JBL Link 500 review – CNET

One of the great things about both the Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa voice control platforms is that they’re open. Unlike with Siri — which is only available in Apple-made devices — it’s easy for third-party companies to make compatible smart home devices that work with both of them.

One of the great things about both the Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa voice control platforms is that they’re open. Unlike with Siri — which is only available in Apple-made devices — it’s easy for third-party companies to make compatible smart home devices that work with both of them. That means, in effect, that companies can make smart speakers to compete directly with the Google Home and Echo speakers manufactured by Google and Amazon, respectively.

One of the latest companies to take up the Google Assistant smart speaker mantle is JBL, which released a new line of voice-enabled speakers in late 2017 under its new Link sub-brand. The Link 500 ($399.95, £350, AU$500) is currently the largest speaker in the line and competes with such products as the Siri-powered Apple HomePod, the Google Max and the Sonos Play:5. That final product costs more and is merely Alexa-compatible — the voice assistant isn’t built in as it is for the Sonos One.

In addition to the Link 500 reviewed here, the smaller and more affordable Link 300 ($199.99 at Crutchfield) is also AC-powered. The Link line also features two fully waterproof battery-powered portable speakers — the JBL Link 10 ($119.99 at Crutchfield) and Link 20 ($159.99 at Crutchfield). The upcoming Link View, meanwhile, is one of a new wave of Google Assistant devices with a built-in screen.

In addition to using Google Assistant for voice commands, all Link speakers are equipped with Google Chromecast platform compatibility, which enables them to join up with not only other Link speakers but also any Chromecast-based audio device to create a multiroom audio setup over a Wi-Fi network. (All Android apps and many iOS apps can send audio to Chromecast speakers at the touch of a button.) The speakers are also equipped with Bluetooth, which offers universal compatibility.

CNET Review
JBL Link 300The Link 300 delivers impressive performance for a Wi-Fi, voice-enabled speaker with Google Assistant.Read Review

$199.99at Crutchfield

Given that the Link 500 is the largest speaker in the line, it’s not surprising that it also plays the loudest and has the biggest bass output. It’s got some real kick — and by that I mean it can really thump. But the bass does get a little too boomy for my taste. In other words, it lacks some definition and I liked the step-down Link 300 better for that reason.

Setting up the speaker is relatively simple. You use the Google Home app on iOS and Android devices to log in to the speaker with a direct Wi-Fi connection. Then you log on to your chosen network to get the speaker on it. You can then give it a label for a particular room and link it with other Chromecast-enabled speakers if you have them.

It’s worth noting that the Link 500’s power supply is built into the speaker (there’s a simple cord you plug in) whereas the Link 300 has an external power supply. That’s not a huge deal but it is a difference.

Like other Link speakers in the line, the Link 500 has two microphones at the top along with some physical buttons, including volume controls. You can access Google Assistant by pressing the middle button on top of the speaker and issuing commands without having to say, “Hey, Google” or “OK, Google” first.

iPad 2018 now available in the UAE

Apple announced a new iPad at its first event of the year in Chicago with the focus on education. Apple simply refers the tablet as the “new 9.7-inch iPad”, and it replaces the iPad released last year

Apple announced a new iPad at its first event of the year in Chicago with the focus on education. Apple simply refers the tablet as the “new 9.7-inch iPad”, and it replaces the iPad released last year

To avoid any confusion, we’ll refer to this latest version as the new iPad (2018).

Check out our hands on: New iPad 2018 reviewCut to the chaseWhat is it? Apple’s most affordable iPadWhen is it out? March 27What will it cost? AED 1,349 for Wi-Fi only variant and AED 1,879 for the Wi-Fi + LTE

The new iPad (2018)

New iPad (2018) release date

The new iPad was released on 27 March. It is already on sale at Apple Stores and Apple Authorized Resellers.

New iPad (2018) price in UAE

In the UAE, the new 9.7-inch Apple iPad costs AED 1,349 for Wi-Fi only variant and AED 1,879 for the Wi-Fi + LTE variant. The Apple Pencil will be sold separately for AED 399.

School can purchase the iPad (2018) for AED 1,294.65 and the Apple Pencil for AED 359.1.

The new iPad will be available in Silver, Gold, and Space Gray color options.

The Logitech Crayon – a cheaper alternative to the Apple Pencil

New iPad (2018) design

Once again, Apple didn’t made any changes to the design language of the iPad (2018). It looks exactly the same as the previous iterations, having the same metal unibody with thick bezels on the front.

It retains the physical home button with Touch ID fingerprint sensor inbuilt. Moreover, it has a Facetime HD camera above the display and a rear facing camera on the top right corner on the back.

It weighs 469g, which is the same as the iPad that it’s replacing, and audiophiles rejoice – there’s a headphone jack here too.

New iPad (2018) display

There’s nothing new in terms of the display, it has Apple’s familiar 9.7-inch, 4:3 aspect ratio panel providing a pleasing 2048×1536 resolution.

The 9.7-inch display has a 2048×1536 resolution

New iPad (2018) power and OS

The new iPad 2018 is powered by Apple’s A10 Fusion chipset which has previously featured in the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus.

It is an upgrade over last year’s model, which featured the A9 chip. This means that you get more power over its predecessor, but it still won’t be as powerful as the A10X chips found in the latest iPad Pro devices.

The new iPad also runs the latest version of Apple’s mobile platform, iOS 11, and it should be in line for major iOS updates for the next couple of years at least.

Annotate work with the Pencil while split-screening a message with peers

New iPad (2018) cameras

Apple is also pushing the versatility of the new iPad, which is why it’s included a front and rear camera.

The 8MP rear snapper can be used for Augmented Reality experiences as well as taking photos – and then you can use the Pencil (or Crayon) to annotate them. It also supports full HD video recording.

Round the front a 1.2MP Facetime HD camera allows you to make video calls, as well as snap the odd selfie.

New iPad (2018) battery

Apple claims that the new iPad 2018 will offer all-day battery life – which it sees as up to 10 hours.

While Apple never reveals the capacity of its power packs, we are inclined to believe its battery claim as previous iPads have been very efficient in the power department.

New iPad (2018) software and apps

There are new versions of Pages, Numbers and Keynote – Apple’s answer to Microsoft’s Office Suite – which now support Pencil input as the firm really drives home the messaging that this is an iPad that’s great to do school work on.

Pages will also adopt a new feature called “Smart Annotations” that will move with the section of text/image they’re associated with, so you never lose your notes. It won’t be available in the first update of Pages though – it’ll arrive later.

The new iPad will also offer richer learning environments, such as the ability to dissect a frog in AR – rather than having to use and actual frog.

No more waiting for frogs to croak it, you’ll be able to dissect and learn in AR

There’s further good news for schools as Apple has increased free iCloud storage from 5GB to 200GB – sadly though general consumer accounts will not get the same bump.

Another boost for schools – and their bank balances – is the ‘Shared iPad’ function, allowing a teacher to create user accounts for all the children in their class, meaning you don’t need to buy one iPad per student.

While fewer iPads will limit their effectiveness on a class, the fact students will have their own logins means they can feel confident their work is safe.

Apple just massively upgraded free iCloud storage from 5GB to 200GB – for schools

Phicomm Smart Home Wi-Fi router (K3) review – CNET

The Phicomm K3 smart home router has fast speed and good range on 2.4GHz but the user interface is lacking. For $230, you get high-end hardware inside a “normal”-looking device (as opposed to the extraterrestrial designs favored by other router makers).

The Phicomm K3 smart home router has fast speed and good range on 2.4GHz but the user interface is lacking. For $230, you get high-end hardware inside a “normal”-looking device (as opposed to the extraterrestrial designs favored by other router makers). This will allow you to place it out in the open and get the best signal possible. The menu wasn’t as visually appealing as the router, but the settings are all there if you can find the ones you need. Anyone who wants to pay a little extra for the design, will get solid coverage for a medium-size home with Phicomm’s new AC3150 router.

Unique look that’s not so futuristic

The Phicomm K3 smart home router was designed by high-end Scandinavian firm Jacob Jensen Design. Phicomm spends a lot of time talking about its elegance and style, but I think it’s about as simple as can be, looking a lot like a PS3 or a large modem.

The K3 is a stand-up metallic gray-and-black box with slightly rounded sides, and it’s much heavier than other routers I’ve tested, weighing in at nearly 3 pounds. It doesn’t have external antennas, but the top features a 3.5-inch LCD touchscreen. This display shows when you’re connected to the internet, the status of your Ethernet ports, network names and passwords (this needs to be enabled), general router information and which devices are connected. In general, I find this display to be pointless unless you can change settings using it. The K3 is display-only.

The back features one gigabit WAN port and only three gigabit LAN ports for wired devices (four is standard), as well as a power on/off button and a DC port for a power adapter. It also has a USB 3.0 port, but in my wireless testing of network storage, the speeds were just average. You also need to enable the 3.0 feature from the menu because Phicomm notes that it could cause Wi-Fi interference.

Overall, the Phicomm K3 isn’t as crazy-looking as most routers, so it will draw less attention and fit in nicely pretty much anywhere in your home.

The user interface needs some work

Setting up the Phicomm K3 was easy.

You will need to set up your passwords and connection, but surprisingly, it didn’t ask if I wanted to update the firmware. I had to log into the router menu and go to the Advanced tab, then click the Online Update icon. Don’t confuse this with the Update icon, which requires you to download a file from Phicomm’s download center and then select that file from the router menu. The router also reboots after you install the update, so you may have to reconnect to the network after it’s finished.

This whole firmware update process was inconvenient and should have been part of the setup process. Not to mention that you can run into security issues down the road if you don’t know you need to install a new update.

The menu as a whole was disappointing. The user interface looks a bit thrown together and isn’t organized very well.

Pretty much all the settings are listed as icons (22 of them, to be exact) under the Advanced tab. Each icon has a description to help you find what you are looking for, but you probably will end up clicking through a few when looking for a specific, advanced setting. The K3 has limited parental controls and quality of service (QoS), the latter of which only allows you to set bandwidth limits on each device. One saving grace is a helpful question-mark icon at the top right of the screen, which is clickable after you open an icon to tell you what each of the settings mean.

Mobile is the future for NBA basketball

In an era where sports are competing not just with each other for new and existing fans’ attention, but also with other forms of entertainment, mobile is a key battleground.

For many competitions, television ratings are falling as younger fans move away from linear television to smartphones and on-demand services.

In an era where sports are competing not just with each other for new and existing fans’ attention, but also with other forms of entertainment, mobile is a key battleground.

For many competitions, television ratings are falling as younger fans move away from linear television to smartphones and on-demand services. There are even fears that sport isn’t as popular as it once was.

The National Basketball Association (NBA) is acutely aware of these trends, but rather than fear them, it is embracing them as it seeks to build its fanbase not only in the US but globally too. The NBA has a diverse following, but it is more youthful than its local rivals and has a reputation for being a more progressive league that reflects this.

For example, in 2014, Donald Sterling, the owner of the LA Clippers, was forced to sell the team to former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer because of alleged racist remarks and the league has expressed a more permissive stance to those who wish to protest the national anthem than the NFL, which has an older, more conservative fanbase.

Going mobile

These days, its possible to watch every NBA game live on your smartphone via the official application, which is also awash with video highlights and content, while the league, its teams and its players are active on social media – including more youthful platforms like Snapchat.

The NBA’s official view is that there is nothing like attending a game in person, but the fact of the matter is many fans will never attend a match. The focus is therefore on making the remote viewing experience as similar to the one in the arena.

A 10Gbps network collected 12 camera feeds from every game to the NBA Replay Center in New Jersey, giving referees additional help that speeds up the game, but also gives the NBA multiple camera angles to sent to the mobile app. A video highlights system sees clips tagged so they can be distributed within 30 seconds and there are plans for automation.

The next step is virtual reality (VR) and 4K transmissions. Both of these will place significant stress on the network.

Youthful fanbase

Cisco has been an NBA partner for a decade and has witnessed this transformation first hand. Over the past ten years, the focus has shifted to mobile and to global expansion.

“It’s a multi-faceted partnership,” Cisco’s Chinan Patel tells TechRadar Pro. “As well as being the core technology provider for the NBA as an organization, supporting its employees and the wor kthey do, we help with events like the All Star Games and how they extend the global game. We also work with the teams, who are heavily investing in stadium tech and elsewhere to grow the fanbase.

“If you think 10 years ago, mobile phones weren’t prevalent. You might see scores, but now the NBA tells us that large percentage of fans watch games on their mobile device and never consume it on anything else. A lot of investment is in how to make that better and how you can ensure people can access it on other networks, secure it and watch it offline.

“The NBA are probably the leaders in terms of technology adoption. If you look at football and [Video Assistant Referees], then some of the sports are quite behind. There’s a lot what other sports can learn from the NBA are doing.”

However he doesn’t necessarily agree with the assumption that the NBA has an advantage because its followers are younger. Instead, he argues its because the fast-paced nature of basketball is what makes it so appealing.

“We were with the NBA at South by South West [SXSW] and the audience that came was very diverse,” he says. “A lot of age groups, a lot of demographics. It has a diverse spectrum of audience. There is a youthful base, but equally but there is a broad appeal to the game and it does span all spectrums.

“The pace at which [basketball] is played and the way the NBA engages the audience … is something they’ve cracked.”

Indeed, the NBA is one of the partners for a new Bleacher Report Live streaming application from Turner and will allow fans to pay for portions of matches. For example, if a game in the fourth quarter is heating up, fans can log on and pay 99 cents for five minutes of live action. This will extend to the official NBA application, which is essential for the league’s international expansion.

International expansion

The NBA holds a number of games outside North America each season, including one at London’s O2 – which will become a 5G testbed later this year. These are important to reach out to new fans but mobile is still the main way of reaching out to the international fanbase that can be thousands of miles away from any NBA arena. But can this ever be as good as seeing a game live?

Patel concedes this might be one step too far for mobile technology but says Cisco and the NBA are committed to replicating as much as possible.

“A lot of the work we do with them is to take the best elements of what makes going to a game so great and …the app experience, different views give you some kind of insight into what it’s like,” he says.

Smart arenas

Mobile can enhance the at-game experience too. Many fans now want instant replays on their mobile devices, while teams want to be able to offer in-game seat upgrades, merchandise and catering. Meanwhile, sensors and in-arena Wi-Fi can help improve security and fan behaviour.

Mobile ticketing is also changing the way fans attend matches, with 60 per cent of all tickets sold by the Boston Celtics sent to a mobile device.

“The phone has become ubiquitous,” Celtics co-owner Stephen Pagliuca tells the Leaders in Sport conference. “The closer you get to the fans, the closer they want to get to the club.”

Free Wi-Fi networks have been deployed in many venues to try and facilitate all these applications, and Cisco itself provides connectivity in 350 stadiums around the world. But will these network deployments be able to keep up with demand?

“Things like 5G will be welcomed because they will offer increased bandwidth,” Patel suggests. “New technologies will have to come along to deal with growth. New applications like AR and VR will require new types of capacity.”

Cisco is taking a keen interest in 5G, participating in UK trials of the technology in rural areas, and announcing a slew of ‘5G Now’ services and products at Mobile World Congress (MWC). The company’s traditional strength has been in networking, but it is eyeing up more of the telecoms market.

A perfect match?

So what’s in it for Cisco? Is it a marketing agreement or a technology partnership? Patel says it touches on a number of areas, not least attracting young talent to its Network Academy.

“As an advanced technology company, we want to make sure we want to work with organisations that are at the leading edge of their industry and the NBA is that,” he says. “We want to be able to scale something that touches a lot of people. The things we do in the NBA at the stadiums, are applicable around the world- football, cricket stadiums. It helps us engage in different countries around the world.

“As a B2B company, not a B2C company it helps us scale up like that. There’s also a big aspect for the Network academy [which is] about inspiring new generations and sport is a great way of doing that.”

The best VPN services of 2018

SpaceX’s “Starlink” proposal will launch 12 thousand satellites for total worldwide broadband coverage

SpaceX cleared a major hurdle in its goal to launch a network of broadband satellites in low Earth orbit yesterday, when the FCC approved a revised draft of their 2016 proposal.

SpaceX cleared a major hurdle in its goal to launch a network of broadband satellites in low Earth orbit yesterday, when the FCC approved a revised draft of their 2016 proposal.

Today’s news follows the story from last month where Elon Musk’s company, SpaceX, launched its first two satellites into orbit during their PAZ mission from Spain.

Nicknamed Tintin A and B, they temporarily blasted a Wi-Fi-enabled message to the city of Los Angeles.

Now SpaceX can officially plan to launch thousands more satellites from the US, but they’d better book their launchpad schedule well in advance: the FCC requires that they launch half of their 4,425-satellite fleet by 2024—a six-year deadline.

Current broadband satellites sit tens of thousands of kilometers above the surface; Starlink would place their 4,425 satellites at only 700 miles (1,150 kilometers), then launch another 7500 satellites at only 200 miles (320 kilometers), according to SpaceX’s FCC filing.

Broadband for the masses

So close to Earth’s surface, Starlink satellites would have minimal latency delays, supposedly comparable to current cable and fiber response times. SpaceX VP Patricia Cooper told the US Senate Chamber of Commerce that the network would provide 25ms latency and 1 Gbps speeds.

FCC chairman Ajit Pai led the unanimous vote approving SpaceX’s proposal. In a statement, Pai said, “Satellite technology can help reach Americans who live in rural or hard-to-serve places where fiber optic cables and cell towers do not reach. And it can offer more competition where terrestrial Internet access is already available.”

The FCC has reserved the right to revoke their license, if SpaceX can’t also obtain permission from the International Telecommunication Union, which controls the radio bandwidths Starlink will use to send signals to the surface. But beyond that, they can proceed full steam ahead.

SpaceX isn’t the only company hoping to fill up our skies with satellites. OneWeb received FCC permission last year to launch 720 satellites using Amazon’s Blue Origin rockets, and an Apple-Boeing partnership could yield up to 3,000 satellites.

Satellites vs 5G

Satellite broadband will let people around the world have access to fast internet speeds, which in the past would have required labor-heavy installation of fiber-optic networks stretching to every home—something especially difficult in rural areas.

In the decade or more it will take to fully roll out their network, SpaceX may be hoping that an Earth-based alternative to cables doesn’t take too much of their future business.

5G, the next-gen upgrade to our current model, provides 1 Gbps speeds without needing to connect each home to a fiber optic network. Instead, carriers can install fiber optic hubs every few blocks that communicate at incredible speeds with wireless modems. And these hubs apparently have the capacity for all the streaming and downloads that you might need.

Samsung and Verizon have already begun testing 5G in several cities across the US, and industry experts predict 5G will be the dominant mobile net source by 2025—right around the time Starlink could go online.

Of course, Starlink will also go to regions where no cable companies would ever install any fiber optics, 5G or otherwise. But to pay for all of these rocket launches, SpaceX will need to make a lot of money on its network; so no doubt he’ll also want plenty of first-world consumers to buy into his product as well.

Space just got crowded

To launch 2,200 satellites within six years, SpaceX will have to boost slightly more than one satellite per day. That will take monumental resources and planning to achieve on time without the satellites crashing into one another. And competitors like OneWeb will be trying to hit their own targets at the same time.

After SpaceX proposed its plan, OneWeb petitioned that the FCC reject it, claiming that the volume would inevitably lead to Starlink satellites or delivery rockets crashing into one another, or into OneWeb objects.

While OneWeb obviously had plenty of motivation for their rival’s proposal to fail, even NASA warned that current safety standards for satellites would no longer apply safely to Starlink, due to the sheer number of satellites it would require.

SpaceX successfully launched a Tesla into elliptical orbit, but launching thousands of satellites could be a bumpy ride. (Courtesy of SpaceX)

FCC Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel, who voted for the proposal, warned of the dangers this could pose, should this rapid schedule risk satellites crashing into one another.

“As more satellites of smaller size that are harder to track are launched, the frequency of these accidents is bound to increase,” she said in a statement. “Unchecked, growing debris in orbit could make some regions of space unusable for decades to come.”

In response, SpaceX promised to coordinate with NASA, OneWeb, and any other satellite company planning on sharing low-orbit space with Starlink.

We’ve got the latest on the FCC’s dismantling of net neutrality and SpaceX’s latest Falcon Heavy launch.

How to turn an old tablet or phone into a baby monitor – CNET

If you want to keep an eye on your little bundle of joy when you’re in another room, just grab an old phone or tablet. All you need after that are a couple cheap accessories and you’ll be well on your way to knowing your baby is safe and sound, no matter where you are.

If you want to keep an eye on your little bundle of joy when you’re in another room, just grab an old phone or tablet. All you need after that are a couple cheap accessories and you’ll be well on your way to knowing your baby is safe and sound, no matter where you are.

How to set up your DIY baby monitor

Setting up a baby monitoring system is simple and only takes a few minutes. First, download Skype on your monitor — your old phone — and on the device you will be checking the monitor with — your regular phone. Set up a Skype account for each device and sign in.

On the baby monitor’s account, set it up so it can automatically accept video calls from you, since your baby probably doesn’t know how to work Skype just yet.

The process varies with iPhones ($1,188.00 at Amazon.com), Android phones and Kindles. Here’s how to set up Android and Kindle Fire HD:

Open Skype
Click on Settings
Under the Voice and Video calls settings, tick the box that says Answer calls automatically

Here’s how to set up auto answer with iPhone:

Open Skype and go to Skype > Preferences > Calls > Answer automatically > Configure
Select Answer automatically with video

Pick a location

Now that you have the video and audio portion of the monitor working, select a place for the monitor. To do this, start a Skype call — seeing the video live will let you pick the perfect placement.

First, you’ll need to pick a good, sturdy stand. For phones, l like the Acuvar Flexible Tripod or the GripTight One because the legs of the stands can be wrapped around just about anything. For tablets, a regular stand just won’t do because it will be too hard to aim the camera. Stands such as the Gamut Tablet Stand or the Kantek Adjustable Tablet Floor Stand give you much more flexibility on where you can set up.

Set the “monitor” — aka your phone or tablet — on its stand. Look at the video on your personal device and tinker with the monitor until the camera is pointing at your child’s crib or play area.

Keep in mind you’ll want the monitor’s location to be close to an outlet so you can keep the phone or tablet plugged in. Be sure that the cord is well out of baby’s reach, though, to prevent a strangling hazard. Likewise, do use a stand — clipping anything onto the side of your baby’s crib is hazardous.


5
This baby wearable will monitor and act in case of crisis

Use your monitor

Now, whenever you want to drop in on junior, all you need to do is start a Skype session with the baby monitor’s account.

The perk of this type of setup, other than it being free, is that your baby can see you, too. So if your child needs you to sing a song or hear some soothing words, you can give them without physically being in the room. This is great for when you’re cooking dinner, tending to another child or otherwise busy.

If you’re the type of parent who wants to keep an eye on baby all the time, consider getting a smartwatch that pairs with your personal phone, such as an Apple Watch ($429.00 at Walmart), Android Wear or Samsung Gear. This way you can watch the video feed on your wrist instead of carrying your phone everywhere. Before you purchase, make sure that the smartwatch supports video streaming, of course.

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Is it safe?

It’s pretty likely you’ve already heard horror stories of baby monitors being hacked. The best assurance we can offer is that — barring any new, sophisticated hacking methods — using your phone as a baby monitor might be the safest option yet. That’s because, as Laura Hautala explained in her story, the monitors themselves were vulnerable.

Your phone, on the other hand, is a much safer bet. That’s because your phone or tablet-based setup, including Skype, is protected by the same security standards as anything else on your phone.

You do need to take some precautions, though. For the best security, be sure to put strong passwords on your Wi-Fi and your Skype account. Whenever possible, use two-factor authentication.

Also, put some security guards on your monitor’s Skype account. Go to Tools > Options > Privacy and for every category, tick the option from people in my contact list only. This will ensure that only you can contact the baby monitor using Skype.

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United and Mesa Airlines Receive Tentative Approval to Increase to Daily Service Between Houston and Havana

“On behalf of United Airlines, we applaud the U.S. Department of Transportation’s decision to increase United service between Houston and Havana from Saturday-only to daily,” said Steve Morrissey, United’s vice president of regulatory and policy.

“On behalf of United Airlines, we applaud the U.S. Department of Transportation’s decision to increase United service between Houston and Havana from Saturday-only to daily,” said Steve Morrissey, United’s vice president of regulatory and policy. “We also want to congratulate Texas Governor Greg Abbott and Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner, as well as Texas Congressmen Kevin Brady, Gene Green, Pete Olson, Ted Poe, the Houston Airport System, the Greater Houston Partnership and the Houston Hispanic Chamber of Commerce for supporting our collective goal to improve air service between Houston and Havana and offering customers throughout the central and western United States more opportunities to make convenient connections in Houston.”

Launched in December 2016, United’s successful Saturday-only service between Houston and Havana has provided thousands of customers with greater choice and convenience when planning travel to Havana.

Houston, United’s gateway to Latin America, is geographically well situated to connect flights from the central and western United States to Havana. United’s increase in service will ensure greater competition in the marketplace and will improve air service opportunities to Havana for customers in Houston and 44 other destinations in the central and western United States.

Onboard products and services
United plans to operate service between Houston and Havana with either Boeing 737-800 mainline aircraft or Embraer E175 regional aircraft. Mesa Airlines will operate regional jet aircraft as United Express. Embraer E175 two-cabin regional jet offers 12 seats in United First and 64 seats in United Economy, including 16 extra-legroom Economy Plus seats.

United Economy offers complimentary food, soft drinks, juices, beer and wine, tea, coffee and inflight entertainment. Additionally, the seats feature adjustable headrests and personal on-demand entertainment systems.

The E175 also offers more personal space for customers, with wider seats and aisles than other regional aircraft; a power outlet at each United First seat; United Wi-Fi; free access to a library of movies and TV shows that customers can watch on their personal devices’ and large overhead bins that can accommodate standard-size carry-on bags.

United in Cuba
From Houston, United provides the only service to Havana from the entire central and western United States. In 2017, United Airlines opened its first city ticket office in Havana enabling United to provide Cubans and other international customers the opportunity to purchase travel on United Airlines.

About United
United Airlines and United Express operate approximately 4,500 flights a day to 338 airports across five continents. In 2017, United and United Express operated more than 1.6 million flights carrying more than 148 million customers. United is proud to have the world’s most comprehensive route network, including U.S. mainland hubs in Chicago, Denver, Houston, Los Angeles, Newark/New York, San Francisco and Washington, D.C. United operates 744 mainline aircraft and the airline’s United Express carriers operate 518 regional aircraft. The airline is a founding member of Star Alliance, which provides service to 191 countries via 28 member airlines. For more information, visit united.com, follow @United on Twitter or connect on Facebook. The common stock of United’s parent, United Continental Holdings, Inc., is traded on the NYSE under the symbol “UAL”.

Cision View original content with multimedia:http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/united-and-mesa-airlines-receive-tentative-approval-to-increase-to-daily-service-between-houston-and-havana-300622226.html

SOURCE United Airlines

Related Links

http://www.united.com

Get a lifetime VPN Unlimited subscription for $18 – CNET

CNET’s Cheapskate scours the web for great deals on PCs, phones, gadgets and much more. Questions about the Cheapskate blog? Find the answers on our FAQ page.

CNET’s Cheapskate scours the web for great deals on PCs, phones, gadgets and much more. Questions about the Cheapskate blog? Find the answers on our FAQ page. Find more great buys on the CNET Deals page and follow the Cheapskate on Facebook and Twitter!

Quick housekeeping note: I’m taking a little time off next week, but I’ve already got a few sweet deals queued up for when I’m gone. You may also see some deals posted by — gasp — someone other than me! But have no fear: I’ll see you back here (in real-time) next Friday. Happy whatever-holiday-you-might-be-celebrating-this-weekend!

Every so often I return to my Cheapskate pulpit to preach the importance of three things: a car mount for your phone, a password manager for your passwords and a VPN for your laptop.

If you’ve yet to deploy the latter, there’s no longer any justifiable excuse: For a limited time, StackSocial is offering a lifetime VPN Unlimited subscription for $18. That’s after applying promo code VPNSD22 at checkout. Unless my memory fails, this has never been cheaper. I’ve seen it at $39.99 and even $29.99, but $18?

That’s an insanely good deal on a product that normally runs $9.99 per month or $150 for life.

A VPN (virtual private network) can keep hackers at bay when you connect to open Wi-Fi networks — like the one on the airplane or at Starbucks. Without one, things can get ugly. A hacker could capture your login info when you sign into, say, your bank or Gmail account. That’s all it would take to potentially do a lot of identity-theft damage.

The subscription entitles you to protection on up to five devices, with support for all the major platforms: Android, iOS, Linux, Mac and Windows. And VPN Unlimited has servers in over 70 countries.

I don’t have any first-hand experience with it, but just last month, PCMag reviewed the service and awarded it an Editors’ Choice. Likewise, both the Android app and iOS app received high marks from users. You can look at other alternatives in the CNET VPN guide, too.

On paper, I’d say this is an incredibly affordable way to protect all your devices from prying hacker eyes. And a lifetime subscription is the only option that makes sense.

Your thoughts?

Bonus deal: Hot on the heels of yesterday’s Philips Hue starter-kit deal comes another one: For a limited time, Best Buy has a four-bulb version of the kit for $199.99 — a price that includes two Google Home Minis! (Thanks to reader Allen for bringing this to my attention yesterday.)

Those smart speakers — one in charcoal color, one in chalk — are worth $49 apiece, so this is definitely a sweet way to kick-start a smart home. As for the Hue kit, it’s just like the one I listed yesterday, with four white/color ambiance bulbs instead of three and the Hue hub.

Bonus deal No. 2: Miss your old Sega Genesis? You can relive all the Sonic the Hedgehog glory of yesteryear with the Sega Genesis Classic Game Console for $32.39 at Staples. (Check to see if your local store has it; otherwise you’re on the hook for a $9.95 shipping charge.)

The console comes with two wireless controllers, 80 built-in games (including various Sonic and Mortal Kombat titles) and a slot that can accommodate old Genesis cartridges.

Weirdly, I can’t find any reviews of this particular bundle; there are other, similar, Sega throwback consoles out there, just not this exact one. It’s definitely not the Sega Flashback that CNET’s Scott Stein reviewed last year. But if you’re into this sort of gaming nostalgia, $32 feels like a steal.

Bonus deal No. 3: Two in one week?! Humble just posted yet another free game valued at $30: Spec Ops: The Line (for Windows, Mac and Linux). It’s available for the next 24 hours or so, or until the available licenses run out. You’ll receive a code to redeem on Steam.

Spec Ops is a third-person military shooter with a “squad-based play mechanic.” But if you’re thinking this is standard-issue Call of Duty-style gaming, think again: It presents a twisting narrative designed to illustrate the “brutality and emotion” of close-quarters combat.

In other words, prepare to have your morality challenged while you learn that war really is hell. The game received “very positive” ratings from Steam players.

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New York City Embraces Cyber Security for Public WiFi

By using Quad9 the city is also leveraging an investment made by NYC. Quad9 was created, in part, by the Global Cyber Alliance (GCA), a non-profit that was founded by Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance, Jr.

By using Quad9 the city is also leveraging an investment made by NYC. Quad9 was created, in part, by the Global Cyber Alliance (GCA), a non-profit that was founded by Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance, Jr., the City of London Police, and the Center for Internet Security, with a seed investment of asset forfeiture funds provided by the Manhattan District Attorney.

“This is a tremendous step in protecting citizens against all manner of cyber risk,” said Mary Kavaney, Chief Operating Officer of the Global Cyber Alliance (GCA). “The city in delivering free WiFi as a public service is taking a significant step to ensure that the service is provided with security built in while at the same time protecting New Yorkers’ privacy. While it’s impossible to protect against every threat, using Quad9 to protect against known malicious sites is a huge benefit to users of the service. On behalf of GCA, we commend New York City for taking this step.”

“Quad9 was built with the public in mind. It is a free service that provides security and protects the privacy of its users,” said John Todd, Executive Director of Quad9. “We’re very encouraged to see New York City embracing Quad9 and using it for public good, and we hope New York’s leadership in implementing this free service is a model for other cities to use to protect their citizens and networks.”

“NYC Secure delivers a world-class cyber security upgrade to New Yorkers and all who use our City’s expanding public WiFi network,” said Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance, Jr. “In 2015, I joined with the City of London Police and Center for Internet Security to found the non-profit Global Cyber Alliance (GCA), which co-developed the Quad9 technology being adopted today. We are delighted to see the work of GCA and its partners integrated into groundbreaking programs like NYC Secure, which will expand the reach of safe-browsing technology and protect millions of residents and visitors alike. I commend Mayor de Blasio and his administration for its proactive and collaborative approach to combat the rising tide of cybercrime.”

“I applaud Mayor De Blasio for including Quad9 in his NYC Secure initiative which establishes New York City as a leader in helping to protect its citizens from malicious websites,” said John Gilligan, Executive Chairman, Center for Internet Security.

“The strength of the Global Cyber Alliance and the tools it has developed, such as Quad9, lie in the global partnerships that support it. By harnessing talent and commitment from the within industry and the public sector, we take a step closer to tackling cyber crime,” said Ian Dyson, Commissioner, City of London Police.

Quad9 was conceived of by GCA and built in collaboration with IBM and Packet Clearing House (PCH). Since its launch in November of 2017, Quad9 usage has increased more than 27-fold and is used in more than 150 countries around the world, resolving billions of queries every day. Each day, approximately 2 million domain lookups are blocked, protecting the end user from connecting to a malicious destination. These blocked lookups represent attempts to reach phishing, ransomware, botnet command and control servers, and other forms of harmful or fraudulent systems.

To start using Quad9 today, simply change your DNS settings in your device or router to point to 9.9.9.9. Learn more about Quad9, including how to set it up on either a Mac OS or Windows system at www.Quad9.net.

Press Contact:

Dan Palumbo

301.875.2356

About Quad9
Quad9 is a free, recursive, anycast DNS platform that provides end users robust security protections, high-performance, and privacy. Quad9 is an independent non-profit formed from a collaboration of IBM, PCH and GCA. Learn more at www.Quad9.net.

About Global Cyber Alliance
The Global Cyber Alliance (GCA) is an international, cross-sector effort dedicated to eradicating cyber risk and improving our connected world. We achieve our mission by to uniting global communities, implementing concrete solutions, and measuring the effect. Learn more at www.globalcyberalliance.org.

Cision View original content:http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/new-york-city-embraces-cyber-security-for-public-wifi-300622006.html

SOURCE Global Cyber Alliance

Related Links

http://www.globalcyberalliance.org/

Forget the glowing skull: Intel’s $1,000 mini-PC is incredible – CNET

What if I told you there was a desktop computer that could easily fit in any messenger bag, even hang off the back of your monitor, yet had enough power to drive a VR headset and play the latest games at 1,920×1,080-pixel resolution? What if I told you it had more ports than most desktops 10 times its size, too?

What if I told you there was a desktop computer that could easily fit in any messenger bag, even hang off the back of your monitor, yet had enough power to drive a VR headset and play the latest games at 1,920×1,080-pixel resolution? What if I told you it had more ports than most desktops 10 times its size, too?

I’m not talking hypothetically. The $1,000 Intel Hades Canyon NUC is that computer. I can’t believe it exists. Heck, in another universe, it probably doesn’t — because this PC’s Intel processor has AMD graphics inside. Yes, even though those two companies have been lifelong rivals.

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Specifically, the 100W Intel Core i7 processor inside this box has integrated AMD Radeon RX Vega M GH graphics, which Intel claims are as powerful as an Nvidia GeForce GTX 1060 Max-Q.

Or in plain English: It’s very powerful for something this small. I played the notoriously intensive PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds and ran a couple Oculus Rift VR games on this machine, and it didn’t break a sweat.

Before I discuss the Hades Canyon too much more, you should know there’s a catch: Intel only plans to sell it this spring as a “barebones” PC, meaning you’ll need to provide (and install) the SSD, memory sticks and operating system yourself.

It’s not hard — six screws, lift the out lid, unplug a ribbon cable, another screw, lift the inner lid and you’ll find the slots — but it does mean you’re looking at more like a $1,400-$1,500 spend for a game-ready computer.


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Up close with the Intel Hades Canyon

But once you’ve got those components in, the Hades Canyon is quite the mini-PC. Intel claims it can drive six 4K monitors simultaneously with its twin full-size HDMI, twin Mini Display Port and twin do-it-all Thunderbolt 3 sockets.

Did I mention it’s got twin Gigabit Ethernet jacks, 802.11ac Wi-Fi and Bluetooth as well? Plus six USB 3.0 ports, a full-size SD card slot, a USB-C port, a optical audio output and a headset jack. No shortage of ports.

I really like that Intel put one of the HDMI jacks up front, making it easy to plug in my VR headset. And it’s pretty neat to have a built-in beam-forming array of four microphones so I can ask Cortana to do things for me from across the room. Those features are rare on any desktop, much less one this small.

It also bears mentioning that the PC is surprisingly quiet for a computer with two fans — and if you don’t like the glowing skull, you can use Intel’s built-in, comprehensive LED control software to turn it off or change it up. Every LED on the system (the eyes, skull outline, power button, and three status LEDs) can be any color you like, and you can make ’em breathe, strobe or simply blink in time with hard drive activity, network activity or Wi-Fi status.

I’ve still got a lot of testing ahead of me, and I’ll have to wait for a finished version of the Hades Canyon before I can do it all. But I’m already liking what I see in this preproduction sample.

Sure, an inexpensive gaming laptop might be a better deal, but I bet we don’t see a smaller, more versatile desktop than the Hades Canyon this year.

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