

M&F Technologies designs, manufactures and sells world-wide, under both the Maestro and FALCOM brands, state-of-the-art GNSS receivers, trackers, modems, routers and gateways ideally suited to M2M and IoT applications: industrial automation and SCADA, energy and metering, tracking and automotive.

Maestro E220 is a full-featured industrial router platform with cellular (3G or LTE), fixed WAN and WiFi capabilities. Key features include switchable WAN/LAN ports, a RS-485 serial data interface supporting Modbus RTU to TCP protocol, Wi-Fi b/g/n with WEP/WPA/WPA2 authentication modes, as well as advanced software features supporting OpenVPN, IPSec, real-time analysis, load balancing and automatic WAN failover functionality that minimizes the risk of communication losses due to IP network connection interruptions: with E220 your business will never stop. For more information, please visit www.maestro-wireless.com.

Media Contacts:

Distrix Networks:

James Carter

157297@email4pr.com

Direct: +1 778-997-3031

M&F Technologies:

Robin Roberts

157297@email4pr.com

Direct: +1 503-409-3872

To view the original version on PR Newswire, visit:http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/mf-technologies-and-distrix-networks-announce-partnership-to-offer-distrix-enabled-maestro-e220-series-iot-routers-in-lead-up-to-iot-world-300448642.html

SOURCE M&F Technologies; Distrix Networks

AT&T Invests More Than $625 Million Over 3-Year Period to Enhance Local Networks in Virginia

Following the passage of SB1282 that modernizes the rules for installing wireless infrastructure in Virginia, which Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe signed last week, AT&T will continue its investment in the Commonwealth with additional upgrades.

Following the passage of SB1282 that modernizes the rules for installing wireless infrastructure in Virginia, which Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe signed last week, AT&T will continue its investment in the Commonwealth with additional upgrades.

“Gov. McAuliffe signed legislation that encourages companies to invest more in wireless infrastructure. Thanks to his support, and the hard work of the General Assembly and other Virginia leaders, we’re now speeding our wireless buildout plans in Virginia with tens of millions of dollars dedicated to improving its mobile network,” said Vince Apruzzese, regional vice president for AT&T External Affairs in Virginia. “This investment will also pave the path to 5G mobile services in the years ahead.”

The AT&T LTE network covers nearly 400 million people in North America. Notable Virginia network enhancements in 2016 included:

Building a new 4G LTE cell site in CharlottesvilleBuilding a new 4G LTE cell site in Falls ChurchBuilding a new 4G LTE cell site in LynchburgBuilding a new 4G LTE cell site in StaffordUpgrading nearly 10 4G LTE cell sites in NorfolkUpgrading more than 10 4G LTE cell sites in RichmondUpgrading more than 20 4G LTE cell sites in Roanoke/Lynchburg

The First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet) recently chose AT&T to build a nationwide public safety broadband network. The network will be dedicated to America’s police, firefighters, EMS personnel and other first responders when they need it. Should Virginia opt-in to the FirstNet network, we will build upon our current and planned investments with a dedicated focus on the state’s first responders.

And we would expect to make a significant investment to upgrade and maintain Virginia’s FirstNet network over the next 25 years, bringing your first responders the coverage, value and experience they expect.

For the third year in a row, FORTUNE magazine recognized AT&T as the Most Admired Telecommunications Company in the world in 2017. We also No. 37 among the Top 50 World’s Most Admired companies.

AT&T is the only telecommunications company on the list. We ranked No. 1 in all 9 attributes. This included innovation, financial soundness and quality of products/services.

We have an extensive Wi-Fi network with more than 40,000 AT&T Wi-Fi hotspots at popular restaurants, hotels, bookstores and retailers. And we provide access to Wi-Fi at more than 1 million locations around the world. Most AT&T smartphone and home internet customers get access to the entire national AT&T Wi-Fi Hot Spot network.2 at no additional cost. Wi-Fi usage doesn’t count against customers’ monthly wireless data plans.

To learn more about our coverage in Virginia or anywhere in the U.S., visit the AT&T Coverage Viewer. For updates on the AT&T wireless network, please visit the AT&T network news page.

1AT&T products and services are provided or offered by subsidiaries and affiliates of AT&T Inc. under the AT&T brand and not by AT&T Inc.
2 Wi-Fi enabled device required. Other restrictions apply. See www.attwifi.com for details and locations

Cautionary Language Concerning Forward-Looking Statements
Information set forth in this news release contains financial estimates and other forward- looking statements that are subject to risks and uncertainties, and actual results may differ materially. A discussion of factors that may affect future results is contained in AT&T’s filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission. AT&T disclaims any obligation to update or revise statements contained in this news release based on new information or otherwise.

About AT&T
AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T) helps millions around the globe connect with leading entertainment, business, mobile and high speed internet services. We offer the nation’s best data network* and the best global coverage of any U.S. wireless provider.** We’re one of the world’s largest providers of pay TV. We have TV customers in the U.S. and 11 Latin American countries. Nearly 3.5 million companies, from small to large businesses around the globe, turn to AT&T for our highly secure smart solutions.

Additional information about AT&T products and services is available at about.att.com. Follow our news on Twitter at @ATT, on Facebook at facebook.com/att and YouTube at youtube.com/att.

© 2017 AT&T Intellectual Property. All rights reserved. AT&T, the Globe logo and other marks are trademarks and service marks of AT&T Intellectual Property and/or AT&T affiliated companies. All other marks contained herein are the property of their respective owners.

*Claim based on the Nielsen Certified Data Network Score. Score includes data reported by wireless consumers in the Nielsen Mobile Insights survey, network measurements from Nielsen Mobile Performance and Nielsen Drive Test Benchmarks for Q3+Q4 2016 across 121 markets.

**Global coverage claim based on offering discounted voice and data roaming; LTE roaming; and voice roaming in more countries than any other U.S. based carrier. International service required. Coverage not available in all areas. Coverage may vary per country and be limited/restricted in some countries.

From FORTUNE Magazine, March 1, 2017. 2017 Time Inc. FORTUNE© and The World’s Most Admired Companies® are registered trademarks of Time Inc. and are used under License. FORTUNE and Time Inc. are not affiliated with, and do not endorse products or services of, AT&T.

To view the original version on PR Newswire, visit:http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/att-invests-more-than-625-million-over-3-year-period-to-enhance-local-networks-in-virginia-300448064.html

SOURCE AT&T

Related Links

http://about.att.com

The best Australian Amazon Kindle deals in May 2017

This is TechRadar’s dedicated page for Amazon Kindle deals. Here you’ll find the cheapest Kindle deals for all of Amazon’s e-readers. We crosscheck every model of Kindle with every retailer every day to pull in the best deals so that this page is always up to date with the cheapest prices.

This is TechRadar’s dedicated page for Amazon Kindle deals. Here you’ll find the cheapest Kindle deals for all of Amazon’s e-readers. We crosscheck every model of Kindle with every retailer every day to pull in the best deals so that this page is always up to date with the cheapest prices.

You’ll find the latest prices from a wide range of retailers for the latest Kindle e-readers. We’ve found the best prices on the basic yet impressive regular Kindle and Kindle Paperwhite and you’ll also find the best deals on the more luxurious models of the Kindle Voyage and Kindle Oasis.

What makes a good Kindle deal?

If this is your first Kindle, you’ll want to know how to tell a good Kindle deal when you see one. Luckily, there are so many good ones out there it’s pretty easy!

The early Kindle e-readers don’t have LCD screens or powerful internal components which means they’re usually a lot cheaper than tablets and phones. The lack of a glass screen is fantastic for glare-free reading though and an immediate improvement over using the Kindle app on your phone or tablet.

The Kindle Voyage normally has a price of about US$220/£170/AU$299, so if you can get it for cheaper than that, you’re onto a winner. After that, there isn’t a huge difference in features, so it all depends how much you want to spend. If you can find the Kindle Paperwhite for under $120/£110/AU$169, you’re getting a good price. With the new Kindle Oasis model arriving recently, we may see the older models’ prices drop soon.

Here are the best Kindle deals currently available…

Kindle Oasis deals

The luxury e-reader you’ve been waiting for?

The new Kindle Oasis is out now and costs $290/£270/AU$449 for the basic Wi-Fi version. There’s no avoiding the obvious, that’s a lot of money for an e-reader. However, dedicated e-reader fans will appreciate the extra lightness and improved screen lighting. The considerably cheaper Voyage and Paperwhite models are excellent alternatives though. Have a look at our Kindle Oasis verdict for more information on why this is the future of Amazon’s Kindle range.

Kindle Paperwhite deals

The best standard Kindle ever is a value-for-money winner

The 6th generation Kindle Paperwhite is the best standard Kindle yet, it’s the most cost effective e-reader on the market and it easily beats the Kobo Aura on performance and design. Unlike the cheaper model, this one comes with screen lighting. Amazon has managed to create a fast e-ink tablet with inventive reading apps. You can lookup words in the dictionary without leaving your page, or even flick through any relevant Wikipedia entries for most words or terms. As far as value for money goes, this is the one to beat.

Amazon Kindle (2016) deals

The new 2016 Kindle (which some retailers are confusingly calling the ‘Kindle Touch 2016’, even though ‘Touch’ is now redundant, as all Kindles have touchscreens) is the updated version of the entry level Kindle last released in 2014. If you want the cheapest option, this is the one you should go for as the 2014 version has been discontinued and any deals you see are probably for preowned or refurbished units. With prices starting around £60/US$80/AU$110, you’re getting a bargain. The 2016 model is also available in white (the 2014 was black only), it’s lighter, thinner, has double the RAM speed and double the storage capacity at 4GB. The lack of a lit screen is the only thing holding it back really.

Kindle Voyage deals

A worthy runner up to the Oasis

The Voyage used to be the most expensive Kindle around before the Oasis arrived, but at least we’re seeing the price drop now. Amazon’s Voyage is one of the best ebook readers available. It’s more compact than other Kindles and the screen is sharper than the cheaper models. A flush display makes the device easier to keep clean and carry around, the screen’s resolution is the highest it has ever been, and it even comes with an ace origami-style case (at additional cost).

We check our Kindle deals every day to make sure they’re always up to date and available!

The best Australian Chromecast deals in May 2017

The Google Chromecast is not only one of the most useful and innovative gadgets of the last few years, it’s also dazzlingly cheap. And if you’re looking to pick one up for the cheapest possible price, you’ve come to the right place!

The Google Chromecast is not only one of the most useful and innovative gadgets of the last few years, it’s also dazzlingly cheap. And if you’re looking to pick one up for the cheapest possible price, you’ve come to the right place!

Chromecast is a Wi-Fi HDMI dongle that you plug directly into your TV. From there you can use your smartphone or tablet to ‘throw’ video at your TV over Wi-Fi – whether it be Netflix movies, live football matches from the major broadcasters or simply just a funny YouTube video. On this page we’ll find you the best prices for the Chromecast Ultra, Chromecast 2 (or just Chromecast now) and Chromecast Audio and explain how they differ.

What is a good Chromecast deal?

This one’s easy. The standard price for a Chromecast 2 is $54. You should never, ever pay more than that because you can always find one for that price.

Chromecast 2 deals

The Chromecast 2, or ‘new Chromecast’ as it’s also known, is very similar to the now discontinued 2013 Chromecast. Sure, it looks a little different. And it’s got slightly faster network performance and a few other tweaks such as coming with a dangly cable instead of as a rigid stick. But essentially the same product in a different shape.

Chromecast Audio deals

While it doesn’t offer true multi-room streaming at the moment (fingers crossed that comes soon), this easy-to-use and affordable device modernises any trusty set of wired speakers you already own with wireless capabilities. In doing so, it also opens them up to features that will grow and get even better over time. Got an old set of speakers or an ancient iPod dock? Turn it into a wireless speaker with Chromecast Audio!

Chromecast Ultra deals

The 4K Chromecast Ultra is the newest member of the Chromecast family. If you have a 4K TV or are planning on getting one, it’s certainly worth picking one of these up. The Chromecast Ultra is a cheaper alternative to Amazon’s Fire TV or the US-only Roku 4 for getting 4K content on your TV. Chromecast Ultra deals are usually around $88, so anything cheaper is an added bonus.

The best iPad Pro deals in May 2017

The iPad Pro sits at the very top of Apple’s iPad range – above the iPad mini and iPad Air series. This page lists all of the best iPad Pro deals currently available from online retailers in your area.

The iPad Pro sits at the very top of Apple’s iPad range – above the iPad mini and iPad Air series. This page lists all of the best iPad Pro deals currently available from online retailers in your area.

If you’re looking for a cheap iPad, check out our iPad deals page which lists the best deals on every model of iPad. But if you’re after the Pro specifically, you’ve come to the right place.

This is a truly stunning tablet which now comes in two sizes. The original is large and measures 12.9-inches across, while the new model is the iPad Pro 9.7. They both have the same power inside, both have screens with exactly the same pixel density.

If you’re after the very best tablet on the planet at the best price possible, see the iPad Pro deals below!

iPad Pro 12.9 deals

The original iPad Pro is a tablet titan

The original iPad Pro is without doubt the most impressive tablet on the planet. At 12.9-inches from corner to corner it’s the biggest iPad ever with the most powerful internal components ever seen in a dedicated touchscreen tablet. The iPad Pro is available in multiple configurations. The standard WiFi version is available in 32GB, 128GB and 256GB models, while the 4G version comes in 128GB and 256GB versions. Prices start from $799 in the US, £729 in the UK and $1,149 in Australia but of course, as retailers compete for your money, you should never pay these prices! Here are the best iPad Pro deals currently available.

iPad Pro 9.7 deals

The new 9.7-inch iPad Pro is effectively an iPad Air 3

Available from March 31, the iPad Pro 9.7 is Apple’s new flagship ‘standard’ iPad. It was announced on March 21 and hits the shelves instead of an iPad Air 3. As well as having a smaller screen, the iPad Pro 9.7 is also 8mm thinner than the iPad Pro 12.9, weighs 276g less and has exactly the same Apple A9X chip inside. The camera is actually better in the 9.7-inch model, and can do 4K video recording at 30fps. The iPad Pro 9.7 is available in WiFi-only and 4G configurations of 32GB, 128GB and 256GB while prices start from $599 in the US, £499 in the UK and $849 in Australia. As always, you should be able to find a better deal than that!

Try our new Google Chrome add-on and never pay more than the cheapest prices ever again!

Pricehawk is a Chrome extension that will automatically find you the cheapest deals for the tech and games items you’re shopping for online. It’ll also let you know if there are voucher codes you can use to save even more money!

Visit Pricehawk:in the Google Chrome Store

Gaming Bucket List: the moments every gamer has to experience before they die

Gamers are a divided group. You’ve got your fighting game fanatics and your PC strategy game enthusiasts, your first person shooter lovers, and your platformer junkies.

But there are some moments that are capable of bringing together even the most disparate of gamers.

Gamers are a divided group. You’ve got your fighting game fanatics and your PC strategy game enthusiasts, your first person shooter lovers, and your platformer junkies.

But there are some moments that are capable of bringing together even the most disparate of gamers. Moments that are so classic, so iconic, that every self-respecting gamer should go out of their way to experience them.

Here are the TechRadar editor’s top picks for what these moments should be.

This isn’t one we’ve actually done but for some reason we really want to. Animal Crossing isn’t a game that you have to settle into for hours to appreciate its charm – really you only have to play it for maybe 30 to 40 minutes a day to keep your town maintained and your virtual social life in order. It’s a low-but-frequent commitment game.

However, for some reason we’re inclined to binge-play it for a few weeks at a time and then abandon our sweet village to the ravages of time, weeds, and Tom Nook’s greed. When you eventually return you’re not exactly returning to a scene from Mad Max but things have usually deteriorated enough that the game feels like a slog rather than the delightful escape it should be.

That’s why we want to set up one save where we actually log in and visit our town every day, enjoy the changing seasons and the various themed events that pop up the way we’re supposed to.

Emma Boyle – Staff Writer

Cold, Cold Mountain is one of the most enjoyable levels on Super Mario 64 and the Lil Lost Penguin quest is one of the most fun task star tasks in it.

Tuxie is an adorable baby penguin and if you can manage to return him to his mother without having to deal with the emotionally-taxing scenario of dropping him off the mountain’s edge or dropping him you’ll get to enjoy one of the game’s most heart-warming moments in this otherwise chilly level.

Emma Boyle – Staff Writer

Whether you’re doing it over a Wi-Fi connection today or with a physical trade cable back in the GameBoy Colour days, trading Pokemon with your real-life friends is a key part of the Pokemon experience and an oddly emotional one at that. You can of of course trade NPCs in the game and even trade with yourself over the different game generation but neither of these is quite the same as trading with someone in real-life. It borders on being a justifiably contractual affair.

If it’s a Pokemon you’re particularly fond of, it’s akin to giving away a cherished pet and although you’re getting a new Pokemon in return it’s hard to see your friend taking over your position as trainer.

Just don’t be the easily-swayed 7 year old we may or may not have been and trade your level 85 Mew for your older friend’s much lower level Vulpix just because you love Vulpix so much. Those are the kind of mistakes that will stay with you.

Emma Boyle – Staff Writer

The goat puzzle in Broken Sword and the Shadow of the Templars is infamous for its simultaneous simplicity and complexity. That’s why we suggest that if you ever encounter it you should try and solve it without any help online or otherwise. Though you’re reaction to the solution will be ‘seriously? That’s it?’ you’ll still be extremely happy with yourself even if it was simply a matter of trial and error rather than actual logic.

Emma Boyle – Staff Writer

The training will be intense and you’ll have to work at it for hours, days, maybe even weeks depending on your levels of co-ordination but it’ll be worth it to perform the song you love most absolutely perfectly on expert level. There you’ll be, drenched in sweat like you’ve just done your first couch to 5K, hands shaking, allowing the hollow and empty cheers to fill your ears and you’ll think ‘right, never have to do that again.’

Emma Boyle – Staff Writer

The process of landing a person on the moon has been likened to trying to thread a needle from a mile away, and after having played Kerbal Space Program we’d be inclined to agree. When you first start the game, reaching the Mun (Kerbal’s version of our moon) seems like an impossible task.

Slowly but surely however, after each failed mission you’ll end up closer and closer to your destination until eventually you manage to land a craft without burning up into a fireball.

It’s a great moment…until you realise that there are nine whole other planets to reach.

Jon Porter – Home Technology UK Writer

When games are frequently criticised for the amount of bloodshed and murder that goes on within them, it’s nice to see one series buck the trend.

Starting with the second, it’s been possible to play through each of the Metal Gear Solid games without killing a single enemy. Instead you can either tranquilise them, knock them out, or, if you’re feeling especially bold, sneak past them entirely.

You won’t get much for your efforts beyond a wink and a nod in the game’s post-credits stats, but the satisfaction will stay with you for months.

Jon Porter – Home Technology UK Writer

When The Sims was first released in 2000 its titular characters were completely free from the curse of aging. Make a child Sim and it would remain a child forever, or make an adult and it would live eternally.

This all changed in The Sims 2, where Sims would go through the entire aging process.

But while it was always sad to see a Sim you created as an adult grow old and die, it felt far more special to see your first child progress through its terrible twos, into its awkward teenage phase, through a quarter-life and then mid-life crisis, and finally into its twilight years.

Jon Porter – Home Technology UK Writer

Few games are as iconic as the original Super Mario Bros on the NES, and because the game laid the foundations of pretty much every modern platformer it’s hard not to feel like you’ve already played it.

But there’s something to be said for going back to where it all started by playing through the seminal level for yourself to see where it all began.

With Super Mario Bros having been re-released on pretty much every Nintendo system under the sun it’s not hard to find the hardware to play it on, but if you want the authentic experience it’s hard to fault the recently discontinued NES Mini for its authentic 80s gamepad.

Jon Porter – Home Technology UK Writer

For a certain generation, Pokemon was an absolute cultural phenomenon.

But before the Pokemon cards, the anime, and the twenty movies, there were the original games, and the simple joy of building up a collection of pocket monsters.

Everyone should experience the joy of catching a Pokemon at least once, the slight rock of the Poke-ball as the monster tries to escape, and the ensuing tense seconds where the game’s internal logic works out whether your catch has been successful or not.

The whole process is over in moments, but it feels like minutes as you wait with your heart in your throat to see whether you’ve been successful.

Jon Porter – Home Technology UK Writer

Every Legend of Zelda since A Link to the Past game contains a Master Sword, the mythical blade that is able to seal away evil within Hyrule.

Almost all of the Zelda games qualify as classics which should be played in their entirety by any self-respecting gamer, but the act of retrieving the Master Sword is perhaps the most iconic moment in the games.

As an aside, the famous quote “It’s dangerous to go alone! take this.” does not refer to the Master Sword since it is featured in the original Legend of Zelda, which did not include the specific sword.

Fun times.

Jon Porter – Home Technology UK Writer

‘Achievements’ were one of the more minor additions to the world of gaming introduced with the Xbox 360, but they’ve since become a staple of both the Xbox and PlayStation platforms (where they’re known as ‘Trophies’).

Achievements are awarded for the completion of a task in a game, from something as major as completing the main story, or as minor as using a certain weapon for the first time.

Something everyone should try at least once is to get all the achievements in a single game, a task which usually forces you to play it on its hardest difficulty, while also trying out all the features the game has to offer.

At their most basic, achievements reward you for playing well, but when they get inventive, achievements can force you to play familiar games in new and inventive ways.

Everyone should make the effort to get every achievement in at least one game to see what secrets they can find.

Jon Porter – Home Technology UK Writer

In a world of generic space marines and bland everymen, BioShock’s steampunk adventure was a breath of fresh air when it first came out back in 2007.

Part of its appeal was its impressive story, which blended engaging characters with one of the best twists in a game story since…well…ever.

You know the scene. You fight your way through hordes of enemies to reach the inner sanctum of Rapture’s leader, Andrew Ryan.

What happens next is special, and is something everyone should get to experience for themselves.

Jon Porter – Home Technology UK Writer

Games can be full on. Rush forward, kill the enemies, solve the puzzle before a timer runs out, then stealthily make your way through an area while coming within an inch of being spotted.

All of this makes Metal Gear Solid 3’s quietest moment, where you’re forced to spend several minutes climbing one massive ladder, all the more striking.

There’s no way to skip the segment, and no way to speed it up. Instead you’re just left with the image of your protagonist, Snake, slowly climbing a ladder as the game’s Bond-inspired theme tune plays softly in the background.

It’s probably one of the game’s more surreal moments (aside from that guy that shoots bees out of his mouth), but it’s definitely one not to miss.

Jon Porter – Home Technology UK Writer

Castlevania: Symphony of the Night is a game whose appeal is the way its entire map slowly unlocks like a delightfully intricate puzzle box. What starts out as a linear series of corridors soon expands into a massive labyrinth maze as your character gets the skills and abilities needed to traverse it.

Then, halfway through the game, the whole concept is quite literally flipped on its head as the castle you’ve been exploring for a dozen hours turns upside down.

It’s one of the most surprising moments in gaming but the effect is brilliant, and immediately forces you to relearn an environment you’ve slowly learned as well as the back of your hand.

Jon Porter – Home Technology UK Writer

Progress is overrated. Sure, that slow-but-steady improvement is tantalising, but there’s something to be said for taking stock and appreciating what you have in that moment.

SimCity is a game that embraces these moments. You’ll spend hours zoning residental areas, building up transport infrastructures and maintaining public services, but reach a certain point and your city will hum away like a well-oiled machine.

Sure, you could immediately start planning the next set of improvements and expansions, but at a certain point you’d be missing the point. The payoff in SimCity is making a city that just works, at which point it becomes almost like a virtual fishtank for you to zoom right into and explore ad infinitum.

Jon Porter – Home Technology UK Writer

The year is 1996. Your Playstation sits glistening in its muted grey beneath your modestly sized CRT TV and Crash Bandicoot has just launched. It’s a level like none before it. You play through the first seven – including seeing off the portly Papu Papu – and out of nowhere the game throws a curveball at you.

That ball is Hog Wild. The squeal of the hog and you jump on, its frisky jumps over pits, fallen columns and shield natives, the ever-so-catchy music and the sheer panic of what to do the first time the level greats you. It’s a perfect cocktail of confusion, excitement and down-right good, old fashioned gameplay.

John McCann – Phones, Wearables & Tablets UK Editor

“Doctor required in inflator room” – the trill, grating voice rings out on the tannoy through the corridors of your slap-dashed medical facility.

Meanwhile a man patiently sits outside the GP’s office, waiting his turn to see the physician whose biography describes him as a ‘foolish risk-taker who couldn’t care less’ – but you hired him anyway…

It’s not like this poor chap has a choice, his head is the size of a beach ball and there’s only one remedy – a quick trip to the Inflator room. Zoom into the room to watch the action close up, as a hose is unceremoniously shoved into the mouth of the ill fellow, swiftly inflating his head further, until it explodes. Only to then re-flate it to a ‘normal’ size. Healthcare is fascinating.

John McCann – Phones, Wearables & Tablets UK Editor

You either love or hate FIFA. It’s an iconic gaming franchise, which admittedly is now ruled more by churning out money than actually making a fully fledged football simulation – but for one sweet moment in FIFA 97 and 98 it seemed EA Sports was onto something.

Enter, the indoor arena. This wasn’t your standard 11-a-side match on astro under a huge dome – oh no. This was proper indoor football, five players on each team, 6ft x 8ft goals, an insanely close penalty spot and a wooden floor.

You could score direct from kick off with the right amount of shot power thanks to a goalkeeper glitch which would see the ball roll embarrassingly under the foot of the hapless man between the sticks – but that wasn’t the charm here.

There was no office, the walls around the outside ruled out throw-ins and corners, which left you with an intense game of football pinball. It was by far the greatest FIFA stadium ever created, and it’s an absolute crime that it has not featured in a game since FIFA 98 Road to World Cup.

John McCann – Phones, Wearables & Tablets UK Editor

Dubbed ‘the biggest dick move in gaming’ by one YouTuber – an opinion I very much happen to agree with – stealing a star from someone in Mario Party is the ultimate kick in the balls.

Considering Mario Party is supposed to be a child-friendly digitized board game, it manages to harbour a unnerving amount of hostility, backstabbing and general ‘dickishness’ among its players.

The aim of the game is to collect the most stars, which are hard-earned through highly competitive mini-games and the tallying of many, many coins – all while trying to avoid the numerous pitfalls around the board. However, the ease at which Mario Party lets your challengers rob you of your hard-earned stars is so brutal we’re surprised there are no recorded star-stealing related murders.

But boy, does it feel good when you’re doing the stealing.

John McCann – Phones, Wearables & Tablets UK Editor

Yes, it might requires no skill, but the first time you enter Mexico in Red Dead Redemption is one of the most beautiful experiences in any video game.

Riding a horse through some beautiful countryside, underscored by Jose Gozalez’s stunning song Far Away. Bliss.

Andrew London – Staff Writer

This probably required you being a young child, playing a game before the age of the smartphone. Your mate brings round a piece of paper with codes written on that apparently lets you actually “Finish him!”

You get your favourite character up (Scorpion) and watch as he pulls the spine out of your still breathing combatant.

Andrew London – Staff Writer

Now that the film is out, the leap of faith feels slightly less special. It was in every trailer, on every poster. It was everywhere. Nothing quite compares to actually doing a leap in the game. You spend what feels like an eternity climbing a building, and as you reach the top, the camera swings over and you get the genuinely vertigo inducing moment as you plummet to the hay bale below.

Andrew London – Staff Writer

Up until the library, there is a feeling that you can outrun most problems in the game. The Clickers are terrifying but you can strategically avoid them.

The library is the first moment where you seriously have to plan and attack or you won’t survive.

You try, you fail. You try, you fail. You fail so frequently that it feels you may never succeed. You get angry which makes your strategy worse. You fail worse. Then finally, finally, you make it through alive. Words cannot describe how satisfying it it.

Andrew London – Staff Writer

Whether it’s taking hours to gently pick off your targets by gradually switching outfits 30 times or you just running in guns blazing, the Hitman games try to let you decide how to murder your targets however you want.

There’s nothing more satisfying then entering a level of Hitman (2016) and achieving a Silent Assassin rating. There are many challenges to complete in the latest Hitman game, but the Silent Assassin rating is a must-have and is perhaps the hardest ask.

You’ll need to only kill targets, do it with no witnesses, no bodies found, make sure you don’t get caught on camera and not get spotted once. It’s a difficult one, but oh-so satisfying.

James Peckham – Phones, Tablets & Wearables UK Writer

You can spend hours upon hours creating yourself in The Sims. Choosing your haircut alone probably took you twenty minutes and that’s before you even get anywhere near building the dream house you’re going to live in.

But then a few hours into the game, you get that urge. Could I delete the door? Could I intentionally start a fire in the kitchen? Could I take away the ladder in the pool? There’s something strangely satisfying about killing yourself in The Sims, but it’s something you’ll have to do one day.

James Peckham – Phones, Tablets & Wearables UK Writer

This isn’t the most difficult item on the bucket list, but it might seem like it when you’re face-to-face with one of the many grotesque bosses in the Dark Souls games.

Reaching through the fog without a helping hand can sometimes feel like a fool’s errand, but if take the time to learn the boss’s movement pattern and believe in yourself, you can totally do it.

Handling a boss by yourself won’t make playing with a friend any less fun, but knowing that you can survive alone is a huge confidence boost that’s necessary to make it through the treacherous haul.

Cameron Faulkner – US Mobile Editor

Rocket League might seem easy, but it’s extremely difficult (and very fun) to master the basics. One of said basics is jumping. It’s handy to bop the ball when it comes toward you, but when used in tandem with boost and a little steering, you can soar through the air.

Many people use aerial abilities to show off or to blast the ball to the other side of the field, but if you get your timing down just right, an aerial jump lets you score a goal so quickly that your opponents won’t know what hit them.

Cameron Faulkner – US Mobile Editor

Dishonored’s physics-warping powers and steampunk-inspired weaponry lend themselves to all kinds of imaginative and gruesome kills. Freezing time, possessing a member of the City Watch and manoeuvring him in front of his own bullets is a classic trick, but there are many others.

One of the most unpleasant devices in your arsenal is the spring razor – a kind of dirty mine packed with shrapnel and bits of bone that detonates when an enemy gets too close. But why wait? Lurk in the shadows and summon a swarm of rats, then stick a spring razor to one unfortunate rodent and watch it embark on a kamikaze course towards an unsuspecting group of guards. Squeak squeak boom.

Cat Ellis – Downloads Editor

Leonardo da Vinci is Q to Ezio Auditore’s James Bond. After providing Ezio with his first hidden blade, the brilliant and earnest inventor delivers a seemingly endless supply of tricked-out Renaissance vehicles and weapons, including a hidden gun, a fire-dropping hang glider, and even a tank (painstakingly developed and built, then destroyed in minutes).

In one of the pair’s many cutscenes, Leonardo raises his arm for a brotherly hug and you have a second to accept before the opportunity passes. It’s a heartwarming moment, but blink and you’ll miss it. There’s no in-game penalty, but Leo’s wounded expression if you fail to reciprocate is worse than desynchronizing.

Cat Ellis – Downloads Editor

We can’t be the only ones that had short attention spans as kids – even with video games. Like this editor in particular, maybe you had a bad habit of failing to play games to their completion, even those that you today consider absolute favorites, pinnacles of the medium. For anyone that calls, say, The Legend of Zelda: Link to the Past their favorite Zelda game despite having not even conquered it (this guy), then this may be the most daunting item on your bucket list yet.

Joe Osbourne – Senior Editor

It’s the ultimate dick move but oh-so satisfying. Just sitting there continuously tapping a button to make Blanka crouch and electrify his opponent. It’s even better if the person you are beating is in the same room as you as you can witness their anger first-hand as all you do his fry their tiny minds with Blanka’s superpower.

Marc Chacksfield – Global Managing Editor

Journey is such a thoughtful, beautiful game that playing it should be on everyone’s bucket list. But, playing it with just one companion throughout makes it extra special. You don’t know the person controlling the other robed figure but you get to know them in a wonderfully delicate way. The way they help you when your power is down, will swirl around you when you aren’t quite fast enough to catch them up, how you can communicate with them through singing. Knowing there is another person interacting with you and just you somewhere else in the world, is pretty poignant.

Marc Chacksfield – Global Managing Editor

As decisions in games go, it’s one of the biggest: do you nuke a whole town or not. From a game point, it’s a simple choice between becoming evil or staying good. But from a moral standpoint, committing one of gaming’s biggest atrocities holds a lot of weight. I pressed the button and once I saw that mushroom cloud appear, I instantly wanted to turn back time. But it’s something that needs to be done to understand just how complex and emotive a game such as Fallout 3 can be.

Marc Chacksfield – Global Managing Editor

There’s no bigger gaming adrenaline rush than the first act of Sonic the Hedgehog. I was lucky enough to be born in the 80s so witnessed first hand Sonic on the MegaDrive. There wasn’t a game like it around. It wasn’t just the speed of Sonic and the bright color thrill of Green Hill Zone but the music, the ping you got when each ring was collected, the way the game made you feel both out of control and in control… it’s one of the purest, perfect gaming experiences ever made.

Marc Chacksfield – Global Managing Editor

When it first came out, Mortal Kombat was unfairly compared to Street Fighter 2. I say unfairly because no fighting game was ever going to match Street Fighter. Kombat was slower and sloppier but it had two great USPs.

The first was the real-life look. It was one of the first games to digitize real people and put them into game form. They were still jagged and a little rough looking but they looked, well, real.

The second was the genius and bloody idea of being able to finish an opponent with a fatality – a Finish Him move that saw spines punched out bodies, people frozen to death and, my favorite, having your heart ripped out and still pumping while your limp body falls to the floor. It was graphic, brutal but also brilliant to witness.

Marc Chacksfield – Global Managing Editor